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Cablegate: U.S. Statement to the Security Council On

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #3810 2852234
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 122219Z OCT 07
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 0000

UNCLAS STATE 143810

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNSC PREL AF
SUBJECT: U.S. STATEMENT TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON
AFGHANISTAN FOR OCTOBER 15, 2007

1. This is an action request. USUN is instructed to make the
following statement following the briefing of the Special
Representative of the Secretary General in Afghanistan, Tom
Koenigs, to the Security Council on October 15.

2. Begin Text:

Mr. President, I would like to thank the Special
Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in
Afghanistan, Mr. Koenigs, for his comprehensive report and
for his dedication to the mission during his tenure. (ADD
PERSONAL STORY OR ANECDOTE ABOUT KOENIGS).

I would also like to extend my thanks on behalf of the United
States to all the staff of the United Nations Assistance
Mission in Afghanistan who have worked so hard over the
course of the UN mandate to help the Afghan people build a
democratic state that protects fundamental human rights,
provides security and other services, and offers economic
opportunity.

As in the case of past reports -- the SRSG has brought us
up-to-date on the progress that Afghanistan has made with the
support of the international community and has also kept us
up-to-date on the significant challenges and threats
Afghanistan still faces.

This report highlights that the international community must
continue to stand united in support of the Afghan government
and of the Afghan people, for success in Afghanistan. We
must continue our productive efforts to re-accelerate
state-building and capacity-building, help create a viable
agriculture sector that will reduce the incentives to grow
opium, and strengthen the rule of law, security, and human
rights.

We must also support the Afghan Government in exerting its
authority throughout the country. UNAMA plays a critical
role in that, whether helping the Afghan government fight the
threats of corruption and narcotics, coordinating
humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, or helping to
build capacity and integrity at local level where the Afghan
people most often interact with their state.

Afghanistan has made significant progress, but it is going
through a critically important and difficult transition. We
applaud the Secretary-General's and Mr. Koenigs' strong
leadership and dedication in supporting Afghanistan's
emergence as a stable, peaceful, prosperous and democratic
member of the family of nations.

We also take great satisfaction that the SRSG reports that
six million Afghan children are now in school ) the highest
number in the country's history ) and over 2 million of them
are girls; that there has been steady improvement in economic
conditions with preliminary estimates showing economic growth
at 8% and a bumper wheat harvest of 4.5 million tons; and
that there has been additional progress in the areas of
health, road-building, and rural development.

Nevertheless, security is still an enormous concern and the
Taliban has recently resorted to vicious measures,
increasingly relying on suicide bombings and improvised
explosive devices in an effort to terrorize the population
and undermine the Afghan government. As Secretary Rice
explained in an address to NATO leaders in Brussels earlier
this year, "The violence we are seeing is not evidence that
our strategy has failed, nor that the situation will improve
in our absence; rather it is evidence of how much we are
needed. It is evidence that we must do more ) and do it
better, faster."

Mr. President, it is vitally important that Afghanistan
succeed. Afghanistan was the safe haven of today's global
terrorist threat, and enabling Afghans to eliminate that
threat within their borders will be a strategic victory for
Afghans, for the friends of Afghanistan in the international
community, and for the United Nations.

Afghans are eager to take on a greater role in their own
security. As we speak, the Afghan National Army and its
civilian command structure are taking on increasing
responsibility in securing their borders and their people.
The Afghan National Army is a respected institution in
Afghanistan and it is now more than 35,000 strong, with a
target size of 70,000. The SRSG's report points out that,
&increased training and mentoring has improved the army's
capacity to plan and conduct joint operations with coalition
forces and NATO-ISAF8 and that is good news. But we must
increase these joint efforts to train, mentor and equip the
Afghan National Army and Police and we must provide every
measure of support to the UN-mandated, NATO-led International
Security Assistance Force. In particular, we owe it to the
people of Afghanistan to give commanders the forces and
flexibility they need to bring stability, reconstruction and
good governance to all of Afghanistan. Stability in
Afghanistan is vital not only to Afghans, but to the security
and well-being of all free peoples who stand opposed to
terror and injustice.

The Afghan people have come a long way in recovering from the
tyranny of the Taliban. It is essential that we maintain the
unity and commitment of the international community to help
the Afghan people complete the transition from tyranny to
liberty and I am gratified that the SRSG report indicates
that international support to Afghanistan has intensified.

While the international community's assistance to Afghanistan
has been great, the needs are greater still. We must not
slacken in our resolve to provide the Afghan people with the
tools to rebuild. The Afghanistan Compact showed us the way,
but progress is only possible if the entire international
community digs deep to provide funds for reconstruction and
experts to mentor on governance, justice, agriculture, and
commerce. And with the need for more assistance, comes the
need for better coordination. It is important that we find a
strong, UN envoy who, in support of the Government of
Afghanistan, will coordinate international civilian efforts
in Afghanistan and donor capitals.

With great challenges still ahead of us, we must maintain our
resolve. The United States sees long-term assistance to
Afghanistan as a strategic imperative and we look forward to
continuing to work together with other members of the
Security Council as we engage in assisting the government and
people of Afghanistan.

Thank you.

End Text.
RICE

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