Saturday, October 08, 2016
Brusselsl (BNA) President Ashraf Ghani in his address on the day-two of the Brussels Conference on Wednesday informed the world on National Unity Government’s achievements and urged global community’s’ continued support to eliminate terrorism from Afghanistan.
The European Union (EU) and the Afghan government jointly organized the conference in which foreign ministers from 75 countries and head of 30 international organizations took part and pledged their support of Afghanistan.
During the two-day gathering, the president on behalf of the people of Afghanistan thanked the global community for continued assistance over the past 15 years for political, economic, security and social development of the war-torn country.
The president went on saying that the international community’s support was still ongoing and as a result Afghanistan was making progress in various fields.
“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,” the president told the conference. The president said that Afghan women have been making history in the last 15 years, adding 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.
“Poverty is our enduring challenge, as 39% of our 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 61% 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. I thank you for your generous new pledges on behalf of our poor, as we are going to be relentlessly focusing on reduction and elimination of poverty,” the president added, saying International investment on Afghanistan’s security and defense forces since 2002 has given a capability that can lead and manage the war against terrorism, criminality and instability.
“This gathering of leaders committed to securing the future of Afghan citizens, however, cannot and will not be overshadowed. Enemies of freedom can affect the news cycle but they will not dent our will, diminish our resolve, or divert our focus from building the strong state, market and societal institutions that a free people and a sovereign country require,” the president noted.
The president said that in the last three months, the government has secured commitments for investment of $1.1 billion from the private sector, adding what is particularly rewarding is fully $800 million is in the energy sector- requiring a 20-year timeframe, and equally significant it is three Afghan entrepreneurs who are making the bulk of the investment through a public-private partnership. “The news that a major Turkish company is willing to invest $200 million in a dam in Helmand to produce 100 megawatts of power should particularly please you.”
“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. 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,” the president told the Brussels Conference, adding the arrival of the first cargo by train from China and the agreement to establish an air corridor with India for export and import of high value low volume commodities are harbingers of the dividends of regional cooperation to be expanded.
The president said creation of the anti-corruption task force body, increase in government revenue, investment, the peace deal with the Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), mega economic projects such as CASA, TUTAP, TAPI, Chabahar port and other projects were major achievements of Afghan government in recent times.
Referring to northern Kunduz province, the president said there was news that Kunduz would fall to Taliban but security forces repulsed their attacks and did not allow them to overrun the provincial capital.
He said terrorist safe havens in the region were a threat to the entire region as terrorists knew no borders. The president said the peace deal with the HIA showed that Afghans were committed to intra-Afghan peace dialogue. “Terrorism is not a short-term phenomenon; unfortunately, if the previous four waves of terrorism are an indicator, it is a medium term phenomenon. We need to join our forces, keep our focus and move together. Afghans have the ability given our culture of resilience to overcome; we need the friends’ hands of friendship to believe and conclude that 40 years of suffering of a dignified nation that has never posed a threat to any of its neighbors and has always welcomed the international community with open arms, is enough,” the president concluded his speech as saying.