Friday, April 28, 2017

Statement by Nazifullah Salarzai Minister, Deputy Permanent Representative of Afghanistan at the UNSC

Statement at the UNSC Open Debate on

“Threats Caused by Terrorist Acts – Protection of Critical Infrastructure”

February 13, 2017

Mr. President,

Afghanistan thanks Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin of Ukraine and his delegation for convening today’s debate on the “protection of critical infrastructure attacks by terrorist groups.” We are pleased at the high number countries inscribed in today’s discussion, which reflects the importance of the topic under consideration.

Infrastructure provides a key component for the normal and effective functioning of society, enabling citizens access to fundamental services, such as food, water, shelter, adequate health care, transportation facilities and economic opportunity – each of which are critically important for stability in any environment. Any attack on and damage to a nation’s infrastructure, in essence, manifests in irreparable harm on the very social fabric of society. The protection of physical and social infrastructure should, therefore, comprise a key component of any strategy for ensuring peaceful and stable societies. 

salarzai_UNSCTerrorism and violent extremism constitute a dominant factor of instability in the current international landscape, bringing untold suffering and devastation on peoples and communities.  As evident in the case of my country, Afghanistan, and many other countries where terrorist operate, extremist forces have gone to all lengths to advance their viscous agenda:  creating havoc, undermining the rule of law and terrorizing populations.  In that effort, and with blatant intent, they also target various infrastructures to amplify the effects of their barbarity, and to attract global media attention.

Afghanistan has been a prime victim of global terrorism for over two decades, and even long before the start of the international community’s engagement in our country in 2001. Today, our people remain defiant against a multitude of terrorist groups, such as the Taliban, Haqqani network, Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Lashkar-e-Taiba,Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and other foreign terrorist fighters, all of whom share symbiotic linkages, have come from abroad, and are sustained with various forms of support, including political, ideological, moral and material aid. Aside from targeting our security forces, and that of international partners countries present in Afghanistan, extremists are attacking our political and legal institutions; mosques and schools; health and medical facilities, and other soft targets, such as non-governmental organizations, which are working to improve life for ordinary Afghans.

Just last week, in the continuation of their carnage, a suicide bomber conducted an attack on our Supreme Court, the highest judicial institution in our country, killing 21 people and wounding close to 50 people. The victims included several female judges, prosecutors and Court employees who were simply returning home to their families after a hard day’s work.

On the 11th of January last month, the Taliban carried out on our Parliament, resulting in more than 120 people dead, with many more left severely maimed and injured. This act of barbarity was widely viewed as an attack on the infrastructure of our democracy, which is among Afghanistan’s most significant achievements since 2001. In August of last year, extremists attacked the American University in Kabul, which is seen as a beacon of hope for a better future, among our educated and talented youth – 16 people were tragically killed in that attack.

Moreover, there are many cases of local hospitals, clinics and international humanitarian relief agencies coming under attack or otherwise being negatively affected by the activities of extremist groups. A few days ago, Daesh militants in northern Jowzjan province killed 6 personnel of the International Committee of the Red Cross in northern Afghanistan. The ICRC convoy was attacked while traveling to distribute aid to a storm stricken area. The overall security environment has only complicated humanitarian conditions for our people, to the point where 9.3 million people, mainly women and children, are in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance. This figure marks a notable increase from last year. We reiterate our call on the international community to support OCHA’s 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan.

Terrorists also pose threat to economic and development infrastructure projects in which we have invested heavily. We are currently working to implement 18 cooperation and investment projects in the areas of energy, transport, trade as well as in the commercial and labor sectors. Once completed, these projects will benefit the prosperity of Afghanistan and our wider region.

Mr. President,

The ongoing cycle of violence in Afghanistan is not, by any means, a homegrown phenomenon. Its roots lie elsewhere, outside Afghanistan, emanating from a strategic design crafted from within our region to advance an ill-fated political agenda, which serves no one, defies international law and constitutes a blatant violation of the very spirit and tenets of the UN Charter, including relevant counterterrorism resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council. We believe the fight against international terrorism stands at a crossroads. At this critical juncture, a refined global effort is needed to combat this menace with greater precision and accuracy.  In this context, we welcome the efforts of the new Secretary General to strengthen the UN counter-terrorism architecture, including his decision to create the Office of Counter Terrorism (OCT), and appoint of an Under-Secretary General to head that office.

Mr. President,  

Despite Afghanistan’s difficult security environment, we are a nation that is making steady progress towards lasting stability and Self-Reliance. The National Unity Government is working, in greater cohesion and coordination, on tackling a difficult set of challenges facing our people. In that effort, our security forces are serving valiantly to enhance security, while defending and protecting our sovereignty, infrastructure and people against terrorism and violent extremism.

In conclusion, we believe today’s meeting marks an important step forward in devising a more effective UN approach for the protection of critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks. As the principal organ of the UN responsible for the maintenance of peace and security, we hope the Security Council will continue to render due focus and attention on this important matter.

I thank you!

 

 

Countering the Narratives and Ideologies of Terrorism

Statement of Mr. Nazifullah Salarzai Minister, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Security Council Open Debate on “Countering the Narratives and Ideologies of Terrorism”

11 May 2016

NEW YORK

Thank you Mr. President.

I would like to thank Egypt for its leadership of the Council this month, and for organizing this important debate. Afghanistan aligns itself with the statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Mr. President,

Let me be brief and to the point. Much was discussed during the day about the internal factors to do with countering the narratives and ideologies of terrorism. While we agree with most of what’s been said, let me focus on the external factors in case of Afghanistan and remind this Council that the creation of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 1994 opened the current tragic chapter of terrorism in the world. Before the crafting of the Taliban, terror in its current behavior and form was little known to the world. The Taliban came into existence before groups like Al-Qaida, Al-Shabab, Boko Haram and Daish gained notoriety. In a way, it was the Taliban and their backers who characterized the kind of terror that we witness today from various violent extremist groups.

Mr. President,

In the current global climate of unspeakable brutality committed by these terrorist outfits, let us not forget that it was the Taliban who stoned women to death; it was the Taliban who closed girls’ schools, thereby denying millions of girls from their right to education; it was the Taliban who prevented women from pursuing a livelihood; it was them who introduced suicide attacks on civilians and destroyed towns and villages in Afghanistan. One can easily trace how the Taliban, with foreign support, started promoting Al-Qaida, Daish, and their type of divisive and hateful ideology.

Since the Taliban mushroomed overnight in the landscape of Afghanistan, our entire population has been brutalized in their hands. The latest attack came three weeks ago, where an indiscriminate brutal bombing in Kabul led to the death of 68 people and wounded 350. But their vicious bloodlust has never been limited to Afghanistan. Let us not forget that it was under the Taliban that Afghanistan became the jumping board for international terrorism, when thousands of young men received training and logistical support in terrorist camps. This was the precursor of today’s terrorists carrying out deadly attacks in Asia, Europe, U.S, Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

So the question is how and why did the Taliban come into being? We need to ask ourselves how did they learn to drive tanks and fly jets overnight, stage conventional warfare, and capitalize on prolonged political conflict in our country? Who trained them? Who provided them with supplies? Who financed them? Who provided them with safe havens and orchestrated their spring offensives year after year?

Religious outfits and sloganism, as well as taking advantage of the weaknesses emerging from the prolonged conflict in Afghanistan were the cheapest and easiest ways to recruit for the ranks and files of the Taliban. In this case, ideology and violent behavior were used in pursuit of political objectives by circles within state structures outside of our frontiers.

The question should be what motivated and still continues to motivate these circles to use violence through proxies in pursuit of political objectives at national, regional, and global levels? Three causes can be identified: 1) negative state rivalry in the region with excessive anxiety and suspicion of one state over the other, resulting in adoption of wrong policies; 2) tension between military and civilian control in politics, an inherent struggle emerging from militarism in society; and 3) states’ trust deficit that prevents constructive dialogue. Hence, in our case, it is not the ideology but the initiation, enabling, and facilitation role of political actors and their use of radical ideology for short term gains that need to be addressed. Targeting the promoters and drivers of such policies, who use violence in pursuit of political objectives within the state structures, especially in the security apparatus, is absolutely crucial to deal with the threats of violent extremism. In this regard, it must be mentioned that differentiation between good and bad terrorists by few actors is futile since terrorism in all forms is inherently appalling and must be condemned.

Mr. President,

In Afghanistan, we have witnessed how terrorists and violent extremist groups take advantage of prolonged and unresolved conflicts, lack of minimal peace and security, and most importantly, of negative competition between states to push forward their brutal agenda. The world today is in dire need of reducing state rivalries and addressing trust deficits. In this regard, regional countries and international actors bear particular responsibility for assisting countries in strife in returning to peace.

In conclusion, Afghanistan reiterates its commitment to engage constructively with the United Nations and other international partners to discuss counter-terrorism measures, including the upcoming bi-annual review of the Global Counter Terrorism strategy. We hope to achieve tangible results at the end of the review process.

Thank you Mr. President.

Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

Statement of The Islamic of Republic of Afghanistan Delivered by Mohammad Taqi Khalili Deputy Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN
At the Sixth Committee (68th UNGA) on Agenda Item:110  Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

Mohammad Taqi KhaliliThank you Mr. Chairman,

We join other delegations in congratulating you on your election to the Chairmanship of the Sixth Committee. We look forward to working closely with you in the way forward, and assure you of our full support and cooperation.

We align ourselves with the statements delivered on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Afghanistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. By now, we all are convinced this evil phenomenon is global in nature, and to be defeated, requires a concerted and unified approach.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan continues to be one of the main victims of terrorism. Despite the major transformation in Afghan society towards democratization, substantial improvements in the health and education sectors, the building of our infrastructure, and advances in fundamental freedoms and liberties, our people still suffer from the horror of terrorism. The evil desire of terrorists to prevent our success, a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, has yet to be abandoned.

Nevertheless, our commitment to defeating this scourge at the national, regional and international level is as strong as ever. Our counter-terrorism approach constitutes a core pillar of our national security strategy. Through the security transition, our security forces have taken charge of security responsibilities throughout the country. Our national army and police are in the front line of all counter-terrorism operations. In this respect, scores of terrorists and enemy combatants have been killed, captured and brought to justice. Moreover, hundreds of terrorist plots were averted in various parts of the country.

Our people have suffered immensely in terms of human and material loss. We have lost thousands of our soldiers and officers in our struggle against terrorism. And many more were maimed and wounded. In our pursuit of a lasting peace in our country, our counter-terrorism efforts will continue unabated.

Having said that, we hope to see concrete efforts for the elimination of terrorist sanctuaries and support centers located outside Afghanistan, which represent the main source of the violence and terror in our country.

Experience has shown that our region is particularly prone to the menace of terrorism. We in Afghanistan see regional cooperation to be a necessity to rooting out terrorism in our part of the world. In this respect, we are working closely with our immediate and distant neighbors, bilaterally, trilaterally and through other initiatives, such as the Istanbul Process.

We are encouraged by the outcome of President Karzai’s recent visit to Pakistan, where detailed discussions were held on enhancing joint efforts to defeat terrorism, and advance our Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process.

Mr. Chairman,

The dangerous link between terrorism and organized crime remains a serious concern to Afghanistan. These two perils are mutually reinforcing, and must be given equal attention. In this regard, we emphasize that the problem of narcotic drugs can only be effectively addressed through a comprehensive and holistic approach, dealing with all aspects of the problem – production, trafficking and consumption. We highlight, in this respect, enhanced efforts at the regional level to curtail trafficking. This will be essential to defeating the drug problem.

Mr. Chairman,

All States are obligated to fulfill their responsibility to combat international terrorism. In this respect, we underscore full compliance with, and implementation of relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. These include the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 49/60, and Security Council resolution 1373, which call on states to refrain from providing support and assistance to terrorists.

We continue to adjust our national counter-terrorism legislation, to correspond with international legal frameworks to combat terrorism. We commend the important work being done by the Counter-Terrorism Prevention Branch of UNODC. Our national counter-terrorism practitioners are taking part in a number of counter-terrorism workshops and seminars, focusing on capacity-building. We are steadily strengthening our capacity, and working to implement the 13 international conventions and protocols dealing with terrorism, to which we are party.

Mr. Chairman,

We fully support the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, representing the overall framework for international efforts to defeat terrorism. We welcome the outcome of the 3rd Review in June of last year, and look forward to the 4th review. We concur with the assessment that the Strategy should be implemented in a balanced manner, with due consideration to all 4 pillars.

The work of the counter-terrorism committees 1267/1989, 1373 and 1540 are at the center of the Security Council counter-terrorism focus. For our part, we have increased inter-agency coordination, to ensure consistent reporting on implementation to relevant Security Council committees.

Mr. Chairman,

The creation of the International Center for Countering Terrorism was a milestone, helping to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation, and strengthen capacity in States, both of which are essential for the implementation of Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. We are of the view the UN will best be able to lead international counter-terrorism efforts by way of increased coordination and coherence among relevant UN agencies. In this respect, we applaud the work being done by the Counter-terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF).

We echo the call of other speakers in highlighting the need to achieve the early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism. We commend the work being done by the Ad-Hoc Committee established by General Assembly Resolution 51/210 of 17

December 1996. We must look forward, and work to resolve, outstanding issues causing the impasse in negotiations.

I Thank You.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan