Place: ARG, Char Chinar Palace
Date: Wednesday 19th January 2022
In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
Praise be to Allah, and prayers and peace be upon the best of His creation, Muhammad, and his family and his companions.
So let them serve the Lord of this House. Who feeds them and gives them security against fear [Al-Quraish: 3-4]
Honorable Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, venerable Deputy Prime Ministers, esteemed members of the Cabinet, representatives of world countries, academics, experts and all those present!
May Peace, Mercy and Blessing of Allah be upon you all
I am overjoyed that following positive developments in Afghanistan, we are able to convene such a high-level economic conference for the very first time.
To begin, I would like to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister for calling this meeting and to the Finance Minister and his team for preparing this vital conference.
Over the last five months since the new government came to power in Afghanistan, entire focus of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been centered around opening a new chapter of relations between Afghanistan and its neighboring, regional and world countries.
It was the need of hour that we present a real picture of Afghanistan and the Islamic Emirate to the international community following a two-decade propaganda war against us. Over the course of this period, we managed to hold meetings with foreign ministers and senior officials of neighboring, regional and world countries, as well as to travel to different states. Moreover, we also held the honor of hosting representatives and dignitaries of various countries and international organizations right here in Kabul.
These meetings and travels resulted in the opening of a new chapter of relations between Afghanistan and the world, clarifying to all that Afghanistan is now the owner of a responsible and committed political actor that believes in mutual respect and mutual interests. We were able to reduce negative perception about Afghanistan in our meetings, and build mutual trust and confidence.
Economy has a distinct and key role in our new foreign policy. We believe in a neutral, balanced and economic-centric foreign policy. We are witnessing geo-political approaches being replaced by geo-economic approaches on regional and international stages. We believe that an economic-centric foreign policy has the potential of isolating conflict and bringing governments closer on the basis of mutual interests.
Objective of an economic-centric foreign policy is to both establish relations with the world based on mutual economic interests, and to transform Afghanistan into a hub of regional economic connectivity. We invite leading international governments and investment companies to invest in various sectors of Afghanistan. Moreover, with security taking hold in Afghanistan and with the advent of a responsible and corruption-free government, an opportunity has presented itself for us to play a pivotal role in regional economic connectivity. The time is nigh to turn this ambition to reality. Afghanistan from now onwards shall serve as an arena of cooperation, as opposed to competition, between governments.
With unremitting efforts, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are now connected with South-Asia via Afghanistan and Afghanistan is now regularly being utilized as a short transit route between these countries.
Another trilateral Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan transit agreement is also under works and all shall witness its materialization very soon. Our pursuit of becoming a transport transit center shall not end here, rather negotiations are underway to connect Russia, Kazakhstan and ultimately entire Central-Asia with South and South-West Asia. This shall on the one hand become a source of uninterrupted revenue for Afghanistan, and on the other, bind stability in Afghanistan with the economic interests of the region.
Another key agenda of our foreign policy was attracting emergency humanitarian assistance, salvaging banking and monetary systems, and business growth regarding which we held consecutive technical meetings with related departments of various countries in our foreign travels and inside the country.
Attracting humanitarian assistance and working on changing international mindset to delink economic and humanitarian assistance from politics, easing sanctions on banking and financial systems and reaching agreements with neighboring and regional countries about increasing Afghan exports are elements that demonstrate our economic-centric policy.
We must not forget that the two-decade regime, endemic corruption, neglect of basic infrastructure and imposed wars resulted in our people facing a humanitarian catastrophe. Availing this opportunity, I would like to wholeheartedly thank all those countries and relief organizations that have extended humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable in our hour of need.
I, however, must add that humanitarian assistance may address short-term problems, but for Afghans to stand on their own feet and not become a burden for others or be forced to migrate from their homeland, we must pave the way for implementation of major economic projects in order to attain national self-sufficiency.
The Afghan government will exert its best efforts towards creating an even more secure environment for foreign and domestic donors and investors in investment and basic infrastructure projects. To end, I again avail this opportunity to call on the United States of America to unfreeze the assets of Afghanistan’s Central Bank and to remove all impediments for relief organizations and Afghans in money transfers to Afghanistan. We hope that world countries will also raise their voices for this pure human issue.
May Allah make this conference a source of economic progress for our beloved homeland.
Thank you for your attention!
May your remaining time be blessed.