Voicing its concern about increased violence and terrorism in Afghanistan, the Security Council has approved the extension of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the country for another year, with the Russian Federation abstaining on the vote.
The other 14 Council members voted in favour of extending the mandate of the Force, which was established after United States-led forces ousted the Taliban regime in late 2001 to help Afghanistan’s then-interim authorities maintain security across the impoverished nation.
In doing so, the 15-member body also called on Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and funding to strengthen the NATO-led Force and make it more effective.
The Council also stressed the importance of improving Afghan security services in order to provide long-term solutions to security in the country, and encouraged ISAF and other partners to sustain their efforts to train and empower the National Police and other Afghan forces.
Speaking before the vote, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin explained that while his delegation had traditionally supported ISAF and the continuation of its mandate, it could not support the current text because the new issue of maritime interception had yet to be clarified.
“I should like to note that during the agreement of the draft resolution no clarity was made about the proposed new wording about the maritime interception component of the coalition Force which did not appear in all of the previous resolutions of the Security Council on Afghanistan,” he stated.
“The maritime component is necessary exclusively to combat terrorism in Afghanistan and should not be used for other purposes,” he added.
He also noted that there had been plenty of time to clarify his delegation’s concerns since the mandate of the Force did not expire until next month. “The unity of the Security Council has been sacrificed to undue haste.”