Thank you Mr. Chairman,
At the outset let me join other delegations in congratulating you on your election as Chair of the Sixth Committee. My congratulations also go to the other members of the Bureau. We look forward to working closely with you and we assure you of our full support and cooperation.
My delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement.
As a country that continues to be victimized daily by terrorism, Afghanistan strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Over the past decade, Afghanistan has been at the battlefront of the global counter terrorism campaign. In the war against international terrorism, our people have suffered tremendously and have made huge sacrifices in terms of human and material losses. The death toll amounts to hundreds of thousands of people, significant portion of whom are women and children. Many more have been maimed and wounded. We have lost thousands of our soldiers and officers in our struggle against terrorism. In the first six months of this year alone we lost around 3000 members of our security forces, who put their lives at risk to protect their people and to eliminate this scourge.
In the past six months, Taliban, terrorists and extremist groups took advantage of the protracted political and electoral crisis and surrounding uncertainty to launch major assaults around the country, using forces several hundred strong in “swarm attacks” to overwhelm district administrative centers and security checkpoints. This resulted in considerable casualties among civilians and security personnel. The use of indiscriminate attacks such as explosive weapons in residential and populated areas, suicide attacks, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by terrorists and insurgent groups as well as cross border shelling have made this year one of the deadliest years for the Afghan people since 2001.
Nevertheless, in our pursuit of lasting peace, our counter-terrorism efforts will continue unabated and our commitment to defeating this scourge, nationally and internationally, is as strong as ever. To this end, our national army and police are on the front lines of all counter terrorism operations throughout the country. Scores of terrorists and enemy combatants have been killed or captured. Moreover, hundreds of terrorist plots have been averted in various parts of the country.
Afghanistan is of the belief that militancy and extremism will never serve the long-term interests of any country. In this regard, my government continues to engage its neighbours to promote regional cooperation. We express our concern about the rise and evolving trends of violent acts in our region and strongly support a comprehensive approach in addressing these threats.
With unwavering commitment in fighting international terrorism, we continue to adjust our national counter-terrorism legislation to correspond with international legal frameworks to combat terrorism. In this regard, our National Assembly approved a number of laws. This included laws towards combating the financing of terrorism and money laundering. We also continue to work towards the full implementation of the 13 international conventions and protocols on terrorism, to which Afghanistan is a party.
Our region is particularly prone to terrorism. The government of Afghanistan sees regional cooperation as necessary to root out terrorism in our part of the world. In this regard, we are working closely with our immediate and distant neighbours, bilaterally, trilaterally and through other initiatives, such as the Istanbul Process as part of our comprehensive approach in tackling this menace.
Strengthening border cooperation, inter-agency coordination and most importantly building confidence and trust among our neighbours and countries in the region is of outmost importance to our shared efforts in defeating terrorism. Moreover, regional organizations play an important role in the fulfilling our aims in this regard.
We hope to see concrete efforts towards the elimination of terrorist sanctuaries and support centres located outside Afghanistan, which represent the main source of the violence and terror in our country.
Increasing heinous terrorist attacks and the evolving nature of this menace in different parts of the world, once again attests to the necessity of an international, comprehensive approach in fighting such a fundamental threat to international peace and security. As the Secretary-General mentioned in his briefing before the Security Council on 24 September, “Missiles may kill terrorists. But good governance kills terrorism.” Promoting good governance, socio- economic development, respect for human rights and strengthening regional cooperation are the essential elements of a holistic approach in this fight.
The continued use of the internet and communications technology by terrorists and their supporters for recruitment, financing, training and inciting followers to commit acts of terrorism, to spread propaganda, and to gather and disseminate information for terrorist purposes is an issue of great concern. We call for integrated cooperation by international community to address this challenge and we stress the need for further capacity building efforts focused on legal and practical aspects in order to limit use of internet and communications technology by terrorist organizations.
We welcome the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution 2178 on Foreign Terrorist Fighters, which Afghanistan co-sponsored. The increasing numbers of Foreign Terrorists Fighters travelling abroad to join extremist groups is of grave concern. The Afghan people suffered from the threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters immensely. Hence, the implementation of the resolution will benefit us in our shared struggle against this phenomenon. We emphasize the need for further cooperation regionally and internationally to address the issue of Foreign Terrorism Fighters.
I also welcome the successful Fourth Biennial Review Process of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and commend Turkey for its hard work in facilitating the process. The adoption of the text by consensus represents once again the global condemnation of terrorist acts in all their forms and manifestations while remaining aware of its evolving aspects. While the strategy provides guidance through its fourth pillar, we believe that the Strategy should be implemented in a balanced manner, with due consideration to all 4 pillars.
We recognize the central role of the UN and relevant UN agencies in coordinating the efforts of international community in countering terrorism and those of Global Counter Terrorism Forum in supporting member states in their fight against terrorism. We express our firm support for these efforts, which are aimed at the further implementation of the UN counter terrorism framework. In conclusion, Mr Chairman, we echo the call of other speakers in highlighting the need to achieve the early conclusion of a Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism.
I thank you.