Kabul, Berlin celebrate 100 years of friendship
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday appreciated Germany’s wide-ranging cooperation with Afghanistan over the past decade, acknowledging the assistance had brought positive changes to the lives of the Afghan people.
The president was speaking at a special ceremony marking the 100th year of Afghan-German friendship at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah, cabinet members, lawmakers and international dignitaries were in attendance.
Ghani said Germany had hosted in the last 14 years three major moots including the Bonn Conference that set the foundation of the current political system in Afghanistan. He also lauded Germany’s role in creating International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
The president hailed the performance of Germany’s special security and economic missions in the north of Afghanistan as commendable. He also mentioned the Berlin Conference in 2004, when the international community pledged $8 billion to Afghanistan over three years and $26 billion more for another eight years.
Ghani said in the 2013 Bonn Conference -- also known as Bonn 2nd Conference -- the transition decade idea came into being with the help of Germany that was welcomed by the international community with new commitments.
“In these 14 years, Germany’s wide-ranging cooperation has brought positive changes to the lives of Afghan people. As a representative of the people and government of Afghanistan, I express my gratitude to the people and government of Germany,” he remarked.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani told a joint press conference with his German counterpart, that Germany had generously helped Afghanistan’s reconstruction with billions of dollars in aid.
He noted Germany still donated more than 400 million Euros for training of Afghan security forces and reconstruction purposes.
According to Rabbani, Germany had more than 5,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of ISAF and they played an important role in fighting terrorism and ensuring security. Afghan people would never forget these sacrifices, he added.
In the last 14 years more than 100,000 Germans – both civilians and men in uniform – served in Afghanistan. Germany lost 58 of its soldiers with many more wounded.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German foreign minister, promised his country’s cooperation with Afghanistan would continue. “Our cooperation with Afghanistan will continue in different sectors.”
According to Steinmeier, German forces' mission in Afghanistan would come to a close at the end of 2015 and his country’s parliament had to decide about their further presence.
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