Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Afghanistan Values its Partnership with the United States | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Some nine years ago, terrorists killed thousands of civilians, and destroyed prominent symbols indicating US progress and prosperity. Before that, the same terrorists detained Afghan hostages, and killed and tortured our people for years.

These atrocious circumstances have led to a partnership between our two countries. As is the case with any real partnership, this has not been easy. We have had our share of disagreement over some issues and stances. What has kept us together is a fundamental strategic vision related to Afghanistan, as peace and stability in Afghanistan guarantees the security of both the Afghan and US peoples. The many sacrifices offered by the Afghan and US peoples have born fruit in the form of great achievements. We express our thanks for the US contributions, and we always will remember your insistence on standing by us. Now, during my visit to Washington this week, I hope to convey sincere condolences to the families of those who died in Afghanistan.

When I started my second term as president, I presented a conception of the leadership of the Afghan State and of sovereignty, a comprehensive conception of the provision of security, government, justice, education, health, and economic opportunities. I know that President Obama has the same conception. Our joint success in fighting terrorism and improving the security situation depends on building institutions to enable the state to convey the necessary services to its people and provide them with protection.

We have the courage and the desire to assume the responsibility for providing security and managing the government in Afghanistan. In order to achieve this, it is important to organize the Afghan security forces into institutions, and equip them with the sustainable necessary tools. The international community is doing this, and the United States is undertaking the biggest role in this process. Nevertheless there is a need for more aid.

As I said in my inauguration address in November, and again at London conference in January, I place good government and the uprooting of corruption at the top of my government priorities. Recently we have achieved methodological progress along the way to starting a policy for local government that gives greater powers in the field of implementation for the officials in the regions and governorates. Also I have adopted a resolution that gives unprecedented powers to the Supreme Audit and Anti-Corruption Bureau to investigate the cases within the government. Moreover, we are committed to do more.

In September, Afghanistan will hold its second parliamentary election in the past five years. As I write this article, thousands of Afghans, including a large number of women, register their names to participate in the elections. Our democratic system is consolidating itself systematically, and our people are committed to protecting the democratic achievements.

While we continue to fight terrorism in order to help in putting an end to the acts of violence in our country and secure the safe return of your sons and daughters, my government convenes the Jirga [Pashtun council of elders] consultative council to discuss peace. It is a historic forum peculiar to the Afghan people, with the aim of finding a way to communicate with those who fought against us; 1,500 representatives of the Afghan people will discuss and offer consultations on reconciliation and reintegration. I emphasize that our hand is extended to those who are not part of the Al-Qaeda Organization or any other terrorist network; we extend our hand to those who abandon violence, go back to normal life, and respect the Afghan Constitution. We admit that we need to do more in order to uproot terrorism, and in order to make the reconciliation and the reintegration plan succeed. The sincere and active regional cooperation, which is supported by our allies, is the best guarantee for success in this matter.

The Afghan people appreciate highly the strategic partnership with the United States, and want to consolidate it. We have gone a long way together; however, the international efforts within Afghanistan still have miles to go, because we cannot yet offer security within many parts of the country.

I have always pointed out the importance of dealing with the problems of the shelters, training places, and the various forms of support that benefit the terrorists outside the borders of Afghanistan. So far, this problem has not been solved. Also what will help in achieving success is to put an end to the night raids and the storming of homes, together with transferring the control over the detention institutions on our Afghan territories. Bear in mind that casualties among civilians harm our cause. General McChrystal’s command [ISAF commander and US Forces Afghanistan commander] has exerted a great deal of effort to deal with this issue, but still there is need for more efforts.

We need greater coordination of international efforts while we pursue the building of efficient Afghan institutions. It is important to remove the parallel structures that demolish the authority of our government, and it is necessary to deal with corruption and squandering in the delivery mechanisms, including the contracting systems. President Obama’s decision to transfer more funds through the Afghan Government represents a good step in this direction.

The success in Afghanistan will decide the course of this century. The Afghans are people who recognize good deeds. As soon as we stand on our own feet, our partners can rely on us to stand side by side. We will need more patience and more sacrifices to guarantee that the terrorists will not represent a threat to our joint security. There is serious and necessary work, and I am determined to proceed forward in this field. Every day I remember Robert Frost saying: “The forest is beautiful, dark, and deep, I have promises that I have to keep, and miles to walk before I go to sleep, and miles to walk after I wake up from my sleep.”