I would like to congratulate Ireland on assuming the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of September.
2. I would also like to express my gratitude to Ireland for ensuring the participation of Afghanistan’s neighbours in this important debate, as well as the SRSG Lyons for her briefing.
3. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I would like to express our sincere condolences to the people of the United States.
3. Four decades of war and conflict in Afghanistan have killed over a million Afghans, injured, maimed and traumatized many more and devastated its already fragile economy and polity.
4. Today Afghanistan stands at a critical juncture in its history. The Afghan people can, with the support of the international community, restore peace and revive the prospects of development.
5. Other than the people of Afghanistan, it is Pakistan which has been most severely impacted by the consequences of the conflict in Afghanistan. In the so-called “war on terror”, 80,000 Pakistanis were killed in terror attacks and thousands were injured. Our economy suffered an estimated damage of over $150 billion.
6. Even as the world fears an outflow of Afghan refugees, Pakistan continues to host over 3 million Afghan refugees with nominal support from the international community.
7. Thus, for Pakistan, the restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan is an imperative.
8. Despite the fragility of the situation in Afghanistan, the fear of bloodshed has been averted so far.
9. We hope that the “acting government” in Kabul will succeed in establishing law and order and a sense of security in the country, restore basic services to the people and enable the timely distribution of international humanitarian assistance in coordination with the UN and its agencies.
10. Pakistan has so far helped to evacuate over 12,000 individuals from 30 countries from Afghanistan, including diplomatic personnel and staff of international organizations.
11. We hope that all future evacuations will be well organized and orderly, in consultation with the acting government in Kabul. It is important that we do not create a sense of fear that is likely to generate a flood of refugees from Afghanistan. Indeed, Afghanistan needs its skilled people to stay and rebuild the country.
12. Learning from the past, the international community must remain engaged in Afghanistan. Instability or economic collapse will perpetuate conflict and prolong the suffering of the people in Afghanistan. This will benefit no one except those who see continued conflict in Afghanistan as an opportunity to utilize turmoil to sponsor terrorism from its territory.
13. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, and failure of the past governments as well as their corruption, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is dire, with nearly 18 million Afghans in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. We must prevent the situation from deteriorating any further which could trigger a huge outflow of refugees and complicate the prospects of building peace and security.
14. We welcome the UN Secretary General’s initiative to convene a High-level Ministerial meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan on 13 September. We hope that the international community will actively participate and generously contribute towards the Afghanistan Flash Appeal.
15. As SRSG Lyons has advised, Afghanistan’s access to its financial resources is essential to prevent further exacerbation of the fragile economic situation and the collapse of its economy. This is essential to prevent runaway inflation, rising prices, growing poverty and a mass refugee exodus from Afghanistan.
16. We take note of the meeting and efforts of the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mr. Martin Griffiths, with the de-facto authorities in Kabul.
17. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) as well as other UN agencies have a crucial role to play in ensuring timely and expedited delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. All such activities must be carried out in line with the humanitarian principles, while fully respecting Afghan sovereignty.
18. We urge the acting government in Kabul to allow full and unhindered access to the United Nations agencies and personnel for humanitarian operations, as well as to ensure the safety and security of the UN personnel and other humanitarian workers.
19. On its part, Pakistan will continue to play its role in addressing the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
20. In coordination with the UN agencies, Pakistan has established a “humanitarian air bridge” for the provision of supplies of essential food and medical items to Afghanistan.
21. Pakistan is immediately dispatching three plane-loads of humanitarian assistance comprising food and medicines for the people of Afghanistan. The first of these humanitarian flights arrived at Kabul airport earlier today. We will also dispatch supplies to Afghanistan through land routes as well.
22. Yesterday, Pakistan hosted a virtual meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours – China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
23. At the conclusion of the meeting, a joint statement was issued that, inter alia:
• Expressed support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, and non-interference in its internal affairs;
• Noted that the future of Afghanistan should be determined by its people;
• Stressed the necessity of forming an open, inclusive governmental structure, which practices moderate and sound internal and external policies, and respects the fundamental human rights including those of ethnic groups, women and children;
• Cautioned against the possibility of incitement and role of spoilers;
• Affirmed the importance of sustained international engagement on Afghanistan;
• Condemned the terrorist attacks on Kabul airport;
• Emphasized that Afghanistan’s territory should not be allowed to pose a threat to other countries;
• Reiterated that terrorist organizations, such as Daesh, Al-Qaeda, ETIM, TTP, BLA, Jondollah and others should not be allowed to maintain a foothold on Afghanistan’s territory;
• Called for allowing unhindered access and protection to United Nations entities to provide necessary aid and assistance;
• Urged the international community to provide adequate, predictable, regular and sustainable financial support in line with the principle of responsibility sharing for the Afghan refugees;
• Noted the fundamental importance of major international energy, transport, communications, infrastructure and other projects for Afghanistan; and
• Agreed to continue meetings of Foreign Ministers of neighbouring countries of Afghanistan and to set up a mechanism of regular consultations of Special Envoys.
24. We trust that these views of the regional states will be fully reflected in the decisions of the Council on the situation in Afghanistan.
25. Pakistan also remains available as a part of the Extended Troika format on Afghanistan that includes Pakistan, China, Russia and the US, and has a crucial role to play for Afghanistan’s future.
26. The threat posed by terrorist groups, must be addressed comprehensively and cooperatively.
27. Pakistan has endured hundreds of terrorist attacks by the TTP, which were sponsored by hostile intelligence agencies. Over a hundred attacks were launched in 2020. We will work with the authorities in Kabul and the international community to put a halt to TTP terrorism, as well as other terrorist organizations present in Afghanistan.
28. Peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of the entire international community.
29. We hope that the international community, including all of Afghanistan’s neighbours, will develop an agreed approach to respond to the new realities in Afghanistan and restore peace and stability in Afghanistan.
30. A fractured and competitive approach will squander the opportunity of promoting peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan and the entire region
I thank you.