Ambassador Manizha Bakhtari speaks at The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)

The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs [NUPI] arranged a seminar on January 25th to discuss the upcoming London Conference; the Changes and hopes with Amb. Manizha Bakhtari as the main speaker for the event.

Updated: (1.26.2010)

The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs [NUPI] arranged a seminar on January 25th to discuss the upcoming London Conference; the Changes and hopes with Amb. Manizha Bakhtari as the main speaker for the event.

In her opening remarks the Ambassador gave a brief background of the London Conference which will be hosted by Prime minister Gordon Brown with President Karzai and Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon as co-hosts of the conference.

The main focus of the London Conference will be for the international community to focus on a clear set of priorities for the 43 allied countries in Afghanistan to focus on and to intensify international efforts in helping the Afghan government to deliver according to the set priorities. The conference will be attended by all foreign ministers from NATO countries along with Afghanistans neighbouring contries and key regional actors. Up till now the participation of 72 international delegations have been confirmed, including representatives from NATO, UN, EU, SARC and other relevant organisations.

Ambassador Bakhtari shared her thoughts around the main topics of discussion for the London Conference which she identified as Security and Stabilization, Economic Development , Rule of Law and Regional cooperation. Related issues also included good governance, human rights, legislation and anti-corruption efforts.

As the time was brief and the message too long the Ambassador lay her emphasis on talking specifically about the main issues of the conference and started with the most important pillar of success in Afghanistan that undoubtedly was the issue of Security. The new US strategy with the deployment of 30.000 additional US forces to military units in Afghanistan would intensify the fight against terrorists and all efforts against the tyrannical activities of terrorists was gladly welcomed by the Afghan government, including the increase in the number of allied NATO troops.
The increase of US and allied troops would also contribute to the training and mentoring of the afghan national security forces , who would gradually take over more of the responsibilities tied up to maintaing security in Afghanistan. In order to facilitate a transfer of security, the London Conference would discuss and form a timeframe for the transfer of security from NATO forces to local forces. A realistic timeframe.

Ambassador Bakhtari also touched upon the issue of reconciliation with the Taliban. A turningpoint in the political landscape of Afghanistan had been the much discussed issue of reconciliation with the Taliban. Ambassador Bakhtari mentioned the political will in Afghanistan to reconcile Taliban that would lay down their arms and abide by the Afghan Constitution. If the expectations from the Afghan governemne were to be fulfilled, the government would do their utmost to include the Taleban and reintegrate them into the society.
Another point that was stressed by the Ambassador was the fact that the Taleban had to agree to a compromise for the reconciliation process to be implemented. The Afghan government would not compromise the Constitution of their country for the sake of conditions that could possibly be layed down by the taliban. President Karzai was to present a proposal calling the Taliban to put their arms away and return to peaceful life. And in order to atttain the objective the calling of a Loya Jirga would be necessary.
The Afghan government called for support from the international commuinty and the neighbouring countries for the implementation of the reconciliation process.With land and jobs to offer it would be easier for governement to provide a a better alternative for the taliban giving them an income and the opportunity to live side by side with fellow afghans. 
Afghanistan did not ony have a military solution, but the political solution should go shoulder by shoulder with the military solution.

Another key priority for the Afghan government was to facilitate sustainable economical growth by creating a large number of jobs in the private sector. In order to counter the appeal of insurgency and reduce instability the government strongly desires to provide economic opportunities and sustainable livelihoods for its population.
Currently the Afghan government has been working on an integrated plan for economic development that will be presented in the near future.

The government of Afghanistan consideres regional cooperation to be an important topic during the London Conference. The region is plagued with numerous challenges including international terrorism, extremism, militancy, poppy cultivation, trafficing and organized crime. And the effects of these elements are not only limited to Afghanistan and the region; rather it poses a danger to maintaing global security. Therefore it is vital to address and overcome the challenges with a regional approach.
The governement will emphasize on the importance of regional cooperation, as the Afghans are fully aware of the fact that stability in the country will be impossible without a comprehensive consensus with its neighbours and important regional actors. 
Furthermore, the participation of Pakistan, Iran, India, China and Turkey will  prove beneficial for the outcome of the London Conference.
Afghanistan also appreciates the steps taken by Turkey with regard to the regional cooperation by arranging two high level summits for regional and international leaders in Turkey related to the London Conference.

Towards the end of her speech the Ambassador outlined the main message being the endorsement of the Afghan priorities by the international community and providing the Afghan governement with the financial support in order to achieve their goals.

Following her speech, Ambassador Bakhtari had a Q&A session accompanied by the Director of NUPI Mr. Jan Egeland where the topics of reconciliation, developmentprojects, aid effectiveness and political structures in Afghanistan were touched upon.




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Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Oslo
Gange-Rolvs gate 5  -  0244 Oslo  -  Norway  -  Phone: + 47 22 12 35 70

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