2006.11.28: Item 16: The Situation in Afghanistan

H.E. Ambassador Oh Joon, Deputy Permanent Representative, at Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly

Madam President,

1. My delegation appreciates the common efforts of the Afghan Government and the international community to achieve peace and development in Afghanistan. Indeed, after the successful completion of the Bonn process last year, Afghanistan has been making a steady move towards peace and reconstruction.

2. My delegation welcomes all positive developments in this direction. The Afghan National Assembly and provincial councils have begun to function properly. Reform of the security sector is also well underway. The reintegration process for ex-combatants has been completed, while a programme has been launched to disband illegal armed groups. The Interim Afghanistan National Development Strategy was formulated to set out development priorities, and the Counter Narcotics Trust Fund has become operational. In the meantime, in London earlier this year, the strong international partnership for Afghanistan was reaffirmed by the Afghanistan Compact, through which the international community will continue to support Afghanistan for the next five years and beyond.

3. Nevertheless, despite these achievements and renewed commitments, Afghanistan is still faced with a number of challenges that must be overcome. Among these challenges, I would like to elaborate those that we believe deserve the highest priority and the most urgent and decisive response.

4. First, we note with deep concern the deteriorating security situation in the southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan. Indeed, this provincial insecurity is not only a threat to national security overall. It also has a serious impact on the prospect of national development as well as on the human right situation. In this regard, we welcome the recent expansion of the presence of the International Security Assistance Force into southern and eastern Afghanistan.

5. To deal with this insecurity, the programme to disband illegal armed groups must be accelerated. At the same time, the Afghan national army and police forces must be strengthened, particularly in terms of their equipment and operational capabilities. Another important factor will be enhanced coordination and cooperation between the central and provincial government, so that law enforcement at the local level will be more effective.

6. A second issue with far-reaching effects throughout Afghanistan is the narcotics industry. My delegation welcomes the continuing counter-narcotics efforts of the Afghan Government and its achievements so far. Nevertheless, after a significant decrease in opium cultivation last year, we have seen a new increase this year. We call on the Afghan Government, in cooperation with the international community, and particularly with its neighbours, to strengthen its narcotics eradication programme. At the same time, rural development projects are needed so that people living in rural areas have viable economic alternatives to cultivating opium for survival.

7. Third, public administration reform will be a driving force in implementing the Afghanistan Compact and other development policies. Our own development experience taught us that government policies are more effective when strong government leadership is combined with active community participation. More effective, accountable and transparent public administration, including the justice sector, will not only reduce corruption, but also encourage democratic governance, thus facilitating people’s participation in government policies.

Madam President,

8. The Republic of Korea has actively joined in global efforts to support Afghanistan. Since 2002, we have continued to provide military personnel to support stability and reconstruction in Afghanistan. Furthermore, building upon our contribution of approximately $60 million over the past four years, the Republic of Korea is planning to support the implementation of the Afghanistan Compact by earmarking additional $20 million for the next three years. The new fund will focus on human resources development, public administration, agriculture and rural development. As a co-sponsor of the draft resolution on Afghanistan before us, the Republic of Korea once again pledges to renew our unwavering support for the people of Afghanistan in their pursuit of a peaceful and prosperous future.

Thank you.