Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Security Council Press Statement on Terrorist Attack in Kabul

The following Security Council press statement on Afghanistan was read out today by Council President Le Luong Minh (Viet Nam):

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack at a guesthouse in Kabul on 28 October, which caused deaths and injuries among United Nations staff and members of the Afghan National Security Forces. The members of the Security Council expressed their condolences to the families of the victims, to the Secretary-General and other United Nations colleagues, and to the people and the Government of Afghanistan. The members of the Council reiterate their steadfast support for the role of the United Nations in Afghanistan.

The members of the Security Council noted with serious concern that the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks. The members of the Council strongly condemned the attempts in particular by the Taliban to disrupt the electoral process and destabilize the situation in Afghanistan.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their serious concern at the threats posed by the Taliban, Al-Qaida, and other extremist groups, to the local population, national security forces, international military and international assistance efforts in Afghanistan.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Afghan authorities in this regard.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and all obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with their responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that no terrorist act can reverse the path towards peace, democracy and reconstruction in Afghanistan, which is supported by the people and the Government of Afghanistan and the international community.

Amanpour Afghan, Pakistani and Indian ambassadors unite against terrorism

(CNN) — Three U.N. ambassadors on the front lines of the fight against radical Islamist terrorism presented a united front Thursday against extremism in an unprecedented joint public appearance on a major television news program.

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The ambassadors of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that all three countries have the same goal — to defeat terrorism.

“We all come from the same crucible, the same history, the same background,” said Abdullah Hussain Haroon, the Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations. “There may be minor differences; of course there is amongst people. But I think all three of us are well-intentioned.”

In comments echoed by the other ambassadors, he added, “We all believe that these countries should get together and try and sort out this situation.” The efforts of all, he said, are required “to help each other get through this difficult phase.”

Amanpour interviewed the ambassadors amid worsening violence in Afghanistan, an intense debate in the United States about troop levels there, a Pakistani military offensive against the Taliban after a string of terrorist attacks, and India still reeling from the assault on Mumbai almost one year ago.

The Indian ambassador to the United Nations, Hardeep Singh Puri, pointed out that India was very restrained after the Mumbai attack — an attack that India says was launched from Pakistan.

He indicated — referencing Pakistan’s historic reluctance to move troops away from its border with India — that this restraint is likely to continue. “There is no suggestion ever that a diversion of Pakistani military assets from one border to the other to fight the people who really need to be fought would result in any Indian adventurism. I don’t think that’s the kind of ambiance that we are presently in.”

Pakistan’s recently launched an offensive against Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan. As many as 30,000 Pakistani troops are involved in the operation, the second major push after the military expelled the Taliban from most of the Swat Valley.

Haroon said his country’s armed forces are very stretched by the offensives against the Taliban. He said they are short of resources, in part because Western countries have failed to deliver on all their promises of aid.

“I think that the Pakistanis feel there are too many caveats, too many conditionalities, and it does make it sound rather strange that aid is nowhere near the sort of $5 billion to $10 billion we need a year to be able to come back on our own,” he said. “This is merely adding a crutch. Is that what we need at this time, a crutch? Or do we need something more promising?”

Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan tried to persuade those Americans who are skeptical that they should continue supporting the war in his country. A Washington Post-ABC News poll this week showed voters are deeply and evenly split over whether to send an additional 40,000 troops there, as the U.S. commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says is needed.

“Nowadays, after these elections, I think both the leadership in Afghanistan and our friends and partners focused on how the new elections will bring more legitimacy to Afghanistan. So we are not against that debate,” he said, referencing the runoff that will take place on November 7 between President Hamid Karzai and his main challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.
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All three ambassadors said it is vital that the United States send more troops to Afghanistan to help win the fight against terrorism. Puri, the Indian ambassador, said, “You cannot have a fight against international terrorism which is compartmentalized. The snakes that bite us wherever come from the same pit.”

He added, “You cannot do Faustian deals with terrorist groups, so I think you need a comprehensive international movement against the terrorists, and I hope that all of us who are involved in this will carry this fight through until the end so that all of us are victors in this.”

Source: CNN

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President Karzai Announces Run-Off

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan announced on Tuesday that he had agreed to conduct a runoff.  He made the statement at a press conference, flanked by Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry and Special Representative of the Secretary-General Kai Eide.

He said he accepted as legal the results announced by the Electoral Complaints Commission and the Independent Complaints Commission. Preliminary results had calculated President Karzai’s lead at 54%, but after an investigation into fraud by the ECC threw out almost a quarter of all ballots cast, that number was reduced to just below the over-50% necessary to declare an outright victory. According to the Constitution of Afghanistan, if in the first round of voting no candidate exceeds 50% of the vote, a second round will be held within two weeks.

His announcement was welcomed across the globe as a statesmanlike decision taken for the good of his country and in support of the laws and Constitution of Afghanistan. From the United States, President Obama praised the decision, calling it “an important step forward.” He said, “While this election could have remained unresolved to the detriment of the country, President Karzai’s constructive actions established an important precedent for Afghanistan’s new democracy.” In addition, Secretary of State Clinton and Senator John Kerry publicly supported the decision. Echoing his president’s sentiments, he said “A moment of great uncertainty has been transformed into a moment of great opportunity.” He thanked all of those Afghans who had risked their lives and, in some cases, lost their lives to vote and to protect those voting.

Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon commended President Karzai “for the leadership he displayed” and pledged the UN’s full support to the ongoing Afghan electoral process, saying the UN would do its best to ensure a fair, transparent second round for the elections. Special Representative of the SG Kai Eide commented on the decision also, particularly congratulating the Afghan institutions that have played such a crucial role in the process.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown also welcomed the decision, and congratulated the people of Afghanistan for showing such “patience and resilience” during the long elections process.

The run-off will be conducted on November 7th. The IEC has said it is ready to conduct the elections on that date and has all materials necessary.

In his statement, President Karzai praised the courage of Afghan voters, who had risked their lives in the millions during the first round, and “call[ed]upon this country to take this as an opportunity to move this country forward and participate in this new round of elections,” adding that he hoped the international community would assist in ensuring that security for the new round would be in place on time.