President Ashraf Ghani urged the United Nations (UN), their international partners and allies to stay committed to the Afghan peace process since their role is “extremely important” as they hold talks with the Taliban to end the decades of conflict.
In a pre-recorded speech to the General Debate of the UN General Assembly delivered on Wednesday, Ghani said the Afghan state and society has demonstrated the “commitment, compassion, and courage” to take hard decisions to hold direct peace talks with the Taliban but it will not be enough.
“For sustainable peace in Afghanistan we must get to the root of the terrorism problem blighting our region and address it as the global phenomenon and threat that it is,” Ghani said.
Afghanistan is “facing multiple drivers of turmoil all at once,” he said, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are among them.
But the main driver of turmoil is the “fifth wave of global terrorism” in which terrorist networks are closely linked with global criminal networks, making warfare totally unconventional and peace-building even more of a challenge, he said.
But Ghani said peace remains Afghanistan’s “most urgent and important priority,” and at the peace talks with the Taliban, the Afghan people have a “clear and urgent priority” to achieve a ceasefire.
“An urgent end to the violence will, more than anything else, give us a chance to progress.”
He said Afghanistan continues to be at the centre of regional opportunity and also in the midst of the “manifestations of global problems.”
Comparing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to World War II, Ghani said both had such immense human costs and were phenomenon that had such a global effect that then, and now, “we are forced to pay attention and take unprecedented action.”
He also said the country was also grappling with the fourth industrial revolution and the digital age.
“In Afghanistan, we are experimenting with how to adapt so that this digital revolution can be wielded as a source of economic opportunity for our overwhelmingly young population, as well as a way to strengthen our systems of governance and rule of law.”
However, the president also highlighted the effect of the climate change since Afghanistan is the 17th worst affected country in the world, pointing to the flash floods and droughts that affect the country seasonally.
Ghani told the UNGA that Afghanistan was moving into the next five years “with a clear plan for progressing the values of the UN” which are enshrined in its own constitution.
With the objective of self-reliance, moving away from donor relationships to mutually beneficial partnerships, he said that “a democratically stable and prosperous Afghanistan will be an example of how our collective will can overcome the turmoil and uncertainty that defines our world today.”
In his virtual speech, Ghani called on the members of the UNGA to help the country achieve the end-state of a “sovereign, united and democratic Afghanistan.”
“A democratically stable and prosperous Afghanistan will be an example of how our collective will can overcome the turmoil and uncertainty that defines our world today.”