AT-KABUL: Addressing Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in Belgium, President Ashraf Ghani thanked the representatives of the 75 countries and 25 representatives from the international community who are gathered at the Conference with the sole aim of helping Afghanistan.
“We have come together as a partnership of countries and international organizations united by a common perspective on the value of democracy and human rights, a shared vision of the grave threats to world stability that terrorism poses, the need for leaders to unite in the common cause of respect for international law and sovereignty of states, and the commitment to eradicate poverty and achieve the Social Development Goals,” Ghani said.
He added that the international community has offered Afghan people a hand to help lift us out from the years of warfare, poverty, and cruelty.
“In a country that yearns for its children to be educated, you have built schools. Where lives were filled with trauma, disease, and early deaths you have built clinics and trained our nurses and doctors. Where our fields had been destroyed and filled with landmines that suddenly left innocent children playing their childish games without legs and arms, you helped us clear them of danger and replanted our vines and orchards. Our citizens- boys and girls, men and women, students and teachers, nomadic, rural and urban, young and old –grasped that hand of friendship and today we acknowledge the gratitude of our nation,” the president added.
Regarding women, he said that Afghan women have been making history in the last 15 years. “Offended but not broken by the gender apartheid imposed on them, they have dedicated themselves to the realization of the rights, obligations, and equal opportunities that our constitution provides to all Afghan citizens,” he added.
Moreover, he said: “Poverty is enduring challenge, as 39pc of the people live below $1.35 a day. That means 1-2 meals a day and low probability of their children ever attending school. Nonetheless, the 61pc that live above the poverty line and can eat 3 meals a day and send their children to school owe their changed lives to your assistance – for in 2001—after five years of drought and the cruelties of the Taliban– we were facing social collapse in the face.”
He also thanked US President Barack Obama for his historic decision to support quest for freedom and democracy. He added: “When our Security and Defense Forces assumed full responsibility for the defense of our country on January 1, 2015, a significant number of pundits predicted our imminent collapse. How could the Afghan Security Forces carry the job of 130,000 ISAF soldiers? Terrorism united – from Al Qaeda to the emerging Daesh-Taliban groups, criminal networks around the heroin trade and those providing sanctuary and succor to them, bet against us.”
Defining our critical task as the survival of our country, we, the government of National Unity, reorganized and mobilized our security and defense forces – which operated in as many as fifteen provinces a day, he added.
He also talked about ministerial meeting that held in London and said: “Our newly installed Government of National Unity presented an ambitious reform agenda. The goal of that agenda was to put Afghanistan on a path to self-reliance through a combination of sound macroeconomic management, private sector development, and a stable, inclusive, system of public administration and finance that would carry into action democratically debated public policies.”
He furthered that for decades there have been talked about water resources, and it has potential to generate thousands of megawatts of energy, using our location to serve us as a regional hub for transit and trade, integration of our rural and urban sectors, our mineral resources, containing corruption and many other wonderful things.
“The Government of National Unity has brought discipline to these dreams, knowing that our masters, the Afghan public and our partners, the international community, judge us by the results and not just by mere effort.”
For the first time in forty years, we have completed two dams, generating 60 mw of new power and storing 650 million cubic meters of water, he added.
He added that in the next three years, we commence building more dams than the last 250 years combined to harness an estimated 26 billion cubic meters of our water for irrigation and power generation.
“On energy and infrastructure, we have turned 10 years of talk into action, through agreements, groundbreaking ceremonies,” he said, adding that CASA 1000, TAPI and Chabahar are in the process of realization, to be followed by multiple efforts at connectivity in the future.