Communique of the High-level Meeting on Afghanistan

23 September, during the 62nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, the countries and organizations represented on the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) of the Afghanistan Compact met to reaffirm their commitment to the emergence of Afghanistan as a stable, peaceful, prosperous and democratic member of the family of nations.

The participants underlined that the partnership between the Afghan Government and the international community, expressed in the Afghanistan Compact, is based on  the  desire of the parties for Afghanistan to progressively assume responsibility for its own development and security. They stressed the need for sustained international efforts to support Afghanistan to achieve this end. The participants also stressed the central and impartial role of the United Nations in leading the efforts of the international community, and expressed full support for UNAMA and United Nations agencies in Afghanistan. They commended the progress made so far in Afghanistan, noting gains in economic development and humanitarian indicators, as well as steps taken to improve the security situation, and appreciated the efforts of the International Security Assistance Force and Operation Enduring Freedom.With a view to collectively addressing remaining problems, the participants focused on improving strategic coordination in Afghanistan across four main areas: security and counter-terrorism, regional cooperation, counter-narcotics, and governance.

The meeting addressed the security situation in Afghanistan, in particular the increase in violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, illegal armed groups, criminals, and those involved in the narcotics trade against the local population and government, national security forces and international military and civilian personnel. They underlined their sustained commitment to efforts to train, mentor and empower the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Army. They noted that the restoration of security cannot be solved by military means alone, and pledged to improve civil and military coordination in order to ensure that security gains were consolidated through the establishment of government institutions, including law enforcement, and the provision of development assistance. The participants unequivocally condemned terrorist and other illegal activities, which hindered the establishment of the rule of law, the provision of basic services to the Afghan people, and the full enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The participants supported the results of the Peace Jirga, held in August, with the participation of the Afghan and Pakistani Presidents, and the collective determination expressed at the Jirga to bring sustainable peace to the region, including by addressing the terrorist threat. The participants also welcomed the Ankara Declaration issued following the Trilateral Summit of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey held in Ankara on April 29-30, 2007, and expressed support to the continuation of the Ankara Process.

The participants welcomed recent initiatives to reinforce regional cooperation, including the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization-Afghanistan Contact Group, as an effective means to promote security and development in Afghanistan and the region. They noted Afghanistan’s historic role as a land bridge that could accelerate the prosperity through trade of all countries in the region. They also welcomed Afghanistan’s entry into the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Further, they welcomed the JCMB’s decision to dedicate its next meeting, to be held on October 3 in Kabul, to issues of regional economic cooperation.

The meeting expressed great concern at the expansion of poppy cultivation, as well as opium and heroin production, over the past year, underlining the link between the production and trafficking of illegal drugs and the financing of terrorist activities, and agreed that breaking this linkage is vital to creating a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan. The participants agreed to collectively support increased Afghan government efforts to fight the menace of poppy cultivation in provinces where it has expanded, to reward provinces and districts where poppy is not grown, to interdict, arrest and prosecute drug traffickers and corrupt officials, to pursue targeted eradication of poppy crops, and to deliver effective rural development throughout Afghanistan. The participants welcomed recent initiatives to promote border management cooperation in drug control between Afghanistan and its neighbours.
The participants welcomed the Afghan government’s progress towards an Anti-Corruption Action Plan and encouraged it to vigorously pursue its efforts to establish an effective, accountable and transparent administration at all levels of Government. They noted the central importance of extending the rule of law across Afghanistan and ensuring respect for human rights, and reaffirmed the goals agreed to at the Rome conference on the Rule of Law in Afghanistan held in July. The participants pledged their continued and long-term support to the consolidation of sustainable democratic institutions by committing to assist preparations for holding presidential and parliamentary elections in a fiscally sustainable manner as called for by the Afghanistan Compact.