Statement by, Mr. Mohammad Erfani Ayoob, Minister Counsellor
Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations
On Agenda Item 106
“Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism”
on behalf of H.E. Zahir Tanin
Please allow me to join previous speakers to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your elections , express my confidence in your able chairmanshipÂ and assure you of our full support and cooperation during the deliberations of the Committee.
The delegation of Afghanistan wishes to align itself with the statement delivered yesterday by the Syrian Arab Republic on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the statement delivered by Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Given the importance we attach to our consideration of terrorism, my delegation would like to make a statement from our national perspective and highlight our views on some aspects of the Item under consideration.
Terrorism constitutes a serious breach of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, and remains one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. There can never be justification for terrorist and extremist acts. In this regard, I would like to reaffirm Afghanistan’s strong commitment to fight against all acts of terrorism and extremism and condemn in the strongest terms all forms and manifestations thereof committed by whoever, against whomever and for whatever purposes.
While the people and governmentÂ of Afghanistan with the support of theÂ international community are making significant progress towards stabilizing and rebuilding the countryÂ after 30 years of wars , foreign occupation and terrorist activities , terrorist and extremist groups in our region lead by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which enjoy safe havens and institutional support beyond our borders, remainÂ the major destabilizing factor in their efforts to destroy our achievements, terrorize our population and deprive our people from the enjoyment of their socio – economic andÂ basic human rights and the hope of aÂ better andÂ prosperous future .
Terrorist elements, including Al-Qaeda, the Taliban , extremists and other criminal groups are responsible for the death of thousands of innocent civilians in Afghanistan through their brutal acts, including beheadings, roadside bombings, suicide attacks, burning schools, attacking school girls, poisoning food and drinking water, destroying health care centers, clinics, hospitals, roads, and other criminal activities.
Afghanistan continues to pay a heavy price for being on the front line in the war against terrorism. As an active partner of the international community in the war against terrorism and extremism, Afghanistan is sincerely committed to fighting terror and has been taking specific measures at the national, regional and international levels to secure peace and stability in Afghanistan and in our region.
Afghanistan has adopted several terrorism and anti narcotic legislative, among them :
Law of Combating Financing of Terrorism,
law of Combating Terrorist Criminalities,
Law against money laundry and criminally originated incomes,
Established Financial Transaction and report Analysis Center, within the Central Bank of Afghanistan,
Ratified the UN Convention against Corruption,
Established the National Peace Consolidation Commission of Afghanistan,
Established the Council of Scholars and Religious Leaders to advocate terrorism as anti Peace and anti Islamic action
The Government of Afghanistan created independent counter terrorism national authorities and departmentsÂ within the relevant ministries to detect and study the phenomena of terrorism and its supporting elements, track terrorist elements, watch over banking and financial institutions, and freeze suspected accounts in implementation of Security Council Resolution 1822 (2008).
We appointed a National Focal Point to the National Counter-Terrorism Focal Points group.
The Inter Ministerial Working Group (IMWG) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinates the implementation of all international conventions and protocols, as well as General Assembly and Security Council resolutions relating to international terrorism.
Afghan national security forces including the Army and the Police, alongside international military forces, are taking more responsibility for combating terrorism, providing stability and protecting the Afghan people.
Afghanistan has joined all international protocols and conventions against International Terrorism and is strongly committed to fulfilling its obligation under the existing international instruments and implementing the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions related to international terrorism.
Afghanistan has joined the process of Global Initiative Combating Nuclear Terrorism,
We have provided ourÂ national report to the secretariat of the 1540 UN SC Committee.
We are working closely with the 1267 and Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) committees and other bodies established pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to strengthen the effectiveness of the United Nations sanctions regime against Al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Afghan delegations have participated actively in anti-terrorism related International Workshops which where sponsored and financed by donor countries through UNODC.
My delegation believes that regional cooperation is another essential tool in fighting terrorism. Afghanistan as a young member of SAARC is taking necessary steps to join the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppressing of Terrorism and also the Additional Protocol to this ConventionÂ , which provide a framework aimed at improving regional coordination through deepening cooperation among SAARC law enforcement agencies and relevant authorities in countering terrorism.
The Government of Afghanistan has signed bilateral agreements with some countries and is actively participating in the trilateral mechanism on anti drug and counter terrorism activities.
Mr. Chairman ,
We committed during the 2005Â World Summit “to make every effort to reach an agreement on and conclude a comprehensive convention on international terrorism”. The adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), mustÂ be a top priority for all of us during current session . My delegation believes that Â once this Convention enters into force, it will serve as an effective tool for combating international terrorism. To this end, my delegation appreciates the continued efforts and supports the work of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, under the chairmanship of Amb.PereraÂ to negotiate the outstanding issues among member states and conclude the Convention .
My delegation reaffirms its support for the United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and calls for a transparent, broad and comprehensive approach to its implementation.
Mr.Â Chairman ,
In order to strengthen the central leading role of the UN in its UN’s efforts to combat terrorism, the coordination of the various UN agencies by the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) is particularly valuable and important. The CTITF should be ensured a solid financial basis to help countries , which are in need , build the necessary capacities to address counter-terrorism tasks.
My delegation reiterates it’s supports for a High level International Conference on counter – terrorism under the auspices of the UNÂ Â Â as well as the proposal to develop an International Code of Conduct within the framework of the UN against terrorism.
Afghanistan supports the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Highness King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud to establish an international centre, under the auspices of the United Nations, to combat international terrorism.
In conclusion Mr. Chairman,
Terrorism is a global threat to international peace and security and we have the joint responsibility to fight this common threat together.
In order to defeat this common enemy, every State must urgently take all measures to fulfill their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law, in accordance with relevant UN GA and SC resolutions, among them 1267,Â to combat terrorism, including by prosecuting and extraditing perpetrators , denying them shelters and safe havensÂ andÂ not allowing the use of their territories for planning, training ,financing and attacks by terrorist organizations and extremist groups against other States.
In closing, my delegation deeply believes, Mr. Chairman, that as long as terrorist ideological centers, training facilities, infrastructure, sanctuaries and financial resources remains protected, my country Afghanistan, ourÂ region and the world will remain targets. Therefore, this topic needs our urgent attention and our joint and sincere efforts and cooperation.
Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan
At the Third Committee debate on Agenda Item 105: International Drug Control
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As this is the first time I take the floor, allow me to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your election as Chair of the Third Committee. Â Let me assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation throughout the work of this Committee. Â In addition, I want to thank Mr. Antonio Maria Costa for his excellent briefing, for UNODC’s 2009 World Drug Report, and for the ongoing support that UNODC has offered to our efforts, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Despite the current challenges in Afghanistan, I am pleased to inform you that our counter-narcotics efforts have seen remarkable progress across-the-boardÂ thisÂ pastÂ year. Today, I will highlight four areas that have seen particular success, and outline some suggestions for improvement on those achievements to address our remaining challenges.
First, directly as a result of our efforts, poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is down 22%, and opium production down 10% – a marked decrease from last year. Â The number of poppy-free provinces has increased from 18 to 20. Â Our most remarkable decrease has been in the Helmand province, which has seen a 33% drop in poppy cultivation compared to 2008. Â To solidify this progress, the Afghan Ministry of Counter-Narcotics plans to destroy an additional 40 thousand hectares of poppy this year.Â With the help of our international partners, our focus in the coming months and years should be on promoting viable alternative livelihoods for Afghan farmers. This could be in the form of replacement crops, like saffron in Herat, or through other development projects, particularly in light industry or the exploitation of natural resources. In any case, without viable alternative livelihoods, our progress towards a poppy-free country will never be sustainable.
Second, the Afghan government has strengthened its counter-narcotics infrastructure and improved governmental coordination under the umbrella of the National Drug Control Strategy. Â Recent actions by the Afghan government have achieved real progress.Â For example, the Afghan Ministry of Counter-Narcotics recently held a national conference in Kabul for governors and others to discuss best practices, and is currently running an awareness-raising campaign in 26 provinces that involves religious leaders and the media, and has indirectly reached over 15 million Afghans. Â Also, the Afghan Parliament recently passed a strengthened anti-drug law enforcement bill. Â Further, the Ministry of Justice has created a special court to tryÂ counter-narcotics cases, and the Ministry of the Interior has a dedicated police force for counter-narcotics efforts. Â However, national and global illicit economies fueled by the drug trade undermine many of our efforts towards good governance and strong state institutions.Â We need to focus our collective efforts on capacity building, strengthening institutions, and improving rule of law. With the support of the international community, the Afghan government is fully committed to making further progress in this area.
Third, Afghanistan has made huge strides towardÂ improved cooperation with neighboring countries. Â This year,Â utilizing the framework of the Triangular Initiative,Â theÂ counter-narcotics agencies of Afghanistan andÂ the Islamic Republics of Iran and PakistanÂ successfullyÂ conductedÂ joint operationsÂ against drug trafficking networksÂ along our borders, which resulted in many arrests and the seizure of aÂ considerableÂ quantity ofÂ narcotics. Within the framework of UNODC’s Operation TARCET II, launched in May of this year, Afghanistan has worked closely with other governments in the region through, inter alia, a joint training session for border control agents and counter-narcotics police. To build on these developments, the Government of Afghanistan, the international community and the region should continue to strengthen cooperation in line with the Paris Pact, the “Rainbow Strategy,” Security Council Resolution 1817 and others, with particular focus on preventing the illegal transport of precursor chemicals into Afghanistan.
Fourth, Afghanistan hasÂ improved coordination and cooperation with the international community. Â Last year NATO agreed to increase assistance to the Afghan government’s counter-narcotics efforts, and in the first half of this year aÂ joint Afghan-NATO military operation successfully destroyed overÂ 90 tons of chemical precursors, 459 tons of poppy seeds,Â 51Â tonsÂ of opium,Â 7Â tonsÂ of morphine, 1.5Â tonsÂ of heroin, 19Â tonsÂ of cannabis resin, andÂ 44Â illicit laboratories.Â Afghanistan also has increased our bilateral efforts with countries in the region and internationally on this issue, particularly to address trafficking. This year, we signed a new anti-drug agreement with Russia focused on stopping trafficking and halting the transport of precursors, and we fully supported the recent American decision to shift the counter-narcotics focus in Afghanistan away from crop eradication and towards alternative livelihoods and economic development. In addition, we participated actively in the recent meeting of the SCO on Afghanistan, which focused on the issues of terrorism and drug trafficking, and hope that this and similar initiatives will help bring a wider regional and international perspective to our discussion. Internationally, we continue to work closely with UNODC and the INCB to address all issues relating to drugs, and we remain very grateful for their comprehensive assistance. In addition to our efforts in Afghanistan, we should also continue to pursue comprehensive, global strategiesÂ that address all aspects of the drug problem, from cultivation to consumption. A successful fight against drugs requires increased efforts to reduce not just production, but also demand.
However, Mr. Chairman,
Profits from the illegal narcotics trade fuel the activities of terrorists and criminals around the world, including those in our region. A substantial challenge remains the strong correlation between insecurity and drug production. In Afghanistan, 98% of poppy cultivation occurs in the provinces with the highest levels of insecurity. Â Therefore, in addition to the suggestions outlined above, one of our fundamental priorities should remainÂ the overall improvement of the security situation, particularly through training the Afghan National Army and Police.
Drugs and the drug trade are directly responsible for the preventable deaths of millions of people every year, and are indirectly linked to millions more. In addition, tens of millions worldwide, including an increasing number in Afghanistan, face serious health consequences from regular drug use. In developing countries particularly, this is a problem that targets the poorest and most hopeless. It is our joint duty here to do everything possible to curtail the production and consumption of these harmful substances. The Government of Afghanistan is strongly committed toÂ this goal, and we look forward to working with our international partners to address this ongoing threat as quickly as possible.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.