Thursday, July 31, 2014

Afghanistan Calls for More Delisting of Former Taliban Members

On 15 November, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, addressed the UN Security Council during its debate on the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committees.  He said that the main challenge to Afghanistan’s security remains the terrorist activities of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and other extremist groups.  “The enemy we face,” he said, “is part of a complex and sophisticated network with safe-havens and sanctuaries in our region from which terrorists still enjoy support.”

Ambassador Tanin also stated that as Afghanistan and the International Community continue their fight against the terrorists, reconciliation efforts and outreach to the armed opposition who would like to join the peace process by renouncing violence are critical.  He welcomed the delisting of ten former Taliban members from the consolidated list of Individuals and Entities Associated with Al-Qaida and the Taliban over the past year.  He urged the Security Council to “give due consideration to Afghanistan’s additional de-listing requests.”

He expressed Afghanistan’s support for the counter-terrorism committees. The 1267 committee was praised for its efforts in keeping the sanctions list current and as a result of this process the de-listing of 10 former Taliban members which will contribute to Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation initiative.  Additionally, the 1373 committee and the 1540 committee were commended for their ongoing efforts in the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) and the prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors respectively.

Overall, this was an important opportunity to reconfirm the Afghan peoples’ commitment to the fight for the elimination of terrorism with the partnership of the international community.

Briefing by Chairmen of Subsidiary Organs of the Security Council

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

at the Security Council

on “Briefing by Chairmen of Subsidiary Organs of the Security Council.”

Mr. President,
As this is the first time that I am taking the floor during this month, permit me, at the outset, to congratulate you on assuming the Presidency of the Council during November. And we thank you for holding today’s debate on the work of the subsidiary bodies of the Security Council dealing with terrorism.

My delegation is thankful to Ambassador Harting of Austria, Ambassador Apagan of Turkey and Ambassador Heller of Mexico for their comprehensive briefings on the work of the counter-terrorism committees, established pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1267 (1999), 1373 (2001) and 1540 (2004).

Mr. President,

Afghanistan remains the number one victim of international terrorism.  Nearly a decade ago, Afghanistan and the international community joined hands to end the rule of terrorists and extremists, who used the country as a base for international terrorism. And today, notwithstanding important progress in the political, social and economic fronts, the terrorist campaign of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups continues to be the main challenge to Afghanistan’s security, reconstruction and development. Terrorists have killed or maimed thousands of innocent men, women and children; and they seek to take Afghanistan back to the days when tyranny and oppression were seen as the rule of law.

Mr. President,

As we have echoed time and again in this very Council, terrorism in Afghanistan and our part of the world is a growing threat to international peace and security. The enemy we face is part of a complex and sophisticated network with safe-havens and sanctuaries in our region from which terrorists still enjoy support. Afghanistan remains alarmed at the presence of these support centers, and reiterates that unless they are addressed, the terrorism which has been raging like wildfire will regrettably continue.

Mr. President,

As the front-line state in combating terrorism, Afghanistan has suffered immensely in terms of loss of human life, and the destruction of our economy and infrastructure. Afghans have made enormous sacrifices in this struggle.  As we speak, our national army and police are engaged in fierce combat against enemy forces in joint military operations with international forces. We have taken the fight to terrorists, and prevented their ability to carry out large-scale conventional attacks. That is why they resort to desperate tactics – suicide bombings, assassinations and abductions.

Further, as we get ready to begin the transition process, we have given new focus on building the size and strength of our national army and police. The detailed plan of the transition strategy will be presented at the upcoming NATO Summit in Lisbon later this week. We are confident that a stronger and more efficient security force will lead to further progress in the fight against terrorism, and to improvement in the security situation.

Mr. President,
As long as terrorism remains a threat, the fight against it will continue. By the same token, it is widely recognized that military efforts alone are not the solution to Afghanistan’s security problem. Reconciliation and reintegration of former combatants with no links to terrorist organizations is critical for achieving lasting peace and security.  In this regard, I want to state clearly that our reintegration and reconciliation initiative will be pursued in conformity with the provisions of the Afghan constitution. Additionally, we give full assurance that the democratic process and respect for human rights, the rights of women in particular, will remain a priority during reconciliation.

Mr. President

Afghanistan commends the Security Council for the able manner in which it is leading international efforts in combating terrorism. In that regard, we highlight the importance of counter-terrorism committees 1267, 1373 and 1540.

Mr. President,

The 1267 Committee remains one of the important instruments of the Security Council in countering terrorism. Consistent with resolution 1904, the Committee has taken a number of important steps to increase transparency and effectiveness in its work. In July of this year, the Committee revised its working guidelines. Another important achievement is the publication of narrative summaries for enlisting. This new practice provides member-states with concise information, such as date and reason for listing. Moreover, in August, the Committee concluded its review of all individuals on the consolidated list, which led to the delisting of additional names.

Mr. President,

We join other speakers in underscoring the importance of a periodic review of the list, so as to ensure its accuracy. In this connection, Afghanistan welcomes the de-listing of 10 former Taliban members during the course of the year. Such measures will benefit Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation initiative. Having said that, we urge the Committee to also give due consideration to Afghanistan’s additional de-listing requests, and look forward to Monitoring Team’s visit to Kabul at the end of this month.

In regards to the 1373 Committee, we underscore its important work, and welcome the continued efforts of the Committee and its Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) for increased collaboration with member-states.

Mr. President,

Terrorists have proven their readiness to terrorize peoples, societies, and countries as a demonstration of their strength. They will no spare no effort to go to all lengths, including resorting to nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism. In this connection, we commend the ongoing efforts of the 1540 Committee in preventing non-state actors from participating in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is actively engaged in implementing the relevant resolutions of the Security Council on terrorism, on which we have presented national reports. Needless to say, Afghanistan is party to all 13 conventions on terrorism. Moreover, Afghanistan’s relevant national institutions, the security and judicial sectors in particular, are working diligently to further strengthen our counter-terrorism efforts.

In conclusion, Mr. President, I should like to state that the fight against terrorism is a key component of our partnership with the international community. We look forward to strengthening this partnership in the coming years.  And let me reiterate that the people of Afghanistan are as resolute as ever before to eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Thank you Mr. President.

Understanding Afghanistan through the Prism of History

A Glimpse into Afghanistan Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow at Stony Brook University

On 4 November, just hours after the debate on the Situation in Afghanistan in the United Nations General Assembly, Stony Brook University hosted a crucial discussion on “Afghanistan: The Current Situation through a Historic Lens.”  Introductory remarks were given by Professors Said  Amir Arjomand and Paul Zimansky to welcome a full crowd of students and community members at the Center for Global and Local History.

The theme of the discussion was that in order to understand what is happening in present day Afghanistan, it is essential to recognize the history behind the conflict.  H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Nations  gave an enlightening presentation at the event.  While seeking to debunk the common misconception that Afghanistan has always been at war through pointing out a century of relative calm and peace in the nation prior to the 1980s, the focus of the discussion was on the torrential period of conflict from the last three decades.

As Ambassador Tanin outlined, three foreign interventions or invasions, and three civil wars have taken place in the past thirty years.  First was the Soviet invasion of 1979, then the war of resistance against that invasion, followed by the invasion of Afghanistan by al-Qaeda and foreign Mujahideen with the support of Pakistan in 1994, accompanied by the Mujahideen fighting the Taliban in the 1990s.  Interventions by international forces led by the US began in 2001 which led to fighting between Taliban and the international and Afghan forces.  Dramatic regime or ideological shifts have characterized recent history in Afghanistan.  “Each change you see here is a bloody change,” Ambassador Tanin reminded the audience, as he pointed to the timeline of the last three decades.  The millions of deaths, major destruction of economy, and disintegration of state from this complex history have reversed much of Afghanistan’s progress over the previous century, he said.

Nevertheless, Ambassador Tanin expressed optimism about the progress of the country and its future, starting with a new beginning in 2001 which involved increased international support.  He described key human rights successes which include dramatically improved access to health care, advancements in women’s rights particularly in the area of political participation, a rising number of female students, 71% enrollment rates in schools, and the building of 4,000 new school buildings in the last decade.   He also expressed some of the former challenges, particularly in the coordination and adequacy of troops and funding.  Despite ongoing struggles, Ambassador Tanin has hope that with the second term of President Karzai, the strong commitment of the Afghan government to the national agenda, and the sustained role of the international community for a successful transition to Afghan-led ownership and responsibility, peace and progress can be achieved.  However, as Ambassador Tanin expressed, with this optimism comes the burden of hard work, and diligent follow through ahead.