The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto on Monday night briefed the UN Security Council on the situation in Afghanistan and highlighted key developments regarding peace, security, and human rights among other issues.
He said that despite numerous challenges, Afghanistan has made significant progress on some key areas.
“I see progress. I see challenges which are still daunting; and I also see new opportunities for political engagement for peace,” he said.
He said there has been progress in the organization of next year’s parliamentary and district council elections, but said that many stakeholders, however, remain skeptical that credible elections will be held on time.
“It is imperative that we hold the elections according to the plan. Timely elections will enhance the credibility of the political system and institutions. Many stakeholders, however, remain skeptical that credible elections will be held on time,” he said.
At Monday’s session, the UNSC discussed the overall situation in Afghanistan and said the situation in the country was still fragile.
Meanwhile, Vassily A. Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations said that over 7,000 Daesh fighters are operating in Afghanistan.
He said Moscow was increasingly concerned about the deteriorating military situation in Afghanistan and by the growth of terrorist activity in the country.
“We continue to be particularly concerned by the activity carried out by the Afghan wing of ISIL (Daesh) and their attempt to put down roots in the northern provinces,” he said.
“According to our estimates there are presently more than 7,000 fighters of this group in the country. This is an impressive figure.”
He said the “expansion drive of ISIL creates a real threat to the security of our friends in Central Asia and to the southern regions of Russia.”
He also pointed out that the ongoing issue of unidentified helicopters in the north of the country was a matter of serious concern.
“It is unacceptable to remain silent over the issue of unidentified helicopters in the north of Afghanistan – it was noticed that they were extending assistance to ISIL. This is a situation that needs to be thoroughly looked into and such behind the scenes activity needs to be stopped immediately.”
He also stated that the increase in the growing of and production of drugs in Afghanistan was another matter of concern for Russia.
He directly called on the international community to enhance efforts to combat this problem.
In addition, the Indian permanent representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin called on the UN to impose sanctions on the militant groups in Afghanistan including the Taliban.
“The Taliban, Haqqani network, Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and others of their ilk are all terrorist organizaitons, many of them prescribed by the UN, they should be treated like the terrorist organizations with no justification of word or their activities,” said Indian envoy to the UN Syed Akbaruddin
He said that the militant groups including the Taliban must be slapped with sanctions in line with resolution 1988 of the UN security council that was approved in 2011.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s acting minister of foreign affairs Salahuddin Rabbani has said that the current threats in Afghanistan were part of the long term policies of Pakistan.
“Despite being on the receiving end of the provocative action including continuous violations across the Durand Line, Afghanistan has maintained a principle position in seeking to resolve differences through dialogue, diplomacy and peaceful means, this particulary through in case of our relations with Pakistan which unfortunately has so far failed to respond positively at its own cost particularly in relations to its global reputation and standing,” said Afghan acting foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani.
“Anti-government forces are responsible for the large majority of civilian casualties, their actions are two often indiscriminate and disproportionate, they keep all grievances fresh and create new ones with each passing day. We are and we should be impatient with this war, in his speech outlining a new strategy for the United States in south Asia, president Trump said his first instinct was to pull out of Afghanistan,” said US permanent representative to the United Nations.
But members of the UNSC however said that there is no military solution to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, urging for more efforts to be made to nurture the peace process with the Taliban.