H.E. Hamid Karzai, president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, gave a speech at the 9th Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Yekaterinburg, Russia on June 15th, 2009.
President Karzai talked about some of the major progress in Afghanistan during the past seven years. Some of these developments include having a government based on a modern constitution and democratic institutions, increasing number of children enrolled in schools, participation of the people in the political and social life of country, better health services, agricultural and rural development programs, higher GDP and construction of thousands of kilometres of main and secondary roads.
He mentioned the urgency of concentrating on the insurgency in Afghanistan that is also negatively affecting Pakistan. According to president Karzai, all countries of the region must join together in combating terrorism. Countries of this region face a common problem of international terrorism from Al-Qaida, regional terrorist groups, Chechen Terrorists, terrorists linked to Tahir Yuldash and other terrorist networks. This, according to president Karzai, calls for the presence of the international community in Afghanistan to strengthen global security.
Another major issue in Afghanistan is opium and heroin trafficking. According to president Karzai, 22 of 34 provinces in Afghanistan are drug free as of 2008, whereas this number was as low as 5 provinces in 2005. He requested stricter regulations from countries producing chemicals that are used in heroin factories.