The Embassy of Afghanistan recently observed their 100th Independence Day with national pride as noted Qatari dignitaries, prominent members of the international diplomatic corps and Afghan expatriates attended the celebrations.
Held at Sheraton Hotel, the Independence Day reception started with the national anthems of both Qatar and Afghanistan. The cake cutting ceremony was held in presence of the Qatari dignitaries. A short documentary film was also shown for the gathering highlighting the achievements and success of the present Afghan government.
The prominent dignitaries among those present at the occasion were namely: HE Dr. Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi, Minister of Justice and Minister of State for the Council of Ministers Affairs; HE Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie, Minister of Municipality and Environment; HE Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah al-Thani, HE Ambassador Ibrahim Yousif Abdullah Fakhro, Director of Department of Protocol in the MoF; and HE Ambassador Ali Ibrahim Ahmed, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.
Abdul Hakim Dalili, ambassador of Afghanistan to Qatar, made an elaborate speech and highlighted the positive role of the present-day government and bilateral ties with Qatar. Towards the end of the programme, few young Afghan men performed traditional dance to the tunes of melodious music.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Dalili welcomed the gathering and said: “Before 100 years from today, Afghanistan gained its complete independence from the British Empire when the then king of Afghanistan, Ghazi Amanullah Khan declared independence on August 19, 1919.
The independence paved the path for Afghanistan to build its relations with the countries of the world.
Regarding the diplomatic relations with Qatar, the ambassador said: “Year 1971 witnessed the beginning of relations between the two countries; hence both countries issued a joint statement for non-resident ambassadors. The relations between the two countries developed constantly till May 1978. Then in 2003, direct diplomatic relations began between Afghanistan and Qatar, when the Embassy of Afghanistan opened in Doha. Qatar opened its embassy in Kabul this year.”
Expressing his optimism about the future of his country, Dalili said: “While the Afghan security and defence forces continue their fight against the Taliban, Daesh and other extremist groups, the country keeps the peace doors open for all who want to engage in the peace process.
“Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has suggested conducting non-conditional negotiations with the Taliban that reflects the Afghan government’s commitment to peace. It is worth mentioning that the Loya Jirga (Grand Council) in April 2019 where 3, 200 representatives from across Afghanistan gathered in Kabul introduced a roadmap for the Afghan government to be committed to conduct negotiations with the Taliban Movement to achieve a durable and honourable peace.”
He added: “While the government and people of Afghanistan seek everlasting peace in the country based on pride and dignity, they are committed to all exerted efforts aiming at achieving peace; we find that continuation of violence by the Taliban against the Afghan nation represents a major impediment to peace. The Afghan government has always asserted that real peace could only be achieved when the Taliban stop the killings and accept ceasefire and conduct direct negotiations with the government.”
Appreciating the role of Qatar for the peace efforts, he said: “I must note here that the Afghan government continuously commends the sincere efforts that the Government of Qatar and international community exerted and still exert on the track of the desired negotiations and reconciliation with the Taliban.”
Highlighting the achievements of the Afghan government, the ambassador said: “You are well aware that during the past two decades, Afghanistan has made remarkable achievements in some areas, importantly in education, agriculture, media and freedom of expression, human rights and political arena and parliament which is comprised of women and men. The young generation in Afghanistan is not willing to compromise the gains which the Afghan nation has so far achieved. The Afghan government is also committed to hold the presidential elections on September 28, 2019 to assure the inspirations of the Afghan nation to continue reinforcing both democracy and peace process.”
Sharing the highlights of the bilateral ties with Qatar, Dalili said: “The government of Qatar presented financial support through its Afghanistan Fund in the some areas, importantly education and school book printing, building teachers’ training centres, health, drinking water supply and other humanitarian aids.
“Qatar Red Crescent Society has also started its humanitarian activities five years ago in collaboration with the Afghan Red Crescent.
“We can also refer to the humanitarian activities of Al Gharrafa Foundation, a private Qatari foundation which invested tens of millions of dollars in the west of Afghanistan, in different sectors such as building schools, health clinics and other public utilities. The Foundation now plans to build a big residential compound in Kabul which includes all amenities and necessary services.
“Notably, the efforts of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Doha have produced the signing of multiple agreements with Qatar in various areas, and three new agreements are pending signing in the near future.”
He added: “Here, we also sincerely thank the Government of Qatar, the hospitable Qatari nation, especially His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, for hosting peace talks and their hospitality towards the Afghan community, as we have a community mounting to 5, 000 Afghan citizens, who entertain all rights.
“They have been working sincerely in various sectors in Qatar for more than four decades.”
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