Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Secretary-General’s opening remarks at the Security Council stakeout

Good afternoon. I have just briefed the Security Council on the terrorist attacks against UNAMA [UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan] which happened yesterday where five of our staff were killed and nine were wounded.

I told the Security Council of the heroism of the security officers of UNAMA. For at least an hour, and perhaps more, they held off the attackers, fighting through the corridors of the building and from the rooftop, giving their colleagues time to escape.

Without their heroism, there could have been more causalities, victims.

They were armed only with pistols against assailants carrying automatic weapons and grenades and wearing suicide vests.

Increasingly, the UN is being targeted, in this case precisely because of our support for the Afghan elections. Not counting peacekeepers, 27 UN civilian personnel have lost their lives to violence so far this year, more than half of them in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Yesterday, I said we will not be deterred. We cannot do it alone. We need the support of the Member States. We must realistically assess the situation and put in place more effective protections for our staff as they perform their crucial tasks. This was the main purpose my briefing to the Security Council.

This morning I convened an urgent meeting of the heads of all UN departments, funds and programmes, and agencies to urgently review the evolving security environment and respond appropriately. I am going to chair the Chief Executive Board meeting tomorrow to discuss this matter where the heads of UN funds and programmes, specialized agencies and Bretton Woods institutions will all participate to discuss the security issues.

This afternoon, I asked the Security Council for its support.

This morning I received a phone from President [Hamid] Karzai of Afghanistan who assured me of the tightened security support for UNAMA and I urged him again that he should take immediate action to strengthen the security measures for the premises and staff, for their safety and security.

Tomorrow, I plan to brief the General Assembly. I will ask for expedited action for our security measures, so that we can meet the dramatically escalated threat to UN staff, now widely considered to be a “soft target,” as well as provide support for victims and their families.

Second round of the Afghan Presidential election is only a week away. As I told the Security Council, we are considering a number of immediate short-term measures.

Those include consolidating UN staff in Kabul and around the country. We are exploring the feasibility of bringing in additional security units to guard UN facilities and will ask international community to step up its support.

This will be particularly important during the interim election period, with a special emphasis on areas outside Kabul where UN security is clearly insufficient.

I conclude by stating the obvious. The UN is a civilian operation. We are working there to help Afghanistan’s people but our mission is not safe and [is] vulnerable. We need the full support of the Afghanistan government and the international community.

Thank you very much.

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.


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.

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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