Just two days ago, some three million Afghans faced the threat of terrorism and headed to the polls, to “vote not just for a president, but also for democracy,” Hamdulla Mohib, Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser told the UN General Assembly on Monday, adding that no matter the outcome of the elections, “peace is and will remain the Government’s priority.”
Congratulating his fellow Afghans for exercising their right to vote, even some who had had their fingers cut off by the Taliban in previous polls,” Mr. Mohib wholeheartedly thanked the “brave and professional Afghan National Defense and Security Forces for protecting that right.”
Indeed some 70,000 soldiers protected the citizenry and “because of their professionalism, most of the attacks – and all attacks that were intended to inflict mass casualties on civilians – were averted.”
“The next step in the journey to peace will be taken by Afghans, just as the first step was,” he continued, giving credit to Afghan women, “the first Afghan citizens to unite nationally around an agenda for peace.” Indeed, this past February, some 15,000 women from 34 provinces had been consulted on what would be acceptable to them in any peace agreement.
Mr. Mohib went on to highlight the historic national consultations that had been held in April and told the Assembly that as Afghanistan prepares to take the next step forward in the process, “we are committed to the principles of inclusivity, sustainability and dignity.
“No Afghan,” he said, “will truly be able to live in peace and freedom, until the day that every single Afghan lives in peace and freedom. It is the day we know we achieve with our international friends and partners.”
“Increasingly, Afghanistan is a country driven and defined by the expectations of its youth,” he said, explaining that this generation of young Afghans had been born and raised in war. “We are the new Afghanistan … We believe in our abilities to bring about peace we have hoped for all our lives.”
He said the message of the Afghan people to the “Taliban and their foreign sponsors is: join us or we will continue to fight.” Thanking the country’s international friends and partners that had supported the peace effort, he stressed the Afghan people have demanded a ceasefire immediately to stop the bloodshed and that talks must take place between the Government and the Taliban.
Stressing the need to extinguish the ideologies behind terrorism, he called for stronger institutional cooperation and collective security which considers the nexus of transnational criminal activities as a whole, including the flow of terrorist fighters, their recruitment and resources that allow them to remain lethal.
Mr. Mohib went on to underscore the effects of climate change and humanitarian crisis, saying that Afghanistan, a predominately agricultural economy, has felt tremendous adverse effects of climate change.
Prolonged drought has been a matter of life and death, driving many out of their homes and into severe poverty, he noted, recalling the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) meeting in Chile in December.