Saturday, July 21, 2018

UN General Assembly On the Situation in Afghanistan

Statement by Dr. Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative to the UN
At the General Assembly
On the Situation in Afghanistan
Mr. President,

It is with great pleasure for me to address this august assembly, as we have gathered to consider the annual draft resolution of the General Assembly entitled “The Situation in Afghanistan.”

Today’s meeting, following the High-Level Meeting of 23 September – co-chaired by H.E. President Karzai and Secretary General Ban Ki Moon – and the Security Council’s Meeting of 15 October on Afghanistan is a clear indication of the ongoing commitment and support of the United Nations and the international community to ensure Afghanistan’s successful transition from war and conflict to peace and stability.

We are pleased that Afghanistan continues to be on the agenda of the General Assembly. Today’s gathering reaffirms that Afghanistan remains among the top priorities of the United Nations. It also indicates unwavering international support for efforts to consolidate the gains of the past six years towards the goal of a stable, moderate and prosperous Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

As we speak, Afghanistan continues to make substantial progress in various areas, including institutional building, economic growth, education, health, road-building and rural development.

In the area of security, we have increased the size and strength of our national army and police, enabling our security forces to play a more efficient role in combat operations in various parts of Afghanistan. The Afghan national army, which will stand at 47,000 strong by the end of the year, is on track to meet the target strength of 72,000 by 2009. Additional progress is evident in disbanding illegal armed groups throughout the country.

Steady progress continues in improving the socio-economic conditions of our people. Eighty-five percent of the population has access to basic health service. We have built 4000 hospitals and clinics throughout the country. Increased access to health centers has saved the lives of 89,000 children and reduced maternal mortality by 40,000 this year. More than six million students – of which girls comprise 36 percent – are attending schools and universities.

The National Solidarity Program, as the largest effort to empower and develop rural areas, has brought development projects to over 18,000 communities throughout the country, touching the lives of 13 million villagers.

Afghanistan has taken important steps towards regaining its historic role as a facilitator of regional economic cooperation. This comes after years of economic isolation, resulting from years of armed-conflict and foreign occupations. Among other infrastructure projects completed, our national highway system – stretching 6,000 kilometers – will lead to increased trade with our neighbors.

Afghanistan’s inclusion in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in May of this year was a milestone development for our integration to regional markets. And most recently, we hosted the 17th Annual Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organization in the historic city of Herat with the purpose of maximizing Afghanistan’s potential to promote trade and development in the region.

The consolidation of our democratic institutions has enabled our citizens to enjoy more social, political and economic rights than ever before. The unprecedented number of women represented in our national assembly and presence of tens of political parties and numerous media outlet is clear testimony to this assessment. Hundreds of various publications and television and radio stations throughout the country have made Afghanistan one of the most liberal environments for independent media in the region.

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) continues to undertake important measures to protect and promote human rights for all citizens. In this regard, I am pleased to state that, among other initiatives, progress continues towards the implementation of the Action Plan for Peace, Reconciliation and Justice.

Mr. President,

Despite remarkable achievements, we have not lost sight of the numerous challenges. Terrorism, illicit drugs, weak state institutions, poverty, socio-economic hardships, as well as the challenges associated with the situation in the region are among our main challenges. These are interdependent threats that have domestic, regional and international dimensions.

Terrorism remains the primary threat facing efforts to consolidate peace and stability in Afghanistan. This year, there has been a rise in violent terrorist activities of Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and the region. Terrorists are spreading fear and intimidation inside and outside Afghanistan. They rely on heinous and brutal acts aimed at undermining the security of our people and deterring the commitment of the international community to Afghanistan. That is why they have increased terrorist attacks in the form of abductions, intimidations, suicide bombings and use of sophisticated explosive devices, targeting and terrorizing a wide spectrum of society; children attending school, religious clerics, international aid workers, journalists and Afghan and international security forces.

Mr. President,

Substantial progress continues in defeating terrorism and extremism. Recent military operations have weakened the command and control structure of terrorist networks by capturing or eliminating an increasing number of high and middle-level Taliban commanders who were responsible for organizing and carrying out numerous suicide bombings in various provinces. Our counter-terrorism efforts also include strengthening the international sanctions regime against terrorists.

Mr. President,

Sustained success in the military campaign against terrorists is dependent on the level of technical and logistical assistance to bolster the capacity of our security institutions. A strong and professional national army and police is a pre-condition for long-term stability and security in Afghanistan. We call for increased efforts to accelerate the training of our security forces so that they become self-reliant and able to assume an independent role in addressing the security needs of our people.

Military means, by itself, is not the sole solution to Afghanistan’s security problems. An integrated military, political and development strategy is necessary for substantial and sustainable improvement of security in Afghanistan. As a complement to military action, we continue to increase efforts for political outreach to “non-terrorist” Taliban; those who are willing renounce violence and abide by the provisions of Afghanistan’s constitution.

Implementing development and infrastructure projects, particularly in areas threatened by Taliban and extremists, will have a direct impact on improving security. Therefore, every effort should be made to “maintain and win” the support of people by creating employment opportunities and ensuring the provision of basic services throughout the country. Without adequate development, employment opportunities and improved socio-economic conditions throughout the country, we will run the risk of ordinary citizens falling hostage to extremist groups.

Mr. President,

Regional cooperation is indispensable for defeating terrorism and extremism, affecting stability in Afghanistan and the region. Close cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan continues at a bilateral and multi-lateral basis to eliminate this scourge jointly and resolutely. Just last week, we convened the first meeting of the Jirgah Commission as a follow-up to the Peace Jirga, held in Kabul in the month of August. The second meeting of Peace Jirgah will be held in Pakistan early next year. It is of utmost importance that the collaborative atmosphere in relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan continue. We are following the recent developments in Pakistan with concern, as security, stability and normalcy in Pakistan are critical for security and stability in the region.

For us, regional cooperation is not only the most effective strategy to address the challenges of terrorism and illicit drugs, but also underdevelopment, organized crime and natural disasters. It will also help in translating the region’s rich resources and potential into development and prosperity. There are many opportunities for regional cooperation in areas of trade, energy, transportation, transit, cultural and education, water management and joint investment projects. The opportunity must be seized.
Mr. President,

Narcotics pose a threat to the stability and well-being of our societies. In our part, we have accelerated efforts to rid this menace from Afghanistan. Apart from those areas where the Taliban-Al-Qaeda poses a threat to security, approximately twenty-six thousand hectares of land have been cleared of poppy-cultivation, amounting to 13 poppy-free provinces. This is in addition to a substantial decrease of cultivation in 12 other provinces. With enhanced law enforcement, we have apprehended 85 traffickers at Kabul International Airport and 1016 cases of trafficking were submitted to the Office of the Attorney General this year. Other measures include facilitating the arrest of numerous international traffickers in foreign countries, with the support of Interpol.

Nevertheless, to achieve long-term and sustainable success in combating narcotics, we must take into account the networked character of illicit drugs, entailing farmers, producers, traffickers and consumers. In combating narcotics our strategy must address all the components. Active participation of transit and consuming countries, on the basis of shared responsibility, is critical for enabling us to contain the menace of illicit drugs. Providing Afghan farmers with alternative livelihoods should entail a key aspect of such a strategy. In this regard, we count on the sustained support of the international community to implement our national drug control strategy.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan has taken numerous steps to enhance good-governance and the rule of law. We have launched reform strategies in various institutions, including the Supreme Court, Attorney General’s Office and Ministries of Interior and Justice, to enhance efficacy and professionalism in our civil service. To this end, our Civil Service Commission has finalized a revised public administration reform framework and implementation program to ensure a merit based appointment mechanism for civil servants. As part of the effort to ensure accountability in our institutions, we have arrested or detained numerous senior and mid-level officials engaged in illegal activities. These measures were complemented with the approval of the UN Convention against Corruption by the National Assembly in the month of August and ongoing preparations to present our National Justice Sector Strategy. In this context, we express our appreciation to the Government of Italy for co-hosting with Afghanistan and the United Nations the International Rome Conference on the Rule of Law and Justice in July.

However, our success in promoting good governance and the rule of law is interlinked with consolidation of a powerful and independent judiciary, effective state institutions, free media, functioning civil society, and a conducive environment for economic, social and cultural development of all citizens.

Mr. President,

More than twenty-years of conflict resulted in dire socio-economic conditions which forced millions of our citizens to migrate abroad. We are grateful to all countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran, for having hosted millions of our compatriots during some of the most difficult times of our nation’s history. While expressing our earnest desire to have all our citizens’ back home, we call for sustained international assistance to create a feasible environment for their voluntary, gradual, safe and dignified return and reintegration.

Mr. President,

The Afghanistan Compact remains the most viable framework to address our remaining challenges. Within the framework of the JCMB, we periodically evaluate our progress towards achieving vision of the Afghanistan Compact with our international partners. While expressing appreciation for the support of the international community to the Afghan process, we would like to stress need to ensure greater efficiency in the mobilization, coordination and utilization of assistance to implement our national development strategy.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan continues to struggle with legacies of three decades of conflicts and emergence of the new challenges. As such, it will not be able to deal with its magnitude of problems on its own. It will need the long, sustained and adequate support of the international community for many years to come. The presence and commitment of the international community is an existential issue for Afghanistan. The international community should acknowledge the importance of its continuing commitment for peace and security in Afghanistan, the region and the global world. Neither complacency nor exaggerated pessimism will help our efforts to achieve a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

The role of the United Nations in Afghanistan is of crucial importance for achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. We commend the role of UNAMA, under the ale leadership of Mr. Tom Koenigs, in promoting enhanced international engagement and coordination between the international community and Afghanistan to achieve vision of the Afghanistan Compact.

We are also grateful for the personal dedication and commitment of the Secretary General to Afghanistan. His visit to Kabul in the month of July, his participation in International Rome Conference on the Rule of Law and Justice in July, and initiative to convene the High-Level Meeting along the sidelines of the 62nd Session of the UNGA are very much welcomed by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

We are also thankful to all countries that have committed troops to serve alongside forces of our national army and police to provide security to our people. We pay particular tribute to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I should like to express my delegation’s appreciation to our colleagues at the German Mission for their tireless efforts in leading the consultations on the draft resolution before us today. Special thanks go out to Dr. Metcalf of the German Mission in that regard. We also extend our gratitude to all member-states that co-sponsored this year’s resolution.
Thank you Mr. President.

Security Council on the Situation in Afghanistan

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative to the United Nations
at the Security Council
on the Situation in Afghanistan

15 October 2007

Mr. President,

Allow me to begin by congratulating you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Council for the month of October. I wish to express our appreciation for convening today’s important meeting. We are also thankful to the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Tom Koenigs, for his detailed briefing.

I should also like to express my delegations appreciation to the Secretary General for his recent report on Afghanistan, which offers a comprehensive overview of the overall situation in the country.

Mr. President,

Less than a month ago, we gathered in the special high-level meeting on Afghanistan, co-hosted by the Secretary General and H.E. President Karzai, prior to the general debate of the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The meeting, which brought together Ministers of Foreign Affairs and senior representatives of the 22 member-states of the JCMB and various international organizations, was another opportunity to assess ways of enhancing greater coordination of international efforts for strengthening peace, stability and development in Afghanistan.

We were pleased with the outcome of the meeting, which gave testimony to the overwhelming consensus among member-states on the need to keep Afghanistan among the top priorities of the international community and the United Nations. We also welcome the unity with which participants reiterated the need for improved strategic coordination in four key areas of security, counter-narcotics, regional cooperation and governance. Such coordination is fundamental for achieving the vision of the Afghanistan Compact.

Mr. President,

Significant gains have been made in Afghanistan since the signing of the Bonn Agreement six years ago. Thanks to the support of this Council and other partners in the international community, Afghanistan no longer serves as a base for international terrorists; rather it has become the front line from which countries have joined hands in the fight against terrorism. We have regained our legitimacy among the responsible members of the international community and continue to make steady progress in consolidating our democratic institutions.

At the same time, we should not lose sight of the fact that daunting challenges continue to face a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. That is why we continue to focus on defeating terrorism, strengthening the rule of law, enhancing the reconstruction process and ridding our society from the menace of narcotics as our top priorities.

Terrorism stands forefront among our challenges. Recent events of the past two weeks are a clear illustration of the ongoing campaign of the enemies of peace in Afghanistan, aimed at destabilizing the situation. In their most recent acts of sheer brutality, terrorists carried out suicide bombings in the frontier town of Spin Boldak and the Afghan capital, targeting civilians and members of the national army and police. The carnage was a stark reminder of the continuing challenge facing the people of Afghanistan to live in peace and security. At least 80 civilians have lost their lives from suicide attacks in September. Additional attacks have come in the form of increased use of sophisticated explosive devices; abductions, daily attacks on schools, health-centers, government officials and humanitarian aid workers. Terrorists have also resorted to the brutal tactic of launching attacks from civilian populations and use of human shields during counter-terrorism operations which constitutes the main cause of loss of civilian life.

I should like to reaffirm here that such heinous acts will in no way weaken our resolve to achieve our stated goals. That is why our security forces continue to serve in the most difficult of conditions, alongside forces of our international partners to consolidate security throughout the country. Over recent months, we have made much substantial progress in weakening the command and control structure of terrorist networks in Afghanistan. Joint combat operations by Afghan and international forces resulted in the capture and elimination of an unprecedented number of senior-level commanders of the Taliban and extremists. As a case in point, the deaths of Mullah Akhtar Osmani and Mullah Dadullah during combat operations early this year were among numerous achievements in the fight against terrorism. In this regard, we remain concerned over the increased use of foreign extremist elements in the campaign of terror against our people.

We have also taken action to strengthen the sanctions regime against terrorists, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1267. Just last month, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the mastermind behind numerous suicide bombings in various parts of the country was enlisted in the consolidated list of the 1267 Committee, at the request of the Afghan Government.

Mr. President,

Improving overall security in Afghanistan is dependent on a variety of factors. Ensuring a fully efficient and operational national army and police is vital to our fight against terrorism. Despite substantial progress in reforming our security institutions, and increasing the size of our national army and police, we call for continued assistance for the training and strengthening of our security forces.
Meanwhile, it has also become evident that addressing terrorism and improving security in Afghanistan will not be achieved by military means alone. While the military campaign remains an important pillar in the fight against terrorism, we must also redouble our efforts in all aspects of a comprehensive strategy to achieve long-term security and stability. We must focus greater on expediting the delivery of basic services and create employment opportunities through large-scale reconstruction and development projects to bring real change in the lives of our citizens. In doing so, we will prevent the possibility of subversive elements enjoying local sympathies. In this regard, we call on our international partners to ensure greater military coordination with Afghan security forces during combat operations to prevent loss of civilian life.

Furthermore, more must be done to address terrorism across regional and international dimensions. The presence of terrorist infrastructure outside Afghanistan’s territory is a source of continuing concern to Afghanistan. As it was stated by H.E. President Karzai during his address during the general debate of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly, and I quote “[M]ay I emphasize…that we were the prime victim of terrorism and that terrorism was never, nor is it today, a homegrown phenomenon in Afghanistan. Therefore, this threat can only be overcome if addressed across its regional and international dimensions…Consistent with our expressed belief in the past, we remain convinced that tolerating the presence of sanctuaries and terrorist infrastructure will only broaden the scope of terrorism.,”[end of quote].

As part of the initiative to ensure long-term stability, Afghanistan continues to focus on reconciliation as a measure to encourage “non-terrorist Taliban” to refrain from subversive activities and join the process of building a prosperous Afghanistan. Such measures, which are welcome by our people, continue within the framework of a comprehensive national reconciliation strategy. In this regard, we are working with the 1267 Committee of the Security Council to update and improve the quality of the consolidate list.

Mr. President,

Regional cooperation is indispensable for success in achieving and stability in Afghanistan. We have witnessed greater consensus in our neighborhood on the notion that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan will serve a precondition for the security and prosperity of all countries of the region. Over the past year, we have maximized our efforts to consolidate relations with our neighbors and the wider region in the areas of security, trade, investment, border cooperation and counter-narcotics. The Sixth meeting of the JCMB, held in Kabul on the 3rd of October was an important step towards advancing regional cooperation in various key areas.

As a country that once served as a land-bridge connecting cultures, countries and civilizations, Afghanistan is surely but gradually reassuming its role in promoting trade and development in the region. In this regard, I am pleased to announce that we are preparing to host the up-coming international meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in the historic city of Herat on the 19th of this month. This Conference will be the first of its kind in one of the historic provinces of Afghanistan.

The recently convened Afghanistan-Pakistan Jirga just over a month ago was the most recent of numerous initiatives by Afghanistan to strengthen cooperation between our two countries to jointly address the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan and the region. We have every reason to believe that the gathering will yield the anticipated results. The historic gathering was a complement to ongoing consultations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, within the framework of the Tri-partite Commission.

The issue of narcotics is another major challenge facing Afghanistan. A combination of factors have attributed to why this menace remains a concern to Afghanistan and our international partners. It has become evident that eliminating the scourge of narcotics from our society and region is an endeavor, unattainable by Afghanistan alone. Real progress towards reduction and elimination requires a more robust effort from transit and consuming countries. Greater focus should also be given to break the link between production, trafficking of illegal drugs and financing of terrorist activities.
Mr. President,
In adopting the Afghanistan Compact, we committed to a second phase of cooperation with our international partners to consolidate our achievements. Having reached a turning point in the effort to achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, the time has come for us to redouble our focus on the implementation of the Compact. Our progress in various areas is highlighted in each meeting of the Joint Coordinating Monitoring Board, which remains the principal mechanism facilitating and monitoring cooperation between the international community and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement. Additional measures are necessary if we are to ensure meeting the goals of the Compact by designated timelines. In this context, we highlight the need to exert greater effort to improve the effectiveness, accountability, and utilization of development assistance.

While expressing gratitude to our international partners for their assistance to Afghanistan, we emphasize the need to ensure delivery of pledges in a timely manner. Also essential is the need for increased financial assistance for achieving our development goals.

If we are to accomplish tangible results across key pillars of the Compact, we must ensure greater coordination of international assistance to Afghanistan. We call on our international partners to increase their level of coordination and cooperation among themselves and with the Afghan government through periodic meetings of the JCMB. In this regard, we commend the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan for its continuing commitment to implement effective coordination of the international community’s efforts with Afghanistan.

We are also thankful to the Council for its adoption of S.C. resolution 1776, extending the mandate of the International Security Assistance Forces for an additional year. In this regard, allow me to express our appreciation to all those countries that have committed troops and resources to ISAF for the consolidation of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan greatly values the ongoing role of the United Nations in the effort to secure peace and stability in the country. We welcome the expansion of UNAMA’s presence to additional parts of the country as a clear sign of the United Nations’ effort to reach out to various parts of the country. I would like to also seize this opportunity to express my delegation’s appreciation to the Secretary General for his personal engagement and commitment to improve the situation in Afghanistan, as illustrated by his visit to Kabul in the month of June and initiative to convene the high-level meeting on Afghanistan on the 23rd of September.

I would like to express our appreciation to our international partners for their ongoing commitment to Afghanistan. We remain confident that, together, we will fulfill our common vision of a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. In conclusion, we also pay a special tribute to Mr. Tom Koenigs for tireless efforts during his tenure as Special Representative of the Secretary General in Afghanistan. We wish him every success in his future endeavors.
Thank you Mr. President.

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative to the UN At the Third Committee

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative to the UN
At the Third Committee
Mr. Chairman,

Allow me at the outset to congratulate you and members of the Bureau for your election. We are fully confident that under your able leadership the third committee will accomplish its task successfully.

Let me also extend my appreciation to Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for his comprehensive and detailed report. Under the energetic leadership of Mr. Costa, UNODC is committed to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.

UNODC is supporting the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan particularly the Ministry of Counter Narcotics in elaboration of strategic guidelines and mobilization of resources to address problems of production and trafficking of drugs.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan is strongly committed to fighting narcotics alongside terrorism through a combination of law enforcement and economic measures. We share the concern of the International Community on this issue and expect that it will continue to support us in this fight by assisting us to implement an effective and comprehensive counter narcotics strategy.

Cognizant of the devastating effects of narcotics on our society, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan adopted its National Drug Control Strategy in January 2006 at the international London Conference on Afghanistan. The National Drug Control Strategy outlines the following eight pillars for combating and ultimately ending the illicit narcotic track in Afghanistan;

• Alternative livelihoods
• Building institutions
• Information campaign
• Drug law enforcement
• Criminal justice
• Eradication
• Drug Demand Reduction and treatment of addicts
• Regional cooperation

Mr. Chairman,

The Afghanistan’s opium survey released in august 2007 reported an increase in opium poppy cultivation by 17 percent and potential opium production of 34 percent. Continued terrorist activity, extreme poverty, economic reasons, and pressures from traffickers and local criminal groups have been considered as causes of expansion of poppy cultivation.

The inextricable nexus between insecurity and narcotics necessitates a holistic approach to effectively address the issue of narcotics in our society and region. In this regard, it is noteworthy to mention that the 14 provinces which have become free of poppy cultivation are provinces in which security and governance have significantly improved, while poppy cultivation has significantly increased in those provinces that have seen a deterioration of the security situation. Therefore, as part of the comprehensive campaign against the scourge of narcotics, we should also focus on breaking the nexus between narcotics and terrorism simultaneously, as mutually reinforcing factors.

In this context, we would like to emphasize on a crucial point that has also been asserted by the communiqué of the High Level Meeting on Afghanistan held on September 23rd at the United Nations; “it is imperative to underline the link between the production and trafficking of illegal drugs and the financing of terrorists activities, and agreed that breaking this linkage is vital to creating a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan”.

Mr. Chairman,

We are thankful to the international community for its commitment to collectively support increased Afghan government efforts to fight the poppy cultivation in province where it has expanded and to reward provinces and districts where poppy is not grown, to interdict, arrest and prosecute drug traffickers and corrupt officials, to pursue targeted eradication of poppy crops and to deliver effective rural development throughout Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan is a landlocked country, traffickers transport drug consignment from Afghanistan through our neighboring countries and other transit states to the European markets. It is therefore evident a successful and efficient fight against narcotics will require an equal effort by transit and consuming countries, on the basis of the principle of shared responsibility. Strong enforcement measures for the control of borders and mutual cooperation among judicial and law enforcement authorities of theses countries would contribute highly to the fight against narcotic drugs. In this regard, we welcome the trilateral agreement signed by Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan in June 2007 committing the countries to carry out more joint border operations and increase information sharing.
Thank you Mr. Chairman

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan