UN / AFGHANISTAN

25-Sep-2017 00:03:13
Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani told the Security Council today the “scourge of terrorism and violent extremism” affecting his country is the product of “a long-standing policy by a neighbouring State to keep Afghanistan unstable.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / AFGHANISTAN
TRT: 03:13
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 25 SEPTEMBER 2017, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
RECENT - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

25 SEPTEMBER 2017, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Afghanistan:
“The scourge of terrorism and violent extremism affecting Afghanistan is the product of a long-standing policy by a neighbouring State to keep Afghanistan unstable. It has menaced Afghanistan for several decades now, with its roots located in terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens outside of my country.”
4. Med shot, delegates
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Afghanistan:
“Despite being on the receiving-end of provocative actions, including continuous violations across the Durand Line, Afghanistan has maintained a principled position in seeking to resolve differences through dialogue, diplomacy, and peaceful means. This is particularly true in the case of our relations with Pakistan, which unfortunately has so far failed to respond positively at its own cost, particularly in relation to its global reputation and standing.”
6. Med shot, delegates
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Afghanistan:
“I wish to also highlight that the exaggerated claims of Taliban control over some percentage of territory is being used as part of psychological warfare. Our security forces have the upper hand against terrorist and extremist groups throughout the country.”
8. Med shot, delegates
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Tadarnichi Yamamoto, Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, United Nations:
“Current Afghan security planning foresees that by 2020 Afghan forces will reach sufficient strength to reverse recent Taliban gains. The Taliban, meanwhile, continue to resist appeals to negotiate with the Afghan Government. At the current rate of deaths due to conflict, by 2020 tens of thousands more Afghans will have been killed.”
10. Med shot, delegates
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Tadarnichi Yamamoto, Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, United Nations:
“Many Afghan politicians and citizens across the country told me repeatedly that the country could not endure another election like that of 2014. The electoral Commissioners and their staff have inherited a huge responsibility, but the elections are not the IEC's (Independent Electoral Commission) responsibility alone. The independence of the electoral management bodies must be respected, and the Government must do everything possible to secure the elections.”
12. Med shot, Afghan Foreign Minister
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Michele Sison, Deputy Permanent Representative of the US to the United Nations:
“Our message to the Taliban and their supporters is clear. You cannot win on the battlefield. The only path to peace is through negotiations. You must abandon violence, cut ties with international terrorism, and accept the Afghan constitution. We will continue to support and encourage the immediate launch of peace talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban with no preconditions.”
14. Wide shot, Security Council
STORYLINE
Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani told the Security Council today (25 Sep) the “scourge of terrorism and violent extremism” affecting his country is the product of “a long-standing policy by a neighbouring State to keep Afghanistan unstable.”

Rabbani said terrorism has menaced Afghanistan for several decades now, “with its roots located in terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens outside” his country. He said Afghan security forces are engaged in fight against elements of more than 20 internationally recognized terrorist groups adding that the Taliban are suffering major setbacks in manpower and morale and fail to hold ground over any territory. He stressed that “exaggerated claims” of Taliban control over territory is being used as part of a “psychological warfare” and said Afghan security forces “have the upper hand against terrorist and extremist groups throughout the country.”

The Afghan Foreign Minister said his country has maintained a principled position in seeking to resolve differences through dialogue, diplomacy, and peaceful means, especially with Pakistan. He said Pakistan “unfortunately has so far failed to respond positively at its own cost, particularly in relation to its global reputation and standing.”

UN representative for Afghanistan Tadarnichi Yamamoto said current Afghan security planning foresees that by 2020 Afghan forces will reach sufficient strength to reverse “recent Taliban gains.” He said the Taliban continue to resist appeals to negotiate with the Afghan Government and at the current rate of deaths due to conflict, “by 2020, tens of thousands more Afghans will have been killed.” Yamamoto expressed his conviction that a political settlement in the country is possible and appealed to regional countries to conduct a reassessment of their strategic interest and renew work towards a viable peace process leading to an Afghan-owned solution to the conflict.

Yamamoto stressed the importance of holding timely elections in Afghanistan which would enhance the credibility of the political system and institutions, however, he said many stakeholders remain sceptical that credible elections will be held on time. The Special Representative said many Afghan politicians and citizens across the country told him repeatedly “that the country could not endure another election like that of 2014.”

US ambassador Michele Sison told the Council that President Trump said his first instinct was to pull out of Afghanistan, but after studying the issue he concluded that the men and women who have sacrificed so much in that conflict deserved to have their sacrifice honoured with victory. She said her Government’s message to the Taliban and their supporters is clear; “You cannot win on the battlefield. The only path to peace is through negotiations. You must abandon violence, cut ties with international terrorism, and accept the Afghan constitution.” She noted that the United States would continue to support and encourage the immediate launch of peace talks “between the Afghan Government and the Taliban with no preconditions.”
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