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Political Counselor Haidari Speaks at Emory University  

Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari was invited to give a lecture and a public talk at the Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 2. Speaking to a group of South Asian politics students, he discussed Afghanistan’s relations with its six neighbors, highlighting the country’s foreign policy as one strategically aimed at maintaining and enhancing regional cooperation along common economic interests in a rapidly globalizing world. "Early on after the fall of the Taliban in 2002, Afghanistan signed with all of our neighbors the Good Neighborly Relations Declaration—inviting our neighbors to help stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan so that our country could serve its natural role as a regional hub connecting east to the west and north to the south where we as a united region will trade and invest in each other’s future," Haidari told the students.

He pointed out that the peoples of the region from Pakistan to India and Afghanistan to Central Asian states demanded such mutually beneficial relations, and that the states had developed implementing mechanisms such as South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) or Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC)—reflecting the will of their nations in the region. However, Haidari blamed political hurdles between and among several states in the region that rendered the regional groupings ineffective. For example, a lack of adherence to non-interference in the Afghan affairs as one of the key provisions of the Declaration continues to stabilize the country—thereby curbing regional trade and economic development.

"Peace in Afghanistan means peace in the whole region. Regional stability is certain to unleash the vast potential of South West Asia and Central Asia with young populations and growing economies, which we know increasingly demand cooperation over confrontation if we want our region to move forward to keep up with others," Haidari said. He noted that despite many challenges facing Afghanistan, the country was doing its best to facilitate good neighborly relations towards a shared future.

After the lecture, Haidari delivered a speech at the Emory University Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning, discussing "Confronting Terrorism and Building Internal Security in Afghanistan." He acknowledged with gratitude the heroic sacrifices of more than 1,000 international forces in helping build peace in Afghanistan, while thanking the current foreign forces for their continued efforts to secure the country and to make the world a safer place for all. "Despite the ultimate sacrifices both of our allies and those of the Afghan people, the fact is that peace remains elusive in our country seven years on," Haidari said. He discussed the root causes of worsening security in Afghanistan and made recommendations to address the problems on the long run, while cautioning against focusing too much on the symptoms.

Related News: Afghanistan Needs More Help from Intl. Community (Emory Report)

                      Confronting Terrorism in Afghanistan (CSPAN)

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