Successful Transition to Afghan Leadership Through a Comprehensive Approach

The Situation in Afghanistan Reviewed at Japan’s Symposium on Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding

This week Japan hosted a Public Symposium entitled, “A better path to peace: dynamic collaboration between Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding.” The event was opened by Japanese Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr. Seiji Maehara, followed by keynote speaker, the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Ms. Sadako Ogata,

As a part of the review panel of the United Nations discussions on peacekeeping and peacebuilding H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, spoke on a panel with Mr. Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Mr. Baso Sangqu, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations.  Ambassador Tanin delivered a statement about peacebuilding in Afghanistan.  He pointed out that in post-conflict societies, peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, and reconstruction are crucial for preventing relapse.  The collaboration between NATO and the UN in Afghanistan is unique in that it is one of only two NATO missions mandated by the UN Security Council.

Ambassador Tanin defined two phases of peacebuilding in Afghanistan, first from 2001-2006 under the Bonn Agreement, and from 2006-2010 under the London Compact.  While progress made through these two events was tremendous, Ambassador Tanin acknowledged that important opportunities to eliminate terrorism, properly resource and reinforce efforts, and empower Afghans “to shoulder the responsibility of their own destinies” were missed.

The Kabul Conference in January 2010 crafted the Kabul Process, which Ambassador Tanin describes, serves as the basis of “change through transition to full responsibility and leadership of the Afghan government.”  He went on to explain that the process formed a compact between the Afghan government, Afghan people, and international community.

Ambassador Tanin stressed the need for a comprehensive, state-building approach for future stabilization efforts.  Beyond military strategies, he explains, “the peace process necessitates national reconciliation, outreach to the people, and sustainable partnerships with the region and international community.”  He expressed that the recent NATO summit in Lisbon have solidified the Afghan government’s commitment to Afghan forces assuming full responsibility of national security by 2014. Through its new Strategic Concept adopted in Lisbon, NATO has affirmed its commitment to Afghanistan as well as collective security. With the support of NATO and the international community, Ambassador Tanin expressed the belief that a “gradual transition to Afghan leadership will be realized sooner than later.”

Throughout the symposium, Ambassador Tanin met with members of the Foreign Ministry and key Japanese Foreign Policy leaders including Mr. Nobukatsu Kanehara, Deputy Director General for Foreign Policies, Mr. Tadamichi Yamamoto, head of Afghanistan and Pakistan Assistance Coordination, and H.E. Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka, former Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations.  He also met with Mr. Koki Tsuruoka, Deputy Vice Minister for Foreign Policy, Mr. Koro Bessho, Deputy Foreign Minister, and Mr. Kenzo Oshima Deputy Director General of  the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

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