Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ambassador Tanin tells the Security Council “attacks on civilians are a sign of weakness,” at a debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

Press Release:
On Friday 30 January, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin delivered a statement at a Security Council open debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. The debate focused on the protection challenges of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings. Assistant-Secretary-General of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Director of International Law and Policy for the International Committee of the Red Cross, and a Somali women’s rights activist briefed the Council at the debate’s outset.  The debate had been postponed from its original date due to inclement weather.

67 speakers took the floor, including Security Council members and other Member States and groups of states. Speakers highlighted the increase in numbers of civilians affected by conflict as a result of crises around the world including in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, South Sudan and other countries. Many noted that women and girls are often the most vulnerable in these settings. “While entire communities suffer the impact of armed conflict, women and girls are often the first to lose their rights to education, to political participation and to livelihoods, among other rights being bluntly violated,” Ms. Kyung wha Kang, Assistant-Secretary-General of OCHA, remarked.

Taking the floor, Ambassador Tanin noted the importance of this issue to his country, Afghanistan. “The Afghan people have suffered for over 30 years as a result of war and conflict, and continue to suffer today,” he said. He prefaced his remarks by explaining, “attacks on civilians are a sign of weakness; they are not a sign of strength. They are a serious violation of international humanitarian law and breach the basic tenets of Islam.”

2014 was the deadliest year for civilians in Afghanistan since 2001, and was particularly deadly for women. 12 percent more women were killed and injured in 2014 than in 2013. Ambassador Tanin explained that even when women’s lives are not directly at risk, their livelihoods are impacted by the negative consequences of violent conflict. “When husbands, parents, siblings or guardians die or become handicapped, women are often left as the sole breadwinners in the family. Many lack access to paid work and financial resources, and this impedes their ability to provide for themselves and their families and makes them vulnerable to exploitation,” he said.

Ambassador Tanin detailed the government of Afghanistan’s efforts to mitigate the impact of conflict on women and all civilians. He noted the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF)’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts and the implementation of the government’s counter-IED strategy. “I would like to emphasize that the Afghan forces are doing their utmost to ensure that the safety of civilians is central to their campaigns and taking all necessary measures to prevent Afghan civilian loss of life,” he told the Council.

Other speakers noted that the Council has intensified its focus on the situation of women and girls in armed conflict over the last 15 years, noting important resolutions 1325 (2000), 1888 (2009), 1960 (2010) and 2122 (2013). Others urged the Council to continue to take bold measures to protect civilians, including by making commitments to change the lives of women and girls around the world.

Press Release: UN Security Council holds debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

On 18 December 2014, the Security Council held a debate on the Situation in Afghanistan. Council Members and representatives from the European Union and over thirteen member states delivered statements on behalf of their governments. Mr. Nicolas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of the United States Mission in Afghanistan, opened the debate. Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, also briefed the council on counter-narcotics efforts. Following Mr. Fedotov’s remarks, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, delivered a statement on behalf of his government.

Ambassador Tanin began his remarks by noting the upcoming end of the international military combat mission in Afghanistan. The mission was authorised under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter 13 years ago, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. NATO will continue to assist, advise and train the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) beyond 2015 through the Resolute Support Mission. “This is an historic step towards a new beginning in Afghanistan,” Ambassador Tanin remarked, “and a key marker of the country’s transition to a new chapter in its relations with the international community.”

Ambassador Tanin also noted the recent presidential elections, which represented the first peaceful transfer of power from one leader to the next in Afghanistan’s history. Following the elections, the leading presidential candidates agreed to form a national unity government. This agreement, the Ambassador said, “fostered an environment of hopefulness, inclusivity and political consensus, and cemented the foundation for lasting peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.”

Highlighting key aspects of the national unity government’s reform agenda, Ambassador Tanin noted the government’s commitments to fight corruption, advance good governance, promote economic and fiscal stability, strengthen regional cooperation, and enhance development partnerships. The government’s “positive steps to advance the reform agenda,” the Ambassador remarked, “have sent a powerful message to the people of Afghanistan and the international community that… a successful Afghanistan is entirely within our reach.”

Following Ambassador Tanin’s statement, members of the Security Council, a representative of the European Union, and representatives of thirteen other Member States took the floor. They expressed continued support for Afghanistan in the Transformation decade ahead, and applauded Afghanistan’s progress in achieving key transition objectives.

United Nations Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution on NATO Resolute Support Mission


On 12 December 2014, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2189 on Afghanistan. The resolution welcomes the new NATO mission, the ‘Resolute Support Mission’, in the country. The resolution also underscores the importance of continued international support for the stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan.

Following the Security Council vote, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, delivered a statement on behalf of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Ambassador Tanin thanked Council members for the adopting the resolution. “The adoption of this resolution is a clear indication of the continuing support of the Council and the international community for the efforts of the Afghan people and the government of Afghanistan to bring peace, stability, democracy and prosperity to the country throughout the transformation decade,” he said.

Ambassador Tanin highlighted the continuing security challenges facing Afghanistan and the national unity government, demonstrated by the recent devastating attacks in Kabul and the Paktika province. “Peace and stability cannot be achieved through security measures alone, the government of Afghanistan is embarking upon an ambitious reform agenda aimed at bringing peace and prosperity to the country,” he said.


The adoption resolution of the resolution is timely. In 19 days, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) will assume full responsibility for the security of the country as the transition phase concludes at the end of 2014. “As the Transformation decade begins,” said Ambassador Tanin, “we are grateful to our NATO and international partners for their commitment to train, advise and assist the ANDSF after the completion of the ISAF mission.”


Ambassador Tanin concluded by expressing deep gratitude to NATO, partner countries and their international forces on behalf of the government of Afghanistan for their support and sacrifice to help Afghanistan advance peace and security in the country. “With the ongoing support of our international partners, including through the Resolute Support Mission, and the vigorous work of the new government of Afghanistan, their efforts will not have been in vain,” he concluded.

The resolution welcomed the increased the capabilities and capacities of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and looks forward to the completion of the security transition at the end of 2014 and the future close coordination between the leadership of the Resolute Support Mission, the Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. The resolution further condemns the ongoing violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al Qaida and other violent and extremist groups and recognizes Afghanistan’s gains since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, particularly on democracy, governance, institution building, economic development and human rights.