Thank you, Mr. President,
At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation for the Fourth Biennial Review of the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (UNGCTS). I also commend the Turkish Mission’s role, particularly the tireless efforts of my good friend, H.E. Ambassador Y. Halit Çevik and his team, for facilitating negotiations on the Fourth Biennial Review. Additionally, I would like to welcome the Secretary General’s recent report on the activities of the United Nations system in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
Afghanistan aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). I would like to add the following in my national capacity.
My country is one of the biggest victims of terrorism in the world. Afghan men, women, and children are affected every day by terrorism and violence. As a result of this pernicious threat, Afghans regularly see their loved ones killed in suicide and roadside bombings, their clinics and schools destroyed, and their important public figures assassinated. Past weeks have seen some particularly horrific attacks. My government condemns in the strongest terms the recent attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat, the kidnapping of 35 University professors Ghaznhi province this week,the recent assassination attempt against one of the two frontrunners in Afghanistan’s presidential election, and the gruesome attack on personnel of the Turkish EMTA Construction Company in Jalalabad Province.
My government also condemns acts of terrorism all over the world, in all its forms and manifestations. We were deeply saddened by the most recent act of terror committed in our neighboring country, Pakistan, where militants attacked the Karachi airport and killed over a dozen individuals. We condemn the unforgiveable acts of Boko Haram in Nigeria and we also deplore the violence in Mosul, Iraq at the hands of terrorist groups, and the gruesome kidnapping of Turkish diplomats in that country.
Recognizing the continuing threat of terrorism in our country, counter-terrorism policies are central to Afghanistan’s national security strategy. Over the past decade, Afghanistan, together with our international partners, has made major strides in addressing and weakening terrorist networks in the country. These efforts continue as the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) assume a greater role in all security activities across Afghanistan, including counter-terrorism operations. The increasing capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces were evident during the recent first round of elections in my country, when Afghan National Security Forces secured polling centers around the country and ensured the safety of Afghan voters on Election Day.
Moreover, we have strengthened our counter-terrorism legal framework to appropriately address the threat of terrorism in the county. Afghanistan is party to 13 international conventions and protocols concerning terrorism, and we have adopted a multitude of national laws to combat terrorism and other forms of organized crime. These include the Law on Combating the Financing of Terrorism and the Law on Combating Terrorist Offences.
We are working closely with the Counter-Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate, and have submitted relevant national reports on implementation. We also work closely to implement relevant United Nations sanctions regimes, and commend the valuable work of the sanctions committees, including the Al-Qaida sanctions regime mandated by Security Council resolution 1267, the Taliban sanctions regime, mandated by Security Council resolution 1988, as well as the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team. While we acknowledge the effectiveness of sanctions, we call for further regional cooperation in the implementation of sanctions to ensure their further success.
Terrorism is a menace that plagues the whole region. It is crucial that Afghanistan’s neighbors and countries in the region play their role in contributing to peace and security in my country. My government calls for putting an end to safe havens and sanctuaries beyond our borders, which have been used by terrorists and insurgent groups against the people of Afghanistan, international forces, and the wider region.
For our part, Afghanistan has intensified cooperation at the regional level, including through dialogue with regional partners through bilateral, trilateral and multilateral processes to effectively deal with the problems of terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations. To eliminate terrorism and bring peace and prosperity, my government is also actively pursuing reconciliation efforts with the Taliban, including through initiatives aimed at limiting extremist violence at its very roots.
To this end in September 2013, Afghanistan’s High Peace Council organized an International Conference for Islamic Scholars and Peace from across the globe in Kabul to discuss ways that religious leaders can contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan as well as in the region. During the conference, Islamic scholars declared suicide attacks un-Islamic, and emphasized the need to use religious practices and teachings of the Quran and Islam to eliminate violence and build peace. We believe such initiatives are instrumental in promoting a culture of peace and dialogue.
When the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was adopted by the General Assembly in 2006, it demonstrated a collective international commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Today, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and all four of its associated Pillars, has been implemented at national, regional and international levels. The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) has convened a number of important initiatives, at many of which Afghanistan has been in active participation. We applaud the Task Force Office for organizing a high-level international counter-terrorism focal points’ conference on addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism in Geneva in June 2013 and welcome its outcome.
We express our deep concern about the evolving challenge of non-state actors seeking Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery. We call on Member States to take necessary steps to ensure that non-state actors and terrorists will not gain access to these types of weapons and we commend United Nations bodies and Member States for providing capacity building assistance to states seeking implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. To this end, the recent seminar on the contribution of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 in regional and global disarmament held in March 2014 in Kazakhstan was an important step forward.
Terrorism continues to threaten the peace and security in Afghanistan, and in the region. But ultimately terrorism is a global threat. It is not limited to any religion, region, country, national group or ethnicity. We continue to watch with horror the upsurge in terrorist attacks around the world not only in our region but also in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. Afghanistan deplores all acts of terror in any region by any group, and is committed to the eradication of terror at its roots. To this end, we commend the efforts of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and call for its widespread implementation moving forward.