KABUL – As per the decree of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and to strengthen human rights advocacy and respond to national and international concerns with regards to human rights issues in Afghanistan, and in accordance with the provision of the Constitution and the Afghan government's strategy to protect the defenders of human rights, a "Joint Commission for the Protection of Human Rights" is established under the chairmanship of Professor Sarwar Danish, the Second Vice President.
The Presidential Decree states that with the aim of providing the necessary and effective ground for the protection of human rights issues in Afghanistan and the fulfillment of the Afghan government's commitments to human rights issues and the protection of human rights defenders and activists, the establishment of a Joint Commission for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders chaired by Professor Sarwar Danish, the second vice president, has been approved.
According to the decree, the Commission will be membered by the Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior, Minister of Women Affairs, Head of Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan, Director General of National Security, Director General of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Representative of the Supreme Court, Representative of the Legal, Legislative, and Judicial Bureau of the Administrative Office of the President and representatives of other relevant departments if necessary and approved by the Chairman of the Commission.
Preparing the Commission's implementation procedure, determining the Commission's work priorities, drafting a joint plan with non-governmental organizations in the field of human rights to outline the mechanism for protecting human rights defenders, obtaining the opinions of domestic and foreign human rights advocates and funders, as well as addressing the recommendations, plans and complaints of human rights defenders are among the goals and priorities of the Commission.
The Secretariat of the "Joint Commission for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders" is the onus of the Independent Human Rights Commission.
Highlights of Relations between Afghanistan, Australia & the Pacific in 2020
2020 has been a tumultuous, challenging, yet a rewarding year for all. The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, despite the limitations imposed by COVID-19, has been hard at work in supporting Afghans in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, growing partnerships and friendships and advancing the causes of peace and mutual prosperity.
The Afghan-Australian relations have deepened considerably in 2020 over various areas of cooperation and shared history. Various events and visits were held, both in-person and virtually to commemorate several occasions, most notably the 160thanniversary of the arrival of the famous Afghan cameleers in Australia. Cultural, people-to-people, political, trade and security ties have all had the opportunity to grow. We invite you to reflect on this year in Afghan-Australian relations and on what the future holds for the two countries and their friendship.
The steadfast political friendship between Afghanistan and Australia has only grown stronger in 2020. Organised by the Embassy, The Australia-Afghanistan Parliamentary Friendship Group met, alongside Ambassador Wahidullah Waissi and other diplomats, at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra on the 25th of August. Inaugurated in 2017, the group is chaired by Andrew Wallace MP. The reception this year touched upon the topics of the Afghan peace process, the impacts of COVID-19 on Afghan society and its economy, the future of Australian assistance and engagement with Afghanistan and people to people bonds. Ambassador Waissi on the 29th of August also made a visit to the DFAT Diplomatic Academy, discussing diplomatic studies and areas where Afghan-Australian collaboration can be enhanced with its Executive Director Paula Ganly.
Across the Tasman, the Embassy was also hard at work in promoting an expanding relationship with New Zealand. During Ambassador Waissi’s visit to Wellington, he inaugurated a similar group, the Australia-Afghanistan Parliamentary Friendship Group, including Members of Parliament from most major parties. This Friendship Group will, in the years to come, help in developing the bilateral relationship between Afghanistan and New Zealand, especially in trade and support of the nearly 15,000 Afghans living in New Zealand
High-level talks also occurred in 2020, with Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed Haneef Atmar in discussion with Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne. The two Ministers discussed the ongoing Afghan peace process, and the much-appreciated Australian aid to Afghanistan, helping its economic and social development.
2020, of course, was marked by a new start to the Afghan peace process, with negotiations beginning in Qatar between the government and the Taliban. Australia has been vocal in its strong support for peace in Afghanistan, urging for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to be implemented.
Following the horrendous attack on Kabul University on the 2nd of November, the Australian government, academia and public were also quick to condemn the perpetrators and to voice their strong support for the Afghan people and the attack’s victims. Diplomats, professors and all areas of Australian society wrote their much-appreciated condolences to the Embassy.
2020 was another significant milestone in the shared cultural history of Afghanistan and Australia. While 2019 saw the 50th anniversary of Afghan-Australian diplomatic relations, 2020 brought about the 160th anniversary of the arrival of the first Afghan cameleers in Australia. The Afghan cameleers were instrumental in exploring, charting and settling the arid interior of Australia, allowing trade routes to flourish and communities to grow in the outback. Their seldom mentioned stories were brought to light by the celebrations and commemorations organised by the Embassy.
On the Embassy’s social media and website, exclusive interviews were aired featuring historians, academics, and the descendants of Afghan cameleers, who often married European and Aboriginal women. Afghans’ impacts on the spread of Islam in Australia was also revealed, with an article published on the Embassy website, written by historian and Afghan cameleer expert Pamela Rajkowski OAM.
The Australian government also celebrated this anniversary. The Royal Mint announced the production of special commemorative 50 cent coins, depicting an Afghan cameleer and his mount. Furthermore, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt MP, also a descendant of cameleers, met with Ambassador Waissi to discuss their history and the impact they had on the outback and indigenous communities.
The President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, also made a statement on the importance of the cameleers on the friendship between Afghanistan and Australia. In his words: “We began our relationship with Australia with our cameleers who crossed the desert, now the proud Australians are here to cross our mountains and rivers with us and create history together”.
2020 was also the 101st Anniversary of Afghan independence. Despite the stringent restrictions in place, the Embassy was still able to organise commemorations of this event. The iconic Telstra tower in Canberra, was lit up in the national colours of Afghanistan: black, red and green. Ambassador Waissi also gave an official recorded message to the public and members of the Afghan Australian community. Furthermore, even with the second wave forcing Victorians back into lockdown, the Afghan flag was raised in the City of Dandenong, in Greater Melbourne, impressive achievements given the difficult circumstances.
Earlier in the year, before the outbreak of the pandemic, the Embassy participated in the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra, with its official stall “A Journey to Afghanistan”. This gave a chance to display Afghan culture and heritage to Australia, through a live performance of traditional music, displays of art and jewellery, calligraphy and samples of food and drink. The Embassy’s contribution was very received by the community attracting many visitors throughout the course Festival.
Additionally, Ambassador Waissi paid a visit to the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Matthew Anderson, to submit traditional Afghan clothing and handicrafts to the national collection, and to discuss the future expansion of the War Memorial’s Afghanistan exhibition and joint activities in the spirit of Afghan-Australian friendship.
The Embassy also organised recollections and celebrations of the first anniversary of the performance of the Zohra Orchestra, Afghanistan’s first all-female musical ensemble, at the Sydney Opera House. Members of the Afghan Australian community, politicians and prominent Australians all voiced their fond memories of the event through many statements, and the entire concert was posted on Embassy social media.
Trade and Investment:
The Australian company Fortescue Metals Group, the world’s fourth largest iron ore producer, signed 5 memoranda of understanding in Kabul with the Ministries of Public Health, Higher Education, Mines and Petroleum, the Afghanistan National Water Affairs Regulation Authority, and the Afghan Red Crescent Society. Fortescue’s Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest, remarked that “we hope wherever and whenever we can, Fortescue and Minderoo will help you lead a country where we dramatically increase the survival for cancer, increase the wisdom of your academic research leaders and ensure equality of women”. The signing ceremony was undertaken in the presence of President Ashraf Ghani and First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh. The previously untapped natural resources of Afghanistan, with the help of Australian companies such as Fortescue, are bound to create many opportunities for Afghans to prosper and for the country to develop further.
Also, this year, Ambassador Waissi engaged in a teleconference call with the Deputy CEO of Austrade, Sally-Ann Watts to discuss potential areas of trade and business cooperation between Australia and Afghanistan.
Afghan National Army cadets continue to train at Australia’s defence academies. In April, two Afghan cadets, Bazmohammad Watandost and Siavash Saduqi graduated from the prestigious Royal Military College Duntroon after an 18-month training programme. 2021 is set to bring two more Afghan cadets to train in Australia, including the first female Afghan cadet to do so.
Engagement continued at the higher levels of government as well, with Afghan National Security Advisor Dr Hamdullah Mohib and Acting Defence Minister Asadullah Khaled meeting with Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds during the February Munich Security Conference. They discussed Australia’s ongoing military support to Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism and the importance of the Afghan Peace Process.
The Embassy of Afghanistan has also been committed to ensuring compliance with the rule of law in security-related matters. With the Australian investigation into alleged war crimes committed by its special forces in Afghanistan, the Embassy has been vocal in its urging for a thorough investigation and prosecution of war criminals. This was accompanied by the release of a similar inquiry in New Zealand, into the NZSAS’ Operation Burnham, which led to the death of several civilians in Bamiyan Province in 2010. However, the official inquiry held that the operation was justified.
The sporting friendship between Afghanistan and Australia continues to grow, especially in the field of cricket. Afghan cricketers continue to excel in Australia’s Big Bash League, with Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Zahir Khan and Mujeeb Zadran performing exceptionally for their teams in Australia. Furthermore, in October, the Melbourne Renegades signed 15-year-old Afghan Noor Ahmad for the coming Big Bash season, an exceptional accomplishment for the next generation of Afghan sportsmen.
2020 also brought very sad news, with the passing of Australian cricketing legend Dean Jones. Jones was a true friend of Afghanistan, visiting Kabul in 2017 to commentate and act as the interim coach of Afghanistan’s national cricket team. His legacy of promoting friendship and peace through sport will be sorely missed by all.
Development and Humanitarian Assistance:
The quadrennial Afghanistan Conference was held on the 23rd and 24th of November 2020, hosted remotely in Geneva by the UN, the Afghan and the Finnish governments. It discussed sustainable peace building, such as human and women’s rights and reintegrating returning refugees, methods for fighting corruption and economic and foreign aid matters. Australia was one of the 70 participants from around the world that contribute to this year’s Conference.
Australia has also been generous in responding to the extent and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan. In the latest Australian budget, over $11.5 million was allocated in additional funding for humanitarian assistance provided by Australia to Afghanistan. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in October released a two-year plan on aiding the development of Afghanistan. Australia will, with renewed focus, support Afghanistan’s health security, security and economic recovery, focalising on the participation and empowerment of women.
Relations between Afghan and Australia in higher education have also grown substantially in 2020. In October, a collaboration agreement between Kabul Polytechnic University, Australia’s Griffith University and the Brisbane-based International Water Centre was signed in a virtual ceremony attended by Ambassador Waissi. This has inaugurated a new course at Kabul Polytechnic University, the Master Programme on Integrated Water Resource Management, convened jointly with its Australian partners and funded by the Asian Development Bank.
Furthermore, a round of virtual debates was hosted between the Monash International Affairs Society and Afghans for Progressive Thinking to debate several topics about gender equality and peace in Afghanistan. This exceptional opportunity for increased people-to-people and academic links was welcomed by all, especially considering the disruptive COVID pandemic and the ongoing peace talks in Qatar. The fifth round of debate, which took place in September, was adjudicated by Ambassador Waissi.
Throughout 2020, The Embassy’s staff has been hard at work providing consular support to Afghan citizens in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. This was much-needed, especially during the lockdowns that struck cities across these countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ordeal was exacerbated by the second wave in Victoria, where one of Australia’s largest Afghan communities resides. Hence, while in-person consular services were impossible, the Embassy undertook innovative virtual consular services to Afghans, as well as frequently liaising with community leaders across the country.
The start of the new decade has brought about challenges and opportunities for Afghanistan, Australia and their bilateral relationship. New engagement opportunities in trade, security, culture, education and politics will deepen our friendship for the years to come. Through our two countries’ shared history of the cameleers, Afghanistan and Australia are expanding their understanding of each other's culture and people. 2021 is bound to be another fruitful year for our friendship, with more in-person events and people-to-people exchanges possible. The Embassy would like to thank all who have supported it and Afghanistan throughout this difficult yet productive year and those who make the bright future of Afghan-Australian relations, focussed on our shared values, possible.
KABUL – The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan welcomes the OIC standing by the people and Government of Afghanistan with its Resolutions 4/47-POL on Situation on Afghanistan, 4/47-POL on Crimes of Daesh and 5/45-POL on Regional Initiatives in Support of Afghanistan, all adopted during the 47th Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OIC meeting held on the 27th and 28th November in the Niamey, Niger.
The OIC called on the Ulema and religious institutions across its members states to declare the war against the Muslim state and people of Afghanistan illegitimate and call for the support of the peace talks. Reflecting collective support of the Islamic states for the Afghan peace talks, these resolutions explicitly welcomed the start of the Afghan peace talks and commended the Afghan Government’s good will gesture of the release of the Taliban prisoners.
Condemning the recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan - particularly those targeting civilians such as the recent attack in Bamyan, Kabul University, Kosar training centre and the maternity hospital in Kabul - the OIC called on the Taliban to reduce violence and agree to an immediate ceasefire.
The OIC has, as an institution, reiterated its full support and commitment to the peace talks in Afghanistan and has asked the international community to do the same. It specifically asked states to support an Afghan owned inclusive peace process, to reach a political solution based on the renunciation of violence, cutting ties with terrorist groups, preservation and advancement of the Afghanistan’s democratic, political and socio-economic and development achievements of the past 19 years and respect of the Afghan Constitution – benefiting all Afghans.
The OIC restated its support to the Afghan Government in its efforts to bring peace, both through the peace talks and through the work of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in their fight against terrorism. The OIC welcomed the successful renewal of the partnership between the international community and Afghanistan through the 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva, especially in ensuring economic and social development in Afghanistan.
The OIC and its members state documented their support of various regional economic and infrastructure initiatives that aim to enhance corporation between Afghanistan and its neighbours. These include the trans-Afghanistan railway project, TAPI Mega project and CASA 1000 regional power project.
The Government of Afghanistan appreciates the OIC resolutions and values them as the refection of the collective Islamic international community’s viewpoint. The Government of Afghanistan is looking forward to working closely with the OIC and its members states in order for the contents of these resolution to be put in practice.
KEY POINTS OIC RESOLUTIONS ON AFGHANISTAN
The 47th Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OIC on 27-28 November 2020 passed three resolutions on Afghanistan:
- Resolution 4/47-POL on the Situation in Afghanistan,
- Resolution 44/47-POL on Crimes of Daesh, and
- Resolution 5/47-POL on the Regional Initiatives in Support of Afghanistan
- OIC welcomed the start of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiation in Doha on 12 September 2020 and all efforts undertaken by the government of Afghanistan, in collaboration with its regional and international partners to end the decades-long conflict through negotiations with the Taliban;
- It commended the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s effortsto start peace negotiations with Taliban by releasing over 6,000 Taliban prisoners following the ratifications of prisoner release by the Peace Consultative Loya Jirga in August 2020.
- It condemned in strongest terms the continued violence and the recent terrorist attacks against civilians including the recent attack in Bamyan, the attack on Kabul University, Kosar Training Centre and the Kabul maternity Hospital killing and wounding many innocent and peaceful civilian people;
- It called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to allow for an effective antiCOVID19 campaign and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the war and disastersaffected people as well as supporting confidence building and sustaining an enabling environment for the peace talks to succeed;
- OIC called upon all OIC member states and their religious scholars and institutions to add their voice to declare the war against the Muslim state and people of Afghanistan illegitimate, that the violence is political and has no Islamic justification and to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and support the peace process.
- OIC reiterated its full support and expressed its readiness to extend all necessary
- OIC called on Member States and the international community to support the Afghan led and Afghan owned inclusive peace and reconciliation process to reach a political solution that is based on the principals of renunciation of violence, cutting ties with all terrorists groups, preservation and advancement of Afghanistan's democratic, political, socio-economic and development achievements of the past 19 years and respect for the Afghan Constitution which represents the legitimate interests of all Afghans for a peaceful, stable and democratic Afghanistan.
- OIC expressed its support for the Afghan government and its armed forces in the fight against terrorism, welcomed the Afghan government initiatives and efforts in fighting all terrorist groups, including Daesh, and called on the member states to assist in rehabilitating liberated areas destroyed by Deash;
- OIC reaffirmed its strong support for the Government of the Islamic Republic of
- OIC expressed its solidarity with and full support to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in its efforts to bring peace, security and inclusive economic development for the Afghan people during the transformation decade from 2015 to 2024;
- OIC urged the Member States and the International Community to continue their vigorous support and assistance to the government of Afghanistan and its struggle against terrorism;
- OIC welcomed the successful conclusion of the 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva, held on 23-24 November 2020, and supporting its communique for the renewal of partnership between the international community and Afghanistan for peace building, state building and market building in Afghanistan.
- OIC supported efforts by the international donor community, including members of OIC, to support the successful implementation of the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework-II (ANPDF-II) and Afghanistan Partnership
- OIC stressed the importance of continued international donor support to the government of Afghanistan for implementation of its pro-poor and inclusive socioeconomic programmes based on its ANPDF-II as agreed at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva.
- OIC expressed its deep appreciation to countries, in particular the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran for hosting a large number of Afghan refugees and acknowledges the huge burden they have shouldered in this regard;
- OIC called on Member States to protect the rights of the Afghan refugees and avoid their recruitment or use for any kind of political or military purposes.
- OIC encourages its Member States to support the initiatives aimed at enhancing cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbors;
- OIC welcomed the efforts of the Governments of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan to implement the Mazar-e-Sharif – Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Jalalabad railway projects. The implementation of these projects will play an extremely important role in regional connectivity, economic integration and prosperity;
- OIC expressed strong support for TAPI Mega Project as a cornerstone for regional cooperation, aiming at promoting regional economic and social development that virtually connects Central Asia with South Asia, which will help in establishing peace and security in Afghanistan as well as in neighboring countries.
- OIC congratulated the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for successful launching of the implementation phase of Central Asia South Asia 1000-Megawatt Power regional project (CASA1000).
The 2020 Afghanistan Conference was a ministerial pledging conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Afghanistan and Finland with the United Nations, took place from 23–24 November. The quadrennial pledging conference was an important opportunity for Afghanistan and the international community to commit to common objectives for promoting sustainable development, prosperity and peace in the country.
A central aim of the conference was to determine shared development objectives and commitments for the period 2021–24 for the Afghan government and the international community.
The shared development objectives will guide development cooperation and provide financial support for Afghanistan. In addition to the pledges of financial support, a new development framework, a joint political declaration and a new aid architecture supporting Afghanistan’s development needs and priorities are the outcomes of the conference.
2020 Afghanistan Conference Communiqué
The 2020 Afghanistan Conference took place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva with participants from 66 countries and 32 international organisations. The Conference was held in a virtual format and it was cohosted by the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Government of Finland and the United Nations. The event took place under extraordinary circumstances, at the beginning of the final four-year cycle of the Transformation Decade, shortly after the start of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations and during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Conference, the participants renewed their long-term commitment to support Afghanistan in seizing this historic opportunity on its path towards peace, prosperity and self-reliance and to continue efforts for the benefit of all Afghans. The participants committed to reconvene to review progress and pledges at a Senior Officials Meeting in 2021 and in a Ministerial Meeting in 2022.
1. We, the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (hereafter called the Afghan Government) and the international community along with other partners underline our commitment to establish a renewed partnership to strengthen a sovereign, unified, democratic and peaceful Afghanistan that is on a path towards prosperity and self-reliance for the benefit of all Afghans. Under this partnership, we welcome the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework II and the Afghanistan Partnership Framework and undertake to be mutually accountable in supporting the efforts of the Afghan people to achieve tangible results in the field of peace-building, state-building and market-building.
2. We acknowledge the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for lasting peace and an end to the war, and recognize that a sustainable peace can be achieved only through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process that is internationally supported. We call for earnest efforts by all to realize lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
3. In keeping with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2513, we welcome the start of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations on September 12, 2020, aiming for an inclusive political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive peace. We further welcome the efforts of all regional and international partners of Afghanistan in this regard and recognize the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan and of all other Afghan actors, including the two negotiating teams in facilitating the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations. We acknowledge that significant progress in the peace negotiations in the spirit of the United Nations Security Council resolution 2513 is a key factor for the delisting within the United Nations Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1988(2011).
4. We call for an inclusive and meaningful peace process with the participation of women, youth and ethnic, religious and other minorities. We affirm that any political settlement must protect the rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and minorities. It should respect the strong desire of Afghans to achieve durable peace and prosperity, and must respond to the strong desire of Afghans to sustain and build on the economic, social, political and development gains achieved since 2001, including adherence to the rule of law, respect for Afghanistan’s international obligations, and improving inclusive and accountable governance.
5. We underscore the importance of the Afghan Government’s efforts, which the international community is committed to support, to fulfil its commitment to a unified, sovereign, peaceful and democratic Afghanistan. We emphasize the need for a meaningful role for civil society, including the independent media, in this process. While respecting the sovereign right of the Afghan people to decide on the nature of the future political settlement, we underscore that the outcome, as outlined in paragraph four, above, will shape the future of international support and assistance.
6. We highlight that international development assistance and South-South cooperation bear great importance to Afghanistan’s economic and social development. We call on the international community to continue their financial support to Afghanistan, with the aim of helping Afghan people to achieve peace, reconstruction and development at an early date.
7. We acknowledge that security and stability are vital to sustainable development. We express deep concern about the continuing high level of violence and the security situation in Afghanistan, especially the number of civilian casualties and call for an immediate permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, and full respect of International Humanitarian Law.
8. We further express deep concern about the threat posed by terrorism to Afghanistan and the region, express serious concern over the continuing presence of ISIL, Al-Qaida as well as other international terrorist organizations and their affiliated groups in Afghanistan. We condemn in the strongest terms all terrorist activity and all terrorist attacks and reaffirm the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used by ISIL, Al-Qaida or other international terrorist groups to threaten or attack any other country, and that neither the Taliban nor any other Afghan entity, group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any country.
9. We emphasize the importance of supporting the Afghan Government in capacity building, in particular of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) including the Afghan National Police (ANP) in securing their country and in their fight against terrorism.
10. We stress the important role and long-term commitment of the United Nations in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and welcome UNAMA’s ongoing efforts in the implementation of mandated tasks.
11. In the spirit of mutual accountability, we underscore the importance of the Afghan Government’s actions and the commitment from the international community to support the efforts of the Government in fulfilling its commitments to improve governance and the rule of law, including transitional justice as an essential component of the ongoing peace process, budget execution and the fight against corruption throughout the country.
12. We highlight the importance of regional cooperation, with a view to promoting stability and peace, as well as assisting Afghanistan in utilizing its unique geopolitical and geographical position as a land bridge to promote regional cooperation and connectivity, based on transparency, openness and inclusiveness with the aim of enhancing dialogue and collaboration to advance shared goals of economic development across the region.
13. We express concern over the cultivation, production, trade and trafficking of illicit drugs in Afghanistan which continue to pose a threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond, and call upon the Afghan Government and the international community to strengthen efforts to counter this threat through international, regional and sub-regional cooperation.
14. We acknowledge the economic development achieved by Afghanistan with the support of the international community in the past years, notably through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) and recall the critical role the private sector, revenue generation and a conducive business climate, that includes the participation of women, will continue to play in this regard. We highlight the need for renewed vigour in implementing economic reforms and undertake to renew our long-term support and assistance to the Afghan people in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
15. We call for all relevant parties to work closely to facilitate the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return, rehabilitation and reintegration of the Afghan refugees and express appreciation to those regional countries, in particular Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, that continue to host them.
16. We further call for continued cooperation between the Afghan Government, international partners, and neighbouring countries to stem irregular migration through enhanced collaborative efforts to fight migrants smuggling and human trafficking networks.
17. We note that humanitarian aid will continue to be needed for the foreseeable future and access of humanitarian actors must be ensured throughout the country in full abidance to humanitarian principles.
18. We recognize the profound challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, and their impact on Afghanistan and the well-being of its citizens, notably women, and express continued readiness to support the Afghan people towards a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable recovery.
19. We look forward to a Senior Officials Meeting in 2021 and a biennial ministerial meeting in 2022 to review progress as Afghanistan is approaching the end of its Transformation Decade.
24 November 2020, Palais des Nations, Geneva
KABUL – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan considers the report by the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force on violations of the Law of Armed Conflicts by some Australian special forces in Afghanistan, released today by the Australian Chief of the Defence Force, a necessary step towards ensuring transparency and implementing legal processes as well as ensuring justice and addressing the cases of illegal conduct.
The Prime Minister of Australia, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence and the Australian Chief of Defence Force sent official letters to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense, the National Security Adviser and the Chief of Staff of the Afghan Army, acknowledging the report and expressing their disgust and aversion to those violations of the Law of Armed Conflicts by members of the Australian special forces in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016. On behalf of the Government and People of Australia, they apologized to both the people and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for these violations, and assured the Government of Afghanistan of their compliance with the recommendations of the Afghanistan Inquiry, providing justice and compensation to the families of the victims.
While the Government and the people of Afghanistan are grateful for the full and continued support of the Australian Government over the past 19 years, it, in unison with the Australian Government, strongly condemns these violations and considers them indefensible, and deems the publication of the report and the appointment of a Special Investigator to address these incidents, as important steps towards achieving justice.
The Government of Afghanistan appreciates the expression of regret and sympathy by the Australian authorities and for their condolences to the people of Afghanistan, and thanks them for their reassurance to the Afghan Government that they will provide the victims of these incidents with reparations. Both Governments will work closely together to ensure that the recommendations of the Afghanistan Inquiry are met, justice is provided and compensation is paid to the victims.
On the 2nd of November 2020, a heinous and terrible attack occurred against the people of Afghanistan. Gunmen terrorists attacked Kabul University, killing and injuring students and staff. This disgraceful attack targets not only the lives of the Afghan people, but their hope, freedom and future. By targeting Afghanistan’s brightest centre of learning, the perpetrators of this horrible act are trying to take away Afghanistan’s brightest emerging minds, that will in the future lead the country to peace, prosperity and tolerance.
The condemnation of this terrible attacks has been unanimous from all corners of the world, decrying the evil motives of those responsible and supporting the Afghan people and government in these trying times. We thank all those who have graciously sent us their condolences, displayed below, and endeavour to seek justice for the crimes committed against our country.
"Australia joins the world in condemning the terrorist attack at Kabul University. As Afghanistan observes a Day of Mourning, our thoughts are with families & friends of those killed. The people of Afghanistan deserve a future free from violence."
Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Foreign Minister and Minister for Women
"The High Comission of the Republic of Fiji in Canberra conveys on behalf of His Excellency Major-General (Ret'd) Jioji Konusi Konrote, President, the Government and the people of the Republic of fiji deepest condolence and sympathy in respect of the loss of lives and injuries sustained as a result of the terrorist attack on Kabul University on 2 November 2020."
The High Comission of the Republic of Fiji, Canberra
"On behalf of the NSW Legislative Assembly, I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of those killed and injured by the terrorist attack that occurred at Kabul University on 2 November 2020."
The Hon. Jonathan O’Dea MP, Speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly
“We are saddened to receive the news that many people have lost their lives and many were injured in the heinous terrorist attack at Kabul University on November 02, 2020. We wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives, swift recovery to the injured and convey our condolences to the friendly and brotherly people and Government of Afghanistan. We are deeply concerned about the recent increase in the number of terrorist acts targeting civilians as well as educational institutions and religious sites.”
Embassy of Turkey, Canberra
“The Embassy of Mexico presents its compliments to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and has the sad duty to express, on behalf of the People and Government of Mexico, its deepest sympathies and condolences to the People and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for the tragic loss of at least 22 people and the injury of others during the brutal and disgraceful assault by a gunman at Kabul University on the 2nd of November. The Embassy of Mexico avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the assurances of its highest consideration.”
Embassy of Mexico, Canberra
“We start in the name of Allah, praise be to Allah the Lord of the worlds, the Eternal and Everlasting One Who is attributed with Life without annihilation. May Allah increase the honour of our Master Muhammad, his kind Al and companions and protect his nation from what he fears for them. As Chairman of Darulfatwa - The Islamic High Council of Australia, my board and member representatives of over twenty Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Muslim organizations in Australia, we whole heartedly and with great sorrow on this sad occasion deliver a message of condolence and supplication to the families and loved ones of those who perished in the horrifying attack by terrorists on Kabul University. This cowardly ISIS claimed attack, took the innocent lives of at least 22 mostly students and 22 others were severely injured. We offer our sincere condolences for the deceased, asking Allah for all those injured a complete and speedy recovery, and for their relatives and dear ones a recompense in their calamity. With sincere condolences,”
Prof. Sheikh Salim Alwan Al-Hussayni, Chairman, Darulfatwa Australia
“I am very sad to learn about the dozens of students lost their life in horrific terrorist attack at Kabul University and dozens are injured. I would like to express my sincere condolences to their families as well as people and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. I wish the speedy recovery of those injured. Nepal strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,
committed by whoever and for whatsoever purposes.”
Mahesh Raj Dahal, Ambassador, Embassy of Nepal, Canberra
“On behalf of the Government of New Zealand, I wish to send our heartfelt condolences the friendly people of Afghanistan, and in particular the families of the victims. New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, particularly attacks which target innocent civilians. New Zealand stands in solidarity with you and we wish the injured a speedy recovery. Me te aroha tino nui atu.”
Stuart Horne, Divisional Manager, Middle East and Africa Division, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Wellington
“We strongly condemn this heinous terrorist attack on the innocent young students and convey our deepest condolences. May the Almighty grant bereaved families strength to face this tragedy with courage and fortitude. India stand firmly with the friendly and brotherly people of Afghanistan at this time of grief and sorrow.
A. Gitesh Sharma, High Commissione, Indian High Commission, Canberra
"On behalf of the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people, please convey my deepest condolences to the Government and the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the loss of 22, mostly, students. Also, please convey our sympathy with the families of those students who have been severely injured, during the brutal and terrorist attack on Kabul University on November 2020. Our prayers and thought are with the families of the victims in these sad moments and our best wishes for a speedy recovery of the injured ones.
Izzat Abdulhadi, Ambassador of the State of Palestine, The Head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, Canberra
On behalf of the Embassy of the United States of America in Canberra we offer our heartfelt condolences following the recent terror attack at Kabul University and the loss of 22 innocent lives. The thoughts of the entire U.S. Mission in Australia are with the families of the victims, the injured and the people of Kabul at this difficult time.”
Protocol Office, U.S. Embassy, Canberra
“On behalf of the European Union and personally I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy for the victims of the cruel terrorist attack on Kabul University. The European Union strongly condemns this vicious assault, targeting young students who studied to work for a better future for themselves and their country Afghanistan. We fully support all efforts to hold these perpetrators to account. My thoughts are with the families of the victims.”
Dr Michael Pulch, Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to Australia, Canberra
“On behalf of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, I wish to express our sincere condolences on the most tragic death of Innocent students and send our best wishes to those who have been severely injured by this senseless and brutal assault by terrorists on Kabul University. We mourn with the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on this very sad day.
Dr Hass Dellal AO, Executive Director, Australian Multicultural Foundation
“On behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Malta, I express my deepest sympathy and condolences to the Government and People of Afghanistan, for the young lives that were lost and those who were injured during the terrorist attack at the Kabul University on 2 November 2020. Our solidarity and prayers are with them in this time of reckoning and grief.”
Charles Muscat, High Commissioner, Maltese High Commission, Canberra
“Dear Embassy and the public of Afghanistan living both within Australia and overseas, I write to offer my deepest condolences to all those affected by this horrifying terrorist attack at Kabul University on the 2nd November 2020. There is nothing more horrifying than sending off your children or loved ones to pursue their educations only to learn that due to inhumane and barbaric behaviour that has no place in our society, they will never return home once more. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected during this difficult time. Yours sincerely,”
Julia Finn MP, State Member for Granville
“On behalf of the Faculty of Arts, Monash University, we are greatly saddened by the devastating news of the recent terror attacks on Kabul University in Afghanistan. Please find our message of condolences to be included in the Book of Condolences. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all.”
Professor Sharon Pickering, Dean of Arts, Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Melbourne
“On behalf of the Embassy of France, please receive our condolences following the horrific terrorist attack at Kabul University. Our thoughts go to the victims’ families and loved ones and we wish those injured a speedy recovery. France stands in solidarity with the Afghan people and authorities at this difficult time.”
Julie Le Saos, Chargé d’affaires a.i., Embassy of France, Canberra
“Sincere Condolences from Fred in Kabul. More pointless killings from men with small minds.”
Fred Smith, Artist
“I am deeply saddened that young people studying for a better future for their country were subjected to this violence. My condolences to students and staff of the University for this tragedy.”
Melissa Conley Tyler, Research Fellow, Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne
“My heartfelt condolences to you and the people of Afghanistan following the dreadful news of multiples deaths and injuries following a brutal assault by gunmen terrorists on Kabul University. Such barbaric actions are intolerable at any time, and even more horrific when the targets are innocent young people in a place of learning. My thoughts are with you and your country.”
Julian Hill MP, Federal Member for Bruce
“My heartfelt condolences on the loss of my beloved Afghan young boys and girls over a terrorist attack at Kabul University, leaving 22 people killed and 22+ wounded in the capital city. This attack and the one before such as killing innocent babies prior they open their eyes in this world reminds us that terror and terrorist have reached the highest level of aggression, the proxy war, and the most inhuman way to kill innocent Muslim under the name of Islam that they possibly could. Once again I pray to the soul of the lost ones and wish a quick recovery to the injured.”
Fahim Hashimy, Film Maker, Adelaide
“Please accept my humble condolences for the cowardly attack on innocent Afghan students by terrorists who for decades have inflicted so much needless suffering on people of all faiths around the world. Nothing can bring back the lives that these misguided individuals have taken away. I can only say that people of goodwill feel deeply for you in this terrible time. These murders underline once again the urgent need for a collective response by Western nations, and others, to the ongoing instability that is afflicting so many nations around the world, and the injustices the come with it. We have made many mistakes in the past, but wiser, more humane responses, now and in the future, can help to heal this pain, and make the world a better place for all of us.
Dr Christopher Kremmer Senior Lecturer & Student Integrity Adviser, School of the Arts & Media, UNSW, Sydney
“The Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Canberra presents its compliments to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Canberra and on the occasion of a tragic death of the innocent people, due to a brutal assault on Kabul University, is offering its deepest condolences. May the God give peace to their souls. Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan during this very sad moments. The Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Canberra avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Canberra the assurances of its highest consideration.”
Embassy of the Republic of Serbia, Canberra
“Please accept my sincere condolences to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan following the atrocity at Kabul University. My thoughts are with all those impacted by this cowardly attack.”
Councillor Christine Forster, City of Sydney
“Please accept my condolences in respect of the tragic loss of life at Kabul University. It is deeply saddening to see this act of mindless brutality, particularly at a place of learning which should be a source of growth and flourishing young minds. I am of course aware of the very long struggle in Afghanistan for peace and stability and I support you in this endeavour. Your nation is one with a diverse and proud heritage, and enormous potential; and your country is one of truly outstanding beauty. I also want to recognise your heartfelt support for the people of Christchurch when we suffered an equally brutal attack – showing that we must be alert to terror and extremism everywhere. I look forward to continuing to support you in your work to build relationships for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan”
Dr Duncan Webb MP, Christchurch
“We were shocked and saddened by news of this brutal attack. The loss of students’ lives is especially painful: the future that was theirs has been torn from them. Our hearts go out to al, our Afghan friends, and especially to the families who have lost their loved ones.”
Jan and Ric Smith
“As one who first visited Kabul University in 1995 and has lectured there frequently, I share the grief of those who mourn the loss of loved ones in the atrocity of 2 November 2020. May their families and friends find strength in these dark times.”
Professor William Maley, AM FASSA FAIIA
“Our sincere, heartfelt condolences goes to the families of all affected by this terrible act of terror. Our hearts aches to hear this news. While we condemn this barbaric act of terror, our prayer goes to all people affected.”
Saviz Savisyar, CEO/Founder, Bizspot Platform
“On behalf of the International Organization of Migration (IOM) in Canberra, I would like to express our deepest condolences on the tragic loss of lives during the recent assault at the Kabul University.
On behalf of all IOM staff I send our deepest condolences to their families and to the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at this difficult time.”
Pär Liljert, Chief of Mission – Australia; Coordinator & Advisor for New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific, International Organization for Migration, Canberra
“On behalf of the Embassy of the State of Kuwait, I would like to convey my utmost heartfelt condolences to the government of Afghanistan and to the families of the deceased. We are very sad to hear of such an atrocious attack on the young and innocent students which is a loss to many. I convey my condolences again and pray for those innocent students/citizens of Afghanistan and hope their families get through these tough times.”
Mohammed Al-Oraifan, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the State of Kuwait, Canberra
“The Embassy of Ecuador offers its sincerest condolences to the victims and their families of the brutal attack on Kabul University. The Embassy of Ecuador expresses its hope for a quick recovery of those injured by the attack. Ecuador stands with the people of Afghanistan during this time.”
Embassy of Ecuador, Canberra
“On behalf of the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Canberra, kindly accept my heartful condolences following the passing away of the innocent students at Kabul University, and speedy recovery for the wounded. I would like to extend my deepest sorrow and sympathy to their families, friends and the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. May their souls rest in peace.”
Adli Alkhaledi, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Jordan, Canberra
“On behalf of the High Commission of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and on my own behalf, I strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack on the Kabul University. Our thoughts and prayers are for those who lost valuable lives and the injured. We express solidarity with the Afghan people in this hour of sorrow and grief. Our heartfelt condolences for the members of the bereaved families and of those who lost lives and the injured. Pakistan would continue to support Afghan efforts for building peace and security in their country.”
Babar Amin, High Commissioner, High Commission of I.R. Pakistan, Canberra
“On behalf of the Embassy and Government of Norway, let me express my most profound and deep condolences to the Embassy and people and government of Afghanistan for the terrible loss of innocent lives in the cowardly terrorist attack on Kabul University students. Norway will continue to stand in solidarity with the women and men of Afghanistan against extremism and the forces of violence and terror, also as a member of NATO and the UN Security Council.”
Paul G. Larsen, Ambassador, Embassy of Norway, Canberra
“On behalf of the staff of the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus and my own behalf, please accept our sincere condolences for the brutal assault by gunmen terrorist on Kabul University, that resulted in the death of 22 students. Please convey to the family and friends of the innocent students our deepest sympathy. Our prayers and thoughts are with the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, these very tragic and difficult times. May their memory be eternal.”
Martha Mavrommatis, High Commissioner, High Commission of Cyprus, Canberra
“On behalf of the Staff at Embassy of Libya and on my own, I would like to offer my deep condolences to the government and people of Afghanistan as well as the families of the innocent victims who were killed due to the sad attack on Kabul University.”
Ali Burawi, Counsellor, Libyan Embassy, Canberra
“On behalf of the government and people of Iraq, I would like to extend my deep condolences and sympathies to Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Afghan nation for the horrific terrorist attack that targeted innocent souls in Kabul University. Iraq stands besides Afghanistan in these difficult times, and shares the grief of your people. May ALLAH Almighty rest their souls in peace and grant recovery for the injured.”
Haidar Al-Dahlaki, Counselor/Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq, Canberra
“As Special Representative for Afghanistan, my sincere condolences on behalf of the Australian Government. The murderous attack on the students and staff of Kabul University on 2 November have shocked us all, even as violence against the people of Afghanistan continues at an intolerable rate – while everyone hopes for progress in the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations. Terrorism against education, in the name of religion, is evil. Our hearts go out to the wounded, and to the families of those killed. May they rest in peace.”
Ian Biggs, Assistant Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra
“On behalf of the Russian Embassy in Australia I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the Government and the people of Afghanistan. It was a cowardly and hideous terrorist act. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the bereaved families.”
Alexei Pavlovsky, Ambassador, Russian Embassy, Canberra
“Timor-Leste expresses its deepest condolences to the people of Afghanistan for the loss of lives from such horrific acts of violence. We sincerely hope that peace can be restored in your country.”
Ines Almeida, Ambassador, Embassy of Timor-Leste, Canberra
“I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible terrorist attack at the Kabul University and wish those injured a speedy recovery. Poland condemns all forms of violence and extreme actions contradicting the idea of understanding and tolerance.Please accept our deepest sympathy and solidarity.”
Michał Kołodziejski, Ambassador, Polish Embassy, Canberra
“On behalf of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, the Venezuelan government and its people, we convey to you our deepest condolences to the government and people of the brotherly Afghanistan on the brutal assault by gunmen terrorists on Kabul University and join you in the mourning of the Afghan nation. We also express our words of solidarity and deep respect to the families of the 22 students that were killed and the 22 severely injured.
Daniel Gasparri Rey, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Venezuela, Canberra
“On behalf of the High Commission of Sri Lanka, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved families who lost their loved ones and affected by the brutal terrorist attack in Kabul University on 2nd Nov. 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with the government and the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan during this hour of grief.”
D.D.M Senarath B. Dissanayake, Acting High Commissioner, High Commission of Sri Lanka, Canberra
“On behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I render sincere condolences to the government of great nation of brother country Afghanistan. Definitely, this terrorist attack to Kabul University is condemned and the perpetrators should be trialed. I beseech Allah Almighty the lofty position for the martyrs and patience for the families of the martyrs.”
Dr Mohammed Powrnajaf, First Counsellor, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Canberra
“On behalf of the High Commission of Kenya in Canberra, I wish to convey our message of condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims, the people and the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for the loss of innocent lives following the heinous attack by gunmen terrorists on Kabul University. Kenya stands in solidarity with Afghanistan and condemns with the strongest terms the heinous attack. We wish those injured a speedy recovery.”
Betty Chemoiwa, Counsellor, Kenyan High Commission, Canberra
“The whole Georgia was shocked and deeply saddened over the horrific terrorist act committed by a gunman at the Kabul University which took the lives of 22 students and injured many. We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks which represent the gravest crime against humanity and target world peace. We truly share the grief of the friendly Afghan people. Prayers and thoughts of the Georgian people are with families and all affected by this tragedy. Please accept my sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathy.”
George Dolidze, Ambassador, Georgian Embassy, Canberra
“I would like to express my most sincere condolences on behalf of the UK government. This loss of life is a tragedy and such acts of violence must not prevail. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Afghanistan and the families and friends of those who perished or whose lives have been immeasurably changed. We must all continue to uphold our values in the fact of acts of terrorism.”
Ingrid Southworth, Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Canberra
“We strongly condemn the deadly assault at Kabul University. Our deep condolences to the Embassy, People and Government of brotherly and friendly Afghanistan. We wish fast recovery to all injured and express our solidarity with friendly Afghanistan Embassy.”
Ramil Gourbanov, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Canberra
“I want to express my sincerely condolences for the tragic loss of life in the attack at Kabul University. Such attacks on youth seeking education are an outrage and incomprehensible. Our thoughts and prayers go to the people and government of Afghanistan.
Mark Glauser, High Commissioner, High Commission of Canada, Canberra
“On behalf of the people and the Government of the ACT I wish to express my sincere condolences on the loss of the lives of the 22 students of the Kabul University on the 2nd November 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and with those injured in the attack.
Brendan Smyth, ACT Commissioner for International Engagement, Canberra
“On behalf of the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I condemn this terrorist attack against the youth and the people of brotherly Afghanistan in the strongest terms. The ISIS is the enemy of mankind, Islam and peace. The enemy of Afghanistan is the enemy of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well. We know what is it like to have killed dozens of people in a second. Bosnia knows and cries.”
Mirza Hajric, Ambassador, Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canberra
“On behalf of the Officers and Staff of the High Commission of Malaysia in Canberra, I extend our deepest condolences to the Government and the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the terrible loss of lives in the cowardly attack at Kabul University. May Allah the Almighty place them among the chosen ones.”
Mohd Fareed Zakaria, Acting High Commissioner, High Commission of Malaysia, Canberra
“In the name of the People and Government of the Republic of the Sudan, let me offer my sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to you over the innocent students who were killed in a brutal assault, and May they rest in peace. “
Ahmed Farah, Counsellor/Chargé D'affaires, Embassy of Sudan, Canberra
“I extend my deepest condolences, sympathies, and heartfelt solidarity to the families of the victims and all who have been affected by this despicable act of terror at Kabul University. I resolutely condemn all acts of terrorism and cannot help but feel strong indignation to those responsible for this heinous crime. This act of cowardice was an attack on humankind’s endeavour to discover. It will not succeed. Please accept my sincerest condolences to the people of Afghanistan, especially to the families of those who died in the attack.”
Lachlan J. Evans
“On behalf of all the staff and students at Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre please accept our deepest condolences for the tragic loss of students and teachers in the terrible attacks at Kabul University. We were extremely sad to learn that three Afghans for Progressive Thinking (APT) debate club members lost their lives in these attacks. Our youth debating series with APT this year, ‘Toward Inclusive Peace’ has been the bright star in amidst a global pandemic and the peace process in Afghanistan. It has been so inspiring for us and for our Monash students to debate with Afghan young leaders. We remain steadfast in our solidarity with Afghanistan and our commitment to promoting youth leadership, gender equality and peace. Below colleagues from Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre share their messages with the Afghan community, especially the family members, work colleagues and friends of those killed and maimed at Kabul University.”
Professor Jacqui True, Monash University, Melbourne
“Words cannot describe how devastated I am for you having lost your colleagues and friends under these horrific circumstances. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Please continue your fight for justice and peace in Afghanistan in their honour, as it is what they would have wanted you to do.”
Dr. Alexandra Phelan, Monash University, Melbourne
“I am so sorry for the devastating loss of life at Kabul University, including those who were at the forefront of advocating for peace, tolerance and inclusion. I hope the memory of what they stood for and paved the way for - within and beyond Afghanistan - helps to console you in your darkest hours. We stand with you in love and solidarity and our thoughts and prayers will remain with you.”
Dr. Eleanor Gordon, Monash University, Melbourne
“These young lives were lost to the enemies of peace and justice. We deeply grieve with their families whose only comfort can be our commitment not to forget their sacrifice, and to continue to do all we can to support those struggling to end such atrocities in Afghanistan.”
Professor Sharman Stone, Monash University, Melbourne
“To the academics, students and affected families of Kabul University, I am sending my sincerest condolences, solidarity and outrage. Words are not enough to convey our sorrow but know that we are standing with you,”
Dr. Samanthi Gunawardana, Monash University, Melbourne
“Innalillahi wainailaihi roojiun. I express my deepest condolences to the tragedy that befell 22 students of Kabul University. The incident was an extraordinary crime against humanity. However, hopefully the university academic community and the victims' families will remain steadfast and have the spirit to build peace in Afghanistan.”
Ms Irine Hiraswari Gayatri, PhD candidate, Monash University, Melbourne
“I would like to send my condolences to the family of the brutal attacks’ victims. I feel so sad that we have lost these brilliant youngsters because of the inhumane attack. The memory of their enthusiasm and progressive minds will always be remembered and hopefully inspire others to keep on fighting for peace and better security in Afghanistan and the world. It was an honour to see their bright ideas during the policy debates held by APT, Monash GPS and MIAS. It is so sad that we have to lose these bright hopes for the future due to the unspeakable brutality. Monash GPS is also mourning as they are the part of our community, a community focusing on human rights and gender equality issues.”
Ms. Nuri Widiastuti Veronika, PhD candidate, Monash University, Melbourne
“My heartfelt sympathies with our fellow students and colleagues at Kabul University, and the families of those who lost their lives in this tragic event. So deeply saddened and shocked. Thinking of everyone affected.”
Ms. Susanne Kozak, PhD Candidate, Monash University, Melbourne
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the horrific attacks at Kabul University. On behalf of the PhD students at Monash GPS, please accept our sincerest condolences and know that our thoughts are with you through this difficult time.”
Monash GPS PhD student cohort, Monash University, Melbourne
“I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the families and community of the victims of the brutal attack. As an individual that has had much experience with violence and brutality from my own country context and as part of the Monash GPS that strives for the rights and human security of all people, I am deeply saddened by this incident and hope those who lost their lives would forever be remembered.”
Ms. Nedha de Silva, PhD candidate, Monash University, Melbourne
“The Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines presents its compliments to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Australia and has the honor to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to all those affected by terror attack on Kabul University on 03 November 2020. The Philippine Government joins the international community in condemning all acts of terrorism. Our prayers are with the Government of Afghanistan and your people during this difficult time. The Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Australia the assurances of its highest consideration.”
Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Canberra
“The High Commission of the Republic of Ghana presents its compliments to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and on the sad occasion of the passing away and injury of students during an attack on Kabul University and has the honour to convey to the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the affected families, sincere condolences of the Government and People of the Republic of Ghana. The Acting High Commissioner and the entire Staff of the High Commission of the Republic of Ghana stand in solidarity with the Staff of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in these difficult times. The High Commission of the Republic of Ghana avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the assurances of its highest consideration.”
High Commission of the Republic of Ghana, Canberra
“On behalf of the People and Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I wish to express our deepest condolence to the families who lost their loved ones in Afghanistan during a brutal assault by gunmen terrorists on Kabul University during study hours on 2nd November 2020 and killed 22 students and others severely injured. May this sad event be prevented from re-occurrence and the souls of the departed rest in peace.”
H.T. Abang, Minister Counsellor, Nigerian High Commission, Canberra
“I would like to extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and all who have been affected by this horrific and senseless shooting on Kabul University on the 2nd November 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the people of Afghanistan during this sad time.”
Carl Popal, Executive Chairman, Eclipse Metals Ltd, Perth.
"Condolences to the victims, their families, fellow students and academic staff at Kabul University, who have been affected by the terrorism attacks in Oct-Nov 2020."
Peace Build, the ACT non-profit organisation
"Sincerest condolences on that tragic occasion, praying for the blessing of the souls of those who were killed and speedy recovery for the injured, and wishing Afghanistan and its people the best of stability and prosperity."
Ambassador Milad Raad, Embassy of Lebenon in Australia
"Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains." - Kahlil Gibran. Our souls are hardened of pain on hearing of the two tragic incidents in educational centres in less than two weeks. I fall short of words to express my sorrow for the tens of innocent lives lost and injured. In these difficult times, our thoughts and prayers are with all the fellow compatriot families; may the Almighty grant his soul peace and all the strength to these families and our nation to face these dark times. With my heartfelt condolence and sympathy,
M. Hussain Danesh, Danesh Exchange, Dandenong, Melbourne
Afghanistan and Australia Enhanced Higher Education Cooperation on Integrated Water Resource Management
A Collaboration Agreement between Kabul Polytechnique University of Afghanistan and the International Water Centre (IWC) of Australia was signed on 6 October 2020 during a virtual teleconference held between Kabul and Canberra with attendance of officials and academic counterparts from both countries.
The signing ceremony was held few weeks after the commencement of the first Master Programme on Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in Afghanistan with collaboration of IWC and Griffith University of Australia.
Recalling the Afghan higher education delegation Australia visit in November 2018 as a stepping stone for this initiative, Ambassador Wahidullah Waissi welcomed the signing of the agreement and highlighted the importance of Master Program on IWRM as one of the most crucial areas of capacity building needs for Afghan young professionals. He hoped that the project to be fully implemented.
The Master programme has already been started on 13 September based on a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) between Kabul Polytechnic University, International Water Centre and Griffith University of Australia that was signed in Kabul on 19 July 2019.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the programme is designed in mixture format where participants will have the flexibility of both virtual and physical attendance.
Funded by Asian Development Bank and supported by Australian expertise, the program will provide higher education opportunity for dozens of Kabul Polytechnic University students and engineers from Ministry of Energy and Water of Afghanistan on IWRM by Australian and Afghan professors and experts.
The higher education cooperation between Australia and Afghanistan was better shaped since the first historic visit by H.E President of Afghanistan in April 2017 and is more focused on the key areas of economic development including mines and minerals, agriculture and dryland farming and water resource management.
The 14th of October 2020 marks the 1-year anniversary of the fantastically received and unique performance of the Zohra Orchestra in front of a packed Sydney Opera House audience. The heartfelt performance of Zohra, Afghanistan’s first entirely female musical Orchestra, in one of the world’s most distinctive and prestigious music venues, represented a new era of friendship between the Afghan and Australian peoples, and displayed the everlasting hope, resilience, and progress of Afghan culture, women and youth. The performance was part of the Embassy of Afghanistan’s celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Afghanistan-Australia relations and centenary of the reclamation of Afghan independence. We invite you to commemorate this occasion, to reflect on this brilliant display of Afghan culture and inauguration of new progress in people-to-people ties with Australia and to enjoy this performance of classical Afghan and Western music played by the emerging pioneers of the promotion of Afghan culture worldwide.
The Zohra Orchestra was created in 2015 by the founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), Dr Ahmad Sarmast, and is made up of Afghanistan’s young female musical talent playing traditional Afghan and Western instruments. ANIM was itself created in 2008 in Kabul with the goal of reigniting the enduring flame that is Afghanistan’s music, which had found itself extinguished during the cultural dark age of Taliban control. The orchestra, under Dr Sarmast’s tutelage, won in 2017 the Queen Soraya Award and Freemuse Award, and in 2018 the Montluc Résistance et Liberté Prize. The Orchestra has notably performed at the World Economic Forum, the British Museum and the University of Oxford. Its performance in the Sydney Opera House, undoubtedly the Southern Hemisphere’s most iconic musical venue, marked the first time it has hosted a performance of any Afghan group or musician.
The concert at the Sydney Opera House was a powerful event during a remarkable year for both Afghanistan-Australia relations and all Afghans worldwide. In 1919, a century before the concert, Afghanistan reclaimed its sovereignty and established itself among the global community of free and independent nations. In 1969, Afghanistan and Australia formally established diplomatic relations. However, this was not the beginning of the two countries’ long and fruitful friendship. In 1860, the first of the Afghan cameleers arrived in Australia, marking the beginning of an era of cultural exchange and exploration, as the cameleers pioneered new paths through the harsh Australian outback, linking together remote communities, charting new routes and providing the backbone of the gold rush. The Cameleers, Australia’s first Muslims lived, prayed, married and died in the outback, with their descendants carrying on their legacy even today. The performance of the Zohra Orchestra marks the present extent of Afghan-Australian cross-cultural and people-to-people ties, which have flourished and growin since 1860.
It was also an opportunity for the Australian public to experience the seldom-mentioned art of Afghan music. Afghanistan, inhabited by great civilisations spanning back thousands of years, maintains a rich and diverse tradition of music, tying together communities and cultures across the country’s mountain ranges, passes, fields, forests and deserts. From Attan in Afghanistan’s south and east, the Falak tradition among the jagged peaks of Badakhshan province to the tea-house music of the North, the diversity, uniqueness, living tradition and beauty of Afghan culture is resounding. Poetic traditions tie together the instrumental and vocal elements of the music, expressing the rich and ancient stories that music tells. The transformative and emotional power of music was also on display, one year ago, as the young female performers used music to express their identities as young Afghan women, living during hopeful, yet uncertain times.
The Zohra Orchestra’s impactful and emotive performance was testament to the vast progress that Afghan women, youth and culture has made in the past two decades. It also illustrated the absolute necessity of keeping Afghanistan’s rich culture alive and empowering the roles and voices of women in society. During the dark ages of Taliban rule, women were systematically repressed, not being allowed to develop, learn and live as basic human rights express. Music and entertainment were also banned. It is now imperative that, leading into uncertain times for Afghanistan and its people, with peace talks between the government and the Taliban underway, that the fundamental rights of women and girls are upheld. Without that, the rich cultural heritage, resolute bravery and soulful hope displayed one year ago by the members of the Zohra Orchestra may be lost forever. Their message of resilience and identity brings together the wishes of the entire Afghan people, for peace, fairness, progress and prosperity for all.
Read more about the last year's event in Australian media outlet: