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UN / AFGHANISTAN

As the Security Council debated Afghanistan today, the UN envoy to the country said that while it is moving forward in the transition to greater ownership and responsibility for its affairs, Afghanistan still faces a number of challenges. UNTV
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00:03:25
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STORY: UN / AFGHANISTAN
TRT: 3.25
SOURCE: UNTV
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 20 SEPTEMBER 2012, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

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Shotlist

FILE – 2011, NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior United Nations headquarters

20 SEPTEMBER 2012, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council meeting
3. Med shot, delegates
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Jan Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA):
“Many ordinary citizens and government officials throughout Afghanistan continue to point out to the continuous fragility of the security situation in Afghanistan, to the fear and insecurity that impedes everyday life. Even where there are not armed clashes, an insidious campaign of intimidation and targeted killings is claiming lives of government officials, women’s rights activists, tribal elders and community leaders – including those actively working for peace.”
5. Med shot, delegates
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan:
“As we speak, Afghanistan has surpassed the halfway point on our transition to full security responsibility. With the commencement of the third tranche of security transition in May, 75 percent of the country will be under Afghan security responsibility by the end of November. Our progress is on track to complete security transition by the end of 2013. The Afghan army and police are showing more resilience and effectiveness, as they take on more responsibility in meeting the country’s security needs.”
7. Med shot, delegates
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“While we applaud these developments, we recognise that many challenges remain, including so-called insider attacks. The reasons for these attacks vary, but we’re working closely with the government of Afghanistan on a range of measures to stop them. We have not and will not allow these attacks to undermine international efforts to strengthen the Afghan national security forces and put them increasingly in the lead.”
9. Med shot, delegates
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Jan Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA):
“The success of another transition – that of detention facilities depends, in large part, to the extent to which any future administrative detention regime respects core human rights protection for detainees, particularly fair trial standards and the prevention of torture. I call on the new leadership in the National Directorate of Security and the Ministry of Interior to implement the reforms necessary to prevent torture and inhumane treatment in all of their facilities.”
11. Med shot, delegates
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Jan Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA):
“The conduct of credible polls with a mandate for the new country’s leadership is essential to national unity and legitimacy and – as highlighted at Tokyo, a critical component of ongoing international support.”
13. Med shot, delegates
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan:
“Before concluding, allow me to register the Afghan Government’s strong condemnation of the recent senselessly provocative acts of insult to Islam and Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him. While acknowledging our fellow Muslims’ right to peacefully protesting these insults, we deplore any violence resulting from such protests, especially against diplomatic representations anywhere in the world.”
15. Wide shot, delegates

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Storyline

The UN envoy to Afghanistan today (20 September) said that while Afghanistan is moving forward in the transition to greater ownership and responsibility for its affairs, it still faces a number of challenges.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, told a meeting of the Security Council that “many ordinary citizens and government officials throughout Afghanistan" continue to experience a fragile security situation that “impedes everyday life”.

Kubiš, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said that even where there are no armed clashes, an “insidious campaign” of intimidation and targeted killings is claiming the lives of government officials, women’s rights activists, tribal elders and community leaders, including those actively working for peace.

In addition, the trend towards fewer civilian casualties registered earlier this year began reversing over the summer. Kubiš said August was the second deadliest month for civilians since UNAMA began recording civilian causalities, with 374 civilians killed and 581 injured. Anti-government elements continue to cause the vast majority – 85 percent – of civilian casualties.

Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul reiterated his government’s call for greater efforts to protect civilians. On the positive side, he reported that his country has “surpassed the halfway point on our transition to full security responsibility”, with 75 percent of the country projected to be under Afghan security responsibility by the end of November and progress “on track to complete security transition by the end of 2013”.

United States Ambassador Susan Rice welcomed these developments, but also noted that challenges remained, including “so-called insider attacks” – Afghans in uniform killing and injuring international and national counterparts. She said her country was “working closely with the government of Afghanistan on a range of measures to stop them”, and stressed that the United States would “not allow these attacks to undermine international efforts to strengthen the Afghan national security forces and put them increasingly in the lead”.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has lost 51 soldiers so far this year, compared to a total of 36 last year, according to Kubiš.

In his report to the Council, the UN envoy raised another aspect of the transition – the transfer of responsibility for detention facilities, whose success “depends, in large part, to the extent to which any future administrative detention regime respects core human rights protection for detainees, particularly fair trial standards and the prevention of torture”. He called on the National Directorate of Security and the Ministry of Interior to implement the necessary reforms.

While the security transition was important, Kubiš underlined that the “ultimate key to a future stable Afghanistan” lay in the presidential elections scheduled for 2014. The conduct of “credible polls with a mandate for the new country’s leadership” was “essential to national unity and legitimacy” as well as “a critical component of ongoing international support”.

Using the opportunity of the Council meeting, the Afghan foreign minister also voiced his government’s “strong condemnation of the recent senselessly provocative acts of insult to Islam and Prophet Mohammad”, referring to an anti-Islamic video produced in the United States that has sparked violent demonstrations in many Muslim countries. He acknowledged “our fellow Muslims’ right to peacefully protesting these insults”, but said “we deplore any violence resulting from such protests, especially against diplomatic representations anywhere in the world”.

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