SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS AFGHANISTAN SECURITY FORCE FOR SIX MONTHS, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1413 (2002)

23 May 2002
SC/7410

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS AFGHANISTAN SECURITY FORCE FOR SIX MONTHS, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1413 (2002)

23/05/2002
Press ReleaseSC/7410

Security Council

4541st Meeting (AM)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS AFGHANISTAN SECURITY FORCE FOR SIX MONTHS,

UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1413 (2002)

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs

Briefs Council on Progress towards Emergency Loya Jirga

The Security Council this morning extended the authorization of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for a period of six months beyond 20 June.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1413 (2002), the Council called on Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to the Force, and to make contributions to the Trust Fund established under resolution 1386 (2001).  The Council also requested the Force leadership to provide monthly reports through the Secretary-General on implementation of its mandate.

Briefing the Council before adoption of the text, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast told the Council that, despite the progress in the past six months, “It is too early to take the Bonn process for granted –- to assume that it is cemented firmly into the destiny of the country.”

He said the upcoming Emergency Loya Jirga was the most important political event in Afghanistan since the formation of the Interim Administration last December –- and a pivotal test for the Bonn process.  The process had been difficult, with many of the 380 district assemblies in remote areas under the control of commanders or split between fighting armed factions.  But, there was a general understanding that it was too important to be discarded for its imperfections.

Afghanistan would be “seriously compromised” by a lack of tangible progress in the security situation, he said.  A sustained reconstruction process could not be launched without real improvements in security outside Kabul and its environs.  Given the absence of an expansion of ISAF, donors were urged to continue funding that and other vital life-saving operations.

Twenty-four speakers participated in the open discussion prior to the adoption of the text, including the representative of Afghanistan who thanked the international community for its assistance, without which, he said, the achievements of the past six months would not have been possible.  He cited, in particular, the general establishment of peace and security in the country, with

the exception of the south-east border area, the Loya Jirga process, and the massive return of refugees.

He said that ISAF had played a positive role in restoring peace and security, and he thanked the United Kingdom for having ably led it, and welcomed the assumption of that role by Turkey.  He reiterated the need for a country-wide security force, but said that peace and stability depended not only on restoring security, but also on rebuilding the country.  He supported fully the adoption of the resolution.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore S. Jayakumar, whose delegation holds the Council presidency for the month, presided over the meeting and made a statement in his national capacity.

Statements were also made by the representatives of France, Ireland, United States, Syria, Colombia, Mexico, Russian Federation, Bulgaria, Norway, Mauritius, Guinea, Cameroon, China, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, India, Spain (on behalf of the European Union), New Zealand, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.

The meeting began at 10:37 a.m. and adjourned at 1:37 p.m.

Background

The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Afghanistan.  It had before it a draft resolution on extending the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for a further six months.

The last time the Council met on Afghanistan, on 25 April, it heard a briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast, who warned security remained a major challenge in many parts of the country.  In that connection, he appealed to the international community to speed up the delivery of its assistance and broaden its scope to include unmet needs related to security.

Draft Resolution

The full text of the draft resolution (document S/2002/569) reads, as follows:

The Security Council,

Reaffirming its previous resolutions on Afghanistan, in particular its resolution 1386 (2001) of 20 December 2001,

Reaffirming also its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan,

Supporting international efforts to root out terrorism, in keeping with the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming also its resolutions 1368 (2001) of 12 September 2001 and 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001,

Recognizing that the responsibility for providing security and law and order throughout the country resides with the Afghans themselves, and welcoming in this respect the cooperation of the Afghan Interim Authority with the International Security Assistance Force,

Expressing its appreciation to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for taking the lead in organizing and commanding the International Security Assistance Force and recognizing with gratitude the contributions of many nations to the International Security Assistance Force,

Welcoming the letter from the Foreign Minister of Turkey to the Secretary-General of 7 May 2002 (S/2002/568), and taking note of Turkey’s offer contained therein to assume the lead in commanding the International Security Assistance Force,

Recalling the letter dated 19 December 2001 from Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to the President of the Security Council (S/2001/1223),

Determining that the situation in Afghanistan still constitutes a threat to international peace and security,

Determined to ensure the full implementation of the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force, in consultation with the Afghan Interim Authority and its successors established by the Bonn Agreement,

Acting for these reasons under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1.   Decides to extend the authorization, for a period of six months beyond 20 June 2002, of the International Security Assistance Force, as defined in resolution 1386 (2001);

“2.   Authorizes the Member States participating in the International Security Assistance Force to take all necessary measures to fulfil the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force;

“3.   Calls upon Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to the International Security Assistance Force, and to make contributions to the Trust Fund established pursuant to resolution 1386 (2001);

“4.   Requests the leadership of the International Security Assistance Force to provide monthly reports on implementation of its mandate, through the Secretary-General;

“5.   Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

Statements

KIERAN PRENDERGAST, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, provided an update on recent events in Afghanistan.  The emergency Loya Jirga process due to take place in less than three weeks was the most important political event in Afghanistan since the formation of the Interim Administration last December.  That was a pivotal test for the Bonn process.  Pillar I of the mission had been focusing most of its resources in ensuring that the Loya Jirga was held on time and under free and fair conditions.

He said the circumstances were difficult, both logistically and politically, with the holding of 380 district assemblies around the country.  Many of those districts were remote, and many were under the control of commanders, or were split between armed factions who continued to fight each other.  The village assemblies would select electoral colleges, depending on the size of the district. In phase II, those colleges would elect representatives to the Loya Jirga, and phase III would be holding of the Loya Jirga itself.

The members of the Independent Commission for the Convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga were currently deployed in all eight regions of the country and supported by five two-person teams per region, he went on.  Twenty-three international monitors of five different nationalities were also deployed across the country to follow the assemblies.  A complex air operation involving five helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft had been set up to assist members of the Commission and the monitors.  Phase I had been completed in about 300 of

380 provinces.  Preparations continued for both phases II and III.

In Kabul, he continued, intense preparation was ongoing for phase III.  That included the physical rehabilitation of the site and coordinating security arrangements.  He was pleased with the progress and confident that the Loya Jirga would proceed on schedule.  As expected, phase I had been “less than perfect”, but in many ways better than had been expected.  For example, turnout at most assemblies was in the thousands.

He said that the process so far had demonstrated the capacity for reconciliation and compromise among Afghans, as they realized the importance of not losing that opportunity for peace and reconstruction.  There was a general understanding that the Loya Jirga was an important event for Afghanistan’s future -- above all, that it was too important to be discarded for its imperfections.  Many of the obstacles in phase I had been caused by the uncertain security situation.

Helping the Afghans develop the capacity to assert authority was the subject of the second security donors’ conference in Geneva on 17 May, he said.  That meeting had brought together 40 donors and sought to secure “real” financial commitments for security sector reform.  Meanwhile, the Interim Administration delegation presented an operational paper on the new Afghan Armed Forces, which would be about 80,000 strong and cost approximately $300 million for the first year.  A civilian-controlled National Security Council would oversee it.

Overall, he said, the Geneva conference had been viewed positively by its participants.  A number of additional countries had pledged funds and other support or indicated that they were actively considering doing so.  The present moment in Afghanistan’s history presented an unusual challenge for the international community.  The country’s reconstruction and the creation of a viable political system required the development of an Afghan security sector that was controlled by and responsible to the State.

In the long run, that was the cheapest option for donors.  In terms of ensuring stability, that was the only option, he said.  He urged donors, therefore, to consider the initiatives presented at the Geneva conference and how they might contribute to their financing and implementation.  The creation of new security institutions would take time.  The current security situation, in particular, outside Kabul, remained a “major concern”.

He had informed the Council last week about the worrying situation in

Mazar-i-Sharif where the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had successfully brokered a separation of forces agreement between rival warlords.  The situation there remained fragile.  So did the overall security environment in other parts of the country, in particular, in the east and south.  In view of the absence of an expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) beyond Kabul, the United Nations and the Interim Administration continued to believe that the international community should address those legitimate security issues as quickly as possibly.

Afghanistan would be “seriously compromised” by a lack of tangible progress in the security environment, he said.  For example, a sustained reconstruction process could not be launched without real improvements in security outside Kabul and its environs.  Turning to the relief situation, he said that owing to insufficient funds, World Food Programme (WFP) deliveries in April and May had fallen short of targets by about 80,000 metric tonnes.  All donors were urged to continue funding that and other vital life-saving operations.

On 16 May, the number of Afghans returning in a single day, from both Iran and Pakistan, topped 20,000 for the first time, he went on.  The total number of refugees assisted by the United Nations since the start of the year now stood at 625,000, with an undetermined number who had returned on their own.  The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to rebuild 7,400 houses for the neediest returnees and was continuing to provide repatriation packages to ease the difficulties of that transition.

He said that the partnership between the government and the United Nations must be based on a shared vision of transition for recovery and Afghan self-reliance.  Those must work together to address common problems and produce durable, common solutions.  At present, millions of people depended on United Nations and NGO programmes, so for the immediate future a large-scale presence  and funding requirement continued to be necessary.  In the medium term, the Organization would progressively reduce its presence, assign more funding to recovery and reconstruction projects, and support the Government in meeting its challenges and responsibilities.

Reporting on the conference recently held in Tehran on trade and private sector cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, he said it had addressed the rebuilding of Afghanistan through the creation of a vibrant private sector and emphasized the need to expand trading opportunities as a key driver of that rebuilding.  Following the conference, the countries signed an agreement that established a tripartite commission to develop private sector development and trade between the countries. 

“It is too early to take the Bonn process for granted -- to assume that it is cemented firmly into the destiny of the country”, he said, despite the progress in the past six months.  At the same time, each day of progress seemed to make the process more irreversible.  He would be following events closely in the lead-up to the Loya Jirga and looked forward to its successful conclusion and to a smooth transition to the next phase of the Bonn process, a phase in which he hoped reconstruction activities would pick up in earnest.

YVES DOUTRIAUX (France) said that, in a few days’ time, the Loya Jirga would be held.  Clearly, it was necessary to be careful regarding the approach to that crucial stage.  It was not easy to reconcile all Afghans following decades of war.  There was concern about the security situation not only in Kabul, but also throughout the rest of the country.  In view of those security challenges, the international community could take, and had already taken, a number of actions.

First, the international community was involved in training the Afghan army and police force, he said.  The international community’s efforts in that regard were well coordinated.  France would be responsible for training two battalions for the future Afghan army, in addition to France’s other contributions in the area of security.  In the area of training, there was a problem of timing.  Afghan units were not fully operational.  Also, the role of ISAF in Kabul was crucial in regard to security, since the Transitional Authority would be located there.  He supported the renewal of ISAF’s mandate to be taken today.

International aid for reconstruction and recovery of Afghanistan would contribute to strengthening security for the Afghan people, he said.  That aid needed to be fully coordinated and disbursed effectively.  The donors had to live up to the commitments made at the Tokyo Conference.  The Afghans and the international community had done a lot in six months, but much remained to be done.  He was fully confident in the ability of Afghans to come together to rebuild their country.

RICHARD RYAN (Ireland) said that the Loya Jirga must take place in a secure atmosphere, without interruption.  All actors must provide maximum assistance to the Interim Authority, and to the United Nations, to ensure its success.  There were continued reports from some sectors that there had been instances of “pre-selection” and intimidation.  He was very concerned at a possible political motivation behind the death of a recently selected delegate in Ghor province.

The success of the Loya Jirga, and the selection of a transitional government, would mark an extremely important stage in the implementation of the Bonn Agreement and in Afghanistan’s transition to a more representative form of government, he said.  The success of that process would have a profound impact on the reconstruction effort already under way in the country.  It was essential that donors made every effort to disburse the very generous pledges made at the Tokyo reconstruction conference.

He fully supported the resolution, to be adopted today, which would extend the mandate, without change, of ISAF for a further six months.  Its extension clearly signalled the international community’s continued engagement in Afghanistan.  However, while providing a secure environment for the reconstruction of Afghanistan was essential, the country was still experiencing a severe humanitarian crisis.  Before reconstruction could go forward, basic humanitarian needs must be met.

He welcomed the news that work was proceeding on the creation of a human rights commission.  It was essential that that commission, as well as the judicial commission, be established as soon as possible.  Human rights must continue to be placed at the forefront of United Nations efforts in Afghanistan.  While there had been profoundly positive developments regarding the rights of women and girls, very serious problems remained.

RICHARD W. WILLIAMSON (United States) said he was pleased to be adopting a formal resolution today extending ISAF’s mandate for six months.  The war on terrorism would be a long one; an early arena was and continued to be in Afghanistan.  The United States was pleased to join with the United Nations to support a secure, stable and durable Afghanistan.  Despite the commitment of the international community, everyone recognized that much remained to be done there.  Last week, together with Lakhdar Brahimi, security talks were held in Geneva.  Efforts to assist in security measures and coordinate international efforts in that regard were reviewed.

He said that, since the Council’s last meeting, progress had been made on a number of initiatives.  Capable and transparent institutions were the key to long-term security for the Afghan people.  To that end, training of the national Afghan army by the United States was well under way, and participants had “gotten down to the business of standing up” a national army.  Training of the first contingent of troops had already begun, and he welcomed the arrival of French trainers in Kabul, who would train the second battalion starting on 1 June, as well as an additional battalion later on.  He also welcomed the creation of a United Nations trust fund to facilitate salary payments.

The Loya Jirga was a critical milestone, he said. There was forward movement on the ground in Afghanistan.  There had been isolated problems, but clear and steady progress was being made.  A successful and transparent Loya Jirga process was critical to the success of the Bonn process.  His country was contributing funding and other support to the Loya Jirga, including to air operations, Radio Kabul, and the public dissemination of Chairman Hamid Karzai’s message on the Loya Jirga.  That would not take place in a security vacuum; clearly, the situation was “very fluid” and the United States would remain focused on the issue. It continued to closely monitor the security situation on the ground beyond Kabul, and efforts to address security imperatives had so far been successful.

MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said that the upcoming Loya Jirga to establish the Afghan Transitional Authority would be an important political achievement for Afghanistan.  The country needed, first and foremost, Afghan efforts, as well as international efforts, to solve its problems.  In addition to the holding of the Loya Jirga, the security situation was of utmost concern.  There were pockets of resistance belonging to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, as well as confrontations between military and political groups.  Also, serious human rights violations were taking place.  The political process and economic and social development were two important issues, both of which would help address the security situation. Security went hand in hand with the political process.  In that regard, the efforts of the international community were of prime importance and decisive.

It was necessary to focus on the following, he noted.  First, assistance in building the national Afghan army and the establishment of an effective security force, which would be provided with necessary equipment and materials.  That would also help with the reintegration of former combatants, as well as improve the security situation.  Second, the refugee and humanitarian problems were continuing.  The financial resources needed in that connection had not reached the required level.  Third, economic development efforts, particularly in areas where opium was spreading, had to be taken into consideration.  Alternatives for farmers were necessary, and those efforts needed the generous contributions of the international community.  He called on the countries that made pledges in Tokyo and Geneva to meet their pledges as soon as possible, so that Afghanistan could prosper in its reconciliation process.

ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) agreed that the success of the Loya Jirga depended largely on the work of the locals in selecting the delegates.  He regretted the assassination of one of them, after having been elected as a representative, and was deeply concerned over its political implications for the future of Afghanistan.  The murder was another warning of the importance of security for the implementation of the Bonn agreements.  Of course, the Afghans themselves should have responsibility in that area of security.  The struggle against terrorism being carried out by the international community should ensure that legitimate authorities gained control of the territory.

He said that the establishment of a national armed force would consolidate control of the central government.  That was a delicate task, as that was a matter of integrating people from different ethnic groups who had followed orders from different local leaders.  Regrettably, it had not been possible to extend ISAF’s mandate to other regions, thereby heeding the repeated calls to do so, including, most recently, from the World Bank.  It would take time to set up the Afghan armed forces.  In that time, conditions could deteriorate, making it difficult to implement the Bonn agreements, notwithstanding efforts under way to train the local forces.

Given the local and international inability to respond to such conditions, he said the Council was faced with the responsibility to contribute to upholding the political credibility of the process and protecting the Transitional Authority.  He supported the mandate extension of ISAF and thanked those countries that had contributed troops, in particular, the United Kingdom.  He also thanked Turkey for accepting ISAF command for the next six months.

He noted that preambular paragraph 6 of the draft before the Council welcomed the letter from the Foreign Minister of Turkey to the Secretary-General of 7 May, which had referred to the coordination relationship that should exist between ISAF and the military operation carried out in the Afghan territory since 8 October 2001.  That was interesting, because the text of the letter contained elements that should have been deemed very important for the ISAF operation and simultaneous process of those two operations.

ROBERTA LAJOUS (Mexico) noted that the situation in Afghanistan was complex.  She was pleased with the progress made by the Interim Authority, that schools had reopened, and that the Emergency Loya Jirga was proceeding on schedule.  She was also pleased with the progress made with regard to the situation of Afghan women.  They should be assisted in achieving positions of leadership in their country.  Also encouraging was the fact that more than 700,000 refugees had returned home.  All of that reflected the improved expectations for the future of Afghans.

Nonetheless, she continued, she was concerned over the fact that there were still threats to security and to the democratic process.  In addition, the problem of drug production and illicit drug trafficking was of serious concern.  There was still much work to be done.  The responsibility did not fall exclusively on the Interim Authority.  The countries where consumption had spread also had a responsibility to avoid the cycle of crime fuelled by the sale of heroin.  Further, the presence of Taliban and Al Qaeda survivors contributed to maintaining a climate of insecurity in the country.

The Emergency Loya Jirga would be a watershed in the history of Afghanistan, as it would define the political structures for the future of the country, she said.  A strategic association was seen in Afghanistan among the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and non-governmental organizations in supporting the Afghan people in their quest for lasting peace.  The international community must be persistent in its effort to lay the groundwork for the sustainable economic development of Afghanistan on a democratic base.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said the peace process was moving forward and preparations for holding the Loya Jirga were under way.  Not everything was going smoothly, however, and much remained to be done, including securing participation in the assembly of all ethnic groups of the country.  He had learned with regret about the death of an elected official, which clearly showed that there were still forces in Afghanistan that wanted to undermine the peace process.  Indeed, in a number of regions, particularly in the west, there were groups unhappy with the regime who were biding their time before emerging from the underground and joining the struggle for power.  The Taliban must be excluded from further power-sharing arrangements.

He said that following the Loya Jirga, certain people would be unhappy about the election results, but it was important to lawfully contain that opposition and not create a “coalition of malcontents”.  In that respect, Afghanistan’s neighbours could play a tremendous role in preventing that scenario.  Their potential should not be underestimated and they should not be treated with disrespect.  The security situation remained acute.  He had received regular reports and today had learned, once again, about emerging pockets of conflict.   Today, the Council would extend ISAF’s mandate.  The Force was playing an important role in establishing tranquillity in Kabul, and he hoped that would lead to the normal functioning of the Transitional Authority.  A truly Afghan army was needed, however.

During the donor conference in Geneva, reform of the private sector had been discussed, he said.  He welcomed efforts by the international community to provide all possible assistance.  Russia had many times said it would be willing to develop military and technical cooperation, including building a national armed force.  Such assistance should not be fraught with rivalry, or the peace-building in the country would fail.  The Security Council should establish broad international interaction and cooperation.  Russia would continue to assist the recovery of Afghanistan’s national economy.  It had provided more than $12 million in assistance in the early days and would help rebuild and repair agriculture and industrial sectors, which had been built with the assistance of the Soviet Union from 1960 to 1980.

STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) said that the prospects for an improved future for Afghanistan seemed to be much better now than they had been six months ago.  The role played by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the progress made so far was welcomed.  The process to select members of the Emergency Loya Jirga was taking place under insecure conditions.  Nevertheless, Afghans had proved their willingness to regain control over their country.  He hoped that the Loya Jirga would play the expected role for a viable political process in Afghanistan.  He would like to see all religious and ethnic communities, as well as the largest number of women possible, represented in the Loya Jirga.

The crucial elements in the international community’s general strategy to normalize the situation in Afghanistan was security and stability, he said.  Bulgaria, along with other members of the Council and those taking part in ISAF, would continue to ensure that the return to full security would be accelerated.  He would support the adoption of the resolution extending ISAF’s mandate.  He was also pleased with the outcome of the meeting on the reform of the security sector in Afghanistan, which took place in Geneva, and his country would continue to provide assistance to build up that sector.

Respect for human rights was crucial for any democracy, he said.  The emerging Afghan democracy could only be stable if that principle was respected. The other aspect that was important was the status of women, including their access to health, education, employment and participation in political, economic and social life.

OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said the main goal was to promote a comprehensive and coherent approach, bridging the gap between humanitarian assistance and the long-term national rehabilitation and reconstruction process.  In the immediate term, the common concern must be to do everything possible to ensure that the emergency Loya Jirga process went peacefully and smoothly.  This week, his country had transferred a contribution of $500,000 to the process through the Trust Fund.

He said he fully supported Kieran Prendergast’s message on the urgent

need for funding, and his Government had so far disbursed $15 million, of the   $40 million it pledged at the Tokyo conference in January.  It had also paid

$6 million into the fund for the Afghan Interim Authority.  It was absolutely necessary for donors to speed up disbursements of pledges made at Tokyo to bolster stability and improve living conditions.  Meanwhile, extending ISAF’s mandate was a very important measure.  Norway would continue to contribute military forces to ISAF, as well as to the United States-led coalition operations in Afghanistan, in the coming six months.

Norway would also play an active role in the German-led efforts to establish a civilian police force in Afghanistan, he said.  It would contribute with both police instructors and financial resources, at a value of up to 1 million euros.  Also, international aid to mitigate the humanitarian crisis must remain a priority.  The challenges were many, but with the sustained commitment of the international community and constructive cooperation of the States of the region, a more stable and peaceful Afghanistan could be created.  Today’s resolution was an important step in that process.

BIJAYEDUTH GOKOOL (Mauritius) said that political stability and social harmony were extremely important factors in the determination of multilateral and bilateral donors.  He hoped that donors would take account of the special situation in Afghanistan and the amount of $4.5 billion pledged over five years for reconstruction purposes at the Tokyo conference would not be withheld for any reason.  At the same time, he hoped the necessary mechanisms for accountability and transparency would be put in place in Afghanistan for the proper utilization of those funds.

The recent meeting on the security sector held in Geneva last week underscored the importance the international community attached to the security concerns in Afghanistan and confirmed its strong commitment to the maintenance and promotion of such security.  He commended and supported the Interim Administration’s decision to create a new Afghan armed force and develop a strategy for the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.  However, until that process was completed, Afghanistan would continue to require the support of the international community.  He supported the extension of ISAF’s mandate in that connection.  The maintenance of peace and stability was imperative for Afghanistan to succeed, be it in or out of Kabul.

He added that the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons should be urgently addressed.  For the maintenance of social stability, it was important that the international community continued to engage itself with a view to improving the life of those refugees and internally displaced persons.  In addition, he strongly supported the efforts by organizations and agencies in addressing the problem posed by poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.  Sustained and continued support should be extended to the poor peasants who had agreed to put a stop to the poppy cultivation and move towards food production.

FRANÇOIS LONSÉNY FALL (Guinea) said today’s meeting was taking place at a crucial time in the evolution of the political process in Afghanistan.  The current task was to consolidate the gains and confront the remaining problems.  The progress achieved since the establishment of the Interim Authority had been the result of the combined efforts of the international community and the Afghans themselves.  The remaining challenges were numerous and dealt primarily with security, the humanitarian needs and development.  The ISAF had done a remarkable job under the command of the United Kingdom and the combined efforts of those countries that had taken part in it.

He said the return of peace to Afghanistan was only possible if the final pockets of destabilization were finally eradicated, including the last Al Qaeda and Taliban strongholds.  Effective implementation of the Bonn Agreement depended upon how that action was to be carried out.  He welcomed the commitments made by countries to train the national force.  At the same time, the humanitarian situation was troubling.  The massive return of refugees had accentuated the enormous needs of the population.  The donor community should step up efforts to increase financial flows to meet those needs, in order to avoid a catastrophe and worsen the already delicate situation.  That assistance would enable Afghans to devote their attention to rebuilding their country.

The Tokyo donors conference had prompted much hope, he said.  Nevertheless, the international community must take a big step from words to deeds.  The very survival of the Afghan people depended upon it.  If the proper conditions were not created to lay the groundwork for true social and economic development, the entire structure created in Bonn could collapse.  Pledges made in Tokyo should be followed up with concrete action.  He supported UNAMA, whose programme of action should be pursued in its entirety.  He also encouraged the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to continue his efforts for peace, stability and development in Afghanistan.

MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon) said that much progress had been made by the Interim Authority, such as the reopening of schools, the mobilization of the international community, and the return of refugees.  Also, much had been done to improve the status of women.  The establishment of transparent and democratic institutions that respected human rights was clearly the key to any restoration of peace.  He commended the efforts of the United Nations and those countries assisting in training elements of the army and police force.  In that regard, he also welcomed the United Nations special fund set up for that purpose.

Everything should be done to guarantee security throughout the whole of Afghanistan’s territory, he emphasized.  The Loya Jirga, to be held from 10 to

16 June, would be selecting a transitional government.  The composition of the Loya Jirga must be free from all kinds of pressure, and reflect the social and cultural situation of the country.

He stressed the immensity of the problems and challenges Afghanistan confronted.  It was necessary for the international community to provide aid to rebuild a country, the infrastructure and economy of which had been dismantled.  That was why the donors’ conference in Tokyo had elicited much hope.  Today, he expected those promises to be turned into reality.  The Afghan Government should move towards compliance with the Bonn agreements.  However, at the same time, the release of resources should not be tied to that.  Such a linkage would deprive the Government of the resources it needed to make it credible with its own people.  It would also jeopardize the establishment of the process contained in the Bonn Agreement.  He fully supported the draft resolution to be adopted today.

WANG YINGFAN (China) said he was greatly concerned about the upcoming Loya Jirga.  Whether or not that was held and whether the transitional Government was truly represented by all Afghans would have a direct bearing on whether the hard-won peace would be maintained and whether the blueprint designed in Bonn would be implemented.  Consequently, setting the stage for holding the Loya Jirga was now the most important aspect of political life in Afghanistan.  He was pleased at the profound interest on the part of the Afghans for the process, which had reflected their strong aspirations to emerge from war and move towards peace.

On the other hand, he said, the situation sill posed numerous challenges, in particular, the conflicts among local warlords, with some factions attempting to manipulate the elections.  That was having a negative impact on preparations.  All parties in Afghanistan must, on the basis of their overall national interest, put aside past grievances, end the violence and engage in reconstruction.  The UNAMA had been in place for only two months, but it had done great work in ensuring that the elections would proceed smoothly and mitigating conflicts among local armed groups.  He appreciated the unswerving work of Mr. Brahimi and the Mission and would continue to actively support it, including through the dispatch of Chinese personnel.

He said his country favoured the extension of ISAF’s mandate and supported the present resolution.  China was ready to work with other countries to help Afghanistan build its own army and police force.  Such rebuilding was an arduous task, but that would lay the groundwork for peace.  Recently, China’s Foreign Minister visited Afghanistan and pledged to rebuild the public hospital in Kabul.  He had also promised to help a second hospital elsewhere in the country and a water conservancy project.  Both sides had signed an agreement on assistance and technical cooperation.  The Minister had also agreed to cooperate in combating the drug problem and to give positive consideration to new projects, including the rebuilding of a textile mill.

STEWART ELDON (United Kingdom) said that the international community and the United Nations had already achieved a great deal in Afghanistan.  He wanted to focus on five issues.  The first issue was security.  Thanks to the efforts of contributor nations and the Afghan people, ISAF was contributing to ensuring security in and around Kabul.  The international community must continue to provide troops and contributions to the ISAF and the trust fund.  Second, security sector reform was key to long-term security in Afghanistan.  Without concerted international effort, “we risk losing our investment”.

Third, he turned to the political process.  Afghanistan now had an effective Interim Administration.  Next month’s Loya Jirga should form a more cohesive government.  His country would be watching to ensure that the Loya Jirga was free and fair.  The fourth issue was reconstruction and humanitarian assistance.  His country had been the first donor nation to contribute to the Afghan reconstruction trust fund, and he encouraged others to follow suit.  Fifth, drug production had risen under the Taliban.  He welcomed the recent success of the Interim Administration in destroying one third of the poppy crop.  Targeted assistance was needed to help rural recovery.  The United Kingdom was coordinating international support for that effort.  Afghanistan was much better off than before, but much remained to be done.

Council President S. JAYAKUMAR, Foreign Minister of Singapore, speaking in his national capacity, said the short-term but critical challenges leading up to the Loya Jirga required the international community’s immediate support.  The United Nations, including the Security Council, had continued to play a pivotal role.  Particularly welcome had been the unified structure of UNAMA, which represented a new model of collaboration within the United Nations system.  The convening of the Loya Jirga was the next important political milestone, as that would decide critical questions relating to the form and structure of the new authority, and increase Afghan ownership of the political future “where it rightly belongs”.

He said that preparations had generally been remarkable, despite constraints of time, logistics and resources.  At the same time, everyone should be mindful of potential obstacles. He was disturbed by reports of the murder of a candidate just hours after his local district had selected him.  International support remained critical after the elections to help bridge the ethnic divide.  Political, humanitarian and reconstruction tracks must be pursued simultaneously.

PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) noted with concern United Nations reports that shortfalls in humanitarian assistance still existed.  The basic needs of the Afghan people must be met before reconstruction could begin apace.  Therefore, he urged the international community to take all possible steps to meet the goals of their Tokyo pledges as soon as possible.  Canada was also contributing to the security of Afghanistan through its participation in the coalition force.

The deployment of ISAF in Kabul had been one of the most visible example of the international community’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan, he said.  The renewal of ISAF’s mandate would permit it to play its part effectively in ensuring that delegates to the Loya Jirga were free to express their views and to represent the interests of their constituents.  The Loya Jirga represented the first opportunity the Afghan people had in decades to set their own course towards multi-ethnic, representative and democratic governance.

He hoped that the Loya Jirga would prove to be a turning point where the people of Afghanistan lay the groundwork for their country’s future peace and prosperity.  He urged the Afghan authorities to ensure that the Loya Jirga process accommodated wide-ranging ethnic and tribal interests.  He was pleased to note that the level of female participation in the Loya Jirga process to date had been high, and that female delegates had not only been named, but had now, in at least one case, been selected.  He hoped that trend continued and that Afghan women continued to be included at every level of decision-making.

MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) stressed that the success of the Loya Jirga must be ensured.  It must be conducted peacefully, and its decisions must be respected by all.  Only the Afghan people could make that happen.  Any attempt to undermine the process could jeopardize the fragile peace that was prevailing, however precariously, in Afghanistan for the first time in over two decades.  Now, more than ever, it was essential that the Afghans set aside old differences and work together to establish a balanced Transitional Authority that could lead the country through the second phase of the Bonn process.

The international community must, of course, do its part to support the convening of the Loya Jirga, he said.  For its part, Japan was providing

$2.7 million for equipment and transportation.  In addition, his country was sending Japanese experts to assist in the preparations for the Loya Jirga and would be providing technical assistance and equipment to broadcast the Jirga via television throughout the country.

All the planning and preparations would only bear fruit if security was properly maintained, he said.  He was pleased that the Council had decided to adopt a resolution extending ISAF’s mandate one month ahead of schedule, and before the Loya Jirga was convened.  Japan was determined to do its utmost to help the Afghan people develop and maintain a secure environment.  Among other things, Japan had decided to make a contribution of $19 million for the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance.  In addition, Japan was seriously looking into developing and implementing appropriate projects to eradicate drugs and to build a national counter-narcotic capacity in Afghanistan.

A. GOPINATHAN (India) said that the process of selecting representatives for the Emergency Loya Jirga had begun and appeared to be on course.  He applauded and commended the Special Independent Commission, which had accomplished so much in so little time with such meagre resources.  However, there were two interlinked concerns.  The first was about ensuring that the process was free of intimidation and coercion.  The second was to keep the Taliban and its backers firmly out of the process.

Otherwise, he said, there would be questions about the outcome’s credibility and acceptance.  Security for the Loya Jirga process was, therefore, important and all available resources on the ground should be marshalled for that end.  The Loya Jirga would be a significant milestone in the implementation of the Bonn Agreement and a major step towards the ultimate objective of a democratic government in Afghanistan installed through free and fair elections.

To facilitate a process through which relevant capacities from the developing countries could be easily and cost-effectively made available to Afghanistan’s rebuilding efforts, India and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had organized a two-day conference on “South-South Cooperation for Rebuilding Afghanistan”, which began in New Delhi today with the participation of a large number of developing countries, United Nations funds and agencies, as well as international financial institutions.  He was confident that the conference would give the required impetus to South-South cooperation for the development of Afghanistan, and serve as a model for similar cooperation elsewhere.

INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (Spain), speaking on behalf of the European Union, agreed that the Loya Jirga was absolutely critical for success in Afghanistan.  It must take place on schedule, without hindrance or manipulation.  The Union shared the concern recently expressed by Mr. Brahimi about the consequences of manipulation of the process, and called upon all Afghan parties to seize the current historic opportunity.  The Union was supporting the process and would back the deployment of international observers.  The United Nations had been entrusted with a central responsibility for the peace process in Afghanistan, and Mr. Brahimi should be commended for his successful commitment.

He said that security across the country was an essential element for achieving the goals set out in Bonn.  The Union was concerned by reports of unrest in the northern regions of the country and supported efforts by UNAMA to decrease tensions between the ethnic groups.  Its member States were assisting in the creation of Afghan security institutions, including a national army and police force.  The Union welcomed the results of the Geneva conference on financing the security sector.  The Union had confirmed its support for institution-building.  Three of its member States –- United Kingdom, Germany and Italy -- had pledged to take a leading role in the areas of counter-narcotics, police and reform of the judicial system.

The Union also supported the extension of ISAF’s mandate.  At the same time, the cooperation and commitment of neighbouring countries would be very important to Afghanistan’s successful reconstruction and implementation of the Bonn Agreement.  The Union would integrate that regional dimension in its Afghanistan policy by enhancing political dialogue and promoting joint initiatives with those countries.  Indeed, it would be a key partner in the reconstruction effort.  But, its assistance in that regard would be conditional on all Afghan parties positively contributing to the process and goals agreed upon in Bonn, with the aim of establishing peace and also eliminating terrorism and the illicit trafficking of narcotics.

He reaffirmed the Union’s readiness to support efforts undertaken by the Interim Administration, with the help of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP).  It welcomed the success of the Interim Administration’s recent crop-eradication programme, which had destroyed a significant proportion of the current harvest in the main poppy growing-areas.  It would continue its dialogue with the Interim Administration on how best to achieve reconstruction and the political objectives set out in Bonn, while ensuring greater ownership by the Afghans themselves.  The Union would also offer its full support to the Interim Administration and in the establishment of the judicial commission and reform of the judicial system.  It would also assist in establishing structures to ensure respect for human rights.

DON MACKAY (New Zealand) said that the political, security, economic and social dimensions of the situation in Afghanistan were inextricably linked.  Not recognizing that would run a risk of the country relapsing into “warlordism” and violence –- the very conditions that produced the Taliban and attracted terrorists to use Afghanistan as a base.  The fundamental challenge in Afghanistan was nation-building.  The next moves towards stabilization were likely to be political, and clearly much rested on the success of the Loya Jirga.

New Zealand, he said, would remain engaged in international humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan through a coordinated aid effort in partnership with the Afghan people and in areas where his country could add value.  Donor activity was rightly focusing on rehabilitation and reconstruction.  His country recognized the value of “quick start/quick impact” projects to fast track reconstruction and assist the Interim Administration establish credibility with the Afghan people.  To that end, New Zealand was contributing $400,000 to projects identified in the United Nations Immediate and Transitional Assistance Programme and a further $200,000 for New Zealand NGO activities in Afghanistan.  It was obviously important that pledges of financial assistance were paid as quickly as possible to ensure the seamless provision of assistance at a time of great need for the Afghan authorities.

HADI NEJAD-HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said that, at the current juncture, the maintenance of peace and security throughout Afghanistan was of great importance.  Although there were signs of security improvements, the situation across the country remained fragile and unpredictable.  The possible regrouping of Taliban and Al Qaeda elements inside and outside Afghanistan was still a cause for concern.  Also, the continuation of suspicion and hostility among some Afghan military commanders might also prove destabilizing.  At the same time, he cautioned that careless military operations, in which innocent Afghans were killed, could add to the sense of instability.

He understood that an appropriate dose of international security assistance was necessary for helping maintain peace in Afghanistan.  However, given the sensitivities of Afghans and their past experiences, it was in the interest of lasting peace in the country that the foreign military presence in Afghanistan remain as minimal and short as possible and necessary.  The creation of an indigenous Afghan security sector should be given priority by all Afghans and the international community.  Iran had undertaken to help in that area by providing training to Afghan police.

Drugs were also a security issue in Afghanistan, he said.  The continuation of poppy cultivation was incompatible with the Afghan peace drive.  It threatened Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and ran counter to the restoration of stability in the region.  He commended the determination of the Interim Administration to eliminate poppy crops and encouraged the international community to participate in efforts to further crop-substitution projects and create incentives for Afghan farmers to cultivate food crops instead of opium poppy.

MASOOD KHALID (Pakistan) said that now that the international community had committed itself to the peace, stability, recovery and reconstruction of Afghanistan, it must remain steadfast in completing the task it had begun.  He was heartened by the assurances of the major Powers that this time they would not walk away from Afghanistan, that they were committed to helping Afghanistan build peace through the Bonn political process and to help in the rebuilding of the economy and society.  An Afghanistan at peace with itself and at peace with its neighbours could play a vital role for the promotion of peace, security and cooperation in the region.

It was apparent that without security inside Afghanistan, there could be no stability, reconstruction or recovery, he said.  The implementation of the Bonn Agreement, and the political and economic future of the country, depended on ensuring peace and security there.  The Afghan people had suffered far too long at the hands of ambitious warlords and fratricidal factions.  The international community must, therefore, ensure that the re-emergence of those trends was not allowed to obstruct the establishment of a stable political structure in Afghanistan, as envisaged in the Bonn Agreement.  He supported the extension of ISAF’s mandate for another six months.  Its size and scope must now be expanded and extended to encompass the entire country.

RAVAN A.G. FARHADI (Afghanistan) expressed his appreciation for the meeting.  Six months had elapsed since the Interim Authority was created.  Despite enormous obstacles, its achievements had been considerable.  Peace and security had been established, with the exception of one south-east border area, and the Loya Jirga process was experiencing a general degree of success.  A considerable number of refugees had returned and many more Afghans were trying to find their place in society.  Those achievements would have been impossible without the assistance of the international community.  He was grateful to the Council for the special attention given to the situation in his country.

He said that ISAF had played a positive role in restoring peace and security, and he thanked the United Kingdom for having ably led it.  He welcomed the assumption of that role by Turkey.  At the Geneva conference, his Foreign Minister had detailed the needed number and composition of the security force in Afghanistan, which could make a great contribution towards security and stability countrywide.  Peace and stability depended not only on restoring security, but also on rebuilding the country.  In some respects, financing the efforts of reintegrating former combatants and refugees was a top priority.  He supported the resolution to be adopted today by the Council.

UMIT PAMIR (Turkey) described the main considerations that led his country to decide to take on the role of lead nation with regard to ISAF.  Afghans were now closer to national reconciliation, and Turkey was pleased to contribute to that process.  He was fully aware that the success of the Bonn process was of fundamental importance to achieving peace in Afghanistan.  Turkey would assume its position after the mandate was extended -- around 20 June.  It had taken that decision with the understanding that the mandate and the area under the Force’s responsibility would be maintained.

Under the lead of the United Kingdom and with the assistance of contributors, ISAF had been successful in fulfilling its role, he said.  Turkey expected Member States to make concrete and timely contributions for the Force.  He reminded Member States that the Trust Fund established for ISAF was yet to become functional.  The Fund was the Force’s lifeline, and he expected Member States to contribute to it.  He hoped the six-month period under Turkey’s leadership would be a glowing one for the Afghan people.

Action on Draft Resolution

The Security Council then adopted the draft resolution by a vote of 15 in favour to none against, with no abstentions.

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For information media. Not an official record.