New York, November 28: Keeping in view the expected pullout of international security forces by 2014 from Afghanistan, the international community must stand beside the war-torn nation and help to usher in a decade “marked less by aid and more by trade”, said General Assembly delegates on Tuesday as they adopted a consensus resolution affirming their continued support for the country’s peace, reconciliation and development processes. German delegate Peter Wittig introduced the draft resolution.

The resolution pledged support of Afghanistan and appreciated long-term commitment of the international community with Afghanistan. The General Assembly welcomed the Afghan-led Peace & Reconciliation Process and called upon relevant states and international organizations to remain engaged with it.

The General Assembly welcomed Pakistan’s initiative of Regional Ministerial Conference on Counter-Narcotics, held this month in Islamabad and stressed the importance of regional coordination to counter the threat of narcotics from Afghanistan.

The General Assembly also expressed appreciation of Pakistan for hosting a large number of Afghan refugees. It called for sustained, safe, dignified and voluntary return of the refugees back to Afghanistan.

Speaking on the occasion, acting permanent representative, Raza Bashir Tarar urged the international community to remain engaged with Afghanistan. He reiterated Pakistan’s support for peace and reconciliation process. In the area of security, he referred to Pakistan’s engagement with the Tripartite Commission as well as enhanced deployment of forces along the international border.

He stated that interdiction of illegal cross-border movement was a joint responsibility. Pakistan’s deployment on the border far exceeded the number of international and Afghan forces present on the other side, he added. “Effective measures should be in place to prevent cross-border attacks on our posts, security patrols and border villages. The leadership of the two countries has resolved to address such matters through appropriate forum and channels. We hoped that bilateral commitments in this regard would be upheld”.

He said, Pakistan had always emphasized the importance of regional unity, and felt that immediate neighbours had a special role in the stability of Afghanistan. Referring to the regional Ministerial Conference on Counter-Narcotics held in Islamabad, he stated that this was part of a comprehensive regional approach to the drug problem. He also mentioned the refugee problem and looked forward to smooth implementation of Solution Strategy agreed in Geneva in 2011. In addition, he said Pakistan’s official bilateral trade with the country stood at around $2 billion annually, and the target to increase it to $5 billion by 2015 was well within reach. Indeed, Pakistan sought closer engagement with Afghanistan on “real issues that lie well beyond polemics”.

Mr. Tarar said that Afghanistan needed the continued and active engagement of the United Nations and its Member States. After a decade of efforts, the country was poised to assume full responsibility for its security and governance. It was important for all pledges to be honoured and translated into action, and “there should be no repeat of Afghanistan being left to fend for itself”.

He said Pakistan agreed that security and humanitarian risks associated with the withdrawal of international forces must be addressed in a forthright manner. A comprehensive approach alone could not change underlying dynamics of a deep-seated cycle of conflict, he stressed, and therefore all stakeholders must share the goal of reconciliation. “Externally imposed, impractical caveats complicate the peace process,” he added, noting that the idea of coerced reconciliation ran counter to a fundamental lesson in Afghan history.

New York, 28 November, 2012