Sunday, December 21, 2014

Comprehensive Approach to Counter Terrorism

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Security Council debate on

Comprehensive Approach to Counter Terrorism

Madame President,

I’d like to begin by congratulating you on Pakistan’s assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council, and also by expressing appreciation for convening today’s important meeting addressing an issue of special importance and relevance to my country, Afghanistan.

I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate our condemnation of the terrorist attacks which took place in Quetta and the Swat Valley, leaving more than 100 innocent people dead, and many more wounded. These horrific incidents reaffirm that terrorism is still a formidable threat. That is why we all must redouble our efforts to defeat this menace.

My delegation is pleased to know that the Security Council continues to give serious attention to the fight against terrorism. In May of last year, the Council held a high-level meeting on threats to international peace and security posed by terrorist acts. The outcome of that meeting underscored the changing nature of the terrorist threat, and the need for a strengthened global response in dealing with the problem. Today, more than ever before, the fight against terrorism is being conducted in a more result-oriented, balanced and integrated manner.

Madame President,

Afghanistan has lived with, and suffered from terrorism for more than two-decades. It wasn’t too long ago, when the Afghanistan’s territory was used by Al-Qaeda and affiliate groups not only as a site for brutal attacks against the Afghan people, but as a staging ground for terrorist attacks around the world. Over the past eleven years, since the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan has made important headway in its fight against terrorism, and in transforming into a more peaceful, stable, and democratic society.

Despite progress made thus far, terrorism and insecurity remain serious challenges facing the Afghan people. The effects of terrorism are felt in the entirety of Afghan society, resulting from attacks on innocent civilians, including women and men, tribal and religious elders, members of civil society, and even young school children. Just last month, in another cowardly attack, a terrorist posing as a peace negotiator carried out a suicide bombing against our Chief of Intelligence, Mr. Asadullah Khaled. Gratefully, the assassination plot failed, and Mr. Khaled is now recovering successfully. Such acts will in no way weaken the determination of Afghans to defeat terrorism and succeed in their journey for peace and prosperity.

Our comprehensive counter-terrorism approach, central to our national security strategy, is being carried out by our national security institutions.  At the operational level, scores of terrorists and enemy combatants have been captured and brought to justice. Through intelligence gathering, we have subverted hundreds of terrorist plots in various parts of the country. Operating with increased capability, our security forces are increasingly taking charge of combat operations nationwide, including in counter-terrorism operations.

Madame President,

Insecurity and terrorism are not only a threat for Afghanistan, but for our wider region, which we hope will be dealt with fully and effectively, within the framework of our joint efforts with regional partner countries.

We, therefore, cannot overstate the importance of regional cooperation. Over the past year, we have escalated efforts to defeat terrorism, improve security and ensure prosperity in our part of the world. To this effect, we are making important progress through bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral mechanisms, as well as through regional efforts such as the “Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan.”

With Pakistan we have enhanced our cooperation in a number of areas, including counter-terrorism efforts in order to bring lasting peace, security and stability to both our countries.

Consistent with our struggle against terrorism, we attach high importance to the body of legal instruments concerning this problem. Afghanistan is party to 13 international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols. In this regard, relevant ministries and governmental agencies are working closely towards implementation of national legislation. I would be remiss in failing to praise the important work being done by the counter-terrorism subsidiary bodies of the Security Council – the 1267/1989, 1373 and 1540 committees, respectively.  Afghanistan has, and will continue to present national reports in regards to implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions.

Madame President,

The role of the UN lies at the core of an effective fight against terrorism. The 3rd biennial review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, conducted last June in the General Assembly, marks another milestone in strengthening the UN’s counter-terrorism efforts and has generated new impetus in the efforts of States against the global threat. Furthermore, we believe greater synergy and coordination among the relevant UN bodies and agencies will enable our organization to enhance cooperation, internationally and regionally, as efficiently as possible. In this regard, we look forward to further discussions on the topic of the appointment of a UN counter-terrorism coordinator.

We also commend the important work being done by the counter-terrorism implementation task force (CTITF). Through various initiatives, such as workshops in different regions, including Central Asia, the task-force is playing an important role in helping States build their counter-terrorism capacities. Another important development was the creation of the UN counter-terrorism center in November of last year. We are confident the center will go a long way in enhancing coordination efforts.

Madame President,

The global counter-terrorism strategy underscores a holistic approach in the fight against terrorism. Our success is dependent on the extent to which we are able to further progress in a number of areas. The dangerous link between terrorism and transnational organized crime must be broken. The problem of terrorist safe-havens, alongside the outstanding issue of financial and logistical resources made available to terrorists have yet to be resolved.  These are real problems that require real solutions. Moreover, we believe that conflict prevention and resolution are essential facets of the counter-terrorism effort; the UN’s role is of particular importance in this regard.

Additionally, ensuring job opportunities for youth, and poverty eradication will help curtail recruitment of new individuals to terrorist networks. We highlight, in this connection, the activities of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in promoting development for all.  It goes without saying that terrorism is a common enemy, which doesn’t discriminate against any particular religion, nationality or culture. Everyone is a target. We call for increased measures to strengthen inter-religious and cultural-dialogue and understanding.

Madame President,

In conclusion, I would like to underscore Afghanistan’s long-standing commitment to the fight against international terrorism. As a prime victim against this threat, we are well aware of the devastating effects which it brings upon societies. Yet, we are also well aware of the progress that can be made in this regard through joint and concerted efforts. We value greatly the support of our international partners over the past eleven years in our struggle against this global threat, and look forward to our continuing partnership with the international community on the way forward.

I thank you.