Transcript: Remarks by Afghan Interior Minister Bismellah Mohammadi at the CSIS panel
* Transcript of remarks by Afghanistan Interior Minister Bismella Mohammadi at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on April 12, 2012:
*Remarks delivered through an English interpreter
“In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful, I welcome the presence of all those gathered here today. Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon to all of you. And I welcome all of you and appreciate your presence here this afternoon. I would also like to extend my deep appreciation to the Center for Strategic and International Studies for having given us such an opportunity to be in such a distinguished gathering this afternoon.
“First of all, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude and appreciation to the government of the United States and the people of the United States for their undying support and the long-term support they have extended and continue to extend to the people and nation of Afghanistan. The security situation during the past two years has seen considerable progress. In result of the concentrated efforts of the international community led by the United States of America, we have made a great deal of progress and can be proud of many accomplishments and successes.
“In result of partnering in operations, we have inflicted heavy damage on the Taliban in the southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan. And many of their areas and strongholds in Helmand, Kunduz, Kandahar, Baghlan and other provinces have been lost. Despite all of their destructive efforts, they have not been able to recapture the ground that we took away from them and the refuge that we denied them.
“Dear friends, we do have information that shows a great weakening of the Taliban – of the Taliban’s strength during the past two years. And this group, in order to continue war and violence, is facing a grave threat to its war-waging powers. I firmly believe that during the next year, alongside the concentration and the focus given to the transition process, we must redouble our efforts on military pressure and focus our efforts on the reintegration process and also work very hard on the road to a long-lasting peace. A great deal of pressure must also be brought to bear on the sources and resources given to the Taliban. And we must redouble our efforts and focus on fighting against institutionalized crime as well as the rule of law and good governance. And given all of these efforts, if we’re successful, the Taliban will see a great weakening of their popular support that has been steadily weakened during the past few years.
“Dear friends, the Afghan National Security Forces are increasing their professionalism and effectiveness day by day. Our security forces, in particular the Afghan National Police, with collaboration with the international forces, has been concentrating on the reduction of threats and securing security throughout Afghanistan. And on this path, they are making daily sacrifices and are hard at work. These sacrifices will lead to an enduring democracy and a bright future for Afghanistan in south – in South Asia and will lead to a decrease in extremism throughout the region, which in and of itself has a direct effect on the national security of the West, in particular the United States.
“Dear friends, the greatest part of our concentration and efforts are for – have been and are focused upon an increase in the level of professionalism of the Afghan National Police, a great deal of focus on training, a great deal of attention given to good leadership skills and development of those skills, as well as a fight against corruption within the ranks of the police force. In result of these mutual and – of these mutual efforts and the attention and focus of the international community, in particular that of the United States, today we are proud to have a police force that according to the latest polls taken, 85 percent of the people are satisfied with the service rendered by that police force, 86 percent of those polled respect that national police force and 88 percent of those polled give a great deal of credibility to the Afghan National Police, even though there are many obstacles still to overcome and many challenges on the road ahead for the Afghan National Police.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are hard at work and will spare no efforts to change the mission – the essential mission of the Afghan National Police from a war-fighting force to a law enforcement force, a force that will concentrate on the – on enforcing the rule of law throughout the country and the protection of every Afghan. And the effectiveness of our forces will therefore – thereby increase. And also, we are hard at work and focused on decreasing its gaps and capabilities.
“As I mentioned earlier, our most fundamental focus is being given to increasing leadership skills, fighting corruption, institutionalized corruption in the ranks of the police, and training.
“We have also – we will also continue our efforts to increase the presence of women within the ranks of the police force. And on this path, we have many successes and accomplishments. And most of our attention has been focused on attracting more and more women into the Afghan National Police force – respected participants.
“With the end of the transition process, the importance of the police force in law enforcement efforts, the fighting against criminal activities and an increase in law enforcement and the rule of law will thereby increase as well. A continuing support for an Afghan National Police will be one of the key needs for future success. We are determined that with support – that with support of a – of a properly equipped Afghan National Police and a properly trained Afghan National Police with increased fast operational capabilities and increased intelligence capabilities and increased communication capabilities as well as a closure in the gap of their equipment needs, they will steadfastly withstand any enemy attack and be a key tool in the continuing prosperity and peace in Afghanistan.
“As you’re all well-aware, two phases of the transition process have thus far gone successfully. In areas where the two phases of the transition process have been completed, people are living in stability and peace. In our opinion – in our opinion, the transition process must be an irreversible process and one aimed at increasing and giving final self-determination and independence to Afghanistan. We are quite hopeful that during the next few weeks the final phase and – the third and final phase of the transition will start to take place. But we must bring a lot of care to bear on the path to the finalization of this effort.
“Dear friends, respected friends, as you’re all well-aware, recently the government of Afghanistan concluded and finally signed various strategic partnerships with a few countries as well as the final signing of MOUs vis-à-vis prisons and vis-à-vis night operations – has brought us much closer to the United States on the path to the final agreement. And it gives us the security that the strategic partnership agreement between the United States and Afghanistan, which the people of Afghanistan, through their representatives in the Parliament, have already announced their full support for, will be signed prior to the upcoming Chicago conference. We see the signing of these agreements as a full declaration of support by many countries from the international community of – over the long-term security and prosperity of Afghanistan.
“Dear friends, as you – as you know, the government of Afghanistan, with the support of the international community, has spared no efforts during the last few years alongside – under the direction and alongside the international community has spared no efforts to bring about a reintegration and reconciliation process. Until today we have enjoyed many successes, and we have had many achievements during which thousands of those who were formerly opposed to the central government and an Afghan independence are now part of an Afghan society.
“The May conference to be held in Chicago, in which the entire international community will openly announce its commitment, its long-term commitment for the security of Afghanistan, is of utmost importance because it will be a determining forum that will specify the long-term commitments of the community – of the international community to Afghanistan’s security. We are quite hopeful that any decision to be taken vis-à-vis the gradual reduction – the eventual gradual reduction of the Afghanistan national security forces will take into consideration the security situation at that time on the ground in Afghanistan as well as undergo a prior close consultation with Afghan leadership so as not to sacrifice all of the successes and accomplishments which have been gained in blood and treasure of thousands of people during the last decade.
“Dear participants, last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude for all of the selfless sacrifice of the international community, in particular the United States of America and their long-term commitment in building a prosperous and stable Afghan National Police force. I thank you for all of your sacrifices.
“Ladies and gentlemen, our assessment and our take vis-à-vis what – the feedback that we have received from our people throughout Afghanistan, we can thereby assure you that we are not that far away from final victory. Therefore, we ask the people and the leadership of our greatest friend, the United States of America, and other countries – member – who are members of the international community – we ask them to practice more patience and be more patient with this process, and do not forget all of the sacrifices we’ve made together, so that we avoid a return to the bitter experiences that Afghanistan shared with the world over 10 years ago. And all of these accomplishments and successes that have been obtained with the sacrifices and the blood of many of our young people should never be forgotten.
“I thank all of you for your attention.”
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