Thursday, July 2, 2015

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.

 

Press Release: Ambassador Tanin speaks at a Panel Discussion on the ‘Political Participation of Women – Why Should Men Bother?’ at the United Nations

On 8 December 2014, the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations, co-organized a panel discussion entitled “Political Participation of Women – Why Should Men Bother?”  The panel featured Mr. Petr Drulak, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, Mr. Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Mr. Daniel Seymour, Deputy Director of Programmes, UN Women. The discussion was moderated by Ambassador Edita Hrdá, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the UN.

All panelists stressed the importance of women’s political participation to the wellbeing of society as a whole and agreed that gender equality is a priority for men and women alike. “Equal participation is not only fair and just. It is in the best interest for all. It is a project for all,” said Mr. Šimonović.

Taking the floor, Ambassador Tanin noted the importance of this discussion, particularly in Afghanistan, and countries in the Islamic world, where women face significant obstacles in public and political life. “Just as the Taliban in the 1990s imposed their own interpretation of Sharia law, today Islamist extremist groups from ISIL to Boko Haram force women to conform to their fanatical frameworks of austerity and deny them their rights to public life, education and autonomy,” he said.

Ambassador Tanin then gave an overview of the historical context of women’s rights in Afghanistan. . “Afghanistan in the 1920s was at the forefront of the women’s rights movement in the Islamic world,” he said. The Afghan constitution, adopted in 1921, guaranteed the equal rights of citizens and the state significantly expanded access to education and public services for women and girls in the country. In the 1960s and 1970s, we dozens of girls’ and mixed schools were established, hundreds of women were sent for education abroad, women were elected to the Parliament and appointed to high level government positions including the Cabinet. Afghanistan was seen as one of the most modern places for women in the region until the emergence of the Taliban in the 1990s, which caused a disastrous retreat in women’s rights.

Afghanistan has made great progress in the last decade. A key example of the enhanced role of women in Afghanistan is their unprecedented involvement in the recent Presidential and Provincial elections as millions of women participated as voters, candidates, campaigners and observers. The country has joined the international discourse on women through its commitments and actions, with men playing an important role in promoting the advancement of women in the country. The new President of Afghanistan, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is committed to improving the political participation of women. “The government and the civil society – men and women included – are part of the new strategies, plans and measures that focus on women’s rights,” Ambassador Tanin said.

Ambassador Tanin highlighted three main factors that were critical for the advancement of women in Afghanistan: the role of leaders, the state and civil society. In the months and years ahead, he emphasised, “it is essential that Afghanistan preserve all that has been achieved; a retreat will be disastrous in a country where women’s’ rights has been the core of our successful democratization. We need peace and there is a great role for both women and men to play the future in Afghanistan.”

Press Release: 59 Countries reaffirm their commitment to Afghanistan

 

On December 4, 2014 the United Kingdom and Afghanistan co-hosted the London Conference on Afghanistan. Representatives of 59 countries participated in the conference where they reaffirmed and consolidated their commitment and partnership with Afghanistan after 2014. Nongovernmental organizations, representatives of Afghan civil society, and multilateral organizations were also in attendance. The conference was preceded by three associated events on 3 December on civil society engagement, private sector development and regional economic cooperation.

The conference was co-chaired by H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Afghanistan’s Chief Executive, Dr. Abullah Abdullah, and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond, opened the conference. It followed a visit by President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah to Brussels to meet with Foreign Ministers from NATO and partner countries where they discussed final preparations for NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan from 2015.

At the conference, President Ghani delivered a statement outlining his reform agenda and his plans bring economic stability, enhanced security, and the advancement of women’s rights to the country. “Dr. Abdullah and I are determined to deliver to [Afghan citizens] as their chief servants and I hope that this transformation would mark the beginning of a virtuous circle that would enable us to overcome the past thirty five years,” he said. The President also presented a paper on the government of Afghanistan’s reform programme entitled “Realizing Self Reliance: Commitments to Reforms and Renewed Partnership”.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the United States’ support for the new government in Afghanistan. “We have a government in Kabul that merits our confidence,” he said, “And never before has the prospect of a more fully independent and sustainable Afghanistan been more clear than it is at this moment as we assemble here in London.”  In a similar vein, British Prime Minister David Cameron assured Afghans that “we are with you every step of the way.”

At the conference’s close, participants signed a Communique that underscored Afghanistan and the International Community’s commitments to reforms and renewed partnerships. The Communique solidified a strong foundation of support to Afghanistan throughout the coming decade.