Friday, March 23, 2018

Building regional partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia

United Nation’s Security Council: Building regional partnership in #Afghanistan and Central Asia as a model to link security and development (8162nd meeting)

UN Security Council Debate on Building Regional Partnerships in Afghanistan and Central Asia

STATEMENT BY H.E. Hekmat Khalil Karzai

Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations at the

UN Security Council Debate on Building Regional Partnerships in Afghanistan and Central Asia

January 19, 2018


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بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Mr. President,

It is a great pleasure to address the Security Council. I would like to begin by first thanking you and the Government of Kazakhstan for bringing us together for this important meeting on Afghanistan and Central Asia.  We consider today’s meeting to be an important initiative on an issue of strategic relevance for peace and stability in Afghanistan and our wider region.  We thank Secretary General Guterres for his insightful presentation.

I am pleased to recognize the presence of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of our Central Asian neighboring States and other partner countries. The high-level representation in this meeting signifies a personal commitment to the imperative of securing lasting peace and stability in my country, for which we are deeply grateful.

Mr. President,

Today’s meeting comes just days after the Security Council’s visit to Afghanistan. The visit was an opportunity to discuss, broadly, a number of important issues, ranging from security, development and regional cooperation; to governance, human rights, and democratization. We are confident the outcome of the visit will factor positively in strengthening the international community’s engagement, cooperation and consensus on Afghanistan.

One issue that was highlighted in the visit concerns the topic on which we are meeting today: that Afghanistan’s stability and development should not be seen in isolation from the security and stability of the countries in our periphery and beyond. In this regard, the imperative of deepened cooperation between Afghanistan and Central Asian States on common challenges and promoting our shared prosperity has gained new impetus.

Afghanistan has always recognized the importance of our relations with all regional countries, especially those of Central Asia. These bonds have endured on the basis of mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity, shared interests and common affinities of culture and history. 

Despite these positive attributes, we had – during the past years – missed opportunities to elevate the scope of our cooperation for our common security, development and prosperity. Having said that, the past year has seen new dynamism take shape in our cooperation with Central Asian countries.

This is based on the firm commitment of the Government of Afghanistan to increase collaboration across multiple fields and sectors, such as regional connectivity; energy; trade and transit; security cooperation; agriculture, as well as the cultural and educational spheres.

This new dynamic is manifested in a series of high-level visits to the Central Asian region in 2017 by the leadership of the Afghan Government. Last July, President Ghani visited Ashgabat and met with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. In August, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah visited Astana and met with Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev. And just last month, President Ghani paid a visit to Tashkent where he held wide-ranging discussions with his Uzbek counterpart, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and signed over 20 MOUs.

These visits have helped set in motion a new era of engagement, interaction and cooperation on a common agenda for our security, economic development and integration; as well as strengthening people to people ties.

Mr. President,

We all know that prosperity is not possible in the absence of security, a fundamental requirement in any society. Terrorism and violent extremism lie at the forefront of the inter-linked challenges threatening Afghanistan’s security and stability and that of the region. 

Our fight against terrorism is being conducted on behalf of the region and the world at large. In this struggle, we are making enormous sacrifices, in terms of human lives – ordinary civilians and our security forces alike. Despite all challenges, our forces have made progress in pressing violent militants and terrorists, including the Taliban; the Haqqani network; Al-Qaeda and Daesh, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, among others. 

In the past 10 months alone, our Special Forces have carried out more than 2,000 security operations nationwide, which have resulted in major losses among violent militants, including foreign terrorist fighters who come from the region and beyond.

We are pleased to note that the imperative of addressing the problem of regional terrorist sanctuaries and safe-havens is now recognized more than ever before. This issue was loudly communicated by a broad spectrum of Afghan society during the Council’s visit to Afghanistan last week.

Experience has shown that terrorism impacts all of us, and the task of its elimination lies beyond the capacity of any single country alone. It requires a comprehensive effort. In the context of our joint endeavors, we must prevent the radicalization of our youth, and identify and prevent the problem of cross-border terrorism, criminal activities and other illegalities.

We must also work together to overcome the problem of illicit drugs. Progress in addressing this threat is only possible by joint and collaborative efforts, focused on all aspects of the challenge, including production, demand, trafficking of chemical precursors and consumption.

Mr. President,

We have engaged in comprehensive efforts to improve security and defeat terrorism. Outside the scope of military efforts, we are working to ensure success in our peace efforts with elements of the armed opposition.

On February 28, we will convene the second meeting of the Kabul Process, where we will present our WAY Forward for peace and combating terrorism to the international community. We count on the full support and endorsement of all partners to the process, including the Central Asian States.

The Kabul Process gathering will precede the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan in late March, which we will jointly co-host with the Government of Uzbekistan. In this respect, we wish to highlight that all such initiatives should serve to reinforce Afghan-led and owned peace efforts, under the Kabul Process, which remains the over-arching framework.

On the margins of the Tashkent Conference, we also plan to hold the first meeting of the C5+Afghanistan. The (C5+1) cooperation framework for Afghanistan and Central Asia is an important new regional initiative that will maintain sustained dialogue across a broad spectrum of areas. The UN will, undoubtedly, have a role to play in the process.

Mr. President,

Today’s meeting also affirms that the dangerous nexus facing Afghanistan and the region must be and can only be addressed if existing efforts are integrated and woven together across the peace, security and development pillars. This imperative lies at the core of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, an Afghan led initiative, which most Central Asian countries are part of. This will remain a key focus as we work to increase our cooperation with countries of Central Asia through different platforms, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in which we hope to gain full member status soon.

We also see additional space for cooperation with the UN Center on Preventive Diplomacy in multiple areas. In this context, we welcome the outcome of the Ministerial Meeting on Security and Development, which was convened in November by the Government of Uzbekistan; the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and UNRCCA. 


Efforts under these formats will help us overcome issue of common concern. In this connection, we are of the view that any regional approach, should harmonize and help consolidate existing international efforts for security and stability in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Another central theme in our discussion today concerns the crucial way in which the development agenda helps propel security. This is a key principle guiding international efforts to stabilize conflict situations worldwide. Afghanistan is no exception.

Over the past three years, the Afghan Government has worked tirelessly to advance economic cooperation to a new horizon. We have done so through the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference (RECCA), which has seen unprecedented progress since its inception in 2005. 

The past year has seen many notable achievements, but none as striking as the gains made in the area of regional economic cooperation. What we envisioned a few years back is now surely taking shape and becoming a reality.

Projects such as the Lapus Lazuli Corridor and 5 Nation Railway, connecting China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran will have a profound impact on increasing connectivity and boosting movement of goods, ideas and peoples. 

2017 also saw headway in the implementation of other mega projects, such as the CASA 1000 and TAPI electricity and natural gas initiatives. Moreover, the Chabahar Port is now operational, increasing the flow and trade of goods.  Over the course of the year, we will work to further progress on these initiatives, the benefits of which are far-reaching and not only help boost trade and transit, but also facilitate the exchange of new and innovative ideas for our common prosperity.

Mr. President,

Our gathering here today symbolizes the unique opportunity that lies before us – an opportunity to shift the dynamic and transform the nexus of regional threats such as terrorism, instability and other criminal activities to a nexus of peace, security and economic growth and development for our prosperity. In this connection, we believe a new start towards regional engagement and convergence has begun. It is up to us to do our share and transform this new vision into reality. Afghanistan stands confident in the success of our endeavor.   

I thank you Mr. President.






Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

STATEMENT BY H.E. Mahmoud Saikal Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

 December 21, 2017


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بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank you for convening today’s debate on the Situation in Afghanistan. We are also grateful to His Excellency, the Secretary General, for his comprehensive report, as well as to my good friend Special Representative Tadamichi Yamamoto for his comprehensive briefing. We also thank UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov and Mrs. Wazhma Frogh for joining us here today.

As always, these debates provide an opportunity to take stock of the situation in Afghanistan; progress in related fields and challenges that remain. But above all, it provides a clear reminder of the symbiotic link between peace and stability in Afghanistan and that of global security.

We are pleased with the new counter-terrorism focus on condition-based support to Afghanistan and addressing regional terrorist safe havens. This has brought new momentum, and more broadly, an opportunity for key regional and international partners to combat terrorism more decisively.  As we speak, the so-called “fighting season” of the Taliban and other terrorist groups has nearly ended. Terrorists have failed to make any notable gains on the ground and have suffered heavy losses in terms of manpower and morale. Pressured militarily, they have desperately resorted to soft target attacks in urban areas. Our security forces have proven their effectiveness in countering terrorist elements in independently conducted operations. We continue to clear territory in different parts of Afghanistan from the presence of the Taliban, Daesh and other terrorist groups. As of late, a significant number of senior Taliban and Daesh figures have been eliminated and captured, including financiers, planners and recruiters, while scores of attacks were prevented and subverted. Alongside these gains, we are now working to double the size of our Special Forces and triple the size of our air-force, with support from our international partners.

Consolidating our gains and achieving sustainable peace requires a revamped diplomatic effort at the regional and global levels, and an inclusive process of democratization domestically, leading our country in the right direction. To accomplish these tasks, there is a growing need to increase dialogue among regional and global powers, leading to enhanced regional cooperation for developing mechanisms of verification and coordination to eliminate threats rising from terrorism and violent extremism. In this context, Afghanistan welcomes recent expressions of readiness by President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation to cooperate with the US in Afghanistan in the areas of counter-terrorism and narcotics. We have always deemed such cooperation to provide win-win opportunities to overcome shared challenges and achieve common gains. We hope this development will help generate a new spirit of cooperation among all regional countries, devoid of rivalry and competing interests.  It is our earnest hope that Afghanistan is seen by all partner countries outside the prism of regional and international tensions. Let me assure you of Afghanistan’s sincere intent to be a platform of cordiality and fellowship for all.

Mr. President,

Substantial improvements in the context of Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral relations and cooperation remain an issue of crucial importance. Recent collaborative measures, including visit of a senior military delegation to Pakistan, and the visit of Pakistani parliamentary delegation to Kabul are noteworthy developments. We are awaiting positive outcomes on various outstanding issues, including violations across the Durand Line, which is currently a key hindrance in improving relations between our two countries. Under the pretext of receiving fire from our side, Pakistan’s violations across the Durand Line, including indiscriminate artillery shelling, has continued unabated throughout 2017, resulting in the loss of innocent lives and destruction of villages. Our proposal for engagement and operational coordination towards addressing these concerns has not seen any response. At the same time, Afghanistan has the will and the capacity to defend its territory and our patience should not be tested. We believe that confidence building measures can only be successful when violations of this nature come to a complete halt. In a similar vein, we are also in communication on the imperative of addressing terrorists’ regional safe havens and hope to see positive developments on this front soon. We look forward to the upcoming trilateral meeting in Beijing next week between the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China.

In the area of peace efforts, we remain focused on providing a peaceful, dignified, and fulfilling life to all Afghans, devoid of conflict and insecurity. The Kabul Process, now fully operational, provides an overarching framework to harmonize international and regional efforts to help advance peace efforts. We are looking forward to the next meeting of the Process in February where we will outline our renewed strategy to counter terrorism and extremism and promote peace. This will be an opportune moment for the Taliban to change course, denounce violence and join the peace process.

Aside from regional dynamics and peace efforts, we know that sustaining and consolidating past achievements requires steady progress in advancing our reform agenda, and strengthening political consensus and national unity. To this end, the comprehensive dialogue underway is geared to ensure the credibility and transparency of future elections, as well as to achieve common understanding on a number of other pressing national issues, all of which bear crucial importance for long-term stability in Afghanistan. Success in this endeavor requires collective efforts on the part of the Afghan Government and the international community.

Mr. President.

In recent times, we have seen a more proactive and productive engagement at the highest level between the United Nations and Afghanistan. We welcome the Security Council Arria Formula meeting in November, “Partners for Afghanistan: Linking Security, Development and Peace in the Central Asian Region”, and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate’s (CTED) joint meeting with donor countries and Afghanistan, which underscored enhanced development and counter-terrorism measures. In the broader context of the UN’s engagement in Afghanistan, the “ONE UN” Vision is steadily progressing in collaboration with the UN team on the ground.  An adjusted UN role will go a long way in ensuring greater coordination, coherence, and efficiency among relevant UN agencies, funds and programs in accordance with the reform agenda of our Government and that of the UN Secretary-General.  Moreover, the adoption of the General Assembly resolution on Afghanistan in November once again symbolized the international community’s strong consensus on and support for stability and prosperity in my country. Further, our accomplishment in the Human Rights Council election and the successful adoption of two Afghan-initiated resolutions “Countering the Threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices” and “International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism,” show our active engagement and contribution at the global platform of the UN.  

In order to uphold the General Assembly resolution on Afghanistan in letter and spirit, its effective implementation is imperative. In the area of security and counter-terrorism, the implementation of 1988 and 1989 Security Council Sanctions Regimes must improve to succeed to help turn the tide against terrorism.  These sanctions regimes were put in place to constrict the operational capacity, freedom of movement as well as the flow of material resources in the region, including illicit arms and cash, which end up providing oxygen for terror to thrive. Yet, experience has shown that the sanctions regimes are lax at best, and struggles to achieve the results for which they were mandated. We hope necessary adjustments on the part of relevant members of the Security Council are made to enforce sanctions against terrorists and extremists.  Among the outstanding issues to be addressed, the assets of former and current Taliban leaders must be frozen so that they do not fund the death and destruction of innocent civilians. Furthermore, listing and de-listing terrorist groups and associated elements must be based on existing evidence and proper technical appraisal, away from politicization and manipulation by certain states. We are looking forward to increasing our engagement with the Office of Counter Terrorism; a relationship of mutual trust between OCT and the Government of Afghanistan is pivotal, as we strengthen our reliable partnership to eliminate terrorism in all its forms.

Mr. President,

2017 has seen major progress in the steady implementation of mega projects which have visualized Afghanistan as a land bridge, business hub, and trade and transit roundabout between Central Asia, South Asia, The Far East, and the Middle East. The Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) and the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, have progressed steadily and helped elevate regional economic cooperation and socio-cultural exchanges to new levels.  Recently, we have signed bilateral and other agreements with various countries of the region, including Turkmenistan, India and Uzbekistan to scale up the level of trade, transit and other means of cooperation for mutual benefit.  Materialization of multiple mega regional projects demonstrates that despite continuous attempts by some to turn our location into a destabilizing force for the region and the world, terror can not deter the course of development and prosperity of our country and the region.

In the area of human rights, we continue to make strides in civilian protection and promotion of human rights despite the effects of conflict. In this regard, we welcome UNAMA’s second annual Protection of Civilians civil-military dialogue in Kabul. We are gravely concerned about the increasing attacks on mosques and worshippers, and to combat this menace trying to sow discord amongst our population, we have introduced measures to protect places of worship at risk. Furthermore, the President has endorsed an additional Annex to the Presidential Decree on the Prohibition of Torture, thereby providing a legal avenue to victims of torture for redress. These developments are reflective of our resolve and commitment to uphold rule of law for civilian protection and promotion of equal rights for all in a free society. Consistent with SC Resolution 1325, the role of Afghan women is becoming more prominent in the peace process.   

The ongoing cycle of violence has exacerbated conditions for internally displaced persons (IDP’s). In coordination with UNHCR, the voluntary repatriation and other programs are providing much needed assistance to returning refugees and IDP’s. Additionally, we are working to create economic opportunities and strengthen security, which would provide incentives for people to remain in the country and contribute to the rebuilding of their nation.

Mr. President,

On the counter-narcotics front, we are working in close cooperation with UNODC to implement a National Drug Action Plan that aligns law enforcement, education, and public health. In light of existing challenges, we need a more sustained and integrated approach to better reduce the illicit production and trafficking of narcotics, and organized crime, including money laundering, corruption and financing of terrorism.  In this regard, we remain committed to expanding our cooperation with our allies on related areas.   By the same vein, the recent increase in production should be seen in the context of the symbiotic link between narcotic drugs industry and problem of terrorism and violence.  We also reaffirm the need for a holistic approach to the drug problem, focusing on all facets, including production, trafficking and consumption, on the basis of the principle of shared responsibility.

Mr. President,

As we approach the New Year, let us reaffirm our resolve to consolidate the many achievements made thus far, while bearing in mind that collective action, within the framework of a more collaborative effort among all stakeholders, particularly countries in our region and beyond, provides the surest guarantee for our joint success. Let us therefore seize the opportunity before us for the benefit of peace and security not just in Afghanistan, but rather for the stability of all our societies.

Thank You.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan