`Afghan polls important milestone for political process`

UNSC members welcomed announcement of final results for Wolesi Jirga polls.

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2010, 12:37 PM IST

New York: The recently-concluded second post-Taliban Parliamentary Elections in Afghanistan, held under difficult circumstances, is an important milestone in the vital political process in the war-ravaged country, the UN Security Council has said.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the announcement of the final results for the September 18 Wolesi Jirga elections by Afghanistan`s Independent Election Commission, said the UN Security Council in a presidential statement issued after a special meeting of the 15-membered body on Afghanistan.

"The Security Council members reiterated that the elections, which have been carried out under difficult security conditions under full Afghan ownership, constitute an important milestone in the vital political process in Afghanistan," said the statement issued by US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, who holds monthly rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month of December.

Afghans voted in their second post-Taliban Parliamentary Election on September 18. President Hamid Karzai could inaugurate Afghanistan`s new Parliament on January 20, according to reports, after months of uncertainty triggered by widespread fraud during elections.

Earlier briefing the Security Council, the Secretary-General`s Special Representative to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, said the country`s transition to responsibility for its own security, governance and development, put into motion this year, would result in a realignment of aid but not the country`s abandonment.

Mistura warned that the situation would get worse before it got better.

Underlining the importance of political peacemaking, he said everyone, even the Taliban, recognised that there was no military solution.

"In other words, our sentiment is: before it gets better it may get worse," Mistura told the Security Council.

"At the same time, we are detecting from the anti-Government elements an attempt to show some spectacular attacks in order to diversify the feeling of a change of momentum.”

“What does it mean? That we should be ready, I`m afraid, for the next few months for some tense security environment," he said.

As the US-led international community gear up for transition by 2014, the Afghan Ambassador to the UN, Zahir Tanin, said in the four years ahead the measure of success would be determined by the strength of his country`s partnership with the international community.

The focus of that partnership must be on building the Government`s capacity to take responsibility far beyond the training of security forces to include development and governance.

Unity of understanding, unity of effort and unity of action was required, he said, assuring the Council that the Government would spare no effort to do its part.

Tanin said Afghanistan continued to focus on enhancing relationships with neighbours in the region, maintaining high-level communications with the Government of Pakistan for wider cooperation in the fight against terrorism and in promoting peace, stability and economic development.

Abdullah Hussain Haroon, the Pak Ambassador to the UN, said Pakistan wants durable peace and stability in Afghanistan as stability and development in Afghanistan is in their national interest.

Stability and security of Afghanistan was also indispensable for the recently concluded Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit and Trade Agreement and could guarantee successful completion of important energy projects, he said.

Noting that the quest for peace and stability in Afghanistan was driving bilateral relations into long-term cooperative partnership, he said Pakistan is ready to assist, among other things, in capacity-building of Afghan security forces.

His country was also engaged in security and intelligence cooperation, including through the Tripartite Commission, which also included the United States and ISAF.

"We do not want Afghanistan to become a theatre of proxy wars," Haroon said.

Philip John Parham of the United Kingdom described the progress achieved as Afghan-led and -owned, welcomed the certification of the election results while also applauding the courage displayed by the Afghan people during the voting.

He condemned attempts by insurgents to undermine the electoral process, and said it was important now to focus on longer-term electoral reform.

The Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Afghan and international forces must step up their efforts to control areas, including the north.

Pledging his country`s continued cooperation in that area, he said the Russian Federation also supported security efforts through recent transit arrangements, counter-narcotics efforts, helicopter support, bilateral provision of small arms and security training.

PTI