Remarks By President Ashraf Ghani at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Conference

June 10, 2018

Your Excellency President Xi Jing Ping, Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Heads of Organizations, Ladies and Gentlemen:

We meet against the background of global uncertainty and disruptive change.
The space of SCO, fortunately, is experiencing one of those rare “open moments” of history, when creative change, pragmatic pursuit of realistic objective, commitment to problem  solving, and systematic expansion of cooperation between and among states creating a new environment of cooperation and trust. As a result, the prospects of emergence of a Euro-Asian continental economy are increasingly becoming certain. The chance to expand the open moment into a century of sustained opportunity for our peoples is real.

Grasping the opportunity, however, requires fashioning a focused regional strategy to expand regional cooperation on connectivity and contain the threat of destructive change posed by Transnational Terrorist Networks (TTNS) and Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs). Such a strategy, by necessity, will require a change of perspective on the potential and problems of Afghanistan.

Simply put, the conflict over our territory is whether Afghanistan should function as a platform of regional connectivity and global co-operation or a launching pad for destructive designs and plots of Transnational Criminal Organizations and terrorist networks. Permit me to make the case for how the despite the immense cost to our people by the imposed conflict, our prospects for becoming a platform for cooperation and connectivity are significantly approving.
First, having formed a national consensus on peace, we are firmly committed to a political solution to the conflict with the Taliban. Our unconditional offer of peace is comprehensive and we are pleased that for the first time the Ulema of Afghanistan have provided the total religious justification as to why the conflict should cease. We are pleased that the Taliban have accepted our ceasefire declaration for Eid. This is the first break in 23 years and we ask for your support to utilize the window for moving forward with Intra-Afghan peace talks.

Second, we are pleased that our international partners are resolute in their support for a stable, peaceful, democratic and self-reliant Afghanistan. The US South Asia Strategy has been a game changer in creating the enabling conditions for peace and stability. We gratefully acknowledge the support of our partners in the security arena through the Resolute Support Mission and the developmental partners through the EU-sponsored Brussels Conference to which all of you around the table made significant contributions. We are utilizing the generous support to change the lives of our people through consolidation of effective and efficient institutions that will be accountable to our fellow citizens.

Third, we are witnessing the emergence of a regional consensus on the need for a stable and connected Afghanistan. On behalf of our people and government, let me thank the leaders around the table for their generous comment and for the momentum generated and to highlight some events and measures. The Tashkent conference, hosted by President Mirziyoyev, introduced a fresh dynamic in regional cooperation on peace.

President XI, Prime Minister Modi, and President Mirziyoyev engaged President Trump and other world leaders on the need for treating Afghanistan as an area of cooperation. Thank you! Prime Minister Modi and President Xi’s dialogue and agreement to cooperate on Afghanistan has injected fresh energy and allowed us to articulate an agenda for Afghanistan’s prosperity through access to the massive regional market of these two engines of global growth. We are pleased with intensification of our bilateral dialogue with Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

We have engaged in an intensive dialogue with Iran through five specialized committees and are focused on integrating the progress into a framework agreement. I thank President Rouhani for his engagement. Our bilateral dialogue with Pakistan has resulted in a framework agreement called APAPPS (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity) signed  on May 14, 2018. Our focus now is to translate the agreement into real momentum on the ground on reduction of violence, acceleration of peace process, combatting terrorism and narcotics, and regional connectivity and cooperation. Reciprocal visits by high-level delegations have served as the catalytic mechanism for the dialogue and progress on paper. Our progress is on paper, we are hoping for cautious optimism to translate the progress into progress on the ground.

Fourth, our agenda of regional connectivity is making real progress. Afghanistan now has three dry ports linked with railways to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and the fourth railway linkage with Iran is being constructed to link us, India, Central Asia and China to the port of Chah-Bahar, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan are committing our own funds to the construction of Balkh-Herat railway and seeking international support for this transformative project. TAPI has reached the Afghan border and we are committed to turn its route into a full development corridor. CASA-1000 is becoming a reality. Even more significantly, our open access energy and fiber optics policies are resulting in significant private sector investment. The potential of Afghanistan as a hub of regional energy trade is no longer pipe dream but a rapidly unfolding reality. We are making weekly progress on expanding the national grid, to provide the power to drive the engines of growth. Regional transit agreements are linking us to China, Caucuses in Europe and air corridors are fast expanding, thereby gradually lowering the costs of transport and access to the export economy.

Fifth, to overcome our inherited problems of corruption, poor governance and limited utilization of our human and natural capital, we are accelerating the implementation of a comprehensive agenda of reform. Through a generational change in leadership and management, we are transferring authority and power to a capable dynamic group of young Afghan men and women. 49 percent of our cabinet for instance is under 40 and the age of ministries is fast declining, the average age.  The retirement age for colonels and Generals has been brought down to 55-62 and the torch of defense, security and development is being passed.

We are making real progress in implementing our anti-corruption strategy, as demonstrated by certification by national and international observers that we have fully met 14 of the 19 benchmarks, set for this year, and have significant progress on the remaining. The reforms enable us to responsibly utilize our massive natural capital and minerals and oil and gas for the current and future generations. We are committed to holding parliamentary elections in 2018 and Presidential elections in 2019.

Distinguished leaders:

Our progress is real but every step forward is made very difficult in a difficult context. We are gaining our rights through the immense sacrifice and valor of our defense and security forces, the resilience and will of our people in the face of hardship and deprivations, and the commitment of the absolute majority of Afghan people to peace, stability, democracy and prosperity. Forces of disorder, as exemplified by terrorist networks and criminal organizations, are dedicated to our destruction and your insecurity. The twin evils of terrorism and narcotics must, therefore, be confronted coherently, comprehensively and cooperatively. The first step in this process is to create a narrative of cooperation on the basis of win-win conception of Afghanistan as a platform of regional connectivity and cooperation and then harness the Shanghai spirit to create the necessary action plans for regional cooperation. I am pleased on the agreement on SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group and look forward to expanding cooperation.

Geographically located at the heart of Asia and a historical gateway to the Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan is poised to function as an Asian Roundabout. It is not aid, but market access, transit investment and regional cooperation that we seek to assume our rightful place in the rank of developmental states and countries and serve as an anchor of international and regional stability.

Let me close by thanking President Xi and the people of Qingdao for the excellent arrangements and exceptional hospitality. I had last visited in 1996 and am inspired by the transformation that has taken place. May the prosperity generated by your leadership, President Xi, continue for people of China and the benefits be extended to all of your neighbors. I congratulate Kyrgyzstan assuming the chairmanship and wish Secretary General Alimov all the best.

Thank you.

The Chief Executive Meets with New Ambassador of Sweden to Kabul

The Chief Executive Meets with New Ambassador of Sweden to Kabul

September 18, 2017

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan today met with Tobais Thyberg, Newly appointed Ambassador of Sweden to Kabul.

The Chief Executive congratulated Mr. Thyberg for his appointment as Ambassador of Sweden and expressed hope that during his tenure, relations between the two countries would be expanded.

The Chief Executive called relations between Sweden and Afghanistan friendly, good and old and appreciated Sweden’s assistance to Afghanistan.

Thanking the Chief Executive, Mr. Thyberg expressed pleasure for his appointment in Afghanistan as Ambassador of Sweden, and expressed hope that the ties and cooperation between the two countries would be increased.

Mr. Thyberg reassured of Sweden’s continued cooperation with Afghanistan in the context of good relations between the two countries.

Dimensions of the US new strategy for Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s regional relations, the latest political-security developments, elections, and presence and representation of women in the Afghan government and Sweden’s support of women’s participation were discussed at the meeting.

President Ghani Receives Swedish Foreign Minister

President Ghani Receives Swedish Foreign Minister

Kabul, October 25, 2017


The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani received foreign minister of the Kingdom of Sweden Margot Wallström, Wednesday afternoon, Presidential Palace.

On behalf of the Swedish government and people, Minister Margot Wallström expressed her condolences to the President and people of Afghanistan over the recent spate of despicable terror attacks. She said, “We share the grief with you.” She passed greetings of her government leadership to the President.

Minister Wallström added that the Swedish government will remain in Afghanistan as a partner and will continue their assistance and cooperation.

President Ghani expressed gratitude to the Swedish government and people for their condolences. He asked Minister Wallström to convey his greetings to the leadership of the Swedish government.

President Ghani thanked the Swedish government for having helped Afghanistan during tough times especially in health and education sectors.

The two sides also conferred about regional issues and the peace process as well as technical cooperation on vocational education and renewable energy.

The Swedish foreign minister reaffirmed continued assistance and support of her government to Afghanistan in different realms of development, stressing that the Afghan-Swedish relations be expanded and strengthened.

Joint communique from the visit of H.E President Ashraf Ghani to Stockholm

This year Sweden and Afghanistan celebrate 75-years of diplomatic relations. The excellent relations were reaffirmed during the visit of H.E President Ashraf Ghani to Stockholm on 4 December 2015.

The Swedish efforts in Afghanistan are long-term and have over the years encompassed political, military and development cooperation efforts. In particular, the efforts of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan have been greatly appreciated. The Afghan people’s quest for peace and democracy is one that has broad political support in Sweden. Sweden supports the Afghan Government’s reform agenda and its efforts to initiate a peace process.

A bilateral agreement on development cooperation was signed between Sweden and Afghanistan to manifest the importance of the relationship. It confirms Sweden´s continued support to Afghanistan. The agreement establishes a platform for consultations which will provide opportunities to discuss, on a regular basis, what we consider to be core issues in our development cooperation – democracy, human rights particularly the rights of women, jobs creation and inclusive and sustainable growth and development.

The heads of Government exchanged views on the current situation with regard to asylum seekers arriving in large numbers in Europe and in Sweden, including from Afghanistan, many of them unaccompanied minors. It was agreed that this is of mutual concern. Both governments are determined to do their outmost to address and improve this situation.

It was agreed to improve cooperation and to enter into negotiations on an agreement on readmission in accordance with Swedish and international law, including the right of asylum within the established due processes.

The international community, including Sweden, has over the years played a significant role in Afghanistan. Together with some 40 other countries, Sweden participated in one of the largest international operations in modern times, aimed at promoting peace, security and reconstruction in Afghanistan. Throughout the years 2002-2014, around 10 000 Swedish men and women have contributed to this effort. The Swedish contribution continues in the form of participation in the Nato-led train, advice, and assist mission “Resolute Support”.

Afghanistan is the largest recipient of Swedish development cooperation. At the international conference in Tokyo 2012, Sweden pledged SEK 8,5 billion to Afghanistan for the period 2015-2024. The first half of that ambition is currently being realised through a development strategy encompassing an indicative volume of SEK 4, 8 billion during the timeframe 2014-2019.

Joint Declaration by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and Acting Foreign Minister of Afghaistan



Friendship and Cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Kingdom of Sweden date back many decades. The strong relationship is based on a common vision of a sovereign, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan enjoying good neighborly relations in a stable region.
Over the past decade, Sweden has been a major provider of development and humanitarian assistance, amounting to approximately 150 million USD annually channeled bilaterally, through the European Union, and through multi-lateral organizations. Furthermore, Sweden has contributed to the strengthening of Afghan security and rule of law by participating in the UN-mandated ISAF mission, and in the European Union’s Police Mission EUPOL.
Time has now come to look towards the future. The forthcoming Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development (CAPD) between Afghanistan and the European Union will provide a long-term strategic framework for the relations between Afghanistan and Sweden. In addition, the two countries will continue to develop their bilateral cooperation. To this end, the two governments today:
·         Agreed to initiate negotiations on a bilateral agreement on development cooperation, with the view to sign an agreement in the coming year. The agreement will be based on mutual respect, shared interests and a continued strong commitment to transparency and accountability in accordance with the framework of the Tokyo Declaration of July, 2012.
·         Announced the intention of Afghanistan to establish an Embassy in Stockholm in the coming year.
·         Agreed to further develop the political dialogue by intensifying the exchange of visits at various government levels and by encouraging parliamentary contacts.
·         Reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen democracy, good governance and transparency, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Special attention should be given to the situation of women and the growing young population in Afghanistan.
The two countries stressed the importance of finding a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan supported by the countries of the region and the wider international community. They reiterated their support for an Afghan-led, inclusive peace and reconciliation process guided by the principles of the Afghan Constitution.
Afghanistan and Sweden will continue to cooperate in strengthening Afghan security, ownership and leadership by completing the transition process by the end of 2014. Sweden will examine possibilities to contribute to future international efforts to train Afghan police and national security forces, should Afghanistan so request.
Afghanistan and Sweden will work together to build confidence in the region through the Heart of Asia process to which Sweden is a supporting country.
Afghanistan and Sweden underlined the importance of Afghan-owned, free, fair and inclusive elections to further consolidate democracy in Afghanistan. Strong and independent institutions, including the Independent Election Commission, a solid legal framework and robust security measures are necessary to ensure the success of future elections. Sweden stands ready to lend its support through advice and monitors, in coordination with the Afghan government, the European Union and the United Nations.


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