Sunday, April 22, 2018



Istanbul Process: A New Agenda for Regional Cooperation in the ‘Heart of Asia’



14 June 2012


Conference Declaration


  1. The ‘Heart of Asia’Ministerial Conference – Kabul was convened on 14 June 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the first follow-up ministerial meeting of the Istanbul Process.  The Conference was inaugurated by His Excellency Mr. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and co-chaired by His Excellency Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and His Excellency Mr Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.


  1. The conference was attended by 14 ministerial and high-level delegations from the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries (listed in paragraph 35), 14 ministerial and high-level delegations from the supporting countries (listed in paragraph 36), and 11 high-level delegations from regional and international organisations (listed in paragraph 36).


  1. We, the Foreign Ministers of the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries, joined in Kabul by ministers and senior representatives of supporting countries and regional and international organisations;


Adhering to the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the fundamental equality of nations enshrined in the United Nations Charter, and recognizing the central role of the United Nations in international affairs;


Re-affirming the commitments enshrined in the 2002 Kabul Declaration of Good Neighbourly Relations;


Agreeing that promoting regional security and cooperation requires measures to build confidence and trust among countries;


Recalling the landmark Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan: Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia, held on 2 November 2011, and reaffirming, as the foundation for the present Conference, the understandings reached among the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries to cooperate in a sincere and result-oriented manner for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, as well as a secure and prosperous region as a whole;


Reaffirming our commitment to the principles stipulated in the Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan document;


Agreeing that the Istanbul Process provides a new agenda for regional cooperation in the ‘Heart of Asia’ by placing Afghanistan at its centre and engaging the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries in sincere and result-oriented cooperation for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, as well as a secure and prosperous region as a whole;


Recognizing that the Istanbul Process is a genuine regionally owned process led by Afghanistan with support and collaboration from its near and extended neighbours, andreiterating that, to reinforce the regional ownership of the process, decisions must be made through close consultation among the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries;


Clarifying that the term ‘Heart of Asia’ countries refers to Afghanistan and Afghanistan’s near and extended neighbours, and that it does not denote a new geographical entity;


Taking note of Afghanistan’s crucial role as the land-bridge in the ‘Heart of Asia’, connecting South Asia, Central Asia, Eurasia/Europe and the Middle East;


Agreeing that terrorism and violent extremism are common threats to the region; and emphasizing the need for joint and concerted efforts and cooperation among the regional countries to address the challenge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens, as well as disrupting all financial and tactical support for terrorism;


Reaffirming our commitment to strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan, as well as regional and international cooperation, to counter the threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond posed by the illicit production, trade, trafficking and consumption of narcotic drugs, in accordance with the principle of common and shared responsibility; and noting, in this context, the importance of outcomes of the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners on Combating the Illicit Drugs and Opiates Originating in Afghanistan held on 16 February in Vienna;


Anticipating that implementation of the confidence building measures identified in the Istanbul Process document will contribute to the building of trust and confidence among the regional countries;


Appreciating the active support and participation of all the ‘Heart of Asia’ Countries in the Istanbul Process and, in particular, the Republic of Turkey’s active role and stewardship in launching the Istanbul Process by hosting the Istanbul Conference and in its continuing support for the process;


Welcoming Afghanistan’s willingness and determination to use its regional and historical position to promote security, stability, and peaceful economic cooperation in the region, including through leading the steps forward adopted at this forum;


Welcoming the central and impartial role of the United Nations, in line with the Security Council resolutions, in support of regional cooperation, including the Istanbul Process;


Recognizing the important role of existing regional organisations, and emphasizing that the role of regional organisations should be supported in the interest of expanded economic cooperation and integration in the region, improved security and greater people-to-people relations, and calling for greater synergies to be created among these regional organisations;


Re-affirming that the Istanbul Process is not intended to substitute the existing efforts of regional organizations, but to cooperate with them, and complement their work where necessary, particularly where they relate to Afghanistan;


Re-affirming our pledge to give strong emphasis and further impetus to the ongoing regional cooperation endeavours;


Welcoming the successful conclusion of the 5th meeting of the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA V) held on 26-27 March 2012 in Dushanbe, and the valuable role of the Republic of Tajikistan in hosting this event, and agreeing that working towards implementation of the regional projects identified in the RECCA V Declaration will also be important steps towards greater confidence building in the region;


Recalling the strong mutual commitments between Afghanistan and the international community expressed at the Bonn International Conference on Afghanistan, which was chaired by Afghanistan and hosted by the Federal Republic of Germany on 5 December 2011 in Bonn, concerning the continued international support for Afghanistan’s stabilisation and economic development beyond the Transition period and into the Transformation Decade of 2015-2024;


Welcoming the upcoming Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan to be held on 8 July 2012 at the invitation of the Governments of Japan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and calling forcontinued international support to Afghanistan’s sustainable economic development during the Transformation Decade on the basis of mutual commitments between Afghanistan and the international community, and in this context, appreciating the initiative by the Republic of India to organise the Delhi Investment Summit on Afghanistan, a conference of regional and international investors focusing on Afghanistan, to be held on 28 June 2012 in New Delhi, and other such initiatives that could usefully contribute to the deliberations at the Tokyo Conference;


Stressing the importance of intensifying cooperation and dialogue between Afghanistan and regional countries, including the various combinations of bilateral, trilateral and multilateral processes, aimed at promoting regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries and, addressing the interlinked nature of various challenges faced by all countries in the region;


Hereby declare as follows:


  1. We endorse the Concept Paper produced by Afghanistan, and considered by our senior representatives at the first and second preparatory meetings of the Istanbul Process on 29 February in Kabul and 18 April in Ashgabat and, in particular, we agree on the following three elements for the follow-up to the Istanbul Process:


A)    Political consultation involving Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbours;


B)    A sustained incremental approach to implementation of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) identified in the Istanbul Process document; and


C)     Seeking to contribute and bring greater coherence to the work of various regional processes and organisations, particularly as they relate to Afghanistan.


A) Political Consultation


  1. In view of our common aim to promote a secure and prosperous region as a whole, we agree to work together to ensure that the security interests of all regional states are addressed peacefully and sustainably. In this context, we re-emphasise our determination to help Afghanistan overcome the challenges it faces on the way to achieving stability, peace and a self-reliant economy. Afghanistan, for its part, reiterates its commitment to peaceful and mutually rewarding cooperation with the region, and becoming an asset for the future of a secure and economically integrated region.  Afghanistan commits that it will not allow any threat from its territory to be directed against any other country and expects its neighbours to do the same.


  1. We note with satisfaction the developments in the on-going Transition process in Afghanistan and welcome the significant achievements that Afghanistan has made in gradually taking over responsibility for its security and defense from the international forces.  With the announcement of the third tranche of Transition in May 2012, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are taking lead responsibility for security for 75% of the Afghan population across all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. By mid-2013 the Transition will cover the entire country.The ANSF will have full responsibility for security nationwideby the end of 2014, thus allowing the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).  We further note that, beyond Transition, Afghanistan will require continued support towards training, equipping, capacity development and sustainment of the ANSF during the Transformation Decade 2015-2024.


  1. We emphasise the importance of a political solution as the surest path to lasting peace in Afghanistan, and agree to actively facilitate the current Afghan-led process of reconciliation in Afghanistan. We endorse Afghanistan’s efforts to reconcile the Taliban and other militant groups through an inclusive peace process that is based on the principles of renunciation of violence, cutting ties with all terrorist groups, preservation of Afghanistan’s democratic achievements and respect for the Afghan Constitution, including its provisions for the human rights of men and women.  We call on members of the international community, including Afghanistan’s regional partners, to extend any possible support to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned inclusive peace process with the goal of putting an end to violence in Afghanistan.


  1. We respect Afghanistan as a sovereign, independent and democratic country, which constitutes an integral component of the peace, well-being and prosperity of the region and beyond.  We are mindful of the challenges that can derail Afghanistan’s stabilisation and development, and harm regional and international security.  Terrorism, violent extremism and narcotic drug production and trafficking are among the major threats that Afghanistan faces. While these and other challenges do not affect all countries of the ‘Heart of Asia’to a similar degree, they have the potential to seriously undermine the prospects of security, peace and prosperity for the whole region.  We further recognise that no single state, or organisation, can deal with these challenges by itself and, therefore, a concerted effort towards stability and prosperity is needed.  Consequently, regional and international cooperation are indispensible to address these challenges.


  1. In dealing with our shared threats and challenges, we acknowledge that terrorism, extremism and separatism pose a serious challenge to many of our countries, as well as the region and beyond, which can only be addressed through our concerted effort and, we reiterate our strong resolve to combat terrorism, extremism and separatism in all its forms and manifestations, including the financing, harbouring, training and equipping of terrorist activities.


  1.  Another challenge that poses a serious threat to the peace and stability of the region is the challenge of narcotic drugs.  In this context, and with a view to the principle of common and shared responsibility, we will strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan, as well as regional and international partners, to counter the threat posed by the illicit production, trafficking and consumption of drugs.


  1. Recognising the need for strengthening trust and cooperation in the region, and thus contributing to the stability and prosperity of Afghanistan and its surrounding region, we agree to take part in a process of continuous and effective dialogue between Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbours concerning all issues of common interest and importance for Afghanistan and the region as a whole.


  1. We further recognise that undertaking regular political consultations at a high level is the most effective way of ensuring a continuous dialogue.  Therefore, we commit that Foreign Ministers of the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries will meet once a year for political consultations in the format of Ministerial Meetings, to be hosted by any participating country on a voluntary basis, and if needed in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where Afghanistan undertakes to make all appropriate arrangements.


  1. We assign our senior officials to prepare the agenda for Ministerial Meetings.  We anticipate that the focus of political consultations at these meetings will include, but will not be limited to, briefings and discussions on the developments in Afghanistan, as well as other issues of common interest to the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries, including common threats to regional security, such as terrorism and extremism, the menace of narcoticsand other forms of organized crime.  We will also consult on positive opportunities that exist for enhancing prosperity and the full realisation of the aspirations of the peoples of the region.


  1. The Kabul-based Ambassadors and representatives of the Istanbul Process participant countries and organisations will meet regularly to exchange and coordinate views on relevant issues.


B) Implementation of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs)


  1. Consistent with the understandings and agreements reached at the Istanbul Conference of 2 November 2011, we reaffirm our commitment to building greater trust and confidence within the region through implementation of the broad range of confidence building measures (CBMs) identified in the Istanbul Process document.


  1. We emphasise the importance of comprehensive implementation of all the CBMs contained in the Istanbul Process document.  However, recognizing the need for a sustained and incremental approach at this stage, we initially decide on the following CBMs for implementation, covering the areas of political and security, economic cooperation and education fields:


i)       Development of joint guidelines for cooperation in the field of disaster management (the ‘Disaster Management CBM’);


ii)     Enhanced cooperation for fighting terrorism, including through exchange of information (the ‘Counter Terrorism CBM’);


iii)   Cooperation and interaction among regional countries in the area of counter-narcotics, including through countering the production, trafficking and consumption of opium and other narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and their precursors, as well as through enhancing bilateral efforts to prevent illicit cross-border movement of personnel and material (the ‘Counter Narcotics CBM’);


iv)   Establishment of a framework for enhanced cooperation among Chambers of Commerce (the ‘Chambers of Commerce CBM’);


v)     Improvement of the exchange of information on commercial opportunities and specific trading conditions (the ‘Commercial Opportunities CBM’);


vi)   Development of a coherent strategy to develop and maintain a regionally connecting infrastructure, with support from international partners (the ‘Regional Infrastructure CBM’); and


vii) Broadening cooperation and exchanges in the field of education and science on a short or long-term basis (the ‘Education CBM’).


  1. With a view to implementation of the above CBMs, we welcome the following decisions by the Heart of Asia countries to participate in the implementation of specific CBMs and, in particular, take note of the willingness of countries to play a lead role in this process:

i)                   Disaster Management CBM: Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Turkey decide to participate in implementation, and Pakistan and Kazakhstan express their willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of Denmark, the European Union, France, Japan, the Royal Kingdom of Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;


ii)                 Counter Terrorism CBM:  Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates decide to participate in implementation, and Afghanistan, Turkey , and United Arab Emirates express willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of France, the United Kingdom and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;


iii)               Counter Narcotics CBM: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates decide to participate in implementation, and Russia and Azerbaijan express willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, the United Kingdom and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;


iv)               Chambers of Commerce CBM: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan decide to participate in implementation, and India expresses willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;


v)                 Commercial Opportunities CBM: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran,Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey , and  the United Arab Emirates decide to participate in the implementation, and India expresses willingness to lead the implementation of this CBM, in conjunction with the Chambers of Commerce CBM.We also welcome the readiness of Australia, Canada, the European Union, and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;


vi)               Regional Infrastructure CBM: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan decide to participate in the implementation, and Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan express willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of Germany and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;


vii)             Education CBM: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan decide to participate in implementation, and Iran expresses willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of Australia and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM.


  1. We expect that our Senior Officials, through their regular meetings between the Ministerial Meetings, will monitor progress of preparation, development, and implementation of the CBMs and provide a progress report to the Ministerial Meetings. In this regard, we call on our fellow ‘Heart of Asia’ countries participating in implementation of the various CBMs to take an active part in this process and to treat the fulfilment of these measures as a shared responsibility.
  2. In the interest of ensuring a comprehensive approach to implementation of the Istanbul Process CBMs, we invite all relevant regional and international organisations, including UN agencies, to participate in development and implementation of these CBMs and, where applicable, to share information and expertise about the measures they are already implementing which may be similar, or linked, to the relevant CBMs.


  1. To ensure effective and coordinated implementation of the above CBMs, the participating countries will introduce a technical focal point for each CBM to participate in a regional technical group focusing on the CBM’s implementation. The technical focal points will be experts from the government departments in each country that are concerned with implementation of the CBM.  The role of lead countries mainly involves coordination and follow-up of meetings and activities of the technical groups and providing updates to the Senior Officials of the ‘Heart of Asia’ Countries as required.


  1. For each CBM, the lead country will convene meetings of the regional technical group, involving the technicalfocal points of all the participating countries and organizations, to work on developing the relevant CBM implementationplan.  We anticipate that the first set of CBM implementation plans will be ready for review by the Senior Officials of the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries by the end of September 2012.  In the meantime, the ‘Heart of Asia’ Ambassadors’ Group in Kabul may also be convened as necessary to review the progress in the development of the implementation plans.  The CBM Implementation Frameworkprepared by Afghanistan may be used by the regional technical groups as a basis for developing their relevant implementation plans.


  1. We acknowledge the valuable interest of the international community to support the Istanbul Process and, in this regard, take note of the readiness expressed by various supporting countries and organisations to provide assistance to the process of implementation of the CBMs contained in this document. We anticipate that support for implementation of CBMs will include, apart from possible financial contributions, the sharing of expertise and other forms of technical support.
  2. We agree that the CBM implementation will be a voluntary and inclusive process, and that participating countries and organisations can, at any time during preparation, or implementation of a certain CBM, choose to join it as participants, or withdraw from it.


  1. We express our wish to continue to enhance understanding and cooperation among countries of the region and, in this context, we envisage that future Ministerial Meetings will choose to prioritize additional CBMs from the list contained in the Istanbul Process document, and make necessary decisions concerning their implementation.


  1. We support the creation of conditions conducive to the voluntary and safe return of refugees in a dignified and orderly manner and their sustainable reintegration, as well as continued international support to refugee hosting countries. Afghanistan expresses its gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for hosting Afghan refugees for the past three decades. In this context, we recommend that the CBM on refugees, already mentioned in the Istanbul Process Document, should be prioritized for implementation in the next phase.


  1. We recognise with gratitude Afghanistan’s readiness to act as the main focal point for various senior officials meetings, including the technical groups, as part of the CBM implementation process.


C) The Role of Regional Organisations


  1. We recognize the important role of the regional organizations covering different combinations of the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries.  In particular, we highlight the role of Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA), the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia(UNSPECA), and the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), in the context of regional cooperation towards enhanced security and economic development in the region.


  1. We respect the activities of regional organizations intending to develop CBMs in the region and, in this context, welcome the forthcoming CICA Ministerial Meeting in Astana later this year. Taking into account potential complementarity between the above CBMs and the work of CICA, we encourage the optimum level of coordination between the Istanbul Process and CICA.


  1. We welcome Afghanistan’s active participation in the regional organisations it is currently a member of, including OIC, SAARC, RECCA, CICA, ECO, UNSPECA, and CAREC. We also welcome the decision by the SCO to grant Afghanistan Observer status at the recent SCO Summit in Beijing on 6-7 June 2012. We alsowelcome the SCO’s decision to grant Dialogue Partner status to the Republic of Turkey.


  1. While noting the importance of a more structured approach to regional cooperation through various regional organisations, we also recognise the value of ad hoc, or enduring initiatives, of bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral formats between Afghanistan and various other countries from its near and extended neighbourhood.  We urge that, where these processes add value to Afghanistan’s cooperation with the region, or to the agenda of regional cooperation as a whole, they must be maintained and replicated as necessary.


  1. In the interest of ensuring greater coherence among the various regional cooperation processes, we envisage that at each Ministerial Meeting, interested regional organizations/agencies will, upon invitation, make presentations about their major activities, and Afghanistan will update its fellow regional countries about the progress made in the various trilateral and quadrilateral processes.


  1. Once again, we reiterate our strong commitment to regional cooperation as the most important strategy to achieve lasting security and development at the regional level, and reaffirm our desire to work together through the Istanbul Process and other existing regional mechanisms and processes in the shared interest of Afghanistan and its surrounding region.


  1. We express our gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for hosting this important first follow-up Ministerial Conference after the Istanbul Conference, and commend its leadership and commitment to taking the Istanbul Process forward in the interest of lasting security and confidence building in the region.


  1. We welcome with gratitude the expression of willingness from the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Republic of Tajikistan to host the next Ministerial Meeting of the Istanbul Process. In this regard, re-iterating our thanks to Tajikistan for hosting RECCA V Conference in March 2012 in Dushanbe, we decide that the next Ministerial Meeting of the Istanbul Process will be hosted by Kazakhstan in the city of Astana, in the first half of 2013.



  1. This declaration was adopted on the 14th day of June 2012 by Foreign Ministers and senior representatives from the ‘Heart of Asia’ Countries, which consist of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.


  1. This declaration was welcomed and supported by the Commonwealth of Australia, Canada, the Royal Kingdom of Denmark, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Finland, the Republic of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Iraq, Republic of Italy, Japan, the Royal Kingdom of Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the Agha Khan Development Network (AKDN), the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the United Nations (UN).

Chicago Summit on Afghanistan



Statement By His Excellency Hamid Karzai  President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

NATO Summit  Meeting on Afghanistan

Chicago, United States of America

21 May 2012

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

President Obama,

Secretary General Rasmussen,

Excellencies Heads of State and Government,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you very much, President Obama, for the warm welcome and hospitality in the magnificent city of Chicago. It is a pleasure to be addressing this important summit of the NATO Alliance, the ISAF contributing countries and other partners from around the world.

The road that has led to this important juncture in the partnership between Afghanistan and the international community started right here in the United States over a decade ago when, in the aftermath of the 9/11, the world coalesced around the objective of eliminating international terrorism. Much has been achieved in this struggle, including in the fight against Al-Qaeda, as well as in helping Afghanistan rebuild from the rubble of war and turmoil. The Afghan people are grateful to all the nations represented here today, who have supported Afghanistan over the past decade so that we could send our children to school, improve the health and living standards of our citizens, and lay the foundations of a vibrant democracy and a prospering economy. Your support has helped Afghanistan assume its rightful place in the community of nations. Our achievements would not have been possible without the sacrifices given by the Afghan people as well as the many young men and women of the various countries who have come to help us.

However, as we celebrate our shared achievements of the past decade, we must not overlook the immense sacrifice and suffering of the Afghan people and we must address the shortcomings of the approach in fighting terrorism. The war on terror has narrowly focused on Afghanistan where Afghan villages and towns have suffered terribly from an unending stream of violence, whereas terrorist safe havens, training camps and support networks, have remained untouched beyond Afghanistan’s frontiers.

More than a decade into this fight, terrorism remains a serious threat, and extremism and radicalism are on the rise. Spreading across societies in the region, these menaces, as we all know, have dire consequences not just for the stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan but also for the security of the region and the world as a whole.

Ladies and gentlemen,

While lessons of the past must be learned, it is the future of this critical partnership between Afghanistan and the international community that must be the focus of this important Summit today. In looking to the future, I consider the ongoing Transition process in Afghanistan to be the most important strategic priority in our joint efforts. Long before the launch of the Transition framework two years ago in Lisbon, I had voiced the strong desire of the Afghan people to regain control of their destiny and to be responsible for defending our own homeland.

Less than one year since the process of Transition was launched last July, the Afghan National Security Forces have assumed lead security and protection responsibility for half the Afghan population. Over the next six months, the ANSF area of responsibility will reach 75 percent of population across all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

The recently signed Memoranda of Understanding between Afghanistan and the United States, bringing night raids and detention centers under Afghan authority, is a significant development in the Transition process, as well as a sign of respect for our sovereignty.

We see the fulfilling of the Transition benchmarks, including the complete transfer of responsibility by mid-2013 and the withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force by end-2014, not only as a step forward in our security strategy, but also as a necessity if our country is going to achieve lasting peace and self-reliance. We see an irreversible Transition as a duty we owe to the men and women in uniform from your countries, to whom we are grateful, who need to be relieved of a responsibility that we Afghans ought to shoulder ourselves.


An irreversible Transition in Afghanistan will also depend on continued support and cooperation from our NATO allies and other partner countries. Such support, particularly in training, equipping and capacity development of the ANSF, would be crucial to Afghanistan’s ability to defend itself against any external and internal threats. In this context, we welcome the shift in NATO’s role from combat to a new training, advising and assistance mission . We look to the ISAF coalition partners and the wider international community to provide the Afghan Security Forces with the required enablers including advanced Counter-IED, enhanced logistics, intelligence, air assets, as well as the capability to secure Afghanistan’s airspace.

I commend the leadership and vision that NATO and its member states, particularly the United States, have shown in putting together a long-term support plan for the ANSF. I believe the estimated annual cost of 4.1 billion dollars for the ANSF in the post-Transition period is a sustainable figure. In this context, I reiterate the Afghan Government’s commitment to contribute 500 million dollars towards this objective, as well as our commitment to increase this contribution over time as our economy becomes stronger. As for the remaining 3.6 billion, I hope this conference will produce firm international commitment for contributions in the period after 2014. I also emphasize the importance of creating new mechanisms for spending these resources in a way that is efficient, cost-effective and flexible so that Afghan institutions gain maximum benefit from international support.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are grateful to Germany for hosting last year’s Bonn Conference on Afghanistan. At that conference, my government and the international community committed to a vision of long-term partnership encapsulated in the Transformational Decade 2014-2024. The Transformation Decade is critical to securing our future and moving Afghanistan towards greater self-reliance. In this context, we see an enduring partnership with NATO and our other allies as key to our long-term national security interests and important to our ability to contribute towards regional stability and international peace. Earlier this year, we signed long-term partnership documents with India, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. More recently, we have signed partnership agreements with Germany and Australia. We have also concluded a landmark strategic partnership agreement with the United States of America, which will serve to shape the long-term relationship between our two countries for at least another decade to come.

These partnerships mark a new chapter in Afghanistan’s relationship with its allies. They signify a relationship between equal partners based on the mutuality of interests. We have entered these partnerships with a view to realizing the long-standing aspirations of the Afghan people for peace and stability. The credibility of these partnerships will depend on success in achieving peace and stability for Afghanistan. Consistent with our national interest, our partnerships with the United States and other countries are not aimed at a third country and will not pose a threat to the region. It is our genuine belief that these partnerships will be in the interest of stability and greater prosperity in the region.

Furthermore, our vision for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan is fundamentally anchored in a region that is stable, economically integrated and conducive to shared prosperity. In this context, the Istanbul Process presents a unique opportunity for Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbors to engage in a sincere dialogue to build confidence and promote cooperation at the regional level. As part of the Istanbul Process, Afghanistan is committed to playing its role in bringing the region together in greater dialogue and partnership, and we hope the Process will continue to enjoy the confidence and support of our regional and international partners. In this context, we look forward to the Kabul Ministerial Conference in June as the follow up step to the Istanbul Process as well as to its further evolution thereafter.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Another vital element of achieving lasting stability in Afghanistan is the success of the peace and reconciliation process, which we have pursued with particular vigor and commitment for many years. Building on the strong consensus that exists within Afghanistan for a peaceful end to the conflict, we have extended a hand of reconciliation to the Taliban and other militant groups. Subject to the principles we have laid out for a peaceful outcome, including renunciation of violence, cutting ties with terrorism, safeguarding the achievements of the past ten years and upholding the constitution, we will work to make the peace process inclusive and a genuine alternative for all those who wish to return to dignified lives in our society.

Pakistan’s constructive engagement and cooperation will be instrumental for bringing the Taliban leadership to the negotiating table. We believe that Afghanistan and Pakistan have strong mutual security interests to work together in order to defeat the terrorists intent on killing our people, undermining the sovereignty of our countries, and destabilizing our region. Over the past few years, we have closely engaged Pakistan to assist us with the peace process, and I am hopeful that the weeks and months ahead will witness more tangible measures in this regard. However, while Pakistan and other countries from the region and beyond have a role to play in supporting the peace process and ensuring its success, it is for the Afghans to fully own and fully lead this process.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Transformation Decade is based on the assumption that, to achieve self-reliance, Afghanistan will enjoy significant development contributions from the international community for at least another decade after 2014. In this context, I thank the Government of Japan for convening an international donors’ meeting on Afghanistan in July of this year in Tokyo. Building on the solid commitment to a secure and prosperous Afghanistan expressed at last year’s Bonn Conference, we will submit to the Tokyo Conference a strategic economic plan for more self-reliance in the decade beyond 2014. Our economic plan will aim to gradually reduce our dependence on international aid, utilize Afghanistan’s own economic potentials, and achieve sustainable and equitable development for all our people.

We will also move forcefully on implementing a comprehensive agenda for further reform and improving governance, including the development of strong and effective institutions of state. Weak institutions, the existence of parallel structures such as the PRTs and reliance on aid contractors have created a gap between the people and government institutions. We will phase out all parallel structures, improve public service delivery and fight the menace of corruption, whether it is within the Afghan Government or outside. In particular, in the remaining part of my term in office, I will continue to focus strongly on building a system of public administration that is apolitical, professional, clean and founded on the principle of job security for civil servants.

The upcoming elections in 2014 is an important milestone in Afghanistan’s political maturation, and will have significant impact on the long-term stability and consolidation of democracy in Afghanistan. Therefore, our elections must be marked by integrity and free from internal or external intervention. We are determined to take all necessary measures to ensure a smooth political transition, in full accord with the Afghan Constitution, and taking into consideration the aspirations of all segments of Afghan society for a pluralistic and democratic polity.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are grateful to all the countries, gathered here today, for reaffirming their commitment to the financial sustainment of our security forces beyond 2014. Afghanistan’s security is fundamentally tied to the security of the region with implications for global security. A stronger Afghanistan, with capable and effective security forces, will be the lynchpin of stability and security in the region, and a reliable partner of the international community. Therefore, your contribution to the future development of the ANSF, for which we are very grateful, is a judicious investment in the defense of regional and international security.

Thank you.



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Summit Declaration

21 May. 2012

Issued by the Heads of State and Government of Afghanistan and Nations contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)


  1. We, the nations contributing to ISAF, and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, met today in Chicago to renew our firm commitment to a sovereign, secure and democratic Afghanistan. In line with the strategy which we agreed at the Lisbon Summit, ISAF’s mission will be concluded by the end of 2014. But thereafter Afghanistan will not stand alone: we reaffirm that our close partnership will continue beyond the end of the transition period.
  2. In the ten years of our partnership the lives of Afghan men, women and children, have improved significantly in terms of security, education, health care, economic opportunity and the assurance of rights and freedoms. There is more to be done, but we are resolved to work together to preserve the substantial progress we have made during the past decade. The nations contributing to ISAF will therefore continue to support Afghanistan on its path towards self-reliance in security, improved governance, and economic and social development. This will prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for terrorists that threaten Afghanistan, the region, and the world. A secure and stable Afghanistan will make an important contribution to its region, in which security, stability and development are interlinked.
  3. ISAF nations and Afghanistan join in honouring all those – civilian or military, Afghan or foreign – who have lost their lives or been injured in the fight for our common security and a prosperous, peaceful and stable Afghanistan. We pay particular tribute to the courage of the armed forces of Afghanistan and ISAF countries who live, train and fight next to each other every day. We are determined that all our sacrifices will be justified by our strong long-term partnership, which will contribute to a better future for the people of Afghanistan.

General principles

  1. Our efforts are part of the broader engagement of the International Community as outlined by the Kabul Conference in July 2010, the Istanbul Process on regional security and cooperation which was launched in November 2011 and the Bonn Conference in December 2011.
  2. We recall the firm mutual commitments made at the Bonn Conference on 5 December 2011, which form the basis of our long-term partnership. In this context, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan confirms its resolve to deliver on its commitment to a democratic society, based on the rule of law and good governance, including progress in the fight against corruption, where the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens, including the equality of men and women and the active participation of both in Afghan society, are respected. The forthcoming elections must be conducted with full respect for Afghan sovereignty and in accordance with the Afghan Constitution. Their   transparency, inclusivity and credibility will also be of paramount importance. In this context, continued progress towards these goals will encourage ISAF nations to further provide their support up to and beyond 2014.
  3. We emphasise the importance of full participation of all Afghan women in the reconstruction, political, peace and reconciliation processes in Afghanistan and the need to respect the institutional arrangements protecting their rights. We remain committed to the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security. We recognise also the need for the protection of children from the damaging effects of armed conflict as required in relevant UNSCRs.

 Fulfilling the Lisbon Roadmap and building the Enduring Partnership

  1. In Lisbon, in November 2010, we decided on the phased transition of security responsibility from ISAF to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), in order to enable Afghans to take full responsibility for their own security. NATO/ISAF and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan remain committed to this transition strategy which began in July 2011. Irreversible transition is on track and will be completed by the end of 2014. We also recognise in this context the importance of a comprehensive approach and continued improvements in governance and development.
  2. The third wave of provinces to enter the transition process was announced by President Karzai on 13 May 2012. This means that 75% of Afghanistan’s population will soon be living in areas where the ANSF have taken the lead for security. By mid-2013, all parts of Afghanistan will have begun transition and the Afghan forces will be in the lead for security nation-wide. This will mark an important milestone in the Lisbon roadmap. ISAF is gradually and responsibly drawing down its forces to complete its mission by 31 December 2014.
  3. The success of transition has been enabled by the substantial improvement of the ANSF since Lisbon in terms of capability and professionalism. Afghan soldiers are increasingly taking the lead in operations on Afghan soil. Afghan forces, both army and police, have proven able to maintain security in those areas which have  already entered into transition.
  4. The completion of transition, however, will not mean the end of the International Community’s commitment to Afghanistan’s stability and development. Afghanistan and NATO reaffirm their commitment to further develop the NATO-Afghanistan Enduring Partnership signed at Lisbon in 2010 in all its dimensions, up to 2014 and beyond, including through joint programmes to build capacity such as the Building Integrity Initiative. In this context, NATO and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will now deepen their consultations towards shaping the Enduring Partnership.
  5. Meanwhile, we welcome the fact that a number of ISAF countries have concluded, or are in the process of concluding, bilateral partnership agreements with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. These bilateral partnership frameworks will form the basis of cooperation and friendship between an independent, sovereign and democratic Afghanistan and those countries on the basis of equality and mutual interest.

Beyond 2014

  1. In order to safeguard and build on the substantial progress and shared achievement, ISAF nations reaffirm their enduring commitment to Afghan security beyond 2014; the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan continues to welcome that support.
  2. ISAF, including the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan, has played a key role in taking the ANSF to the levels they have now reached. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan reaffirms that NATO has a crucial part to play, with partners and alongside other actors, in training, advising and assisting the ANSF and invites NATO to continue its support. As transition of security responsibility is completed at the end of 2014, NATO will have made the shift from a combat mission to a new training, advising and assistance mission, which will be of a different nature to the current ISAF mission.
  3. We agree to work towards establishing such a new NATO-led mission. We will ensure that the new mission has a sound legal basis, such as a United Nations Security Council Resolution.

Sustaining the ANSF

  1. With the support of ISAF nations, Afghanistan is committed to developing an ANSF which is governed by the Constitution and is capable of providing security to all Afghans. It will operate under effective civilian leadership, in accordance with the rule of law, and respecting human rights.
  2. At the International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn on 5 December 2011, the wider International Community decided to support the training, equipping, financing and capability development of the ANSF beyond the end of the transition period. NATO Allies and ISAF partners reaffirm their strong commitment to this process and will play their part in the financial sustainment of the ANSF. We also call on the International Community to commit to this long-term sustainment. The pace and the size of a gradual managed force reduction from the ANSF surge peak to a sustainable level will be conditions-based and decided by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in consultation with the International Community. The preliminary model for a future total ANSF size, defined by the International Community and the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, envisages a force of 228,500 with an estimated annual budget of US$4.1billion, and will be reviewed regularly against the developing security environment.
  3. Sustaining a sufficient and capable ANSF is the responsibility of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan supported by the International Community. As part of the wider International Community, and building upon existing mechanisms, we will play our part in developing appropriate, coherent and effective funding mechanisms and expenditure arrangements for all strands of the ANSF.   Such mechanisms will be flexible, transparent, accountable, cost-effective and will include measures against corruption. They will also distinguish between funding for the army and the police as well as for further capacity development within the relevant Afghan ministries and security institutions.
  4. As the Afghan economy and the revenues of the Afghan government grow, Afghanistan’s yearly share will increase progressively from at least US$500m in 2015, with the aim that it can assume, no later than 2024, full financial responsibility for its own security forces. In the light of this, during the Transformation Decade, we expect international donors will reduce their financial contributions commensurate with the assumption by the Afghan government of increasing financial responsibility.
  5. As the Afghan National Police further develop and professionalise, they will evolve towards a sustainable, credible, and accountable civilian law enforcement force that will shoulder the main responsibility for domestic security. This force should be capable of providing policing services to the Afghan population as part of the broader Afghan rule of law system. This will require an adequate plan to be developed by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, supported as appropriate by the International Police Coordination Board (IPCB) or its successor. Both the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police will play a crucial role in ensuring security and stability, and in supporting legitimate governance and sustainable economic growth across the country.

Towards a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan

  1. A political process involving successful reconciliation and reintegration is key to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. In this context, we reiterate the importance of the principles decided at the Bonn Conference. These are that the process leading to reconciliation must be truly Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, and must be inclusive and representative of the legitimate interests of all Afghan people, regardless of gender or status. Reconciliation must also contain the reaffirmation of a sovereign, stable and united Afghanistan, the renunciation of violence, the breaking of ties to international terrorism, and compliance with the Afghan Constitution, including its human rights provisions, especially on the rights of women.
  2. A peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan will positively contribute to economic and social development in the wider region, and deliver progress in the fight against narcotics trafficking, illegal migration, terrorism and crime. In this context, regional cooperation and support for stability in Afghanistan is key. There are two important events on the way to securing the future commitment of key regional and international partners. The upcoming Kabul Ministerial Conference on the Istanbul Process will launch an initial set of regional confidence-building measures while at the Tokyo Conference the International Community and Afghan leadership will discuss a framework for future development assistance.
  3. Our task is not yet complete. But in the light of our substantial achievements, and building on our firm and shared commitment, we are confident that our strong partnership will lead Afghanistan towards a better future.


Manufacturing The third industrial revolution

The digitisation of manufacturing will transform the way goods are made—and change the politics of jobs too


Source: The Economist

THE first industrial revolution began in Britain in the late 18th century, with the mechanisation of the textile industry. Tasks previously done laboriously by hand in hundreds of weavers’ cottages were brought together in a single cotton mill, and the factory was born. The second industrial revolution came in the early 20th century, when Henry Ford mastered the moving assembly line and ushered in the age of mass production. The first two industrial revolutions made people richer and more urban. Now a third revolution is under way. Manufacturing is going digital. As this week’s special report argues, this could change not just business, but much else besides.


A number of remarkable technologies are converging: clever software, novel materials, more dexterous robots, new processes (notably three-dimensional printing) and a whole range of web-based services. The factory of the past was based on cranking out zillions of identical products: Ford famously said that car-buyers could have any colour they liked, as long as it was black. But the cost of producing much smaller batches of a wider variety, with each product tailored precisely to each customer’s whims, is falling. The factory of the future will focus on mass customisation—and may look more like those weavers’ cottages than Ford’s assembly line.

Towards a third dimension

The old way of making things involved taking lots of parts and screwing or welding them together. Now a product can be designed on a computer and “printed” on a 3D printer, which creates a solid object by building up successive layers of material. The digital design can be tweaked with a few mouseclicks. The 3D printer can run unattended, and can make many things which are too complex for a traditional factory to handle. In time, these amazing machines may be able to make almost anything, anywhere—from your garage to an African village.


The applications of 3D printing are especially mind-boggling. Already, hearing aids and high-tech parts of military jets are being printed in customised shapes. The geography of supply chains will change. An engineer working in the middle of a desert who finds he lacks a certain tool no longer has to have it delivered from the nearest city. He can simply download the design and print it. The days when projects ground to a halt for want of a piece of kit, or when customers complained that they could no longer find spare parts for things they had bought, will one day seem quaint.

Other changes are nearly as momentous. New materials are lighter, stronger and more durable than the old ones. Carbon fibre is replacing steel and aluminium in products ranging from aeroplanes to mountain bikes. New techniques let engineers shape objects at a tiny scale. Nanotechnology is giving products enhanced features, such as bandages that help heal cuts, engines that run more efficiently and crockery that cleans more easily. Genetically engineered viruses are being developed to make items such as batteries. And with the internet allowing ever more designers to collaborate on new products, the barriers to entry are falling. Ford needed heaps of capital to build his colossal River Rouge factory; his modern equivalent can start with little besides a laptop and a hunger to invent.

Like all revolutions, this one will be disruptive. Digital technology has already rocked the media and retailing industries, just as cotton mills crushed hand looms and the Model T put farriers out of work. Many people will look at the factories of the future and shudder. They will not be full of grimy machines manned by men in oily overalls. Many will be squeaky clean—and almost deserted. Some carmakers already produce twice as many vehicles per employee as they did only a decade or so ago. Most jobs will not be on the factory floor but in the offices nearby, which will be full of designers, engineers, IT specialists, logistics experts, marketing staff and other professionals. The manufacturing jobs of the future will require more skills. Many dull, repetitive tasks will become obsolete: you no longer need riveters when a product has no rivets.

The revolution will affect not only how things are made, but where. Factories used to move to low-wage countries to curb labour costs. But labour costs are growing less and less important: a $499 first-generation iPad included only about $33 of manufacturing labour, of which the final assembly in China accounted for just $8. Offshore production is increasingly moving back to rich countries not because Chinese wages are rising, but because companies now want to be closer to their customers so that they can respond more quickly to changes in demand. And some products are so sophisticated that it helps to have the people who design them and the people who make them in the same place. The Boston Consulting Group reckons that in areas such as transport, computers, fabricated metals and machinery, 10-30% of the goods that America now imports from China could be made at home by 2020, boosting American output by $20 billion-55 billion a year.


The shock of the new

Consumers will have little difficulty adapting to the new age of better products, swiftly delivered. Governments, however, may find it harder. Their instinct is to protect industries and companies that already exist, not the upstarts that would destroy them. They shower old factories with subsidies and bully bosses who want to move production abroad. They spend billions backing the new technologies which they, in their wisdom, think will prevail. And they cling to a romantic belief that manufacturing is superior to services, let alone finance.

None of this makes sense. The lines between manufacturing and services are blurring. Rolls-Royce no longer sells jet engines; it sells the hours that each engine is actually thrusting an aeroplane through the sky. Governments have always been lousy at picking winners, and they are likely to become more so, as legions of entrepreneurs and tinkerers swap designs online, turn them into products at home and market them globally from a garage. As the revolution rages, governments should stick to the basics: better schools for a skilled workforce, clear rules and a level playing field for enterprises of all kinds. Leave the rest to the revolutionaries.


Permanent Mission of Afghanistan