Thank you, Chair, for giving me the floor.
We thank the Slovak Republic and Switzerland for co-hosting today’s Joint Conference on Strengthening OSCE – UN Co-operation on Security Sector Reform (SSR).
Afghanistan, as a post-conflict country, has particular high stakes in SSR initiatives.
Afghanistan joined the Group of Friends of UN-SSR in 2007, co-chaired by Slovakia, and has been inspired by and benefited from the ongoing support and useful lessons gained from this process.
The Government is making every effort in the areas of defense establishment, civilian law, customs agencies, elements of the criminal justice sector and is training its professional and accountable security forces to operate in accordance with the constitution of the country, with a view to promoting human rights, good governance, and gender equality, all of which are inextricably linked with Security Sector Reform.
The Government is committed to effective security sector reforms, through continued improvement and democratization of all relevant processes, norms, structures and institutions including the national security forces. Our national security forces of 350,000 troops have proven to be capable while acting responsible under the ongoing reforms and capacity-building process. With the help of our international partners, the Afghan Ministry of Interior has implemented mechanisms that are apt to ensure both effective operations and democratic control of all its armed forces.
The Government of Afghanistan has co-operated, among others, with UNAMA, UNDP, and EUPOL in this area and ISAF’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams also contributed, and I quote: “to support where appropriate the Security Sector Reform (SSR) initiatives”, end of quote.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior has initiated at Democratic Policing project in September 2009, involving law enforcement, community groups and local governance councils.
Since then, the project has evolved to a cluster-based approach comprising the National Area-based Development Programme, Afghanistan Sub-national Governance Programme, Gender Equality Project, Afghanistan New Beginnings Programme, and National Disaster Management Project.
Our Democratic Policing concept covers the security sector as well as the rule of law and Human Rights, as covered under the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) and the UNDP Country Programme Action Plan. We continue our efforts towards full establishment of the rule of law, good governance, due process, and upholding human rights, under the National Priority Programs (NPPs).
The national ownership and role of civil society remains one of the most important elements of the SSR process in the country.
We understand comprehensive security as a concept that enables participation and integration of a broad spectrum and all those segments of our society who are committed to the stabilization and democratization process in the country, regardless of their social and ethnic backgrounds or gender, and in particular youth and women.
Afghanistan remains committed to our joint fight against global and intertwined menaces: combating terrorism, illicit trafficking of chemical precursors and narcotics, cultivation of illegal drugs, human trafficking and other forms of organized crime. In this context, and with a view to accomplishing our goals of successful Transition and the Transformation Decade (2015-2024), Afghanistan will need – inter alia – continued assistance towards capacity-building, training programmes, sharing of knowledge and expertise in the area of security sector reform. Plus, we must keep in mind the long-term nature of any SSR activities.
As I stated on 30 June 2014 during the official launch of the open-ended Group of Friends of SSG/R, we in Afghanistan as a member of the United Nations Group of Friends of SSR, believe that the creation of our Group of Friends is an important initiative and provides an excellent platform for exchange of good practices and experiences among its members on the topic of SSG/R and related processes within the OSCE region as a whole.
We believe that this initiative must be considered as a long-term process and in order to accomplish success, this process requires a number of necessary measures, including:
– Assignment of SSG/R permanent staff within the OSCE secretariat;
– Institutionalize SSGR and adoption of a work program and projects to share and apply lessons learned and good practices ;
– Along with the extra budgetary measures , to establish a voluntary trust fund towards SSG/R activities;
– Create a joint OSCE-UN task force for co-operation and co-ordination.
Afghanistan welcomes and supports this initiative and declares membership of the SSG/R Group of Friends. We as a committed partner of OSCE are ready to do our part for the success if this young process.