United Nations: Asserting that terror groups like Pakistan-based LeT cannot remain active in Afghanistan without "systematic state support" from "beyond" its borders, India has asked the UN Security Council to act against this security threat with a sense of urgency.
Reiterating its commitment to "stay the course" in Afghanistan, India told the UN Security Council that the main source of instability in the war-torn nation is terrorism and not ethnic rivalries.
Expressing concern over the security situation inside Afghanistan, India has cited UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's latest report which said the number of security incidents in Afghanistan was the second highest in 2014 after 2011 when al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was neutralised.
The Secretary General's report "substantiates our view that it is terrorism, and not tribal differences or ethnic rivalries, which is the main source of insecurity and instability in Afghanistan," India's Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukerji said at the Security Council debate on United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) here yesterday.
He said that the terrorist groups, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), are active despite efforts of the valiant personnel of the Afghan National Security Forces and the international coalition forces.
"It is obvious that their activity cannot be sustained without systematic state support from beyond Afghanistan's borders," Mukerji said adding that reports indicate these groups are mutating into more virulent forms, in a region already impacted by terrorism.
"The Council must act against this threat with a sense of urgency," Mukerji said.
He said it is a critical decade of transformation for Afghanistan and reiterated India's commitment to "stay the course" in the war-ravaged country.
"India is proud to call itself Afghanistan's first strategic partner. We share the Afghan people's vision of a strong, independent, united and prosperous state...India stands ready to do all that is possible within our capacities and our means, to work with the Afghan Government and its people, to realise this great vision," he said.
Mukerji informed the 15-nation Council that India, Afghanistan and Iran are examining how the existing port of Chabahar in Iran can be developed to help Afghanistan connect with the outside world.
India has also unilaterally offered Afghanistan access to Attari on its side of the India-Pakistan international border for Afghan trucks and goods that till now have transit rights only up to the Wagah on the Pakistan side.
"Implementation of this offer would provide Afghanistan significant access to one of the fastest growing economic markets in its region," Mukerji said.
The proposed Motor Vehicles Agreement of the regional organisation SAARC would further facilitate the movement of goods and people from Afghanistan, he said.
Mukerji stressed that completion of the task of government formation in Kabul as rapidly as possible is a priority to ensure that all ministries start functioning normally.
He also expressed hope that the important political tasks of electoral reforms and organisation of a Constitutional Loya Jirga would be completed soon.
Mukerji further said that in today's global economic situation when the sentiment of 'aid fatigue' exists in most traditional donor countries, Afghanistan's economic transition will have to be also supported by a private sector led process.
The Security Council extended UNAMA's mandate till March 17, 2016.
Unanimously adopting the resolution, the Council underscored the importance of sustainable democratic development in that country with all national institutions acting within their defined competence.
Condemning all attacks targeting civilians, Afghan and international forces, the Council expressed strong concern over the recruitment and use of civilians by the Taliban and other violent and extremist groups.
Mukerji noted that the UNAMA must continue to play a leading role in shaping and coordinating the international community's efforts to assist Afghanistan's political and economic reconstruction process.