UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called upon the UN Security Council to make a strategy to protect UN peacekeeping forces from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
In a statement before a UN panel, Pakistan reminded member states that UN peacekeepers across the globe faced “increasingly difficult challenges, including the high-risk environments impacted by IEDs”.
The statement described the disruptive potential of IEDs as huge. “They restrict force mobility, spread fear across communities and undermine the efforts of host governments to restore state authority,” said a senior Pakistani diplomat, Mohammad Aamir Khan, who represented the country at the meeting.
“A counter-IED strategy has much to do with modernising equipment, capacity building and adequate medical support. These three areas should be at the forefront of our integrated planning process,” he said.
Pakistan has a long history with UN peacekeeping, as one of the largest contributors of troops and police for decades. Pakistani women and men currently serve in seven UN operations, with the vast majority of them deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Darfur region of Sudan and the Central African Republic.
As of February 2018, Pakistan is the fifthlargest contributor of uniformed personnel to United Nations peacekeeping, with more than 6,000 men and women serving under the UN flag. Until 2015, Pakistan was the thirdlargest contributor, after India and Ethiopia.
At the panel discussion, Pakistan reminded the international community that UN peacekeeping was arguably the most cost-effective tool to maintain global peace and security.
“Men and women serving under the UN flag risk their lives to implement complex mandates, protect civilians, assist disarmament, build peace and facilitate transitions,” Pakistan argued. “Yet, they face huge challenges, including from the IEDs.”
Urging UN members to take a holistic view of the safety and security of UN peacekeepers, Pakistan argued that the recent surge in attacks and fatalities of peacekeepers required a ‘strategic assessment’ of the threat posed by IEDs.
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2021