Saturday, November 25, 2017

Social Development

STATEMENT BY  G. Seddiq Rasuli  Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations

 At the Third Committee of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly

Agenda Item 27: Social Development

New York, 2 October 2017

 

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to join the previous speakers to congratulate you and the members of this bureau on your election. We are convinced, Mr. Chairman, that under your leadership this session will be a success for all of us.

Taking this opportunity, let me also assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation in the deliberations ahead. I further wish to thank the Secretary-General for his reports and recommendations contained therein under this agenda item.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was an important achievement for the international community to respond comprehensively to the most pressing issues of our time. On our part, the Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the achievement of sustainable development with an overarching objective to reduce poverty and promote socioeconomic development. In this regard, I am happy to inform that our national policies, strategies, and development plans are aligned with the goals and targets of this agenda.  Afghanistan was one of the countries that presented its Voluntary National Review to the high-level political forum on sustainable development this year.

 

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF), which serves as the roadmap for the welfare of our people, recognizes “Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion” as the main agenda in moving the country towards sustainable development, economic growth, and prosperity. This framework identifies three national priority programs to achieve its goals of poverty reduction and social inclusion, namely, Social Protection, Women’s Empowerment, and Citizen’s Charter.

Under the social protection program, we are working to reduce poverty, primarily by helping the poor to increase their skills and productivity, and by providing them with access to labor intensive paid employment through the Jobs for Peace Program. While investing in increasing opportunities for young people is the central focus of our poverty reduction strategy, there is still a substantial population of vulnerable, disabled, widowed, and elderly citizens who need carefully targeted and professionally managed assistance.

Women’s empowerment in social, economic and political spheres is the top blueprint of the Government of Afghanistan. Under the ANPDF, Economic Empowerment of Women is a National Priority Program (WEE-NPP). The program will provide start-up technical and financial support to women-owned businesses, along with job skills, and financial literacy. These investments will complement and be delivered through the existing mechanisms and institutions, focusing on scaling-up successful interventions.

Another National Priority Program is the “Citizens’ Charter” which is a foundation stone for realizing the government’s self-reliance vision, contributing to poverty reduction, sustainable development, and socioeconomic growth. It is a promise of partnership between the Government of Afghanistan and communities. In other words, the Charter is a commitment to provide every village of Afghanistan with basic services such as education, health, basic rural infrastructure, and agriculture, based on community’s own prioritization along with the improvement of mechanisms for service delivery.

Mr. Chairman,

Peace and security play a fundamental role in the prosperity of societies; development cannot be assured in the absence of these vital elements. Despite many achievements, unfortunately, security challenges still remain a serious concern for the government and people of Afghanistan as terrorist groups target our public infrastructures and threaten innocent civilians, including children and women on a daily basis. According to the recent report of the UN Secretary-General, UNAMA has documented 5,243 civilian casualties during the first half of 2017. We know that these evil forces and their supporters can create hindrance in our efforts towards a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, but they cannot prevail forever, as the people and government of Afghanistan are strongly determined to continue their noble fight to secure their country against the enemies of humanity and civilization.

 

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

 

 

 

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.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan