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Presentation by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani at the OSCE Security Committee

Vienna, 15 June 2015

AGENDA ITEM 1 — BORDER MANAGEMENT

Thank you Chair

We welcome our guest speakers to the Security Committee and thank them for their comprehensive presentations. Recent events of transnational and cross-border nature in the wider Central Asian region have been the subject of considerable attention. Afghanistan supports the promotion of efficient and effective border management in Central Asia and gender perspective and we encourage expanded co-operation among international and regional organizations in this area.

I took note of the remarks on Afghanistan and I appreciate your support and friendly comments.

Let me thank UNHCR for their excellent work in support of Afghanistan to handle one of the most pressing issues, in dealing with the plight of millions of Afghan refugees that are still waiting to return home.

With the help of our international partners, we have accomplished historic achievements over the past thirteen years, and we have just entered the first and most difficult year of our Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are constantly improving their capabilities and performance, with the support provided by the Resolute Support Mission, and securing cities and villages across the country, including at our borders.

Afghanistan has benefitted from the work of the OSCE Border Management Staff College (BMSC) since its inception in 2009. Our border security and management officers’ knowledge, skills and expertise have been significantly enhanced and we were provided with tools and know-how to increase co-operation and exchange of information with our neighboring countries, three of which are OSCE Participating States. Nonetheless, since the enemies of our states and of our civilization are stepping up their malign activities in our region, we must also redouble our efforts to oppose them. We all are confronted with border-related challenges that include illicit narcotics, terrorism including foreign terrorist fighters, illicit trafficking of human beings, trafficking of arms and weapons, and other organized crime, as well as challenges arising from migration, refugees and asylum seekers.

Afghanistan commends the BMSC for its Strategic Plan 2015-2017 and we would certainly welcome if the budget for the BMSC would be included into the OSCE’s Unified Budget, thereby enabling long-term, strategic planning.

The National Unity Government of Afghanistan pursues its goal to achieve gender equality in the country and to attribute a greater role for women in border management, while taking into consideration special needs of women affected by border-related challenges. Times of crisis are sometimes also times of opportunity and we will make sure that from 2015 onwards, the situation of the women of Afghanistan will continuously get better, and never again worse.

We are proud of our determined and courageous women who increasingly become active agents of change, also in the sphere of security, toward a society free of violence and fear. We are confident that with the continued assistance from our international partners, we will be able to mobilize more women across our country to join the security forces, to assume their role in countering violent extremism, and to be active members of civil society, as a first line of defense against those propagating radical ideologies.

AGENDA ITEM 4 – COUNTER-TERRORISM

Thank you, Chair!

It is my pleasure to be here and to make a contribution representing a Partner for Co-operation of the OSCE, regarding the Basel Ministerial Decision. As you know, the OSCE is of special importance for Afghanistan, also due to the fact that a majority of its Participating States have been among our most reliable partners for the last decade in helping to create better opportunities for the Afghan people. Afghanistan remains committed to its partnership with the OSCE and is willing to be among those countries that make special efforts to implement the goals and objectives of this organization.

As you know, Afghanistan has been a long-term victim of terrorism, and until this day we are facing real threats from anti-government groups, supported by foreign terrorist fighters. Recently fights between groups linked to Daesh and Taliban terrorists have been reported.

The people of Afghanistan are determined to continue their journey towards a stable and peaceful future and are equally determined to build up on the decade-long achievements and progress made, while addressing remaining challenges including threats to security, organized crime and terrorism. To this end, while we appreciate the sacrifices of our partners for the past decade, we need continued assistance from the international community to further develop and implement our national legislation, mechanisms and procedures to effectively address the problem of terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters in Afghanistan.

We have created national institutions and legislation, and joined all regional and international mechanisms developed to combat terrorism.

Also, Afghanistan is ready to join subregional, regional and international efforts to tackle the growing threat of foreign terrorist fighters, including the underlying conditions and concurrent causes that exacerbate the problem. We pledge to act co-operatively and seek technical assistance, provision of capacity-building programmes, transfer of knowledge, and sharing of best practices.

As much as we need to combat foreign terrorist fighters on the ground, we must invest as much as we can in preventing our youth from joining those groups. Afghanistan, as a post-conflict country in transformation, requires continuous international assistance to educate our youth, to provide them with job opportunities, to run awareness campaigns, as well as to secure our borders and to adapt our legal framework. With this in mind, the National Unity Government of Afghanistan will also inject new momentum to the peace process in the country.

Afghanistan is strongly committed to the OSCE’s goals and objectives in the fight against terrorism, and let me recall that Afghanistan has taken practical steps for implementation of the decisions, declarations and UNSC resolutions. We also welcomed the OSCE’s Basel declarations MC.DOC/5/14 and MC.DOC/6/14.

Afghanistan stands ready to fully engage in all regional and international efforts to tackle this menace, and we look forward to further enhancing our co-operation with the OSCE’s Action against Terrorism Unit and other OSCE bodies and structures. In this context, let me also welcome the OSCE’s “United in CVE” campaign and we look forward to the OSCE’s Counter-Terrorism Conference in Vienna on 30 June and 1 July, 2015.

Thank you

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