21 May 2019

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Statement by President Hamid Karzai in the Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

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BNA), Thursday 07 June,

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China, and the Chairman of the Summit,

Excellencies Heads of State and Governments

Honourable Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you President Hu Jintao, for the great hospitality for us during this visit, and thank you also all the member states the SCO for granting Afghanistan the status of Observer.

Mr. President, distinguished members!

In view of the new status of Afghanistan as observer, and in view of the changing environment in Afghanistan and the future that is so important for all of us, please bear with me if I take a little more time.

Mr. Chairman!

The past three decades have been the decades of tremendous torment for the Afghan people, as also the past three decades were the decades of the spread of radicalism in this region, in the broader region and beyond. The reasons for these events and trends are known to all of us when Afghanistan began to fight the former Soviet Union, the rest of the world also came to help us, once consequence of that was the promotion of religious radicalism in Afghanistan and the region. With the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the withdrawal of the interest of the west and the rest of the world from Afghanistan, the spread of radicalism in Afghanistan remained strong, with support of hundreds of millions of dollars, radicalism continued to cause tremendous upheaval in Afghanistan with consequences of course in our neighborhood particularly in Pakistan and with the tragedy of September the 11, the United States and NATO came back to Afghanistan. The Afghan people received them with positive view that Afghanistan be liberated from Taliban and Alqaeda and interference in Afghanistan from the region would end.

Well, in the past ten years in the consequences of that international presence in Afghanistan, our country made significant progress in education, in health, in economy, because of the support of the international community and also because of the support of countries present around this table today.

Afghanistan reestablished itself as a member of the international community, re established relations with the rest of the world, Afghanistan has never had such a vibrant foreign relationship and friendly relationship as we are having today. With our neighbors, our trade has grown many time over, in 2001 our trade with our neighborly brotherly Pakistan was 25 million dollars, today it is over two billion dollars, with Iran in the same manner, it is over five hundred million dollars. With China, with India, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and all others. This is all good and we are happy for it and so have our political relations grown, inspite of the fact of the presence of the United States and the NATO in Afghanistan, we maintained an excellent equileriium of relationship with our neighbors and with the region. However, we have not been as successful in fighting terrorism and radicalism as we had all hoped, what are the reasons for that?- from an Afghan prospective, there are mainly two reasons, 1. Lack of cooperation in the region, 2. Heavy handed approach by NATO within which we can also have the late start of support to the Afghan security forces. Success is possible if specially Afghanistan and Pakistan cooperate sincerely in the fight against terrorism and in the fight against the spread of radicalism. Afghanistan and Pakistan have engaged extensively in the past ten years and in particular in the last four years after the arrival of the democratic government led by President Zardari.

We have had extensive engagement on this, we have also extensive engagement with our Indian friends, with Iran and with all our neighbors and China on this. Therefore, an eventual success on war on terror and radicalism entails sincere and dedicated cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan and dedicated support accordingly from all countries present here today. Lack of success and lack of a dedicated support by all of us will inevitably and without a doubt, respected leaders, give more rise to radical tendencies in the region, will give more rise to the terrorism in the region as it is already affecting Afghanistan, as it is already affecting Pakistan, as it is already affecting India, Russia, China and other countries.

Therefore, I can say with certainty that we have no option, but to work together as a region dedicatedly and realistically and with sincerity to fight this menace. I don’t think that NATO can deliver all the goods for us, NATO can deliver parts of it, the rest of it and I believe the most important part of it is what we should do together.

Honorable leaders!

Afghanistan will go through a complete process of transition of responsibility from what is held by NATO and ISAF to Afghanistan meaning that by 2013, Afghanistan will be fully responsible for the security of our country and all of the country, in six months time, Afghanistan will be responsible for providing security of 75% of its population. By the end of 2013, the entire country and all of the Afghan people will be protected and provided security by the Afghan security forces. By the end of 2014, NATO will leave Afghanistan, Afghanistan will be left to provide for its security, for its governance, and Afghanistan then in particular will require the dedicated support of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the countries present around this table. In Chicago at the NATO summit meeting, Afghanistan was pledged by NATO members and the United States 4.1 billion dollars for the upkeep and support of the Afghan security forces from 2014 to 2024. I believe it is very important for us that the neighbors of Afghanistan and the countries in the region and the Shanghai Cooperation Council also provide support to Afghan security forces.

We have also signed strategic partnerships with the United States and other countries, like India, Germany and others with the view to provide support to the Afghan security forces, with the view to provide capacity building to Afghan youth, with the view to provide a better economic infrastructure to the country. This was done in full consultation with our neighbors and countries in the region.

Honorable leaders!

Afghanistan finds itself fully as a member of this community, of Shanghai (Cooperation Organization) of this region, of the SAARC and of this particular part of the world. Afghanistan will prosper with your help, and Afghanistan will suffer without your help, but the suffering of Afghanistan as has been proven now will not remain confined to Afghanistan, it will spread as it has spread to our neighbors, therefore I hope this meeting will give high priority from now on to conducting its affairs with Afghanistan in much closer proximity and recognizing the dangers that are facing us and in fighting radicalism together with Afghanistan and together with Pakistan and that this whole gathering help Afghanistan and Pakistan to chart out a more successful approach to fight against terrorism.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Afghanistan in economic area is happy to have investment from our neighbors, and the biggest such investment has come from China followed by India, and also I hope that there will be investment environment provided between us and Russia and other neighbors. Afghanistan its infrastructure in order to be able to provide the services that it can provide as a connecting point between Afghanistan and the surrounding region. We are happy to have the TAPI project worked on, we are also happy to have the CASA 1000 electricity supply line from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Afghanistan provides you with a clear pledge that Afghanistan land will not be used against our neighbors and Afghanistan hopes that the same will be done towards Afghanistan. Harmony between us and our neighbors is the guarantor of safety and security of this region as a whole.

Mr. President!

Afghanistan is thankful to China for the support it has received all along and Afghanistan is grateful for your work and for other partners for granting us partnership as an observer of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. I congratulate Kyrgyzstan for the future leadership of the Organization and I would repeat again please do find Afghanistan as a fully cooperative member of this body, the one that will require your help and one that will provide you all the necessary assistance for future security and stability.

Thank you very much

 

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