Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul voiced the hope before the United Nations General Assembly today that the world body would match its support to his country over the past violence-riven decade with similar backing for what he called the “transformation decade” ahead.
“The UN has been a reliable partner in helping us come this far,” he told the Assembly’s annual; General Debate. “As we prepare to embark upon the Transformation Decade, we expect the organization to continue its support through a renewed approach that reinforces Afghanistan's leadership and ownership.”
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is a political mission set up in 2002 at the request of the Government to assist the country in laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development over a vast range of civilian matters, from human rights and humanitarian aid to development projects and the organization of elections.
He drew a stark contrast of the Afghanistan of today and the one that existed 12 years ago at the time of United States-led intervention that drove out the Taliban following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Per capita income has increased from $100 a year to over $600 a year, the number of children that attend school stands at well over 10 million, 40 per cent of them girls, hundreds of thousands of young men and women attend Government and private colleges, more than 70 per cent of Afghans have access to basic healthcare services, life expectancy has risen from around 40 years to above 60 years, and thousands of kilometres of roads and irrigation canals have been built.
All this underscores “a model of collective action and international cooperation in support of national efforts for peace, security and development in a country,” Mr. Rassoul said, voicing full confidence that with the continued financial assistance of the international community for equipment and other needs the 350,000-strong national military and police forces will be able to provide security and defend the country against external threats.
He noted that next year's presidential elections will mark the first time in our country's history that one elected president will transfer power to another elected president through a peaceful, democratic process.