Monday, October 15, 2018

Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

STATEMENT Delivered By  Mr. Youssof Ghafoorzai Counselor

Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan  to the United Nations

At the General Debate of the 6th Committee on Agenda Item 111:

Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

(check against delivery)

October 4, 2018

NEW YORK

Madame Chair,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

This year, as we discuss agenda item: measures to eliminate international terrorism, the global landscape is still precarious, where terrorism remains a dark reality in both conflict and non-conflict settings.

Events over the past year will show that, despite counter-terrorism efforts of member-states and the UN alike, this menace remains a challenge to a stable world-order.  The tide of terror continues to rise in different countries and regions, including Afghanistan and South Asia. While terrorism remains a global threat, Afghanistan is among the countries that continue to suffer most from this phenomenon.

This year, we witnessed a new wave of attacks in an attempt to reverse our progress towards stability and development. In response, Afghan security forces have stood firm in defending our territory against many terror groups, and prevented them from capturing and controlling major territory. In that effort, terrorist groups, including elements of Daesh have suffered setbacks on the battlefield. As a result, they increased attacks on religious centers and civilian spaces to foment sectarian and other internal divisions.

Yet, our people have not and will never succumb to such designs. Instead, we have demonstrated unity and cohesion as we have done throughout our nation’s history to overcome the most difficult of challenges.

Needless to say, the violence flaring in Afghanistan is the result of the outstanding problem of terrorist sanctuaries and safe-havens across the south-eastern frontier region, where known international terrorist groups are based and from which they are sent off for attacks on our people, our security forces as well as on international military and civilian personnel, including humanitarian staff. We hope to a see a change in the status quo, based on cooperation and commitments made within the framework of a bilateral action plan.

Madame Chair,

Terrorism is part of a network of criminal activities, which reinforce each other and are regional in nature.  As such, sustained constructive cooperation within and across regions is an imperative that must not be compromised. For our part, Afghanistan is engaged bilaterally, trilaterally and through other forums to obtain more visible and tangible results in tackling terrorism and other transnational threats.

That also includes the Afghan-led Heart of Asia Process, which contains a specific confidence-building measure (CBM) on countering terrorism. In that respect, we are working to finalize the regional counter-terrorism strategy to reinforce counter-terrorism efforts under the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process. 

At the national level, we are amending and strengthening our domestic legislation to meet the evolving threat of terrorism and obligations under international CT conventions and protocols to which we are party. Our security and judicial institutions are apprehending and prosecuting those involved in terrorist attacks, and repatriating, in that regard, foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin.

This year, we also finalized our counter violent extremism strategy (CVE) to reinforce our whole of society approach in combating extremist narratives. The strategy features a prominent role by religious figures and civic groups to counter terrorist narratives; and also includes a focus on advancing new economic opportunities, by virtue of our national development strategy. We are now also engaged in a structured cooperation with the UN Office on Counter-terrorism (OCT) to further align domestic legislation with international CT instruments.

Madame Chair,

Afghanistan has always placed high value on United Nations’ role in strengthening the global response to terrorism. We hope the outcome of the 6th Review of the Global Strategy will not just be another review process, but the start of a new chapter of cooperation, that will lead to more tangible results across all 4 pillars of the Strategy.  

Decisive action by States in denying support to terrorists is key for successful counter-terrorism measures. That also means preventing any form of moral and material support, as well as denying them of safe-havens in which they are able to recruit, organize and plan attacks. This imperative was highlighted, again, during the 6th review of the global strategy, and must be heeded in accordance with international law.  We also call for more efficient enforcement of Security Council sanctions regimes to constrict the resources and ability of terror groups to operate.  

We are pleased that greater attention is being given to supporting the rights of, and provision of assistance to victims of terrorism. Afghanistan was honored to facilitate a General Assembly resolution, which recognized 21 August as the international day of remembrance and tribute to victims of terrorism. We welcome Under-Secretary General Vronkov’s visit to Kabul in August to take part in this event. We all have a collective duty to ensure adequate support to victims of terrorism, in the aftermath or attacks, including financial, moral and psychological aid.

Moreover, religious authorities and community leaders must be more engaged in countering terrorist narratives and extremist ideologies, and amplifying positive messages. This year, Islamic scholars from Afghanistan joined other clerics in the Islamic world in Kabul, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia – to denounce violence in Afghanistan, and to amplify the call for a durable peace in the country.  In addition, preparations are underway to hold a joint Afghanistan-Pakistan Islamic Scholars meeting in Kabul in the near future.

We also believe more can be done to enhance inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding at regional and global levels to consolidate a global culture of peace.

Looking ahead, increased cooperation between counter-terrorism agencies of States is a vital need to decrease and eventually defeat terrorism, world-wide. We commend the Secretary General and the Office for Counter Terrorism for organizing the first-ever High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies here in NY in June. We support periodic follow-up discussions within such a framework for steady progress in meeting commitments made.

 

We also join previous speakers in calling for real and tangible progress in concluding the Draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). This will reinforce broader international counter-terrorism efforts.

 

In conclusion, we hereby reaffirm our abiding and long-standing commitment to combat and defeat international terrorism. This has been an endeavor in which we have been engaged as a national priority for over two-decades for our security and that of the global community at large.

 

 

I thank you Madame Chair.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan