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On the occasion of Nowruz

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Message on the Occasion of the 2015 International Women’s Day

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna congratulates all women on the occasion of the 2015 International Women’s Day.

In Afghanistan, this is a day to celebrate what has been achieved since the collapse of the brutal regime of the Taliban thirteen years ago, but it is also a day for mature and sober reflection. Women always suffer the most during wars and post-conflict periods. Work to improve the situation of women in Afghanistan is in progress, but we accept there is much more to do. The newly formed National Unity Government of Afghanistan pledges to fully implement gender equality in the country, as warranted by our Constitution, and to end gender-based violence. The challenges are real and changes must be profound. And there will be no backing down. Women already play important roles in Afghanistan’s media, civil society and law-making, with 24% of parliamentary seats reserved for women. Furthermore, more than 2.5 million girls are enrolled in our schools. The Government is dedicated to making gender equality an integral part in all our policies. 2015 also marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, an urgent reminder to ensure effective female political participation and to advance empowerment of women for the post-2015 development agenda.

In our actions to empower the women of Afghanistan, we are sustained by the knowledge that a new generation of Afghan women knows that in claiming their equal rights, they are acting within a modern world where those ideals are becoming imperative. With the beginning of Afghanistan’s Decade of Transformation 2015-2024, we have entered a new era, and we are committed to a new agenda, reshaping our country and our status in the region and in the world. In order to equip Afghanistan for its future, we must realize full and equal participation of our women in all spheres of society. As our women grow in confidence, so Afghanistan grows in confidence. Our women are the best hope for peace, stability and development in our Country.

Afghans Lost in Tragic Avalanche

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The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna wishes to express its profound sorrow and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of the over 300 Afghans lost or injured in the avalanches triggered by severe blizzards in several of Afghanistan’s provinces, among them Panjshir, Badakhshan, Baghlan and Faryab.

In a meeting of the Council of Ministers headed by Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah this morning, all government agencies have been instructed to redouble their efforts to help those affected in order to overcome the crisis. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, in a televised address, stated that there is a need for massive assistance, announced the opening of an international relief fund, and announced three days of national mourning.

Our hearts go out to all those who been affected by this natural catastrophe. May God rest the souls of those lost in peace and give strength to their family and friends to bear this huge loss.

.إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

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Transcript of Speech by H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the official reception, hosting the foreign ambassadors based in Kabul

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February 24, 2015
Kabul, Afghanistan

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

 

Distinguished Ambassadors,

Members of the Diplomatic Community,

Friends and Colleagues,

It is my distinct pleasure to warmly welcome you all to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this evening.

Tonight’s gathering brings together many distinguished Ambassadors and representatives of both partner countries and organizations with whom we share a common purpose:  a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan.

Thank you for being here tonight!

I do not want to make this too formal, as this reception is an opportunity for all of us to relax and reconnect, but there are a few points that I would like to share briefly about where we are now, and where we are heading, particularly regarding Afghanistan’s foreign policy, as we begin the Decade of Transformation.

A year ago, there were open questions about whether Afghanistan would complete its security and political transitions without being further destabilized.

I think we all can agree that Afghanistan did weather some difficult storms in this period – most notably, the challenges associated with our difficult, but ultimately successful political transition.

Our people demonstrated patience and fortitude, and came together, in a spirit of unity, to protect and promote our national interests which resulted in the formation of the National Unity Government offering a strong foundation to build on our past progress and realize our future goals.

The successful completion of security transition is another milestone putting the Afghan National Security Forces in the lead to provide security across the country.

Although emerging from the long electoral process has made Afghan political forces more resilient, a great deal of work remains for the National Unity Government.

Restoring confidence in governance, not only with Afghans but our international partners as well; applying lessons learned from the elections to institutional reforms, so that the shortcomings of the past never happen again; enhancing the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces; and implementing effective economic policies for the country towards becoming more self-reliant are the key focus of our work in the coming months.

Beyond this, the Transformation Decade also brings with it a new phase in Afghanistan’s foreign policy, focused particularly on economic development.  A key aspect of this is regional cooperation.

President Ghani, CEO Dr. Abdullah, and I recognize the importance of our relationship with our immediate and extended neighbors and allies as defined within the five circles of Afghanistan’s foreign policy.

We endow trust in, and goodwill to our relationships with all our neighbors, regional and international partners.

We will do our utmost to enhance our friendly and effective cooperation without letting our relationship with one country overshadow our relationship with others.

We are ready to explore avenues of cooperation that would bear desired outcomes collectively while respecting our national interests.

In this regard, the most tangible progress we have made since the formation of the National Unity Government is in the area of regional diplomacy and global outreach.

This is partly a result of the clarity of vision and policy that the leadership of the National Unity Government, and President Ghani in particular, has forged in the past few months.

The core message of this new policy is consistent and straightforward:

 

  • Afghan people demand peace and stability,
  • Afghanistan is gradually, but surely realizing its role in regional and international political, security and economic spheres,
  • Finally, Afghanistan is working to enhance its role and position as a responsible member of the international community,

As we set out to achieve these objectives, we will need regional and international assistance to address the challenges we face and to fully embrace and utilize existing and emerging opportunities.

Taking this opportunity, I wish to express our gratitude to all our regional and international partners for the support they have provided to Afghanistan over the past 13 years.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan’s peace and stability have direct impact on the region and beyond and the challenges we face cannot be confined to our borders nor can they be insulated or pushed into others’ backyards.

Terrorism, violent extremism, drug trafficking and other forms of organized crimes as well as mass human migration, are serious threats to regional stability and international order.

Overcoming these threats demand a unified and integrated response through concerted efforts and effective collaboration at both regional and international levels.

We are hopeful in being able to increase the level of regional cooperation to combat these challenges, which is vital to our common success.

Dear Friends,

There are opportunities in this region as well.  Trade, transit, communications and energy interdependence are all opportunities which can ensure the interests of all countries in the region with the implementation of effective economic policies.

Our location as a land-bridge between major economic powers offers an excellent opportunity for economic integration at both regional and international levels.

Our clarity in policy and vigorous diplomatic outreach has been well-received in the region and has helped our neighbors shape their long-term vision for partnership with Afghanistan more precisely.

The emerging regional pivot toward Afghanistan is an important outcome that involves two key interrelated elements:

First: Increased regional interest, participation and support to political, economic and security processes in Afghanistan; and

Second: The need for consensus to forge a more unified regional position in support of these processes.

One area where this consensus is beginning to take shape is,  support to advance our peace and reconciliation efforts, as the priority has been highlighted in various international and regional conferences, including those held in Brussels, London, and Beijing.

In this respect, we are in the process of boosting our engagement with a number of neighboring countries and other partners to achieve real and substantial progress.

We are also inspired by the increased interest of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation and its member-states, in support of the Afghan led and owned peace process.

The OIC and its member-states can play an important role in the process, and its active engagement can have a significant impact given the instrumental misuse of Islamic teachings by terror groups and other insurgents.

With government’s strong will particularly through the leadership of the National Unity Government, along with the changing dynamics within the region, the Islamic World, and the long standing support of the United States and other members of the international community, the prospects for peace and stability in Afghanistan grows stronger.

But reaching full fruition in the process will continue to require patience and collaboration of all our regional and international partners.

We are hopeful that the coming months will bring positive outcomes for Afghanistan and the wider region through the continuation of a multi-lateral diplomacy with the purpose of strengthening regional processes and sustainable international support.

In this regard, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs will operate as proactively as possible, but we need your help.

We hope you will raise with my office any outstanding issues you may have so we can address them as soon as possible, and I am confident that for the sake of close cooperation, you would coordinate outreach and engagements through the Ministry.

And with that I would like to thank you all again for accepting our invitation and coming to this reception tonight.

Ambassador Haron Amin’s Untimely Passing

150px-Haron_Amin,_Spokesman_Northern_Allience,_AfghanistanThe Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna wishes to express its profound sorrow and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and all colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan on the untimely passing of Ambassador Haron Amin, former Afghan Ambassador to Japan and one of the most prominent and capable Afghan diplomats, known internationally for his tireless efforts towards peace and development in Afghanistan and beyond. He will be always remembered by all his colleagues who knew him and worked with him throughout the difficulties of Afghanistan’s history.

During this time of grief, our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May God rest his soul in peace and give strength to his family, friends and colleagues to bear this huge loss.

.إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

Transcript of Statement by President Ghani at 51st Munich Security Conference

February 8, 2015

Munich, Germany

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Ambassador,

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

I am the elected President of a 99.9% Muslim country, a country where 38% of the electorate were women, where in order to participate, people had to face cutting  of their fingers. I bring, first, couple of stories to you and then connect to the themes of the Conference.

On June, 2014 , a man with a tractor who would not allow his woman to get out of his house for 40 years,  took forty trips on a tractor to get the women to vote , because legitimacy in my country now comes from the ballot.

On December 16th, 2014, our children playing volleyball were massacred in cold blood and when I called their parents, they told me they have the resolve of steel to stand up to the threats of terror, that they want peace, a peace to enable their children to go to school and become like me, pleased with the word, firmly anchored in our great civilization, and committed to equal rights.

And two weeks ago, we had 4000 Ulemma, these are religious scholars, uniformly they supported the Afghan national army and endorsed our security compact with the United States and our Status of Force Agreement with NATO.

We, ladies and gentlemen, speak for true Islam, for the believes of people and for the aspirations of the future generations. Daesh [ISIL], al-Qaida and the rest of the networks are the aberrations and we must have the courage to be able to speak for the absolute majority,  but in order to speak for them, we must deliver but before that, let me first, Ambassador Ischinger, thank you and thank the members of NATO-ISAF, particularly the United States, European colleagues and others.

Over four thousand of your citizens, men and women, lost their lives in our country, close to a million people served in rotations, we honored that sacrifice and that sacrifice is not going  to be in vain, the Resolute Support Mission that began on January 1, 2015 has been approved by the majority of the two Houses of the Parliament of Afghanistan and it’s a platform for future cooperation.

Together, there is substantial amount that we can do, but what is the nature of the threat?  I would like to speak of the ecology of terror, terror has become a system in a distinctive ecology.  And fortunately, Afghanistan where our successes have made us not be headlines, because when will the media report on a success,  is still the focal point of the media of this ecology.

Pakistan’s operations in North and South Waziristan, have had  a displacement effect, where the center of gravity is shifted to Afghanistan. Daesh [ISIL] is fast moving to stage four of its classic pattern, namely organizing, orienting, deciding and acting. The threat of this ecology is global but Afghanistan is the meeting ground of this global ecology, lest we forget this and take our eyes elsewhere, there will be consequences.

This is not to say that we are not committed , the world does not owe us, we must first take the responsibility to reorganize and we are. The reform programs that we have embarked on are substantial, focused, and their key goal is to honor the electorate. In terms of the idea, we have done what has been unprecedented, namely a victor in an election not claiming the prize, but forming a government of national unity so that all the electorate would be represented. Political consensus is the first basis of moving forward and we are moving forward.

Second, we have engaged the region. Our active diplomacy has brought a series of trilateral relationship, the most significant of which has been China, United States and Afghanistan. Equally, our engagement with Pakistan has been intense, comprehensive and hopefully in quiet. We do not make announcements, we look for outcomes. And we are hopeful that there will be outcomes that will make results that will be game changers in our part of the world. We have engaged our Central Asian neighbors, and soon we will have witnessed the birth of the Lapis lazuli route, a route that would connect Afghanistan to Europe via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

We have engaged all members of five circles of our foreign policy, and here particularly again I would like to thank the United States and the framework nations of Germany, Italy, Turkey, UK and other members who are contributing to the Resolute Support Mission.

But on the ecology of terror, our focus is country by country rather than on  understanding the ecological system. Our response system is slow, because we really don’t understand networks. We take the threats individually rather than systemically. And it is very important not to isolate the events from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya from what is unfolding in Afghanistan and South Asia. Because the threats from the network perspective are becoming stronger, the state response is, unfortunately, weaker.

I am glad to see the concept of hybrid warfare make it into Munich Security Conference’s vocabulary. We have suffered from this practice, so I’d like to call attention to one feature that is not part of the vocabulary yet, “criminality”. Deep networks of criminality are a driver of conflict. Most of the time when we focus on peace, we focus on the ideologues, on the discourse, on formation of networks of discursive understanding.

The key question is who finances the conflict and who benefits from it? It is not that the discourse discursive part is unimportant, but without understanding the deep roots of financing. The global criminal economy is worth 1.7 trillion a year, and the criminalization of part of Afghanistan’s economy is certainly among the top 20 contributors to this.

So, in terms of response, we need compacts for stability and prosperity and this must address four levels; one is at the national level. What enables terrorism to thrive and instability to prevail, is when the citizen is not in the center stage. The Afghan citizen does not live in the 16th century, 18th or 19th. She lives in the 21st century and aspirations of the 21st century. Her participation in the election must be honored by honoring the election and the democratic system and not dismissing.

Of course, it is taking a long time for one of the poorest countries on earth to become fully stable, but the intention in the engagement of the citizen must be taken.

Second, regional – in the region we have had a practice, where states, if provided sanctuary to non-state actors, and or where they have sponsored, where states have sponsored non-state actors deliberately to undermine the security of a neighbor. I hope that it becomes clear that those days are over.

Third, the Islamic level – there is a struggle for the soul of Islam, for who speaks for this great civilization, and we must not remain silent. Silence is no longer an option in face of the barbarity of killing the Jordanian soldier or the Japanese hostage or others.

And fourth is global – our global institutions are slow. They are product of mid 20th century, geared to response to conditions of the  20th century. Without a global architecture that responds to the conditions of 2015, we will always be not two steps behind, Mr. Alisa but ten steps behind. So we do hope that at the global level, we can reorient.

But my last message, and thank you for the opportunity, is one of hope. We will overcome all these difficulties, because Afghans have a unique space in Islamic history. No one in the 20th century has paid a higher price, sacrificed as much, and suffered as much for defending our faith against the Soviet invasion for standing for what is right, for aspiring to generate and contribute to order.

Based on that record, now the people of Afghanistan are ready, not to just open a new page, but to begin a new book, a book of cooperation, understanding and engagement. Our location, our water resources, our mineral resources, our entrepreneurial energies, all allow us to hope for a different day.

We hope that you will remain engaged, and committed and that we all together can participate in inclusive global order where we will all benefit.

Thank you!

Embassy Internship Program – recruiting now!

Dear friends,

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan is currently looking for new interns.

To apply, please send your CV and motivation letter to embassy@afghanistan-vienna.org.

In order to qualify for the position, you must be enrolled in tertiary education at a University and be under 30 years of age.

The internship is 3 months, full time and unpaid.

Fluency in English is required, due to our work with the international organisations in Vienna.

We look forward to hearing from you.

The Embassy team

Afghan Ministers sworn in

National Unity Government’s Eight Cabinet Ministers Sworn in

Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, administered an oath to eight cabinet ministers who recently won confidence vote from the Lower House.

 

Afghan Cabinet Ministers sworn in.

Afghan Cabinet Ministers sworn in.

 

During an official ceremony that took place at Presidential Palace where the Government Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, 2nd Vice-President Mohammad Sarwar Danesh, President’s Special Representative on Reforms and Good Governance Ahmad Zia Masoud, 1st Deputy Chief Executive Engineer Mohammad Khan and 2nd Deputy Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq were present, Salahuddin Rabbani Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eklil Hakimi Minister of Finance, Noorulhaq Ulomi Minister of Interior Affairs, Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz Minister of Public Health, Dawood Shah Saba Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Faiz Mohammad Osmani Minister of Haj and Religious Affairs, Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi Minister of Refugees and Repatriations, and Engineer Nasir Ahmad Durani Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, took an oath of loyalty.

 

The ministers of National Unity Government swore to protect the Holy religion of Islam, respect the Constitution and other laws of Afghanistan, safeguard the rights of citizens as well as independence, territorial integrity and the national unity of the people of Afghanistan, and, in all deeds consider the Almighty’s presence, and perform their entrusted duties honestly.

After the swear-in-ceremony, President Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah congratulated the cabinet ministers and wished them success to serve the people of Afghanistan.

Afghan Parliament votes on Cabinet

The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) gave a vote of confidence for 18 ministerial nominees and the National Directorate Security (NDS) nominee on Wednesday.

Out of 243 votes cast, each ministerial nominee must attain 122 votes in favor of them to become minister.

The results are as follows:

NDS nominee Rahmatullah Nabil won the Parliament confidence vote with 154 votes, 58 against, 22 ballots blank, and nine invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Defense Sher Mohammad Karimi rejected with 112 votes, 96 votes in favor, 26 blank, and seven invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani won with 151 votes, 70 against, 12 blank, and nine invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Interior Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Ulumi won with 131 votes, 91 against, 15 blank, and six invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Economy Sardar Mohammad Rahman Oghli rejected with 104 votes, 103 in favor, 27 blank, and nine invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Finance Eklil Hakimi won with 128 votes, 88 against, 21 blank, and eight invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Public Health Ferozuddin Feroz won with 170 votes, 54 against, 12 blank, and four invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Higher Education Khatera Afghan rejected with 146 votes, 71 in favor, 21 blank, and three invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Education Mohammad Gul Zalmai Younusi rejected with 123 votes, 90 in favor, 20 blank, and nine invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Barna Karimi rejected with 97 votes, 115 in favor, 26 blank, and five invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Public Works Abbas Basir rejected by 131 votes, 85 in favor, 19 blank, and eight invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi won with 134 votes, 87 against, 17 blank, and five invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Mines Daud Shah Saba won with 146 votes, 74 against, 13 blank, 10 invalid.

Afghanistan signs strategic partnership charter with UAE

By Khaama Press

The government of Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership charter with the United Arab Emirates during President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s visit.

President Ghani accompanied by a delegation of high level government officials on Tuesday left for United Arab Emirates on a two-day state visit.

Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar signed the strategic partnership charter with UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash in the presence of UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

The two nations will further boost bilateral ties and enhance joint cooperation in various fields with the signing of the strategic partnershp charter.

President Ghani and Shaikh Mohammed discussed the latest regional and international political, security and economic developments.

Shaikh Mohammad has also promised to assist Afghanistan in various sectors to achieve growth, prosperity and stability by sharing UAE’s expertise and development experience