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After Peshawar Attack, UNSC Statement, Zeid on Taliban, Afghan Future

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 16, more here -- After the attack on a school in Peshawar, on Tuesday morning at the UN Inner City Press asked a Pakistani diplomat about a UN Security Council statement. "I hope they make one," he replied. "Do you think they will?" They did - past 9 pm.

  Earlier the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that Ban would speak about the school attack in his speech to the Security Council about the African Union.

 Ban asked or told Chad, as Council president, with your permission I will make a statement. Then he said, “the UN will continue to support the efforts of the Pakistani authorities in their fight against terrorism and extremism. I urge the Government of Pakistan to make every effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

 Later, past nine PM, the Security Council issued this statement:

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the depraved and savage terrorist attack against children that occurred at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan on 16 December 2014, causing the death of over 140 innocent civilians including 132 children and countless injuries, for which Tehrik-e-Taliban has claimed responsibility.  They expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the victims of this heinous act of terrorism and to their families, and to the people and Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The members of the Security Council also wished a speedy recovery to those injured.
The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms this targeting of schoolchildren and a school by terrorists.  They reiterated their condemnation of violations and abuses committed against children by terrorists and welcomed the ongoing efforts of the people and officials of Pakistan to protect schools and schoolchildren.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations.
The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with relevant authorities in this regard.
The members of the Security Council recalled that Tehrik-e-Taliban is included on the Al Qaida Sanctions List and is thus subject to the asset freeze and arms embargo in resolution 2161 (2014) and further recalls that any individual or entity that provides financial or material support to the group, including the provision of arms or recruits, is eligible to be added to the Al-Qaida Sanctions List and subject to sanctions measures.
The members of the Security Council commended the resolute efforts of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism.  The members of the Security Council underscored that this or any other attack by the Tehrik-e-Taliban would only strengthen their resolve to support the people of Pakistan and fight terrorism. The Security Council will continue to support the efforts of the Pakistani authorities in their fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

 There is some discussion of "good and bad Taliban."

Given the new bilateral agreements between Afghanistan with NATO, and separately with the US, some were asking: a new UN Security Council resolution needed?

  Back on October 9, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said, “We would want to have a UN resolution, a resolution of the U.N. Security Council.”

  And on December 11 they got a resolution, which looks forward to a "non combat" mission. But how does it relate to US forces in Afghanistan?

   US President Barack Obama's December 11 War Powers letter to the Congress said:

"Following the completion of the ISAF mission at the end of 2014, the mission to help train, advise, and assist the ANSF and  Afghan ministries and institutions will continue through the follow-on NATO-led Resolute Support Mission. Today, there are approximately 15,000 U.S. forces inAfghanistan. The U.S. Armed Forces are on track to draw down to  a Force Management Level of 9,800 by early 2015... By the end of 2016, U.S. forces would draw down to a small presence at our embassy in Kabul, focusing primarily on security assistance activities. The United States would continue to work with our Afghan partners to pursue the remnants of al-Qa'ida and more broadly to work with our partners in the region to continue to detect and disrupt extremist threats."

As the deadline drew near, and it emerged that contrary to what was previously announced the US does envision conducting some combat operations in Afghanistan after the end of the year, the question was whether a resolution could be adopted in the Security Council.

   Inner City Press on December 3 asked the ambassadors of both Russia and the United Kingdom about it. Russia's Vitaly Churkin told Inner City Press, “there is anther complicating element. The American operations in Afghanistan on basis of the bilateral agreement with Afghanistan are not covered by this NATO Afghanistan arrangement, and therefore will not be covered by this possible Security Council resolution.”

   He said, “the American seem to have changed their minds. Originally they announced that after this year they would not engage in combat operations. Now there are reports that after all they do envision the possibility of some combat operations. I think that in that context there also needs to be a concern, will NATO be able to stay within announced scope of just training and supporting the Afghani forces?”

 Churkin said that some in NATO now says that a resolution is not absolutely necessary but that “this is required by some counties, both members of NATO and non members of NATO who theoretically would like to participate. But they have their requirements and we have our requirements on the Security Council,” including a substantive end of mission report, and future reporting to the Security Council.

  He concluded that there are too many unanswered questions to say with certainty that the Security Council will be able to adopt a resolution. He said, “there are curtain requirements, we believe, which need to be met. The first requirement is that before we encourage in any way a new operation we need to be updated on the results of the previous operation. At this point there is no assurance that we’ll receive a substantive report. Not just a short sentence that they have completed their mission, but one containing an analysis of what has been accomplished and what has not. This is the first requirement. Another requirement is that we believe that the Security Council cannot simply produce a text of a resolution and let the process go into the blue. We need reports to the SC. And for some reason NATO countries are reluctant to give us assurance that they are going to report their activities to the SC. Without periodic reports to the SC we believe it’s rather strange to endorse something and than to forget all about it.”

  Moments later, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant about it, as he headed to the Permanent Five members' meeting room, into which his Australian counterpart Gary Quinlan had already gone in. Lyall Grant told Inner City Press that some do want such a resolution, and that there'll be a discussion.

  Now on December 12, after a December 10 consultation at the Permanent Representative level, the adopted resolution "welcomes the agreement between NATO and Afghanistan to establish the post-2014 non-combat Resolute Support Mission, which will train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces at the invitation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”

 The resolution “affirms its readiness to revisit this resolution in the context of the Council's consideration of the situation in Afghanistan.” We'll see. Watch this site.

Watch this site.


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