President Ghani: Terrorism is the defining challenge of our time which requires generational commitment to overcome

18 February 2017

President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani delivered his remarks in the 53rd Munich Security Conference later this evening. He said that it requires a focus at the global, continental, Islamic, regional and national levels to tackle terrorism.

The Conference was organized in Munich city of Germany, attended by more than 30 State Leaders and 80 Defense and Foreign Ministers. The President added that Afghanistan is the frontline state and the first line of defense against terrorism, fighting 20 groups classified as terrorists by US and UN. He added that our fight against terrorism is not only for the liberty of Afghanistan but also for global security.

President Ghani said that terrorism has combined social networks and virtual networks, using criminal economic networks particularly drugs as a platform for global criminal politics. He said that there is no boundary which terrorism will not cross and no space or social group that it will spare.

President Ghani said that in order to contain terrorism, it requires a consensus, comprehensive approach, use of legitimate force, inclusion of key social strata like women and youth and isolation of states sponsoring terrorism.

The President added that the terrorist attacks in Kabul, Kandahar, Helmand and other parts of Afghanistan and the terrorist attack in Sindh of Pakistan are proof positive that there cannot be a distinction between good and bad terrorism. He said that terrorism is the defining challenge of our time which requires long-term commitment. President Ghani said that sensing the emerging patterns and responding to them might be difficult.

The President said that state tolerance or state sponsorship, on the one hand, and state weakness, particularly corruption enable terrorism to operate and expand. He expressed that we can, will and must succeed against terrorism.

The President stated that for tackling terrorism and curbing its expansion, it requires isolation of those states which rely on terrorism as an instrument of state policy. 


قابل توجه مراجعین محترم،

فردا، 21 میزان و 12 اکتوبر مطابق است با دهم محرم و روز عاشورا. بنابراین، مراجعین محترم مطلع باشند که فردا سفارت رخصت است و پس از آن سفارت به صورت عادی به کار خود ادامه می دهد.

سفارت جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان


Introductory Remarks of H.E Salahuddin Rabbani Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the Opening of the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan

5 October 2016 – EU Headquarters

In the name of God the most Compassionate the most Merciful

H.E Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

H.E Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

H.E. John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

Honorable Ministers,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan and as the co-host of the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, it is a great privilege to welcome you all today.  The overarching theme of this conference is “Partnership for Prosperity and Peace.”

Peace and Prosperity are the priorities of the Afghan government. The Afghan nation is grateful to our international partners for their sacrifices in helping us move towards those crucial objectives, for the past one and half decade. And once again, your presence here today reaffirms our enduring partnership and great alliance.

It strengthens and renews our joint commitment to see an Afghanistan free of war and poverty.

And for those who want this vision to fail, our gathering here today sends a clear message: that Afghanistan is on the path to a more prosperous future and has the unshakeable support of its international friends on this journey.

Distinguished Delegates,

Since 2001, we have traveled a long and difficult journey together. When our partnership started, years of conflict had left Afghanistan devastated across the board. For instance, it is worth remembering that in 2002, fewer than 900,000 students were at schools with no girl among them. In the education sector, that was our starting point.

Today, that number has gone up to 9 million students, 40 percent of which are girls.

Today, Afghan women are active members of the civil society, as well as in the government and in the private sector. We have women ministers, deputy ministers, parliamentarians, members of the high peace council, judges, attorney generals, and ambassadors.

Due to government’s strong leadership, sound public health policies and support from the international community, we have achieved considerable progress in public health system. Maternal and child mortality rates have declined significantly.

Our fiscal position has also improved considerably. Effective revenue collection and more realistic budgeting have helped us balance our expenses. Over the period 2015-2016   our revenue has increased to 29 percent and is estimated to increase to 32 percent.

In late July, after over a decade of negotiations, Afghanistan acceded to the World Trade Organization as its 164th member. As a land locked country, we look forward to benefit from thespecial treatment granted for Least Developed Countries under the WTO multilateral trading system.

The Afghan government’s commitment in fighting corruption and its reform agenda remains firm.The establishment of an independent Anti-Corruption Justice Centre in Kabul and the creation of theNational Procurement Authority are the strong examples of this commitment.

Similarly, the endorsement of the new election law last month is a major step towards electoral reforms in ensuring more transparent: provincial, parliamentary and Presidential elections in Afghanistan.

Ladies and Gentleman,

Building on a broad framework and consensus established in previous conferences on Afghanistan and under the leadership of the National Unity Government, today,  we have developed a vision, and a clear roadmap for our future economic development policies.

Now it is the time for us to further foster our national reform agenda, and the priorities described inRealizing Self-Reliance Strategy Paper and in Afghanistan National Peace and Development Strategy Framework.

Last week, we took an important step in overall efforts to achieve a lasting peace, by concluding the signing of peace agreement with Hezb-e-Islami group. While fully committed to preserving the rights of our citizens, particularly women’s rights, we are ready to sign similar agreements with other armed opposition groups, who are ready to renounce violence break all ties to the international terrorism and accept our constitution.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A glimpse at where we stand in our shared journey shows that our achievements are many and that Afghanistan is progressing on a positive trajectory. These are the achievements that are shared between the people of Afghanistan and the international community. We all can take pride in what we have achieved together.

Yet, our challenges remain formidable. On a daily basis, our brave security and defense forces are fighting to eliminate extremism and terrorism.

It falls upon all of us, as a responsibility, to make sure no innocent life is lost anymore whether it is in Brussels, Kabul, New York or elsewhere.

It is important today that we maintain a broad political support and a sense of mutual accountability beyond pledging to assist the Afghan nation in its path towards self-reliance.

We need to strengthen Afghan ownership and leadership, the economic growth and productivity, governance and rule of law, and renew our development partnership by taking into account the emerging challenges.

Honorable Ministers,

Yesterday, the side event on Regional Integration and Prosperity added more values to the existingAfghan-led regional cooperation processes, namely the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia–Istanbul Process.

These platforms and processes will help us to work closely with our neighbors to build better regional understanding, and to promote economic integration in pursuit of peace and development.

The rich discussions during the side event, Empowered Women-Prosperous Afghanistan were also assuring for Afghan women’s economic empowerment. It offered a unique perspective on the essential role of Afghan women in helping to promote economic development.

Building upon our previous mutual frameworks, this conference is an opportunity to provide a platform for the government of Afghanistan to set out our vision and present our track record on our reform agenda.

Similarly, it is an opportunity for the international community to reaffirm their sustained political and financial support to Afghanistan’s peace-building and development efforts.

Distinguished Delegates,

Today, once more, we will express our durable commitment towards building a democratic and peaceful Afghanistan; and we will show to the adversaries that our alliance for a prosperous Afghanistan and a peaceful world is indestructible.

Thank you.

Transcript of H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s Remarks Brussels Conference on Afghanistan

Transcript of H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s Remarks

Brussels Conference on Afghanistan

Brussels, Belgium

5 October 2016

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

 Your Excellencies, let me begin this morning with a note of thanks on behalf of Dr. Abdullah and myself to the distinguished representatives of the 75 countries and 25 representatives from the international community who are gathered here today with the sole aim of helping Afghanistan. We have come together as a partnership of countries and international organizations united by a common perspective on the value of democracy and human rights, a shared vision of the grave threats to world stability that terrorism poses, the need for leaders to unite in the common cause of respect for international law and sovereignty of states, and the commitment to eradicate poverty and achieve the Social Development Goals.    

It is a privilege to express the heartfelt thanks of the Afghan nation.  Knowing sorrow that follows from war and the loneliness of displacement, exile and migration has been our condition for four decades.   Despite the adversity, resilience is our national characteristic, derived from our long history as a meeting place of cultures and civilization, our abiding Muslim faith, our firm belief that we can overcome the past, and our culture of hospitality and friendship.     

You, distinguished leaders of the international community, have been our friends and the font of hope for our people.  The international community has offered our people a hand to help lift us out from the years of warfare, poverty, and cruelty. 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. Our citizens- boys and girls, men and women, students and teachers, nomadic, rural and urban, young and old --grasped that hand of friendship and today we acknowledge the gratitude of our nation. 

            Afghan women have been making history in the last 15 years. 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.   I celebrate the ability and capability of the Afghan women speaking for themselves.   They speak articulately and clearly as women and not just through identities derived from their relationship to men of their families.   Viewed case by case or category by category, the stories of our women’s remaking of themselves, as cultural, economic, political and social actors are inspirational.   Viewed collectively and measured by their network effect, they are taking a giant step for a historic transformation in the lives and roles of Afghan women. Supporting the emerging platform for sustained change requires focused attention, resources, and political will.   For every life changed, unfortunately, ten or more remain at risk.  If you look into what women farmers have done with around $40 to become the breadwinners of their families and hear them speak with the dignity that economic empowerment brings with it, you cannot but believe that Afghan women will be guardians of the democratic values enshrined in our constitution. I hope that their First Lady’s partnership with their president can serve as a demonstration that strength lies in mutual respect and commitment.    I am proud to acknowledge my continuous debt of gratitude to Rula for subjecting my ideas of reforms to the rigorous logic of whether it meets the test of putting people first, particularly the excluded and the poor.   The First Lady and I express our deepest thanks to the women and men in your countries, particularly in the executive and legislative branches, for your advocacy and support for expanding and sustaining the gains of Afghan women, for empowered women – the theme of yesterday’s session—are indeed the key to a prosperous Afghanistan.  Our inspiration comes from Bibi Khadija – the employer and then the wife of the Prophet (PBUH) – who was one of the most prominent merchants of Arabia.    

The youth and the poor -- the two other numerical majorities of our people --are also feeling the impact of your support.   As Minister of Finance in 2002, I literally searched for months for a capable leader or manager.  As president, I am fortunate to be flooded with CVs of capable Afghan men and women who combine education, experience and commitment.  In reading several hundred proposals from candidates for mayors of municipalities, I was struck by the evidence of a generational change in our capabilities and skills for leadership and management.  Thanks to your investment, we now have the 5-10 thousand people who can staff and drive the reforms and the projects that our electorate has mandated their Government of National Unity to deliver.     On behalf of the young generation of Afghan men and women who are going to bring us stability and prosperity, Dr. Abdullah and I thank you for opening up the opportunities offered to them.  

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.  

Some months ago, I presided over the graduation ceremony of cadets from our Security Academy – where 549 officers – 13 of them girls – graduated.   These young people – the crème de la crème of our youth—exemplify our national will in defense of our country.

Your investment in our security and defense forces since 2002 has given a capability that can lead and manage the war against terrorism, criminality and instability.   Your generous commitments in the Warsaw Conference have assured our people that their volunteer sons and daughters in the security and defense forces will have the training, enablers and assistance to defend the independence and sovereignty of our country.   I thank President Obama for his historic decision to support our quest for freedom and democracy and all the leaders- Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Renzi, Prime Minister Cameron, President Erdogan, leaders of the four framework nations, and all other governments and people of all the countries that are supporting the Resolute Support Mission to advice, train and assist our forces. 

Your commitment, however, has been much more significant than spending of treasure.  Your sons and daughters have fought shoulder-to-shoulder with us, making the deepest of sacrifices in the cause of freedom. On behalf of the Afghan people and our security and defense forces, I would like to request a moment of silence in the honor of the fallen heroes from your countries and ours. 

When our Security and Defense Forces assumed full responsibility for the defense of our country on January 1, 2015, a significant number of pundits predicted our imminent collapse. How could the Afghan Security Forces carry the job of 130,000 ISAF soldiers?  Terrorism united – from Al Qaeda to the emerging Daesh- Taliban groups, criminal networks around the heroin trade and those providing sanctuary and succor to them, bet against us.  Defining our critical task as the survival of our country, we, the government of National Unity, reorganized and mobilized our security and defense forces – which operated in as many as fifteen provinces a day.  

We are still carrying out 15-18 missions a day.  But there are significant differences between 2015 and October 2016.   Confident of immense public support and full international backing, our security and defense forces are confident of facing and overcoming the forces of disorder.   Kunduz yesterday is an illustration.  Knowing the penchant of Taliban and their supporters – as expressed in the clipped English of their press release—we had predicted a series of attacks designed to overshadow the Brussels Conference.   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.   A war president was the last thing that I wanted to become but as the proud commander-in-chief of our forces I salute their will and their sacrifice.  All Afghans, especially our forces, know the stakes entailed in our sacrifice: the future of generations to come and the right of the Afghan people to independence, sovereignty, democracy, development, peace, and unity.      

There are no easy decisions in Afghanistan but I hope that history will judge that when confronted with hard choices, we have made the right choices.   As both our problems and solutions are chain-linked -- where the weakest link determines the strength of the chain—we have to think multi-dimensionally and act on multiple fronts simultaneously.    But before addressing the road ahead, I would like to take a moment to summarize the positive achievements that your help has brought to some 30 million of my Afghan brothers and sisters.   

Just a little less than two years ago we held our first Ministerial meeting in London, where our newly installed Government of National Unity presented an ambitious reform agenda.  The goal of that agenda was to put Afghanistan on a path to self-reliance through a combination of sound macroeconomic management, private sector development, and a stable, inclusive, system of public administration and finance that would carry into action democratically debated public policies.

To understand and overcome our developmental constraints while fighting for our survival has required focus and teamwork.  I, therefore, hope that our challenges should not obscure the accomplishments of our government and the commitment of the Afghan people to move forward.

Setting revenue targets and achieving revenue targets is one of the most significant tests of political will and capacity for leadership and management.   Commitment becomes clear when a poor country invites the IMF to set these targets and monitor their implementation. I don’t think they get many invitations.

 In 2015, despite the severe recession, we increased revenue by 22%.   We then reached agreement with the IMF on a three-year staff monitored program.   I am delighted to state that Minister Hakimi, our gifted Minister of Finance, has informed me that yesterday we fully met the revenue targets for 2016 – three full months ahead of the schedule.

Our budgets are credible and our medium-term fiscal management plans feasible.  Contrary to prevalent practice, we are championing condition-based assistance.   Not only are we asking the IMF to be strict with the conditionality that will help us build macroeconomic stability and a sound banking sector that can finance our recovery and growth, we are proposing the same model to our partners. 

Our new development partnership with the United States is condition-based and we have met all the conditions. Thank you Secretary Kerry for championing this approach. The State-building compact with the EU, signed yesterday, is another significant step in this direction. Thank you President Tusk and Ms. Mogherini. On-budget assistance supporting credible reforms is the key to accountability, efficiency, effectiveness and transparency.   

Joining the WTO required a focused effort and full coordination between the executive and legislative branches of the government.   We prepared the necessary laws, submitted them to parliament and obtained passage by July 2016.  

This effort required a sustained dialogue with our private sector, about the effectiveness of which you will hear directly from the private sector.   If investment by the private sector is the criterion of credibility, then I have good news to share.  In the last three months alone, we have secured commitments for investment of $1.1 billion from the private sector.  What is particularly rewarding is fully $800 million is in the energy sector- requiring a 20-year timeframe.   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 decades we have talked about water resources, our potential to generate thousands of megawatts of energy, using our location to serve us as a regional hub for transit and trade, integration of our rural and urban sectors, our mineral resources, containing corruption and many other wonderful things.    The Government of National Unity has brought discipline to these dreams, knowing that our masters, the Afghan public and our partners, the international community, judge us by the results and not just by mere effort.  

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.   Storage of the water will allow us to create a regional system of water trade and water conservation.   I want to thank Dr. Qayoumi, my brilliant friend, who resigned from his position as president of San Jose State University to guide our infrastructure and human capital portfolio and the ministers and all other colleagues who have acted upon his advice and guidance.

On energy and infrastructure, we have turned 10 years of talk into action, through agreements, groundbreaking   ceremonies.   CASA 1000, TAPI and Chabahar are in the process of realization, to be followed by multiple efforts at connectivity in the future.   Economically, Afghanistan is once again becoming integrated with Central Asia and through it to Europe.   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.  

Our approach to regional cooperation is through development of clusters.  TAPI, for instance, will become a cluster, as will be others.

Any and all things having to do with agriculture has received our serious attention, for sustained agricultural growth is the key to political and social stability.   We are pleased that 240 villagers from all over the country joined myself, Dr. Abdullah and our Cabinet in Kabul as we launched the billion-dollar Citizen’s Charter program, which in January will provide basic health, education, electrification, and clean water to 12,000 rural and urban communities across Afghanistan.  And what touched my heart was when those 240 villagers stood up and told us, the government, that the two targets for their half of the Citizen’s Charter contract were to ensure that every penny is accounted for —- and that within four years they will make sure that 50% of their village council members will be women. Think about that. Rural and urban representatives are telling us that they believe in change.  This is real social transformation in action.

 Last Saturday, with help from the EU and the US, we launched a land certification program that will turn hundreds of thousands of urban squatter families in our five largest cities into property owners with secure titles.  And in January I invite all of you to join the launch of our National Program for the Economic Empowerment of Women, which, together with our programs to end violence against women, will put real substance into our Constitutional obligations to ensure equal rights for women.

 During the London anti-corruption summit hosted by Prime Minister Cameron, we announced that we will establish a counter-corruption justice center.   I am pleased that not only is the justice center fully functional but that it has made its first arrest.   A senior official in the Ministry of Interior who was asking for a $150,000 bribe was caught red handed and will be publicly tried.   The National Council on Rule of Law has been set and has put the rules on how to proceed further.

Central to our policy of fighting corruption is building the rule of law institutions and we are enormously pleased with the work of the Chief Justice and the Attorney General.  Our problems remain and they are networked: criminality and corruption are interrelated and it requires regional focus. We have made significant progress in arriving at economic cooperation in the region. What is critical is to generate the political will for regional cooperation. Terrorism does not know borders; there cannot be a distinction between good and bad terrorists, providing sanctuary or tolerating; Terrorism is a threat not only to Afghanistan, but also to the entire global community.

We are enormously pleased and proud both of the strategic patience, strategic focus and strategic commitment of the global community as represented today. Thank you President Tusk, Ms. Mogherini, the Secretary General, Mr. Kerry and all other distinguished participants for showing that political will, but the root of the problem is in the region; we, at the national level, are committed to unity, to focused effort, to dialogue. We made the peace deal, the recent peace deal, from within our public consensus, not outside of it. It is based on our constitution; it was negotiated in Kabul, the capital of all Afghans and it took place through an inter-Afghan dialogue. Afghans can make peace. We will make peace. We are committed to constructive politics, not destructive politics. We are committed to a politics of imagination, a politics of inclusion, a politics where every Afghan, as the constitution specifies, is equal to another Afghan. The largest task is the poverty in the region; the political will and focus in the region generated to define poverty and terrorism as our two central challenges. I am confident that we will overcome them. 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. Thank you for the statement of support. Thank you for this magnificent gathering. And we shall succeed.

The 97th Anniversary of Afghanistan’s Independence Day

The 97th Anniversary of Afghanistan’s Independence Day

Abbas Farasoo

Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of Afghanistan in Australia and New Zealand

23 of September 2016


Ms Lyndall Sachs, PSM Chief of Protocol.

Mr Andrew Barr, Mla, chief Minister of ACT

Commodore Katherine Richards, Representing the Air Chief Marshal Binskin, Chief of the Defence Force.

Dear colleagues of the Diplomatic Corps

Dear Representatives of Government

Dear Representatives of International Organisations and the Economic Sector

Dear Members of the Afghan Community

Dear Colleagues of the Embassy

Dear guests,

Ladies and gentlemen, Good afternoon and welcome.

Today we have gathered here to celebrate the 97th anniversary of Afghanistan’s Independence Day.  It was 97 years ago that King Amanullah Khan, declared Afghanistan’s independence from the British Empire. In subsequent decade, King Amanullah Khan embarked on a deep reform process to transfer Afghanistan into a modern nation-state. His reforms aimed to enhance women’s’ rights, promote education, rule of law enforcement and most importantly build strong state institutions.  Although, he failed to implement all of his reform agenda, he opened a new era in Afghanistan history. In fact, his legacy is a critical juncture in the modern history of Afghanistan and continues to inspire Afghans to this day.  


King Amanullah connected Afghanistan with the major countries around the world, establishing diplomatic relations based on mutual cooperation and friendship. Despite many challenges that Afghanistan has faced for almost a century since its independence, strong relationship with the international community and its neighbours is the central element of its foreign policy.


Today, in celebrating our 97th National Independence Day, we also pay tribute to all brave men and women in our security and defence forces that continue to fight against terrorist groups and protect our country and fellow citizens. The support that Afghanistan has received from the international community since 2001 also indicate that in today’s globalised world the fight against terrorism has strategic significance not only for Afghanistan but for all countries of the world. In other words, the terrorist groups in our region are not just posing a threat to Afghanistan’s security; they also pose a threat to everyone in an interconnected world.  


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Afghanistan and Australia’s relation is based on common interest and mutual respect and the two countries have established a strong partnership to cooperate in areas such as development and the fight against terrorism. Our diplomatic ties maybe recent but our people to people relationship goes back to as far as early1860s. Since the 1990s, Australia has welcomed thousands of Afghans in very difficult times, further deepening the ties between our peoples. Since 2001 our bilateral relations has strengthened tremendously. Australia has supported Afghanistan in the war against terrorism and has provided critical development support to Afghanistan. Since 2001, Australia has generously provided Afghanistan with over 1 billion dollars, contributing to economic development and our efforts to promote governance and empower women and girls rights. I would like to use this opportunity to thank Australia and the Australian people for all of their support.


I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight and express our gratitude for the international support that has helped Afghanistan achieve important progresses. Since 2001, Afghanistan has made tremendous improvement in education, health and economic sectors. In the last fifteen years, Afghanistan’s GDP increased more than eightfold, meaning GDP per capita increased from 190 $ in 2002 to $620 in 2015. Similarly, exports increased from $69, 10 million in 2002 and to 570, 50$ million in 2015.

Afghanistan has also expanded its education sector, making modern education available to women and girls and thereby assisting them to enter the work force.  For instance, over 9.5 million Afghan children attend school every day; 3.5 million of them are girls. Fifteen years ago these attendance figures for girls, were unthinkable. Furthermore, today, around 300,000 students study at our universities; the new generation of our educated class will represent a generational shift and offer the necessary human capital for our future economic growth.  

Not surprisingly a rise in school attendance has led to an increase to literacy. In 2001 the literacy rate in Afghanistan was 12% while in 2016 it has increased to 40%. Moreover, today, Afghanistan has 150 universities and 15000 schools which are vital for development and enhancing marketable skill for new generation.

A high education rate has also meant that more women are now entering the work force and actively taking part in the development of their country. Thousands of women now work with Afghan security forces while thousands more work with the media. Such achievements would not have been imaginable under the Taliban.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me give you some other examples of changes in Afghanistan during the last decades. Fifteen years ago, under the Taliban regime, there was no internet in Afghanistan; watching and owning a television was illegal as was the presence of women in the public sphere. Today Afghanistan has a vibrant media sector with 75 television channels, dozens of radio stations, and more than one thousand print publications. Today, in terms of communication facilities, more than 70% of the whole population have mobile phones; Under the Taliban, only 1% of the people had access to a small number of landline phones.  Moreover, 5 million people have access to the internet. There was no internet in Afghanistan in 2001. These achievements are playing crucial roles in promoting transparency, good governance and the fight against corruption and making it possible to shift towards electronic-governance in the country.


Ladies and gentlemen,

All these achievements were not possible without the support and assistance of friendly countries such as Australia. Australia has made a critical contribution in supporting Afghanistan’s security and defence forces, promoting social development and human rights. Australia supported Afghanistan in Warsaw summit which took place in July 2016. Australia maintains a strong role in supporting the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan that continues to enhance the capacity of Afghan defence forces in their fight against terrorism as a common threat against all of us.  Australia strengthened its commitment to Afghanistan and the Afghan people in a very challenging time. At the beginning of the year, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, the Prime Minister of Australia visited Afghanistan whilst the Defence Minister, Senator The Hon Marise Payne, visited Afghanistan just last month. So, we appreciate Australia’s ongoing support and friendship.

I would like to note, that despite all significant achievements that we have made to date, security is still the biggest concern for Afghanistan. For the last fifteen years Afghanistan has been and continues to be the real victim of terrorism. Our innocent people and security forces are targeted on a daily basis by different terrorist groups such the Taliban, ISIS and their affiliated groups in the region. As the recent attacks on peaceful protestors on the 23rd of July and the American University of Afghanistan on 24th of August show very clearly, these terrorist groups target civilians and civilian institutions indiscriminately. The brutality and scale of these attacks once again demonstrate the need for our collective response and closer cooperation at all levels.  

As I mentioned at the beginning, in today’s interconnected world the security challenges facing Afghanistan are not Afghanistan’s problem alone. This threat has global dimensions and presents a challenge against the state-based order of international cooperation. Cooperation with the international community and regional countries in our neighbourhood is the core policy of Afghan government.

The lack of cooperation in the region on one hand, and the presence of sanctuaries of the terrorist groups outside our borders on the other, have been hampering Afghanistan’s efforts to bring peace and stability in the country. Despite these challenges, we as Afghans, work hard to go forward, and will not surrender to terrorist groups and their supporters and sympathizers.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me also touch on Afghanistan’s potential for investment, development and economic cooperation. Afghanistan has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources. Mining and resource exploitation has a long history in the country. Even after thousands of years of artisanal exploitation, vast reserves of more than 1400 minerals remain largely untouched throughout the country. According to an estimate, Afghanistan’s unexploited mineral wealth is worth over 3 trillion USD. It is a great opportunity and huge potential for investment, development and cooperation

Moreover, Afghanistan has recently passed new legislations that makes it easier for foreign investors to invest in the county. We have improved bidding systems, enhanced consultancy and joint venture framework under Afghanistan’s legal and institutional facilities. In short, Afghanistan is ready for investment and development, as it is ready and determined to fight for stability and promote cooperation in the region.

Thank you.