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Ambassador Erfani speaks at OSCE Asian Contact Group Meeting

11225348_1632973403652128_7738566875833571843_nVienna, 16.10.2015

On October 16th, Ambassador Erfani delivered a presentation on “Afghanistan’s Decade of Transformation and Gender Dynamics” at this year’s final meeting of the OSCE Asian Contact Group. After thanking the group’s Chairperson, Ambassador Claude Wild of Switzerland, for the warm welcome and introduction, Ambassador Erfani provided a brief overview about the historical perspective concerning the situation of women in Afghanistan. The Ambassador then highlighted accomplishments achieved since 2001, including a solid framework of both domestic and international legal instruments, institutional building, political commitment, democratic structures and elections, the role of media, and civil society engagement.

“Despite challenging security conditions in some areas of the country, due to terrorists’ activities, we have managed to enable women to regain their historic role as a powerful force for change and progress in our society,” the Ambassador said. Ambassador Erfani also emphasized the remaining and emerging challenges in the empowerment of women noting that, “Work to improve the situation of women in Afghanistan is in progress, but we accept that there is much more to do.”12111954_1632973400318795_8963704946664707409_n

The Ambassador stated that there is strong commitment by the President of Afghanistan, H.E. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, by the Chief Executive of Afghanistan, H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, and as a matter of fact by the entire cabinet, to continue the work in improving the situation for women in Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani also made reference to the important role of the First Lady of Afghanistan, Rula Ghani, in encouraging participation of women in Afghan politics by forming the Women Advisory Board.

Ambassador Erfani noted the important role of the OSCE in advancing women’s rights in Afghanistan and appealed to the international community to continue and expand the support in implementing the legal and political commitments. He concluded with a request to the OSCE and all present to, “Please continue your assistance and we look forward to further broadening and deepening our collaboration with all of you and with a view to accomplishing a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan for all Afghans. Women constitute more than 50% of Afghan society and without their active participation Afghanistan will not be able reach its goal for a stable, democratic and prosperous future”.


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H.E. Ambassador Erfani met with Young Afghan Diplomats at the OSCE

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Vienna, 16.09.2015

Today H.E. Ambassador Erfani, along with two diplomats from the Afghan Delegation, met with up-and-coming young diplomats from Afghanistan during a special meeting at the OSCE. The meeting was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Germany to welcome young diplomats of the various Central Asian countries, including Afghanistan. The group of young diplomats were part of an international training programme organized by the German Foreign Office concerning the formation of young diplomats from all over the world. During their stay in Vienna, the young diplomats visited the OSCE and various International Organisations to get an insight into the functioning and activities of their respective missions.

During the meeting, Ambassador Erfani briefed the young Afghan diplomats various aspects of the work completed here in Vienna at various international oganisations including the UN, OSCE, UNIDO, IAEA and CTBTO. Ambassador Erfani noted the importance of training and first-hand experience for young diplomats. He congratulated the young diplomats on their efforts to improve their skills and knowledge in order to best represent Afghanistan in international affairs.

Ambassador Erfani thanked the H.E. Permanent Representative of Germany to the OSCE, Ambassador Eberhard Pohl, and the coordinators of the Young Diplomats Programme meeting. Ambassador Erfani added that Germany throughout history has proved to be a great friend of Afghanistan and for the last 14 years, has been an active member of the international community in the stabilization process in Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani concluded specially thanked Germany for coordinating this capacity building activity and noted that capacity building remains an essential area in particular for the young generation who are a promising factor in our future.

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H.E. Minister Azimi, Minister of Counter Narcotics, Addresses OSCE Conference on Illicit Drugs among Young People

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Vienna, 10.09.2015

Today as part of the two day conference hosted by the OSCE on the “Enhancement of Mechanisms to Cope with Increasing Spread of Illicit Drugs amongst Young People”, H.E. Minister Azimi delivered a speech giving an overview of the drug control situation in Afghanistan. She noted that poppy cultivation had increased by 7% compared with previous years. Tragically, Afghanistan also witnessed an alarming increase in the rate of addiction in its people with recent surveys showing approximately 2.9 to 3.6 million Afghans could test positive for one or more drugs and 1.0 to 1.2 million of these people are children. Minister Azimi noted several challenges for Afghanistan in dealing with the drug problem, including: ineffective alternative livelihood programs and insufficient resources in the area of addiction treatment.

Success in countering narcotics will be gained through addressing the growing link between drug trade and terrorism and focusing on the root causes of illicit drug cultivation including poverty, unemployment, and lack of alternative livelihood. Minister Azimi also noted that The drivers of drug business at regional and international levels need to be addressed with a special focus on its financial aspect in combination with intensified efforts to combat trafficking in precursors. Overall success in Afghanistan, the region and the world will only come about with increased cooperation and coordination in counter narcotic efforts through information sharing. Minister Azimi further noted that More resources are needed to address the root causes of drug use among young people as well as to strengthen preventive measures including awareness raising among young people. She sees a a great potential in civil society institutions in helping with preventive measures.

Minister Azimi concluded noting that, “The National Unity Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of opium economy. In few weeks, the new Counter Narcotics Strategy of Afghanistan and the new Drug Control Action Plan will be shared with the international community which will set the priorities and the implementation plans for the years to come.” Further to this, she noted that, “While we are grateful for the support that has been provided by the international community to our counter narcotics efforts in the past 14 years including by the OSCE participating states and partners for cooperation, I hope that we will witness even greater support to the implementation of our new counter narcotics strategy and the relevant action plan in the years to come.”

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Speech by H.E Salamat Azimi, Minister of Counter Narcotics of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the OSCE Conference 10-11 September 2015

Vienna, 10.09.2015

Excellencies,

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be part of this important Conference and I would like to thank the OSCE for the invitation extended to me and my delegation and for the opportunity to speak on a very important topic, “how to break connection between drugs and youth”.

I hope that our deliberations in this Conference will help us increase the effectiveness of our measures at all levels to address the spread of drug use among young people.

Before sharing my views on the topic, let me present an overview of drug control situation in Afghanistan. Last year, we witnessed an increase in poppy cultivation which reached 224,000 hectares showing 7% increase compared to previous years. UNODC reports show that during the last few years Afghanistan produced an average of 4900 tons of opium. Two-thirds of this production are processed into heroin and morphine and are consumed in Europe and U.S. markets.  Precursors are key to processing Afghan opiates into heroin and morphine. 1300 tons of precursor chemicals annually is needed in this cycle of production. Afghanistan and neighboring countries are not allowed to produce these chemical substances, and this is indicative of the fact that they are coming from outside the region. Over thousands of tons of such chemicals enter Afghanistan through our neighboring countries. Afghanistan does not need these chemicals for any legal purpose and this has been already reported to the International Narcotics Control Board.

Tragically, Afghanistan has witnessed an alarming rate of addiction over the past few years. Recent surveys show that approximately 2.9 to 3.6 million Afghans could test positive for one or more drugs and 1.0 to 1.2 million of them are children. Of this total, approximately 1.9 to 2.4 million adults and 90000 to 110000 children could be drug users. Nearly one-third (31%) of all households tested positive for one or more drugs. The rural house hold rate is more than three times higher: 39% rural compared to 11% urban.

Approximately 13% of adults tested positive for one to more drugs. The rate for rural adults almost two times higher: 15 % rural compared to 8% urban. About 16% of men and 10% of women tested positive. Drug use among rural men is almost two times higher: 18% of rural men compared 11% for urban men. Drug use among rural women is almost three times higher: 11% rural women compared to 4% of urban women. Approximately 9% of Afghan children tested positive for one or more drug. The percentage for rural children who tested positive is almost six times higher: 11% rural compared to 2% urban.

As in other parts of the world, Afghan youth have been the most vulnerable group to drug use. Unemployment, low literacy rates, deterioration of family relationships, lack of awareness, previous conflicts and associated migration and displacement are among the root causes of drug use among youth in Afghanistan. Youth are also involved in cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs in the country which are linked to several other factors such as high demand in the global market; insecurity and insurgency; poverty; unemployment and lack of alternative livelihoods.  The UNODC Survey 2014 shows that 95 percent of poppy cultivation takes place in nine insecure provinces. Moreover, reports show that the lion’s share of profits from poppy cultivation and drug traffickingare skimmed off by the Taliban and regional and international drug and terrorist networks.

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of the opium economy in the country. Counter narcotics remains a cross-cutting issue under our national development agenda and considerable efforts have been made in areas such as legislation, institutional building and policy development aimed at improving the capacity of the Government to counter this multi-dimensional menace in the country. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan as a policy making body is leading and coordinating all counter narcotics efforts in the country andis making every effort to eliminate the opium economy in the country including through the development and implementation of new programs and initiatives and the revision of the current laws and strategies under an integrated approach.

Special attention has been given to vulnerable groups such as women, youth and children and focused efforts are being made to address the challenges that youth are facing in Afghanistan in almost all sectors. Our public information campaigns include mini-theater shows, village level awareness programs, media messaging, interviews, symposiums, media outreach and many more outreach efforts.

Despite the efforts and achievements, the road ahead of us is difficult and challenging.  Among the challenges that need to be addressed, I can refer to the following:

  • Insufficient resource allocation to implement programs of alternative livelihood in Afghanistan.
  • Ineffective alternative livelihood programs in some cases.
  • Lack of easy access of Afghan licit products to regional and international markets.
  • Diversion of precursors from licit use in regional and neighboring countries to illicit use in drug production in Afghanistan.
  • Shortage of cooperation and exchange of information at the regional level including on controlled delivery.
  • Insufficient resources in the area of addiction treatment and lack of capacity in the area of prevention including awareness raising.

 In my view, success in countering narcotics in general and addressing the spread of drugs among young people in particular depends on balanced, integrated and long-term efforts in both supply and demand sides and in this context, due attention needs to be given to the following elements:

  • Drug trade is linked with terrorism in my country and in the region and we should address this growing link under a holistic approach.
  • Along with law enforcement efforts, in the long run we need to focus on the root causes of illicit drug cultivation including poverty, unemployment, and lack of alternative livelihood.
  • The drivers of drug business at regional and international levels need to be addressed with a special focus on its financial aspect.
  • Intensified efforts are needed to combat trafficking in precursors and to reduce demand for heroin in the world.
  • The link between cultivation and demand is drug trafficking, so efforts must be concentrated on traffickers who are earning enormous profits.
  • Greater regional cooperation and coordination is needed including in the area of information sharing in order to more effectively counter narcotics.
  • More resources are needed to address the root causes of drug use among young people as well as to strengthen preventive measures including awareness raising among young people.
  • There is a great potential in civil society institutions in helping with preventive measures. We should make best use of this potential and strengthen cooperation between the governmental agencies and civil society institutions.

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let us ensure that the gains we achieved this far became entrenched, and let us produce new ideas and new mechanisms to nourish our partnership and enhance our efforts to tackle the menace of narcotics.

The National Unity Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of opium economy. In few weeks, the new Counter Narcotics Strategy of Afghanistan and the new Drug Control Action Plan will be shared with the international community which will set the priorities and the implementation plans for the years to come. While we are grateful for the support that has been provided by the international community to our counter narcotics efforts in the past 14 years including by the OSCE participating states and partners for cooperation, I hope that we will witness even greater support to the implementation of our new counter narcotics strategy and the relevant action plan in the years to come.

Thank you,

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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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

H.E. Dilbar Nazari attends the OSCE Security Days Event on Promoting Dialogue to Advance Tolerance and Prevent Radicalization

Vienna, 22.05.2015

On Thursday and Friday H.E. Dilbar Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan, and a visiting women’s delegation attended the OSCE Security Days Event on Promoting Dialogue to Advance Tolerance and Prevent Radicalization. The two day meeting addressed various means available for discouraging radicalization in societies across the world. The event included sessions on the roles of media and education in the matter, the root causes of such issues, and the importance of the participation of women, the youth and religious leaders in fostering inclusive dialogue.

Ms. Nazari and her delegation participated in these sessions and expressed their appreciation at being present to discuss issues of such importance to Afghanistan. The country faces several challenges in the area of radicalization and is committed to continuing to addressing such issues, especially through the empowerment of women and their inclusion in the peace and reconciliation process.

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H.E. Dilbar Nazari addresses an OSCE Roundtable on Gender-Responsive National Reconciliation in Afghanistan

Vienna, 20.05.2015

This afternoon, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan and the OSCE Gender Section co-organized a Roundtable on Gender-Responsive National Reconciliation in Afghanistan. The roundtable emphasized that women’s empowerment remains a key objective of the post-2014 agenda and that women’s increased participation in governance is vital tool for achieving stability and security.

H.E. Ambassador Erfani made opening remarks on the occasion, highlighting the fact that with women constituting 50% of the Afghan population, their continued participation in all levels of society is of the utmost importance to the country’s forward progress and continued successes in the Decade of Transformation 2015-2024. OSCE Special Representative on Gender Issues H.E. Ambassador Melanne Verveer offered further opening remarks, reminding the participants that success in Afghanistan will not be achieved unless women fully participate in the decision-making process.

H.E. Dilbar Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan, acted as the keynote speaker and was joined by a delegation of men and women from Afghan government, parliament, civil society and media. With the active participation of member and partner states, representatives of the women’s delegation from Afghanistan and Afghan civil society engaged in the discussion.

Prior to the roundtable, Ms. Nazari met with H.E. Isabelle Poupart, Permanent Representative of Canada to the OSCE, who moderated the event.

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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

 

 

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.

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