Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affair of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11
Today, the world marks the twentieth anniversary of the terror attacks on the United States of America, in which thousands of innocent men, women and children lost their lives. This event followed a worldwide condemnation of al-Qaeda and those that harbour terrorists. In October 2001, the international community partnered with the people of Afghanistan to liberate the country from international terrorism and champion democracy, pluralism, human rights and fundamental freedoms and the right to self-determination.
In the past twenty-years, working together with many friends and partners in the international community, Afghanistan underwent a tremendous transformation, amidst the challenge of being the front-line State in the global fight against international terrorism.
We pay tribute to the memory of all – including the members of our heroic security forces and the military and civilian personnel of our international friends and partners - who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace, democracy, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan. To the families of all who lost their precious lives in Afghanistan: sacrifice of your sons, daughters and loved ones will be remembered.
This occasion is also a moment to recognize and honor the courage and resilience of the heroic people of Afghanistan, from all walks of life – ordinary citizens, journalists, women and youth groups, civil society and others – who played an essential role in making possible the many foundational achievements of the past twenty years. They worked and sacrificed to develop a society based on democratic values and principles, and where the people would have the liberty and opportunity to set, pursue and achieve objectives for the benefit of a more peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
On this September 11th, as we remember and honor the memory of all who lost their precious lives in the global fight against terrorism, let us also reaffirm a shared commitment to remain united against those who seek to undermine our way of life and all that the civilized world stands for.
Recent developments in Afghanistan require serious international attention to save and preserve what the thousands of international civilian and military personnel sacrificed for alongside their Afghan friends and comrades: a democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan in which the rights and freedoms of all citizens, especially women, are upheld and respected and which does not allow any safe haven for terrorism to threaten any other nation from its territories.
The recent illegal capture of power and territories in Afghanistan by the Taliban, the formation of their so-called caretaker government, the brutal suppression of political opposition and action against basic liberties of our people including freedom of speech and peaceful demonstration do not inspire confidence that Taliban will deliver on the basic expectations of the Afghan people and the international community. Upholding human rights, especially the rights of women, children and minorities, political inclusivity and counter-terrorism are the key national and international expectations on which the Taliban should be held accountable both nationally and internationally. Taliban’s failure to meet these foundational principles will undoubtedly risk prolongation of the conflict and pose serious threats to regional and international security and stability.
We call on the international community to not forget Afghanistan and help ensure that the will of the nation is upheld. At this most difficult juncture, a comprehensive political settlement, leading to the formation of a broad-based and fully inclusive government that protects and advances the rights of all Afghans and which will uphold the will of the nation, including the right to self-determination, is the only viable pathway forward.
Once again, we convey our deepest gratitude to all of our international friends and partners who have served and sacrificed for the cause of peace, democracy and pluralism in Afghanistan. Together, we can still save and preserve these noble values for which thousands of precious lives were sacrificed.
On Thursday 29th July, inter-parliamentary dialogue between Afghanistan and New Zealand was held to exchange views on shared efforts to reduce the Taliban’s current violence and call for an immediate ceasefire. Furthermore, discussions around efforts to promotes women’s meaningful representation and participation in the peace process, preserve and maintain women’s rights and build a strong foundation for an Afghan peace negotiation by emphasising proactive contributions, and human rights, as well as further joint efforts in the areas of mutual interest.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has been engaged on regional and wider global inter-parliamentary discourse initiatives. Since the beginning of this year, Afghan women political activists, civil society and Members of Parliament have been engaged to discusses Afghan women challenges and concerns with different parliamentary and friendship groups around the world. Notable past discussions that supported the Afghan women’s discourse included regional and key international partners such as the parliaments of Germany, Norway, India, Canada, United States of America and the United Kingdom. The discussion built on the shared discourse to better connect Afghanistan and address shared concerns and challenges in the face of current peace negotiations and women’s rights.
Highlight of Speakers:
Ms Hasina Safi – Acting Minister for Women’s Affairs, Afghanistan
The women of Afghanistan will not have their rights set back by the Taliban. Women have firmly decided that the gains of the past twenty years must be preserved, protected and developed further. To ensure women’s rights are maintained the Afghan government and international partners must make sure participation in key sectors of Afghan Parliament and enable fair and equal representation in the ongoing development of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
The women of Afghanistan are some of the most resilient and courageous in the world. Years of conflict and hardship has not deterred women from striving to positions in Parliament, the Police force, defence, business and civil society. However, women still face many challenges, but the development of the Law on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in 2016 as well as the draft on Prevention of Discrimination is a step in the right direction. Additionally, Chapter 2 Article 22 of the 2004 Afghan constitution states, “The citizens of Afghanistan, man and woman, have equal rights and duties before the law.” In the current peace talks, the Taliban have disregarded the current constitution and instead advocated to draft their own which centres around their own interpretation of Sharia Law.
Hon. Priyanca Radhakrishnan - Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Member for Maungakiekie, Labour Party
Ms Radhakrishnan strongly believes that everyone regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality or socio-economic status should have the opportunity to live with dignity. In New Zealand, women’s leadership and participation is on an upward trajectory which is facilitated by the support of women and men alike. NZ also holds strategies in place that facilitates women’s progression in non-traditional sectors and closing the gender pay gap. It is important to ensure women and girls feel empowered to pursue their goals, undaunted by the obstacles that may arise. One instance includes the supply of free period products in schools which safeguards the dignity and respect of young women.
In addition, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of violence against women and girls among the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. The Parliament have currently adopted strategies to reduce this. Violence against women and girls is never acceptable and only hinders the progression of society. When all members of society feel empowered we can accomplish great things.
New Zealand stand in solidarity with women anywhere that face violence and inequality. This includes Afghanistan. New Zealand understands that Afghan women currently have several strategies in place to empower women including the National Action Plan for Women Advancement. However, ongoing support is important as reported in a UN Special Rapporteur Report that stated, “engrained structural and societal challenges hamper the realization of this goal, including gender discrimination and male preference.”
Regarding the March 15th Mosque attack, the government has taken all forty-four recommendations from the Royal Commission’s report on the matter with a strong focus on safety. Following this the Parliament has formed a major focus on counter terrorism and social cohesion among our ethnically diverse and culturally rich country.
Hon. Jenny Salesa MP - Chairperson, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee
New Zealand is closely monitoring the unfolding situation in Afghanistan and would like Afghan’s to know the New Zealand people support you, especially the women and girls. The New Zealand military withdrawal was based on a national cabinet decision and any re-entry back into Afghanistan will be dependent on national cabinet.
Furthermore, the moral courage and bravery of Afghan women in the most harrowing of circumstances is nothing short of incredible. New Zealand cannot watch the gains Afghan women and girls have made over the past twenty years be lost. We will strive to discuss these issues at a New Zealand Minister level.
Hon. Jacqui Dean MP
New Zealander’s all want a safe and prosperous country. These circumstances provide us with the privilege to look ahead to maintain and enhance the role of women in New Zealand Parliament and wider society. Moreover, a stable democracy and strong representation of women across all key sectors and positions of government serves only to strengthen our country and its values.
It is important women work together to ensure our rights do not go backwards. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote and we acknowledge that the gains we have today would not have been possible if it were not for the women before us who fought hard for our rights.
Ms Vanushi Walters MP - Member for Upper Harbour, Labour Party, Deputy-Chairperson of Justice Committee, New Zealand
As a Human Rights Lawyer the current issues on the ground in Afghanistan are very concerning. It is important to acknowledge four key points:
- Identify grave human rights violations and ensure justice can be delivered.
- Adequate access of ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) in Afghanistan.
- Maintain dialogue with the United Nations Human Rights Council.
- State Building and the role of international mechanisms to ensure long term development.
April 15th marks World Art Day. Proclaimed at the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2019, World Art Day aims to promote the development, diffusion and enjoyment of art. UNESCO utilises World Art Day to encourage everyone to join in through various activities such as debates, conferences, workshops, cultural events and presentations or exhibitions. By celebrating World Art Day, we can help spread the message of peace and development through the use of art and the arts, and encourage all generations, present and future to partake in artistic activities.
On this World Art Day, we would like to feature one of Australia’s most acclaimed artists with Afghanistan's origin, Khadim Ali. He is known for his masterful creative works that "poetically explore the experience of displaced people across the globe".
Khadim Ali currently lives and works in Sydney, Australia. After growing up in Pakistan as a refugee, Khadim was trained in classical miniature painting at the National College of Arts in Lahore and in mural painting and calligraphy in Tehran. Khadim's family is from Bamiyan where in 2001 the colossal sixth-century Buddha statues were destroyed. The Shahnameh (Book of Kings) was read to Khadim by his grandfather and its illustrations were his first lessons in art history.
In Khadim Ali’s series of miniatures in the style of Indian Mogul painting, begun in 2007, he explores and updates the motifs of the poem. Rich in traditional and modern motifs of Eastern and Western art-historical references, Khadim's paintings tell stories about loss (of his own cultural heritage and of human values) and about how meaning shifts as words and images are perverted through ideological adoption.
His recent exhibition, Invisible Border, which is considered one of his largest solo exhibition, is open at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane. This exhibition was opened on 10 April and will continue until 05 June 2021. Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, HE Wahidullah Waissi, has been invited at the private preview of the exhibition at the IMA on 09 April 2021.
Khadim Ali has had many exhibitions around the globe. His selected exhibitions include the Venice Biennial (2009); Safavid revisited, APT5, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (QAGOMA, 2006); British Museum, London; No Country: Contemporary Art for South East Asia at the Guggenheim New York (2013) and Documenta (13) (2012). Ali’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Australian War Memorial, Art Gallery of New South Wales, QAGOMA, Brisbane, Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Recent exhibitions include ‘The Haunted Lotus’ at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2014); ‘Transition / Evacuation’ at Milani Gallery, Brisbane (2014) and ARNDT, Singapore (2015); On Return and What Remains, Artspace, Sydney (2015); Refugees, Casula Powerhouse, Campbelltown (2016). Ali's work has also been included in The National: New Australian Art (2017), the Dhaka Art Summit (2018), and a solo exhibited titled 'Fragmented Memories' at Gertrude Contemporary.
The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Australia celebrated the 160th Anniversary of the arrival of the Afghan Cameleers in Australia in South Australia, on March 11 and 12th, 2021. After its inauguration in June 2020, the 160th Anniversary events postponed for 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Ambassador of Afghanistan, HE Wahidullah Waissi, hosted and chaired number of events in both cities. The events were attended by many Australian and Afghan community members who resided in South Australia, including descendants from the Afghan Cameleers, as well as representatives of local authorities in the city of Port Augusta where and when the disembarkation of the first group of Afghan cameleers had taken place on 12 March 1860.
In the sessions held in Adelaide and Port Augusta, the Afghan Cameleers descendants participated from different corners of Australia. Couples and individuals travelled from West Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Victoria were among the participants. They met an Afghan Ambassador for the first time. In both events, the attended descendants were keen to hear about Afghanistan and their ancestor’s origin, history and culture of Afghanistan and its current affairs. They shared fond memories of their parents and grandparents from Afghanistan, their life after arrival in Australia and their legacies.
In a historic message, HE President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, reflected on the outstanding contribution of Afghan cameleers to Australian outback and people to people bonds between Australia and Afghanistan so that the legacy of Afghan cameleers to be kept alive across generations.
The ceremony also eventuated an academic session jointly chaired by Ambassador Waissi and Afghan Cameleers researcher and writer Dr. Pamela Rajkowsky. Academics, notably professors and experts of history, anthropology and art and many descendants of cameleers discussed the significant role of Afghan Cameleers to Australia’s intercontinental economic connectivity and cultural diversity as the first Moslems to Australia. The academic session also explored ideas and suggestions for future opportunities in people-to-people links between two friendly countries.
The Embassy of Afghanistan organised two wreath-laying ceremonies in Adelaide and Port Augusta in commemoration of the Afghan Cameleers by Ambassador of Afghanistan, Mayor of Port Augusta and representative of Afghan cameleers’ descendants.
In Adelaide, Ambassador Waissi also visited the “Adelaide Mosque” one the key icons that represent Afghan Cameleers’ contribution to the faith of Islam. It is also the oldest permanent mosque in Australia built in 1888. The tour of the mosque was organised by Sheik Helmi Bakhour, Imam of the mosque. Ambassador Waissi presented a praying matt as a gift of the Embassy to the Imam.
As part of his 3-day official visit, Ambassador Waissi met with high-ranking officials of South Australia, including Assistant Minister to the Premier Ms Jing Lee, the Leader of the Opposition at the Parliament of the South Australia, Mr Peter Malinauskas, and Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Ms Jayne Verschoor. All discussions focused on further strengthening bilateral ties between Australia and Afghanistan in various spheres.
For more information and background, click here.
To watch President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani's message to the Afghan Cameleers descendants, click here.
To watch interviews and history of the Afghan Cameleers, visit our YouTube Channel.
The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process
9th Ministerial Conference
“Strengthening Consensus for Peace and Development”
We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and high-level representatives of the Participating Countries, joined by the high level representatives of the Supporting Countries and of the Supporting Regional and International Organizations, having met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 30th March 2021 at the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP), under co-chairmanship of H.E. Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan and H.E. Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan;
We express our gratitude to H.E. Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikistan and H.E. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for inaugurating the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process;
Recalling the previous Ministerial Declarations of the HoA-IP and reaffirming our commitment to the principles, objectives, and outcomes enshrined in the Declarations for promoting peace, security, and prosperity in Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia Region;
Reaffirming that the HoA-IP is an important platform led by Afghanistan for enhancing dialogue and building trust among regional countries. The HoA-IP promotes regional political, security and economic cooperation with the goal of building peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and the entire region;
Stressing the need to advance regional cooperation and dialogue as effective and necessary means to address common challenges and to promote security, stability and socio-economic development in the Heart of Asia Region, and renewing our commitment to strengthening enhanced cooperation through various combinations of bilateral, trilateral and multilateral processes among Participating and Supporting Countries in an effective manner;
Admiring the cooperation and solidarity of the countries and organizations participating in the HoA-IP, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the assistance provided;
Peace, Political and Security Cooperation
- We support the ongoing efforts for the peace process and the continuation of the negotiations between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban. While recognizing the importance and contributions of neighboring countries and regional and international partners, we call upon them to maximize their efforts for the success of the peace process;
- We acknowledge that long-term stability and prosperity in the region require peace and security in Afghanistan, and therefore the region as well as the international community has a shared responsibility and common interest to work together for promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region as a whole;
- We welcome the renewed diplomatic efforts by all countries to accelerate the peace process through a meaningful peace negotiation, including the ongoing negotiations in Doha, the Moscow “Troika plus” meeting, and diligent preparations for a high-level meeting in Turkey. We also support the enhanced role for the UN in the peace process, and in this regard, welcome the recent appointment of the UN Secretary General’s personal envoy to Afghanistan and the surrounding region;
- We recognize that a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire will enable all sides to reach an agreement on a political settlement, and in this regard, we affirm that any political settlement must protect the rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and minorities. It should also respect the strong desire of Afghans to achieve durable peace and prosperity, and must respond to their strong desire to sustain and build on the economic, social, political and development gains achieved since 2001, including respect for Afghanistan’s international obligations;
- We condemn the continuing high level of violence in Afghanistan, especially the high number of civilian causalities and deliberate targeting of civil service employees, civil society activists, human rights defenders, journalists and media workers by the Taliban and terrorist groups. While condemning in the strongest terms, all terrorist activities in all forms and manifestations as being criminal and unjustifiable; we emphasize the need for an immediate, permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, resume meaningful peace negotiations and full respect for International Humanitarian Law;
- We also express our concerns about the continued relations between the Taliban and international terrorist groups, including Al-Qaida as outlined in the twenty-seventh report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the United Nations Security Council (S/2021/68). While taking note of the recent announcement made by the Taliban to have ordered its members across Afghanistan not to allow foreign fighters in their ranks, we reaffirm the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan is not used as safe havens for any terrorist groups, foreign terrorist entity, including Daesh/ISIS, Al-Qaida or other regional and international terrorist groups and their affiliates, including those referenced in the previous HoA Declarations;
- We commend the sacrifices and achievements of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and in the fight against international terrorism, and we emphasize the importance of supporting the Afghan Government in capacity building, in particular of the ANDSF, in securing their country and in the fight against international terrorism;
- We remain determined to counter all forms and manifestations of terrorism and extremism by reinforcing our collective efforts. We reiterate our resolve to work together to prevent and suppress terrorist acts through increased regional and international solidarity and cooperation, in accordance with the UN Charter and obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and where applicable the international refugee law, as well as through the full implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions. In this regard, we strongly call for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens, preventing and interdicting the movement of terrorists and terrorist groups, including foreign terrorist fighters, across the countries of the HoA Region and anywhere else, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical, logistical or any other form of support for terrorism without any distinction;
- We are concerned about the high level of illicit cultivation and production of opium in Afghanistan, the volume of drug trafficking, illicit drug trade, trafficking of precursors, the new prevalence of methamphetamine, the rising demand for illicit narcotics and the rising drug abuse in the HoA Region and beyond. This poses a threat to the socio-economic development, security and stability not only in Afghanistan, but also in the surrounding region and the world as a whole. Further eradication of opium cultivation, promotion of alternative livelihoods, law enforcement, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and public information efforts are required as part of a comprehensive and integrated strategy to address this common challenge, based on the principle of common and shared responsibility, and consistent with the international drug control Conventions;
- We call upon the international community to continue to assist the Government of Afghanistan in implementing its National Drug Control Strategy and National Drug Action Plan and its efforts to eliminate the cultivation and production of, trafficking in and consumption of illicit drugs, increase support for Afghan law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, agricultural and rural development for the creation of improved alternative, licit livelihoods for farmers and demand-reduction support, increase public awareness of counter-narcotics issues and build the capacity of drug control institutions, and care and treatment centers for drug users. We also stress the urgent need to respond to the serious challenges posed by the nexus between revenue from illicit narcotics and financial support for anti-government actors and terrorist entities in Afghanistan and the HoA Region. We appreciate efforts to strengthen capacity of law enforcement, border control and other relevant agencies to counter illicit drug production and trafficking in the HoA Region, including through training projects and activities under the auspices of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime;
Refugees and Returnees
- We commend countries in the region and beyond for their hospitality and support in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for four decades. We acknowledge the role of regional and neighboring countries in particular Iran and Pakistan in hosting Afghan refugees for such a long time and call for creating conducive conditions in Afghanistan for voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation. In respecting the well-being and human rights of the refugees, we urge the international community to continue to assist host countries in taking care of the essential needs of Afghan refugees and to provide support to the repatriation and reintegration efforts of the Government of Afghanistan and targeted assistance for their voluntary, safe and dignified repatriation and their sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan, with emphasis on youth, education and livelihoods;
- We welcome the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework II, aligned with the Afghanistan Partnership Framework as part of the new aid architecture adopted at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva, setting out the strategic policy priorities of the Government of Afghanistan and guiding its reform activities within the three pillars of Peace-building, State-building and Market-building, in the pursuit of increased self-reliance by the end of the Transformation Decade in 2024;
- We appreciate the long-term partnership and commitment of the international community for supporting the Government and people of Afghanistan and stress the crucial need for continuation of such support for achieving a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan based on their renewed mutual commitments, as agreed upon at the 2020 Conference on Afghanistan;
- We reaffirm that regional economic cooperation and integration offers broad opportunities for socio-economic development, and can assist with exploiting and developing the long-term economic potential that exists in Afghanistan and the wider region, and we stress the need for further advancing regional economic cooperation as an effective means to achieve lasting peace, stability and economic prosperity in Afghanistan and the HoA Region;
- We welcome the joint efforts of Afghanistan and the region to enhance dialogue and collaboration in advancing economic development in Afghanistan and across the HoA Region, including measures to facilitate regional connectivity, trade and transit, expand consular visa cooperation, and facilitate business travel, expansion of trade, increase the foreign investments and development of infrastructure, including infrastructural connectivity, energy supply, transport and integrated border management, with a view to promoting sustainable economic growth and the creation of jobs in Afghanistan and the region;
- We acknowledge the historical role of Afghanistan as a land bridge in promoting regional connectivity and economic integration in the HoA Region, and we recall that such regional economic cooperation plays an important role in achieving stability and development in Afghanistan, in this regard we urge all relevant stakeholders to create a feasible and secure environment for the full implementation of these development initiatives and trade agreements. We also welcome the progress made by these initiatives and projects, and call upon all regional countries to facilitate trade and transit;
- We recognize the important role of Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) as a regional platform for promoting economic cooperation in Afghanistan and the region, and in this regard, we support the implementation of the priority regional projects as outlined under the Declaration of RECCA-VII. We look forward to the next RECCA Ministerial Meeting to be held in the second half of 2021 in Tashkent, the Republic of Uzbekistan;
- We also recognize the important role of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, ECO, CICA, CAREC and SAARC as platforms for cooperation between Afghanistan and the region;
Regional and International Organizations
- We recognize the important role of regional organizations supporting different areas of cooperation under the HoA-IP and underline the need to strengthen the relations of HoA-IP with other regional organizations;
- We recognize the central and impartial role of the United Nations in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and express our appreciation for all efforts of the Secretary-General and his Special Representative for Afghanistan through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA);
- We appreciate the continued efforts by the OIC and its Member States in support of the Afghan Peace Process and their call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire. We also welcome the declarations of the Muslim countries calling for an end of violence and calling the ongoing war and bloodshed in Afghanistan religiously illegitimate;
Confidence Building Measures
- We realize the importance of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) as the key element for enhancing trust and practical political, security and economic cooperation in the HoA Region, and in this regard, we urge the Participating Countries to continue the implementation of the CBMs;
- We commend the Government of Pakistan for holding the first Regional Technical Group (RTG) Meeting of the Agriculture Development CBM, and call upon the lead countries of the 8 CBMs to convene the RTG Meetings in a timely manner as decided previously;
- We appreciate the valuable support of the international community to the HoA-IP. In this context, we look forward to continued contributions of the Supporting Countries and Organizations to realize the implementation of activities prioritized under each CBM;
- We endorse the Implementation Plan for the new Women Empowerment CBM and the amended Implementation Plan for Disaster Management and Environmental Protection CBM, and appreciate the work done by the co-chairs in regards;
- We welcome the World Bank as a new Supporting Organizations of the Process;
- We task our Senior Officials to hold the next Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of this Process, within three months of this Conference, to implement and follow up on the decisions made in this conference;
- We express our sincere appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan for hosting the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the HoA-IP in Dushanbe. We welcome Afghanistan for hosting the Tenth Ministerial Conference in 2022;
- This Declaration was adopted in Dushanbe on 30 March 2021 by the Foreign Ministers and high-level representatives of the Participating Countries of the HoA-IP: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, People's Republic of China, Republic of India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Russian Federation, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Republic of Uzbekistan;
- This Declaration was welcomed by the high-level representatives of the Supporting Countries and Supporting Regional and International Organizations of the HoA-IP: Commonwealth of Australia, Canada, Kingdom of Denmark, Arab Republic of Egypt, Republic of Finland, Republic of France, Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Iraq, Republic of Italy, Japan, Republic of Poland, Kingdom of Norway, Kingdom of Spain, Kingdome of Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the United Nations (UN).
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