Friday, August 22, 2014

Hosts Ambassadorial Conversation on “Afghanistan and its Neighborhood” at Fairleigh Dickenson University


On 6 April, the Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck Campus, co-organized an event with the United Nations Ambassador’s Club entitled, “Afghanistan and its Neighborhood.”  H. E. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations was a guest speaker. The founder and CEO of the foundation, Ambassador Ahmad Kamal requested Ambassador Tanin’s presence to shed light on important topics concerning Afghanistan and the region. The esteemed former Ambassador of Pakistan, Ambassador Kamal had not only organised the event but also chaired the session. During an ‘informal conversation’ setting, Ambassador Kamal and Ambassador Tanin discussed a broad range of topics including Afghan history, its relationship with the region, particularly Pakistan, and the future direction of the country. The event was well attended by an audience of 110 diplomats, students and faculty staff and was followed by a formal dinner in honor of Ambassador Tanin.

A common theme from the discussions was the emphasis that despite their many differences, Afghans and Pakistanis have much shared culture and language.  Ambassador Tanin described the historical divisions during the time of the Cold War, the political context that led to the rise of the Taliban, and the further strategic divide between the two countries.  However, he mentioned the importance of realizing the potential for cooperation throughout the region.

Questions from audience members focused on the role of the US in Afghanistan.  Ambassador Tanin spoke with certainty, “we’d like to see an America that helps us stand on our own feet.”  He acknowledged that the US and Afghanistan hold dialogue in order to further develop and improve their strategic partnership, and that this communication is both “frank and friendly.” When asked about how Afghans view the American presence there, Ambassador Tanin pointed out that there are a range of views within the country, and that many Afghans want international involvement in the country, but also that “any action, whether by the Afghan government or international forces” can have an effect on public opinion.

In response to further audience questions, Ambassador Tanin argued that women’s education is of crucial importance, and that corruption must be addressed, but that the war has been an obstacle in overcoming this issue. He emphasized the need to work for a lasting peace in Afghanistan and responded to questions about the negotiation process. “We need to end this war,” he said, “it cannot be done in only a military way.  A reconciliation is needed.”

During the formal dinner following the conversation, the Provost gave a warm welcome to Ambassador Tanin.  An Afghan student from the university gave thanks on behalf of the student body, describing that he had listened to Ambassador Tanin as a former BBC journalist in Afghanistan many years ago.

Ambassador Tanin Welcomes Extension of UNAMA’s Mandate

22 March 2011 – Today the United Nations Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) until 23 March 2012 by unanimously adopting resolution 1974 (2011).

Resolution 1974 reaffirms the Council’s continued support for the people and Government of Afghanistan in the effort to achieve lasting peace, security and stability. It also underscores the importance of transition to Afghan ownership and leadership, a process that officially began yesterday and will continue through 2014.

The resolution also underscores the importance of a “One UN Approach,” in which all UN agencies, funds and programs are streamlined to achieve greater coherence, coordination and efficiency of development assistance.

In his statement after the vote, Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, welcomed the adoption of resolution 1974 as an important step in strengthening Afghanistan’s partnership with the UN and the international community.  He recognized the contribution that the UN and other international partners have made toward peace, security, and stability in Afghanistan, and further emphasized the crucial role they will continue to play through the process of transition and beyond.

Ambassador Tanin also acknowledged appreciation for the up-coming review of the UN’s mandate and support before the end of 2011, stressing that it would “further improve the effectiveness of the UN’s role in Afghanistan.”

Video

H.E. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador Zahir Tanin,Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, addresses a meeting of the Security Council on the situation in his country. During the meeting Members reviewed the Secretary-General’s latest report on “The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security”.