President Ashraf Ghani introduced nominees for ministerial positions to the House of Representatives (Wolesi Jirga) on Wednesday for their vote of confidence and his address was interrupted twice by the parliamentarians.
Ghani started his speech by saying that the “Our decisions today, determine our future. Today, not only is healing the pains of our five generations alive, at home and abroad, a priority, but also the well-being of our future five generations.”
Saying that the current generation is future-oriented and system-oriented, Ghani said that, among all of, the greatest wish is an end to the “inherited and imposed” violence rather than for national unity, participation of all classes and balanced development.
He added that the gathering today was a sign of “deep respect for the values of the Constitution and emphasis on the principle of separation of the three powers” of the judiciary, the legislature and the executives.
He also commended the security and defence forces for being committed to the values of the rule of law and the true guardians of Afghanistan.
“The courage, heroism and sacrifices of our forces will never be forgotten,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the Taliban and their supporters continued to use violence despite the assurances given for a ceasefire and a serious reduction in violence during the Loya Jirga,” Ghani said, after he thanked the lawmakers for their support for the Peace Consultative Loya Jirga.
“The Taliban’s recent attacks on Helmand, Ghor and other parts of the country show that they still believe in the false narrative of fatah (conquering). Taliban will never be victorious,” the president said.
On U.S.-Afghan relations, he mentioned that senior American officials have reassured him that they will continue to cooperate with Afghanistan, and the recent airstrikes demonstrate that.
“We are not alone, and international friends who share our interests are in place,” Ghani said, and added that Afghanistan and its allies are working towards the Geneva Conference.
“We have the capacity to build our future,” he noted.
Ghani also spoke about his visit to Qatar where he met members of the Afghan government’s negotiating delegation and praised them.
“All members of our negotiating team defend the national values and the government of the Islamic Republic with unity and strong motivation, and this is an important example of our political capacity.”
When some parliamentarians protested, Ghani said that the Taliban have no reason to continue the war in Afghanistan.
“The Republic can embrace everyone. Go and ask Hibatullah [Taliban leader] where he is hiding and why they are killing Afghans” he asked. “It is true that you [Taliban] are not attacking the Americans, but why are you attacking us, are not these your children? We build every day and you destroy it.”
“Let everyone protest. In the republican system, everyone is free to raise their protests,” Ghani said and advised lawmakers to distinguish between making peace and building peace.
He then thanked Afghans living overseas for their help and cooperation and added that Afghanistan is the heart of Asia and its location can be utilised for their economic benefit.
Referring to the large capacity of mines in Afghanistan, he said that the extension of railways, pipelines, power lines will turn Afghanistan’s position into gold.
Referring to the civilizational and historical roots of Afghanistan, the president said: “Our main opportunity is to understand the roots of our Islamic civilization and once again become the great centre of Islamic civilization.”
Outlining the five waves of terrorism he described the dangers of criminal networks, drugs, corruption, unbalanced development and irresponsible treatment of capital, saying that there was no link between Islam and terrorism, and that suicide and terrorism were a tactic.
“It has no religious basis,” he emphasised.
He called on the Taliban to reassure the people that they will cut ties from other terrorist networks and give priority to Islam and Afghanistan.
“The government needs fundamental changes so that we can make the government of service to the nation,” Ghani said and called on the lawmakers to unite so that Afghanistan can become self-sufficient in the future.
Stating that a fundamental plan for government reform must be worked out, the president noted that a “small minority has discredited Afghanistan” but nationwide reforms will be carried out in all districts.
“Our biggest issue is nation-building. Which province of Afghanistan and which family of Afghanistan is painless. Do we waste our time thinking about the past or focusing on the future?” he asked.
The president stated that the region is increasingly recognising the importance of Afghanistan and creating a consensus was important.
“We want to have many friends and not enter into enmity with anyone,” he said.
At the end of his speech, he expressed hope for a cohesive cabinet that will work with him to implement his vision of a nation.