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Karzai calls for 3rd Bonn conference on Afghanistan

AT-KABUL: Former President Hamid Karzai expressed gratitude to Germany for being constant supporter and contributor to development of Afghanistan.

Former President during his speech in DW Global Media Forum, Bonn city of Germany, emphasized not only over strengthening relationship between Afghanistan and Germany, but also thanked and appreciated Berlin for helping Afghanistan in reconstruction since first Bonn Conference.

Touching upon long history of friendship between the two states, Karzai urged Germany to host third Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in coordination with International Community and regional countries to help find a lasting solution to Afghanistan crisis.

Karzai went to Germany in an official invitation from DW Global Media Forum.

Here is complete speech of former President Hamid Karzai in Bonn Media Forum

Distinguished guests, fellow delegates, friends:

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very happy to be amongst a distinguished global media gathering that encourages free thinking and, the freedom of speech giving me the opportunity as well to present my views in the same spirit. For this I am very grateful to DW.

In the long history of friendship between Germany and Afghanistan, Germany has always been steadfast by our side. In particular from the Bonn Conference of 2001, to today Germany has been a constant supporter and contributor to our development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

From the end of the Cold War emerged different perspectives of a new world order.

Some thought a hyper power would arise, ushering in for the rest of us a world order with new rules befitting the needs of the time. That didn’t happen.

Rather, after a short interlude, the images of a multi-centric world began to show. The rise of China and India and the reassertion of Russia are critical and instructive developments. Europe too is, by the fact of circumstances, moving in the direction of a new definition of its interests.

When multi-polarity leads to multilateral actions among the key powers that shape the world, the seeds of a new and more constructive world order would have been sown.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Generally, the United States’ foreign policy decision-making over several administrations has given room to a give and take between unilateralism and interventionism more often in the past two decades, leading to negative consequences for some and to discord among long-time strategic allies.

I submit that everywhere we look now, we see a United States continuing to fumble through regions in ways that are only making them worse.

This is also true in the case of some of its western allies and in particular with regard to the Middle East.

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 on what can charitably be described as trumped up charges, taking what was for all its faults a stable country, turning it into a cess pool of sectarianism and extremism, and giving rise to dangerous entities like IS or Daesh, was not simply a strategic mistake. It was an ill-advised bad policy; disbanding the Ba’ath Party and throwing hundreds of thousands of trained armed soldiers and educated professionals out onto the streets. And bring about the destruction of Iraq´s state infrastructure.

Indeed, one must ask: when you leave one with no hope, will they not turn towards a nihilistic bent of mind?

The message that the 2003 invasion sent out was that everyone with the capability to pursue nuclear weapons development should do so, and that is exactly what happened.

Libya for its part thought it had struck a grand bargain giving up nuclear weapons for state preservation.

Yet again, a blatantly illegal Western invasion reduced a coherent state despite all its faults into a sectarian war zone, where, yet again, Daesh and its affiliates have taken root. Learning nothing from its failures in Iraq and Libya, some in the collective entity we refer to as the West are repeating the same mistakes in Syria.

And of course, the unilateral withdrawal of United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran deal, as it is referred to colloquially.

A victory hard won, to only be quickly squandered away, with little consideration of the consequences it could wreak not just on regional dynamics but across the world. Iran is a neighbour of Afghanistan and a very close one.

The people of Afghanistan don’t want our good neighbourly relations with Iran to be impacted by recent American decisions.

Truly, when they say the path to hell is paved with good intention, never has it applied more to any period of time or place than the interventionist altruism we see today.

This is the template that now defines the new world – chaos, and increasing chaos, that is encouraged by technology; and by the fanaticism of the well-intentioned.

What is worse is that this zealotry, sometimes couched in internationalism, is used  to justify every illegality, destroy every treaty, and exacerbate the confusion we find ourselves in.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My country in the past three centuries has been by compulsion in the very centre of the rivalry of the time.

In the process of what is often referred to as the great game, my country has been, through the circumstance of its location, a victim and player.

For my country, the tragedy of September 11 brought a sudden and massive change. The US and its allies, backed by the UN and major world powers, arrived in Afghanistan and were welcomed by the Afghan people in the hope of peace and a normal life.

This cooperation between the international community and the people of Afghanistan brought many achievements, as well as hope for an even better future.

However, the prolongation of war in Afghanistan, and the absence of results and clarity of purpose have not only added to the suffering of the Afghan people but have also roused suspicion in Afghanistan and the region about the objectives of US presence.

To rectify this, it is imperative that the US regain the confidence of all stakeholders, in particular that of the people of Afghanistan, through a new compact guaranteeing the wellbeing of our country.

Russia, China, India and Iran – prominent powers that are in the region of the conflict- can make a long-term contribution to the search for peace.

These major powers must act together to deal with terrorist violence that threatens our common stability.

The US, we hope, will begin to act in tandem with other stakeholders to fabricate a design for peace. And, in a multilateral world, it is best and in the interest of all to reach out across divides and political frontiers for the sake of peace and stability.

In my view, it is clear that success will not come to us unless the following conditions are met:

One, Afghanistan regains ownership of its own processes and has complete sovereignty over all its affairs, with particular emphasis on holding free and fair elections and the convening of the traditional Loya Jirga as required; and

Two, the development of a new security mechanism through collaboration between major international and regional actors so that Afghanistan once again is seen as a place of cooperation rather than confrontation.

It is very clear by now that the resolution of the conflict cannot come through the use of violence, or the bombardment of Afghan homes and villages.

The idea of a military solution is now more unthinkable than ever before. Peace will only come when the Afghans are truly in charge of the intra-Afghan dialogue and of the entire peace process.

And, this can happen only when the US and Pakistan genuinely and sincerely support the effort, and when other neighbours and stakeholders are on board and offer their help and facilitation where they can.

The time has come, therefore, for a compact that brings us all together with the common resolve to demonstrate cooperation in dealing with the problem at hand.

The US and Pakistan bear the greatest responsibility, of course, in taking meaningful steps toward peace.

Decades of the use of extremism by both as an instrument of policy are at the root of our suffering. Pakistan, we hope, will    finally recognise the danger and join hands with us in addressing all the issues.

To the people of Pakistan, who have suffered at the hands violent extremism and short-sightedness of government policy, the afghan people are immensely grateful for the decades of hospitality given to us.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Afghanistan wants to be a place of international and regional cooperation rather than confrontation.

During my own time in office, when there was heavy US and NATO presence, my government promoted and implemented – under difficult circumstances – a policy of friendship and partnership with all stakeholders.

This brought us considerable stability and reconstruction assistance. Afghanistan urgently needs to return to a similar policy.

Our people continue to seek friendly and close relations with all neighbours and the region more broadly.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All nations regardless of size or level of development need to have legitimately functioning governments.

The destruction of states and the creation of stateless territories is no one’s interest and as witnessed will lead to chaos and negative consequences for all.

The arrival in Europe, particularly in Germany, of hundreds of thousands of migrants is the direct result of the destructive intervention of some western powers in the countries I mentioned earlier, Iraq, Syria and Libya and the broader region.

No one person or collective is the repository of all human wisdom. After all, wasn’t the whole point of the Enlightenment to try to understand and accept voices outside the echo chamber of belief?

Let us listen to others, too, and let them manage things their own way.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let us hope that the new rules for international interaction will enable countries such as Afghanistan to address the daunting challenges to their peace, security and development by engaging in win-win cooperation, with multiple centres that seek balance, rather than over-reliance on one.

I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your attention.

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