On 17 December 2013, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, delivered a statement at the Security Council’s Debate on the situation in Afghanistan.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), Mr. Jan Kubiš, opened the debate. In his statement, Mr. Kubiš noted that despite challenges, progress is on track in Afghanistan. He stressed the need for the international community to work together in order to ensure a sustainable and sovereign Afghanistan free from terrorism, organized crime, narcotics and violence.
Highlighting President Karzai’s recent regional engagement, Kubiš stressed the importance of regional cooperation to the stability and sustainability of both Afghanistan and its neighbors. The political transition following the 2014 Presidential and Provincial council elections will mark a history democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan, he added. Moreover, he assured Council members that as the security transition in Afghanistan proceeds as planned, UNAMA will continue to support the rule of law and judicial sectors in Afghanistan.
Kubiš concluded that the United Nations in Afghanistan remains a vital long-term partner in the country’s future, supporting Afghan institutions and priorities to ensure a “stable, inclusive, and sustainable state.”
Following Special Representative Kubiš, Ambassador Tanin recalled the environment in Afghanistan when leaders of Afghanistan’s political parties signed the Bonn Agreement. This December Council, he said, “evokes the hopeful atmosphere of Bonn that winter of 2001, when unity was in sight, when an emergence from the shadow of violence and fanaticism seemed possible, and when the vision of an Afghanistan as a home for all, a home for tolerance and moderation, was taking shape.” The Ambassador noted the progress made since then, highlighting the achievements of the past 12 years.
In his statement, Ambassador Tanin noted upcoming milestones in Afghanistan in 2014 and beyond, including the renewal of strategic partnerships with many international partners. After 15 months of comprehensive negotiations on, and the subsequent completion of, the text of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), he said, 2500 Afghan representatives endorsed the agreement in a consultative Loya Jirga. The Jirga, he noted, reaffirmed that the BSA should ensure Afghanistan’s peace, security and development, and should be accompanied by visible steps taken in the lead up to the signing of the agreement including assurances for measures to end the military raids on Afghan homes, and the launching of negotiations between the Afghan High Peace Council and the Taliban.
Ambassador Tanin also discussed ongoing developments related to the Presidential and Provincial Council elections, the peace and reconciliation process with the Taliban, and strengthening regional understanding and cooperation. “In recent months,” he said, “we have ramped up efforts to increase contact with neighbors and countries in the region… Leaders agree that they have a strategic stake in Afghanistan, and that peace and stability in the country is essential to the peace and stability in the region.” Additionally, Ambassador Tanin pointed out that Afghanistan’s progress depends on preserving the rights of all Afghans, particularly women and girls, upholding the rule of law, and furthering economic transition. He noted that continuing partnership with the international community is critical to success in these areas.
At the end of his remarks, Ambassador Tanin again recalled the spirit of Bonn. “So as we arrive at 2014, we ground our progress firmly in the constitutional foundations established 12 years ago, in the spirit of hope and optimism that was alive in Bonn, and with commitment to build upon and maintain the great achievements of the last decade,” he concluded.
After Ambassador Tanin delivered his statement, members of the Security Council, including Australia, Rwanda, China, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Russian Federation, United States, Pakistan, Togo, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Argentina, the Republic of Korea, Morocco, and France took the floor. Representatives from India, Japan, the European Union, Canada, Turkey, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Germany also gave statements on behalf of their governments. Countries emphasized their support for Afghanistan’s transition, and expressed sentiments of hope for peace and security in the country. Common themes included the importance of women’s participation in the upcoming elections, strengthening systems to prevent narcotics production and trafficking, protecting children from violence and conflict, and international commitments to assisting Afghanistan during the transition process.