Sunday, September 21, 2014

UN General Assembly Debates Afghanistan


This Monday, 21 November, the UN General Assembly held a debate on its annual resolution on ‘The Situation in Afghanistan’. One full decade since the fall of the Taliban, this year’s resolution provided an opportunity for the international community to reflect on the progress of the last decade, particularly the last year, and to reaffirm its commitment to meeting the challenges ahead.

“Fragile as the country may seem, substantial improvements have been made over the last decade,” stated H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, highlighting Afghanistan’s achievements thus far. “Afghanistan has risen from the ashes of a state disintegrated by decades of conflict, and millions of Afghans have rebuilt their lives and are moving forward.”

In addition to considering past successes, Ambassador Tanin’s statement focused on the ongoing transition process to full Afghan ownership, leadership and sovereignty, which started this year. Ambassador Tanin highlighted six key elements of transition: 1) security, 2) governance and rule of law, 3) social and economic development, 4) reconciliation and reintegration, 5) regional economic and security cooperation, and 6) strategic partnerships.

“We have a plan for a successful transition, with all elements and all partners acting in harmonious accord,” Ambassador Tanin, explained. “A successful transition… will lead us to a stable, reliable Afghanistan partnering in a mutually beneficial way with the international community.”

All these elements of transition and more, particularly the need to strengthen the Afghan National Security Forces and move forward with the peace and reconciliation process, are addressed in the highly comprehensive twenty-page resolution. The resolution also highlights and praises such recent and upcoming developments as improvements in human, including women’s rights, the start of the New Silk Road Initiative, and the convening of the Istanbul and Bonn Conferences.

At the same time, while transition was the major focus, all speakers in the debate were also careful to stress the international community’s long-term commitment to Afghanistan’s successful development even after transition. Introducing the draft resolution, H.E. Mr. Peter Wittig, Permanent Representative of Germany, underlined that “Afghanistan can count on the long-term support of the UN and its Member States, much beyond… 2014.”

Ambassador Tanin thanked the international community for their continued support and dedication, and expressed his confidence that “with the support and goodwill of the Afghan people and the international community, [Afghanistan] will succeed.”

In total, the General Assembly heard speakers from Afghanistan, Germany, the EU, United States, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, and thirteen other delegations. The draft resolution on ‘the Situation in Afghanistan’ was co-sponsored by 90 delegations, and adopted by consensus. The Resolution and corresponding Secretary-General’s Report on the Situation in Afghanistan are available as A/RES/66/10 and A/66/369-S/2011/590 respectively.