On Wednesday the 19th of December, the Security Council convened to consider the Situation in Afghanistan for the final time in 2012. The meeting updated activities of the United Nations in Afghanistan, including humanitarian, developmental and human rights efforts as well as provided a summary of political and security developments and regional and international events relating to the country over the last 3 months.
The Council’s consideration began with a briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) to Afghanistan, Mr. Jan Kubis. He highlighted the many challenges ahead in Afghanistan by saying that they, “required both the Government and its international partners to follow through firmly on commitments made in recent international conferences,” but he also emphasized encouraging developments such as the “unthinkable progress that wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago.” Mr. Kubis touched on two main positive developments, the Chicago and Tokyo conferences on Afghanistan, that provided a solid foundation for the partnership required in the period during and beyond the transition to national leadership in security, governance and development.
H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative then delivered a statement on behalf of Afghanistan. In his statement Ambassador Tanin noted that Afghanistan is on track to complete the security transition by end of 2013 and welcomed the encouraging support of the international community. Ambassador Tanin also highlighted that while security is a primary focus, “Afghanistan’s stability is about more than security; political and economic aspects of transition are inextricably linked to security efforts”. A sentiment echoed by other Member States later in the debate. Ambassador Tanin focused on five overarching themes, security, national reconciliation, free and fair elections, regional cooperation and development; through which he painted a picture about the current situation in Afghanistan and the prospects for the years ahead.
Echoing the report of the Secretary-General and the remarks by SRSG Kubis Ambassador Tanin noted the need for continual attention to the role of the United Nations in Afghanistan to, “ensure the necessary close and productive partnership between the UN and Afghanistan through transition and the transformation decade to come”. In closing Ambassador Tanin emphasized that this is a critical time in which Afghanistan and the international community have an “opportunity to make significant progress if we maintain our momentum and focus in the coming months”.
Throughout the continuing discussion, United Nations Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the peace, security and development in Afghanistan. With participants’ remarks centered on the international frameworks for support to Afghanistan that had been developed in recent conferences for the transition period and beyond, and supporting UNAMA’s continued role, they also expressed concern over the continued insurgency and its high civilian toll, stressing the need to ensure that drawdown of international forces and other changes did not weaken the fight against the scourge, speakers also touched on the reconciliation efforts, curbing narcotics trafficking, and the repatriation of refugees.
The member states that spoke included the permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council and representatives from Iran, Turkey, Japan, Australia, and the European Union.