Saturday, August 30, 2014

President Hamid Karzai Speaks at the United Nations General Assembly

Statement  by H.E. Hamid Karzai  President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
At the General Debate of the 67th Session  of the United Nations General Assembly

Statement

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Every year our gathering in this prestigious hall is a manifestation of our faith in the fundamental equality of nations, as well as the continued relevance of the United Nations as the key international forum for achieving a safer, more secure and prosperous world.  The General Assembly is a unique opportunity to engage in sincere and result-oriented dialogue with a view to addressing the challenges that confront us all.

As we speak today, the world is shaken by the depravity of fanatics who have committed acts of insult against the faith of over 1.5 billion Muslims.  We strongly condemn these offensive acts, whether it involves the production of a film, the publication of cartoons, or indeed any other acts of insult and provocation. Such acts can never be justified as freedom of speech or expression. Equally, they cannot give reason for the genuine protests to be used to incite violence and chaos with terrible losses of innocent lives.

It is a matter of grave concern that our world remains strewn by daily occurrence of violence, hatred, and injustice. In particular, the menace of Islamophobia is a worrying phenomenon that threatens peace and co-existence among cultures and civilizations.  I call upon leaders in the West, both politicians and the media, to confront Islamophobia in all its many forms and manifestations.

It is incumbent upon us all to advance the cause of dialogue and cooperation, to fight the forces of division and hatred and to fulfill the promise of a better and brighter future for coming generations. We must work to defeat the protagonists of the conflict of civilizations, and support the voices of tolerance and understanding.

Mr. President,

My country Afghanistan is testament to the benefits of multi-lateral cooperation and international solidarity.  It was a little over a decade ago when many countries from across the world joined the Afghan people in our struggle for peace and against the forces of extremism and terrorism.

At the time, Afghanistan was a country decimated in all regards.   For decades, we had suffered un-noticed from violence, deprivation, and from sinister foreign interference.  Long before terrorism struck the world as a common security threat, Afghans were the victims of the atrocity of terrorist networks from different parts of the world that had made Afghanistan their haven.

Looking back to ten years ago, Afghanistan has transformed remarkably. Democracy has taken root; health services are accessible to the majority of the population, in all corners of the country; millions of students – boys and girls – are enrolled in primary and higher education.

Our achievements have not come about easily, and the true aspirations of the Afghan people for peaceful, prosperous lives are yet to be realized.  As the world’s fight against terrorism continues unabated, the Afghan people continue to pay the biggest price any nation has paid – in both life and treasure.

Terrorism is not rooted in the Afghan villages and towns – it never was.  Its sources and its support networks all exist beyond Afghanistan’s borders.  Therefore, while the international community’s security is being safeguarded from the threat of terrorism, the people of Afghanistan must no longer be made to pay the price and endure the brunt of the war.

It is in deference to the immense sacrifices of the Afghan people, and the precious lives lost from the international community, that the campaign against terrorism must be taken to the sources of terrorism and must be result-oriented.

Mr. President,

Today in Afghanistan, we pursue the cause of peace and an end to violence as a matter of great urgency.  Peace being the utmost desire of the Afghan people, and convinced that military effort alone is not an adequate strategy to bring security, we have initiated the peace and reconciliation process which aims to bring all elements of the armed opposition to peaceful lives in the society.

Last year this month, my attendance at the UNGA was cut short by the tragic assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, the then Chairman of the High Peace Council.  His life was taken by a terrorist who posed as a peace emissary, and by doing so dealt our peace process a serious blow.  This year, however, I am proud that late Professor Rabbani’s son, Mr Salahuddin Rabbani, who has stepped up to take the Chair of the HPC, is part of my delegation in New York.

As I have repeated often-times, my hand of peace and reconciliation remains extended not only to the Taliban but also to all other armed opposition groups who wish to return to dignified, peaceful and independent lives in their own homeland.  What we ask of them in return is simple: an end to violence, cutting ties with terrorist networks, preserving the valuable gains of the past decade, and respecting our Constitution.

To help facilitate the peace process, I ask of the United Nations Security Council to extend its full support to our efforts.  In particular, I urge the 1988 Taliban’s Sanctions Committee to take more active measures towards delisting of Taliban leaders as a step to facilitate direct negotiations.

In pursuing the path of peace, we remain hopeful for the critical role that our neighbor, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, has to play.  Over the recent years, we have engaged our friends in Pakistan in a close dialogue in support of the Afghan peace process.  It is a dialogue that, we believe, is critical for Pakistan’s own security, and the security of the wider region and beyond.

We are deeply committed to our brotherly relations with Pakistan, but are aware of the challenges that may strain our efforts at building trust and confidence.  Such incidents as the recent shelling of Afghan villages risk undermining the efforts by both governments to work together in the interest of our common security.

Mr President,

During the past two years, our national priority has been to have Afghanistan’s own security forces assume full security responsibility. The Transition Process will be completed by mid 2013 and NATO and ISAF forces withdrawn from the country by end of 2014.

Apart from advancing Transition and pursuing the peace process, the past year has been one of significant progress for consolidating international commitment and partnership.

In Chicago last May, we received the long-term commitment by NATO and other countries for the training, equipping and ensuring the sustainability of Afghanistan’s national security forces.  In Tokyo this past July, the international community reaffirmed strong commitment to Afghanistan’s social and economic development during the Transformation Decade, for which we are grateful.

The “mutual accountability framework,” adopted in Tokyo, sets in place a clear structure for a more result oriented partnership and cooperation. We welcome the international community’s readiness to align aid with our national priorities and channel assistance through the Afghan budget.  On our part, we reiterated our determination to improve governance and to collaborate with our international partners to wipe out the cancer of corruption – whether it is in the Afghan government or the international aid system.

Mr. President

We recognize that Afghanistan’s destiny is tied to the region that surrounds it – whether in face of our common threats, such as terrorism, extremism, and narcotics, or the opportunities we must grasp to grow and prosper. In this context, the Istanbul Process presents a new agenda for security, confidence-building and cooperation across the region of which Afghanistan is the centre. We will spare no effort to build strong and lasting relations with our neighbors –near and extended.

Mr President,

Turning to the international arena,   Afghanistan views the situation in Syria with much concern. For over a year now, the thousands of our Syrian brothers and sisters have lost their lives due to an escalating cycle of violence. We welcome the appointment of the new Joint UN-Arab League Special Envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.  We know from Mr. Brahimi’s well-respected role in Afghanistan, that he brings with him vast experience and a unique ability to the task before him.

The continuing plight of the Palestinian people has been a deep source of distress for Afghanistan and the rest of the international community. The people of Palestine have suffered immensely, for far too long. We remain in full support of the realization of the rights of our brothers and sisters in Palestine, including their right to an independent Palestinian State. The time has come for an end to the occupation, and for realizing a just, comprehensive and peaceful solution to the conflict, based on the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council.

And finally, the UN reform remains an important agenda at the international level.  Since its inception in 1945, the UN has exercised a key role in promoting a safer and more secure world, improving the lives of citizens worldwide, and safeguarding and promoting human rights. Nevertheless, in view of our ever-changing world, we cannot negate the fact that this organization is in dire need of a comprehensive reform, enabling it to better reflect the new challenges and realities of our time.  The reform of the UN Security Council is an issue long overdue.  Achieving a reformed Council that is more inclusive, representative and transparent must remain a priority; and we welcome the ongoing progress within the framework of the inter-governmental negotiations (IGN).

Thank you.

Video
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Opening Remarks By His Excellency Hamid Karzai President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference – Kabul

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

Excellencies Ministers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Asalam Alaikum and Good morning!
Most Welcome to today’s meeting in Kabul. We in Afghanistan are privileged to have your presence here today and I am grateful that you took time out of your very busy schedule to be with us and to support and encourage Afghanistan further.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last year we had a historic Heart of Asia Conference in Istanbul Turkey, a country for centuries so close to Afghanistan and supportive of us in very particular terms in the past ten years, we are grateful to our brothers in Turkey and for their continued support. The Conference today is the 2nd in this direction.

Afghanistan, ladies and gentlemen, as you all are fully aware, after ten years of having received support from NATO, ISAF countries and from our neighbors in the region, has begun the process of transition to Afghan authority which is today in its 3rd phase and the completion of which will bring at least 75 percent of Afghan population under the cover of protection and services provided by the Afghan government.

Dr Ashraf Ghani , the Chairman of this Transition Process oversees the program and we are certain that transition will be completed in 2013 whereby the entire country, the Afghan population, their security , their well-being and matters related to the governance will be handled by the Afghan government alone. Of course, certain measures of support will continue to be provided by our friends in the international community. 2014 will see, as we all know, the complete withdrawal of the international forces in Afghanistan — that is NATO and ISAF. We thank all of you in this room for having provided support to Afghanistan all these years.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

We were just last month in Chicago in NATO where many of you present around this meeting today pledged support to Afghanistan from 2014 to 2024, a very meaningful support, a substantial support to the Afghan security forces and to other elements of governance in Afghanistan. We are grateful and soon after that we were in China in Beijing for Shanghai Cooperation Council Organization’s meeting, where Afghanistan was accepted as an Observer of the Shanghai Cooperation Council, we are very grateful to China for their support and for welcoming us in their country and for doing all they can, to give Afghanistan a better relationship in this region with our neighbors and beyond.

During the Shanghai Cooperation Council, I found out to my very pleasant surprise , I should say, that the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Council supported Afghanistan’s engagement with the international community, supported the pledges and the cooperation extended to us during Chicago NATO summit and in particular , in my meetings with President Hu Jintao and President Putin. Both the leaders expressed their support and understanding of the relationship that Afghanistan has evolved with the international community and after partnership deals signed with various allies of ours in the international community, the support from these global powers and our neighbors is very important to Afghanistan and the continued progress of Afghanistan towards stability and economic development. In deed, it is Afghanistan where there is cooperation of all of us, countries in the region, the neighbors and our allies in NATO and ISAF that will bring stability not only to Afghanistan but the much needed relief from terrorism and radicalism and violence to more stability and peace and progress in this region.

 

So in deed, as the heart of Asia, Afghanistan wishes to be and is seeing the signs of a more cooperative environment in Afghanistan and in the region. In this process of Afghanistan moving towards a complete transition and stability and progress from 2014 to 2024, one of the most important elements of success and for our endeavors towards that success is the successful completion of the peace process that we have launched two years ago under the leadership of Shaheed President Burhanuddin Rabbani and all of us around this meeting today have a responsibility in this regard, some in one form, others in other forms.

Mr. Salahuddin Rabbani the current Chairman of the Peace Council of Afghanistan will be very soon visiting our brothers in Saudi Arabia,  from there, subsequently, he will visit our brothers in Pakistan, his Majesty Khadim ul-Haramain ul-Sharifain [King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia] has been a guiding leader for us through all these difficult years in Afghanistan and since his Majesty has his representative here , I would request humbly that Khadim ul-Haramain ul-Sharifain’s support and guidance continue in the peace process of Afghanistan so that this country can see the reconciliation process that brings an end to violence in Afghanistan. We also very much hope that our brothers and sisters in Pakistan will do the same with us, we are already engaged in a serious and deep dialogue with our neighbors in Pakistan as well, our relations in this neighborhood and in this region have been against some of the contradictions that exist today in the international relations, prevailing international relations.

 

Afghanistan has fortunately so far been successful in maintaining equilibrium of relationship; we, by all means, intend to continue this, we have signed a strategic partnership deal with the United States of America and with Germany, with France, with Italy, with the United Kingdom and Europe, we have signed a strategic partnership deal with India in this region, these partnership deals will not reduce from our relations with our neighbors, but we rather hope that these partnerships add to the positive aspect of our relations with our neighbors, our brothers in Iran have been a steadfast supporter of Afghanistan for the past many years and Afghanistan wishes the continuation of this brotherly cooperative relationship as I am sure will come to us from our brothers in Iran and we hope that our partners in the west and particularly  in the United States and others will recognize that Afghanistan is in this neighborhood and has to live in peace and prosperity with its neighbors and with the countries in this region.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

From Bonn, from the very successful conference in Bonn, with a great, gracious hospitality of Germany , we would be moving in two to three weeks time to Tokyo, where Japan as always will be a gracious and generous host to an Afghan conference for the economic development in Afghanistan. Afghanistan will be presenting a vision for its economic future to the Tokyo Conference , a strategy for its economic development in the Tokyo Conference, I am sure , if not all of the ladies and gentlemen here but the majority of you will be present in the Tokyo Conference.

 

I hope that you continue to support Afghanistan’s efforts towards prosperity and economic well-being and in our view that well-being will come only when Afghanistan domestic economic growth is stronger, when Afghanistan begins to produce of its own soil and gain further economic prosperity and from the opportunities that exist in Afghanistan, that brings us to business and investment in Afghanistan that I hope, all of you will take the opportunity to invest in. China was the first country to invest in Afghanistan followed by others in the region and from our friends in the international community, we are grateful for those investments  and make sure that we provide all the protection and all the incentives that we can possibly provide under any circumstances , so that these investments are not only profitable and with dividends to those who have invested but also bring the much needed progress economically to the Afghan people and an economy that is self sustaining and moving towards a better future.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

I welcome you once again to today’s meeting and I thank all of you for your participation and Afghanistan would assure you that Afghanistan recognizes out of a grim experience of the past that it is only in stability and harmony and peace in this region that Afghanistan can prosper and be stable  and your contributions towards this objective are of immense importance whether you are in our neighborhood or in our near neighborhood or farther away from us, your participation has been of immense importance to Afghanistan, I thank all of you , international organizations and the countries for having had the patience to be here with Afghanistan.

Now that Afghanistan has gotten the support and pledges from the international community that it was expecting, it is our job for the next two years when I will still be in office to undertake a fundamentally stronger activity towards improved , better governance in Afghanistan, I will be calling a special joint session of the parliament next Thursday to discuss Afghanistan’s needs towards improved governance and the steps that we must take so that in the next two years, we prepare the ground better for the next President and the next government to start on a better footing and on a firmer fundamental in Afghanistan, I thank you very, very much for your attention and hope, you will have a pleasant and happy stay in Kabul. I am sure you will be busy but I hope, it will also be pleasant and happy.

 

Thank you very much!

Transcript of the speech delivered by President Hamid Karzai in the Traditional Loya Jirga


بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

الحمدلله ربّ العالمین والصّلوة والسّلام علی خاتم النبیّین.

Distinguished members of the traditional Loya Jirga! Assalum o Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatu! You are most welcome!

It is such an honor and great pleasure to be with our elders, clerics,  dignitaries, brothers and sisters and with our distinguished members of the parliament. At the outset, let me thank our highly respected leader of Jihad, Hazrat Sahib (Professor Mujadeddi) and Jirga commission members for doing a great job of organizing the Jirga at such a short notice. I also thank Mr. Mudabir, the head of the Office of Administrative Affairs and his colleagues for their hard work in building this beautiful hall in less than eight months and at less cost. We are pleased to have the capacity today to do things ourselves.

Distinguished and honorable representatives of people!

We have gathered here at a time when some of our respected elders, clerics, sons, sisters and mothers are not among us. It is time again to remember our martyrs in particular the late Jihad Leader, the former president and chief of our peace efforts, Professor Rabbani, who devoted his life to peace, and who I saw did everything humanly possible for peace,  to the extent that he lost his life for this cause.

He is not among us today, his place remains empty. But we are happy though to have his son with us, Mr. Salahuddin Rabbani, a talented, capable and educated young man that we hope would follow his father’s footsteps and fill the void with our help.

I pray to Allah, the Almighty to bless this soil with stability, peace and prosperity.

Distinguished elders, members of the Jirga! as you are all aware, Jirgas represent the historic and desirable traditions of Afghanistan, inherited from and passed through generations. It is also worth noting that many books have been written on the Jirgas. The one that I read in my youth and found interesting. is a book by Mohammad Alam Khan Faizad, who represented Takhar province in the Lower House of Parliament during King Zahir Shah’s reign. The book’s title is National Jirgas of Afghanistan. Those interested can read the book. I read it and I would like you to read it too.

Today’s Jirga, today’s assembly of people, today’s gathering of elders, of our sisters and brothers has two main purposes, both of which are vital and critical matters of national interest that can change our destiny: one is Afghanistan’s way forward to 2014, when Afghanistan will have retaken complete responsibility for its security and protection of its people and country, and when the duty to provide security would be carried out by its own youth and government institutions.

The work began seven months ago in a few provinces where responsibility for security was handed over to the government with its second phase to soon begin in the next coming days in a number of provinces,  districts, and areas. This all means that in three years, Afghanistan will have to determine its own way and its own approach to ensure security, stability, peace and prosperity. We are currently in talks with different countries. . With the US as one of the biggest countries, we are in talks on a strategic partnership agreement where we have our demands and America has its own.  We are having similar discussions with UK and France, EU and Australia. Fortunately, the proposal for such agreements was first made by them. As you may recall during my recent visit to India, a month or two ago, we signed a strategic cooperation agreement.

The second matter of national interest, ladies and gentlemen , is the peace process specially after the martyrdom of the honorable Professor (Rabbani) and the public disillusionment that followed his assassination and our need for peace, a national need and necessity of peace and a brotherly life in our country. We have things here to talk about.

In  both the national and international media and press there have been various speculations as to the objectives for calling this jirga. These are all erroneous speculations.  . This is jirga of the people of Afghanistan is solely to consult on issues related to the future of our relations with major countries, our strategic relations with these countries especially the US and on the peace process. There is no other issue for this jirga. I hope no other matters are raised here as these two only constitute the agenda for this jirga. We have gathered here to make an assessment and evaluate where we began, where we are and where we are heading. ! And on how we got here and what we passed through and where is our destination. We will make an assessment of our past ten years, look to our future,  consult and decide. .

Your  Excellency Professor Mujadeddi, Jihadi leaders, distinguished elders of the Jirga, Ladies and gentlemen!

Our journey of the past ten years was one full of gains. Afghanistan was a country that started from scratch,  from isolation, miseries and desperation to be a country today where millions of children going to school; thousands are going to universities, thousand of others are studying abroad. Our public health, hospitals, clinics are hundred times better today;  our wealth has increased, there is more money today. On my short helicopter ride from my office, I saw some of the city of Kabul from the air. It has improved tremendously.  Its face has changed, and so have many other towns and cities in the country. The same improvement applies to roads, water, and electricity.  Our foreign reserve has jumped from a scant of about $ 180 million in 2002 to almost six billion today in gold and cash – mostly Dollars and Euros. Afghanistan’s relations with countries have been restored, a country with no foreign embassy, only three during the Taliban, to a country today with diplomatic representations from more than sixty countries. Afghanistan has more resources today. Afghanistan’s flag is flying all over the world. Countries are everyday approaching us for diplomatic relations.. There is no conference, no event, and no discussion where Afghanistan is not represented or is present at its own capacity. Whether it is in the heart of the Indian Ocean, in Africa, US or Europe or Asia, Afghanistan is represented.

More importantly, for us Afghans, Afghanistan is the home of all Afghans again. Each and every afghan with any ideology and inclination has a place in their country. Our parliament best symbolizes this.  Mujahids sitnext to our sisters and brothers from Khalq and Parcham. They are sitting next to our jihadi leaders, clerics and religious figures and next to  technocrats with suits and  ties. Our sisters are sitting by their brothers. There is no one to deny the other the right to live here.

Individualism and self-preferences are over now. We are all one and we all own this land.  Thisis our biggest achievement. I was criticized for calling Taliban “brothers” and for inviting them back home. There are those who have returned and live in Kabul, Mazar, Kandahar and enjoy the protection of the government.

They appear on TV talk shows and condemn us, claiming freedom of expression. You might have heard of Mullah Zayeef Akhund, who renounces us on TVs. He sits calmly in Kabul, travels abroad and meets whoever foreigner he wishes. We tell him, “see! You are free,  and we have the strength and attraction.

Those of our political opposition to our Government are welcome. They  a enjoy every freedom, which is good and in our interest.

It was just to name a few of our many achievements. However, ladies and gentlemen, we have immense challenges and problems. We are still not out of the darkness, not yet safe against threats, not yet on a paved and concrete path, but on a course full of rocks and hurdles. We have yet not achieved our best desire which is security. We have achieved stability though. We have yet not achieved our desire of full security and individual safety for our citizens. The war on terror has not been won as per the desire of the people. The international community could not deliver on the purpose it came to take Afghanistan to its destination. In some areas its succeed and in some areas it did not. However, in our successes, they are part of it, for which we thank them. We thank everyone, from US to Europe to Japan to Asia to our neighbors and the Islamic World and to our brotherly and friendly Arab world for every penny and billions of dollars they have given us in aid.

Every one of them has assisted us in their capacity and has been crucial in these achievements. However, the desirable security that our people in their homes and our children on the streets would want is not yet achieved. The war on terrorism has not succeeded as it was supposed to.

Afghanistan has paid a high price and will continue to do so. Afghanistan believes that this war on terror can not be pursued in the homes and villages of Afghanistan, but rather in its sanctuaries and safe havens.

Corruption is widespread. Public harassment by the government still exists. People’s suffering and fear that their doors would be knocked at nights and that they would be intimidated and harassed, their  property seized and their sons kidnapped is generally gone, but  the people still do not feel safe.

Today, the Afghan State institutions and foreigners can still knock at people’s doors and have their children harassed and annoyed. These are our problems.

Now the question is how, in view of these problems and achievements, can we determine our future ourselves? What measures and steps can take Afghanistan to its destination?

There are two critical elements: internal or national and the external or foreign.

In regards to the  external element, Afghanistan, ladies and gentlemen, has never been this clear and transparent in its contacts and relations with its friends in the region,  its neighbors, and others

Iran and America are unfortunately opposed to each other. However, Afghanistan has maintained its relations with the US, which has a military presence. We have been very clear with America that Iran is our brother with whom we share the same religion and language. It is our neighbor. We will continue to maintain an independent relation with Iran in the interest of Afghanistan and of our sisters and brothers in Iran and we have and will maintain that at all costs. Both countries have been reasonable , and Iran has been more understanding of our needs. With Pakistan, we have the best of relations and maintained it independently. We have done our utmost to improve the relations so that any strains and misunderstandings between us can be addressed for the sake of peace, which is the only way forward for all of us. We built relations with China and Russia, and keep the best of relations with India. We strengthened relations with our brotherly neighbors Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

These were the measures that Afghanistan took . We established the best relationship with Turkey, the dearest old friend of Afghanistan; ensured the best relationship with His Majesty King Abdullah, the custodian of the two holy mosques, who is a friend of Afghanistan and provides our people with his fatherly and conciliatory advices, for which we are deeply grateful. Similarly, we built relations with the Islamic World including the Arab countries. In this regard, Afghanistan has acted independently. Likewise,  we established ties with the West and those countries that are affiliated with the West, who came to Afghanistan with the help of the U.S. and the western world. .

Internally, the national unity of Afghanistan is one of the most important elements of  stability and for achievement of our goals. However, for an instant, t we have to look back to see why we were ruined and destroyed?, why our people fled from their land?, why security did not return?, why tranquility was not restored?, why our country was trampled down by any outsider who wished to do so?  The Jihad of the Afghan nation, the Jihad of our people   was righteous.  The United States, the Muslim World, the West and our neighbors all came to help Mujahedeen. Iran and Pakistan in particular gave us refuge, sharing their food and water with us, which we will never forget.  We appreciate and are grateful for their goodness. We never forget someone with whom we have broken bread. Our history is testimony to the fact that we are a proud nation and we will stand by those who have stood with us..   The Jehad of Afghanistan and its achievements benefited the entire world, but not the Afghan people, on the contrary, became poor and desperate. The former Soviet Union was defeated in its rivalry with the United States of America, and left. Making the United States the only superpower in the world, riding its horse unhindered and unstopped. Our neighbors and our Muslim brothers in the Central Asia were liberated; the people of Germany, close friends of Afghanistan, were fortunately united and once again became unified as one nation.. It was all due to the  Afghan Jehad that  Pakistan became a nuclear power and progressed, the United States and its Intelligence Agency came in and armed Pakistan with weapons, supplied Pakistan with all facilities and equipments, providing this country with power, industries and capacity.

Everywhere was built whilst Afghanistan was stepped upon. The day that we entered Kabul as Mujahedeen, the United States, the West and other countries closed down their embassies and left, since their interests were no longer served. However, those, who had interests, negative interest remained and destroyed us. Similarly, we ourselves not farsighted; our homeland was devastated, our people were martyred, we became homeless and miserable. This all worsened by the arrival of the Taliban, our isolation deepened, our educational institutions were closed, and our history came under attack..

After 9/11 -2001, the West returned to Afghanistan since their interest was threatened.  This time they admit to having made a mistake in abandoning Afghanistan, and won’t  repeat it . We will see whether they will repeat it or not.  United States of America says that it once made a mistake, but won’t repeat it, and says we are here to help you.  They have indeed helped us,  for which we thank them.  The U.S. also says that it will not leave us again as this would be catastrophic again.

Well, if we are convinced that they won’t abandon us again, then what will be the arrangement between them and us, this is the major point:

Will  the arrangement between you and us, namely between the West and Afghanistan, the US and  Afghanistan and its allies, guide Afghanistan towards more stability, more reconstruction, prosperity and full national sovereignty or to a life of survival? We are not content with a life of survival. As other nations of the world, we too have the right to live in honor, dignity, prosperity with sovereignty.

This was a brief description of reasons for our destruction.

Now, I come to what lies ahead of us. I talked about our successes and achievements and the challenges that remain. By the end of 2014, the transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces will have been completed, and the foreign troops will be leaving, which is good and in the interest of Afghanistan.  They will be leaving.  The US, Germany, UK, France and the UAE will be leaving this country, 48 or 45 countries present today, will all be leaving Afghanistan.  In three years time, it will be us and our land.  This is the destiny we face. The question is,  once they have left , will Afghanistan have  the stability, and  the assistance it needs or will their departure mean forgetting us again, leaving us at the mercy of a new form  of interferences and to be trampled again.  This is very important point for us to think on what we will do after 2014. Can we, ourselves, protect this land? We certainly can. Can we, ourselves defend this country? Undoubtedly we can!  How can we do this?  It is only through national unity.  It is our duty to provide for a better life and security for future generations, and the question is with what means can we achieve this?  With our own means? Surely, with our own means.  Will we need more assistance? Absolutely!  The  question is under what conditions?

While we remain grateful to our neighbors, we should also note that it was their negative interferences that caused them and us devastation..

So what should we do to stop these interferences and get back on our feet and build things ourselves? In my view, the national interests, future stability and prosperity for our children and security for this land all lies in just what I have outlined for you, in order that we can have a safe post-2014 future.

Afghanistan must do everything possible to build its own capacity.  We must educate thousands of youth, which we have already begun. We must  educate our own engineers, doctors, teachers, diplomats, soldiers, police, nurses, computer operators, gardeners and in any other field that human capacity is required. Higher education remains a key need.

A strong foundation can be laid in Afghanistan only when we have the capacity to educate and train our manpower in own country, in a way that guarantees a safer future.

Furthermore, our relations with the world need to be harnessed in away that guarantee an overall stability, not an individual or internal one, but rather stability for the wider region and the world. We, therefore, bearing this need in mind, are pleased to enter into strategic pacts with the UK, France, EU and the NATO.

However, our arrangement with America is different.  It is a bit more powerful than others. The difference is that the US will remain and will enter into a strategic arrangement.   In this arrangement, Afghanistan would benefit hugely. Though they are powerful, we will try to strike a balance. They will remain here with strength, which we should fully understand.  They will use our military installations. Ladies and Gentlemen,

They (United States) won’t remain without reason. They too have their interests, and nobody will stay here for our sake alone. Now that they are seeking to maintain relations with us, it is not for our sake. They have their own interests, which is reasonable. Every single human being and every society seeks its own interests. They have their own interests and we have ours.  We are trying to look for our own interests in their interests. Wherever our interests do not meet theirs, we stop and tell them “it is enough; there are limits we cannot pass.”

The Americans wants from us military facilities to stay in. It is a highly important issue. It has impact on us and on the region. However, we can utilize these facilities used by the United States to the best interests of Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s interests are important, and I will come to this point on what we should do..

We consider these facilities in the interest of Afghanistan. But we have our conditions. Our conditions are that the US and NATO should stop searching Afghan homes. We cannot accept this.  We can not tolerate night raids of our homes, definitely not; and we do not want foreign parallel structures to run alongside the Afghan government institutions. Afghanistan knows how to handle its own governance and affairs.

We do not want any activity that has created parallel structures to the Afghan government. We want our national sovereignty recognized by all means and from today! I repeat, we want our national sovereignty recognized by all mean and from today.

Our relationship with the United States should be the relationship between two sovereign states, definitely as two independent and sovereign countries.

Well, the United States is richer, more powerful, more populated than we are, it is larger than our country, but we are lions!

Even if old, sick and feeble, a lion is still a lion!  Other animals in the jungle are afraid of even a sick lion and stay away from him. We are lions, the United States should treat us as lions, and we want nothing less than that. We therefore are prepared to enter into a strategic agreement between a lion and America.

A lion hates a stranger entering his home; a lion dislikes a stranger trespassing its space, a lion does not want his off-springs taken away at night. The lion (Afghanistan) does not allow parallel structures to operate, the lion is the king of his territory and he governs his own territory, The lion has nothing to do with others in the jungle.

On our territory,  Afghanistan’s status as lion should be recognized. Only then we are prepared to sign the strategic agreement with America. We will provide them military installation.  However, Afghanistan’s vision and interests have to be clearly recognized. What are they?

I explained the internal concerns: non-interference in our home and internal affairs; our traditions, religion, customs, marriages, joys and sorrows and the like are our own affairs, and it does not concern them. They may take care of their own affairs wherever they are. Similarly, Afghanistan will pursue it national interests.

The other important concern is our external relations. Afghanistan understands that it needs to have good relations with its neighbors. As we sign agreements with the US and the West and befriend them, we will also maintain a friendship with China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan, our two neighbors , close and hearted friends, with whom  we will maintain friendship at any costs. We reassure them that we will not allow anyone to use Afghan soil against them or anybody else.

These are the conditions of Afghanistan.  Afghanistan is ready to sign strategic agreement with the United States, which is to our benefit.  They   bring us money; train our soldiers and police, and provide security for the home of the lion.  The lion does not have leisure time to do all these things. They should protect his surroundings but should not touch the lion’s home.  They should protect the four boundaries of the jungle.  They should train our police, America’s assistances will be beneficial to Afghanistan, as will be of the West and other countries.

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today, with clear mind and with clear demands in the national interests of Afghanistan which I briefly described, we are ready to enter into strategic arrangement with the United States, and with other countries and  consider these to the benefit of Afghanistan.

With all displeasures that we carry in our hearts today, we should not allow them to jeopardize our future interests. Our children of today should have better lives than ours, our lives were miserable, weren’t they?  Our children should live better. They should have a  more comfortable life.  Our children through their education and their own hands should serve their homeland in their own environment, homes, and schools.   For the  future that we envisage,  we need to have relations  with the world, and this relationship is our right.  .

We have the best relations with Iran and our other neighbors in its way, and with the West and the US in their way.  Till now, with the grace of Almighty Allah,  we have maintained these relationships as such.

Dear brothers and sisters!

My vision on the strategic agreements with the world is just what I have shared with you. Our conditions include respect of our national sovereignty, stop searching houses, and stop detaining Afghans – in Afghanistan; they have no right to detain Afghans. Who are they to do so?.  They have no right to operate prisons. This is our land. It is up to the ministries of Justice and Interior to manage the prisons.

They want military facilities, we will give them.  It is in our benefit. It brings money and service. Our soldiers are trained. So, with this clarity we are prepared.

Now we come to the peace process. , Our honorable professor (Late President Rabbani) was martyred for peace and on the path to peace. The person who came in the name of peace was a suicide bomber. The late Professor Rabbani met with a suicide bomber in the hope for peace.  This merciless person claiming to have come with a message of peace, met with an elderly religious scholar and a mujahid, blew himself up, martyring the Professor. We suffered a great loss.  By this act of terrorism we lost a deeply respected personality and suffered a major blow to our trust and our quest for peace.  However, our nation’s desire for peace and the need for peace remain and are not lost. .

Afghans  want peace. Undoubtedly, they want it throughout the country.  The question is how to achieve this peace?  In what manner do we proceed?  With whom do we make peace?  Should we talk to the Taliban or to our brotherly neighbor, Pakistan or to whom? This is the issue that you as the representatives of the Afghan people can advise on. .  Indeed, it is in your authority to guide the Afghan government and leaders on how to proceed with the peace process. We need once again to review this process and decide how to move forward. Whatever be your advice and recommendation, we will take actions accordingly.

With God’s will, over  the four or five days that you meet and consult, Afghanistan’s mission for peace and its efforts for peace will continue. We will be in talking with our neighbors and the international community. We will continue these efforts.  Turkey has helped us a lot in this process; we have to appreciate their help. Also, His Majesty King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the custodian of the two holy mosques, has helped us greatly for which we are grateful..  We will continue to need their contribution and support to the Peace Process.  Of the foreign support that we have received in this regard, the best has come through these two countries.  With respect to  efforts by the U.S and others for peace to return to Afghanistan, we hope that they help us with more transparency and clarity so that the people of Afghanistan can see what efforts these are. However, central to these efforts is our own national endeavors. Moreover, the support and cooperation of our neighbors and friends is essential.

Distinguished elders, scholars, influential figures, youth, brothers and sisters!

I think that I have addressed  the fundamental issues and those that are of our national interests.  I have tried to be explicit and frank with you. Now it falls upon you to express your views and provide advice in the light of our national interest so that, as per your recommendations, we will take such necessary measures with the world that would yield the desired results.   Hopefully, the National Assembly will endorse this.  Once passed through the legal procedures, it is, of course, the constitutional authority and the right of National Assembly to either approve or reject. This is their duty. You and I, and the Afghan people, have gathered here just for the purpose of consultation.  We are here to obtain your advice, and in light of it to determine our strategy for our talks with the world, consistent with our national interest.

Once again, I reaffirm, if our sovereignty and the independence of our country are recognized and respected, we are prepared to forge strategic partnerships with the U.S and others.  These are the two conditions that if met we are ready for such partnerships to the benefit of Afghanistan future stability, well-being, and prosperity.

You are most welcome, may Almighty Allah reward you for your good intentions to gather here. If anything is left unsaid in my speech, excuse me for that, since there are many things to say in one’s heart.  Inshallah  when your sessions end and we will meet again. We will share some other issues with you including the future status of our national army, Afghanistan’s future governance,  and its status.   To have a strong national army, an army equipped with planes, an air force, these are all these issues that we are working on within the Government. Inshallah, we will discuss and consult on these issues with you.  After the completion of your sessions, we will meet again and take your advice.  You are welcome again. I wish you success.

With Allah’s grace, your consultation would be that of the Afghan nation. You can represent the people better than we can.  We welcome your recommendations on what needs to be done.

Thank you very much