What's In Blue

Posted Mon 8 Oct 2012

Afghanistan ISAF Resolution Reauthorisation

A Security Council draft resolution reauthorising the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for twelve months is currently under silence. The draft is scheduled for adoption tomorrow morning (9 October). (This adoption is expected to take place together with that of a separate draft resolution renewing the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti which at press time was still being negotiated.) Traditionally the ISAF resolution is adopted without any discussion or debate of issues related to Afghanistan. (The Council last had a broader discussion on Afghanistan during a debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on 20 September.)

Council members have had three rounds of negotiations on the draft text since early last week. It appears that the language of the resolution will build upon last year’s ISAF reauthorisation by incorporating key developments in the past year in the preambular paragraphs. Most notably, it seems that the resolution will make reference to the various high-level conferences on Afghanistan that have occurred during the past year.

These recent conferences include the Bonn Conference (December 2011), which called for a “Transformation Decade” (2015-2025) after the drawdown of international forces in Afghanistan (scheduled to be completed by 2014); the Chicago Summit (May 2012), during which NATO pledged its commitment to building the capacity of Afghan National Security Forces beyond 2014; and the Tokyo Conference (July 2012), during which commitments made at Bonn were formalised with financial pledges to support Afghan development. It also seems that conferences related to promoting security and cooperation in Afghanistan and the region in Istanbul (November 2011) and Kabul (June 2012) were also mentioned in the draft text.

While in the past the negotiations on the ISAF reauthorisation resolution have been relatively smooth, it seems that this time there were differences over how some of these conferences should be characterised. This was particularly the case in relation to decisions from the Chicago NATO Summit. While some members were keen to have language underscoring the importance of a sound legal basis for ISAF’s continued presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014, others were less keen and it appears that the final text does not contain language to this effect.

Another topic that was actively discussed was how to calibrate the language on drug production and trafficking. It seems that some members wanted to further emphasise the threat that drug production and trafficking pose to Afghanistan and the region, while stressing the need to counteract this threat. It appears that the final text contains additional language on this issue, highlighting the serious harm that drug cultivation, trade and trafficking can cause to security, development and governance in Afghanistan and beyond.

Other key issues raised during the negotiations include the need to train the Afghan National Security Forces; the challenging security situation; and the reconciliation process.

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