Wednesday, 29 June 2016

In his speech at Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Tashkent, Afghan President Dr Ashraf Ghani says Afghanistan is fast transforming into a regional hub of cooperation

President Karimov, heads of states and governments, and international organizations, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen!

Our context is one of constant change that is multi-dimensional and threatens stability but also they are changes that enhance stability and cooperation. I would like to briefly differentiate between creative change that enables us to cooperate, and destructive change that is a threat to our way of life, to our values and to our ability to cooperate. As part of the creative change, one of the greatest transformations in human history is the emergence of the Euro-Asian continental economy, and the Shanghai cooperation organization represents this future, which would be irreversible.

Around this table are sitting leaders who are shaping the 21st century and their impact, your impact will affect every citizen of the world. In this, the second point of the creative change is this spirit of Shanghai. I want to congratulate the founding members of the Shanghai cooperation organization on leading and managing gradual but systematic change – a change that has always had results, that has moved from solving the problems of fifteen years ago, to tackling the problems of today, with this period of mutual understanding and the stability which leadership of Central Asia has brought, confronting difficult changes. Central Asian leaders have brought a stable framework to their people and we congratulate them on overcoming those threats because the stability that they have created both gives us hope and provides the possibility of cooperation.
Our greatest common project is the revival of the silk-roads, the one built one road, but silk-road was not one road. It was many roads sub-zoned under a single name and we in Afghanistan particularly look upon ourselves as the place the roundabout that connected Central and South Asia and Middle East. So, we welcome every step that is being taken for realization of the Silk-Roads.

Second part of change is the destructive change; I would argue that we are confronting the fifth wave of political violence; extremism and terrorism are manifestations of a much broader phenomenon; the previous four waves started with anarchism, and we need to understand this destructive wave that threatens everything about stable relationships, about values of cooperation, about dialogue between cultures and civilizations, and calls into question. If we do not grasp it in its entire complexity, our solutions will be partial and subject to lack of success or partial success.

Equally, it is important to understand the scale, scope and intensity of this fifth wave. The wave is not going to unfortunately leave any of us alone. Related to this wave is its embedding and deep criminal economy; the narcotics economy is one component of this, but there is a deep criminal economy that threatens our common peace and stability. With this background, let me focus on Afghanistan, first to thank you all for your attention and for your valuable comments.

Afghanistan has two sides; one is the potential; the other is the threat. In terms of potential, we are fast transforming ourselves into a regional hub of cooperation. I would like to thank Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, India and Iran for being such wonderful partners in the process of transformation that we have taken. Since Ufa, regional cooperation has moved forward and the intensification of this regional cooperation is renewed hope among our people and confidence in our future.

All our neighbors, we would like to thank Russia and our other neighbors for engaging with us very productively; all people and organizations around this table are our partners in prosperity and stability, but the threat, first what we need is a correct definition of the problem; the war in Afghanistan is not a civil war; forces of terrorism that have converged on our country need to be defined correctly. There is no political framework in history that makes a nationally elected government deal with destructive individuals and organizations whose agenda is overturning of regional and global cooperation.

Secondly, these organizations have support or tolerance; the responsibility of all states to fulfill their obligation in not differentiating between good and bad terrorism is essential. States that differentiate between good and bad terrorism will pay the price and will suffer. So it is important, I think, that instead of involving, engaging in an environment of destructive debate, we agree on a common framework.

We invite all members of the Shanghai Cooperation to join forces with us in defining the problem, bringing consensus in the intelligence community, the security community and the political community as to what are the dimensions.

Levels of action are four-fold, national, global, Islamic and regional. And at the regional level what is extremely important is to agree on common mechanisms of cooperation, common mechanism of verification and tackling of actors that support this.

In conclusion, let me express our deep thanks to the people of Uzbekistan, to the people of Tashkent and to you President Karimov for being such a marvelous host and for the excellent arrangement and chairmanship.