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We no longer pose a security threat to world: Mohib

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KABUL: The youngest National Security Advisor said that Afghan has now changed a lot and no longer pose security threats to the world.

Here is remarks of Dr. HamdullahMohib at “The Future of U.S.-Afghanistan Relations: A View from Afghanistan”. A moderated discussion with Ambassador Husain Haqqani 

I would like to speak first about what Afghanistan brings to this partnership, and then what we expect of our partner.

Today’s Afghanistan is a changed country. We no longer pose a security threat to the world. And, by relentlessly pursuing a reform agenda geared toward self-reliance over the past 5 years, we are gradually becoming less of financial burden.

Afghanistan has also undergone a social transformation over the past 18 years. We firmly believe in our Constitution and democratic institutions. We see our future in the global community of democratic nations. We have become a leader in regional connectivity and hope to see this new regional platform utilized for stability and security. Our brave National Defense and Security Forces are fighting not only for our sovereignty, but we are on the frontlines of the global war on terror, which we have scarified dearly to keep at bay. We are a strategic partner for our allies in the international community, foremost the United States.

We—Afghans and Americans— have come this far through great sacrifice, for which we as a nation will forever be grateful. We are indebted to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our gains as a nation and our increased security as an international community, and I thank all members of the Afghan and US military, the veterans and families of the fallen, who served in Afghanistan and who are still serving today.

In 2017, with the announcement of the Trump administration’s South Asia strategy, Afghanistan and the US entered a new phase of our partnership. The South Asia strategy was a game changer for the region because it was based on conditions, not timelines; it put serious pressure on spoilers in our neighborhood; and it refocused the US role on training, advising and assisting Afghan troops, and pursuing counter-terror objectives in partnership with our security sector. We still believe this is the correct approach to our partnership.

I would argue that this is no longer America’s war in Afghanistan. Afghans are fighting their own war. The support provided by the United States is reciprocated in our coordination and cooperation on shared counter-terrorism and intelligence objectives. We. are making staggering sacrifices in human life to defend not only our country but also to hold at bay those forces which threaten global security.

This is how we understand the partnership. And there are many reasons why we believe the partnership remains critical.

Our part of the world is still a hot bed of global threats, with over a dozen terrorist groups active in the region. We believe global terrorism is a global problem that requires a long-term global response, and Afghanistan is providing its location as a base in the region from which to counter this threat, and its soldiers to fight this threat. As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said late last year, “The cost of leaving is far greater than the cost of staying.”

But it is not a fixed partnership. It is open to review and should be reviewed as contexts change.

The Afghan government has indeed been preparing for possible changes to the partnership. Our security forces are defending our nation on their own, and we have been working hard over the past five years to gradually absorb more financial responsibility for our armed forces and overall operating costs of our state.

There are mechanisms within our agreements—the BSA and the US-Afghanistan Compact— that allow us to discuss and reconfigure our partnership. A responsible, gradual reduction in US troops and assistance, and the complete conversion of all assistance to conditions-based, on-budget assistant, would allow us to gradually cover more and more costs, as we continue to increase domestic revenue, and to develop further human and military capacities and capabilities. To that end, in January, President Ashraf Ghani sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that we engage in a coordinated effort to reevaluate our partnership.

This is the Afghan government’s understanding of our long term partnership. Now we would ask the United States to provide clarification on what its long-term strategy and interests are in our country.

I think what no one is prepared for are any sudden changes to our partnerships that fall outside the boundaries of our guiding documents or that betray all both countries have invested to build over the past two decades. Afghans have serious concerns and fears about a process in pursuit of peace that, to date, has not included any Afghan representation.

As a long-term strategic ally to the United States and the global community of democratic nations, Afghanistan now brings much to the table: we are an Islamic democracy earnestly allied with the United States, strategically placed as a land bridge between central and south Asia, and in the heart of a region from which many of the world’s threats from terrorist groups are emanating, but which is also ripe with economic opportunity. We believe that as long as the threat of terrorism remains a global one, Afghanistan will remain an important ally, and that is not bound to change even if peace with the Taliban is achieved.

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