Latest News
Home / Tag Archives: Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani (page 3)

Tag Archives: Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani

Ambassador Erfani addressed the conference of Afghan diaspora, titled “What is our Role in the Future of Afghanistan?”

picture (2)picture (2)

Vienna, 24 August 2015

On Saturday, August 22, 2015, AKIS (afghanische Kultur, Integration, Solidarität) and the Organization for Solidarity with Afghan Refugees in Europe (Verein Solidarität mit afghanischen Flüchtlingen in Europa) in collaboration with Afghan associations and NGO’s in Vienna, organized a conference, titled “What is our Role in the Future of Afghanistan?”.

In his opening statement to participants, H.E. Ambassador Erfani, praised the organizers of the conference for bringing together the Afghan diaspora to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and the role of the Afghan diaspora in the future of the country. He welcomed the wide variety of participants, including a delegation from Afghanistan, Afghans living in Austria, and other Afghan expatriates, commending their interest to do their part for the future of Afghanistan.

During his statement, H.E. Ambassador Erfani briefed the participants on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, referring to the decade long achievements made in Afghanistan, gained thanks to the sacrifice of Afghan people in combination with support from the international community. He also emphasized the important role of Afghan expatriates to contribute in strengthening the current achievements and progress made in the country and to support the National Unity Government of Afghanistan to implement its programs for the success of the Decade of Transformation, and among them the ongoing efforts to preserve peace, achieve stability and promote economic development for the country.

The key note speakers of the conference delivered their comprehensive statements which created an opportunity for an open question and answer session followed by the adoption of the findings of the conference. Diplomats from the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna also attended the conference.

– END –

 

 

 

 

Ambassador Erfani Delivers Statement at IAEA Board of Governors on E3/EU+3 and Iran Nuclear Agreement

Attachment 1

Vienna, 25.08.2015

H.E. Ambassador Erfani delivered a statement at today’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors on Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ambassador Erfani thanked IAEA Director General Amano for his report and expressed Afghanistan’s support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), aiming at a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and the essential role of the IAEA in this regard.

Ambassador Erfani applauded the efforts of the negotiators who facilitated the JCPOA and urged member states to fully cooperate with the IAEA for successful implementation of the JCPOA and the road-map signed by the IAEA and Iran.

– END –

Ambassador Erfani’s Message on the Occasion of Afghanistan’s National Day

17.08.2015

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna congratulates all Afghans on the occasion of their National Day, restoration of independence.

The people of Afghanistan, regardless of the ongoing challenges in the country, remain determined to continue their journey with the support of their partners in the international community to work towards a stable, prosperous, and democratic future.

Happy National Day to all!

Please note that as was done in the past, the Embassy and Permanent Mission will officially celebrate the National Day of Afghanistan the first week of October.

The Embassy and Permanent Mission will be closed on August 19, 2015 in observance of the National Day.

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

– END –

Written Contribution by Ambassador Erfani at the 791st Meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation

Madam Chair,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Let me start by thanking H.E. Ambassador Byrganym Aitimova, Mr. Antti Häikiö, and Ambassador Miroslava Beham for their comprehensive presentations. Also, I wish to congratulate my dear friend Ambassador Aitimova, whom I have known and worked with at the United Nations in New York, on her appointment as Chair of the IWG and my delegation wishes her every success.

The delegation of Afghanistan welcomes that the essential topic of implementation of UNSCR 1325 has been tabled in this forum once again, following our debate during the 781st plenary meeting of the forum on 25 February, 2015, under the Chairmanship of Mongolia.

In the security chapter of the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA), a ten-year action plan adopted in 2008, it is specifically declared that “the government recognizes and supports the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and peacebuilding, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance of peace and security and the need to increase their role in decision making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.”

The NAPWA forms the broad framework for the government’s women’s agenda including implementation of UNSCR 1325, and sets out indicators against which the attainment of its goals will be measured.

The newly appointed Minister for Women’s Affairs, H.E. Dilbar Nazari, and all her fellow members of cabinet work to ensure that a National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 will be implemented and that the NAPWA will be mainstreamed across all ministries and government bodies. Minister Nazari has stressed the importance and urgency of the empowerment of women in general as well as the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in particular during her visit to the OSCE last month.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all partners who are helping the relevant authorities in Afghanistan in the implementation and reporting of UNSCR 1325. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) and relevant line ministries require continued support of our partners in order to be able to fulfill the requirements set out by the NAPWA. MoWA will work closely with civil society organizations to share updated information about empowerment of women, and the situation of and problems faced by women in Afghanistan. The government also attempts to include training related to UNSCR 1325 in the education of the Afghan National Security Forces, with a view to improving gender sensitivity. We are in the process of adopting the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW). The government, with the support of our international partners, would like to increase awareness campaigns, also in close collaboration with civil society structures and religious leaders. In order to fund long-term UNSCR 1325 implementation programmes across all of the 34 Afghan provinces, the government requires respective support from our donor partners.

As you know, overall representation of women at decision-making levels in Afghanistan’s institutions and mechanisms stands at presentable levels. Nonetheless, we will strive to ensure increased female representation, specifically in the areas of prevention, management and resolution of conflict. We also acknowledge the special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction.

The ongoing peace process in Afghanistan is one of the priorities of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan. The Government is strongly committed that the Afghan constitution in its entirety — including women’s rights — remains a red line for any peace-process negotiations. I wish to stress that women will be active participants during peace negotiations with a view to consolidating stability in Afghanistan. In this process the rights of women will be non-negotiable and a country without equal rights for women can never be a truly peaceful country.

Afghanistan’s women and youth are our best hope for our country’s future. Without their full participation in all spheres of society, we will not be able to secure a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. We are now in the difficult first year of our Decade of Transformation 2015-2024, and with the institutions and legal framework we have created, and with the continued assistance from our international partners, we will be able to empower our women so that they can actively contribute to a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, also by engaging women in a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency strategy.

Thank you

REMARKS BY H.E. AMBASSADOR AYOOB ERFANI IN RESPONSE TO THE REPORT BY THE HEAD OF THE OSCE OFFICE IN TAJIKISTAN, MR. MARKUS MÜLLER OSCE MEETING OF THE PERMANENT COUNCIL

Thank you, Chair for giving me the floor.

I also warmly welcome Markus Müller back to the Permanent Council and I thank him for his comprehensive report. Having spent a part of his professional career in Afghanistan, he knows very well about the current needs, opportunities and challenges in the country and in our region.

As one of the largest OSCE field operations, the Office is tasked with a broad range of activities. Afghanistan highly appreciates the work of the Office, supporting initiatives that address specific issues, including capacity-building programmes. Ongoing co-operation and possible future collaboration covers such diverse areas as border management; police reform; de-mining; counter-terrorism; de-radicalization; fight against corruption; water management and energy security; improvement of Afghanistan’s investment climate and promotion of free trade; human rights and empowerment of women; rule of law; and election reform. Regional co-operation is a main pillar of Afghanistan’s foreign policy and the Office in Tajikistan plays a key role in our collaboration with the OSCE.

In particular, we appreciate the Office’s work through the Border Management Staff College (BMSC) in strengthening our and our neighbor’s border agencies’ capacity. We commend the successful conclusion of the second phase of the patrol programming and leadership project (PPL), where almost 500 Tajik and Afghan border officers received training over a two year period, and we look forward to the implementation of the third and final phase of the PPL to include instructors from Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Due to the extra-budgetary nature of the project, while acknowledging funding cutbacks due to OSCE’s engagement in Ukraine, we would like to encourage all participating and partner States to contribute and support the project. As Markus Müller mentioned, this project has been made a priority of the work of the Office in 2016.

Since June 2014, four women from Afghanistan attended courses at the BMSC and it is our hope that this number can be increased in the coming years.

As far as the security situation in northern Afghanistan is concerned, as mentioned in the report and raised by some delegations this morning, I wish to point out that the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are successfully conducting operations against the Taliban and other anti-governmental groups, which are supported by regional and international terrorist groups. Our forces have proved their capability to control the situation. Afghanistan enjoys excellent brotherly relationships with all its northern neighbors, the OSCE participating States of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and we are working closely together to address all mutual concerns. Also, the Government of Afghanistan is in close contact with relevant security mechanisms such as NATO and CSTO to develop strategies in response to current security matters, including the emergence of terrorist activities. Let me seize this opportunity to express our hope that the four Tajik border guards abducted by Taliban terrorists in December last year can be freed soon.

Another essential area of co-operation between the Office and Afghanistan is demining. We appreciate the fact that Afghan participants were included in regional co-operation activities in the area of mine action and we are grateful that due to this collaboration almost 120,000 m² of mined areas along the Afghan-Tajik border were cleared.

Afghanistan was also invited to send experts to a peer review process concerning UNSCR 1540, organized by the Office in Tajikistan, the Centre in Bishkek, the FSC support unit and UNODA in Bishkek.

We look forward to the conference on the security situation in Afghanistan, to be hosted by the BMSC this month.

Afghanistan also appreciates the Office’s support toward establishment of a Free Economic Zone (FEZ) located along the Tajik-Afghan border, as well as consultations to trade participants and the work of the Cross Border Market Resource Centres, in particular toward anti- corruption.

In conclusion, let me once again thank Markus Müller for his and his team’s excellent work, also in terms of reminding participating States of the need for sustained engagement in Afghanistan and our region, and for his comprehensive report.

Thank you

 

 

H.E. Ambassador Erfani invited to present Afghanistan’s prospects for the Decade of Transformation at the Albertina Rotary Club

 

 

 

 

Vienna, 06.05.2015

Today Ambassador Erfani was invited by the Albertina Rotary Club, an international service group, to give a presentation on Afghanistan. Speaking to a big number of Vienna based members the Ambassador expressed his appreciation for having the opportunity to talk at the occasion. He provided a brief background picture on the peaceful and also the wartime history of Afghanistan, and then focused on Afghanistan’s transition since 2002 and Afghanistan’s vision for a democratic future through the new Decade of Transformation (2015-2024).
Highlighting the improvements made since 2002, the Ambassador spoke of the areas in which progress has been made in the country, including in the areas of education, women’s participation, civil society, media, communication, institutions, security, foreign policy, infrastructure, and legislations. He pointed to these improvements as important signs of success for Afghanistan’s ongoing Decade of Transformation. The Ambassador further emphasized Afghanistan’s commitment, as well as that of its international partners, to consolidate on the current progress in response to the remaining and emerging challenges for a stable and prospering Afghanistan.
The Ambassador also engaged with the participants in an open discussion and responded to questions raised. He briefed the participants about the short, medium and long term economic visions of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan to reclaim the historic geographic role of Afghanistan, as a connecting bridge between Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, to enhancing trade, transit and investment opportunities. He called on the Rotary Club to continue their good work: “I can assure you that there are plenty of opportunities in the emerging market and economy of Afghanistan. At the same time, we still need the support of our international partners to build our capacities and implement our national priority programs (NPPs).”
Responding to a question from the audience about possible seizure of power of Daesh (“Islamic State”) terrorist group in Afghanistan, Ambassador Erfani acknowledged that the ongoing one year has been a difficult year for Afghanistan: “The drawdown of international forces, the completion of security transition to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), Presidential and Provincial Councils elections and the first democratic transfer of power and the country. At the same time, the strong determination of the Afghan people for democracy and freedom through their participation in the last year’s elections, the visions and commitments of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan and the excellent performance of the capable Afghan National Security Forces against terrorists and enemies of the Afghan people, provide a guarantee that there is no chance for terrorist victory in Afghanistan, and we are confident that we will succeed in our goal for a stable and democratic Afghanistan, which is equally important for the regional and international peace and stability.”
Rotary International was formed in 1905 with the service-oriented aim of applying leadership and expertise to social issues to create lasting change. The club is made up of 1.2 million members, all working to improve their communities and the world.

– END –

H.E. Ambassador Erfani briefs the international community in Vienna on Afghanistan’s counterterrorism achievements

IMG_1109

Vienna, 22.04.2015

Today the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan held a roundtable entitled “Briefing on the Joint Plan of Action 2014 – 2016 for the Implementation of Technical Assistance Activities to Support the Efforts of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the area of Preventing and Countering Terrorism” at the Vienna International Center, co-organized with the UNODC.  Ambassador Ayoob Erfani sat on the panel alongside Mr. Trevor Michael Rajah, Chief of the Terrorism Prevention Branch, and Ms. Dolgor Solongo, Officer in Charge of Implementation Support Section I. Opening the briefing, the Ambassador gave a talk on counterterrorism efforts and achievements in Afghanistan, as well as essential future steps for the country.

Highlighting the importance of combatting the global challenge of terrorism, Ambassador Erfani praised the international community for its support in Afghanistan. Speaking systemically, he pointed out the progress made on national, regional and international levels. With important legislative and institutional achievements made in Afghanistan, strong regional efforts via the Heart of Asia/Istanbul Process, and accession to all relevant conventions and mechanisms, the country is working hard to improve the safety and security situation for the sake of its citizens.

Pointing to the many challenges ahead, the Ambassador commented on the importance of pursuing a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach in combatting terrorism by addressing relevant socio-economic factors, including the impact of the narcotics trade on funding terrorist activity and the role which women have to play in this arena. The Ambassador expressed the National Unity Government of Afghanistan’s commitment to addressing all the challenges ahead and the support of the Afghan people for these efforts.

Ambassador Erfani was followed by Mr. Trevor Michael Rajah who commented on the achievements of the Joint Plan of Action and stated UNODC’s commitment to continuing to assist Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism. Concluding the presentations, Ms. Dolgor Solongo presented Ambassador Erfani with completed translations of the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations into Dari and Pashto.

In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Erfani thanked the friends and partners of Afghanistan in the audience, and called on the continued support of the international community going forward.

IMG_1115

IMG_1111

– END –

 

Written Contribution by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani to the OSCE Security Committee

Agenda item 4.

Implementation of OSCE counter-terrorism related documents with a focus on MC.DOC/5/14 and MC.DOC/6/14

Afghanistan has been a prime victim of international terrorism for prolonged periods. Narco-terrorism continuously poses a massive threat to our country and the region. The Government of Afghanistan is dedicated to doing its part in the global fight against terrorism on national, regional and international levels.

Starting in the year 2002, the Afghan people supported by our friends and partners in the International Community began their journey toward a stable and democratic Afghanistan, leading to our decade-long achievements and the transition process that was completed at the end of 2014. Today, the Afghan National Security Forces have taken full responsibility from NATO/ISAF in providing security for the Afghan people and are actively engaged in fighting domestic and international terrorist organizations. These terrorists groups, acting under changing names and colors but working toward the same brutal and inhumane goal, make every effort to challenge and undermine the decade-long and historic achievements in Afghanistan, that have been gained through the strong commitment and sacrifices of the Afghan people and our international partners. Afghanistan remains committed and stands resolute to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Afghanistan has created competent institutions, and has adopted national legislation and joined relevant regional and international protocols, conventions, mechanisms and processes, including all 16 international counter-terrorism legal instruments, and has provided reports to most of these mechanisms and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions including 1373, 1540 and the sanctions regime concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities, established by Resolution 1267 in 1999 adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and modified and strengthened by eleven subsequent resolutions, the latest being UNSCR 2161 of 2014. Afghanistan is also an active member of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). Also, counter-terrorism efforts are among the main confidence-building measures of the newly established Heart of Asia/Istanbul Process, a key mechanism of our regional co-operation, which stands as a main pillar of Afghanistan’s foreign  .

Afghanistan is a nation committed to the cause of freedom and to the fight against the growing threat of terrorism. Afghanistan’s successful security transition took place at a difficult time in our region, coined by the rise of extremism and the emergence of terrorist groups under different names and flags. Both these phenomena were and are being supported by certain states, providing funding and sanctuary, contradicting existing protocols, conventions and UNSC resolutions. These issues must be addressed and Afghanistan, standing at the frontline against global terrorism and other transnational threats is committed to do its part but requires continued strong support from our partners in the international alliance against terrorism. Last year, the people of Afghanistan voted for democracy and against extremism. It is our job to ensure that our country will never ever serve again as safe haven for terrorists. We have made the decision, with the continued commitments and support by our partners to move toward the transformation decade for a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, with a view to retaking our deserved role within the family of nations as a peaceful roundabout for co-operation, trade, transit and exchange with our neighbors, regional and international partners.

-END-

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

Agenda item 1.

Trafficking in Human Beings and its connections with illegal migration and organized crime

Mr. Chairman,

Let me thank you for organizing today’s meeting of the Security Committee and for giving me the floor. Also, I wish to welcome Ambassador Madina Jarbussynova back from Doha and thank her and the other panelists for their comprehensive presentations on this pressing topic.

Mr. Chairman,

Human trafficking and trade of humans for purposes of forced labor, slavery, extraction of organs and sexual exploitation are increasingly linked to the activities of human smugglers and remains serious challenges for all of us.

Afghanistan is in the process of gradually recovering from three decades of war and conflict. As is almost always the case in post-conflict scenarios, Afghanistan still has to deal with huge numbers of refugees and migrants, many of which have fallen prey to the cruel business of traffickers in human beings.  Due to the post-conflict trauma, coupled with the economic situation as well as challenging security condition in some parts of the country, numbers of young Afghans, most of whom have been placed in refugee camps in neighboring countries, falsely trust human smugglers and traffickers who encourage them to choose the path of illegal migration, misleading them by promising them a better future. These most vulnerable groups are at risk of falling into the wrong hands where they will face inconceivable, terrible consequences, and even loss of life.

The newly formed National Unity Government of Afghanistan is committed to addressing all aspects of Trafficking in Human Beings. We have made significant efforts and have taken practical steps on the national, regional and international level to combat human trafficking and related organized crime. In terms of law enforcement, the Law on Countering Abduction and Human Trafficking was passed in 2008. An inter-ministerial committee including representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the National Directorate of Security has been established to combat human trafficking. All responsible line ministries, government bodies and the media, led by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, launched a country-wide public information campaign to increase awareness of human trafficking issues. Afghanistan also participates in the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, and in August 2014, Afghanistan acceded to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

In this context, let me commend the efforts of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for Afghan stakeholders, in particular in the areas of increasing public awareness, protection of victims, and training programmes for law enforcement officers and government officials. IOM started its work in Afghanistan in 1992 and has maintained an uninterrupted presence ever since. In February this year, the head of IOM Afghanistan, Richard Danziger, expressed concerns over the increase of human trafficking from Afghanistan to other countries.

As a Partner for Co-operation of the OSCE, Afghanistan remains committed to closely collaborating with the OSCE in all areas addressing human trafficking and related organized crime. We appreciate all efforts taken by the OSCE to combat this serious humanitarian challenge and tragedy. Taking this opportunity, I wish to state that Afghanistan seeks the continued support of the OSCE and international organizations to undertake analysis and to support the action of our government bodies.

In conclusion, let me state that we recognize that any durable, successful strategy must be regional and international in its scope.

Thank you