3648th Meeting of Security Council: Situation in Afghanistan - Part 1

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09-Apr-1996 01:08:10
Foreign intervention is major obstacle to negotiated peace in Afghanistan, Security Council told at 3648th meeting.

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Foreign intervention in Afghanistan was thwarting international efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement to the conflict in that country, several speakers told the Security Council today in two meeting on the Afghan situation. Support was expressed for an international conference to address the problem of political and military interference, including the flow of arms into Afghanistan and prevent the conflict from affecting other regions of the world. The country's instability had also made it a breeding ground for international terrorism and a source of illicit narcotics, others noted.

Many speakers, however, stressed that the Afghan factions were primarily responsible for reconciling their differences and called on them to cooperate with United Nations efforts to end the fighting which had devastated the country. Many representative supported the Secretary-General's proposal for the establishment of a fully representative, broad-based "authoritative council", through a peaceful dialogue among the Afghans, as the most appropriate way to achieve a lasting settlement. They also supported the United Nations Special Mission for Afghanistan -- led by Mahmoud Mestiri -- which is trying to help national reconciliation and reconstruction.

The Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan told the Council that an end to blatant intervention would help the United Nations solve the conflict. However, the Special Mission had failed to explicitly identify foreign interference as the root cause of the conflict and to recommend effective measures to terminate it. He said that since 1992 forces linked to Pakistani military intelligence, sometimes in connivance with other outside supporters, had been trying to overthrow his Government. Pakistan had created mercenaries called the Taliban who were sent inside Afghanistan along with Pakistani intelligence officers and frontier militia. The political and social agenda of the Taliban was far from the genuine principles of Islam. The cultivation, processing and trafficking of narcotics had increased dramatically in areas held by the Taliban, he added. The representative of Pakistan said much of the strife in Afghanistan could be attributed to the absence of legitimate governance which did not flow from the use of weapons. Allegations against Pakistan were an attempt to cover up the massive weapon supplies from certain quarters or to explain away the untenable situation in which those factions found themselves, due to a complete lack of popular support from the Afghan people.

He went on to say that the Taliban controlled more than half the country and were locked in a struggle with the nominal central authority which controlled only five out of 32 provinces. He said an international conference would be premature and proposed the holding of a dialogue between different factions under the auspices of the United Nations or Friends of Afghanistan.

The representative of the United Kingdom expressed concern that 70 per cent of Europe's heroin came from Afghanistan and the country was increasingly being used to train terrorists whose activities had consequences far beyond the country's borders. The representative of the United States stressed that, contrary to media reports, his Government favoured none of the factions, movements or individuals currently vying for power in Afghanistan, nor did it supply weapons or other support. The representative of the Russian Federation said that, despite appeals, the Taliban fighters continued to hold a Russian crew, and their continued detention was unacceptable.

Other statements were made by the representatives of China, Indonesia, Botswana, Poland, Egypt, Republic of Korea, Honduras, France, Italy, Germany, Chile, Iran, Japan, Argentina, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Malaysia and India. The Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference also spoke.

The first meeting, which started at 11:38 a.m., was adjourned at 1:06 p.m. The second meeting, which started at 3:33 p.m., was adjourned at 6:54 p.m.

In a report to the General Assembly on the progress of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan, the Secretary-General said the United Nations Special Mission had assessed that the military option was still preferred by the main warring parties. The United Nations Special Mission resumed its activities on 12 January 1996 when the Head of the Mission, Mahmoud Mestiri, arrived in the region with the renewed mandate of the Assembly. Escalating foreign interference by countries in the region and beyond, often through active support of one faction or another, complicated the peace process and fuelled the machinery for war. The military race was on for the control of Kabul. Afghanistan remained under the military control of three major forces: the government in Kabul and five other provinces in the north- eastern part of the country; Taliban in 14 provinces in the southern, south- eastern and south-western parts; and General Rashid Dostum's faction in six provinces in the northern part.

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