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Transcript of Remarks Delivered by President Ghani at the Meeting of the International Contact Group

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Arg., Presidential Palace,

May 21, 2015

In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful

First of all, let me welcome you Ambassador Koch, General Campbell, distinguished special representatives, ambassadors, Minister Rabbani, Minister Ulomi, Deputy Minister Karzai, Ambassador Saiqal, all other colleagues.

Let me begin with paying tributes to the sacrifices that your sons and daughters have made in blood. They will be remembered by this nation, and I want to honor every one of them, those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, those who wounded, those who would be marked by our valleys, by our deserts, by their memories for ages to come.

I would also like to thank you all for the considerable treasure that you spent here in a time when domestic priorities have been important, even urgent. When social programs have had to be cut even in the most advanced countries, you financial commitment to us have been important, and on behalf of every Afghan citizen, particularly the women and girls of Afghanistan, I would like to thank you. It has made a difference; it continues to make a difference.

Second, I would like to thank you for sharing with us in understanding of the threats as well as the opportunities. We have a careful balance to understand the threats, but also to think about the opportunities. When we focus on threats, we focus on overcoming the past, when we dwell on the opportunities; we are energized by the future, by the prospects of what this beautiful land can be and what this people who are marked by resilience against adversity can become.

This is a shared journey and we hope that as you have been with us, you will continue to do so.

I would also want to thank you for commitment and partnership. At the end of the transition, the security transition, you could have walked away, it was not an imperative, particularly not in your domestic environment, to stay; you stayed because of principle. So, I would like to thank every state and government, in particular President Obama, and leaders of the framework nations and all troop contributing countries to the Resolute Support Mission, and other partners who are helping us face the adversities. This commitment has enabled us, to focus on building the future while dealing with the legacy of the past.

And simultaneously, I would like to thank you, and please convey this to every head of state and government, I have said this in person to those I have met, and I would like you convey this that the commitment to partnership, forging of enduring partnerships, where we would shift from dealing with threats to creating opportunities is essential, and this is really vital.

Let me take this opportunity to do a quick stock taking.

First, the context – We deal with the agenda of transformation in a context where the rules of the game are uncertain. The old global order with balancers, with rules, with stability of states interacting to the Westphalian system, is not in place.The new order is emerging, but to be caught in a transition between changing world orders, is to be both, cursed and blessed. And part of the curse, I would like to highlight, first the ecology of terror is changing.

We are dealing with terror as a systematic phenomenon, it is becoming more lethal, it is becoming more organized, it is becoming more resourced, it requires from all of us a common understanding of this. Because, without understanding this ecology, we will not be able to fashion the strategies to overcome it. It is a competitive ecology and it is a cooperative ecology, Daesh competes with Alqaeda but they both cooperate in undermining global stability, and all the others.

Second, we don’t have a weak link now in the state system. We have a weakening chain of states. Each time a state in the Middle East or other parts close or far to us collapses, it increases the weakening of the entire chain, and it strengthens the ecology of terror. Iraq or Syria are not distant from us. They provide lessons, and they provide networks back and forth.

The ecology of terror is not a respecter of boundaries or asking for passports to travel. And when the states are weakening, and there is not an alternative vision, it of course affects us.

Thirdly, it was fashionable from the 1970s some earlier, for some states to rely on non-state actors, malign non-state actors as instruments of policy. They relied on this instrument to balance power with more powerful neighbors near or far, but the adverse consequences of this policy I hope have become clear.

Malign non-state actors cannot be defined between good terrorist and bad terrorist, there are no good terrorists, terrorism is evil, pure and simple. And we here witness it every day, so if you want to ask for an opinion, ask the maim children of Afghanistan.

The forth factor is, the reinforcing networks of criminal economics and criminal politics. The global criminal economy is at least $1.7 trillion a year. A lot of financing, it provides the bidding, the platform for these other types of activities, and in turn the criminal economy seeks ungoverned spaces. They finance un-governability and instability. So, in this context what do we do to respond this?

Our vision of Afghanistan is as a platform of cooperation. First of all, I will come back to this, the war we are fighting is on behalf of everyone in this room, this is not our war alone, it is a conflict that is being fought on behalf of the future generations and on behalf of regional and global stability.

Our circles, very quickly, neighbors, India to Azerbaijan, Russia to Turkey, we are in a circle. And this neighborhood must arrive at stable rules of the game, without stable rules of the game where states recognize each other’s sovereignty and simultaneously share in cooperation to bring about a stable system of cooperation, the problems cannot be solved nationally.

Some of our fundamental challenges are regional, today terrorism threatening China, India, Russia, Iran, all of you around the table, I cannot count because I will be going on counting for five minutes focus on us, so therefore we need a collective sense of purpose. This will not come over night, but in the next ten years we must work towards this goal.

Second, the Arab Islamic circle – Islam is our guiding principle, we are 99.9% Muslim in this country, our Constitution is guided by these principles as well as the principles of human rights and constitutional law.

The negative impact has been enormous, because we have had the spillover or the displacement effect.  Now we want to cooperate and our outreach has been very significant to establish a common platform against terrorism.

The declaration from Mecca some months ago from the holy city of Mecca against terror is a very significant statement.  And the principles that have been articulated, and the analysis of the root causes are hopeful signs that we are no longer in denial.

Here the key question is who speaks for Islam? Elected leaders, who have been elected by women who braved the cutting of their fingers and voted, or a minority relying on terror?

We must stand out to be counted. In that, I think Afghanistan offers, despite all our problems, immense possibilities.

Our third circle which have been partnering with us in blood and treasure, the United States and Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, NATO, the Resolute Support Mission, and other providing security assistance. A very big thank you to all of you, geographically distant, emotionally close, and General Campbell in particular I would like to thank you for the partnership and your leadership.

Our third circle is trade, investment and aid. I want to put it in that order. First and foremost, our prosperity is going to depend on trade, every one of our neighbors can do a lot more for us and for themselves by agreeing to equitable trade patterns and focusing on those than billions of dollars in assistance because trade will create sustainable prosperity.

Investment, Afghanistan is a paradox where rich country inhabited by poor people. 33% of our natural wealth is currently estimated between 1 to 3 trillion dollars, and that is just touching the surface. We do provide the headwater, and with every shift in the climate, our water becomes more valuable. Our land is the connecting area of all parts of Asia, all roads to Central and South Asia, and East Asia and West Asia can potentially converge on us. So, investment is crucial. We are very grateful for the type of investments, the big steps the China and India have taken, and I hope that others will follow, because that is a critical element of the future and we are committed to creating that enabling climate.

And then, aid – we are grateful for the assistance, and we are partner with you through the London Conference frame work self-reliance that Minister Hakimi will elaborate.

The instrument for this platform of cooperation are bilateral, trilateral and multilateral, every problem cannot be solved through multilateral, the fundamental building block is bilateral, because we must solve those problems bilaterally that could be solve bilaterally, those that need trilateral solutions, we would approach trilateral, and those that require multilaterally will be solved through multilaterally, because if we put everything in the basket of multilateral relationship we will have to wait and the key is to be able to move the process forward. The Lapis Lazuli route that’s likely to, that’s very, imminently, becoming imminently feasible linking Afghanistan through Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia, Europe and of course to Russia and Ukraine is a fundamental example. Afghanistan economically now is very much a part of the Caspian, 70% of our trade is likely to come through this rout, five days to Europe, maximum 7 days depending on routes. We are not a land lock country anymore, we are in the process of becoming around about and bridge. Chabahar will be an extremely important event for us, we are grateful for Iranian and India for cooperating on this, and of course we are looking transformation in Karachi in the sets of the relationship that will enable us to have free movement all in multiple direction and this is crucial, measure is strengths of bones over short medium and long terms, our bones might be week initially, but they need to become stronger as part of a coherent strategy. If they are strong we need to maintain them, and expand them and modify them, Afghanistan as a platform of cooperation I think will provide an example as to how the new world the new order that is globally possible can shape, by people enforces coming together rather being disunited, we will never permit our soil to be used against anyone, of our neighbors near of far but we expect the same from all states, and that is crucial to regional stability.

While that plat form of cooperation is about vision and being guided by vision of the future, our current reality is war, the last thing I wanted to become and to address you as is a war president but that’s what I am, and I am proud to lead our arm forces, we will answer war with war, let there be no ambiguity, on a daily bases I take stock of our security forces of their wellbeing, and of their orientation, we did not seek war the war has been imposed on us, but we will overcome this war, let there be no ambiguity, and my message to all people surrounding us, don’t bed, do not wager on collapse of the Afghan state, we will not collapse, we have a 5000 year history and we are going to be here another 5000 years, the resilience of our people should not be under estimated, all those who have invaded us in past have misjudge the resilience of our people and they have paid the price, those who come with peace are welcomed with huge arms but those who seek war will have an answer. We are past the point of ambiguity , this war is not against foreign force, foreign forces have left, this is the war to destabilize a democratically elected  government to deny people and opportunity.

Second we seek a twin peace, peace between Pakistan and Afghanistan and peace between the afghan government and armed political opposition, there has been an undeclared state of hostility that our colleagues in Pakistan have acknowledged, that is the primary peace between the states, I am pleased with the nature of our discussions. This is going to require overcoming the legacies of the past. In order to win the future, we must overcome the past, but overcoming the future requires mutual movement, reinforcing a virtual circle, because the threat of terrorism is a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and to the region. We must focus on this threat so that peace between two states can become an enduring phenomena, and I am pleased that prime minister Sharif in his recent visit to Afghanistan declared the enemies of Afghanistan to be the enemies of Pakistan and the he would not permit Pakistani territory to be used, we need to see this translated into program of action, where sanctuary is denied and where material support and others it’s an extensive program and we are in good discussion.

The second is peace between the Afghan government and those who disagree with us politically, every afghan must be included but when they declare war, they must know that there is no court. You cannot kill our children and expect us to hold flowers, what we arrived at negotiation table, will be an enduring peace, this is a war of positioning, it’s not a war of a legitimacy, they want the position to seek better advantages, for God sake, are our children lives our women wellbeing our future worth positioning, if it’s  going to be positioning we will deny your position, because we are seeking peace as a principle not as a tactics, it’s an enduring thing and it needs to be matched. Our security layered,  our approach to security is layered first we have 32000 especial forces that are among the very best in the world, so if people think that Kabul is going to collapse or our major cities are going to collapse, or the state structure is collapse minister Ulomi and his colleagues have news for you. No, this is not possible, we are enduring the sacrifices but we are fighting. Second we have 6 army corps commands, now matched with 6 zones of the police under that national police and a variety and finally local police force.

There will be like old wars some movement back and forth, but I would like to seek your focus is the big picture And then ask Gen. Campbel, where the resources of the armed opposition are matched or not, yes we do need more air support, I have been very clear about that but this is a war, where we can be confident of not collapsing and consolidate. Our armed forces have taken the initiatives and simultaneously are fighting some surprises, but so far keep our fingers crossed, so good, I would like at this movement, to express again gratitude for RSM (Resolute Support Mission)and for the stability and flexibility of all of you regarding 2015.

We have lost 8 months during 2014 where crucial decisions regarding transition could not be made, because his Excellency President Karzai had made clear that he would not sign the BSA and the status of forces agreement that were essential to planning, we have made up for those 8 months that is taken immense efforts, and Gen Campbell and his team really need to be congratulated for the immense work that they have done with us, but I would like to particular thank the leadership of our arm forces.

I am pleased to announce that Mr. Stanikzai will be our next minister of defense, so we will have the defense team in place, with a new chief of army staff and a first vice minister of the ministry of defense. Our crucial issue, regarding air support is simple, as certain time will say it might and we are working on it.

Let me turn to political concerns, and I will make just four points. First, overcoming the past, the afghan political elite during the last 2 hundred years has been the sources of instability in this country, we could not get ourselves to consensus. Our quarrels destroyed the opportunities for our people because there were no coherence, the national unity government is an answer to it, it’s an enduring phenomena, it is not accidental, it is not imposed, I am very pleased with my working relationship with his HE Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, we see eye to eye, but building consensus requires careful balance.

Second, confidence in the future- the cabinet of Afghanistan marks as social transformation, a phenomenal change in political outlook in a generational change. Two years ago most Afghans would have thought that this type of cabinet would be inconceivable, please have discussion with the cabinet members, we have our leaders who are going to lead this nation, they are not just manger, they are leaders, because they will lead to, but most significantly the cabinet is becoming a body a decision making body and it has arrived its mechanism of working. Next week the first 100 days plan of action, from the cabinet is going to be launched. Every minister would have one hour to address the nation, and there would be a tight accountability framework.

After the first 100 day action plan we are going to pause for a month to take a look and then launch our second 100 day action plan. I want to congratulate my colleagues in the cabinet for the immense discipline and creativity that they have brought. My only fear is that they may promise too much, so my request to them now – and this would be something quite unusual from somebody like me: please promise half and deliver twice, not the other way around, as Mr. Rabbani did among others as well as Mr. Uloomi [laughter].

Thirdly, constitutionalism-this is key to us. What differentiates Afghanistan of 2015 from Afghanistan of 1842 or 1880 or 1992 is that now we have the domestic national rules of the game in place. It is the constitution. The succession from President Karzai to myself is an immense tribute to the Afghan citizens. The rights and obligations of citizenship are embodied in the constitution so what is crystal (clear) is that we are not building personal rule. It is institutions of the state according to rule of law and again the national unity government, which was not or the phenomenon about which the constitution was silent, shows our creativity within the rule of law, within the constitutional structure.

Lastly, inheritance and legacy – accountability and transparency of costs; I just give you one example: there was a fuel contract for the Ministry of Defense worth approximately one billion dollars and there was allegation of one hundred million dollars difference between two prices. We investigated it. And of course we are punishing the culprits, we are dealing with them. But it brought the war to a halt, so we had to devise measures that were 50 % good on accountability but which allowed us to continue. And second reform has a lot of costs but its advantages are borne in the medium to long term while the status quo is a lot of appearance.

There is a cartoon; it says that I declared that there is no free lunch and half of the government walked out. Yes, the period of free lunch is over but you need to understand that there would be a lot of disquiet and we need to deal with this. This is an inevitable part of the reform process because when we say the word reform we think that it is just an overall positive phenomenon not for those entrenched stakeholders; people who have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars; people who have seized 10s of 1000s of hectares of land or are engaged in smuggling narcotics etc reform is a sign of declaration of war. We need to understand this. We need your support in the balancing between continuity and change. Because of this, I would like to turn to sequencing and sustaining of reforms.

First, where we have succeeded at the first layer of governance is at the central level. The cabinet is now led by creative and committed individuals but the Ministries are not reorganized. The Ministries are legacies from Othman empire which we were never apart; today’s legacy is coming. One of our most significant things  in the cabinet every day is to devote at least one hour to rule making; reexamination of  all the laws and relationships  to remove duplications between ministries as at least 40 % of the dysfunctionality of the government is because of overlapping authorities.

Then, we are now tackling sub-national governance. A new generation of governors is being appointed. Appointing a governor is a much more difficult task than appointing a Minister. And this is crucial but the second 100 days we are going to focus on bringing cabinet and the governors together to articulate joint programs so that it can truly become national in scope but provincial governance has immense problems the first of which will shock you is that a province has no  legal definition neither does a district. The provincial governor is a direct representative of the president; every head of the department is a representative of a ministry. There is no accountability from the department heads to the governor or vice versa; none of our provinces has a budge; it is all centralized. There are fundamental changes in national governance that will take place which is important.

The second area which is crucial is rule of law and justice. I will have the rare honor to appoint five judges of the Supreme Court- two this year and three next year. I have interviewed every single head of provincial courts, all 34 of them and next week I will be turning after launching of 100 day plan to interview all the key justices in Kabul. Over 600 prosecutors are graduates of high school and cannot do elementary submission of cases. There was a consensus from all the 34 judges that 60% to 90 % of submissions by prosecutors didn’t meet the law. This is one of fundamental areas of our weakness and corruption in the justice sector is a driver of conflict. But over all of this is going to require as much focus and attention as we had to do on the cabinet and that is what we are committed to.

Thirdly, electoral reform and parliament elections and then presidential elections. This is a must; we have a consensus on it. Technically, we can be fairly certain that the 2019 president election would meet all the critical requirements of accountability, transparency from technology to rules and others.

Parliamentary elections are a very difficult challenge because of legacy. We don’t have electoral rules despite your generous expenditure of 1 billion dollars; this has not resulted in a sustainable system. Multiple voting cards have been issued etc , etc. That is key to get right next to conducting the war. It is extremely important that we reach consensus on what constitutes a feasible and credible parliamentary elections and then a breakthrough from the past, from then on and again we invite your attention and support.

Lastly, let me turn to market building. This phrase should not come as a shock. The market is not a natural phenomenon; what passes for a market in England, in the UK will be unrecognizable in Germany and vice versa. So there are models of the market and our tragedy has been that in the last 13 years we have not focused on a model that suits us and that is our crucial challenge now. Our vision is to become an Asian Roundabout: China’s, India’s, East Asia’s, West Asia’s and Central Asia’s growth provides us a set of opportunities that are unprecedented for any country in conflict. And what we have focused on and that is our challenge where we seek again your partnership; we cannot just design a national economy; it must simultaneously focus on the regional and global dimensions; without that we will not have the prosperity that we seek. We will be, God willing, the largest producer of copper in the world, the largest producer of iron in the world, one of the most significant players in the gold market; we have 14 of the 17 rare earth materials etc, I can go on, but there are two stories: In 60 years Congo’s GDP has increased by 1 billion; Singapore’s GDP, I think, has increased 200 fold; so natural resources are both an opportunity and a curse but this is extremely important so that we can focus.

Second, self-reliance, Mr. Hakimi will speak more about this, but the key to us in terms of our contract with our citizens and with you the international community is to create a sustainable fiscal basis for the state. We are meeting our revenue targets despite the difficulties and we are determined to expand them in shifts; key now is to grasp and harness our potential; just look at one example; Afghanistan can generate at least 26,000 megawatts of electricity from our rivers. Power generation is not an area of dispute because the new system of run of the river avoids any international disputes; all the water that is taken is put back. Yet the master-plan that was drawn for us by consultants for the first five years recommended importing electricity for our urban centers rather than generating it.

This is getting the cart and the horse backward. Afghanistan must become a producer and it must harness this potential to be able to demonstrate the potential. I approved CASA 1000 in my first week in office and I am delighted that it is moving but we need a lot more cooperation particularly in terms of generation. Utilizing government purchasing power for building market efficiencies is key for us. The government purchase constitutes 16 to 18 percent of the GDP; it has been totally washed away by corruption and lack of focus; we must bring government expenditure and link it to the pockets of the people. We have had more meetings on wheat as a national priority than in the last 36 years combined.

Our import bills are a scandal; we import 2 billion dollars of meat and milk products and one billion of wheat; this country, I will say, barely be able to sustain so it is extremely important to do this and then leadership is not about vision; it is about really dealing with the boring; Dr. Abdullah and I have the honor that every Saturday, we sit for 3 to 5 hours reviewing every single contract as part of the national procurement board. In 6 weeks, we have saved over 20 million directly and 100s of millions of dollars indirectly; leadership needs to connect to the boring, to the routine, to the detailed so that systems can be created.

Let me conclude first again with a thank you but with some voices: In Yahyakheil, our children were playing volleyball; Yakheil is in Paktika. I went to condole a man who had lost 7 members of his family; he got up and said two things; one, we have an iron will; let it not be confused we will never bend to force or to terror; just give us the very primary means of defending ourselves and we will defend this land. Second, he said, we want enduring peace, the peace of the pen, the peace where our children are educated, where they become …Paktika has immense natural potential including vast fields of gas… to lead those so not that they are workers but they are leaders and managers.

Istiqlal school is just a stone’s throw away from you. Our children’s orchestra composed of orphaned children was performing a play against the horrors of war and a suicide bomber blew up some of the people including a German citizen for whom I have expressed our condolences, who just needed a break from his very demanding job at the ministry of mining. These children are performing; their leader was a professor, an Australian. He came back and despite the fact that he is wounded he is not leaving to go back to his professorship in Australia. He is proud to lead this orchestra because those children are the voice of the future and the hope of the future. The discourse of rights is becoming a global right; you know we talk about all kinds of rights; we Afghans want to simplify it; we want to be able to breathe; we want to be able to move and we want to plan the future. Thank you for your partnership; thank you for your commitment and thank you for your sacrifices.

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The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna hosts a breakfast meeting of the Women Ambassadors in Wien

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Vienna, 20.05.2015

This morning, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan, in conjunction with the Permanent Missions of Turkey, Pakistan and the European Union, hosted a breakfast meeting of the Women Ambassadors in Wien (WAW) on the occasion of the Vienna visit of H.E. Dilbar Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan. The meeting was attended by a delegation of women from different bodies of the Afghan government, as well as many Vienna-based Permanent Representatives.

H.E. Ambassador Erfani opened the meeting by reaffirming the National Unity Government of Afghanistan’s commitment to the empowerment of women, and lauded the Women Ambassadors in Wien for their good work in Vienna. The Ambassador further welcomed the Minister and her delegation, stating that he looked forward to many productive meetings and events. He then opened the floor to Ms. Nazari who spoke on the role of women in Afghanistan and highlighted the progress being made in the area of women’s affairs.

 

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H.E. Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani addresses NATO meeting of Foreign Ministers

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Vienna, 14.05.2015

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu hosts a meeting of Foreign Ministers of NATO countries and NATO partners in Antalya, Turkey, on 13 and 14 of May, under the chairmanship of NATO Secretary General, H.E. Jens Stoltenberg. The Foreign Minister of Afghanistan was also invited to attend and delivered a statement.
Yesterday, NATO Foreign Ministers decided to maintain a presence in Afghanistan after the end of the Resolute Support Mission. Mr. Stoltenberg stated that “our aim will be to advise and instruct the Afghan security institutions, to help them become self-sufficient, and to build on what we have achieved so far, as part of the broader international effort.”
Foreign Minister Rabbani in his address to NATO welcomed the commitment shown by the alliance towards Afghanistan and stated that: “We received assurance from all the NATO members that their support will continue to enhance the capability of the Afghan national security forces. In the coming years, they will be standing by the Afghan people”.
General John Campbell, Commander of Resolute Support Mission, and representatives from the United Nations, the European Union, Japan, and South Korea also participated.
Foreign Minister Rabbani also met NATO Secretary General Mr. Stoltenberg and held bilateral meetings with other Foreign Ministers at the margins of the conference to discuss in detail prospects of the future cooperation.
ISAF was established by UNSCR 2001 and concluded in December 2014, making the security transition to the Resolute Support Mission.

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President of Croatia, H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, visits Afghanistan

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Vienna, 14.05.2015

On May 10, both H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President, and H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive, met with Croatian President H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović who was in Kabul with a high level delegation, discussing – inter alia – issues such as economy, health, social and cultural affairs, as well as further expansion of bilateral relations.

President Ghani highlighted Croatian cooperation toward peace and development in Afghanistan, and supporting Afghan security forces under the Resolute Support Mission. 50% of Croatian international assistance has been allocated to Afghanistan, President Ghani stated.

The Croatian President in her remarks called Afghanistan her second home, and commending the sacrifices of Afghan security forces and expressed her hope that these sacrifices will contribute to a prosperous and developed Afghanistan.

Speaking on the friendly and historic relations between Croatia and Afghanistan, President Grabar-Kitarović stated that the Comprehensive Long-term Partnership Agreement could be signed between the two countries in the near future.

Expressing full commitment to a secure, stable, prosperous and unified Afghanistan and reiterating the pledges made in Tokyo Conference, the Croatian President said that her country will continue supporting Afghanistan within the framework of the Resolute Support Mission, but also in the fields of girls and women education, vocational opportunities for women, and health.

 

The Croatian President also met with Afghanistan’s Chief Executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who lauded the role of the Croatian troops in NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. H.E. the Chief Executive also stated that the National Unity Government is committed to use all available opportunities and to further strengthen the ties with the international allies of Afghanistan.

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna also covers matters related to Croatia and enjoys excellent relations with Croatian government bodies and institutions.

 

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H.E. Ambassador Erfani invited to present Afghanistan’s prospects for the Decade of Transformation at the Albertina Rotary Club

 

 

 

 

Vienna, 06.05.2015

Today Ambassador Erfani was invited by the Albertina Rotary Club, an international service group, to give a presentation on Afghanistan. Speaking to a big number of Vienna based members the Ambassador expressed his appreciation for having the opportunity to talk at the occasion. He provided a brief background picture on the peaceful and also the wartime history of Afghanistan, and then focused on Afghanistan’s transition since 2002 and Afghanistan’s vision for a democratic future through the new Decade of Transformation (2015-2024).
Highlighting the improvements made since 2002, the Ambassador spoke of the areas in which progress has been made in the country, including in the areas of education, women’s participation, civil society, media, communication, institutions, security, foreign policy, infrastructure, and legislations. He pointed to these improvements as important signs of success for Afghanistan’s ongoing Decade of Transformation. The Ambassador further emphasized Afghanistan’s commitment, as well as that of its international partners, to consolidate on the current progress in response to the remaining and emerging challenges for a stable and prospering Afghanistan.
The Ambassador also engaged with the participants in an open discussion and responded to questions raised. He briefed the participants about the short, medium and long term economic visions of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan to reclaim the historic geographic role of Afghanistan, as a connecting bridge between Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, to enhancing trade, transit and investment opportunities. He called on the Rotary Club to continue their good work: “I can assure you that there are plenty of opportunities in the emerging market and economy of Afghanistan. At the same time, we still need the support of our international partners to build our capacities and implement our national priority programs (NPPs).”
Responding to a question from the audience about possible seizure of power of Daesh (“Islamic State”) terrorist group in Afghanistan, Ambassador Erfani acknowledged that the ongoing one year has been a difficult year for Afghanistan: “The drawdown of international forces, the completion of security transition to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), Presidential and Provincial Councils elections and the first democratic transfer of power and the country. At the same time, the strong determination of the Afghan people for democracy and freedom through their participation in the last year’s elections, the visions and commitments of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan and the excellent performance of the capable Afghan National Security Forces against terrorists and enemies of the Afghan people, provide a guarantee that there is no chance for terrorist victory in Afghanistan, and we are confident that we will succeed in our goal for a stable and democratic Afghanistan, which is equally important for the regional and international peace and stability.”
Rotary International was formed in 1905 with the service-oriented aim of applying leadership and expertise to social issues to create lasting change. The club is made up of 1.2 million members, all working to improve their communities and the world.

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The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan is seeking new interns!

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan is now seeking interns for the late summer of 2015. Tasks and responsibilities of the position include: active participation in a large variety of formal and informal meetings (as required) and consultations at the international organizations of the UN and OSCE, working groups, seminars and conferences, to be followed by debriefing/reporting; monitoring of developments in both Austria and Afghanistan; assistance with the preparation for meetings, visits and conferences/seminars (background information, file preparation/brief, networking); drafting of notes and reports for the Embassy as well as the Afghan Foreign Ministry, Afghan authorities and other relevant actors.

Applicants should be fluent in English, enrolled in a relevant University degree program (international relations, security issues, international economics, law, political sciences, or related subjects) and under 30 years of age. Further desired qualifications included: experience in drafting reports, with emphasis on excellent synthesis capabilities and an eye for practical aspects; previous internship experience with international institutions would be an asset; proven analytical skills, team spirit and flexibility also great assets; other languages are highly valued (Farsi, Pashtu and/or German) ;Microsoft Office and other IT software; high-level of motivation and dedication.

The 3 month internship is full time and unpaid. No benefits, compensation, or guarantee of future employment are associated with this internship. The deadline for applications is June 5, 2015.

Interested students should submit a CV and letter of motivation to embassy@afghanistan-vienna.org

H.E. Ambassador Erfani briefs the international community in Vienna on Afghanistan’s counterterrorism achievements

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Vienna, 22.04.2015

Today the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan held a roundtable entitled “Briefing on the Joint Plan of Action 2014 – 2016 for the Implementation of Technical Assistance Activities to Support the Efforts of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the area of Preventing and Countering Terrorism” at the Vienna International Center, co-organized with the UNODC.  Ambassador Ayoob Erfani sat on the panel alongside Mr. Trevor Michael Rajah, Chief of the Terrorism Prevention Branch, and Ms. Dolgor Solongo, Officer in Charge of Implementation Support Section I. Opening the briefing, the Ambassador gave a talk on counterterrorism efforts and achievements in Afghanistan, as well as essential future steps for the country.

Highlighting the importance of combatting the global challenge of terrorism, Ambassador Erfani praised the international community for its support in Afghanistan. Speaking systemically, he pointed out the progress made on national, regional and international levels. With important legislative and institutional achievements made in Afghanistan, strong regional efforts via the Heart of Asia/Istanbul Process, and accession to all relevant conventions and mechanisms, the country is working hard to improve the safety and security situation for the sake of its citizens.

Pointing to the many challenges ahead, the Ambassador commented on the importance of pursuing a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach in combatting terrorism by addressing relevant socio-economic factors, including the impact of the narcotics trade on funding terrorist activity and the role which women have to play in this arena. The Ambassador expressed the National Unity Government of Afghanistan’s commitment to addressing all the challenges ahead and the support of the Afghan people for these efforts.

Ambassador Erfani was followed by Mr. Trevor Michael Rajah who commented on the achievements of the Joint Plan of Action and stated UNODC’s commitment to continuing to assist Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism. Concluding the presentations, Ms. Dolgor Solongo presented Ambassador Erfani with completed translations of the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations into Dari and Pashto.

In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Erfani thanked the friends and partners of Afghanistan in the audience, and called on the continued support of the international community going forward.

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