Monday, August 31, 2015

Welcome Address: Roundtable on Afghan Narco-trafficking H.E. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN East West Institute – New York

5 March 2015

–         Thank you Vice President David Firestein for your generous introduction, and thank you to East West Institute for organizing this important event and for providing a forum for cooperation on issues of common interest. I would like to welcome the distinguished diplomats, experts and colleagues here today to discuss an issue of profound importance to my country. I am pleased to see my Afghan colleagues who have travelled from far away to be here today.

–         The narcotics threat in Afghanistan is a result of decades of conflict, war and violence. It has both fueled and been fueled by the interrelated problems of crime, insecurity, terrorism, and corruption. Indeed, the Taliban tap into the narco-trafficking supply chain at each stage of the narcotics trade, with major consequences for the social, political, economic and security arenas in the country. It is a problem that seriously threatens Afghanistan’s stability and weakens the Afghan state.

–         The societal impact of drugs in Afghanistan is profound and painful. Drug dependency, particularly among the most vulnerable populations in Afghanistan, has become a major challenge for us and has increasingly threatened the health and stability of our society and drained communities of economic and human resources.

–         At the same time it is crucial to note, as East West Institute’s Post-2014 Scenarios report points out, drug control is ultimately a global issue; drug production in Afghanistan would not continue without the persistent problems of trafficking and consumption.

The only way to truly address these issues is through genuine, comprehensive global and regional strategies to implement both drug-demand and drug-supply reduction measures.

–         The Joint US-Russia Working Group on Afghan Narco-trafficking is an important platform for the international community in general and the US, Russia, Afghanistan and countries in the region in particular to combat the narcotics and narco-trafficking threats in a comprehensive manner.

–         These discussions come at a most timely moment- my government, under the leadership of President Dr. Ashraf Ghani, has prioritized this issue as a crosscutting element of its reform agenda. The government has pledged to intensify efforts to control narcotic production and sale by adopting a broad approach targeting both the production base as well as the handling and refining of narcotics. As the President has noted, strict effective counter-narcotics measures will increase the costs of operating in the sector, with a particular focus on poppy-eradication and financial tracking.

In addition, the government will complement enforcement with programs that provide licit alternatives for rural livelihoods.

–         It is essential that we tackle the pernicious menace of narcotics and narco-trafficking in Afghanistan and the region in order for the county to achieve lasting stability, peace and development.  Moreover, noting that Afghan security is essential to regional and global stability, I would like to say that all our genuine cooperation on this issue, as well as our commitment to work constructively together to find solutions rather than point fingers, will contribute not only to a more stable country, but also a more peaceful and prosperous world.

–         Thank you very much for being here and again to East West Institute for leading this initiative. I would like to give the floor back to David. Thank you very much.

Intergovernmental negotiations on the on post-2015 development agenda

Statement at the Informal Meeting of the Plenary on the Process of Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

BY

H.E. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

18 February 2015

 

 

NEW YORK

 

Thank you Mr. Co-facilitator,

 

At the outset, I would like to align my statement to the statements delivered yesterday by South Africa on behalf of the group of 77 and China, Benin on behalf of the group of LDCs, and Zambia on behalf of the group of LLDCs.

 

Distinguished Co-facilitators,

 

I wish to make the following statement in my national capacity.

 

Firstly, I wish to commend you both as co-facilitators for preparing the “Elements Paper” as a basis for guiding our discussions on the declaration. The proposed framework in the paper is well-articulated and incorporates most of the major issues that we have all emphasized in one way or another in our discussions for the last 4 years in the context of the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda.

Co-facilitators,

As I continue to attentively listen to my colleagues’ statements, I notice we are all almost on the same page.  I also found it interesting that on the one hand, we all emphasize how this declaration should be visionary, ambitious, actionable, communicable and- most importantly- concise. On the other hand, however, this wish list is very long, which I believe makes your task to properly reflect and balance the draft very challenging.  This declaration is highly important as it reflects the essence of our common efforts to craft the Post-2015 Development Agenda for next 15 years.

On substance: considering the time constraints I would like to briefly highlight the following issues to be incorporated in the declaration:

–       The declaration should recognize the outcome of the major internationally agreed documents and should build on their progress;

–       The declaration should reiterate poverty eradication as our overarching goal while underscoring the reduction of social inequalities and bridging of gaps between the developing and developed countries as central to our success;

–       Also it should reiterate the view that the success of the Post-2015 Development Agenda relies on robust means of implementation and in this regard it should recognize the outcome of the 3rd FFD Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa;

–       The declaration should recognize the special development needs and challenges of countries in special situations such as LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS, Africa, as well as countries in conflict and post conflict situations, and it should highlight the relationship between peace and security and sustainable development;

–       The declaration should stress the integration of Vienna Program of Action for LLDCs and its six priority areas in the post 2015 development agenda, as well as the Istanbul Program of Action for LDCs;

–       The declaration should also emphasize the parallel progress of the three dimensions of sustainable development and it should strongly reflect the fact that no one should be left behind;

–       It should also respect the national priorities and policies of developing countries and it should mirror the concessional and preferential treatment of countries in special situations;

–       It should take note of the six elements of the Secretary-General’s synthesis report;

–       It should stress the importance of renewed global partnership;

–       And most importantly it should echo the political will for implementation of the post-2015 goals;

–       The declaration should endorse the SDGs report and its 17 goals and 169 targets;

–       The declaration should recognize the challenge of climate change and natural disasters. In this regard, the declaration should also recognize the importance of the outcomes of the Paris conference and the Sendai Conference accordingly;

–       The declaration should also reaffirm the common values including respect for all human rights, freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance and gender equality;

–       Last but not least the declaration should set up a comprehensive follow up and review mechanism to effectively monitor the progress of our commitments.

 

Co-facilitators,

To conclude, Afghanistan would like to reiterate its commitment to this negotiation process and its faith in you as Co-facilitators to lead us to a strong final text our leaders will be proud of in September.

I thank you.

 

Transcript of Statement by President Ghani at 51st Munich Security Conference

Transcript of Statement by Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at

51st Munich Security Conference

February 8, 2015

Munich, Germany

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Ambassador,

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

I am the elected President of a 99.9% Muslim country, a country where 38% of the electorate were women, where in order to participate, people had to face cutting  of their fingers. I bring, first, couple of stories to you and then connect to the themes of the Conference.

On June, 2014 , a man with a tractor who would not allow his woman to get out of his house for 40 years,  took forty trips on a tractor to get the women to vote , because legitimacy in my country now comes from the ballot.

On December 16th, 2014, our children playing volleyball were massacred in cold blood and when I called their parents, they told me they have the resolve of steel to stand up to the threats of terror, that they want peace, a peace to enable their children to go to school and become like me, pleased with the word, firmly anchored in our great civilization, and committed to equal rights.

And two weeks ago, we had 4000 Ulemma, these are religious scholars, uniformly they supported the Afghan national army and endorsed our security compact with the United States and our Status of Force Agreement with NATO.

We, ladies and gentlemen, speak for true Islam, for the believes of people and for the aspirations of the future generations. Daesh [ISIL], al-Qaida and the rest of the networks are the aberrations and we must have the courage to be able to speak for the absolute majority,  but in order to speak for them, we must deliver but before that, let me first, Ambassador Ischinger, thank you and thank the members of NATO-ISAF, particularly the United States, European colleagues and others.

Over four thousand of your citizens, men and women, lost their lives in our country, close to a million people served in rotations, we honored that sacrifice and that sacrifice is not going  to be in vain, the Resolute Support Mission that began on January 1, 2015 has been approved by the majority of the two Houses of the Parliament of Afghanistan and it’s a platform for future cooperation.

Together, there is substantial amount that we can do, but what is the nature of the threat?  I would like to speak of the ecology of terror, terror has become a system in a distinctive ecology.  And fortunately, Afghanistan where our successes have made us not be headlines, because when will the media report on a success,  is still the focal point of the media of this ecology.

 Pakistan’s operations in North and South Waziristan, have had  a displacement effect, where the center of gravity is shifted to Afghanistan. Daesh [ISIL] is fast moving to stage four of its classic pattern, namely organizing, orienting, deciding and acting. The threat of this ecology is global but Afghanistan is the meeting ground of this global ecology, lest we forget this and take our eyes elsewhere, there will be consequences.

This is not to say that we are not committed , the world does not owe us, we must first take the responsibility to reorganize and we are. The reform programs that we have embarked on are substantial, focused, and their key goal is to honor the electorate. In terms of the idea, we have done what has been unprecedented, namely a victor in an election not claiming the prize, but forming a government of national unity so that all the electorate would be represented. Political consensus is the first basis of moving forward and we are moving forward.

Second, we have engaged the region. Our active diplomacy has brought a series of trilateral relationship, the most significant of which has been China, United States and Afghanistan. Equally, our engagement with Pakistan has been intense, comprehensive and hopefully in quiet. We do not make announcements, we look for outcomes. And we are hopeful that there will be outcomes that will make results that will be game changers in our part of the world. We have engaged our Central Asian neighbors, and soon we will have witnessed the birth of the Lapis lazuli route, a route that would connect Afghanistan to Europe via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

We have engaged all members of five circles of our foreign policy, and here particularly again I would like to thank the United States and the framework nations of Germany, Italy, Turkey, UK and other members who are contributing to the Resolute Support Mission.

But on the ecology of terror, our focus is country by country rather than on  understanding the ecological system. Our response system is slow, because we really don’t understand networks. We take the threats individually rather than systemically. And it is very important not to isolate the events from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya from what is unfolding in Afghanistan and South Asia. Because the threats from the network perspective are becoming stronger, the state response is, unfortunately, weaker.

I am glad to see the concept of hybrid warfare make it into Munich security Conference’s vocabulary. We have suffered from this practice, so I’d like to call attention to one feature that is not part of the vocabulary yet, “criminality”. Deep networks of criminality are a driver of conflict. Most of the time when we focus on peace, we focus on the ideologues, on the discourse, on formation of networks of discursive understanding. The key question is who finances the conflict and who benefits from it? It is not that the discourse discursive part is unimportant, but without understanding the deep roots of financing. The global criminal economy is worth 1.7 trillion a year, and the criminalization of part of Afghanistan’s economy is certainly among the top 20 contributors to this.

So, in terms of response, we need compacts for stability and prosperity and this must address four levels; one is at the national level. What enables terrorism to thrive and instability to prevail, is when the citizen is not in the center stage. The Afghan citizen does not live in the 16th century, 18th or 19th. She lives in the 21st century and aspirations of the 21st century. Her participation in the election must be honored by honoring the election and the democratic system and not dismissing. Of course, it is taking a long time for one of the poorest countries on earth to become fully stable, but the intention in the engagement of the citizen must be taken.

Second, regional – in the region we have had a practice, where states, if provided sanctuary to non-state actors, and or where they have sponsored, where states have sponsored non-state actors deliberately to undermine the security of a neighbor. I hope that it becomes clear that those days are over.

Third, the Islamic level – there is a struggle for the soul of Islam, for who speaks for this great civilization, and we must not remain silent. Silence is no longer an option in face of the barbarity of killing the Jordanian soldier or the Japanese hostage or others.

And fourth is global – our global institutions are slow. They are product of mid 20th century, geared to response to conditions of the  20th century. Without a global architecture that responds to the conditions of 2015, we will always be not two steps behind, Mr. Alisa but ten steps behind. So we do hope that at the global level, we can reorient.

But my last message, and thank you for the opportunity, is one of hope. We will overcome all these difficulties, because Afghans have a unique space in Islamic history. No one in the 20th century has paid a higher price, sacrificed as much, and suffered as much for defending our faith against the Soviet invasion for standing for what is right, for aspiring to generate and contribute to order. Based on that record, now the people of Afghanistan are ready, not to just open a new page, but to begin a new book, a book of cooperation, understanding and engagement. Our location, our water resources, our mineral resources, our entrepreneurial energies, all allow us to hope for a different day.

We hope that you will remain engaged, and committed and that we all together can participate in inclusive global order where we will all benefit.

Thank you!