Monday, July 28, 2014

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative to the UN At the Third Committee

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative to the UN
At the Third Committee
Mr. Chairman,

Allow me at the outset to congratulate you and members of the Bureau for your election. We are fully confident that under your able leadership the third committee will accomplish its task successfully.

Let me also extend my appreciation to Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for his comprehensive and detailed report. Under the energetic leadership of Mr. Costa, UNODC is committed to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.

UNODC is supporting the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan particularly the Ministry of Counter Narcotics in elaboration of strategic guidelines and mobilization of resources to address problems of production and trafficking of drugs.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan is strongly committed to fighting narcotics alongside terrorism through a combination of law enforcement and economic measures. We share the concern of the International Community on this issue and expect that it will continue to support us in this fight by assisting us to implement an effective and comprehensive counter narcotics strategy.

Cognizant of the devastating effects of narcotics on our society, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan adopted its National Drug Control Strategy in January 2006 at the international London Conference on Afghanistan. The National Drug Control Strategy outlines the following eight pillars for combating and ultimately ending the illicit narcotic track in Afghanistan;

• Alternative livelihoods
• Building institutions
• Information campaign
• Drug law enforcement
• Criminal justice
• Eradication
• Drug Demand Reduction and treatment of addicts
• Regional cooperation

Mr. Chairman,

The Afghanistan’s opium survey released in august 2007 reported an increase in opium poppy cultivation by 17 percent and potential opium production of 34 percent. Continued terrorist activity, extreme poverty, economic reasons, and pressures from traffickers and local criminal groups have been considered as causes of expansion of poppy cultivation.

The inextricable nexus between insecurity and narcotics necessitates a holistic approach to effectively address the issue of narcotics in our society and region. In this regard, it is noteworthy to mention that the 14 provinces which have become free of poppy cultivation are provinces in which security and governance have significantly improved, while poppy cultivation has significantly increased in those provinces that have seen a deterioration of the security situation. Therefore, as part of the comprehensive campaign against the scourge of narcotics, we should also focus on breaking the nexus between narcotics and terrorism simultaneously, as mutually reinforcing factors.

In this context, we would like to emphasize on a crucial point that has also been asserted by the communiqué of the High Level Meeting on Afghanistan held on September 23rd at the United Nations; “it is imperative to underline the link between the production and trafficking of illegal drugs and the financing of terrorists activities, and agreed that breaking this linkage is vital to creating a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan”.

Mr. Chairman,

We are thankful to the international community for its commitment to collectively support increased Afghan government efforts to fight the poppy cultivation in province where it has expanded and to reward provinces and districts where poppy is not grown, to interdict, arrest and prosecute drug traffickers and corrupt officials, to pursue targeted eradication of poppy crops and to deliver effective rural development throughout Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan is a landlocked country, traffickers transport drug consignment from Afghanistan through our neighboring countries and other transit states to the European markets. It is therefore evident a successful and efficient fight against narcotics will require an equal effort by transit and consuming countries, on the basis of the principle of shared responsibility. Strong enforcement measures for the control of borders and mutual cooperation among judicial and law enforcement authorities of theses countries would contribute highly to the fight against narcotic drugs. In this regard, we welcome the trilateral agreement signed by Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan in June 2007 committing the countries to carry out more joint border operations and increase information sharing.
Thank you Mr. Chairman

United Nations at the Security Council on agenda item: “Briefing by Chairmen of Subsidiary Bodies of the Security Council.”

Statement of Dr. Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative of Afghanistan
to the United Nations at the Security Council
on agenda item: “Briefing by Chairmen of Subsidiary Bodies
of the Security Council.”

Mr. President,

As this is the first time that I am taking the floor during this month, I would like to begin by congratulating you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Council for the month of May. We commend you and your delegation for the excellent manner in which have led the work of the Council. We are also appreciative to your predecessor, Ambassador Emery Jones Parry of the United Kingdom for his skillful leadership of the Council in the previous month.

We are also thankful to the Chairmen of the Counter-terrorism Committees, established pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1267 (1999), 1373 (2001) and 1540 (2004) for their comprehensive briefings on recent activities undertaken to realize the mandate of the respective Committees.

Mr. President,

The adoption of a Global Counter-terrorism Strategy by the General Assembly in September 2006 was a significant step forward towards strengthening the resolve of the international community to address the global threat of international terrorism. In this regard, we are pleased to note that over recent years, the Security Council has increased its vital role in achieving that objective. Such measures have come in the form of adopting additional resolutions of the Council related to international terrorism, including S.C. resolutions 1624, 1730 and 1735.

We welcome such measures and remain committed to work together with member-states and the relevant organs and agencies of the United Nations to ensure the implementation of the relevant resolutions of both the Security Council and General Assembly on this issue.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan remains a prime victim of terrorism, as terrorist attacks committed by the enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan continues to disrupt the daily lives of our people. The level of terrorist related violence has increased significantly since last year. These attacks are targeting a wide spectrum of society; school teachers, clerics, health workers, educational institutions; our national army and police, as well as personnel of the ISAF and coalition forces. Increasingly brutal tactics such as the targeting of civilian populations, suicide bombings and beheadings have become prevalent over recent months. Just two days ago, a vicious suicide attack was carried out in the southern province of Gardez, killing 14 civilians and wounding more than 31 bystanders. This heinous act took place subsequent to two other attacks conducted in Kandahar and Kunduz provinces which took the lives of 10 civilians, 3 German soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and 11 officers of the Afghan national police. The horrific events of the past few days are a stark reminder of the continuing campaign of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other extremists in their effort to destabilize the country.

Defeating terrorism remains a precondition for achieving a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. The prevailing security challenges will not weaken our resolve to eliminate this scourge from our society and achieve our stated goals with the support of our international partners.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan condemns international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, whenever and whatever purpose. In its firm determination to combat terrorism, the Government of Afghanistan has undertaken a series of substantial measures at the national, regional and international level towards the implementation of the relevant international conventions and resolutions of the Security Council and General Assembly dealing with terrorism. We have submitted two national reports to the 1373 Committee and are in the process of preparing a third report. We have also presented a report to the Security Council Committee, established pursuant to resolution 1267.

Mr. President,

The 1267 Committee sanctions regime remains an essential tool of the Security Council in combat against terrorism. Afghanistan welcomes the Committees recent progress in updating its Guidelines and the adoption of Security Council resolutions 1730 which calls for the creation of a focal point within the Secretariat to receive delisting requests from States. The adoption of resolution 1735 was another important initiative as it seeks to improve the quality of the consolidated list.

Country visits by Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the 1267 Committee is one of the most effective means of monitoring implementation measures and to enhance dialogue with member-states. We were pleased at the outcome of the visit of the Monitoring Team of the 1267 Committee to Kabul, Afghanistan from the 8th – 15h of this month. The Monitoring Team held constructive meetings with senior officials at the Ministries of Defense, Justice, Foreign Affairs and Interior. Additional meetings were held with the head of the National Reconciliation Commission and members of both the National Security Directorate and National Security Council to discuss issues related to updating and improving the quality of the consolidated list. We are confident that the recent visit of the Monitoring Team will assist the Committee to update the list so as to reflect new developments in the Afghanistan and the region.

We commend the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) for its continued assistance provided to states to strengthen their counter-terrorism legislation through its Executive Directorate. In this regard, we are pleased to note the intention of the Executive Directorate to conduct a follow-up visit to Kabul, Afghanistan in the coming months. The visit will offer another opportunity for us to provide a first hand account of our counter-terrorism measures, particularly in the areas of anti-terrorism legislation, border control and practice, as well as police and law enforcement. It will also be useful in assessing and identifying areas where technical assistance is required to strengthen existing counter-terrorism legislation and mechanisms within the relevant institutions and agencies.

Mr. President,

Regional cooperation is indispensable to eliminate terrorism from Afghanistan and the region, given the cross-border nature of our security challenges. Our efforts alone, no matter how robust and effective, will not suffice without an equal effort from regional actors. We continue to maintain constructive cooperation within regional and bilateral mechanisms to effectively combat terrorism in Afghanistan and the region. Consultations continue between Afghanistan and Pakistan within various frameworks. The Ankara Summit between the Heads of State of the two countries which took place from 29-30 April provided another opportunity to strengthen regional cooperation in the combat against terrorism. We remain confident of the Summits successful outcome. We also welcome the initiative of the G-8 to facilitate enhanced collaboration between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Furthermore, I am also pleased to inform that subsequent to the second preparatory meeting of the Jirgah commissions, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan on the 3rd of May, it was decided that the Peace Jirgah of tribal and community leaders from both sides of the border will be convened in the first week of August 2007.

In the face of ongoing threats posed by international terrorists, a more robust effort on the part of member-states, the United Nations, and relevant regional and sub-regional organizations is required to meet the challenge of combating terrorism. My delegation notes with satisfaction the increased coordination between the three counter-terrorism committees of the Council.

To conclude, I would like to express and reaffirm our steadfast commitment in the combat against terrorism. We remain resolute to achieve the full implementation of the relevant resolutions of this Council dealing with terrorism.

Thank you Mr. President.

Security Council on the Situation in Afghanistan

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative of Afghanistan
to the United Nations at the Security Council
on the Situation in Afghanistan
Mr. President,

I should like to begin by congratulating you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Council for the month of March, while expressing my delegation’s appreciation for convening today’s meeting on the Situation in Afghanistan.

My delegation would also like to seize this opportunity to warmly welcome Dr. Tom Koenigs, Special Representative of the Secretary General to Afghanistan, and Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, back to this Council. We extend our gratitude for their informative briefings.

In addition, we are also pleased to have H.E. Massimo D’Alema, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, among us in today’s discussion.

My delegation is grateful to the Secretary General for his comprehensive report on the situation in Afghanistan. His report provides an overview of the current situation and the multiple threats that we continue to face alongside our international partners.

Mr. President,

In assessing the current situation in Afghanistan, we must look back to where Afghanistan was five and half years ago. We are well aware of the many achievements that have taken place since 2001 – to which we have referred to on numerous occasions before this Council. Therefore, I shall limit my comments to some of the most pressing challenges facing both Afghanistan and the international community in our joint endeavor towards achieving lasting peace, stability and prosperity in my country.

Terrorism, narcotics, weak state institutions and the slow pace of economic development are among our main challenges. As such, it would be safe to state that we have jointly underestimated the magnitude of the challenges facing Afghanistan. Therefore, it is ever more obvious that the renewed commitment of the international community is required to address the remaining obstacles and consolidate the gains of the past years.

The prevailing security situation remains forefront among our challenges. Regrettably, we witnessed in 2006 a significant surge in terrorist related activities, occurring mainly along the southern parts of the country. These activities have not only affected the daily lives of the Afghan people, but have also had a significant negative impact on various sectors, including health and education, as well as development and reconstruction projects undertaken with the support of our international partners.

Particularly worrisome was the fact that the Taliban and extremist elements resorted to the abhorrent practice of suicide attacks, a phenomenon relatively unknown in Afghan history. According to our records, an estimated 123 incidents of suicide bombings were carried out during the previous year. These attacks remain a great source of concern to both the Afghan Government and the international community as they terrorize the lives of ordinary people.

Mr. President,

Improving security in Afghanistan will require a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach, one which will address both the internal and regional dimensions of the problem. Internally, our national army and police lack the number of personnel required to effectively combat a resurgent enemy force. Therefore, accelerating the recruitment and training of our security forces will be crucial to achieve our intended goal of a 68,000 standing army and 82,000 police force by the end of 2008. The success of our security institutions to combat effectively a revitalized and well-equipped enemy force will depend largely on the level of international assistance in terms of financial, logistical and technical support.

In this regard, we welcome the recent decision taken by the United States of America, NATO allies and other international partners to increase in their level of financial and military assistance to our security forces.

The regional dimension relates directly to the presence of foreign sanctuaries that train, equip, recruit and indoctrinate extremist fighters carrying out attacks in Afghanistan. As indicated in paragraph five of the Secretary General’s report, [and I quote] “Many attacks appear to have been financed from abroad. According to national and international security sources, the training camps for these attacks are located outside Afghanistan” [end of quote].

It has by now become evident that unless the external sources of insecurity are addressed in a comprehensive and resolute manner, our efforts to achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan may go in vain. The threat posed by the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other extremists is not limited to Afghanistan alone, rather it puts at risk the stability of the region and beyond. We are pleased to note that this fact has finally been acknowledged by the wider international community.

Mr. President,

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan attaches great importance to the role of regional cooperation in the combat against terrorism. While commending the crucial role of the international community in providing security, we are of the firm conviction that regional cooperation will be indispensable to achieving our shared goal of a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. We welcome, in this respect, the recent arrest of the former Defense Minister of the Taliban by the authorities of the Government of Pakistan. We hope that such measures will continue in a sustainable manner.

Afghanistan continues to maintain high-level and constructive contacts with the Government of Pakistan, with a view to improving security along the border region. These interactions are taking place both within the framework of the Tripartite Commission, as well as on a bilateral basis. Efforts are now underway to convene a cross-border Jirgah of tribal and influential figures from both sides of the border. In this connection, we are pleased to inform that the first preparatory meeting of the Jirgah Commissions took place on the 14th of March. The next meeting is scheduled to convene in Kabul in the coming month.

We look forward to the up-coming Third Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan, scheduled to convene in Islamabad in late 2007. The conference will offer another opportunity to further enhance regional cooperation in achieving security and development in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Apart from security, another area which requires due attention is the social and economic development of the country. The inextricable link between development and security necessitates a particular focus on accelerating the pace of implementing development and reconstruction projects throughout the country. This will, in turn, have a positive impact in creating employment opportunities and providing basic services to achieve substantial and sustainable progress in improving the daily lives of the people. In this regard, a particular focus should be accorded to conflict affected areas.

As the principal mechanism mandated to coordinate the efforts of Afghanistan and the international community in the implementation of the interim National Development Strategy and Afghanistan Compact, the Joint Coordinating and Monitoring Board (JCMB) has proven its importance. My delegation, therefore, underscores the need to further strengthen the role of the Board with a view to improving the effectiveness of international aid and promoting greater international engagement.

Mr. President,

Our efforts alone, no matter how intense or skillful, will not be sufficient to enhance the capacity of our State institutions in order to meet the needs of the people. While expressing our sincere appreciation for the support of the international community over the past five and half years, it is worth mentioning that Afghanistan has received far less assistance from the donor community in comparison to other post-conflict countries. We, therefore, reiterate the need for increased and sustained assistance to meet the benchmarks of our National Development Strategy and Afghanistan Compact. In this context, we believe that better coordination of donor assistance will serve beneficial in achieving greater transparency and tangible results.

Mr. President,

The combat against narcotics remains a top priority of Afghanistan, as it poses a threat to the stability and security in Afghanistan and the region, given its nexus with terrorist-related activities. Alleviating this menace from the region will require a concerted effort by the international community. In our part, we have initiated a series of substantial measures to that effect. The national drug control strategy forms the basis of our counter-narcotics endeavors.

It should be noted that the successful implementation of the strategy will only be realized if we are able to provide other modes of legal economic activity. Regional cooperation will be key in overcoming this common threat. In this regard, we underscore the need for an equal effort on the part of transit and consuming countries, in accordance with the principle of shared responsibility.

Mr. President,

We pay tribute to the United Nations for its central role in leading international efforts to implement the Afghanistan Compact. In this context, we welcome the intention of UNAMA to expand its presence to additional provinces in the country as an important step towards further strengthening UN activities in Afghanistan.

As we have now entered a critical phase in building a prosperous Afghanistan, it is ever more imperative that we maintain the level of international consensus on Afghanistan and to intensify our efforts to overcome the remaining challenges. We look forward to continue working with our international partners to achieve our shared objectives, and remain committed more than ever to realize the vision set out in the Afghanistan Compact. I would like to also seize this opportunity to express our appreciation for the sustained support of the international community to our efforts aimed at achieving a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

In conclusion, we would like to thank Dr. Tom Koenigs, Special Representative of the Secretary General to Afghanistan, and the members of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan for their tireless efforts in carrying out their important mandate.
Thank you Mr. President.