Afghans face ‘5th wave of international violence’: Ghani
KABUL (Pajhwok): Vowing to continue efforts at bringing reforms and fighting against administrative corruption, President Ashraf Ghani said on Monday Afghanistan was facing the “5th wave of international violence” which needed regional cooperation to be controlled.
Ghani said this while presiding over the special Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) meeting here.
Cabinet ministers, representatives of parliament, civil society, special UN representative in Afghanistan, ambassadors and representatives of international organizations in Kabul attended the meeting aimed at evaluating recent developments and government’s activities during the past one year.
Established in 2006 in accordance with the draft of United Nations Security Council, JCMP is a decision-making body that provides a platform for strategic coordination, joint policy formulation and problem-solving in Afghanistan.
The board has so far discussed different issues such drafting joint policies, mutual accountability and better coordination through meetings with the Afghan government and donor countries.
In his opening remarks, President Ghani said Afghanistan was facing the “5th wave of international violence.”
“If we look at the previous waves, each wave lasted 20 to 30 years. Now there is the need to control the situation.”
“We are targeted by Al Qaeda, Daesh, regional terrorist groups and Pakistani Taliban, so there is need for sharing information and intelligence and a joint framework,” he said.
He said the Afghans were united when it came to the defence of their values and the Afghan government was committed and had the political will to cope with challenges.
The president insisted on regional cooperation to work jointly towards resolving issues instead of blaming each other.
The enemies of Afghanistan had been trying to overthrow the government, but they could not succeed due to the sacrifices of the Afghan security and defence forces, he said.
After the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the country plunged into economic challenges in addition to security problems, he said, adding the poverty index increased from 46 percent in 2013 to 49 percent in 2014 and the level of joblessness had increased nationwide.
However, he said as a result of the Afghan government’s efforts, the national revenue increased by 22 percent last year compared 2014.
He said the government also organised the budgeting system, encouraged international aid, established programmes for development of agriculture and the situation of farmers, constructed dams and improved conditions of cities.
Pashtani Bank, Milli Bank and the New Kabul Bank were now in better condition, he said, adding the National Procurement Commission (NPC) had so far assessed more than 1000 contracts with many relating to security. As a result of the assessment in the past one year, he said the government had saved 1.2 billion afghanis each month.
The government has brought some reforms to eliminate corruption especially in the judiciary and the efforts were still ongoing, he said.
“We have brought reforms and reshuffled many judges and other officials of the judiciary organs. There would be more good news in the next two weeks and we will also accelerate resolving cases by 75 percent,” he said.
A special directorate was established for judges in the affairs of women and children, he said, adding some people in the past remained imprisoned for 20 years, but now the issue was going to be resolved.
The president also said some progress regarding registration of government’s assets had also been achieved.
Citing an example, Ghani said 35 hectares of government land which was rarely used in capital Kabul had been registered and a plan for proper use of the property was in progress.
He said currently 13 types of salaries from 5,000 afghanis to $8,000 were offered in Afghanistan. Efforts were underway to bring reforms in this area too, the president stressed and thanked the international community for continuing its support with Afghanistan.
Ghani also said Afghanistan was fully prepared to preserve the past achievements and go to the upcoming Brussels and Warsaw summits with all necessary reforms addressed.
The two conferences -- Warsaw in July and Brussels in October -- will focus on security and development on the top of its agendas respectively.
The Warsaw Summit is expected to renew international support and partnership with Afghanistan until 2020, in parallel to the security-related efforts pursued in the NATO framework.
The international community will also renew its promises about supporting Afghanistan in the Brussels meeting on October 4-5, 2016.
United Nations (UN)’s special representative for Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, also spoke at the JCMB meeting.
He said Afghanistan faced dangerous challenges that needed international community’s support to be resolved.
“The JCMB meeting would help us integrate our policies and to have discussions about the Brussels and Warsaw conferences’ agendas,” he said, adding Afghanistan needed peace and stability, but it was important to have a continued security strategy for protection of development efforts.
“The challenges we all are faced with are not greater than the level of Afghanistan needs, as the international community’s support would leave a really positive effect on the people of Afghanistan,” Haysom said.
He said the Afghan government should be appreciated for some developments it made, for example in collecting revenue.
“Administrative corruption is one of the challenges that has affected the Afghan government and the international community’s support, these challenges always weaken developments that the Afghan people wanted, we appreciate the Afghan government for its attention to the mentioned challenges, particularly the appointment of the attorney general and releasing a decree for the creation of Good Governance High Council for fighting corruption,” he said.
Haysom added economical growth of Afghanistan was slow going and joblessness was on the rise. “It is important to create short-term job opportunities, but it could not be enough for compensating the shortage of economic trust, long-term plans are needed for opening ground for investments and improving the country’s economy,” he said.
“I encourage the Afghan government to focus on addressing limitations for the private sector and create opportunities for using potential energy, we should accept that improving the private sector only would not be enough, Afghanistan’s economy would always rely on foreign aid based on the country’s security sector,” he added.
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