H. E. Mr. Hâmid Karzai, President
24 September 2008
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HÂMID KARZAI, President of Afghanistan, observed that even as his country experienced the brunt of international terrorism, the attacks were expanding beyond attempts to destabilize Afghanistan into the wider region of Pakistan. The recent attacks on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the terrorist attacks in India’s Bangalore and Ahmadabad, as well as daily killings of political and tribal leaders on both sides of the Durand Line all demonstrated the growing reach of terrorists groups. The intricate network of these groups could only be dismantled through sincere regional and international collaboration.
At the same time, however, in the past year, those international terrorists had been challenged by, among others, Pakistan’s democratic transition and recent elections, the inauguration of a democratic Government in Afghanistan, and the 2008 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit in Bucharest, where 40 countries with existing military commitments in Afghanistan recommitted to staying the course. He believed that successful responses to terrorist organizations would only be ensured when local populations were empowered to act in concert with regional and international military endeavours. In that respect, he called for international efforts to support the enabling of the Afghan Army and the police, so they would be able to take on a greater share of the war against terrorism and the protection of their citizens.
Noting that economic development impacted the grip of terrorism on a country’s people, he heralded the gains made in Afghanistan’s economic development, beginning with the convening of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy in Paris last June, and Afghanistan’s rapid, double-digit economic growth in recent years. A strong reconstruction movement had spawned the building of thousands of new schools for the millions of youngsters preparing for a peaceful future, and rural development programmes continued to improve citizens deeply underserved or not served at all in the past.
In the area of legal and institutional improvement, he announced the establishment of the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption aimed at eliminating corruption through preventative, educational and enforcement measures. Even with the complication of an acute food shortage, there had also been a 20 per cent decline in total opium production, and Afghanistan was now 50 per cent poppy‑free. Continued efforts to ensure alternative livelihood for its farmers, as well as greater investment in law enforcement would guarantee Afghanistan’s success in challenging the tenacious narcotic trade. He reminded the Assembly that enforcing international border controls and impacting international demand for drugs was essential to the success of Afghanistan continuing its progress.
He concluded by urging a just and comprehensive settlement for the Palestinian people, and a call to the international community and the United Nations to join together again and continue its challenge to worldwide conflict for the betterment of everyone in the global community.