Message from Ambassador Haidari on the 20th Commemoration of the September 11, 2001
Colombo: - The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Colombo joins the Government of Sri Lanka and nations around the world in expressing our solidarity with the people and Government of the United States on the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that took 2,977 innocent lives, including 372 nationals from 90 countries. In memorial to the victims, we pay tribute to each innocent life lost on that tragic day, as well as condoling with the families and loved ones of the victims.
This 20th commemoration of the September 11, 2001, is a sad but timeless reminder that long before terrorists attacked Americans, they had been victimizing the people of Afghanistan, having turned our beautiful country into a no-man’s land where poverty had become endemic; basic human rights had been daily violated; women had been reduced to sub-humans and confined to their homes; and global organized crime and terrorism had found a base of operations in isolated Afghanistan with worldwide targets.
Thanks to international intervention in the wake of 9/11, Afghanistan was liberated from the dark forces of extremism, terrorism, criminality, and the regional state-actors that had enabled these grave threats to regional stability and international peace to take root in the country. In the ensuing two decades, the suffering people of Afghanistan achieved transformational gains, including a developing democracy; gradual but steady institutionalization of human and women’s rights under Afghanistan’s progressive Constitution; economic growth and infrastructure connectivity towards sustainable development; as well as means of increasingly self-reliant national defense. To preserve these hard-earned gains against escalated terrorist attacks in the recent years, the Government and people of Afghanistan engaged in sincere peace efforts and made an unprecedented concession for peace by releasing over 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
However, following the signing of the Doha Agreement between the Taliban and the United States, which excluded the Government and people of Afghanistan, the Taliban reneged on all their commitments under the Agreement. Instead, they interpreted the Agreement as one of capitulation by the NATO, emboldening and encouraging them to escalate violence across Afghanistan. Consequently, the past three months have seen the complete destruction of local state institutions, demolishing of infrastructure, displacement of over 500,000 suffering Afghans, as well as the killing and wounding of 1,000s of others. Following the capture of Kabul on August 15, reports of reprisal killings, home-to-home search for Government employees, and arresting and torturing journalists and protesting Afghan women remain a cause for grave concern to the United Nations, which discussed these reports in last week’s UN Security Council debate on Afghanistan.
And much to the dismay of the Afghan people and the international community, this past week, the Taliban announced an all-male exclusionary interim cabinet that consists of UN-sanctioned individuals and lacks any representation from women, ethnic, religious, and sectarian minorities. Nor does it include any members of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, including former leaders, who remain in Kabul and have been advocating for the formation of an inclusive government. At the same time, some 20 terrorist groups are sheltered in Afghanistan and have been fighting alongside the Taliban across Afghanistan, especially in the Panjshir valley where resistance continues against the same forces that hit the United States on 9/11.
Hence, we renew the call by the entire Afghan nation, including the Afghan diaspora, on the international community to avoid repeating the failures of the 1990s and to remain committed to the consolidation of our shared gains of the past 20 years. Doing so will prevent the imminent emergence of a pariah state, whose painful threats and terrorist attacks the United States and the rest of the international community once experienced. Enabling Afghanistan to stand on our own as a sovereign, independent, and progressive country at peace within itself and with the rest of the world must be the only way forward, helping maintain international peace and security consistent with the United Nations Charter, as well as International Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws.