Security Council Reform Ambassador's Speeches

The Council needs to deal with the trans-national networks of drugs, terrorism and crime in Afghanistan

Statement by

Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative

At

UN Security Council Open Debate on

The Situation in Afghanistan

 

Mr. President

1.    Thank you for organizing this timely consideration of the situation in Afghanistan.

2.    The focus of the international community on Afghanistan has been unremitting from the start of this year. The Security Council visited Afghanistan in January; a ministerial debate on Afghanistan and regional connectivity was organized by Kazakhstan in the Council; several international and regional conferences have been held to address aspects of this issue. We hope that this debate will continue to reflect the unceasing commitment of the international community to Afghanistan.

3.    We thank Special Representative of the Secretary General Mr. Yamamoto for sharing his insights, Mr. Fedotov for bringing the perspective of drugs and crimes and Mr. Voronkov for emphasizing on the Counter-Terrorism dimensions. We also express our sincere appreciation of Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal’s articulation of the challenges that Afghanistan is confronted with. 
 
Mr. President 

4.    Listening to the briefings, it is obvious that the “events” of hope that are being discerned need to be transformed to a process if the situation in Afghanistan has to take a turn for the better. Sadly, the markers of progress on fundamental concerns about the situation strike a somber note - whether it is in terms of the suffering of the ordinary people of Afghanistan, the senseless orgy of heinous killings by terrorists, or the displacement of a conflict-weary people. These have a sobering impact by bringing us in touch with the harsh realities which millions of people of Afghanistan are facing on a day to day basis. 
 
Mr. President

5.    Despite the much-appreciated peace offer from the Afghan Government, the offensive from the Taliban has taken many lives. Such offensives cannot but be planned and launched without existence of safe havens in the neighborhood of Afghanistan.

6.    Those supporting the terrorists targeting Afghanistan have not been deterred.  Notwithstanding the efforts made by the international community there are still those who provide sanctuaries to support the dark agendas of terrorist organizations like the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Daesh,  Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. 
 
7.    The same safe havens that sheltered Mullah Omar also sheltered Osama bin Laden. Lest, we forget, the terrorism problem in Afghanistan is not a local one. We do not need a catastrophe again to remind us that Afghanistan requires strong and steady international support in elimination of the scourge of terrorism which is a threat to global peace and security. 
 
Mr. President

8.    Mr. Fedotov’s presentation of the Taliban’s involvement in virtually all aspects of the opium trade suggest that it is not a mere political or terrorism problem but one of organized crime too. Therefore, the Council needs to build on the reference in Resolution 2405 on linkages between extremism, terrorism, drug production and illegal exploitation of natural resources of Afghanistan.  It is time that the Council looks at options to better utilize the range of tools available to it to deal with these trans-national networks of drugs, terrorism and crime.
 
Mr. President

9.    India for its part is aware of the resilience of the friendly people of Afghanistan.  Based on Afghanistan’s desire for robust, reliable and year-round connectivity, and improving trade and investment relations with prominent markets in the region and beyond India has tailored our support as a development partner of Afghanistan to meet these requirements. 

10.    There have been significant developments in recent months, as far as connectivity is concerned. Chabahar port in Iran was inaugurated in December 2017. The Indian grant assistance of 170,000 tonnes wheat supplies to Afghanistan has recently transited through Chabahar, highlighting the benefits of improved connectivity.

11.    The India-Afghanistan Air Freight Corridor, established last year, has gained momentum in the first year of its operation. There are now cargo flights between Kabul, Kandahar, New Delhi and Mumbai. Thus far these flights have carried over 2,000 tonnes of exports from Afghanistan to India worth over tens of millions of dollars. Encouraged by this, we have plans to expand the air freight corridor network to various other cities in Afghanistan and India.

Mr. President

12.    Looking at the football on the table and the importance that you have placed on the power of sports, I thought it is important to refer to the role of sportspersons from Afghanistan.  The Persian poet and Sufi mystic Rumi had once said "where there is ruin, there is also hope for treasure”. This seems to have been the case of sportspersons from Afghanistan. They have left behind the memories when sports was explicitly banned by the Taliban in Afghanistan.  The national team of Afghanistan is the new sensation in cricketing fields globally. A few months back, Afghanistan qualified for the next Cricket World Cup. They made their first foray as a Test cricket playing nation earlier this month ensuring their presence amongst the best cricket playing countries in the world. While having made cricket grounds in India their home base, Afghan cricketers have flourished; however, we look forward to the day when we too can play cricket with them on their soil.    

Mr. President
 
13.    We appreciate the efforts of our Central Asian friends in assisting Afghanistan in the most difficult of times. The efforts by Uzbekistan in organizing the recent Tashkent conference on Afghanistan and the continuous tireless efforts by Kazakhstan in working on Afghanistan related issues in the Security Council are indeed significant and crucial in our collective efforts in the region. We will work with all those in the region who also believe that the interests of Afghans are paramount, in bringing a lasting solution to the security situation through a Afghan led and Afghan owned process. 

14.    Such efforts and those of partners from beyond our region all contribute to the indomitable spirit with which Afghans are building their country, despite the difficulties they face. This Council too must incessantly contribute to this noble cause.  

I thank you Mr President