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September 28, 2018
The Kabul Times
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Time is ripe for peace making in Afghanistan, President Ghani tells NATO summit

KABUL:Addressing NATO heads of state summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday, President Ghani said US President Donald Trump’s 2017 South-Asia strategy had been a game changer, creating a window of opportunity for them to own their problems, fashion solutions, tailored to context and to design outcome-based reform progress. 
Accompanied by Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, President Ghani has invited international election watchdogs to help the Afghans comprehensively monitor upcoming elections in his country.
“Generous support for the strategy extended by NATO, partner countries and our developmental partners, for which we thank you, has been enabled us to redouble our effort to overcome the past and forge ahead with a vision of an inclusive democratic polity,” he said.  
“Our egalitarian ethos demands democracy. Registration of 8.6 million voters, 34 percent women, shows public engagement,” the president noted.
He said parliamentary and district council elections on October 20/18 and presidential election in 2019 were their imperative.”We invite international election organizations to join us in a comprehensive monitoring effort including serving in executive capacities on the election bodies,” he said. 
“We are proud to report that we have either fully met or on course to meet all our commitment,” claimed President Ghani 
The president said a rigorous approach enabled them to increase revenue by 70 percent in three years, implement 14 of the 19 benchmarks of anti-corruption strategy and retire 535 army and police generals as part of the security sector reform in 2018. 
“We are extending our global and regional partnership to the arenas of peace, investment, trade, and transit. Acting on the national consensus on peace, we have demonstrated the political will to offer unconditional peace talks and declare a unilateral ceasefire, which the Taliban accepted for the three-day Eid holiday,” he said.  
The strategy has redefined the context by shifting from a time and country-based approach to a condition-based and region-wide approach, forcing all actors and stakeholders to reexamine their assumptions and policies. 
President Ghani said the bold experiment showed extraordinary capacity of the Afghan nation for reconciliation, willingness to forgive and to own future. 
The intense engagement of ulema, worldwide support of Islamic scholars, especially the holy mosques of Makkah and Meddina, and the spontaneous rise of peace movement across the country showed that “the time is ripe for peace making.”
President Ghani assured he and Dr. Abdullah would not spare any effort to reach for a comprehensive and sustainable peace. 
“Our 342000 all-volunteer defense and security forces have demonstrated their patriotism through daily sacrifices and are fully on course to meet the objectives of our four year security plan,” he said.
Talking about women development, President Ghani said: “Our women are making history, by serving as ambassadors, judges, mayors, and ministers. The generational transformations, as marked by 49 percent of the cabinet, being under 40, is taking across the executive and judicial branches of the government.” 
“Merit based recruitment is becoming the norm and we are demonstrating the political will to enforce the rule of law,” he said.

The Kabul Times

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