Explanation of vote by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia after the UNSC vote on a draft resolution on Afghanistan
The Russian Federation strongly condemns the terrorist attack that was carried out in the vicinity of the Kabul airport on 26 August killing hundreds of people. We express our condolences to the friends and families of those killed and wish speedy recovery to the injured.
At the same time, we had to abstain during the vote on the draft SC resolution on Afghanistan.
We had to do this because the authors of the draft had ignored our principled concerns.
Firstly, despite the fact that the draft resolution was proposed against the backdrop of a heinous terrorist attack, the sponsors refused to mention ISIL and “Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement” – the organizations that are internationally recognized as terrorist – in the paragraph on counter-terrorism. We interpret it as unwillingness to recognize the obvious and an inclination to divide terrorists into “ours” and “theirs”. Attempts to "downplay” threats emanating from these groups are unacceptable.
Secondly, during the negotiations we emphasized the unacceptability and negative impacts of evacuation of Afghan highly qualified personnel for Afghanistan’s socio-economic situation. If experiencing a “brain drain”, the country will not be able to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. These elements that are vital for the Afghan people were nor reflected in the text of the resolution.
Thirdly, the authors ignored our proposal to have the document state the adverse effects that freezing of Afghan financial assets had on the economic and humanitarian situation in the country, and mention the fact that humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan must imperatively comply with the UN guiding principles, stipulated in UNGA resolution 46/182.
We understand why the authors tried to use the Security Council’s authority to have the resolution adopted in this particular form and on such tight schedule. Perhaps, if we had had more time, the results of the vote would have been different.
At the same time, therein we see attempts to shift responsibility for the failure of the 20-year-long presence of the United States and its allies in Afghanistan to the Taliban movement and to the states of the region that will have to deal with the effects of this prolonged campaign. Such irresponsible behavior of the Western coalition and its attitude to the developments in Afghanistan are little surprising if we take into account i.a. purely formalistic approach taken by NATO’s former military mission “International Security Assistance Force” (which was later replaced by the “Resolute Support” training mission) when it was reporting progress to the Security Council.
Russia consistently stands for a peaceful, safe, and stable Afghanistan with no terrorist or drug threat coming from its territory. We will continue assisting Afghans in pursuing this goal.