Hamid Karzai Afghan president on sunday defended a recent agreement on strategic partnership with the US, saying his conflict-crippled country could not progress without support from the international community.
talking to a large gathering at the governor's office here, the president argued other countries in the region such as Pakistan and India too had achieved development on the strength of foreign assistance.
Karzai went on to assert Afghanistan's sovereignty, saying it desired warm ties with all countries of the world. However, he explained, Afghanistan was not allied to one particular country.
Of links with neighbouring countries, he pointed out the annual Pak-Afghan trade volume that worked out at $26 million dollars during the Taliban government had now hit the $1200 million mark.
He added peace and stability in his country was in the interest of the entire region. "But no country will be calm if there is chaos and insecurity in Afghanistan," maintained the president.
While highlighting Nangarhar's historical opulence, the US-backed Afghan leader described the eastern province as the home base of epoch-making freedom fighters and martyrs.
"It's the last resting place of towering personalities like Ghazi Amanullah Khan and Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan - the former achieved peace with his sword while the latter epitomized non-violence."
Karzai called upon residents of the province to actively participate in the upcoming elections and vote for sincere and competent leaders. He particularly focused attention on a fair deal for women contestants for the lower house and provincial councils.
Speaking on the occasion, Nangarhar Governor Gul Agha Sherzai thanked dwellers of the province for according a warm welcome to Karzai. "We are indebted to you for expressing so much love for the president."
Sherzai said the people of Nangarhar had always combated the twin menace of terrorism and drug smuggling. "Now is the time for us to serve them with sincerity and devotion," the governor observed, promising a number of mega projects would be launched soon in the province.
Aug 21, 2005