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Inaugural Speech by Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the President of Afghanistan

September 29, 2014
Kabul, Afghanistan

In the name of Allah the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
H.E.Hamid Karzai, the first elected President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,
 H.E. Hazrat Sebghatullah Mojadedi the first Head of State of the Islamic State of Afghanistan,
 The First Vice-president, H.E. General Abdul Rasheed Dostum,
The second Vice-president, H.E Mohammad Sarwar Danesh,
 Former first Vice-president, H.E Mohammad Yunus Qanoni,
 Former first Vice-president, H.E. Ahmad Zia Masoud,
 Former second Vice-president, H.E. Karim Khalili,
Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah,
 President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan H.E. Mamnon Hussain,
 Vice-president of India H.E. Hamid Ansari,
 Executive Vice-president of the Islamic Republic of Iran H.E. Sharyatmadari,
 His Highness Prince Aga Khan, a respected friend of Afghanistan,  Turkish Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Numan Kurtulmus,
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs H.E. Nizar bin Obaid Madan,
Qatar’s Minister of State and Acting Foreign Minister H.E. Mohammad bin Abdullah,
Honorable Ministers and Foreign Dignitaries, friends and partners,
Distinguished Foreign Delegations,
Honorable Speakers of the two Chambers of the National Assembly,
Honorable Chief Justice, Honorable Jehadi Leaders,
Peer Sahib, H.E. Prof. Sayef, H.E. Naderi Sahib, honorable elders, religious scholars and tribal leaders, Respected Representatives of the foreign Diplomatic Corps in Afghanistan,
Journalists, distinguished Cabinet members, fellow countrymen and women, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah!
First of all, I would like to begin by quoting here the message of the first Caliph of the Islamic Umma, Hazrat-e- Abu Bakr Sediq (MbPH) he had delivered in his first address to Muslims:
“O people, now that I have been elected your leader, I am no better than you. If I do something right, support me but If I do anything wrong, guide me. Truth is honesty and untruth is dishonesty. The weak among you are the powerful in my eyes and I am obliged to get them what belongs to them. The powerful among you are the weak in my eyes, and I am obliged to remove from them what belongs to others.”
If I had not had the time to talk more today, I would have said nothing but this message of Abu Bakr Sediq.
We, the people of Afghanistan, have successfully come out of the hard tests we had faced. By the selfless support and sacrifices of our proud nation and under the wise leadership of H.E. President Karzai, the democratic transfer of power and the Constitution have been institutionalized in our country. Mr. President! I congratulate you on this, the entire nation is grateful to you.
Therefore, I would like to thank our people and particularly President Karzai in this regard.
I also avail this opportunity to pray for the souls of all those martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the success of their country during the presidential elections. The bravery, courage and the unprecedented valor and sacrifice given by our national security forces in such crucial time, are praiseworthy and appreciable.  
I deem it proper here to remember Shaheed Khalil Karzai and other martyrs from the two electoral camps who lost their lives to this end.
The people of Afghanistan successfully passed a great test.  The optimism and hope is back.  
This time, our Ulemma, youth, women and all other segments of our society had great participation in the elections. They chose moderation and because of the great participation of our nation in the elections, and based on the Constitution, grounds have been paved for peaceful transfer of power, and In Shaa Allah, this will become an accepted tradition.
We commit ourselves to bring necessary changes for better reform in the electoral institutions, electoral process and the relevant laws, so that in the future, no doubt, each and every single Afghan’s vote be accounted for and its result clear.
We very much hope that by then, politics in our country would no longer be a tool that can cause instability but rather a tool used to ensure a durable stability and it is the fundamental goal of our national unity government.
Also, I would like to thank my campaign team, the people of Afghanistan, the country’s politicians and social segments and all those volunteers who helped us and Dr. Abdullah during the elections. I also want to thank Ahmad Zia Masoud, my Special Representative in Reforms and Good Governance.
National unity government is what Afghanistan needs. The national unity government does not mean division of power but rather it means the division of duties and responsibilities.  This government represents the will, desires, and ideals of the people of Afghanistan. Here, I would like to thank Dr. Abdullah Abdullah who brought the electoral process to a successful conclusion through his engagement in the process.
Today’s Afghanistan stands different to what it was in the past.  Today’s Afghanistan resembles hope for new generations. We are neither subjects nor obedient to others anymore. As fellow citizens, we have equal rights and obligations. Our Constitution obligates the government to ensure and protect the rights of all Afghans.  Based on this provision of the Constitution, the people of Afghanistan want an accountable government.  We are determined to be accountable before the people.
No doubt, Afghanistan is faced with numerous problems and challenges but the vast potentials and resources of the 21st century such as rapid technological developments and the growth of social media have provided unprecedented opportunity for progress and development of our country.
We have the ownership of our country’s political process. This process is based on democracy and it is a mirror of our realities. Our nation is alive and we are an alive nation, asking for a committed government and we will fulfill what they are asking for.
In addition to the continuation of the political process that we have chosen, change is also a pressing demand of our people, we are committed to fulfilling this demand and we also would like to stress on the continued positive trends but we also underscore the need for fundamental change and on the principle of service to people.
We should not forget that we are the true heirs of Jehad. The real heirs of Jehad are the people of Afghanistan that include widows, orphans, the poor and the disabled of our country. We should appreciate them and be grateful to them.
Now it is time to change this Jehad to a greater Jehad (Akbar Jehad) for ensuring peace, stability and welfare in the country.
We should be at the service of each and every single widow and orphan of our homeland through this great Jehad, which is to serve our people.  It is our job and we are accountable before Allah the almighty and the people of Afghanistan.
We have made countless sacrifices for the holy religion of Islam. No one should try to teach us Islamic values. We should look at the future with hope.  
Our country’s important location, waters, natural and human resources will bring about a profound economic change in the country.  Our efforts should be to change our potential capabilities to actual capabilities.  
With the potentials that we have, Afghanistan would be a more different country within the next 25 years and if God willing, the golden era of Afghanistan would begin based on the cornerstone of the values of the past 13 years.
We should not underestimate the threats and challenges that Afghanistan is facing now.  Some Arabic countries are suffering from violence.  Certain circles want to change our country to a battlefield of continued war.  Therefore we take serious the issue of durable peace in our country. Peace is an essential element of political stability. A country that is entangled with insecurity and where its people have no safety and security, cannot achieve stability.
We should remember that a peace that opens a new chapter leaves no room for war.  Therefore we stress on a durable peace, not a short-term peace. Social justice is the base for peace, but the  peace that brings about injustice to a society, it would be temporary and cannot reach us to stability. Today we proved that we have become a tolerant people. This tolerance should help us achieve a durable peace.  Consolidation of stability and security would not be possible without the elimination of parallel governments. Having created the national unity government, we promise that we would end all parallel governments in Afghanistan.
State and Governance
Based on the Constitution, the state is comprised of three branches [1-Executive branch, 2-Legislative branch and 3- Judicial branch], and the President heads all the three.
In our view, major changes are required for better coordination among these three branches of the state and also within the branches.
1- Legislative Branch
This branch has three core duties: 1-representation, 2-parliamentary supervision, and 3- legislation.
We want that a contract be made between the country's Executive and the Legislative branches, based on the existing authorities and obligations of the two.
Each Minister and every Ministry should have an annual contract, based on which, he or she will report on the performance to the parliament.
We earnestly want our honorable MP's not to ask for personal meetings with the leaderships of the ministries.
We also ask them to avoid recommending employment, discharge or transfer of anyone within the state institutions, particularly within the security sector. To raise their voice and to convey their message, the people need representatives. For better representation by the MP's, we will reform its mechanism. Based on the Constitution, the Law of Organizational Structures is drafted and we hope that it would be finalized as soon as possible so that we can pave grounds for the historic traditional Loya Jirga to be held as we have already agreed about it.
No doubt, our people ask for sovereignty and to this end, we need to prepare an annual legislative agenda for the National Assembly.
This will help us legislate and approve new laws for completion of the Constitution so that our problems in this regard be addressed. We are determined to take effective measures for further strengthening the positive work of the National Assembly.   
2- Judicial Branch
Justice is the cornerstone of Islam and the judges are responsible for ensuring justice. In the Judicial branch, which is the mirror reflecting Islamic Sharia and legality, we should have transparency. Unfortunately, there are allegations of corruption in this branch.  Corruption in the Judicial branch paves grounds for insecurity.
Today, I respectfully ask the Supreme Court to carry out a review of all its courts' staff within a month, based on the principle of reward and punishment. Employment, discharge, retirement and resignation of judges is one of the authorities of the President, and I will apply all my authorities in the light of the principle of reward and punishment for reform of this important sector. If we want the rule of law and if we want corrupt officials to be punished, our judiciary should be corruption-free so that it can become trustworthy.   
 All incomplete cases should be processed according to the civil and penal code of Afghanistan. All those cases which are pending, should be completed. An authorized committee will be assigned to this end.
In addition to reform of the courts, broad change is required in the performance of the Office of the Attorney General as well. In accordance with article 134 of the Constitution, the Office of the Attorney General has two core functions including criminal prosecution and legal defense.  The Office of the Attorney General should not act beyond its functions and should not interfere in other institutions' affairs.  
3- Executive Branch
In the Presidential systems, the Office of the President is a body that makes policies and devises strategies and is a responsible supervising and decision-making entity.  Based on the Constitution, the Office of the President has clear functions.  The Executive branch is a helping hand to the President.  International experiences indicate that the effectiveness of the state in a Presidential system, depends on the institutionalization of the authorities of the Office of the President in the framework of an institutional body so that through this framework, the individual authorities of the President are transferred to the Office of the President. It makes the President accountable before people.
Based on a well-devised and clear policy, the duties of the government institutions would be specified so that any overlap in duties could be avoided between the ministries and other institutions. At the same time, this measure would fundamentally integrate independent and parallel institutions within the organizational framework of our ministries.  H.E. Hamid Karzai said that the Administration of Afghanistan is like a patchy fur coat, so it is required that we take all-round steps as per his assessment for reform so that we can be well suited. In a transparent relationship and based on a legal contract with the private sector, civil institutions and the public; a good governance focuses its utmost attention on monitoring the delivery of services to the public, not monopolizing all the services in a decentralized manner.  To this end, the Cabinet law, and the law on the performance and duties of each and every single ministry would be reviewed and approved at the soonest time possible.  To create good governance and the culture of accountability, each ministry would formulate and implement a trilateral legal commitment: Commitment of the ministry with the National Assembly and the Chief Executive, Office of the President and the people. These contracts would be our criterion for reward and punishment of each minister and ministry.  Here I would like to stress that we will have zero tolerance with regard to corruption within the country's institutions and would take strict actions in eliminating the causes of this evil phenomenon. On the sub national governance, we should say that province, district and municipality shall have specific duties and authorities as legal entities. We commit to directly transfer our national budget to provinces.  Special programs would be formulated and implemented for ensuring social justice and guaranteeing public participation at village, district, municipality and provincial levels. Maintaining a regular contact and coordination between central and provincial institutions at village, district, municipality and provincial levels is one of the basic needs that serious attention would be paid to in the national unity government.
It is to note that all the provinces of Afghanistan have special importance and all our citizens are considered first-class.  There is no second or third-class citizen in this country. Therefore, a balanced development is required in Afghanistan; it is an approach that we would follow in our governance.  Fortunately, our natural resources do exist partly in an equal manner across all Afghanistan therefore balanced development will not be an impediment to our economic development.
Balanced development is an essential requirement and it is one of the key and core responsibilities of our government.  
Fortunately, our natural wealth is scattered in an equal manner across all the country which would help our country's balanced development.
Another core responsibility of the government is to create effective state and good governance.  Having an effective state and good governance is the birth right of each and every single Afghan who should have it. Our people cannot tolerate corruption anymore.  I and all my government officials would start to fight against corruption from our own selves.  I do not have a political family. If anyone claimed being my brother or relative and if he maltreated any employee, punish him according to the law. Through good governance, we would be able to put an end to our national problems including issues related to our refugees, internally displaced persons (IDP's), the destitute, the disabled and the handicapped, and the Kuchis (nomads).
We still have five million refugees abroad and until those refugees do not return home, we will not be a full-fledged body. We should remove the term "IDP's" from our national glossary. Youth, women and the destitute form the three great majorities of the country but represented as minorities in the government.  We will try to bring these three great majorities from margin to the core of political, social and economic affairs.
In shaa Allah, youth and women will have great participation in our government.  I deem it necessary here to thank my dear wife and life partner Ms. Bibi Gul for her continued support of me and Afghanistan.  Bibi Gul has always supported Afghan IDP's, women and children and I am sure that she would continue this voluntarily in the future as well.  Our purpose is to reduce poverty, provide housing and to create employment opportunities for all, particularly for the youth and women.  To this end, we will take strict actions and continue our efforts.
The Triangle of Stability
Economy, security and human resource are interdependent in a way that they shape a triangle of stability.  Security is best ensured by use of force but stability comes from legitimacy, acceptance and public participation, the manner which H.E. Hamid Karzai proved in action. So far in our country, the term "security" was used in the sense of physical safety of individuals but in the subject of security, the most important issue is human security or human safety.  Without economic development, and investment in human capacity, human security cannot be achieved.  
When we Afghans speak of national sovereignty, we value this term greatly and we deem it very important and it is of vital importance for us but we should be attentive that achieving national sovereignty and its guaranteeing would be very difficult as far as we are economically dependent.  Now we have a consumer economy based on imports from abroad, an economy that is dependent on foreign aid. Our goal is to found a dynamic economy based on production and exports so that we would be able to ensure public welfare and consolidate our national sovereignty.  Afghans are naturally entrepreneurs but to turn a potential capacity to an actual one, there is a need for design and implementation of comprehensive programs aimed at developing human resource.  Economic development is not possible without growth and development of human capacity.
The new generation in Afghanistan needs to have the skills and professionalism of the 21st century so that our boys and girls could compete at the region and the world level. This will help us become a country to export skills and expertise, and thus stop the growing problems of unskilled labor and economic migrations. A large number of our youth, who as unskilled labors leave the country for economic purposes, are either killed or drowned on their way to work. This is a major issue that requires specific programs to tackle. The Afghans’ dignity lies in development of a unified Afghanistan.
We believe the geographic location of Afghanistan can change this country to a transit route. The mines can change Afghanistan to an industrial country; similarly, our land and water can change Afghanistan to a dynamic agricultural land. In the meantime, the existing wealth of this country should be changed to capitals. The economic growth requires a comprehensive contract between the government and the private sector to which we are committed to at the soonest possible. Every common Afghan’s money has to be converted to a safe equity and employment opportunity. We are determined to remove the obstacles from the way of investment. At the same time, we want the private sector not to use bribe as a tool for wrong competition. Bribe giver and receiver are both elements of corruption, and strict legal actions shall be taken against them.
Maintaining security is possible when the use of legal power is restricted to the government and the use of military power is based on the provisions of law and for empowering the law enforcement. Therefore, our aim is to put an end to the use of illegal power by the illegal armed forces.
As the Commander in Chief, I feel responsible for security and safety of all of our brave security forces.
I appreciate the hard work and sacrifices that the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security are making for the country, and I promise to spare no efforts for further strengthening their capabilities and professionalism.
It is my promise to all soldiers, officers and all officials that merits and qualifications will replace the personal relationships, supported by the culture of reward and punishment.
The security forces activities can be effective when they earn the hearts and minds of the people. It is protection and not bullets that opens way to the people’s hearts.
Following the Bonn Agreement, and the resolution by the UN Security Council, the international forces began to operate in Afghanistan. By completion of security transition process, and after signing the new security agreements, the legitimate use of power would only be the authority of Afghanistan government, and I would like to congratulate HE Hamid Karzai for this achievement.
Currently, we need to safeguard our soil for which coordination is needed at all levels of our security forces.
To secure the people’s life, property and dignity across the country, whether in Helman, Kunduz, Ghazni, Kunar or any other insecure province, we will be strict and get strong action.
The responsibilities of ANA and ANP need to be differentiated and identified, and we will have the required moves towards that.
We are responsible to provide for better living conditions for our security forces, address the problems of families of martyrs, and reach out to those injured and wounded. The security forces are serving the whole nation. Therefore, I would like to call on the youth to support their security forces, and join them in defending their country, the people and the rule of law. Those in the rank of our security forces are the pride of this country, and I am proud of them.
I would like to call on tribal elders, civil society, particularly the religious scholars, to support and stand behind their country’s security and stability. Security in the country is what we all want, so to establish security, all should join hands.
Discord is unlawful and evil act in Islam.
Our religious leaders, as the heirs of the Prophet (PBUH), can play the most important role in this regard.
This is my and the Afghan people’s wish that peace call should come from mosques.
For the sake a better security, we need a strong and mutual cooperation between the people and the security forces.
The women of this country are tired of war in which they have paid much. To have the women participation in the peace and reconstruction process, their needs should be addressed. For this, again there should be a mutual cooperation.
We are tired of war; our message is peace. But, our message should not be considered as our weakness. Those who rely on fighting, violence, and killing of our children and innocent people, must know that we will use all legal tools to make sure our people are properly protected.
Fighting is not a solution to political differences. We proved that we can resolve political differences through political means. Therefore, I ask the government opponents, particularly Hekmatyar Islamic Party and the Taliban, to enter into political talks. Anyone who calls himself Afghan and wants Afghanistan for Afghans should come to us to seek solution to the problems.
Those, who for the interest of others are changing our country to battle field, will be isolated. There is a popular Afghan saying, “Leave the city but not the customs.” All communities and people should decide that they can no longer tolerate such groups, but still each village should call for peace.
Ulema, tribal leaders, and the youth should advise such groups and individuals and if they do not listen, they should cut off their relationships with them.
Corruption among our security forces and misuse of government resources is one of the reasons for insecurity. Malfeasance is a crime, and the criminal should face legal action.
Robberies on highways must be stopped. The right to free movement is the legal right of every afghan, and we do not allow anyone to take this right from our people.
Foreign Policy
Afghanistan problems have external elements and our foreign policy therefore will remain vital. Afghanistan stands in the midst of all positive and negative international interactions.
Therefore, stability of Afghanistan remains connected to stability of the world. On the other hand, every negative phenomenon in any part of the world would affect us as well. Using and smuggling of narcotics is a universal problem, similar to international mafia who through smuggling narcotics, subsidize the corrupt elements in various countries. Also, the rebellious moves that are developing in some Islamic and Arab countries, have also put negative impacts on us, and have bolstered similar moves in our country.
For a better alignment of a foreign policy that leads to stability and prosperity of the country, we need to identify our five areas of relations at the region and the world level, and we will have specific plans for each. These areas are:
– Neighboring Countries
The stability in our country is closely linked with each of our neighbors and any instability in our country has its bearing on the neighbors and the opposite is also true. Therefore, to provide stability in the region, we would be good partners with these countries. This vision formed the basis of the policy that President Karzai pursued and we will continue and build on that.
For stability, security and economic development, we will try to reach to a regional cooperation pact with all our neighbors. Accepting the legitimacy of each individual government shall constitute the basis of our regional cooperation pact. No countries will have the right to interfere in the internal affairs of others. Any problems arising in the relations between the two countries would be resolved through political negotiations and joint cooperation.
At the same time, I would like to reiterate what President Karzai has always said that that the territory of Afghanistan will not be used against any other country and I expect the same assurance from the neighboring countries.
– Islamic Countries
Islamic countries sphere would be an important one in our foreign policy. Our vision, thought and actions are all based on Islamic values, and the Islamic culture is deeply linked with all aspects of our life. Therefore, we will have deep, holistic and fruitful relations with Islamic countries.
I would like to thank our guests who have come from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.
– Europe, the US, Canada, Japan
By change in the definition of our relations with international community, we enter a new phase in our relations which are based on equality between the states.
Afghanistan, as a sovereign state, enters into relations with the US, NATO member countries, Japan, and European countries. So, our government that was seen 13 years back as a failed state and posed a threat to the international community that followed the UN Security Council’s resolution authorizing the presence of international forces in Afghanistan, is now standing as active member of the international community with its rights and responsibilities. This change in the position has been one of the achievements of the last decade and the government of National Unity will, based on this achievement, move forward.
Peace is our strategic goal. Therefore, strengthening our relations with international community will help us develop a political plan for peace and stability.
We have common interest with international community, and we thank them for their support during the last 13 years. We, together with the international community and based on our common interests, paid joint sacrifices in removing the international threats.
Our security forces are prepared to take over the security responsibilities, but we continue to need international support in equipping, training and arming our forces. And I hope the commitment of the international community in this respect could soon be accomplished.
We will use the international aid in a legal and transparent manner for building the institutions and strengthening our security forces. Today, I would like to announce that our commitment to transparent and effective use of international aid will go beyond the expectation of the international community. We are firm in our commitment to eradicating the corruption and shall not depart from this commitment. Having a transparent and accountable government is what the Afghan people want; we hope the international donors too, make their aid effective and transparent. The international practice shows that assistance through state budget is the best way to assist, and I hope this long-held will of our people could be fulfilled.
– Asian Countries
Asia has enjoyed a vital economic importance throughout history. In the next 25 years, Asia will transform into an economic power in the world.
Our neighborhood with China and our close relations with Gulf countries and our neighbors will contribute to a change in Asian economic status.
Afghanistan is the heart of Asia. We will change Afghanistan to the crossroad of Asia and a bridge to connect the region.
While we are witness to major developments in some of the Asian countries, the continent is still one of the centers of poverty. We try to reach a continental consensus for eliminating poverty in Asia.
– International Institutions
The fifth area of focus in our foreign policy relates to the world developing entities and the big private investors. The UN, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, IMF, EU, international donor institutions and other international entities are all included in this focus.
Our aim is to effectively use the aid and cooperation so as to facilitate the macro-investments in the country. The international practices show that the states with clear strategy, strong political determination, and active and effective management, can best use the international aid and investments for the economic development and stability reinforcement.
We are driven by a goal, determination, and clear programs to bring the change in our country.
A stable and prosperous Afghanistan is for the good of all these five areas of focus. Therefore, I would like Afghanistan to be the cooperation center among all these, so that this country could change to a model in foreign cooperation.
Changes and Reforms
The elections proved that the absolute majority of the people want change and reform. It is not “why”; it is “how”. The people’s desire to reform requires their participation in making the reforms happen.
Following Hazrat Abubakr Sediq and Prophet Mohammad’s companions’ rules, I feel responsible before every single Afghan. I am the President of all Afghans and have obligations towards all of them. Similarly, Dr. Abdullah feels responsible to each Afghan. And we together, inshallah fulfill the will and desire of Afghans.
For us, for the law and for the government, no Afghan is better than another.
This is the responsibility of mine and all government officials to use each Afghani of the public property for the prosperity of the people.
If we are to fulfill our constitutional rights, we need to understand our individual, social and national obligations.
We need to feel as the owner of this soil, and understand and accept this fact that the government dignity, prestige and prosperity is closely linked to each individual’s dignity, prestige and prosperity.
Let’s build and develop this country so that our grandchildren remember us, and in the Hereafter we could have our response before Allah, the Almighty.
We all Afghans pray to Allah to save us from fight, bloodshed and instability, and bless us with peace, stability and prosperity.
May Allah accept the prayers of this brave, but afflicted and suffered nation.
May Allah bestow upon us the unity of thought and action, so that we change this country to a developed and prosperous country.
Long live Afghanistan!