President Ashraf Ghani’s Speech at the Special Meeting of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board

Kabul, Afghanistan | July 28, 2021

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

First Lady, First Vice-President Saleh, Second Vice-President Danish, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Justice, Ambassador Deborah Lyons, distinguished ambassadors, members of Cabinet, members of the Lower House and Upper House, civil society representatives, medial staff, ladies and gentlemen;

The right to have rights is the foundation of orderly society. Let me pay tribute to those Afghan patriots particularly our martyrs in Afghanistan National Defense and Security forces, civilians, men and women who for their patriotic duties have endured sacrifices and are daily defending the values of this country.

Let me also thank all our sisters and brothers who in solidarity with displaced people, with war-affected people and with drought-affected people are sharing their half of bread and opening their homes and hearts to those who are suffering displacement, drought and war.

I would like to thank all my fellow Afghan men and women for their support for our security forces. In the last hundred years, this support has been unprecedented and it has reinforced their sense. I would also like to thank the Ulama, the private sector, women, youth and civil society for choosing voice over exit. Staying in Afghanistan means defending Afghanistan and believing in the future of Afghanistan. Cogent voices and explaining what is at stake at this moment.

I would like to thank Dr. Abdullah for his stewardship of the High Council on Peace and would be hearing from him regarding that priority.

Let me share some of the recent reforms as an indicator. On July 26, we completed a full cycle of electronic payment of salaries between the Ministry of Finance, the Civil Service Commission and the Central Bank of Afghanistan. Within a month, all salaries, Insha’Allah, will be paid electronically. This is a tremendous achievement and I would like to congratulate all my colleagues that have spent day and night in realizing it.

The Central Bank of Afghanistan also is now in a position to open a bank account for every Afghan who desires one. Six next weeks, we will reach the target of six million electronic IDs. All these programs and dozens more in digitalization of the State are done by Afghan intellectual capital. And I salute those men and women who again have been educated in some of the world best universities and have returned and are doing their duty to transform our country.

The departments of Budget and treasury of the Ministry of Finance are being overhauled/ we can assure you that within a month, every request for payment that is eligible and legal will be processed within three hours instead of rows.

Madam Lyons spoke of the challenge of the budget. We have cut our budget by 5.2 percent. All non-essential expenditure is eliminating but services will be prioritized and the needs of the security sector will be addressed.

Although the war is proceeding and we are under all-out attack, the construction of Sorobi-2, a 180 Megawatt plant has begun with our own resources as well as the construction of the longest canals in our history in northern Afghanistan.

Let me be categorical and state that we are committed to enhancing the role of women in the government and their economic empowerment. Let the differentiation on this issue between us and the Taliban be crystal as day and night. We stand for the rights of our sisters as women. And we are very proud of the role that they are playing and the visible demonstration of their effectiveness and representation.

Even a quick glance on pictures and maps between 2001 and today will show you that Afghanistan of today is a vastly transformed space. I have flown over the cities of Herat, Mazar, Jalalabad, Khost, and visited them as well as Kabul. These were small little towns twenty years ago. Mazar and Herat, each, you have to fly about 10-15 kilometers over them. I indicate this because Afghans have created assets, they have properties, and they have capabilities. This needs to be appreciated because these capabilities and assets in defending the republic, we are defending ourselves our own homes, our own values and the future of our children.

We of course are facing the triple challenge; Covid-19, severe drought and climate change, it is not just a drought; it is a climate change in its full effect. Most of Afghanistan is between 2 – 12 degrees warmer this year compared to last year; displacement, destruction and disruption unleashed by the Taliban and their supporters. This requires avoiding blame games and focusing on the present. We need to focus our efforts and make the hard choices that are necessary.

To survive and thrive, we must demonstrate to our people that we are their servants. For me, it is greatest privilege of my life to have the honor to serve and represent the men and women who constitute the source of our sovereignty today.

Let me return to the question of peace. Our collective right as a people to peace has been under constant attack for 43 years. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has focused on individual rights, but Afghanistan has been denied as a nation its collective right to peace and stability.

Acting on the consensus of our fellow citizens, we, the elected government, have pursued peace as our priority. We prepared earnestly by drawing lessons from global examples and national experience, secured the first comprehensive ceasefire in four decades in 2018 and were poised for direct negotiations with the Taliban. Then, the international community took over the peace process.

The Loya Jirga took the unprecedented step of releasing 5,000 hardened Taliban fighter and some of the largest drug dealers under the assurance by the international community of their good conduct. I offered a bridge to peace through holding of early elections and we stand by it.

The Taliban and their supporters have, however, by contrast, engaged in an all-out war and are determined to impose themselves by the judgment of the sword. The Jihadi and radical networks and transnational terrorist and criminal organizations are fully mobilizing in support of their Taliban allies in return for future reciprocity.

Ambassador Lyons, I agree with other things that is foreigners who still kill Afghans. At least, 10,000 members of these groups plus others have entered our country and have given themselves the right to kill our innocent civilians and bring disruption. The war is not a civil war. Please understand that it is still a war of networks and criminalized and terrorist networks. If we miss that dimension and reduce it just to a war between Afghans, we will be missing the big picture. We are facing a moment of truth regarding their beliefs, our priorities and the need for reforms.

To ensure a lasting political settlement we must seize the moment to mobilize our fellow citizens in a movement of national resistance under the leadership of the ANDSF. Let me assure all our international colleagues that no one in this country wants militias. A national resistance movement; our closest example in Afghanistan is the Swiss Army. We have been soldier farmers for centuries in it is in defense of our homes and the request everywhere is for leadership to be provided by the active and retired members of the Security and Defense forces of Afghanistan and I am delighted to say that thousands of retired officers and men are volunteering again.

To have a tomorrow, we must be counted today. Allah’s injunction is clear. Those who refuse peace must be faced with full determination. Our diverse and united country is now determined to defend the gains of the past twenty years and the generations that have gone before that.

Let me assure you that we have the political will, a national narrative, an action plan, and the deep reservoir of patriotism to seize the moment. As a nation, we have defied the odds repeatedly and will do it, Insha’Allah, again.

I would like to thank you distinguished ambassadors and members of the diplomatic community for your presence in Kabul and here today your presence symbolizes your commitment to our agreed end state of a sovereign, united, Islamic, democratic, peaceful and connected Afghanistan. We thank the leaders of your countries and yourselves for the immense work that you have done to reach agreement globally and regionally on this end state.

Framing the present as the commencement of a new chapter in the narrative of our partnership is crucial. Let me again state for the record; we take the decision by President Biden and NATO to be irreversible. We have never asked for change of that decision; we will not. It is a sovereign decision and a collective decision by our partners. We, Afghan, must now own our future and be willing to endure the sacrifices that that future requires, but your principled assistance is much appreciated.

Supporting a values-based approach to your assistance as just again articulated by Ambassador Lyons today and in the future, joining us in our emphasis on citizen rights, women rights, the rights of children youth, and other categories of our beautifully diverse and united nation is much appreciated.

Adherence to your Geneva commitments, diplomatic support, and humanitarian assistance is the need of the hour. I very much look forward to the opportunity for exchange of views to review and adjust our agenda for cooperation in the coming months and years. Against tradition, I will be staying to listen to you and then leave after the photo opportunity.

What was our initial narrative in response to President Biden’s and the NATO decision?

These decisions were game-changing events, forcing all the actors around and in the conflict in our country to frame their responses to the resulting uncertainty.

We expressed respect for the decision and quickly offered a narrative around opportunity, risks, turbulence and threats. I had the honor to socialize the narrative to the cabinet and through a presentation at Kabul University that was watched by six million people within two days to our citizens. For us, the departure provides the opportunity to own our problems and to secure our future with determination, unity, and sacrifice.

Preoccupation with ensuring departure of NATO and US troops resulted in loss of alignment between our partners and us. I am pleased, however, to indicate that we are approaching the new chapter of our partnership with a true sense of urgency, mutual understanding and mutual respect.

What are the key components of our national narrative today?

First, our Islamic identity. As a 99.9% Muslim society, Islamic values and injunctions constitute our cosmology, the deepest sense of our being and becoming, our shared notion of accountability in both here and hereafter.

Our constitution, providing the constitutive rules for our rights and obligations, is judged the most Islamic constitution in the world. The name of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan expresses the dominant cultural framework of our political and social relationships.

From the inception of Islam, we the Afghans have been a center of Islamic learning, deep spirituality, tolerance, and formation of networks that have been instrumental in the formation of the ethos of Islam as a culture and civilization.

Maulana Rumi, one our gifts to the world and one of the most widely-read poets in the world today, expressed our value best and I quote: “The religion of love is like no other religion”. The emphasis placed on knowing the self through the discipline of the heart, following the Quranic injunctions, have been central to the collective labor of our Sufis and Ulamma through the ages. Shrines built around the tombs of major spiritual figures originating from Afghanistan dot the landscape in Pakistan and India. They did not go with the sword. They went with love.

Our distinguished Ulama fully participated in the preparation, discussion and adoption of the Constitution of 2004 by the Loya Jirga. Our constitution of 1924, as fully documented, was the product of the collective labor of Islamic networks led by Afghan jurists and had no western involvement. It is important to understand that today’s Afghanistan was not born 20 years ago. It is hundreds of years of collective work and millennia of functioning as a center in a roundabout of civilizations.

Our negotiating team in Doha has repeatedly invited the Taliban team to discuss peace making within the framework of the holy Quran and the Sharia. To them, however, their agreement with the US constitutes the only frame of reference.

Having repeatedly suffered from lack of rules for orderly succession during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well as the preceding millennia, our collective wisdom arrived at a presidential system, with term limits, as the solution. If there is any doubt regarding support for the republican system as a mode of governance, let the Taliban participate in a fully internationally supervised election or referendum. The debate now is within Islam—the international forces are gone; you are not part of the conflict—Opting for our historically inclusive and tolerant tradition or a recently articulated dogma formulated in reaction to the world. The consensus of prominent Islamic scholars from all over the world including Pakistani scholars expressed in Saudi Arabia, thank you Minister Halimi, that the war by Taliban has no religious justification is crystal clear and heartening. This is not a fight for Islam. It is a fight for monopolistic power.

Sovereignty resides in the Afghan people who through free and fair elections entrust it to their elected leaders for a limited period, subject to accountability of these leaders– including impeachment and removal from the highest office in the land. Our right to statehood has been won through the sacrifice of our ancestors during the past 274 years. All attempts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to colonize has failed. We are proud not to have had separatist movements.

Within our republican order, sovereignty is the instrument of delivery of citizenship rights. All the rights of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are included in the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined in chapter 2 of the Constitution, with the state held responsible for protection and consolidation of citizen rights, including the equality of men and women as full citizens. Should the need for amendment of the constitution arise, the Islamic character of the state cannot be amended and the basic rights can be only improved.

The departure of the international forces gives us the opportunity to frame and implement our sovereignty strategies in the manner suited to our unique conditions and history as well as the benefits of regional connectivity and global cooperation. Please do not pronounce the end of connectivity. We will overcome.

State-building, market-building and peace-building are pillars of a sovereignty strategy in service of equal citizens of a nation united in safeguarding of the achievements of the past 20 years and expanding the platform for stability and prosperity.

National Unity. As a nation, we are composed of the people living in Afghanistan, residing in other countries as refugees, our diaspora who again have done a fantastic job in the struggle against COVID and drought and people who by sentiment and history consider themselves Afghans.

Billions of bonds emanating from our sense of a common past and converging hopes and aspirations of tens of millions of men and women, girls and boys unites in experiencing common joy and common pain. The children of Afghanistan must be the focus of our attention. This is a generation that has been raised on a sense of opportunity. Please do not stay silent as other forces try to turn their lives into hell and deny them the beautiful sense of childhood and aspirations.

We acknowledge our sub-national identities in the national anthem that you just heard, where names of all major named-groups are recited, and we also celebrate our linguistic richness. Our constitution has recognized Pashto and Dari as official languages and all our other languages as national languages and the third official language in the place where the majority speaks that language.

The constitution has enabled us to frame our demands on the state in terms of citizenship rights and voice our aspirations and frustrations in the public arena openly. That is the beauty of democracy. The give and take is intense and of course criticism is massive as it should be, but the acknowledgement of progress is equally heartening.

The right to have rights is enabling us to reflect on the past, engage the present and have claims on the future. The key issue of a free citizenry is to claim rights on other citizens, and particularly on the state. We ask the leader of Taliban to show himself to the Afghan people and respond to a conversation with Afghan men and women in an open format. As my colleagues around me, Dr. Abdullah, the vice-presidents and I do routinely.

Our common refrain during the past 43 years has been our need for strong state institutions to serve the needs of a strong nation. Let me immediately clarify that strong state institution does not mean authoritarian; it means accountable and responsive. Strong in delivery of citizen rights, strong in accountability, strong in transparency, not strong in claims of elitism.

Our egalitarian ethos, strong sense of self, traditions of open competition for leadership at various levels, deep roots in our Islamic identity and pride in our past as an Asian roundabout, a center for major civilizations from the Vedic, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Greek, Hindu, and then Islam as our grand synthesis of this civilization has made us a crossroad for interactions. Every major province of this country has served as a center of a state or an empire.

Both geography and geology favor national unity as our resources are incredibly well distributed particularly our natural capital being concentrated in the ten poorest provinces. The Hindukush as a French archeologist long ago recognized has been a mountain of unity, not division.

National programs are the vehicles that will transform the community of sentiment and imagination into a community of interest and mutual knowledge. Five years ago, we promised you that 50 percent of the councils in the villages will be managed by Afghan women. We have fulfilled this. Now hundreds of millions of dollars are being handled and spent through democratic participation, even among our Kuchi community, over 30 percent of the councils are now formed by women and managed by them.

Digitalization of the state, society, and economy will allow to overcome the inherited dilemmas of centralization and decentralization.

Democracy is the platform permitting for voice and participation, forcing us to acknowledge and listen to each other, question the use of our resources, set priorities and take pride in our accomplishments as individuals whether it is our Olympic champions, football team or cricket team or others, groups and a nation.

Our patriotism is strong and a reason that predictions of diplomats, generals, scholars, spies and statesmen regarding our response during the past 200 years have proven off-the-mark. There is a level of humility required of all of us predicting the demise of Afghanistan as Bernard Shaw said the rumors of his death are widely exaggerated. Support for the ANDSF is one of the strongest manifestations of our national unity.

Bridge to Peace

Obtaining the gift of peace is our deepest desire and our top priority. Our developmental narrative, revolving the efficient, effective and equitable utilization of our capitals, capabilities, locational, cultural and social advantages is owned by millions of us but depends on peace. Afghanistan can be prosperous. Afghanistan can be self-reliant. Afghanistan can be hub of connectivity but this all depends on a political settlement.

Keenly aware of the momentous transformation of Asia into a continental economy and a hub of the fourth industrial revolution, we are determined to turn our location in the heart of Asia into a dynamic roundabout and a central place of connectivity.

We have articulated a widely supported program for a bridge from an all-out war to a just and lasting peace through a political settlement. We do not see a military solution. We firmly believe in a political solution and therefore our distinguished college particularly under the leadership of Dr. Abdullah have continued the effort and will continue the effort.

To achieve the agreed upon end state, we suggest an urgent review of the assumptions and the processes that led us to the current impasse in the peace process, not to blame but to accelerate the momentum toward a political solution.


There is a regional consensus on connectivity as a critical driver of stability and prosperity. I thank the President and the people of the Uzbekistan for hosting the recent conference on regional connectivity where again despite concerns and anxieties about the security situation, the consensus was stronger than ever.

Large programs such as TAPI, the CASA-1000, the Surkhan-Pul-i-Khumi 1,000 megawatts transmission line and the Mazar-Kabul-Peshawar railway, the Khwaf –Herat railway and other projects are important. But what is really crucial, is regional consensus on how to use the assets and capabilities of the fourth industrial revolution to create the infrastructure associated with the first industrial revolution namely railways and roads and the second industrial revolution namely power and electricity.

Agreement on rules, governing flows of goods, people and guarantees on functioning of value chains and supply chains is going to be indispensable for lifting tens of millions of people through cooperation. The key to lifting tens of millions of people in Pakistan and Afghanistan lies in agreement on a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. Otherwise, all the consensus that has been reached will be wasted and not end poverty. Poverty will increase instead of decreasing

Our case for regional engagement in this critical juncture of our history rests on our firm belief that the interests of all our neighbors near and far lie in a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Resorting to proxy wars or attempts hegemony will produce a lose-lose-lose outcome for all of us.

I warn you about the risks of proxy wars. Once they start, witness Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Algeria and other places, they are very difficult to contain. This vision, this national narrative is owned by millions of us is under threat.

In terms of scale, scope and timing, we are facing an invasion that is unprecedented in the last 30 years. These are not the Taliban of the 20th century coming from the isolated Madrasas, but the manifestation of the nexus between transnational terrorist networks and transnational criminal organization. It is one of the wealthiest insurgency movements on earth. Their links to drugs, to smuggling, to robbing of our neutral resources is unprecedented. And those who encourage and participate with them of course are the beneficiaries.

The simultaneity of the offensive in 31 provinces is a massive departure from the pattern of the past five years, where at most 10 province came under simultaneous attack indicating planning and management by a trained general staff and provisioning of supply chains and access to reserves of fighters and resources. We can judge the existence of general staff by the sophistication of the planning, their identities need to be established by international commission and observers by the UN.

A massive influx, as I earlier mentioned, of transnational terrorist networks, particularly Jaish-i-Muhammed and Lashkar-i-Tayaba and influx of Daish, is giving the war new regional and international dimensions.

Planting of carpet mining, car bombs, suicide bombing, summary executions, revenge killings, forced marriages constitute a recurrent pattern of violations of human rights. Listen to our people; in this age of instant communication, just see the video.

We call on the international community to review the narrative of the willingness of the Taliban and their supporters on embracing a political solution. For two years, the international community assumed a narrative of a cooperative Taliban and questioned our judgements and our request for consideration of acting on lessons learned. Today, I think it is urgent that we review the situation

What is Our Security Strategy?

We have taken stock of our conditions both in the institutions in the capital and through provincial trips and consultations.

The objective of our short-term security strategy is to produce a military stalemate, thereby demonstrating to the Taliban and their supporters the necessity of a just and enduring peace through a political settlement. Let me repeat; the objective of our short-term strategy is stalemate because we firmly believe that a military conquest is not a solution. A political settlement is the enduring solution.

The major building blocks are as follows: marshalling public support into a unified voice in support of the republic and the Afghan National Defense and Security forces.

Prioritization of use of force through concentration of forces and economy of efforts around strategic objectives and terrain. This involves hard choices and we have to make it and give the resources and support to our Defense and Security sector leaders.

Defense of the current situation and support for heroic efforts of our urban and rural defense. Let me just acknowledge the role of agency in history. Individuals have really done heroic deeds. Towns have engaged in heroic collective action, our security leaders, our governors, our jihadi figures across the board men and women have risen and demonstrated their capacity for leadership, the capacity for sacrifice and the capacity for standing for what they believe in.

Stabilization of conditions and enhancement of ANDSF capacities and capabilities. We will spend our own money. We will stop doing other things because our survival is at stake. Investing in enablers for and addressing the needs of the ANDSF then strategic offensive. These are not sequential measures because conditions in different parts of the country differ greatly. From Khost where every single attack of the Taliban has been successfully defeated to other places, which are facing existential threats.

Reforms and prioritization of use of resources is critical. The budget of Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior and all five top ministries spending the bulk of the resources of the country will become under immense scrutiny and every resource will be reallocated; misallocation of resources would be contained.

And then critically, one of the issue that all you colleagues have raised is Strategic Communication. Repeating, repeating, repeating what the agenda is and building it through. Judgment and patience are required. We cannot rush onto things. While we celebrate the heroism of our officers and soldiers, putting them at risk is not right. So the sequence will be left; judgement will be left. Decision authorities will be delegated by the Ministry of Defense Chief of Staff and the Ministry of Interior and Directorate of National Security.

The implementation of the strategy requires hard choices and constant attention to elimination of corruption and cronyism. Our dialogue, particularly the first vice-president has been with me, the rank and file resent both cronyism and corruption. Their demand for effective utilization, transparent utilization of both promotions and appointments and use of resources is critical. Bravery and initiative will be recognized, celebrated and rewarded.

Let me turn very briefly, because we are going to have a discussion on the economy, drought, and governance.

What are some of the Global Trends?

First, there is consensus that Radical uncertainty is the condition of humanity for the next decade. We know how to cope with radical uncertainty and now I think is the time for the whole world. Models assuming stability, particularly in the sphere of economy and finance, are going to be of very limited value. The Washington consensus on development is becoming obsolete. The new narrative of development is a very different narrative. Collective wisdom through the articulation of reference narratives is going to be critical to overcoming the 3rd wave of global distrust, harnessing the power of the 4th Industrial Revolution for the benefit of the people, dealing with climate change and containing and hopefully overcoming the 5th wave of terrorism.

The level of inequalities within countries and between countries has never been greater. It is a challenge to the stability. Millions of youth unemployed cannot be asked to wait. The waiting generations need addressing.

The 4th Industrial Revolution through technological convergence is accelerating change in a speed that the world of 2030 could be radically different from today. Please avoided giving us earlier technologies; one generation or two generation or out of date advice. We need to be current and we need to understand. Technical assistance particularly needs revisiting. What is its relevance in the light of this fast changing trends

The reset caused by COVID-19 has accelerated the digitalization of economy and society, by judgment of Professor Klaus Schwarz, at least ten years. The future delivery of services is going to be digital. Already the leading companies of the world are delivering 60% of their technical assistance without stepping foot in a country. The choice of economic models, again to quote Professor Schwarz and others, is between state capitalism and stakeholder capitalism.

State functions are expanding because of market failures and demands for distinctive protective functions to be performed in the face of inequality and rapid technological change. The state is back in, please do not ignore it. Experience has shown that state functions can be shared, but it cannot be delegated.

While the middle classes and urban populations are expanding, a tale of two middle classes might emerge; dynamic middle classes in Asia and Africa and stagnant middle classes in the OECD countries. Asia’s transformation into a continental economy and Africa’s development are likely to be world transformative events of this decade, resulting in strong regional patterns.

Let me turn to our immediate challenge and the key symbols for me are Collaborative Governance.

During the past 20 years, we have had to deal with the co-existence of parallel ecosystems with their distinctive rules and resources: the military-contractor, economic governance and cultural ecosystem. This was the largest actor in Afghanistan without coordination with the government and having its own decisions and distinctive patterns.

Second, the non-profit ecosystem.

Third, the foreign aid systems with off-budget expenditure as the dominant pattern and reliance on layers of contractors as the dominant mechanism of delivery. Usually contracts went through five layers. Process-based on-budget assistance, with weak ownership of government organizations and overemphasis on process rather than outcomes.

Dealing with this level of complexity has required rethinking of governance from a purely hierarchal system to a collaborative enterprise. Comparative analysis, however, demonstrates that collaborative governance, particularly delegation of state functions to the market and non-profit sectors, requires more capacity in the government than less. There is no substitution; it is just the government must have a different capacity to collaborate.

The division of the Afghan economy into formal, informal and criminal economies with distinctive institutional arrangement makes the task of focusing on market building and on equity and equality even more urgent.

What are my proposals?

First, I am proposing a compact with the non-profit sector. Given the urgency of humanitarian crisis, the nonprofit sector, the government and our distinguished developmental partners must come together. First, through general observation but we want to go against the trend.

Romantic notions of the non-profit sector as representative of virtue in the 1990s have been replaced by self-examination, public and scholarly scrutiny, government regulations, and demands for accountability by stakeholders.

In Europe and the United States, outsourcing of social services to the non-profit has forced the non-profit sector to choose between what Professor Salamon describe as the survival imperative and distinctiveness imperative, with the former constituting the dominant trend.

The level of scrutiny for receiving a contract for performing social services in European countries is the highest in the world and has chosen a lot of nonprofits to cut salaries and benefits. Equally, the regulations particularly at the state level in the United States are becoming a general trend.

We propose a strategy of collaborative governance with the non-profit sector and the developmental community based on two-part component.

Part I is to reach a compact for one year between the government, development partners and the non-profit sector based on. First, adoption of the voluntary standards of international NGOs or revising of the national standards. These standards have been reviewed; we are comfortable with them.

Second, agreement on mechanisms of accountability and transparency, using either the One World Trust framework that is all the indicators, the relevant indicators and measurements or another agreed framework.

Third, disclosure of information to all stakeholders based on United Nation’s Department of Statistics, National Account Standards that have very clear on what constitutes the non-profit sector.

And fourth, agreed enforcement mechanism in cases of non-compliance, this could be done like in Pakistan through a third party or other mechanism that are credible ultimately by the government.

Part II is to reach agreement on a law to provide the enabling environment on the basis of national, regional and global experience, with the help of global foundations and national stakeholders. The law must be consultative; our previous attempts have failed. We cannot impose a hierarchal modal; it does not suit the conditions of today. I am really asking for a true collaboration in this regard.

Let me take a moment to acknowledge some of the outstanding work that has been done by the organizations like the Swedish Committee that have stayed with us for decades. The Emergency Hospital that again I have had the misfortune of visiting very frequently, dozens of others, national and international. There are equally bad examples and the issue is to avoid putting everybody in the same basket and to make sure that the enabling environment is created.

Our second proposal is on market building

The market needs to be approached as an ecosystem, not to be reduced to the private sector. We have come with a framework and I will just highlight couple of points about it. The enablers for a market formation strategy fall in three categories:

Government enablers, which is enabling environment particularly through laws, property rights and infrastructure.

Joint enablers; risk management strategies; human capital; digitalization and technology strategies; banking and finance.

And then Private sector enablers: firms and clusters; value chains; supply chains.

Let me take a moment to thank form the bottom of my heart the efforts of the Afghan private sector. Yesterday, again I had a two and half hour meeting with them. They are ensuring the stability of food prices and supplies. They have leaned backward to ensure that their fellow citizen are fed, clothed or provided with essential goods. They have only one request; reform of the bureaucracy, overcoming of the obstacles that either personal greed or institutional failure puts in their way. This is an extremely important group and our efforts and their views on the evolving situation are extremely important.

Lastly, The urgency of state-building:

The state performs functions that the society requires of it. We are not coming at a theoretical perspective from the state that the state should do this or that. It is what our people ask us. COVID-19 was a clear example. Within weeks, we delineated the first wave and the focus of the people was for urgent action for relief and recovery. We must be guided in moments of radical uncertainty by the collective wisdom of our people. And I am extraordinarily proud of our collective judgements, the sense of collective judgement. The question is effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, and accountability, not dogmatic beliefs regarding the essential nature of the state. The state does not have an essence. It is what people require of it.

We propose eight national programs as a platform of our partnership and as the key pillars linking society, the budget and our international partners.

A balanced scorecard designed for these national programs is shared. You know the balance scorecard was really made for the private sector, but we have adapted it to this and we are willing.

To ensure predictable flow of resources, we propose condition-based disbursement, like the EU’s state-building contract or the incentive program of international development organizations, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the ARTF. Like you, Ambassador Lyons, we would like to see a shift from process-based projects to outcome-based programs. Four billion dollars is stuck, while eighteen million in the country are suffering. Today with the digitalization and six million IDs, we are in a position to deliver directly cash to the bank accounts of individuals. We can and must revisit and from our side, four of the national programs are again being reorganized and prioritized to deal with the drought, displacement and COVID-19 negative impacts.

Let me conclude; I hope it has come clear that have sense of urgency to deal within existential crisis regarding the wellbeing of our people, regarding the future of our children and regarding our rights to have opinions and to have rights.

I hope that this meeting will become mechanism for sharing our sense of urgency and transforming our cooperation into a mutually urgent set of actions that will serve the immediate and as well as the medium term interests of the Afghan people.

A stable Afghanistan, let me repeat again, is in every body’s interest. Your diplomatic engagement to persuade those powers and actors that see chaos has been official and war as ground for projection of hegemony are essential.

Your voice is required. 20 years of our collaboration where use of force was a dominant feature of our daily lives is over; we will not be returning to it. Afghans forever have defended this homeland. We are very grateful for the support in our very difficult hours of need but now it is a different environment, a different context and together we must shape those areas that are falling within the new chapter of our relationship.

Thank you

Long live Afghanistan

Source: ARG