31 January 2002
Chair of Afghanistan's Interim Administration Addresses Security Council; Requests Extension, Expansion of International Security Force
NEW YORK, 30 January (UNHeadquarters) -- The Chairman of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, told the Security Council this morning, that extension of the multinational forces in Kabul and their expansion to other major cities would be a signal of the international community's ongoing commitment to his country.
Speaking to the Council for the first time since he assumed the role of provisional head of Afghanistan under an agreement signed by the Northern Alliance and other Afghan groups at United Nations-sponsored talks in Bonn, Germany, Mr. Karzai said that the people of Afghanistan, having experienced the ravages of war for 23 years and having been taken hostage by a group of terrorists, were once again free to determine their destiny, owing largely to the efforts of the United Nations and the international community.
Mr. Karzai added that he would strive to build a government that responded to the wishes of the Afghan people and behaved as a responsible member of the international community, to which a great deal was owed. The United Nations and the Security Council had been pivotal in making possible the historic Bonn Agreement leading to a peaceful transfer of power on 22 December 2001.
The Council President, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Mauritius, Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, assured the new Afghan leader of the Council's unqualified and unreserved support in his quest for peace, justice and stability in Afghanistan. Moreover, the Council would continue to support all efforts based on the Bonn Agreement, leading to the formation of a government that was broad-based, multi-ethnic and fully representative of all Afghans. Above all, it was for the people of Afghanistan, themselves, to freely determine their own future, he said.
The meeting began at 9:32 a.m. and was adjourned at 9:54 a.m.
Hamid Karzai was named provisional head of Afghanistan on 5 December in an agreement signed by the Northern Alliance and other Afghan groups at United Nations-sponsored talks in Bonn, Germany. The agreement, which came into force on 22 December, laid down a temporary political arrangement for the war-torn country.
The Taliban's five-year rule in Afghanistan ended in 2001, capping two decades of instability in the country. The Security Council focused attention on the country in the late 1990s as reports mounted of drug trafficking, the export of terrorism and grave human rights abuses.
In an effort to counter those threats, the Council imposed sanctions against the Taliban in resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1333 (2000), which included embargoes on arms and travel and financial measures. On 30 July 2001, the Council set up a mechanism to monitor those sanctions by adopting resolution 1363 (2001).
After the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States, that country and its allies attacked the Al Qaeda organization and its Taliban hosts. On 13 November, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, presented a plan to the Council on 13 November to resolve the crisis and rebuild the country, based on input from the Afghans themselves.
Under the plan, the United Nations would hold a meeting with the Northern Alliance and other groups to forge an agreement for a political framework, and lay down concrete steps to form a permanent, broad-based government. On 14 November, the Council supported the proposal by adopting resolution 1378 (2001), which also gave Mr. Brahimi overall authority for United Nations humanitarian, human rights and political activities in Afghanistan.
Mr. Brahimi's plan led to the Bonn Agreement, which put Mr. Karzai and 28 others in office to run the country for six months as its Interim Authority. In the meantime, an Independent Commission would work on convening the Loya Jirga, a traditional assembly of provincial elders and powers, which is expected to meet in the spring.
The Council endorsed the Bonn Agreement the next day in resolution 1383 (2001). On 20 December, the Council adopted resolution 1386 (2001), which authorized an International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) to assist the Interim Authority in maintaining peace and security in Kabul and surrounding areas.
The resolution also welcomed the United Kingdom's offer to organize and command the force, and called on Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources. The force began arriving in Afghanistan in late December and now stands at 4,500 troops.
By resolution 1388 (2002) of 15 January, the Council lifted restrictions against the Ariana Afghan Airlines, removing that airline and its accounts from its consolidated list established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999). By its resolution 1390 (2002) of 16 January, the Council decided that all States should take measures with respect to Usama bin Laden, members of the Al Qaeda organization and the Taliban, including freezing funds, denying entry and preventing the supply of arms.
HAMID KARZAI, Chairman of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan, said he was privileged to address the Security Council on behalf of the people of Afghanistan. Having experienced the ravages of war for 23 years and having been taken hostage by a group of terrorists, the Afghan people were once again free to determine their destiny. They would strive to build a government that responded to the wishes of the people and behaved as a responsible member of the international community, to which it owed a great deal. Indeed, Afghanistan could not have achieved freedom without the sustained help and attention of the international community.
He said that the United Nations, and particularly the Council, had played a pivotal role in making possible the historic Bonn Agreement. On 22 December, power was peacefully transferred to the Interim Administration of Afghanistan. A Loya Jirga would take place by 22 June and he fully intended to abide by its decision to select a head of State and a transitional government. A constitution would be prepared during the transitional period and ratified by a constitutional Loya Jirga. The Afghan people sought the creation of a democratic government and he intended to act upon their wishes.
The Afghan people appreciated the efforts of the United Nations in laying the foundation of a peaceful Afghanistan, he said. They were grateful to the Secretary-General for his continued personal engagement in the resolution of the Afghan crisis. Lakhdar Brahimi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, had also earned the gratitude of Afghanistan for his tireless efforts in the realization of the Bonn Agreement. Clearly, security was the foundation for peace, stability and economic reconstruction. Thanks to the Council's resolve and unity, multinational forces had been deployed in the capital city of Kabul.
He said he was also committed to creating the national institutions needed to ensure security. In that connection, the creation of a national police force and a national army would require some time. Extending and expanding the presence of multinational forces in Kabul and expanding their presence to other major cities would signal the world community's ongoing commitment to peace and security in Afghanistan. Many world leaders had reassured the nation of their commitment, including many represented in the Council Chamber.
Although the Interim Administration had been in place for only five weeks, it had already agreed on a vision for the future, he said. That was one of a prosperous, secure and peaceful Afghanistan. The Administration was marching ahead with the objective of building a credible State with an efficient and transparent government, which would be accountable to all citizens, as well as to the international community. It would build an effective and competitive private sector and develop a civil society with democratic institutions. The goal was to establish the rule of law and accountable, transparent governmental systems. The new Afghanistan would bring prosperity to its trading partners and stability to its region of the globe.
He said that the Tokyo conference had provided a venue for the international community to make an initial financial commitment to the reconstruction of his country. He would use those resources efficiently and not permit the evil of corruption to rob his people of the opportunity to build prosperous lives. He also intended to reintegrate Afghan women as full partners in every facet of society, politics and economy, and he would invest in the education of the children, particularly the girls. Also, he sought to build a health system that would offer affordable services to all. The agricultural sector would be rehabilitated and the communication system expanded. In short, he would make every effort to lay the foundation for an economy and polity that would lead to self-reliance.
Afghanistan had become an exporter of narcotics and a haven for drug traffickers and terrorists, he said. He was committed, therefore, to taking vigorous action to contain and eliminate the cultivation of the poppy. A decree had been issued that imposed a complete ban on poppy cultivation. Also, he fully intended to expand the demining of his land, which was a sad legacy of the continued warfare. Some 5 million Afghans were refugees. He looked forward to their repatriation. Hopefully, his neighbours would assist in designing and implementing programmes for the refugees' orderly return.
The President of the Council, ANIL KUMARSINGH GAYAN, Foreign Minister of Mauritius, assured Mr. Karzai of the Council's unqualified and unreserved support in his quest for peace, justice and stability in Afghanistan. The Council remained committed to helping move that process forward and stood ready to extend needed assistance to the Afghan people, who had suffered virtually every privation known to mankind.
Expressing concern about episodes of lawlessness in Afghanistan, he commended those States contributing to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and welcomed the progress it was making to help restore security in Kabul and surrounding areas. He stressed that the United Nations and non-governmental relief operations be allowed to operate freely and securely, especially in areas most in need of humanitarian assistance.
In all its decisions, the Council had stressed that the people of Afghanistan themselves must freely determine their own future, he said. It would continue to support all efforts based on the Bonn Agreement, leading to a broad-based, multi-ethnic and fully representative Afghan Government. It was essential for the Afghanistan Interim Authority and for a new government to fully respect the basic human rights of all Afghan people, regardless of gender, ethnicity and religion.
To achieve real success in Afghan political stabilization, he said two issues needed urgent attention. First, reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation should not be derailed by any outside pressure or intervention. He appealed to the international community to continue supporting the Afghan Interim Authority in taking the country away from the legacy of war, misery and instability. Second, it was high time that leaders and representatives of different ethnic groups within Afghanistan forgo their differences and construct a nation with sound democratic credentials.
The Council took good note of the Afghan decree banning cultivation, production, processing, abuse and illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, which was issued on 17 January, he said. It also welcomed the decree on the rights of women, and the appointment of women to key positions in the new administration, including the Cabinet. Those bold steps proved that the Interim Authority was resolute in its objective of reinstating peace and stability in Afghanistan, and creating conditions for the people to lead normal lives.
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