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Ghani to UNSC: Call for ceasefire in Afghanistan

Ghani to UNSC: Call for ceasefire in Afghanistan

Nov 21, 2020 - 13:24

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani has asked the UN Security Council (UNSC) to issue a call for a ceasefire in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

Addressing the UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan’s peace process, he claimed significant progress had been made by the Afghan security and defence forces.

In a statement from his office, Ghani said 98 percent of all counterinsurgency operations across the country were being conducted by the Afghan forces independently.

A comprehensive ceasefire had been demanded by the Afghan government, the Afghan people, the international community and the UN secretary-general, he added.

A ceasefire was not only a critical first step to peace, but would also help mitigate the precarious humanitarian situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he argued.

The president maintained the ceasefire would help his administration reach people in conflict areas as a second wave of the virus had set in.

“Today’s Aria Formula Meeting on the Peace Process in Afghanistan shows once again the Council’s reaffirmation of its strong commitment to ensuring Afghanistan achieves peace and stability.”

Afghanistan had been on the front line of the global threat of terrorism, Ghani said. “Together, we have fought to defeat terrorism in the region, and with it, the threat that emanates across the globe. So, too, the fight for peace is something we can only achieve if we all stand together.”

Ghani hailed peace as a priority for the Afghan people, and the focus of his presidency. In February 2018, he recalled, making an unconditional offer to the Talibaninfo-icon, introducing the urgency of peace into the national dialogue.

The Afghan people had not dared think of peace as a possibility until the unprecedented three-day ceasefire of June 2018, the president continued.

In 2019, the Loya Jirgainfo-icon on Peace created a framework and a mandate for negotiations. “This August, we hosted another Loya Jirga which allowed our people decide   the future of the 400 contested Taliban prisoners.”

In 2019, the Loya Jirga on Peace created a framework and a mandate for negotiations, and this August, we hosted another Loya Jirga which allowed our people decide   the future of the 400 contested Taliban prisoners.

“We have maintained our defensive positions on the battlefield, even in the face of a surge in violence against our people since February 2020.

“We agreed to the release of over 5,500 Taliban prisoners guilty of crimes against humanity. We have made sacrifices over and over again—there is not a single Afghan home which has not felt the pain of loss.”

Yet his government’s negotiating team remained steadfast in its commitment to talks in Doha, where the Taliban had insisted on beginning with some of the hardest issues of peace first. 

The Security Council was the critical platform for creating the required international consensus around the deployment of international forces to Afghanistan, first by authorising the ISAFinfo-icon mission, then the Enduring Freedom mission, then Resolute Support in 2014 based on the Bilateral Security Agreement and Strategic Partnership Agreement with the United States and NATOinfo-icon.

The critical mission of international forces now is training, advising and assisting the Afghan forces as “we continue to grow and mature into a self-reliant force capable of taking control of 100% of operations.

“Today our security forces are at the helm of 98% of all operations conducted against terrorist forces -- we ask the Council to continue to place importance on supporting ANDSF.

“The Security Council resolutions have:

Reaffirmed strong commitment to the independence, territorial unity and sovereignty of Afghanistan;

Stressed the inalienable right of the Afghan people to freely determine our own political future;

Pledged determination in helping the Afghan people end the conflict, promote national reconciliation, lasting peace, stability and respect for human rights, as well as ensure that Afghanistan is never again used as a base for terrorism;

“And reiterated the international community’s support for a sovereign, independent and unified Afghanistan, and support to our national defense and security forces in our shared fight against terrorism.

“Consistency in resolutions has not only been important in reaffirming our rights, values and goals for an end-state, but also clearly set boundaries and established a precedent for what absolutely is and is not acceptable for Afghanistan:

“That the sole legitimate government of Afghanistan is the Islamic Republic;

And that an Islamic Emirate is not recognized by the UN and the UN does not support the restoration of an Islamic Emirate.

“Today, womeninfo-icon make up 50% of our rural development councils across all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, a benchmark we set for ourselves which no one thought possible. I would not dare to tell the woman who sits on her local council in her village in Herat that she has failed.

“Women occupy 28% of seats in parliament, a higher percentage than in the United States. 53% of our industrial works are women.  37% of students in primary school are girls. Women’s literacy rates have doubled in the past 20 years. We have women in the Cabinet, women as deputy ministers, women in our police and army - these numbers are steadily increasing. I have met young women who have gotten up from their hospital beds after being injured in a Taliban attack at their university, and gone back to class, full of courage and conviction—I would not dare to tell her that she has failed. Can anyone judge our capable permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Raz, to be a failure?

“First, I request the UN Security Council to reiterate the call for a ceasefire, which was already expressed in Resolutions 2532 & 2513. A comprehensive ceasefire has been demanded by the Afghan government, by the Afghan people, by the international community and by the UN Secretary-General. A ceasefire is not only a critical first step to peace, but also will help mitigate the precarious humanitarian situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing us to reach people in conflict areas as a second wave of the virus hits.

“Second, there is also a role for the UN to play in helping us design a process that gets us to the defined end-state. There are so many lessons learned from other peace processes that can be drawn from the UN bank of knowledge, and help inform a realistic roadmap for achieving sustainable peace.

“Third, I would request the Council to stress the effective and thorough implementation of sanctions regimes as a key instrument for the success of the negotiations with Taliban. The Taliban has yet to fulfill the conditions set. Sanctions can only be effective if implemented by all and any changes to current mechanisms should only be considered following tangible progress in the peace process and its outcome, which we have yet to see, and also Taliban’s commitment to an Afghanistan where women’s constitutional rights are protected, and minorities are not discriminated against.

“Fourth, I would also request the Council view terrorism as an ecosystem. The Security Council is uniquely placed to provide global leadership in defining and classifying terrorism as a global threat that is growing. We need a UNSC-backed strategy to counter terrorism.

“Fifth, I would also request the Council to consider the systemic role of narcotics in perpetuating and feeding the threat of terrorism. The two are inextricably linked now. We need a wider approach that addresses the links between terrorist networks and criminal organizations. Sixth, I would like to highlight that the importance of regional consensus in creating sustainable peace in Afghanistan. I have consistently prioritized the issue of regional connectivity during my presidency, not only for matters of economic development and energy production, but because I have recognized its essential value in creating consensus around peace and other mutual benefits for the region.

“Many of our neighbors stand to gain 1 to 2 % GDP growth annually if we achieve peace in Afghanistan. Regional connectivity is a path not only to poverty reduction in the region, but also peace. “We request the Security Council to consider this and work with us on helping create a strong regional consensus for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.”



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