Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib, who addressed a ceremony at Hudson Institute in Washington DC, said Afghans firmly believes in the country’s Constitution and democratic institutions and that they see their future in the global community of democratic nations.
“Afghanistan has undergone a social transformation over the past 18 years. We firmly believe in our Constitution and democratic institutions. We see our future in the global community of democratic nations,” Mohib said.
He said Afghan forces are fighting on the frontlines of the global war on terror.
“Our brave National Defense and Security Forces are fighting not only for our sovereignty, but we are on the frontlines of the global war on terror, which we have scarified dearly to keep at bay. We are a strategic partner for our allies in the international community, foremost the United States,” he said.
Mohib said the Afghans and Americans have come this far through “great sacrifice”, for which Afghans as a nation will forever be grateful.
“We are indebted to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our gains as a nation and our increased security as an international community, and I thank all members of the Afghan and US military, the veterans and families of the fallen, who served in Afghanistan and who are still serving today,” he said.
In 2017, with the announcement of the Trump administration’s South Asia strategy, Afghanistan and the US entered a new phase of our partnership, Mohib said.
“The South Asia strategy was a game changer for the region because it was based on conditions, not timelines; it put serious pressure on spoilers in our neighborhood; and it refocused the US role on training, advising and assisting Afghan troops, and pursuing counter-terror objectives in partnership with our security sector. We still believe this is the correct approach to our partnership,” he stressed.
Mohib reiterated that terrorism is a global problem that requires a long-term global response.
“Our security forces are defending our nation on their own, and we have been working hard over the past five years to gradually absorb more financial responsibility for our armed forces and overall operating costs of our state,” he said.
“There are mechanisms within our agreements—the BSA and the US-Afghanistan Compact— that allow us to discuss and reconfigure our partnership,” he said,
He said the Afghan government will continue to increase the domestic revenue and further develop military capacity and capability.
“A responsible, gradual reduction in US troops and assistance, and the complete conversion of all assistance to conditions-based, on-budget assistant, would allow us to gradually cover more and more costs, as we continue to increase domestic revenue, and to develop further human and military capacities and capabilities,” he said. “To that end, in January, President Ashraf Ghani sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that we engage in a coordinated effort to reevaluate our partnership.”
He said Afghans have serious concerns and fears about a process in pursuit of peace.
“Now we would ask the United States to provide clarification on what its long-term strategy and interests are in our country.”
“I think what no one is prepared for are any sudden changes to our partnerships that fall outside the boundaries of our guiding documents or that betray all both countries have invested to build over the past two decades. Afghans have serious concerns and fears about a process in pursuit of peace that, to date, has not included any Afghan representation,” he added.