The situation in Afghanistan Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security (S/2002/737)
|President:||Sir Jeremy Greenstock
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Zhang Yishan
|Mr. Boubacar Diallo
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Afghanistan
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security (S/2002/737)
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Afghanistan, Canada, Denmark, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine, in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I invite Mr. Brahimi to take seat at the Council table.
I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter dated 17 July 2002 from the Chargé d’affaires ad interim of the Permanent Mission of the Sudan to the United Nations, which reads as follows:
“I have the honour in my capacity as Chairman of the Islamic Group of the United Nations to request that the Security Council extend an invitation to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, under rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council, to his Excellency Mr. Mokhtar Lamani, Permanent Observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the United Nations, during the Council’s discussion on the situation of Afghanistan on Friday, 19 July 2002.”
That letter has been issued as a document to the Security Council under the symbol S/2002/780. If I hear no objection I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Lamani.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I invite Mr. Lamani to take the seat reserved for him at the side of the Council Chamber.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations. Members of the Council have before them the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security (S/2002/737).
At this meeting, the Security Council will hear a briefing by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan. There have been a number of important developments since the last open debate on Afghanistan in May, not least the successful meeting of the Emergency Loya Jirga last month. This, therefore, is a timely opportunity to take stock of progress towards implementation of Bonn process and to consider our priorities for the way ahead. It is a great honour to have the Secretary-General’s Special Representative with us this morning, and I should like to pay a tribute to him on behalf of the Security Council for the excellent work he is doing for the United Nations in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan. I now invite him to offer us his analysis of recent developments, his assessment of the many challenges which lie ahead for both the international community and the Transitional Authority, and his thoughts on how best these challenges should be faced.
It has been more than five months since I last addressed the Security Council. I am heartened by the Council’s continued interest throughout this period, and by the support it has provided for the work the United Nations is trying to do in Afghanistan. I am most grateful to my colleague Sir Kieran Prendergast, who has briefed the Council regularly on developments in Afghanistan. Members have also seen the 11 July 2002 report of the Secretary General on the situation in Afghanistan (S/2002/737). I am pleased to have this opportunity to share a few impressions about where things currently stand, and where we go from here.
So far, the peace process is on track. To be sure, it is a fragile peace which must be handled with great care so that it does not unravel. But there are a few critical factors which give cause for cautious optimism. First, the people of Afghanistan are truly tired of fighting. After 23 years during which they experienced every form of bloodshed and repression and witnessed every kind of loss and destruction, Afghans are finally tasting peace. Most of them are determined to do everything in their power to avoid a relapse into war.
Secondly, while there are still many individuals and factions seeking power and perhaps ready to go to great lengths to gain or hold on to it, no one has so far opted out of the peace process.
Thirdly, the international community’s interest in Afghanistan has not waned, despite the fact there are many other crises and deserving causes elsewhere in the world. We owe a particular debt of gratitude to the donor community for its invaluable assistance to the interim administration and its United Nations and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners in the following areas: the successful campaign which has allowed more than 3 million children to return to primary school; the return of more than 1 million refugees and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons; a modest but determined poppy eradication campaign; a successful locust campaign programme in the north; and a series of nationwide vaccination campaigns which reached millions of children. We hope that, as a result of the patient and persistent work of the United Nations in the latter field, polio will be completely eradicated in Afghanistan within 12 years.
Finally, all the deadlines set out in the Bonn Agreement have been met on time. Perhaps the most significant was the timed reconvening of the Emergency Loya Jirga, an event many people doubted would ever take place. The fact that it did take place, on schedule and without a single security incident, is in itself a great achievement. The Loya Jirga is a traditional institution in Afghanistan which historically has not been very representative. However, this Loya Jirga, which took place only six months after the end of a long and bitter conflict, was not designed to be, nor could it realistically have been, a perfectly democratic or representative process. It did, nevertheless, incorporate significant and innovative democratic elements. As a result, two thirds of the 1,600 delegates who took part were actually selected by the people themselves. The members spanned every ethnic and political group, and 200 of them were women. There was no precedent for any of that in Afghanistan. For more than a week, those delegates gathered, in the absence of guns and bullets, to begin debating some of the most difficult and controversial issues facing the country, providing great hope for national reconciliation. In all of these senses, the Loya Jirga, even if it was not perfect, represented a significant step forward in the peace process.
Despite those achievements, countless challenges and problems remain. Foremost among them is security, which is one of the most critical requirements for a sustainable peace but which has remained elusive in many parts of the country. The questions we had six months ago — how many members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda remained in Afghanistan, and what kind of a threat they really posed to the stability of the country — remain unanswered. Until and unless we have evidence to the contrary, we must assume that those groups can still pose a threat.
In many regions of the country, security remains precarious. In the north, for example, the situation has seriously deteriorated in recent weeks, culminating in the tragic gang rape of a female aid worker last month. Since January, the United Nations has documented more than 70 serious security incidents in that region involving aid agencies or vulnerable groups. That list does not begin to capture the insecurity with which Afghans in certain regions of the country, who feel that they are permanently at the mercy of armed groups, must live on a daily basis.
I have taken up this issue with the commanders in the north and have made it clear to them that they bear the ultimate responsibility for bringing criminals and human rights violators to justice. I have also repeatedly conveyed to them the Secretary-General’s warning that continued insecurity is likely to discourage donors from investing in the region.
But the real key to the restoration of security lies in the creation of a national army and a national police force, along with a strong demobilization programme. Equally important will be the proposed reform of the National Directorate for Security, the NDS. It is reported that a young man died last month in circumstances that were suspicious, to say the least, while he was in detention in the NDS. That is not acceptable in today’s world, and, more important, it is not acceptable to the people of Afghanistan, who need to feel protected — not threatened — by the intelligence and other security services in their country.
President Karzai has highlighted the establishment of the national army and police and the reform of the NDS as being among his top priorities for the transitional period, but he will need a clear commitment from factional leaders, as well as much more determined and sustained support from the international community, in order to realize those objectives.
Our American and German partners have been doing very good work in training the army and the police, respectively. But, before rushing ahead with training, it is essential to ensure that a comprehensive strategy has been worked out for those institutions, of which training would be only one part — a strategy that needs to have the support both of the Transitional Administration and of donors. And it must be ensured that potential spoilers have been brought on board or otherwise neutralized. Failing that, a national system of security will not have much chance of success.
It is indispensable, for example, that plans be in place for the phasing out of those who currently call themselves soldiers and police, so that we do not simply create yet another police force and yet another army in a country where too many such forces already exist. It must be established that the relevant ministries are committed to pursuing sustainable methods of recruitment and to ensuring that the new forces are adequately armed and equipped. And it must be ensured that barracks are in place to house new trainees and that the resources are available to pay them over the long run. For that, we will need to translate international commitments into concrete contributions, both to the army trust fund, which the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) will manage, and to the law and order trust fund for police activities, which the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is managing.
All of that will take time, but it will be time well spent if it leads to the establishment of truly sustainable institutions. In the meantime, however, a real security void exists in the country, leaving many Afghans feeling vulnerable and uncertain about their own future and that of their country.
We have recognized time and again the dramatic improvement in security in Kabul in less than six months, thanks to the presence of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Every foreign delegation that has visited Kabul over the past few months has praised this progress and has acknowledged that the precarious security situation elsewhere in the country could hamper progress on both the political and the recovery fronts. Yet there does not seem to be much support for the one measure that is certain to improve the security situation: the expansion of ISAF to other parts of the country.
We continue to believe that the expansion of ISAF would have an enormous impact on security and that it could be achieved with relatively few troops, at relatively little cost and with little danger to those troops. It has been suggested that alternative solutions for security might be proposed and considered pending the establishment of the national army and police. But no such ideas have been put forth, and even the very modest arrangements that the Secretary-General proposed in order to provide security during the Loya Jirga were not supported.
The peace process has now entered a new phase, and we must all turn to the important tasks ahead. During the transitional period, the Afghan leadership must translate the priorities that have been outlined by President Karzai into a set of achievable objectives, including good governance, the development of key institutions and the implementation of recovery and reconstruction projects. The international community must do what it can to help the Government function as a cohesive national unit that speaks with one voice. The Transitional Authority must also proceed quickly to establish a constitutional commission to undertake the sensitive task of drafting the country’s new constitution.
With regard to the census, which was one of the requests made of the international community in the Bonn Agreement, experts have advised us that it could take anywhere from three to five years — and perhaps even longer under the circumstances that exist in Afghanistan — to complete such a census. Nevertheless, we are looking into whether this time frame could be reduced if maximum resources were made available.
At the same time, the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs will soon undertake an assessment of what will be needed in order to start preparations for the national elections, also provided for in the Bonn Agreement.
With regard to human rights and the justice sector, the commissions prescribed in Bonn have been set up, and we hope that they will soon be operational. Our objective is to assist in creating the conditions that will allow Afghans to take full charge of these issues. Clearly, the international community will have to provide significant assistance — financial, technical and political — to help these commissions carry out their difficult and sensitive tasks, which will be critical in restoring accountability and the rule of law in Afghanistan. However, the process must be led and implemented by Afghans themselves.
We must also not forget that there is still a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and that this crisis is likely to persist for some time. We are facing funding shortfalls, but refugees are returning in record numbers, and the services that would allow them to resettle and reintegrate in their own towns and villages, instead of flocking to already overcrowded and overburdened urban centres, are mostly absent. Meanwhile, the drought continues and household food security is at risk. And a few months from now, millions of vulnerable Afghans will face another hard winter.
In addition to helping the Government of Afghanistan meet the humanitarian needs of its people, we must support sustainable recovery and reconstruction efforts. But recovery and reconstruction have been slow to materialize, and the pledges made in Tokyo have not yet translated into concrete improvements in the lives of ordinary Afghans. Meanwhile, the Transitional Administration anticipates a serious crisis with respect to its ability to cover recurrent expenditures beyond the next four to six months.
Thus, while recognizing that the donor community has been extremely generous to date, and while acknowledging that the impact of most recovery and reconstruction projects cannot be immediately visible, continued engagement and the urgent translation of pledges into commitments are essential. I know that our concerns on this issue are shared by ACBAR, the coordinating body for the most important Afghan and international non-governmental organizations working in Afghanistan. The recent meetings in Europe of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Steering Group, the Afghanistan Support Group and the G-8 indicated that the donor community intends to stay the course and ensure that Afghanistan does not experience paralyzing delays in providing the bare necessities to its neediest regions and people.
As far as the structure of UNAMA is concerned, the underlying philosophy of the Mission remains the same: on the one hand, integration, so that political activities are linked to and informed by those in the relief, recovery and reconstruction sectors, and linked as well to the four cross-cutting areas — that is, gender, human rights, the rule of law and demobilization. On the other hand, the Mission is to have a light expatriate footprint and strive to build Afghan capacities, so that Afghans can take over as many of the functions that we are now performing, as soon as possible.
Integration is already taking place, but we need to accelerate the pace. The different and sometimes contradictory rules, regulations and cultures of the peacekeeping, political and assistance arms of the United Nations have made the already difficult integration process an even more challenging one.
This has been a learning process for us, but I believe that the entire United Nations family is committed to our goal of ensuring that the Organization’s activities strengthen Afghan capacities — not only our own institutional capabilities — and, secondly, that we are responsive to the priorities articulated in the Transitional Administration’s National Development Framework, and not to our own agendas or priorities.
A great deal of hard work has been done to develop a clear strategic direction for all of our recovery, relief and reconstruction activities. The appointment in May of programme secretariats was an essential element in this effort to bring together agencies and donors into programme groups and to help the Administration know what resources are coming into the country, and who is doing what, and where. But better management and circulation of information remains a major challenge on which UNAMA has to work with its partners in the weeks and months ahead.
As far as the light footprint is concerned, progress has also been made, but I believe that we must continue to work to make the delivery of services to the people of Afghanistan even more cost-effective. Each part of the United Nations system must, therefore, continuously ask itself whether its involvement in a particular sector is based on the fact that it has a comparative advantage to offer.
The Transitional Authority is concerned that donors remain reluctant to contribute significant financial resources directly to the national budget, while they continue to channel much of their assistance through the United Nations and non-governmental organizations. A core element of UNAMA’s role during the next 18 months will be assisting in building national capacity and confidence in governance systems so that international assistance will indeed flow more directly to the Afghan Administration and civil society organizations, making the United Nations presence lighter and more effective. This has already been accomplished in the field of demining, and it sets a very strong and encouraging example for the rest of the United Nations family.
In order to achieve this across the board, we plan to give maximum emphasis to supporting capacity development within central and provincial administrations, thereby increasing the number of Afghan professionals in the United Nations system itself. This should go a long way towards achieving the objectives upon which the structure of UNAMA was based.
The late Haji Abdul Qadir played an extremely positive role during the Loya Jirga, and the support he provided in his native Jalalabad was decisive in making the preparatory phases there highly successful. We had been looking forward to his contribution in the next stage of the peace process, as Vice-President of the Transitional Administration. He will be sorely missed. His tragic assassination serves as a reminder that, whatever successes may have been witnessed so far in Afghanistan, a single act or event can send fear down the spines of the most powerful people in Afghanistan and has the potential to seriously destabilize the situation.
So far we have been lucky, for there have been few such events. But as the peace process moves forward, we must be prepared for further setbacks, and perhaps even crises, for a situation as complex as Afghanistan defies quick and easy resolution. And the response to tragedies such as the assassination of Haji Qadir should be more determined cooperation with the Afghan people and those leaders who, with Hamid Karzai, are dedicated to the peace process.
Ashraf Ghani, the new Minister of Finance of Afghanistan, reminded us at the Afghanistan Support Group meeting in Geneva last week that, following the establishment of the Transitional Administration, Afghanistan is at a crossroads. We have encountered many other crossroads in the months since Bonn, and I hope that we have taken the right turn most of the time.
The challenge before us now is to prove to the people of Afghanistan that we will not disengage until we have made good on our promises to them, and that we will not allow setbacks to reverse our course. We owe this to the people of Afghanistan and to regional and global security, for we know only too well that instability in that remote part of the world can have repercussions far beyond the borders of Afghanistan.
I warmly thank the Special Representative for that very important briefing, which contained a number of messages to which members of the Council will wish to pay close attention.
Mr. President, I have a text in front of me, but, as you just said, Ambassador Brahimi has put across some very important messages that we need to respond to. So I will deviate from my text a little, and I apologize if my remarks may seem a little choppy as a consequence. But there are basically three or four points that we would like to put across.
The first point is to congratulate Ambassador Brahimi and his team on the good work that they have done in Afghanistan. Paying compliments is normally the easiest part of our work. But because we pay compliments every time a Special Representative of the Secretary-General comes here and speaks to us, our compliments become so routine that it is difficult to explain that this time they are real and not perfunctory and routine. As I struggled for words, I luckily found relief in the report of the Secretary-General, where he said that
“under the wise and inspired leadership of Lakhdar Brahimi, [the staff of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)] have endured difficult conditions, long hours, much stress and no rest over the past six months. Yet they have delivered quality results in all their activities, be they political, humanitarian, developmental, logistical or administrative”. (S/2002/737, para. 71)
I believe that is an understatement by the Secretary-General. I say this having taken note of the points that Ambassador Brahimi emphasized to us. First, he said that UNAMA did this with a very light expatriate footprint. Secondly, he talked not just about the complexities of having to deal with an obviously complex political solution in Afghanistan but also about the complexities of trying to integrate the United Nations family within Afghanistan. For all that he has done, we really do commend Ambassador Brahimi.
My second point concerns the political situation. The Secretary-General’s report of 11 July 2002 on the latest situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security as well as the presentation that Ambassador Brahimi has given us paint a balanced and realistic picture of the state of affairs in Afghanistan. We hope that they will be studied even after these meetings. The remarkable thing that we should take note of is that, despite the ambitious time line set by the Bonn Agreement and the inherent complexities created by long years of warfare and neglect, the Bonn process has largely been on track.
The big achievement in all this was the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga. We can point to the imperfections of the Loya Jirga. Yet, as Ambassador Brahimi said a few minutes ago, it was an event that many people doubted would ever take place. The fact that it did take place, on schedule and without a single security incident, is a great achievement. I completely agree with the Ambassador’s assessment. Certainly, the Loya Jirga has gone a long way towards providing a more balanced, broad-based and representative Transitional Authority for Afghanistan. This is an outcome resulting from Afghan participation and input. We believe that the Loya Jirga may have actually provided the foundation for change — as the Secretary-General put it in the report, through “the promotion of a new standard of legitimacy: namely, that power should be based on popular participation rather than military might”. (S/2002/737, para. 42)
We all know that, despite these achievements, considerable challenges remain. Indeed, Ambassador Brahimi spelled out those challenges in his remarks here today. The first and the biggest challenge is reflected in the fact that there is in Afghanistan today an existing power infrastructure that is the result of two or three decades of conflict. We talk about all the armed factions in various parts of the country. Our challenge now is to try and persuade those armed factions to join the main political process in the country. The good news, as Ambassador Brahimi reported to us is that, “no one has so far opted out of the peace process” (supra). That is the good news. But it is not enough. The challenge is to go one step further, to integrate those regional military leaders and to try to persuade them that it is in their long-term interest to relinquish whatever economic and political power they have in their own regions to the central authorities. That is one of the appeals that I was going to make.
I had three other appeals that I wanted to make: first, to call on President Hamid Karzai, after receiving the compelling vote of confidence from the Emergency Loya Jirga, to redouble his efforts to extend the authority of the Transitional Administration beyond Kabul; secondly, to call on the Afghan diaspora to respond to President Karzai’s call for them to return to help in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, which would go much further in helping Afghanistan than criticism from afar; and thirdly, to call on the Afghan delegates who participated in the Emergency Loya Jirga and who showed a tremendous amount of political courage and maturity to continue to display the same degree of commitment in the months and years ahead.
Having made those calls, I realize that they can be credible only if we can in a sense respond to the concerns of those to whom they are addressed. Ambassador Brahimi has just told us that foremost among these concerns is security, which is one of the main critical requirements of sustainable peace but which has remained elusive in many parts of the country. I believe that this is perhaps the main message that Ambassador Brahimi was trying to put across to us. As he said in his remarks, the recent assassination of Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir certainly caused quite a few tremors in Afghanistan.
I was also very troubled by the remarks that Ambassador Brahimi made about intimidation involving the National Directorate for Security. He referred to the case of a young man who died after interrogation. I do not know whether Ambassador Brahimi will be responding to questions later. If he is, can he tell us how we can try to make the National Directorate for Security, which we understand is causing much fear within Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan, a bit more open and accountable to ensure that it is not perceived to be a negative force in Afghanistan? But that is only a small part of the picture.
The larger question is the challenge of establishing security not just in Kabul but throughout Afghanistan. We are glad that Ambassador Brahimi applied the rules of the Brahimi report when he spoke to us today and told the Security Council “what it needs to know and not what it wants to hear” (S/2000/809, para. 64).
I thought that it was very brave of Ambassador Brahimi, and also of the Secretary-General, to make a very strong case for the possibility of expanding the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to other parts of the country.
I hope that the Council will take note of what he said after calling for the expansion of ISAF. He said:
“We continue to believe that the expansion of ISAF would have an enormous impact on security and that it could be achieved with relatively few troops, at relatively little cost and with little danger” (supra).
This is a fairly strong point that Ambassador Brahimi is putting across to us. I suspect that I am not giving away any secrets if I suggest that some people will be sceptical about the suggestion he is making, but I would ask him if, when he responds, he could highlight that point. Indeed, most of us are sympathetic and supportive of his request, and if he could elaborate a little more on this issue, then possibly the case for expanding ISAF beyond Kabul might, hopefully, gain some traction in the course of these discussions here.
Of course, as I said earlier, all the other calls that we have made through the regional commanders to join the main political process, the call on President Karzai to expand the scope of his authority — all of that is linked to the establishment of security. I hope that we will, during the course of this meeting, show great support for the call that Ambassador Brahimi has made to us.
Finally, a quick word on the humanitarian situation. Here, of course, we all know that, while the worst of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has been avoided, much more remains to be done in areas relating to humanitarian relief, recovery and reconstruction.
We all know that the donor community made generous pledges at the Tokyo donors’ conference, but, again, as Ambassador Brahimi has just told us, he is calling for an urgent translation of the pledges made into commitments. I hope that will also be forthcoming.
In conclusion, I wish to make two points. The first is to emphasize the point that Ambassador Brahimi made in his conclusion:
“The challenge before us now is to prove to the people of Afghanistan that we will not disengage until we make good on our promises to them, and that we will not allow setbacks to reverse our course. We owe this to the people of Afghanistan and to regional and global security” (supra).
I am glad that he added an important last phrase, when he said:
“For we know all too well that instability in a remote part of the world can have grave repercussions far beyond the borders of Afghanistan.”
We support that conclusion.
I wish to touch on another point. The thought struck me as I was listening to Ambassador Brahimi that perhaps the big lesson that we can learn from the latest example of Afghanistan is that, even in a country such as Afghanistan, which has experienced decades of conflict and which is known to have martial traditions and so on, there is indeed among the people a very deep desire for peace. If the international community can give them even the barest amount of help, they want to seize that opportunity and go back to a normal, peaceful life.
If we can succeed, in a sense, in turning back decades of conflict in a county such as Afghanistan, imagine the impact on the minds of people in other countries which have experienced far less conflict but which also want to return to a normal life. So if we can, with a light expatriate footprint, turn things around in Afghanistan, imagine what we can do in other countries around the world.
I will indeed return to Ambassador Brahimi, probably once before we conclude the morning session and then at the end of the whole debate, if he can stay with us that long.
Bulgaria would like to join you, Mr. President, in thanking Ambassador Brahimi and his team for the excellent work they are doing in Afghanistan on behalf of the United Nations and the international community.
The Loya Jirga was a great success and attests to the resolve of the Afghan people to take control of their country once again. That success was due also to Ambassador Brahimi’s ability and skills, and we would like warmly to thank him.
Bulgaria, a country associated with the European Union, fully aligns itself with the statement that will be made shortly by the Ambassador of Denmark on behalf of the European Union.
Allow me to make a few observations in my national capacity.
As I said earlier, the key event in Afghanistan that made us optimistic about the future of that long-suffering country was the success of the Loya Jirga, a traditional Afghan structure and an expression of the will of the Afghan people to live in peace and harmony. The impressive success of the Loya Jirga, despite various attempts at intimidation and even direct attacks on the political process, must be commended.
There was, indeed, a genuine political debate among the Afghans themselves during the Loya Jirga. The election of Hamid Karzai to head the Transitional Administration was a very positive development. President Karzai is certainly the right person for the job in Afghanistan at this time, and we wish him every success in his work of reconstructing the country.
The role of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in ensuring security in Kabul can hardly be overemphasized. We wish to pay tribute to the United Kingdom’s orderly handover to Turkey as lead country. We believe that General Zorlu’s order to establish control over the region to the north of Kabul is positive and will contribute to enhancing security in the capital of Afghanistan and in particular the security of the international airport.
As Ambassador Brahimi has said, now is the time for building Afghan institutions. This is very important work. The international community should assist in the creation of a genuine national army and a genuine national police — security forces worthy of the name. Bulgaria is participating in this international effort, and I should like to inform the Council that yesterday the Bulgarian Government took a decision to that effect, namely to provide military equipment to the re-emerging Afghan army. My country will continue its assistance in future.
Let me note in passing that we support the approach taken by the United Nations to the Afghan security forces, that is, that they should be representative, multi-ethnic, balanced, and that these criteria should apply also to the major institutions of Afghanistan.
Bulgaria unreservedly condemns the terrorist act that led to the death of Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir. This assassination illustrates just how fragile the political process in Afghanistan is. It also shows that the international community must remain engaged to lend assistance to that process.
We would once again like to draw the Council’s attention to the importance of combating drug production. My country is on the trafficking route for drugs, which are coming mostly from Afghanistan. We have seen some initial success in this area, at which we are pleased.
In conclusion, I would like to recall that Bulgaria has decided to extend the mandate of its contingent in the International Security Assistance Force for six months beginning on 20 June. Two months ago, Bulgaria re-established a permanent diplomatic presence in Kabul. Bulgaria is also making bilateral efforts to provide further assistance to our Afghan friends, particularly in the area of energy. We are establishing significant cooperation in that area, and a delegation of Bulgarian experts is currently in Kabul to study plans in that regard.
I am pleased to join you, Mr. President, and other delegations in welcoming Ambassador Brahimi back among us in the Council. I would like to express my personal respect and admiration for what he has accomplished since he was last here. I think the work he has done is truly remarkable, and I think that the progress that has been achieved in Afghanistan is due in large measure to his efforts and his excellent judgement.
Having said that, and despite how far we have come, I think we all agree that there is still much before us to be accomplished. The United States focus in Afghanistan has continued to be centred on the conduct of the war on terrorism. The roughly 8,000 coalition troops in Afghanistan are focused on the destruction of the remnants of Al Qaeda. We, together with our coalition partners, succeeded in defeating the vicious regime that harboured the Al Qaeda network, and we have succeeded in killing or capturing somewhat less than half of the top 30 or so leaders of the Al Qaeda organization. Many others are on the run. Military successes in Afghanistan have contributed to a larger success in finding terrorists elsewhere in the world. However, while these developments are encouraging, we must recall that Al Qaeda is still dangerous and active, and still poses a threat. Afghanistan’s long-term stability is the best guarantee that that country will not once again become an outlaw country that provides sanctuary for terrorists.
To make concrete the vision of a stable Afghanistan, the United States has also focused on the challenges of building an accountable and effective security apparatus in that country, of fostering Afghanistan’s internal governance and of providing humanitarian and development assistance. The backbone of Afghanistan’s security apparatus must ultimately be the Afghan national army. We have more than 250 United States and French military trainers working closely with the Afghans to train the army. The first and second battalions are progressing through their basic training. The first battalion is about to graduate, next week, and the third battalion will begin training before the end of July.
In that context, I would like to express our thanks to those States that have committed donations for the Afghan national army trust fund. We very much appreciate the significant contribution made by Luxembourg, as well as Finland’s pledge to that fund. In addition, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Bulgaria, Poland, the Republic of Korea, India and Romania are assisting the training effort with personnel, funding or equipment. But the efforts of the international community to train and equip a new army cannot stand alone. As the Security Council has said many times, the core solution to the Afghan security problem lies with the Afghans themselves. To that end, certain reforms are critical.
The Transitional Authority must create a representative, multi-ethnic and apolitical Ministry of Defence and national army that work on behalf of all Afghans. The Afghans must work together to prevent a recurrence of the recent violence in the north, and to end the tolerance for violence reflected in the shocking assassination of Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir. The United States strongly support President Karzai’s efforts to develop a national defence council encompassing all key ministries that will provide integrated national security leadership. The development of a comprehensive plan for the demobilization of regional militias and the absorption of some of those soldiers into a national army is a critical step. We applaud Japan’s very positive contributions to establish a register for peace and a demobilization programme aimed at reducing regional militias.
We continue to strongly support the efforts of United Nations agencies to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. The reconstruction effort needs to strengthen and legitimize the Transitional Authority. Concurrently, we need to strengthen the Transitional Authority’s capacity to absorb and administer assistance in a transparent manner. As we move from acute humanitarian crisis into the long-term project of reconstruction, the Transitional Authority, the United States and the international community are exploring ways to better prioritize and coordinate assistance. Last week, at meetings in Paris and Geneva, we discussed how better to coordinate international programmes. I might take this opportunity to note that the total amount of United States humanitarian assistance in the years 2001 and 2002 is more than $633 million.
Finally, I would again like to commend Special Representative Brahimi and his colleagues in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan for their dedication and their successes. They have helped to launch an extraordinary process in Afghanistan, and they deserve great credit for the good work that they have done.
I thank Special Representative Brahimi for his detailed briefing. We are very happy to welcome him today, as we look to the next phase of the international community’s involvement in Afghanistan. My delegation thanks him, and through him the United Nations staff in Afghanistan, for the immense sustained contribution that the United Nations has made in helping to restore hope and confidence in Afghanistan. There is now a hardening foundation on which we will all continue to build.
We would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on the situation (S/2002/737), in which he lays out very clearly the challenges we now face. My delegation associates itself fully with the statement to be made shortly by the Permanent Representative of Denmark on behalf of the European Union.
The Bonn Agreement achieved by Afghan representatives just last December crossed a critical threshold at a time when Afghanistan approached collapsing into total chaos. Chairman, now President, Karzai, and the Interim Authority then began the very difficult work of coordinating the reconstruction of Afghanistan, including the establishment of political institutions and the creation of a process designed, historically, to allow ordinary Afghans to express their views. These are serious achievements, when we recall where we were in Afghanistan last autumn.
While there may have been some imperfections in the Loya Jirga process, imperfections from which we must all learn, the simple fact that the Loya Jirga took place at all, and that it produced a clear outcome, is a testament to the will of the overwhelming majority in Afghanistan to break with the past and to begin the development of a political framework for an inclusive and multi-ethnic society.
It is essential now that the Transitional Administration extend its authority throughout Afghanistan, enhancing its legitimacy and demonstrating to people throughout Afghanistan the dividend for all that peace can bring.
Notwithstanding the positive outcome of the Emergency Loya Jirga, there are watchful elements in Afghanistan who may still retain calculations of personal advantage in their favour from their various angles, but with the collective effect of sustaining disruptive action against the building of a real and lasting peace in the country. We must ensure that such calculations have no prospect of success.
We condemn unreservedly the assassination of Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir. That brutal tragedy marked a palpable spasm in Afghanistan’s evolving political process. But we are very encouraged by the tenacious calm among a people who have refused to play into the calculating hands of the assassins. The Transitional Administration must now conduct a full and transparent inquiry into the assassination. The bringing to justice of the perpetrators, if it can be done, would calm the concerns of ordinary Afghans who continue to worry more broadly that their country may slip back into the pattern of violence that has proved so destructive over several decades.
Other high-profile acts of political violence must also be fully investigated, including the death of the Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism last February. In Afghanistan, as elsewhere, violence and impunity must be faced head-on by the weight of international legal, moral and political standards and authority. The Transitional Administration marks an extremely important step on the road to a more representative form of government for Afghanistan. The Afghan people have been given a political voice again, after too long a silence. It is vital that their views and ideas be listened to and absorbed as we move toward the preparation of the elections to be held in 18 months.
The Loya Jirga gave a particular opportunity to women to participate in the political process again. While this may have been a small step forward, it is, nonetheless, a measurable and significant one. We look forward to substantive participation by women in the consultation process leading to elections.
Now that the Loya Jirga process has reached a successful conclusion, it is crucial that donors fulfil their commitment to Afghanistan, particularly through the early disbursement of pledges made at the Tokyo Conference. Afghanistan’s ongoing needs remain acute, and disbursements now lag well behind pledges, as Mr. Brahimi has pointed out. Ireland has already disbursed nearly half of its Tokyo Conference pledge of 12 million euros, a commitment spread over a number of years, in addition to over 2 million euros in emergency assistance so far this year. The disbursement of reconstruction assistance in a timely manner is essential if the people of Afghanistan are to see the dividend of peace. As Lakhdar Brahimi has said on many previous occasions, if the international community does not now disburse promptly the millions already committed, the billions for the future will not come into meaningful play.
Beyond the massive project of reconstructing Afghanistan, there are also continuing acute humanitarian needs in the country, which must remain a donor priority. Funding shortfalls have had a real impact on the work of the United Nations and other agencies, such as the World Food Programme, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, whose exceptional achievements thus far will count for little in the future without sustained funding.
There are continued and very heartening reports regarding the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes, with more than 1.2 million refugees returning to Afghanistan this year. However, funding shortfalls are jeopardizing assistance for those who are now returning, and who, on current projections, will continue to return in very large numbers in the coming months.
Ireland has now made a contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The deployment of ISAF has had a profound impact on security in Kabul and its surroundings, an impact that was seen even before the force was fully deployed. The presence of ISAF has been an important pillar in the commencement of the reconstruction enterprise. However, the security situation, as Special Representative Brahimi made clear this morning, remains much more fragile in other parts of Afghanistan, and in particular in the north of the country. The wider insecurity is placing the relief and reconstruction effort in real jeopardy, in the considered judgement of Mr. Brahimi.
We condemn unreservedly attacks committed against international aid organizations in recent weeks, including the horrific attack on a female aid worker. We call on the Transitional Administration and the local leadership to take concrete measures now to combat such attacks.
On a more general note, it is important that the benefits of stability, including reconstruction, be experienced throughout Afghanistan. We are grateful to the United Kingdom for leading as the lead nation in ISAF over the first six months of its life. We are very grateful also to Turkey for assuming the role of lead nation in ISAF. We look forward to continued cooperation with Turkey and with the other ISAF participants that have ensured the success of the force to date.
We welcome the meeting which took place in Paris last week, in the G-8-plus format, which provided a valuable opportunity to assess the state of play in a number of key security sectors. We are very grateful to the lead nations, as well as to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), for their work across a wide variety of areas. Like many others, we remain concerned at the low level of participation in some army training programmes, which pushes further back the point at which an inclusive Afghan national army can begin to take responsibility for the country’s security needs.
We look forward to further details arising from sector-specific meetings in Kabul, and we welcome the United Kingdom’s initiative in convening a meeting on drug control next week in Kabul. As Special Representative Brahimi has made abundantly clear this morning, there are great challenges ahead, as the transitional Government embarks on its work, and as the reconstruction of Afghanistan begins in earnest. None of us underestimate these challenges; nor do we underestimate the continued danger of possible reversal of Afghanistan’s present course. We must continue to reassert our continued commitment to Afghanistan, with the shared objective of together breaking with the past, and together building a peaceful, stable Afghanistan to the benefit of its people and the other peoples of the region.
I echo the well-deserved, sincere congratulations that other members of the Council have expressed to Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, for his work in that country. Thanks go also to all of the personnel of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and of the other institutions involved in rebuilding Afghanistan.
It would be very difficult to appraise the work of the Transitional Administration when it has barely begun. The recent assassination of Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir — the second violent death of a high Afghan official in six months — reflects the serious challenges facing the Administration. We condemn those attacks and those against humanitarian workers in Afghanistan.
Mexico considers that the encouraging outcome of the Emergency Loya Jirga and the hopes the Afghan people have invested in that process need to be matched by the international community. Major challenges lie ahead, such as the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants; the protection and enforcement of human rights, especially for women; the reconstruction and reconfiguration of the economy, especially the agricultural sector; and, especially, the productive integration of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons and refugees. This huge task will involve the efforts and resources of the international community for many years to come.
We consider that the capacity of the United Nations and the international community to continue expanding its humanitarian activities in a war zone such as Afghanistan is reaching its limit. A new humanitarian crisis, whether from natural disaster or from military conflict, would undoubtedly exceed the capacity of international agencies and the international community itself. Mexico reaffirms its recognition of the donor countries and all governmental and non-governmental agencies that are making possible the international community’s great humanitarian endeavour in Afghanistan. We particularly welcome the coordination efforts of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
I welcome the successful completion of the Loya Jirga. It was a major step towards fulfilment of the Bonn Agreement and was thus a step towards establishing long-term stability and democracy in Afghanistan. On this occasion I would like to pay tribute to Ambassador Brahimi and his staff for the very important and remarkable role they are playing through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). I welcome his assessment that the peace process is on track. I also note his additional comment that it is a fragile peace which must be handled with care.
The recent tragic assassination of Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir clearly illustrates the fragility of the situation. It underscores the urgent need to establish a national army under civilian leadership and an effective police force, as well as the need for reform of the security services. I believe also that quick and tangible progress on reconstruction, under the direction of the Afghan Transitional Authority, is essential in order to strengthen support for the central Government and to have its presence felt throughout the country. The provision of a peace dividend to people affected by more than 23 years of war is an effective tool for strengthening the political process.
Building a new Afghanistan is primarily the responsibility of the Afghan people. They must set the priorities, determine the kind of assistance required and decide on the pace of reconstruction efforts.
The current humanitarian crisis is a top priority. Moreover, alleviating the suffering of the civilian population is also a tool for promoting long-term peace and stability. In that regard, funding for integration of a large number of returnees is a crucial and urgent issue. It can in turn prevent new population movements due to a lack of food, shelter and basic social services, movements which could threaten to destabilize entire regions even further. Afghanistan has, for many years, been marred by an almost total lack of the rule of law and basic human rights protections.
We have now reached a historic turning point for the country and face the prospect of putting human rights on the agenda in a sound and broad-based manner. The need for human rights protection on the ground is imperative. Moreover, there can be no sustainable peace if impunity for past and current abuses is allowed to prevail. In order to ensure the rule of law and full accountability in all fields of public authority, institution-building must be a key priority at this stage. The recent establishment by the Afghan Transitional Authority of the Human Rights Commission is a welcome initiative in that regard. We also anticipate the establishment, in the near future, of a constitutional commission. Norway calls on the Transitional Authority to give sufficient impetus to the work of those two bodies. Moreover, the international community must increase its commitment to assist in the creation of an Afghan State based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The need for participation of women in the rebuilding and reconstruction process in Afghanistan is regularly reiterated. However, at this stage it is crucial to move beyond words and prioritize making women truly instrumental in all rebuilding processes. Afghan children have also suffered incalculably as a result of several decades of war. They have been deprived of access to health and education, maimed, orphaned, displaced and abused. If lasting peace is to come to Afghanistan, the protection and well-being of its children must be a top political and financial priority during the recovery and reconstruction phases.
Norway, together with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict has worked on a number of initiatives to address the plight of the Afghan children. These include an agenda for Afghan children prepared by the Office of the Special Representative and the United Nations Children’s Fund. The aim is to organize a children’s conference that will bring together a group of youths from all ethnic backgrounds and give them the opportunity to become more active participants and partners in their country’s recovery. It is also our hope that the conference could lead to the appointment of a national commissioner or ombudsman for children’s affairs.
Norway chaired an Afghanistan Support Group meeting on 11 July 2002, where representatives from the Afghan authority, the donor community, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations came together to discuss recent developments in Afghanistan. Immediate and long-term needs were highlighted and the appropriate donor response was discussed. We are pleased to note the donors’ reconfirmation of their support to Afghanistan. Particularly commendable was the willingness to fund both humanitarian aid and long-term development efforts, including budgetary support to the Transitional Administration of President Karzai. The latter form of assistance is considered pivotal for the strengthening of the central Government at the expense of the warlords, which is indeed one of the key challenges in today’s Afghanistan.
The political road map for the future Afghanistan has been agreed upon, and the world’s attention is still focused on the country. However the window of opportunity will not remain open for long. Sustained support for the Afghan Transitional Administration is thus of crucial importance, including throughout the second phase of the Bonn process.
At the outset, allow me to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this important meeting on Afghanistan. I should also like to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security. It is both comprehensive and detailed, and it comes at a very important juncture in Afghan political history.
I should also like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the tireless efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, whom we welcome among us today. Further, we should like to pay tribute to the excellent work carried out by his excellent staff in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), particularly in the light of the difficult and complicated circumstances prevailing on the ground. I pay tribute to his efforts, his persistence and his determination to pursue the path of the United Nations in Afghanistan.
We should like to share Mr. Brahimi’s optimism with regard to the evolution of the political, security and development tracks in Afghanistan, marked by life’s stages of joy, sadness, worry and optimism. It is truly heartening that there have been so many achievements thus far in the political, economic and social areas. The return of children to school by the millions, the return of 1 million displaced persons to the country, the elimination of poppy cultivation — formerly a major problem — the launching of locust eradication and, in the political field, the convening of the Loya Jirga, which revitalized that traditional constitutional Afghani mechanism — one eighth of whose members are women, which in itself is a notable achievement — are all extremely important developments. Those achievements, along with the initial stages of the training of the police and of the armed forces, despite the many difficulties and challenges encountered, should make us all proud.
However, this is a long process for the international community. The task remains unfinished, and the United Nations Mission and Mr. Brahimi still have a long path ahead of them. I admired the determination in Mr. Brahimi’s statement that the Mission would not allow setbacks to derail the peace process. We owe a debt to the Afghani people and to the rest of the world to pursue that positive process and to assist the Afghani people. I truly appreciate Mr. Brahimi and his tireless efforts.
There are several protracted problems that the Government and people of Afghanistan must still face, the security situation in particular. First, we must ask what we can do to achieve the necessary security for the Afghani people. Mr. Brahimi said that around 70 security-related incidents have recently occurred in Afghanistan. I share his assessment that the huge improvement in the security situation over the past six months can be attributed to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). I also agree with him that the grave security situation, especially in the north, will hinder the improvement of the political situation. If we are to address those problems, we need to extend the security task nationwide. I fully support his request to extend ISAF’s mandate throughout the country.
Only yesterday, at an open meeting, the Council discussed the situation in the Mano River region and the lessons learned there. The members of the Council felt that the security situation in Liberia might spill over into the other countries of the region. So what can we expect with regard to a security environment that is so volatile in all parts of Afghanistan except Kabul? If we use the Mano River region as an example, that situation could spill over into Kabul, because, unless security prevails throughout Afghanistan — which, after all, is one entity — the prevailing insecurity might affect the other parts of the country.
It is only natural for us to support the efforts to establish institutions capable of addressing the security situation in Afghanistan. I should like to express our appreciation for all donors who have been able to help Afghanistan’s military, security and other institutions to enhance the security of the Afghani people, who have suffered devastating wars for so long.
We believe that the balanced participation of all ethnic groups in directing the political affairs of Afghanistan is an extremely important factor in achieving security; it would support and complement the functions of the security institutions. As Ambassador Brahimi said, the convening of the Loya Jirga, the establishment of a constitutional commission to draft a new constitution and to write an election code, and the actual holding of elections in which all Afghani ethnic groups participate, will advance the political situation and enhance security.
The return of all Afghani refugees, the guarantee of human rights and the establishment of a human resource infrastructure, as well as Afghani capacity-building, will contribute to the establishment and consolidation of comprehensive human development, not merely human resources, in Afghanistan. In that regard, we must thank the donor countries that have provided assistance aimed at overcoming Afghanistan’s protracted problems. At the same time, we urge donor countries and others that have the ability to do so to provide additional assistance to Afghanistan so that it can rise to meet its political, economic, social and security challenges.
Let me first of all convey my thanks and deep appreciation to you, Mr. President, for holding this public meeting on Afghanistan. I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ambassador Brahimi, and thank him for his useful and comprehensive briefing on the current situation in that country. My delegation commends the efforts of the Special Representative and his team in contributing to the success of the Loya Jirga process. The fair and transparent manner in which the process was carried out clearly indicates the willingness of the Afghan people to embrace the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
My delegation welcomes the positive and constructive steps taken to implement the Bonn Agreement, and we are particularly pleased to note the establishment of the Human Rights and Judicial Commissions. We also commend the work carried out so far by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in the rehabilitation process and in helping the Afghan women and children enjoy their inherent rights and freedom.
We congratulate the people of Afghanistan, who have shown their resilience, courage and determination to rebuild their country and to make it a safe place to live.
Now that the Transitional Authority is in place, the primary task that needs to be undertaken by the current leadership is to establish a political and institutional infrastructure that will facilitate the economic and social reconstruction of Afghanistan. Security throughout the country will have to be given priority on the agenda. The recent incidents of violence and the assassination of Haji Qadir show that the security situation in Afghanistan is still under threat. We welcome the commission established by the Transitional Authority to carry out an enquiry on the assassination of the Vice-President.
The insecurity prevailing in Afghanistan is a matter of concern to my delegation. Although the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is doing its best to maintain peace in Kabul, serious incidents of threats and armed attacks continue to disrupt the life of the ordinary Afghan citizen. It is important to accelerate the process of the formation of the Afghan police force, which will have to shoulder the responsibility of maintaining peace and security throughout Afghanistan on its own.
We welcome the holding of the recent Afghan Support Group meeting in Geneva this month. We are happy to note that donor countries and international organizations have committed themselves to $1.8 billion in aid to the country for the year 2002, and a total of $4.5 billion over the years. We appeal to the donors to fulfil their pledges.
It is also important that the people of Afghanistan collaborate with the international community in order to realize the projects that will be put in place. We agree with the observations of Minister Ashraf Ghani that the problems of Afghanistan require a joint approach to stabilize the country and to bring it security, economic growth and development.
The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan merits the international community’s urgent attention. The return of more than half a million Afghan refugees leads to enormous strains in Kabul. Internally displaced persons need to be reintegrated into the society, since they constitute an important element in building the human and social capital in Afghanistan. Without international support, it would be difficult for the Transitional Authority to cope with the rapid influx of refugees and internally displaced persons, who are already suffering from malnutrition, food insecurity and socio-economic vulnerability.
On the question of drug trafficking and drug control programmes, the efforts undertaken by the Interim Administration and its commitment to poppy eradication need to be commended. The decree against the cultivation of poppies should not be undermined for any reason.
The establishment of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs under the Interim Authority is yet another major achievement. As the country moves ahead in its democratization process, it is my delegation’s view that the Interim Authority should continue to maintain the momentum in supporting the advancement of women and their integration in all recovery programmes. We support all efforts undertaken in strengthening the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to allow for better planning and coordination of the gender issue and women’s rights. We sincerely hope that this institution will increase women’s participation in the civil service and allow them to take higher responsibilities in other sectors, such as justice and administration, and at decision-making levels.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation for the comprehensive report prepared by the United Kingdom on ISAF during its first six months of operation. ISAF’s contribution to improving the security situation in Kabul has been very positive in regard to the establishment of law and order and in maintaining security. We are confident that under its Turkish command ISAF will continue along the same path.
We support the recommendations made by the Secretary-General for the limited expansion of ISAF outside Kabul. Such expansion should, in the first place, focus on the security and protection of aid workers, particularly in sensitive and remote areas.
We are happy to welcome the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, to this Security Council meeting, and we are grateful to him for his detailed briefing on the situation in that country. Like other delegations, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Brahimi for the major contribution he has made and for his tireless work to help the Afghan peace process. The Russian Federation has supported him and will continue to support him in his important work. We are also grateful to the Secretary-General for his report describing the highlights of the implementation of the Bonn Agreement on Afghanistan.
From 11 to 19 June the Emergency Loya Jirga was held in Kabul, and this was certainly a milestone in Afghanistan’s post-war State reconstruction. It was a real step towards achieving national harmony and establishing solid institutions of authority and a stable political regime. The assembly’s results strengthened the policy for re-emergence of an independent and peaceful Afghanistan, completely removing from its territory hotbeds of international terrorism, religious extremism and the threat of drug trafficking.
We have noted that a viable political system is being established in Afghanistan that is broadly representative and reflects the multi-ethnic nature of Afghan society. It also takes account of historical realities.
It is good that the Loya Jirga elicited enormous interest among the Afghan society. Nobody remained indifferent, and for the first time in many years women played an active part in Afghan political life.
Of course, not everything went smoothly, and this is mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report. There were virtual ballots on the establishment of the parliament, on the key personnel in the Government and on other matters. There was some intimidation, and some candidates were even killed. At the same time, one could hardly have expected, after such a protracted civil war and upheaval in Afghan society, that harmony would have instantly prevailed.
We think it is absolutely essential that the Afghans be able to reach a compromise and set up the framework of a Government that will be able to continue the policy begun last December on building a new Afghan society.
The Russian Federation welcomes the election of Hamid Karzai as the head of the Transitional Administration. We think it is important to ensure the unity of the Government he is heading, and for our part we will do our utmost to help him in this endeavour. We hope that the Transitional Administration will continue to implement consistently the Bonn Agreement and will also do its utmost to ensure that peace is restored to the country as swiftly as possible so that the economic and social structures can be rebuilt.
We share Mr. Brahimi’s concern for the need to strengthen security in Afghanistan. We welcome the stabilizing role of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in maintaining law and order in Kabul according to its mandate. We wish the Turkish commander of ISAF every success, and we express our appreciation to the United Kingdom for its leading role in the initial phase of ISAF’s work.
As noted in the Secretary-General’s report, in the present circumstances it does not seem possible to expand ISAF beyond the capital of Afghanistan. It is evident that in these circumstances it is necessary to speed up the establishment of an effective Afghan national army. Foreign forces can play an important role in the establishment of the Afghan army. We think it is important to ensure that foreign assistance is not competitive in nature. Rather, it should carried out strictly in accordance with the purposes and tasks set by the international community as enshrined in the decisions of the Security Council. Also, it must be ensured that the persons trained actually join national army units, that they form the core of the army and not simply leave military service immediately after completing their training.
In his statement, Special Representative Brahimi drew attention to the acute humanitarian problem in Afghanistan and to the inadequacy of the resources available to the Transitional Administration. In the first stage of the humanitarian operation to provide emergency assistance to Afghanistan, Russia provided over $12 million of assistance. I would highlight the reopening of the Salang tunnel and the opening of hospitals and a cinema in Kabul. We intend to increase our assistance to Afghanistan. We have already delivered 48 vehicles. Under a contract with the United Nations, we plan to deliver another 137 vehicles with sets of spare parts.
Work is under way in cooperation with a number of countries to deliver food and medicine and to provide electricity from Tajikistan. We hope that other countries’ contributions will be translated from numbers into actual assistance.
Russia supports the central role of the United Nations in a settlement. The Special Representative should be the coordinator for international programmes in Afghanistan. At the beginning, a large number of governmental and non-governmental organizations were operating in Afghanistan. We think the time has come for such activities not to proceed piecemeal but rather to be coordinated with the overall efforts of Special Representative Brahimi. UNAMA has important work to do, including the preparation of a new constitution and the organization and holding of elections. We trust that the tasks assigned to it by the Security Council will continue to be successfully carried out and that lasting peace will be established in Afghanistan.
I wish to begin by warmly welcoming Lakhdar Brahimi in our midst. It is difficult to steal him away from the Afghan people, who have adopted him. He has been an honorary citizen since the Loya Jirga met and conferred that honour on him. However, we need to hear him on a regular basis, because each time he comes to see us we hear the expression of a genuine strategy based on a clear-sighted and uncompromising analysis of what is really happening.
In spite of Lakhdar Brahimi’s lucid and clear briefing, I think we must hail a true Afghan miracle. All the Bonn deadlines have been met. Mr. Brahimi has just confirmed that for us. The Loya Jirga has been a great success. It took place in a calm atmosphere and kept its promises. Admittedly, the size of the Government has not been reduced: five Vice-Presidents, three national security advisors and 30 ministers. However, the ethnic make-up of the Government has been somewhat balanced. Now, more than 50 per cent are Pashtuns and slightly less than 30 per cent are Tajiks. Above all, for the first time in 23 years, Afghans were able to be consulted. Afghanistan was able to come very close to a genuine democratic experience. How much ground has been covered in just six months!
But that does not mean that the job is done — far from it. The country is still vulnerable to a reversal. When we recall the fratricidal conflicts that took place from 1992 to 1996, it was the mujahidin who destroyed Kabul and not foreign invaders.
There are a number of disquieting signs, as Mr. Brahimi has noted. His great concern is security. The situation remains fragile, especially in the north. The confrontations between the Jumbesh and Jamiat factions prolong a climate of impunity. A woman working for a non-governmental organization was attacked. A United Nations staff member was murdered. Even in Kabul, Vice-President Haji Qadir was assassinated with impunity, in broad daylight and in the centre of the city. That act should not go unpunished, like the assassination in February of the Minister for Aviation, Abdul Rahman or the attempted assassination of Marshal Fahim in February. The Transitional Administration must do everything possible to identify those responsible.
How can we prevent Afghanistan from being once again haunted by its old demons? Afghans must benefit from the dividends of peace. The effects of the regime change must be tangible. That presents President Karzai with the tremendous challenge of moving from the emergency phase — the first six months of Government — to the reconstruction phase. And he must do it quickly, before the positive effect of Bonn and the Loya Jirga dissipates.
Nothing will be possible without the assistance of the international community. It is essential that the money continue to arrive. The Tokyo Conference launched a mini-Marshall plan for Afghanistan, with the promised commitment of $1.8 billion. How much of that amount has actually been disbursed? France, for its part, respects its commitments: 70 million euros in 2002. A large part of that has already been spent on specific projects such as the rehabilitation of two French Afghan secondary schools in Kabul.
But it is not enough for the money to arrive; it must also be spent on tangible projects. At the moment we are perhaps seeing too much institutional cooperation and too few quick-impact projects with tangible results, such as the building of roads and the reconstruction of housing.
The Transitional Authority also will have to increase its own resources, in particular customs-related resources, at the expense of the warlords. Its budget deficit for 2002, although it results partly from the massive return of refugees, is not acceptable — $257 million of a total of $460 million.
Another question demands our attention: the combat against drugs. The Transitional Authority has embarked on a courageous campaign to eradicate cultivation. It must be pursued resolutely, and it will require assistance in terms of replacement crops. But trafficking must also be addressed, and that is why France, in spring 2003, will be holding an international conference on drug routes originating from Afghanistan.
Economic assistance is essential, but will be futile without support for security. Lakhdar Brahimi has told us that humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations have abandoned certain projects for security reasons.
What, then, must be done? Should the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) be deployed beyond Kabul and the surrounding area? The question has been debated at great length this morning. It is true that ISAF is doing a remarkable job. During the six months of the British command, the crime rate in Kabul dropped by 70 per cent. Turkey is determined to pursue the outstanding efforts deployed by Britain, and France will continue to lend its full support to ISAF.
One could discuss interminably the merits and drawbacks of extending ISAF’s deployment to the provinces, but this is probably an academic issue. Indeed, no country represented in this Chamber is, as far as we know, prepared to dispatch the thousands of troops that would be necessary to the provinces of Afghanistan.
So what can be done to rein in the warlords? First of all, we must lend full support to President Karzai’s courageous efforts to secure the return of the customs duties and to bring the principal warlords to Kabul. We must make full use of all of the instruments available to the international community, such as, first of all, economic conditionality, as set out in resolution 1401 (2002). This, of course, presupposes good coordination among donors, under the auspices of Lakhdar Brahimi. The other instrument, of course, is the military clout of the coalition.
Above and beyond this, the priority remains the creation of unified, multi-ethnic security and police forces. As Ambassador Negroponte has noted, France is closely involved in this effort, alongside the United States. Sixty of our trainers are now training the 2nd battalion of the Afghan national army. In September, the 4th battalion will have its turn.
There are many difficulties involved, however, in particular in the area of recruitment and remuneration. As the Ambassador of the United States has noted, there is an urgent need for the Afghan authorities to undertake an operational plan to establish security and police forces. We need to get specific details from the Government as to number of personnel, composition, cost, timetable and set-up. Moreover, a genuine programme for the disarmament and reintegration of the militias is vital, as Lakhdar Brahimi has noted.
France, in cooperation with all of its partners, will early next week be preparing a draft presidential statement to reiterate these main messages and, above all, to lend the Council’s full support to the tremendous task that has been undertaken with such success by Lakhdar Brahimi and President Karzai.
My delegation would like to thank Ambassador Brahimi for his excellent, comprehensive and clear report. I should like to pay a glowing tribute to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan. He has left his mark on the remarkable progress made in that country since the signing on 5 December 2001 of the Bonn Agreement.
Thanks, inter alia, to the tireless efforts of Ambasador Brahimi, the Emergency Loya Jirga was held from 11 to 19 June, leading to the establishment of the Transitional Authority, headed by President Hamid Karzai. We wish also to thank Mr. Brahimi’s Deputy, Mr. Fisher, and the entire team of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), who are being impressively creative in helping Afghanistan find its way back to the path to peace and to economic and social progress.
Three weeks ago, when we were adopting resolution 1419 (2002), the mood was one of optimism. The Emergency Loya Jirga had just scored a remarkable success, and a very professional transition was under way in the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Today, however, a succession of tragic events has given rise to concern. Afghanistan has been one of the main focuses of interest in the Council for some time now. We have many concerns: security, peace-building, emergency humanitarian assistance, post-conflict management and, in particular, economic reconstruction and recovery, capacity-building and so on. The Council’s interest in Afghanistan also stems from the international community’s resolve to wage an all-out war against drug trafficking and the creeping tentacles of terrorism.
In other words, the job is a mammoth one, and so all the more credit goes to Ambassador Brahimi and to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
Among the issues he raised this morning, three caught our attention: security, emergency humanitarian assistance and the financing of economic recovery.
On 6 July, we learned with horror of the assassination of the Vice-President and Minister for Public Works, Haji Abdul Qadir. That was unacceptable, a futile act that certainly does not help the Afghan cause. We hope that the Transitional Authority will soon find the assassins and bring them to justice.
This, together with the many incidents that have been reported, particularly from the northern part of Afghanistan, bring the issue of security in the country to the forefront once again.
ISAF plays an irreplaceable role that has allowed for the stabilization of the central authority, provided security in and around Kabul, and successfully organized the Emergency Loya Jirga. But the death of Vice-President Qadir makes it clear that we must be constantly vigilant.
The passing of the baton from the British commander to the Turkish one was quite natural, but, as we stressed in earlier meetings, this should not lead to any disengagement, however relative, on the part of the United Kingdom, for the British forces have won the respect and admiration of the Government and the people of Afghanistan.
The question of security outside Kabul continues to be an issue. The financial, political and human costs of deploying ISAF throughout Afghanistan deterred the Council from taking up this matter earlier. However, developments on the ground indicate that it is high time to reopen this discussion, for unless there is security, peace will continue to be precarious.
Ambassador Brahimi’s briefing corroborated warnings by the World Food Programme of a difficult situation in Afghanistan during the winter. A few weeks ago, the World Food Programme issued a strong warning about the need for 175,000 tons of food to meet emergency humanitarian requirements. Cameroon would like to appeal to donors to help the country avoid this clearly looming famine.
In closing, I would like to echo the concerns of the Government of Afghanistan and of UNAMA by saying that it is high time that the financial pledges made at the Tokyo Conference to be fulfilled. Thanks to UNAMA, structures are now in place to absorb financing for reconstruction, rehabilitation and economic recovery. Unfortunately, as Ambassador Brahimi has just pointed out to us, the light is still on red. Unless there is an immediate financial effort, the Transitional Authority will find it difficult to implement its programme successfully. However, thanks to the efforts of the United Nations Mission, the Government and people of Afghanistan, including the diaspora, and donors, we feel sure that the peace process and Afghan recovery will remain on track.
Allow me, first of all, to express my delegation’s great appreciation to Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for his extremely valuable contribution to the peace process in Afghanistan and for his very instructive briefing on recent political developments in that country. We would also like to pay tribute to the reforming vision of the President of the Transitional Authority, Mr. Hamid Karzai, who has manifested his determination to help to build a new Afghanistan that is no longer plagued by retrograde thinking and is respectful of the rule of law and oriented towards building a prosperous economy while being fully at peace with its neighbours.
We greatly deplore the reprehensible assassination of Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir. We certainly hope that the investigations under way will shed light on the incident, so that the perpetrators may be punished in a manner commensurate with the crime.
The briefing we have just heard has enabled us to gauge the progress made since the holding of the Emergency Loya Jirga, and especially now that Afghans have just established a new Transitional Authority that will be responsible for guiding their destiny pending free and regular elections. Now that the Transitional Authority has been established, it is incumbent upon Afghans to become more aware of the situation they face. They must roll up their sleeves and, in an atmosphere of peace and solidarity, utilize this important achievement as a springboard towards a better future.
In this long-term undertaking, the international community — through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the various donors — is duty-bound to make a generous contribution. The success or failure of the operation will be the real litmus test by which the Afghan people will judge our resolve and sincerity in assisting them. In this regard, my delegation believes that, as far as UNAMA is concerned, special attention should also be given to humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and economic recovery. As we have always pointed out, it would be pointless to imagine any kind of recovery in Afghanistan today without providing access to humanitarian assistance, particularly in the area of food, to displaced persons and the large number of refugees returning to the country. That recovery would also be in vain without a genuine policy to restore basic infrastructure.
Above and beyond those aspects, which are admittedly important in themselves, my delegation would like to stress the need to create and maintain a climate of peace and security throughout Afghanistan. It is clear, as Mr. Brahimi’s briefing has pointed out, that there are still a number of regions of the country that are in the grip of rivalries being fuelled by warlords who continue to defy the central power. We must therefore assist the new Transitional Authority to extend its authority throughout the country in order that it may play its role fully. To do that, the efforts to form a representative national army must be accelerated. Similarly, the demobilization programme for former combatants must be strengthened. At the same time, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) — whose remarkable performance we laud — should step up its efforts to deter any attempt to jeopardize peace. The struggle against pockets of Taliban resistance and the Al Qaeda network should also be pursued more vigorously.
The path charted by the Bonn Agreement is long and arduous. Every stage reached in the implementation of the Agreement must be viewed as an opportunity to fulfil new duties, so that the process can be completed successfully and in accordance with the commitments undertaken.
In conclusion, my delegation is convinced that, in this delicate and snag-riddled exercise, the international community will act as one to respond to the wishes expressed by the people of Afghanistan, who dream of a better future.
Delegations might just like to have an idea of my intentions on timing. I will get through as many speeches as possible over the next 40 minutes or so. I will then give Ambassador Brahimi, if he agrees, the last 10 minutes or so of the morning. We will then close by 1.15 p.m. I intend to resume this debate at 3 p.m.
First of all, I would like to welcome Special Representative Brahimi back to New York and to thank him for the very comprehensive and thorough briefing he has given us on the current situation in Afghanistan.
In very difficult circumstances during the past several months, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), under the leadership of Ambassador Brahimi, actively cooperated with the Interim Administration and the Transitional Authority to realize the goals set forth in the Bonn Agreement. In particular, UNAMA has made an outstanding contribution to the successful convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga. The Chinese delegation would like to express its admiration and appreciation of the professionalism and dedication shown by Ambassador Brahimi and UNAMA. We remain committed to supporting their efforts.
The situation in Afghanistan has undergone a fundamental change since the holding of the Bonn Conference. The Emergency Loya Jirga constitutes a milestone that illustrates that the Afghan people have once again taken control of the fate of their country and that they are making an effort to turn Afghanistan into a stable and peaceful country. It should be said that, with the vigorous help of the international community, the political and economic life of Afghanistan is steadily heading towards normalcy. On the whole, the situation in Afghanistan is developing positively.
On the other hand, we should be aware that it is impossible for Afghanistan to heal overnight the wounds of decades of war, and that it is no easy matter to attain lasting peace and sustainable development. Deep-rooted problems have accumulated in Afghanistan over the years, including the contradictions that exist between the central Government and local forces, the conflicts of interests among ethnic groups, and the competition over power among the political parties. These problems have not been fundamentally resolved.
The current security situation in Afghanistan is of special concern: we recently witnessed the most unfortunate assassination of Vice-President Qadir. We strongly condemn such terrorist acts. The assassination pointedly demonstrated the fragility of the security situation in Afghanistan: without an environment of peace and safety, it is impossible to begin economic rehabilitation and reconstruction. We sincerely hope that the Afghan parties and factions can proceed on the basis of the overall interest of the country, that they will bury the hatchet and work together in the great cause of national reinvigoration. Only in that way can a better situation come about. At the same time, the international community should also think seriously about ways to help the Transitional Authority of Afghanistan maintain stability, and should make sure that the huge investment made by the United Nations so far in Afghanistan will not be lost.
Another pending problem in Afghanistan is the humanitarian crisis. After the Bonn Conference, a large number of refugees returned to Afghanistan. This shows that they are fully confident about the future of Afghanistan, but at the same time it has created a very heavy financial burden for the Afghan Government as a result of a lack of funds. International humanitarian agencies have been forced to streamline or even suspend their activities in Afghanistan. We call on the donor countries, especially those that made pledges at the Tokyo Conference, to honour their commitments as soon as possible in order to ease the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Otherwise, the worsening humanitarian crisis is very likely to trigger new disorders.
As a close neighbour of Afghanistan, China has always followed very closely the development of the Afghan situation and has tried its best to provide assistance to Afghanistan, including help for the restructuring of the Afghan army and police. China has also sent personnel to work with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. We will continue to try our best to support the peace process in Afghanistan, and to contribute to economic reconstruction there.
In the course of the open debate of 26 March, regarding today’s agenda item, we noted the need for a comprehensive assessment, possibly to take place in July, under the United Kingdom presidency. We are gratified to note that this open debate, with the presence of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Lakhdar Brahimi, could mark the beginning of that exercise to understand fully the most complex challenges that face the United Nations in this region, which is particularly critical to international peace and security.
We hail the progress in implementing the Bonn Agreement, and we note, as does the Secretary-General in his report, that this is a constantly evolving process, subject to a large number of challenges and difficulties. We take this opportunity to pay tribute to President Karzai and the other Afghan authorities, as well as to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), to the other countries of the region, and to the rest of the international community, including Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Turkey, for their sustained commitment to Afghanistan and for all that has been accomplished in such a short period of time in the history of the country. We convey particular congratulations to Special Representative Brahimi on the quality of his ideas and on the lucid way in which he has guided the implementation of the “light expatriate footprint” concept.
We hail the political progress made, including the holding of the Loya Jirga, the formation of the transitional Government, and in general the great step forward that Afghanistan has taken towards establishing a participatory democracy. We take note of the immense challenges that lie ahead in the humanitarian and reconstruction areas. But at the same time, we express our confidence in the United Nations approach, which aims at national capacity-building as the most effective instrument for achieving results in the not-too-distant future.
We draw attention to the importance of the Afghan Government’s commitment to eradicating the cultivation and export of opium. And we remind the Security Council that it is essential to apply fully the principle of shared responsibility. This is an area where the entire international community has something to contribute. Drugs were a recurrent problem during the Taliban period, when we were told of the existence of large stockpiles to meet the demand. Now, this is still an issue which tends to be relegated to a secondary level, in spite of its potential to erode the nascent institutions of Afghanistan and to promoting terrorist activities and arms trafficking.
Security is still an ongoing issue. Security is, without any doubt whatsoever, the most pressing need of the Afghans at the present time. The Security Council, through its actions, should help to meet that need. The previous report of the Secretary-General (S/2002/278), dated 18 March 2002, contained specific references to this issue. In paragraph 126 of that report, the Security Council was told that security remained the essential requirement for the protection of the peace process in Afghanistan. Moreover, the Council was urged to make managing the security sector the first reconstruction project in the country. Resolution 1401 (2002) was adopted subsequently, although it was impossible fully to fulfil that appeal. The report of the Secretary-General before us today and Ambassador Brahimi’s briefing make that appeal once again.
We understand the difficulties in securing external forces prepared to participate in an expanded deployment of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to areas outside of Kabul. However, this understandable reluctance on the part of potential contributors cannot be an argument for tolerating complacency on the part of the Security Council, especially when faced with a security situation that could potentially undermine the effectiveness of its other decisions. While progress is being made in building up an ethnically and regionally balanced national guard, the Council’s responsibility is to discuss alternative political plans in order to respond promptly to potential crises in Afghanistan. These would include the expansion of ISAF to areas other than Kabul, on the basis of the terms described by Mr. Brahimi.
The presence on Afghan territory of Taliban cells and Al-Qaeda remnants, the fragmented and decentralized pattern of power in the country, the continued presence of independent military factions throughout the territory, the remote relationship between the central Government and the provinces and the recent political assassinations are arguments that militate in favour of careful Security Council reflection on the security situation. The Council would have more material on the basis of which to provide responses to this dilemma if in the future it could receive appropriate military advice, provided not only by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Secretariat, but also by the participants in the anti-terrorist coalition led by the United States and the military operation which began 8 October 2001.
We conclude by highlighting one aspect of Mr. Brahimi’s briefing on the integration process of the United Nations. The common objective is to reinforce Afghan capacities and to meet the priorities set within the national development framework of the Transitional Administration, and not the national priorities of any other parties. This is a guiding principle for the participation of the international community which Colombia unreservedly supports.
I now make a few remarks in my capacity as representative of the United Kingdom.
First, I join others in thanking Ambassador Brahimi for his very thoughtful and important analysis, which is very much in line with our own assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan and of priorities for the way ahead. We share much of the analysis of other speakers during this debate, and our overall policy is aligned with that of the European Union, on whose behalf the representative of Denmark will make a statement later.
I will highlight a few particular points. We are grateful for the kind remarks around the table about the role of the United Kingdom in its six-month leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). We are very pleased that Turkey has taken over the leadership of that force in fine spirit, and we will continue to contribute strongly to it. We share the concern of Ambassador Brahimi and others about insecurity in the provinces outside Kabul and its implications for the humanitarian recovery effort. On that I share the analysis of my French colleague, Ambassador Levitte.
We attach early and particular importance to progress on security sector reform, within the framework of a coherent overall strategy. It is very important, for instance, to ensure consistency between the ongoing army training, led by the United States with the help, particularly, of France, and the demobilization of private militias and the programmes for that. That is one instance where there needs to be properly structured security sector reform, and the United Kingdom will contribute strongly to that structure as part of its significant overall contribution to work in Afghanistan.
Secondly, we echo the Special Representative’s call for the rapid delivery by donors of funds already pledged to provide for effective and visible development achievements in the provinces. This is critical, not only for its own sake but also to establish the credibility of the Transitional Authority in the eyes of the Afghan people. So I hope the pleas of speakers around the table this morning will be heard by the wider international community.
I remind members of the Council that the United Kingdom will host the Kabul Coordination Conference on Counter-Narcotics on 23 July 2002. This will be an important opportunity to coordinate efforts in the field of counter-narcotics with wider strategic planning. We shall have some specific proposals to make at that conference.
I have a couple of questions for the Special Representative. There has not been any mention this morning, or in his remarks, of the incidents of corruption in the Afghan structures, and in Kabul and the local administrations. I would like him to say a word about that, because if that ugly factor begins to raise its head, it needs to be cut down very quickly to encourage an open, transparent and honest administration throughout the entire Afghan territory.
Secondly, although Ambassador Kolby and others have underlined the importance of work on gender and women’s issues, could the Special Representative say what structures are being put in place for that by the Afghans themselves, and what capacity he has in UNAMA for linking with those structures to make sure that women’s issues are taken forward in practice and on the ground.
I now resume my function as President of the Council and would like to continue with the speakers list under rule 37. I invite the representative of Afghanistan to make his statement.
At the outset, Mr. President, I would like to congratulate you for successfully conducting the presidency of the Security Council during the month of July. I express special gratitude for holding this open meeting on the situation in Afghanistan. I am certain the proceedings of the Council will be handled in an excellent manner under your guidance.
I make use of this opportunity to thank Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, for the report dated 11 July 2002 on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security. My delegation welcomes this report.
Eight months have passed since representatives of Afghanistan’s major parties signed the Bonn Agreement. The Agreement and the significant contribution to it from the United Nations could be considered a paramount success of United Nations peacemaking efforts at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It is with great satisfaction that we report on the considerable achievements made since this historic event. I would like to express the gratitude of the Government and people of Afghanistan to Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi. This admiration was mentioned in the Loya Jirga. We thank his colleagues, Mr. Nigel Fischer and Jean Arnaud, and all other members of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for their unceasing efforts to the peace process, recovery and reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Ambassador Brahimi’s briefing was not easy, it was a tour de force. I admire him for having summarized so many points in his lucid analysis at the beginning of this meeting.
The success of last month’s Loya Jirga was a milestone achievement in Afghanistan’s recent history. After two decades of armed conflict and subsequent years of instability, the people of Afghanistan, through the Loya Jirga, exercised their right to self-determination. As a result of this historic meeting, a democratically elected, broad-based Government reflecting the national unity of the country was established. In this context, allow me to refer to the broad participation of women, the presence of international monitors during the nomination and selection of delegates, the relatively competitive nature of the proceedings, and the introduction of secret ballots during the voting process, which had never taken place in Afghanistan during previous Loya Jirgas.
The return of relative peace and stability has prompted massive flows of refugees from neighbouring countries. According to recent data from the transitional Government, from 1 March 2002 to 14 July 2002, 1,266,343 refugees returned from neighbouring countries. Of that number, 1,161,443 returned from Pakistan, 95,583 returned from Iran and 9,317 returned from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and other countries.
Upon arrival, the returnees face extreme difficulty in undertaking the activities of daily life. Successful programmes must be established to provide housing, education and health services — conditions that must be met in order to achieve a decent standard of living for returnees. The $100 of assistance granted to each refugee by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is not sufficient, since a large portion of that amount is spent on the transport of personal belongings. Additional consideration should also be given to the restoration of irrigation systems for returnees who are farmers, to demining projects and to employment opportunities, especially in Kabul and in other cities.
Among other achievements, we might mention the establishment of a number of commissions, as mandated in the Bonn Agreement. On 21 May 2002, a decree established a Judicial Commission composed of eminent Afghan scholars and jurists and aimed at rebuilding the country’s justice system. In addition, on 6 June 2002, the transitional Government established a Human Rights Commission consisting of both men and women.
Furthermore, the back-to-school programme launched in March 2002 has resulted in the return of more than 3 million children — including girls — to educational institutions. In addition, the strong commitment of the Afghan Government to the eradication of poppy cultivation and trafficking in Afghanistan has led to the destruction of narcotics with an estimated street value of $8 billion.
Despite the series of positive developments — some of which I have discussed — much remains to be accomplished. In order to establish its full authority throughout the country, the Transitional Authority has made the formation of an ethnically and regionally balanced national army one of its main objectives. As a means towards that objective, the Transitional Authority has established a high-level commission responsible for monitoring the collection of arms from local forces, some of which are working to undermine the central Government. Only a stable and secure atmosphere can guarantee the reconstruction process.
The Secretary-General, in paragraph 7 of his report (S/2002/737) dated 11 July 2002, concerning the enhancement of security in Afghanistan, insightfully refers to the drastic impact of limited resources on the efforts of the Transitional Authority to widen its authority:
“The Interim Administration’s efforts to extend its influence and control have been hampered above all by the limited resources at its disposal. These limitations have affected its ability to provide services, build roads and create jobs.”
The consolidation of peace and stability and the full implementation of the Bonn Agreement depend largely on the international community’s sustained engagement in providing the necessary assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan’s social and economic infrastructure. Job-creation programmes and the extension of quick-impact projects throughout Afghanistan will have a direct influence on the emergence of security and on the demobilization of former combatants.
In that context, I should like to refer to the recent meeting of the Afghanistan Support Group, convened in Geneva on 11 July 2002. At that meeting, Mr. Ashraf Ghani, Economy and Finance Minister of Afghanistan, illustrated in detail the country’s economic plight and urgently appealed for the prompt disbursement of all pledges made at the donors conference held in Tokyo in January 2002.
A few points mentioned earlier by the representatives of various countries require some brief observations on my part. First of all, I should like to thank all those here who presented a positive and lucid analysis of the Afghan situation, as well as all those who described the assistance they are providing to Afghanistan in many ways. The Afghan Government highly appreciates the role of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) — in particular the leadership of the United Kingdom forces, who engaged in the best possible cooperation with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defence. The handover to Turkey has been accomplished in the best possible way thanks to the cooperation of the United Kingdom forces, and also because the Turks have been helping the Afghan army since the 1920s.
With regard to a possible role for ISAF beyond the capital, Kabul, I should like to say that, for the time being, there is no imminent danger that requires urgent action. But it would be wise to think about the future, and there is thus a possibility of increasing the role of ISAF beyond the capital, Kabul. This could be done by perhaps considering one individual case without thinking immediately about having ISAF all over Afghanistan. Take, for example, Mazar-e-Sharif or some other selected point in Afghanistan, in accordance with the requirements of the Afghan Ministry of Defence. I think this is not an urgent problem, but it is still very important to think about what will happen beyond Kabul.
I think we must not consider Afghanistan to be a country where no one works, or an unvisited terrain or a tabula rasa where nothing existed. Afghanistan had a Government; it had a national army, a police force, a justice system. There was an equilibrium of relations among different ethnic groups. If I may say so, Afghanistan’s best years were at the time of the two World Wars, because my country did not participate in those wars; it stayed neutral. But we had to pay later. Everything that happened in Afghanistan, I assure the Council, was because of foreign intervention. The mujaheddin did not destroy Kabul themselves; all the means used for the destruction of Kabul were provided by foreign sources from 1992 to December 2001.
I assure Council members that the Afghans have a very keen desire for peace, and that if a decent salary is given to any worker, anywhere in Afghanistan, for very important and necessary infrastructure projects — in other words, for working — then that worker will never follow what is called a warlord. And then, warlords will become obsolete.
The next speaker is the representative of Japan. I have much pleasure in welcoming Mrs. Sadako Ogata to the Council as the representative of the Prime Minister of Japan. I invite her to take a seat at the Council table and to make her statement.
It is a great pleasure for me to be present in the Council to discuss the important issue of Afghanistan. It is appropriate indeed for the Council to hold this meeting in the presence of Ambassador Brahimi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. His contributions have been widely acknowledged. Having observed closely his extraordinary efforts to achieve peace and prosperity in Afghanistan during the Emergency Loya Jirga, I wish to join the international community in expressing my deepest respect and gratitude for his achievements.
I visited Afghanistan as Prime Minister Koizumi’s special representative from 13 to 19 June. During that period, in addition to witnessing the Emergency Loya Jirga, I was able to have discussions with key officials of the Afghan Administration, including President Karzai the leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and members of the diplomatic community. I also had an opportunity to visit Kandahar, where I met with local government officials and representatives of United Nations agencies, and visited camps for internally displaced persons and refugees in Spin Boldak and Chaman, located near and across the border with Pakistan.
My overall impression was that significant improvements have been achieved since my last visit five months ago. Based on what I learned there, I would like to offer my observations to the Council and to suggest possible ways to move on.
The process of the Emergency Loya Jirga started from grass-roots efforts to choose delegates from all over the country, and even abroad. It was an impressive sight to witness 1,650 chosen delegates, including 200 women, assembled in an enormous tented hall, openly making and reacting to statements for more than one week. My warmest congratulations go to President Karzai, who was elected through a secret ballot, obtaining an approval rate exceeding 85 per cent. The successful conclusion of the Emergency Loya Jirga was essential for the long-term peace and reconstruction of Afghanistan.
On the other hand, the political balance on which the newly created Transitional Authority of Afghanistan stands is still very precarious. This was most recently underscored by the tragic assassination of Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir. I wish to express my deepest regret and condolences to the people of Afghanistan. These developments, therefore, make it all the more important that the international community continue to support the newly established Administration to ensure clear progress in both the political and the national reconstruction process.
Two issues stand out as requiring urgent attention: security and the rapid return of refugees. The provision of adequate security throughout the country is a prerequisite for peace to take root and for recovery and reconstruction efforts to proceed. When I met with Pashtoon internally displaced persons who had fled the north in recent months in Kandahar province, they spoke of the security threats and requested the deployment of an international peacekeeping presence in the Mazar-e-Sharif area. They also regarded the demobilization and disarmament of armed elements, as well as compensation for their lost property, as necessary preconditions for their return. Given the recent developments in Afghanistan, I feel that their pleas merit the Council’s renewed consideration. I wish to join my voice with those who are calling for the deployment of ISAF or other peacekeeping forces in unstable areas in the north. We should also find ways to help return the internally displaced persons. Furthermore, it is important that international efforts to assist the reform and rehabilitation of the national military, police and judicial systems and the demobilization and reintegration of armed elements produce concrete results very soon. I was very pleased when listening to previous interventions that these were directions which Council members were considering.
The other significant issue is the rapidity with which refugees are returning, especially from Pakistan. While I was in Kabul, the one-millionth returnee registered for arrival. At the school I visited in Kabul, one half of the students in the classrooms were recent returnees. This in itself is a sign of people’s hope for a better future in Afghanistan, and it is to be welcomed. There will inevitably be variations in the rate of refugee return. However, the scale, combined with internal displacements due to drought and ethnic confrontations in some parts, could overwhelm the absorptive capacity of receiving communities. In the medium-to-long term, this could have grave implications for the security environment as well as for the political stability of Afghanistan. That concern was repeatedly raised by officials I met in Kabul and Kandahar, and, I might add, it was also recognized in resolution 1419 (2002), which the Council recently adopted.
In order to avoid the worst-case scenario and to stabilize the country, immediate steps must be taken to provide employment opportunities and other forms of assistance for returnees and internally displaced persons so that they can be swiftly integrated into local communities. The Afghan Administration needs support in planning and implementing community development programmes.
How are we now to proceed? Bearing in mind that we are now in the post-Emergency Loya Jirga phase of the Bonn process, the international community must take the next step and begin the full-scale implementation of its recovery and reconstruction assistance. In this regard, I am happy to note that the meeting of the co-chairs of the Afghan Reconstruction Steering Group (ARSG), which was held on 10 July in Paris with the participation of Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani of the Transitional Administration and Ambassador Brahimi, provided a good opportunity to review the current needs and the resources pledged and to coordinate a future strategy.
Operationally speaking, full-scale reconstruction efforts, while awaited, seem to be still at the planning stage. Judging from the situation that I observed on the ground, humanitarian assistance continues to predominate, while recovery work is still in the offing. At this point, all out efforts should be devoted to community development in order to meet the recovery needs of the population, as well as to the reintegration of refugees, internally displaced persons and former combatants.
The early establishment of potable and agricultural water supplies, education, sanitation, health care services and road reconstruction projects will make a crucial difference at this juncture. With respect to roads, which President Karzai has repeatedly stressed as a priority issue, I have conveyed his message to the Asian Development Bank and urged it to promptly implement its plans.
Japan considers that the return and reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons through the programmes of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children’s Fund and other international humanitarian agencies, combined with regional reconstruction programmes of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, would constitute the base for a comprehensive area development programme. Such a programme is, in fact, being formulated under the leadership of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in close consultation with the Transitional Authority and provincial administrations. Kandahar could be a starting point. It is in this context that Japan has decided to expand the United Nations Development Programme Recovery and Employment Afghanistan Programme — already successfully undertaken in Kabul — to Kandahar. Japan intends to play a key role in the formulation and implementation of such comprehensive area development. It will be announcing a large package of assistance to Afghanistan in the next few weeks; a comprehensive area development programme would be given a sizeable portion.
At the outset of my statement, I mentioned that my overall impression of Afghanistan was that significant improvements have been achieved in the past five months. In closing, let me describe what I saw. When I returned to the Shomali plains, north of Kabul, the internally displaced, who in January had been heading home in vast numbers, were now settled in their original communities and were starting to rebuild their houses. Some families had, in fact, already finished the rebuilding and were starting to resume their handicraft work. Green leaves were sprouting on the grapevines in the fields — another encouraging sign of recovery. Such progress, even in small increments, enables the people of Afghanistan to personally experience the dividend of peace. That is what is important in the end, and the international community must continue to render its support to Afghanistan to ensure that this trend is not reversed.
I call on Mr. Brahimi to respond to questions and comments made in the course of the morning.
I will try to be brief. But I think I must say how very deeply grateful I am to all those who have taken the floor for their kindness and their generosity in supporting what we are trying to do in Kabul. I will convey this extraordinary and very welcome support to my colleagues, who have, indeed, worked extremely hard and continue to do so in implementing the mission that the Council and the Secretary-General have entrusted to us.
There were a few direct questions, which I will try to address, starting with the question of the expansion of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and security. This is one of the most important issues. I heard you, Mr. President, and Ambassador Levitte say that there are no countries willing to respond to the request for an expansion. But I think that the Council has taken it upon itself to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and to help the people of Afghanistan as they try to reinforce the very fragile peace that the Council has helped them to achieve. The people of Afghanistan, starting with their President, Mr. Karzai, all consider ISAF to have been a success in Kabul and think that ISAF can help them elsewhere. One of the last people who had reservations concerning the expansion of ISAF is Ismail Khan, and even he said recently that he would welcome the expansion of ISAF. So, as far as the people of Afghanistan are concerned, I think that they want this from the international community. Whether the international community cannot or will not do it is another thing, but I must say that the people there continue to ask for that as a major, significant, important, vital contribution to the maintenance of security.
I think I told the Council five months ago that I had the impression that expanding ISAF would not be difficult, expensive or dangerous. Five months later, I think I can say that I feel certain that it is important and that it will be effective. It will not require tens of thousands of soldiers; I think that an additional 5,000 soldiers will do the trick. Thus, it will not be very expensive, and it will not be dangerous. Let me illustrate one point — about the danger. We were terribly concerned that throughout the Loya Jirga process, we were exposing the Afghans and our own people to danger. Public meetings were held in 400 different places all over Afghanistan — cities, villages, remote places, all over the country. Thousands — and on one occasion 15,000 — participated in those meetings. These political processes are always occasions for confrontation. Yet, all in all, those meetings were more peaceful than meetings in many other, peaceful countries. We had eight unfortunate occasions on which people were killed. Only two of them were clearly related to the Loya Jirga process. The six others happened close to meetings that were being held, and so it was assumed that there was a connection with the Loya Jirga, but it is not so.
All in all, 10 people from the United Nations participated in these meetings; each one of them was present in one region. We also had 23 international observers. That is all we had during this process. No one was hurt during the process, and we had no protection whatsoever from anyone.
That is why I say that people want it and that it is not going to be dangerous. How much do people want it? I think that this was made clear during the Loya Jirga itself. At the end of the Loya Jirga, when medals were given to a few of us, the person who received the most applause was General John McColl. Compare this with all that was said in the beginning — that the British in particular would not be welcome because of history and so on, and that foreigners are not welcome in Afghanistan. I think that we have seen that this is not true at all. The Afghan people can distinguish between armies that come as friends to help and armies that come as conquerors.
This is the only thing that I can say about the expansion of ISAF. But once again, Mr. President, as I told you earlier, we have heard you and we understand that for the moment there is not much support for this from national Governments.
Again, it has been said, quite rightly, around this table that, ultimately, security is the responsibility of the Afghans themselves. The Afghans are very grateful to the Council for supporting them in forming a national police and a national army. The Germans are doing a very good job of being the leaders in that field for the police, and the Americans are also doing a very good job of being the leaders for the army.
But one cannot start with training. One must start with patient discussions with the authorities in Afghanistan, to make sure that the structures for this national army and this national police are in place — that when people are trained barracks will be ready for them, that when policemen are trained they will be going to units that are waiting for them, that they will be paid, and so on.
Therefore I hope very much that next month we will hold these discussions with the authorities and make sure that the structures are there and that all the elements that concern the security sector reform you spoke about, Mr. President, are in place and working together — a demobilization programme; the reintegration of soldiers, whether in or out of the future army and the future police; and the training of the new army. All of these elements must be present, and I think that they can be if we work together with President Karzai, who is extremely supportive of this process, and give him all the support that is needed.
President Karzai attaches extreme importance to the question of corruption, and he speaks about it very often. He has spoken about it very strongly in the Loya Jirga, saying that corruption must be uprooted from Afghanistan. In Geneva and in Paris, the new Minister of Finance, Ashraf Ghani, relayed this message from President Karzai, and he told us, for example, that they will see to it that bidding for the mobile telephone system is extremely transparent and ensure that there is no foul play at any level, at any stage, in this field. I think that the Government is aware of this. It is ready to do its share, and I think that we must try and help it to do so.
We must be very careful in one area: the struggle against drug cultivation and trafficking. This is another area that the hydra of corruption could infiltrate, and I think that Britain, as the lead nation, the Government in Afghanistan and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) are aware of this. They must remain vigilant and make absolutely certain that they are not led unwittingly into situations where corruption is rife.
To go back for one minute to the security sector, I mentioned that one young man was killed last month while being detained by the intelligence service. I said that this was not acceptable, and Karzai also has said several times that this was not acceptable. He said that the intelligence service must not be an organ that frightens the people of Afghanistan, and that a situation must be created in which the people of Afghanistan can become proud of their intelligence service rather than frightened by it.
I think that the project of starting the reform of this body is a very urgent one. It is terribly important to do this, and the Government and President Karzai are calling for support for this effort. I think that it can be provided by the countries that are involved in the security sector reform, under the leadership of the United States, and certainly we as UNAMA will contribute our share to that effort.
What structures are in place for women? There is a ministry, and, as many representatives have mentioned, 200 women took part in the Loya Jirga. Those 200 women and many others met before the Loya Jirga. My adviser for gender issues took the lead in helping them take part in this Loya Jirga and, more importantly, in creating a network that will assist these women, who are going to return to their towns and villages. They are counting very, very much on that being an important element in trying to help women get jobs and to exercise a few more rights than before.
But please — let us, again, work on agendas that are Afghan agendas, for the people of Afghanistan. We cannot put together programmes away from Afghanistan and not keep in mind that we are dealing with a country that is conservative, a country that has traditions, a country that is proud of its traditions. Let us follow up on and help the women of Afghanistan; let us not impose on them agendas that will backfire on them if we are not careful.
I will come back this afternoon and perhaps, if it is necessary, I will say a little bit more.
I thank the Special Representative very much for those very clear responses to questions raised.
We are now into the lunch hour and, with the concurrence of the Council, I intend to suspend the meeting now and to resume it at 3 p.m.