Afghan transition on track: Kubiš
WASHINGTON (PAN): Despite recent setbacks like civilian killings and the Quran burning incident, security transition in Afghanistan is on the right track, a top UN officials in the country said on Tuesday.
“The transition so far has been on target and Afghan National Security Forces have proven that they are up to the task. Enhancing Afghan sovereignty and building self-reliance must be at the very core of the way we work,” he said.
Jan Kubiš, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), told the UN Security Council: “The message of the people is clear -- it is time to wind down this war.”
He said international assistance to increase Afghan capacity in all areas should be firmed up at upcoming meetings in Chicago, regarding security, and Tokyo, on non-military areas. Besides security, transition also encompassed leadership and accountability in other areas to make the process sustainable, he added.
“Recent events should not eclipse positive trends,” the UN official noted, cautioning they should not push the transition process off agreed plans and timetables. “The transition so far has been on target and the Afghan National Security Forces have proven that they are up to the task.”
Afghan ambassador to the UN, Zahir Tanin, said the transition process that began a year ago was continuing apace. The country is nearing the third phase, at the conclusion of which, most of Afghan territory will come under the government’s control.
“A paradigm shift is underway; the aim is sovereignty -- empowering Afghanistan to take charge of its own destiny and turning the direct military and civilian action of the international community into a supporting role,” Tanin remarked.
Successful transition was key to peace and stability for Afghans, said the diplomat, who added: “We are aware of the challenges, but the bitter memories of war and conflict only further our determination to work together to secure a peaceful future.”
Recent incidents, such as the brutal killing of 16 civilians, mostly women and children, in Kandahar, the burning of the Quran and similar atrocities undermined Afghans’ trust and cooperation, he continued, calling for a stop to such incidents and holding the perpetrators accountable.
Most of the speakers supported keeping to the deadlines set for security transition, although some underlined that it should not be unduly rushed.
The Russian Federation representative said that, given continuing violence, it was important not to establish artificial deadlines for the withdrawal of security support; ISAF troops must fully carry out their mandate to put an end to threats in Afghanistan.
Similarly, India’s representative encouraged stakeholders to find ways to ensure that Afghanistan did not feel abandoned -- at least in terms of the quality, if not quantity, of international assistance post-2014.
Affirming her country’s commitment to continuing its partnership with Afghanistan through 2014 and beyond, the representative of the US conveyed regrets over the killing of civilians, pledging the facts would be established and accountability ensured.
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