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Certain countries use terrorism as foreign policy tool: Spanta

AT-BEIJING: Former Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor, Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, said that some countries were supporting terrorism as a mean to achieve ends.

Addressing a conference in China, he said: “To a large extent, terrorist groups in our region and in the Middle-East are being supported by states. Unfortunately, there are states that use terrorism as a tool of their foreign policy or their hegemonic ambition.”

Following is the excerpt of his speech.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the world saw an unprecedented consensus against international terrorism. On the one hand, peoples and governments from different parts of the world expressed their solidarity with the US and, on the other hand, they lent their support for fighting international terrorism. Since 2001, the UN ratified a number of resolutions to help the global efforts against terrorism.

In 2001, there were only two prominent terrorist groups: Al-Qaeda and Taliban. However, in 2015,  terrorist groups have spread to a number of countries in the Middle-East, North Africa, Europe, Central and South Asia.Terrorism is a serious and clear threat to all of us; far more and deeper than in 2001.

The global scale of terrorism clearly shows that the current counter-terrorism strategy has failed in its mission and objectives.

In this context, I would like to highlight four issues:

To a large extent, terrorist groups in our region and in the Middle-East are being supported by states. Unfortunately, there are states that use terrorism as a tool of their foreign policy or their hegemonic ambition.

The withdrawal of the former Soviet Union from Afghanistan and the rise of Islamist extremism have provided geographical and ideological space for expansionist politics in our Region.Such a mindset considers Afghanistan as a strategic depth and a natural backyard in its regional ambition.

Let me state categorically, based on my experiences, terrorism with all its related networks isalso a state- sponsored phenomenon. The notion of terrorism as a non-state actor does not fully reflect the reality of today’s terrorism.

Taliban, Al-Qaeda, IS and other groups need training centers, sanctuaries and territories. Taliban have easy access to sanctuaries; while the collapse of state system in the Middle East has provided geographical space to groups such as IS.

In the “greater Middle East”, foreign interventions resulted in the fall and disintegration of Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian states. So the spread of terrorism in that region is also the direct result of the systematic destruction of state system in the Middle East.

IS, Al-Nusra and other active terrorist groups in the Arab Middle East and  North Africa were prompted and are sustained after western military interventions and proxy war of regional powers.

In our region and in the Middle East some regional powers had this illusion that they could benefit from terrorism without being affected by it. However, the reality proves otherwise.

As I mentioned, one of the main reasons for the rise of IS is collapse of state system in the “greater Middle East”, caused by military interventions. Ideologically, IS is mainly a Meddle Eastern construction. But its name and brand are used by a number of other terrorist groups.

In Afghanistan, the terrorist group under the banner of IS is alien to the country’s socio-political environment. They mainly use Afghanistan as a transit hub for the region.

They present serious threat to the countries of Central Asia, China, Russia and thus the need for collective effort to combat them.

The other shortcoming in “war against terrorism” is the selective approach and double standard in fighting this menace.

Categorization of terrorism into good and bad terrorist has angered many victims. Such a double standard also provides justification to support one type of terrorism against another type.

By using terrorism as a tool of foreign policy and double standard, the most radical groups are often empowered or tolerated. Therefore, as long asterrorism is divided into “our” and “their” terrorism, there would not be any real global consensus and alliance against this enemy.

From the beginning of military battle against Al-Qaeda and Taliban in 2001 in Afghanistan, one of the main shortcomings in “war against terrorism” is the refusal to address the sources, sanctuaries and sponsors of terrorism.

Instead of accomplishing the mission in Afghanistan, in 2003, the focus was diverted into Iraq, which did not have any relation with terrorism.

  1. Finally, despite the initial victory in Afghanistan, “war against terrorism” is in a critical situation. To succeed in global campaign against terrorism in Afghanistan and other affected countries, we need a paradigm change in war against terrorism.

A counter-terrorism strategy, based on the power structure of the 20th Century will not work in fighting contemporary threat. Because unilateral policies have gravely harmed our efforts, we need a new international consensus and structure against this evil.

To this end, the People’s Republic of China, the United States, the Republic of India and the Russian Federation should play an active role in creation and implementation of global counterterrorist strategy. In this context, the UN should play a central role in coordinating the international community’s efforts.

The other element in this new paradigm is the regionalization of security architecture in our part of the world. We need a continental conceptual security framework and mechanism. Therefore, the development of a “Collective Asian Security” system from theory to action is the first step towards this direction.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

I believe, social and political changes can only be made if they are rooted in the public consent and are based within character of a society. Democracy cannot be imposed upon people by force and intervention.

The policy of access to a better world, by creating so-called “managed chaos” in the “greater Middle East” has created multiple crises: From permanent instability, spread of Islamophobia to the rise of extremism and Muslim youth’s attraction to violent groups and ideology to the process of destruction of state system in the region.

Middle East and South Asia have now become centers of violence and conflict and home to terrorist groups such as Afghan Taliban, IS, Al-Qaeda, Pakistani Taliban and others.

Solving this problem is possible through international and regional collective efforts, ending the unilateralism and respecting the international norms and the United Nations Charter.

We know that terrorism does not have only one cause and should not be dealt with reductionist approach or by only military force. Nations’ rights to sustainable development; addressing the growing gap between poor and rich and north and south and ensuring social justice and freedom within the countries are amongst the issues that should also be considered.

If we want to reduce the ongoing crisis in the world, we should revive the principles of respect to state sovereignty; rejection of intervention in the internal affairs of others and endeavor for peaceful resolution of international conflicts as the basis for international norms and harmony.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish you all success in this highly important forum and I would like to thank the forum hosts for giving me a chance to speak. Moreover, I am grateful to our close and dear neighbor, the People’s Republic of China for their hospitality and friendship.

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