Soviet Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan Completed on Time on 15 February 1989; Violations of Accords Alleged by Both Sides

UN Chronicle, June 1989 | Go to article overview

Soviet Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan Completed on Time on 15 February 1989; Violations of Accords Alleged by Both Sides


The total withdrawal of all Soviet troops from Afghanistan was completed on 15 February 1989, in compliance with the terms of the Geneva Accords signed 10 months earlier. The United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan (UNGOMAP) reported (S/20465) its satisfaction at the "scrupulous manner" in which the time-frame for withdrawal had been observed.

By 11 March, the Soviet Union had complained that the Geneva Accords were "being flagrantly trampled upon" by those "contributing to the continuation of inter-Afghan strife". It said a "senseless fratricidal war" was intensifying within the country, despite efforts to work out mutually acceptable compromises between the legitimate Government of Afghanistan and the opposition.

Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the Accords of 14 April 1988, signed three instruments-on principles of mutual relations, in particular noninterference and non-intervention, on the voluntary return of refugees, and on interrelationships for the settlement, which provided for phased withdrawal of foreign troops to begin on 15 May. The United States and the USSR also signed a declaration on international guarantees, stating they would both refrain from any form of interference and intervention".

In the first three-month period, it was reported that some 50,183 foreign troops had withdrawn. Another 50,100 left between 15 August 1988 and 15 February 1989. UNGOMAP monitored the withdrawals in accordance with its mandate.

UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, in a note accompanying the 15 February UNGOMAP report, said it was imperative to move forward to ensure the full and faithful implementation of all obligations under the Accords, "all provisions of which were to be implemented in an integrated manner". The Mission would continue to discharge its mandate to that end, he stressed.

The major aim of the Accords, he said, was to bring about conditions to allow Afghans fully to exercise their right of self-determination. External aspects of the situation relating to Afghanistan needed to be fully resolved and conditions established to enable Afghans to decide their own future and to achieve peace and stability in their homeland.

The next steps to be taken in that context must be decided upon by the Afghans themselves, he said. The world community's attention would increasingly focus on the Afghans' efforts towards establishing a broad-based government, which would open the way for a vast and effective process of reconstruction and development.

Positions

On 10 March, President Najibullah of Afghanistan complained to the UN of a "dangerous situation" taking shape around his country, as a result of what he called "the irresponsible policy of the Government of Pakistan, aimed at the continuation of bloodshed and intensification of military interference and intervention in the internal affairs of Afghanistan"

He asked the Secretary-General to instruct mobile groups of UNGOMAP to monitor the situation and prepare reports on the implementation of the Accords. Immediate measures were essential, he said, and the Secretary-General could play an important role in defusing the tense situation.

On 22 March, President Najibullah asked for permanent United Nations observer posts in specified locations along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Responding on 20 March (S/20538-A/44/184), Pakistan Foreign Minister Sahabzada Yaqub Khan told the Secretary-General that the Afghanistan allegations were unsubstantiated. Pakistani troops were not concentrated in the border areas. The Kabul regime wanted to "camouflage its rejection by the people of Afghanistan". UNGOMAP should investigate such charges, and so far none had been substantiated. Pakistan had been subjected to "acts of terrorism and aggression" since the signing of the Accords. The only way to bring an early end to the bloodshed and suffering was through a peaceful transfer of power to representatives of the Afghan people. …

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