Our credibility relies on our capacity to deliver: Ghani in Doha

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday evening that peace cannot just be on a national level but that it needed to be on a regional basis in order to be successful.

Speaking at an event at the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies in Doha, Qatar, Ghani said: “Regional connectivity is critical to peacebuilding, and so is global cooperation.”

He also made it clear that the conflict in Afghanistan is not a civil war, but a regional war embedded in global conflict, notably terrorism.

But in his address to guests attending the event at the independent academic research and studies center, Ghani steered away from the negative and also focused on the positives Afghanistan has to offer.

“We share with you a vision of a sovereign, unified, democratic Afghanistan at peace with itself, the region and the world, capable of preserving and expanding the gains of the past two decades.

“This is not just the ultimate objective of our negotiations with the Taliban in Doha, but more importantly, it is also the ultimate goal of the work we do every day within the halls of government to meet our development objectives,” he said.

“In Doha, our negotiation team is working on making peace, but here, back in Kabul, we – as a polity, an economic society, and a people – along with you, our international partners, are working on building peace.”

He pointed out that peace-building is different from peace-making because it is a “multi-dimensional, cross-sectoral, short, medium and long-term process that will allow us to actually implement and secure the components of any peace agreement that is made on paper.”

“In other words, peace-building is about implementation; peace-making is about reaching a political agreement to end violence. We must now focus on prioritizing these components of peace-building and implementing them,” he said.

The “credibility of the state and stability of the Republic, as articulated in our Constitution, depends on earning the people’s trust. Building an effective state starts with listening to our people and understanding their expectations.,” he said adding that he has “really tried to do this over the past years, with over 95 trips to the provinces and meetings with thousands of Afghans from all walks of life.”

Generous assistance raised expectations

The generous level of assistance in the last 19 years raised up the level of expectations, beyond our national resources, he said adding that in order to deliver and manage the expectations of the people, “we must fully embrace the objective of self-reliance by focusing on how to convert our latent assets and capabilities into manifest resources and capacities.”

“We must do more with less by embracing effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. We must learn to master the art of leadership and management under conditions of constant change. At the same time, we as a state must deliver services to our people. Our credibility relies on our capacity to deliver.”

He also highlighted the positive elements Afghanistan has to offer and said the country’s untapped mineral wealth could potentially render the country an extremely wealthy nation

Mineral wealth is worth “one trillion dollars at least”, he said adding that rare earth minerals were abundant and that “the ten poorest provinces in the country have the richest mineral deposits.”

“Afghanistan’s geography is also of vital importance. Afghanistan is right in the middle” of east, west, south and central Asia, he said adding that the country also had enormous potential with sun, wind and water – which could all be used to produce energy.

He also outlined the importance of Afghanistan’s rich culture and the people’s commitment to Islam and stated the Afghan people have an enormous capacity to move past conflict.

Citing the 2003 ceasefire with the Taliban, he said the people of the country at the time were ready to embrace peace and to accept the Taliban into their midst.

‘Afghan women are heroes’

Lauding the women of Afghanistan however, he called them “heroes” and said they were strong and capable.

He said he wants the world to know that Afghan women do not need someone to speak for them as they are capable of speaking for themselves.

He also stated that Afghanistan has come a long way in coping on its own and said through mobilizing the people and even the private sector, Afghanistan was able to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. “And no food shortages in this time was reported,” he said.

Praising the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces for safeguarding the people of Afghanistan, and the world from terror attacks, he said they were not working for money but were fighting to secure their country.

Ghani told the audience that “the state now has the capacity to design, to think, to act,” and used the recent Parwan floods as an example.

He said the water canal that burst in August in Charikar in the provincial capital during torrential rains was rebuilt within days after the deadly floods.

This he attributed to Afghanistan’s improved capacity to respond rapidly to disasters and emergencies.

On the war, he said: “Our conflict has never been about separation. Our conflict has been a form of competition about controlling the center.”

But, “the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the framework in which all Afghans can see themselves,” he added.

On the topic of peace, he said the will of the people in terms of succession was fundamental to peace and that “Afghans are ready to overcome the past and have the desire and readiness for this.”

But to solidify peace, three qualities are needed, he said – compassion, commitment and courage.

Compassion to understand each other, and “compassion for our common Islamic faith – which is a religion of peace,” he said.

Peace in Afghanistan cannot be the peace of factions or one group but must be peace of the people and that “the people must come first”.

“We need to have the ability to overcome the past. The past is about dying. We must live. We must embrace living,” he said adding that in the “weeks and in the days to come we must have the courage to call a ceasefire.”