Saturday, October 22, 2016

NATO Summit Warsaw 2016


Transcript of H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s Remarks at Warsaw Summit

9 July 2016

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Mr. Secretary General, Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Thank you for the opportunity to provide an Afghan perspective on NATO, threats to our interconnected world and our efforts to secure the future.  On behalf of a grateful nation, I pay tribute to your citizens who paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedom.  We thank political leaders, generals and officers, and the men and women who have fought shoulder to shoulder with us. We thank the taxpayers and the civilians from your countries who have dedicated their lives to helping us recover from the estimated $240 billion of economic losses inflicted on us by invasion and conflict.

NATO has maintained its relevance and effectiveness in the paradigm shift presented by post-9/11 Afghanistan.  The organization’s fulfillment of both its combat and support missions in Afghanistan is a corroboration of NATO’s continued global relevance, adaptability and effectiveness.  Its transformative legacy, however, is building our 352,000 strong security and defense forces.

Having assumed full responsibility for national security in December 2014, our all-volunteer forces have displayed commitment to the nation and the constitution through immense sacrifice, thereby earning unprecedented public support and trust.  They are resilient in the face of adversity, and they have made constant improvements in efficiently and effectively coordinating and building systems of leadership and management. These developments have enabled them to face and overcome a series of vicious attacks from forces of disorder and terrorism in 2016.

Thanks to our joint investment in our security institutions, Dr. Abdullah, the CEO, and I can confidently state that the combat role of NATO in Afghanistan is over for good.   Our confidence derives from our national resolve and the constructive partnership between our National Unity Government and NATO.   Having signed the BSA and SOFA on our first day in office, we created an environment of mutual respect and trust befitting foundational partners.   We thank President Obama for expanding the authorities of the Resolute Support Mission, extending the mission of the US troops in 2015, and his latest decision to maintain American troops throughout his term.    We are grateful to leaders of the Framework countries and all leaders of NATO and allied countries for support that ranges from troops, to enablers and funds for our security forces. General Campbell and General Nicholson deserve praise from all of us for their leadership.

Coping continuously with the specter of terrorism, we Afghans have special empathy and sympathy for victims of the Fifth Wave of political violence that threatens our interconnected world today.   Global connectivity simultaneously increases our collective vulnerability to this new threat. We believe that the range of organized forms and techniques of violence today draws on previous waves of violence throughout history: anarchism, anti-colonialism, terrorism of the 1960’s and 70s, and violent ethnic and identity movements of the 1980’s and 90s.   The symbiotic relationship between criminal economic networks–manifested in drug and natural resource wars–and criminal politics is making this Fifth Wave a medium term obstacle to global stability.

Overcoming the obstacle requires simultaneous action on four fronts: national, regional, Islamic and global.   Our national focus is directed at owning and solving our interrelated security, economic, and political transitions.  Through increasing national revenue by 22%, we are meeting our Chicago commitments to the financing of our forces.

The key to our success lies primarily in our ability to transform the culture of the state from entrenched corruption to a citizen-centered governance system.   As a test of our political will, we ask all our partners to deliver their assistance on budget, and make it conditional on fulfillment of agreed benchmarks. This is an approach that we have successfully piloted with the IMF and the US. I thank Prime Minister Cameron for his leadership on anti-corruption as an international problem.

Afghanistan is a stakeholder society per excellence and we are proud of our record of respect for democratic freedoms of expression and assembly.   An Afghan-owned agenda of reform translated into a conditionality-based international compact for on-budget support would enable us to converge the needs of key stakeholder groups –especially women, youth and the poor – and the government’s reform agenda. This, in turn, would enable us to increase the speed of delivery, enhance the quality of services and ensure accountability and transparency.

Peace is our highest national priority.  Reaching peace, however, requires understanding the nature of the war imposed upon us.  The conflict is multi-dimensional, ranging from Al-Qaeda and Daesh to terrorist groups with Central Asian, Chinese, and Russian origins, to Pakistani groups classified as terrorists by Pakistan and Afghan Taliban groups.   Because these groups pose a threat to the region, the Islamic community and the world at large, we have devoted significant efforts to achieve cooperation regionally and within the Islamic community to defeat these groups.

Our regional initiatives with neighbors are beginning to yield significant cooperative dividends. The exception is with Pakistan–despite clear commitments to a quadrilateral peace process, their dangerous distinction between good and bad terrorists is being maintained in practice.  The key problem among our neighboring states is an absence of agreed rules of the game, thus we seek regional and global support in creating those rules, which will bind us to collective security and harmony.

The discussions within the Arab-Muslim community have also been productive, especially the 2015 Mecca declaration against terrorism.  The terrorist attack against the Mosque of the Holy Prophet in Medina has outraged the Muslim community and should result in a consensus against the tiny minority that is attempting to hijack our civilization.

Global attention to Afghanistan has been exceptional and we, once again, thank you for your strategic focus and patience.   Today, from the Warsaw Summit, we hope for a clear signal of support for the heroic deeds of our soldiers and the hopes and aspirations of our people.   With your resolute support, we will redouble our efforts to create a democratic constitutional order and an accountable and effective state that can bring peace to our people and secure our future from the menace of terrorism.  Proud as I am of serving as the commander-in-chief of our heroic forces, the epithet that I would like to be remembered by is the peace and development president who served as a catalyst to making Afghanistan once again into an Asian Roundabout.   Poland has been a great host and we thank the government for its hospitality.


Remarks By H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Nato Summit, Warsaw

JULY 09, 2016

Excellencies, Heads of States and Governments,

Mr. Secretary General,

Distinguished Delegates and Partners;

I want to start off by thanking our partners, each and every member state of NATO, as well as all other associate nations that have, since 2003 till now, helped us try to make Afghanistan a more secure and stable country.

Back in 2003, as foreign minister in the new transitional government, I clearly remember the discussions that eventually led to a wider international presence across Afghanistan. At a time when we Afghans were busy with the rebuilding of state security institutions, laying a democratic foundation for a constitutional political order, and attempting to revitalize our war-battered economy.

NATO’s first-ever deployment beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, mandated by the United Nations, and under the umbrella of International Security Assistance Forces in Kabul and the surrounding areas in Afghanistan, was not only historic, but also proved to be the right decision given the domestic and regional dynamics at play back then. Unfortunately, some of these dynamics are still at play today.

Looking back at recent history, some of us failed to grasp, the strategy that enabled the reemergence of militant cells that enjoyed sanctuaries and staging grounds in our neighborhood. But that strategy, in the face of Afghan resolve and international steadfastness, has failed and I am certain, it will never succeed.

During the past decade, thanks in large part to all of your nations’ generous contributions that made Afghanistan an example of international cooperation, and the role played by thousands of young military men and women personnel from more than 60 countries, the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces grew in numbers, and more importantly, in terms of capacities, heralding the end of the international combat engagement in 2014, and the start of a new era of cooperation and assistance under the Resolute Support mission.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I can say with confidence that the Afghan nation benefited greatly from the NATO engagement, not only in the security sector, but also with the concurrent civilian deployments to bridge the gap between reconstruction and security in many parts of Afghanistan.

We are most touched and humbled by each and every man and woman, military and civilian, who served with honor and paid the ultimate price in the line of duty. Their sacrifices were not in vain, and serve a much greater cause affecting humanity as a whole, and those who seek a better and, safer and more democratic world. Alongside our own brave citizens, who have fallen, we salute all of your heroes, whose legacy forms a strong bond of friendship between our nations.


As we embark on a new chapter following the decisions taken made at the Wales Summit two years ago, I can also assure this audience that despite major efforts underway by our common foes to make significant gains during the 2015-16 battle seasons timeframe, our forces, assisted by your advisors and trainers, have thwarted enemy plans, albeit at a very high cost to our brave forces and our resilient civilian population.

We are grateful to NATO for the timely decisions taken made over the past two years, and now again, at this critical moment to renew the mission’s mandate, as well as President Obama’s principled decision to keep 8,400 troops in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is on the frontlines against various types of threats, including Taliban, Da’ish and Al-Qa’ida, and our partnership matters to our people as well as yours. Afghanistan will do all that is necessary to fulfill its pledges, defend its people, protect its decade-long gains achievements, aim for a peaceful end to conflict, and continue to be a responsible member of the international community in our fight against terrorism and extremism. Our experience shows that the Afghan chapter will eventually come to a satisfactory closure, once we act with strategic consistency and purpose, to aim for a just and lasting peace through talks – when and where they may take place.

Both President Ghani and I, representing the National Unity Government, joined by the overwhelming majority of the Afghan people, thank every one of you, especially Poland for hosting this forum, and look forward to achieving our strategic goals for a stable Afghanistan, secure region and peaceful world. //



















Summit Declaration

Warsaw Summit Declaration on Afghanistan

Issued by the Heads of State and Government of Afghanistan and Allies and their Resolute Support Operational Partners

  1. We, the Heads of State and Government of the nations contributing to the Resolute Support mission, and the President and Chief Executive of the National Unity Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, met today in Warsaw1 to reaffirm our mutual commitment to ensure long-term security and stability in Afghanistan.
  2. We pay tribute to the efforts of all the members of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces and of the Resolute Support mission, and we honour those who have lost their lives or been injured since our efforts began.
  3. Afghanistan will not stand alone. Together with the rest of the international community, our aim remains that Afghanistan will never again become a safe haven for terrorists who can pose a threat to our security; and that it is able to sustain its own security, governance, and economic and social development, while respecting human rights for all of its citizens, notably those of women and children.
  4. Since our Wales Summit, Afghanistan, with the support of the international community, has continued to make advances, including in democratic processes, education, healthcare, human rights including those of women, and free media. But Afghanistan still faces serious challenges, and further efforts are needed for the country to fully safeguard and consolidate our joint achievements. This includes in areas such as: electoral reforms, empowerment of women, combating corruption, countering narcotics trafficking, and to ensure a stable security environment, job creation, and improve economic opportunities, which would have an important impact on migration.
  5. Since January 2015, the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces have maintained full responsibility for security throughout the country. Since then, at the request of the Afghan National Unity Government, the non-combat, conditions-based Resolute Support mission is providing training, advice and assistance to allow Afghanistan to continue to build professionally trained and well equipped defence and security forces which are demonstrating remarkable resilience and courage in meeting the challenges they face. While the Afghan Security Institutions and forces continue to develop and make progress, challenges and capability gaps persist, and they continue to need international support.
  6. Therefore, NATO and its operational partners have today committed to:
    1. Sustain the Resolute Support mission beyond 2016 through a flexible, regional model, to continue to deliver training, advice and assistance to the Afghan Security Institutions including the police, the air force and special operations forces. We will continue to keep the mission and its configuration under review;
    2. Continue national contributions to the financial sustainment of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, including until the end of 2020. We also urge the wider international community to remain engaged in the financial sustainment of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces;
    3. Strengthen and enhance the Enduring Partnership between NATO and Afghanistan established at the 2010 Lisbon Summit, to further develop our long-term partnership including through political dialogue and practical cooperation.
  7. Afghanistan, including with the continued support of NATO and its operational partners, commits to:
    1. Strengthen further the Afghan Security Institutions and forces, including particularly enhancing their leadership skills; and ensure they are fully capable of providing security for the Afghan people; operate under effective civilian control; respect human rights; and act in accordance with the Afghan constitution and the rule of law;
    2. Continue, as its economy and revenues grow, to increase its contribution to the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, with the aim of assuming financial responsibility for its security forces by the end of the Transformation Decade in 2024, in accordance with the 2012 Chicago Summit Declaration;
    3. Continue to pursue reforms; including to root out corruption; promote transparency and accountability; and foster economic development;
    4. Build on recent achievements in empowering women to participate fully in all aspects of Afghan society, including service in the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces; and political processes; and fully implement Afghanistan’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325;
    5. Take further steps to protect children from the damaging effects of armed conflict, and from violations of their rights, as required by UNSCR 1612 and other relevant UNSC Resolutions; and strengthen the capacity of the Afghan security institutions and forces to protect civilians.
  8. Good neighbourly relations, and regional cooperation and support to a secure and stable Afghanistan, remain essential. We welcome the role played by the Istanbul Process in supporting the Heart of Asia region which includes Afghanistan. A stable and prosperous Afghanistan will support a stable and prosperous region.
  9. We reaffirm our belief that an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, which respects the Afghan constitution and human rights, including notably the rights of women, is the pathway to a sustainable resolution of the conflict. The region and the international community at large must respect and support such a process and its outcome.
  10. The NATO-led efforts contribute to the wider international efforts, and we look forward to the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in October this year.
  11. Our task is not yet complete, and we remain resolute and united in our commitment to a secure and stable Afghanistan.
  1. In the presence of Japan and the Republic of Korea.

H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations makes his statement re situation in Afghanistan.

Security Council meeting: The situation in AfghanistanReport of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security (S/2016/532)- H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations makes his statement re situation in Afghanistan.

Security Council meeting: The situation in Afghanistan Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security (S/2016/532)- H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations makes his statement re situation in Afghanistan.

Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Statement by H.E. Mahmoud Saikal Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

21 June 2016


Check against delivery

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Merci Monsieur le Président. Veuillez accepter mes félicitations pour bien diriger la Conseil de Sécurité ce mois. I express gratitude to the Secretary-General for his recent report on the situation in my country. I would like to thank my friend Mr. Nicholas Haysom for his last briefing as Special Representative of the Secretary General. I pay tribute to his contribution to the life of our country during the crucial years of transition. I would also like to welcome another good friend Ambassador Tadamichi Yamamoto as incoming Special Representative of the Secretary General, whom I have had the pleasure of working with in Kabul.

I also convey my deepest condolences on the tragic Orlando atrocity last week and yesterday’s attacks in Kabul and Badakhshan. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. We welcome the Security Council’s condemnation statement issued on these attacks.

Mr. President,

I am pleased to report that since the March deliberation of the Council on Afghanistan, the country has shown better resilience to counter the ongoing challenges. As I speak here today, we have just left behind us the spring season with high casualties and setbacks for the Taliban and other terrorist groups. Afghanistan’s region, along with international partners, are coming together to give a more collective response to violent extremism and terrorism, emanating from the region. A number of multinational development projects have either come to fruition or have taken off, creating new hope for regional peaceful coexistence, connectivity, and prosperity. Afghanistan and its regional and international partners appear more determined than ever to prevent the continuation of violence to take development hostage. The reemergence of Afghanistan as a symbol of international cooperation and partnership is gaining momentum. Nevertheless, increased civilian casualties, internal displacement and the ramifications of the cowardly behavior of the Taliban and their supporters to compensate for their losses, have been alarming.

Mr. President,

Last winter, the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) comprising of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States finalized a roadmap for the peace process. New opportunities were presented to those willing to engage in talks. The QCG members agreed to take all necessary measures against those who refuse to engage in political resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan.

The expectation was that the Taliban would use this opportunity and join the process. Sadly on 12 April they responded with their so-called spring offensive simultaneously across 42 different locations in our country, causing heavy civilian suffering, and proving once again that they are irreconcilable to peaceful political initiatives. Given the brilliant performance of our National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) the Taliban have suffered heavy losses during the first stage of their onslaught. To avenge their losses, the Taliban plotted and claimed responsibility for the deadly Kabul terrorist attack on 19 April, killing and wounding 411, mostly civilians.

On 25 April, President Ashraf Ghani addressed a joint sitting of the National Assembly of Afghanistan. He called on Pakistan to respect the QCG agreements and take action against terrorists who — according to credible intelligence from our own agencies as well as our international partners, also publicly recorded confessions by Pakistani authorities themselves — have their bases and leaders in the neighboring country. He said “if Pakistan refuses to carry out military operations in its soil against the terrorists, then it should surrender them to our courts to face justice”. We believe that there is a need for political will and honest police action — rather than nuclear deals or F-16s — to fulfill the task.

President Ghani added that despite our desire and efforts to advance regional cooperation, we will have no choice but to refer the case to the UN Security Council and take serious diplomatic measures unless there is a change in policy of using terrorist proxies against Afghanistan.

In contrast to the unforthcoming attitude of a certain neighbouring country, other QCG members have remained committed or even given effect to their words. On 22 May Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was tracked and killed in the Balochistan province of Pakistan by a United States airstrike. The incident also exposed his Pakistani passport with a fake name, using which he had flown numerous times from Pakistani airports. Despite this, the charade of plausible deniability, duplicity, and blame of Afghan weaknesses continues, which must come to an end if we are to succeed in counter-terrorism.

Mr. President,

In the past fifteen years, numerous leading figures of terrorism, including the Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Taliban leaders Mullah Omar and Mullah Akhtar Mansour have lived and died in Pakistan. The fact that notorious terrorist leaders were found and killed in their safe havens there is a clear proof that the country has violated the sovereignty of other nations. This constitutes a flagrant violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 and Resolution 2255 on the Sanction Regime against the Taliban. We believe that there is an urgent need for proper implementation of the existing counter terrorism resolutions of the UN Security Council.

Mr. President,

Following the failure of their so-called spring offensive, the Taliban have resorted to increasing highway banditry, killing, or kidnapping civilians. In late May, they kidnapped 130 civilian bus passengers in Kunduz, the fate of some of whom is still unknown. Earlier today, the Taliban again took multiple travelers hostage in the province of Helmand.

Meanwhile, provocative actions along the de-facto separation line including illegal construction of military installations, abuse of our nationals and restrictions on trade and transit have escalated by our neighbour. In the past three months, the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity continued with over 820 foreign artillery shelling of our eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Khost, Paktika, Kunar and Nouristan, causing civilian casualties and material loss.

Most recently, and in contravention of bilaterally agreed consultation mechanisms, our neighbour attempted to build new infrastructure at Torkham Pass, thereby provoking a needless military clash with casualties on both sides. The situation, a threat to international peace and security, remains tense with devastating impact on trade and transit.

As a responsible member of the UN, and under Article 33 of the UN Charter, Afghanistan has submitted 19 protest notes to Pakistan and summoned its head of mission in Kabul three times in the past three months. Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Government and parliament have called for diplomatic solution to the illegal construction at Torkham Pass. An Afghan delegation was sent to Islamabad, exploring a diplomatic breakthrough. We hope the voice of reason will prevail but our message is very clear: make no mistake, I repeat, make no mistake, the proud Government and people of Afghanistan have not, do not and will not surrender to intimidation, violence, and aggression. Our history is a testimony to this!

Mr. President,

Apart from the Taliban, the constantly morphing global and regional terrorist groups seek to turn Afghanistan into a launching pad against Central Asia, South Asia, West Asia and the Far East. It is imperative that we remain vigilant and proactive against them. Despite the recent ANDSF heavy blows to ISIL and AL-Qaeda, they continue to position themselves to reemerge in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda has gone dark and deep. Other regional terrorist networks, with links to Central Asian republics, Chechnya and China are highly active in our region. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, in coordination with other terror groups, remains a long-term threat to the security and stability of our region. What is more important, most of these terrorist groups and networks enjoy the facilitation and orchestration services of elements within the state structure of Pakistan who believe in the use of violence in pursuit of political objectives. Any country contemplating the use of good and bad terrorists against each other and against others is playing with fire which will catch itself. It is imperative that the international community undertake an initiative to establish objective criteria to identify and confront state sponsorship of terrorism in our neighborhood.

Despite the challenges, Afghanistan remains committed to the peace process with reconcilable Afghan elements in parallel to strengthening its defense and security capabilities. However, it is important that we remain vigilant against the instrumentalisation and misuse of the peace process to buy time and refuel the war machine of the Taliban by their supporters. One can only talk about peace with those who value genuine and results-oriented negotiations, but the world is yet to see sincerity on the part of the Taliban and their supporters.

Here, I must pay particular tribute to the brave men and women of ANDSF. I am pleased to report that ANDSF, despite suffering high casualty rates, continues to move from strength to strength, proving an invaluable asset and partner in the global struggle against terrorism. We are grateful for the continuing partnership of the international community. We welcome last week’s US announcement on further ground and air support to the ANDSF. We are looking forward to the Warsaw Summit of NATO in two weeks time, which will review international support for the Afghan security forces, and reiterate the pledges of our international partners.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan has moved to complete or attain progress on a number of major national and regional projects on energy and trade. Recently, we signed agreement with a Turkish company to explore expanding Kajaki dam in Helmand. Afghanistan and India inaugurated the Salma irrigation and power Dam in Herat. Another historic occasion was the signing of a transit trade agreement for the Chabahar Port between Afghanistan, India, and Iran. We have already started to export agricultural products through this new trade route. Leaders of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan launched the construction of the CASA1000 project. Afghanistan is determined to continue its outreach to all regional partners for mutual growth and prosperity, but at the same time remains steadfast in not allowing obstructive policies in the neighbourhood to dictate its direction. We are currently working on the development strategy framework, in line with Agenda 2030, to be presented at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in October. We look forward to generous investments from the international community towards the implementation of this strategy.

We are committed to the full implementation of the September 2014 Agreement on the formation of the National Unity Government. We are working with all stakeholders to identify and remove the obstacles and expedite the electoral reform and convocation of the constitutional amendment Loya Jirga.

As we approach the Brussels Conference, I am pleased to report that over 90 per cent of Afghanistan’s 2015-2016 commitments in the Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework (SMAF) are either complete or nearing completion. Afghanistan created the High Council on Governance, Justice and Anti-Corruption which supervises the National Anti-corruption Strategy, and implemented anti-corruption measures in the justice sector, which are bound to improve governance. The Parliament has given vote of confidence to new Ministers of Interior and Defense, Attorney-General and Head of National Directorate of Security.

Mr. President,

Despite rising civilian casualties due to attacks by extremist factions, the determination of ANDSF to protect civilian lives remains steadfast. The Government has reiterated its commitment to promoting human rights and continues to work on revising the penal code, professionalize the Afghan National Police, and submitted its first periodic report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. Children’s protection units are operational in different regions of the country to prevent recruitment of children in the armed forces. Multiple women’s protection and family guidance centers for survivors of domestic violence are open and functional, which shows the Government’s continued support in rehabilitating victims of violence.

The humanitarian situation remains fragile, with an increase in conflict related displacements in extreme weather conditions. Earlier this year, I was very pleased to sign the Climate Agreement on behalf of my Government, which I believe puts us on the right track to make progress towards environmental and social integrity. Afghanistan is ranked among the most vulnerable countries facing adverse impacts of climate change, and this affects our economic situation as well.

The flight of Afghans still leaving the country remains a cause of concern, along with significant numbers of internally displaced, as against a decrease in voluntary repatriations. Terrorist attacks on various aid organizations have hampered humanitarian assistance in several cases, and rendered refugee resettlement programs more precarious. However, our Government is fully committed to sustainable solutions for the repatriation of Afghan refugees with the support of the international community. I welcome the deliberations at the World Humanitarian Summit, and assure that Afghanistan will work with our international partners to address this serious humanitarian situation.

Mr. President,

According to UNODC’s socioeconomic analysis of its Afghanistan Opium Survey 2015, the estimated gross value of opiates in Afghanistan decreased, which represented seven per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, compared to 13 per cent in 2014. This demonstrates our commitment to curb the menace of narcotics and we will continue to work with the international community to garner support on the Afghan National Drug Action Plan to counter the threat of illicit drugs.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude by saying that 2015, the first post-transition year, was the year of survival for Afghanistan, but 2016 has inaugurated the era of consolidation of the gains that we have collectively made in the past fifteen years. Together, we will pave the way for long term sustainability of progress in our country. Let me thank every one of you around this table and almost all other member states of the UN who have been part of our journey either in sweat and toil or spirit so far.

Thank you.