STATEMENT BY Mr. Masoud Sultani
First Secretary Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the General Debate of the 6th Committee on Agenda Item 84:
Consideration of Effective Measures to Enhance the Protection, Security and Safety of Diplomatic and Consular Missions and Representatives
(check against delivery)
October 19, 2018
Afghanistan welcomes the consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives in the deliberations of the 6th Committee. This is an issue of great importance for the development and enhancement of normal, cooperative and mutually beneficial diplomatic relations between States, in accordance with the UN Charter.
As such, diplomatic protection is part of a broad set of principles and rules of international law governing diplomatic and consular relations. That said, new and recurring acts of violence against diplomatic and consular representatives, and also of non-governmental organizations is condemnable in all regards, remains a grave concern, and undermines the normal functioning of relations between States.
Following the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, the global community converged with Afghanistan to help us begin a new chapter in our modern history – towards democracy, institution-building and a stable and prosperous country, contributing to a rules-based global order. That brought with it, a substantial increase in the number of diplomatic and consular missions based in Kabul through which, we have expanded the broad network of partnerships with regional and international partners towards the strategic goal of a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
The continued threat of terrorism imposed on Afghanistan has spared no-one, including military, civilian and humanitarian personnel working with us for our security and stability. The Secretary General’s report cites two major attacks carried out against the diplomatic missions over the past 2 years in Afghanistan. In November 2016, a group of extremists attacked the German Consulate General in the northern city of Mazar-Sharif, attempting to cause utmost harm and damage to the Consulate’s staff and property. Afghan security forces responded jointly with German Special forces and suppressed the attack, which claimed the lives of 4 Afghans and injured more than 120 other Afghans.
In January, last year, terrorist were able to carry out an attack at the Governor’s guest house in Kandahar province, where a meeting between local authorities and a visiting delegation of the United Arab Emirates on a humanitarian mission was taking place. The attacks resulted in the loss of life of 12 people, including the UAE Ambassador in Kabul; 5 Emeriti humanitarian employees and Afghan government officials.
And in May of last year, in perhaps the most devastating terrorist attack in Kabul since 2001, a truck bombing occurred at a busy intersection and checkpoint leading to the diplomatic zone. The attack claimed the lives of more than 150 Afghans, and left more than 400 severely injured. Among those who perished were two Afghan security officials who prevented the truck from entering the diplomatic quarters. They sacrificed their lives to avoid an even greater catastrophe on a number of foreign embassies in a single attack.
The concerned authorities of the Government of Afghanistan conducted a comprehensive investigation on various aspects of these attacks. In the case of the Kandahar attack, independent and joint investigations were conducted to reveal all facts surrounding the attacks to determine and hold accountable the culprits of the attacks. The findings of the investigations were shared with the respective authorities of relevant countries.
Afghanistan is firmly committed to fulfilling our national and international obligations to ensure the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives, including the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. To this end, a special security unit was established within the Ministry of Interior dedicated to the protection of premises of the diplomatic community and international organizations.
In that regard, we have also established a joint protection force comprised of the Ministries of Defense and Interior and the National Directorate for Security to enhance security and law enforcement measures for diplomatic protection. Moreover, the total number of security personnel was substantially increased around diplomatic and consular missions for their protection. This provides for only a part of our overall protection measures across our various government Ministries and agencies.
In conclusion, my delegation reiterates our full and abiding commitment for the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.
Thank You Mr. Chairman.