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US must cooperate with Russia for stable Afghanistan: Karzai

AT-KABUL: The former president of Afghanistan in his recent visit to Moscow said that the United States and its allies must cooperate with Russia, China, India and Iran to bring long lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Addressing the fifth conference on international security, hosted by the Ministry of Defense of Russian Federation, Hamid Karzai said: “From my experience as the president of Afghanistan for 14 years in the subsequent events there is only one way for a real effective campaign against terrorism and extremism that is sincere cooperation between the United States and its allies with Russia, China and India.”

The ex-president said that a sincere attention is needed to where radicalization is emerging, and whether radicalization is used a tool by certain state structures. Specific to Afghanistan and the region as we see the trouble continued for the past 15 years. “The United States and its allies will not achieve its objectives in the current circumstances without seeking the help of Russia, China, India and Iran. And we like Pakistan to join too this campaign in sincerity. Then we will see without a doubt that Afghanistan will be secure and Pakistan and the region as a whole,” Karzai said.

Following is the transcript of his speech at the conference.

Mr. Defense Minister, thank you very much

Members of the panel, thank you

Ladies and gentleman!

It’s a particular pleasure for me to participate and for the first time in such a significant conference on combating international terrorism.

The previous speakers all dealt very well at extent of terrorism and the cause of it internationally. Since I have heard about that I would like to concentrate on Afghan story and Afghan experience and then tell you on that perspective how best we can confine this menace.

In Afghanistan during the height of the Cold War when the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan the Afghan people began struggle for liberation. Majority of us became refugees in Iran and Pakistan and the rest of the world. And our struggle for liberation began. This struggle for liberation received assistance from outside—from the United States, Pakistan and other countries. And now as we were trying to liberate ourselves the tussle between NATO and Warsaw pacts was at its height. The United States and its allies wanted to weaken the Soviet Union and cause it damage. We wanted to free ourselves. Our struggle for freedom was used to cause this damage. Therefore, our national liberation was by the immense arrival of resources from our neighbor Pakistan in the name of help Jihad and the United States and its allies campaigned of radicalization of religious that would fight the Soviet Union to the last Afghan.

The term used those days in western media was that we are winning the fight to the last Afghan. When the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, Afghanistan become an opened field for further intervention from other neighbors.  Extremism and terrorism was one of the most important tools of undermining Afghan society. And brining control to Afghanistan. With immensely and unfortunate consequences for the Afghan people and the world with millions dead with homes destroyed all the infrastructures gone.

While all that was going on, we the Afghan people began to tell the world of the atrocity and of pains that Afghans were suffering at the hands of extremists and terrorist. For having turned Afghanistan into the ground where they should be raised and trained. Until September 11 (2001) we were ignored and attention denied. After September 11 with the arrival of the United States and its allies, Afghanistan began to reshape. No doubt we were liberated with the help of the United States and allies from a keeping invasion from our neighborhood and the control of extremist on Afghanistan.

Our schools reopened, our economy reemerged, our life began to flourish again and for a number of years this went very well.

But then in 2004 and 2005 we began to see the reemergence of sanctuaries in our neighborhood and the reemergence of ideological motivation to terrorists and reemergence of financial systems to them and arrival of terrorists and extremists back to Afghanistan. Today fifteen years on, not only that Afghanistan is insecure, not only that Afghanistan continues to suffer but so is Pakistan suffering as Defense Minister referred to Pakistan.

The consequences of bad policy the question we should ask today is why has the international community, why especially the United States and its allies in Afghanistan have not been able with tremendous support by the Afghan people to crush the terrorism  and end the radicalization  of that region.

The only answer to that is because either the strategy of combat terrorism was not right, or the methods applied were not correct. Or that where attention should be paid to the sanctuaries, to the training grounds, to the motivation factors, and to the financial resources was not done.

Either, they failed to pay attention at the right time, to the right issues, or from the very beginning the intention wasn’t there to pay the right attention to the sources and sanctuaries and motivation factors.

The consequences of that today is that not Afghanistan and Pakistan are suffering but we saw it in China, we saw the events in Russia and the downing of Russian plan in the middle east and now in Europe too.

From my experience as the president of Afghanistan for 14 years in the subsequent events there is only one way for a real effective campaign against terrorism and extremism that is sincere cooperation between the United States and its allies with Russia, China and India.

A sincere attention where radicalization is emerging, and whether radicalization is used a tool by certain state structures. Specific to Afghanistan and the region as we see the trouble continued for the past 15 years. Again, the US and its allies will not achieve its objectives in the current circumstances without seeking the help of Russia, China, India and Iran. And we like Pakistan to join too this campaign in sincerity.

Then we will see without a doubt that Afghanistan will be secure and Pakistan and the region as a whole.

Since Afghanistan and Russia are neighbors and close allies, and have old relationship, we have also recognized that a stronger more assertive Russia is a guarantor in safety and stability of Afghanistan.

Therefore, we hope that for us, and for Russia and for this great region a new security architecture will emerge. Russia’s political and economic engagement in Afghanistan on strategic level will be a provider of security and stability for Afghanistan and for the region.

So today my call for action is specific in three areas: We will not succeed without clear, visible and sincere cooperation between the United States, Russia, China and India in our region and at international level; The Shanghai Cooperation Organization can play an important role being a factor of stability; Russia and Afghanistan shall engage with each other more close to make sure Afghanistan is secure and the menace of terrorism and extremism is addressed more effectively and with a lasting impact.

Thank you

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