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  President Karzai Speech at the event marking the International Anti-corruption Day


In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

Esteemed Osmani [head of the High Office of Oversight], thank you very much for this very good initiative and for organizing the gathering today.

It is vitally important for Afghanistan. I have full confidence in you and that is why I assigned you to this task.I have known you for almost three years now. I am proud to have had you in all the cabinet meetings as an adviser.

It is because of your patriotism, honesty and sincerity that I have assigned you to this task and I am sure you will carry it out in the best way possible with great sincerity and patriotism. Reasons I mentioned earlier convinced me to appoint you as head of such a very important department to help eliminate corruption in this country.

Welcome and thanks for organizing this gathering.

Dear brothers and sisters,

I have been several times to this hall at Amani High School. The hall was full at all the other gatherings but today I can see that the seats at the back are empty. You forced people to sit in the front row. Call ministers to come and fill the seats. That is a great pity!

None of the foreign countries that chant anti-corruption slogans and the slogans of high sincerity are here. Only a few of them are here. Do we have the representatives from these countries? Who is here to represent the US? Anyone from the US?

Nobody from the USA? Right. I know Ambassador Dell, he is not here. I know Ambassador Wood, he is not here.

What about the British? Anyone from Britain? We will see today. Two of them are sitting at the back but we do not know them. What about Germany? Anybody from Germany there? Good, OK. Canada? Nobody from Canada? What about France, Italy and others? Kai Eide is here. I thank Kai Eide. He has come and is sitting here. I am sure he will cooperate with us. I will discuss this issue [the absence of some countries] with the foreigners when I meet them. They are not present on an important day, when Afghanistan holds a gathering to eliminate administrative corruption and to improve our administration. They come to us and give us lectures about it every day but they do not come here.

Not many of our own ministers, cabinet members and MPs are here. I am sure they were invited. We will see which one of the ministers is here. The esteemed minister of Public health is here. His ministry does a good job. The Minister of Agriculture is also here. His ministry does a good job too. The minister of Culture is here to give detailed reports to the people about today's gathering. The Minister of Public works is here. Some other brothers are also here. Chief of the Civil Service Commission is here. The esteemed Minister of women's affairs is also here. Welcome.

Anyway, as Mr. Osmani said, the existence of administrative corruption in Afghanistan, in its administration, in the system, in the government, in its economy, in politics and in the media is a reality. It is an extremely annoying truth that has harmed our body and has defamed our country.

Corruption exists anywhere in the world. It even exists in very developed countries. We heard some days ago that the governor of one of the US States wanted to sell a Senate seat.

But that is not our business. It is their business. We should not use corruption in other places as excuses to justify ourselves. There is corruption in our country and it should be eliminated. It is not our business whether or not there is corruption in other countries. It cannot be an excuse for us.

Corruption in our country and government has both internal and external causes. We will speak a little bit about the external factors, but the main debate should focus on the factors that lie in our own society.

We cannot reform others unless we reform ourselves first. We cannot point the finger at foreigners and their corruption here if we can not reform ourselves.

I saw your documentary. Everything shown in the documentary is right.

I meet people from different parts of Afghanistan every day. Every day - with no exceptions - the people of Afghanistan come to me for other problems, but at the same time complain about corruption in the Afghan government and the administration.

They complain about corruption in government departments, corruption in the country's politics, in the politicians, foreign inclinations that lead to corruption among the country's politicians and corruption in the country's economy and business.

Our traders and the government should be equally blamed for corruption. It is a give-and-take deal.

We also have foreign interference and influence on our country's media and press. The Constitution of Afghanistan grants freedom to our media. The current trend and our behavior give them freedom. My own nature as the president of Afghanistan is in favor of the freedom of the media.

But our media sources are not independent. This means there is very high foreign influence on our media. They are built with foreign money. They are unfortunately funded by foreigners. I do not mean all of them. It should be clear. I do not mean all of them. Some of them are exploited. There are many examples.

Despite all this, I have remained tolerant to help strengthen the media in our country because it is the media sources and their role in investigating and overseeing activities of the government that can help prevent the increase of corruption and that can make officials be cautious about it. We however support the media.

Corruption exists in all spheres of the government of Afghanistan. I am talking about [low-ranking] civil servants in the government of Afghanistan. I mean civil servants. I do not mean senior officials. I do not mean heads of departments, deputy ministers and others. I am talking about civil servants.

I do blame the civil servant who takes 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 Afghanis [20, 40 or 60 dollars] as bribe. It is bad and I believe they are guilty, but I do not focus on it very much. Please pay attention to what I say dear brothers from the media. Reflect it the right way. Do not reflect it the other way round.

I blame corruption by a civil servant who receives a monthly salary of 5,000 or 6,000 Afghanis [100 to 120 dollars]. It is bad. I consider them guilty. But I do not focus on civil servants today.

Instead, we need to disclose to media cases of corruption by those who receive salaries in dollars. We have many of them in the government. We should focus on those who make high amounts of money and hold senior posts in the government of Afghanistan, but are still involved in corruption.

I have been hearing about corruption in the government of Afghanistan for a long time, but I didn't get the chance to catch anyone. But over the past one or one and half year, we have fortunately developed the capability to know about it [corruption] to some extent and to take measures.

Have these measures been sufficient and have these measures helped curb corruption in the government of Afghanistan? Not at all.

Even if we increase our efforts a thousand times higher, it will still not be enough.

Mr. Baha is here to represent the Supreme Court and the esteemed Attorney General has the most important duties in this. They enjoy my full support and the complete support of the people of Afghanistan.

Four major cases of corruption have been identified over the past two months and the perpetrators, serving in very senior government posts, have been dismissed. They included people at the level of minister, deputy minister, governor and head of department. The esteemed Chief Justice and Attorney General know about it.

We can prove to the people of Afghanistan that we are serious [in fighting corruption] only when they [those arrested on corruption charges] are taken to court and only when they are punished.

A mere dismissal of the officials is not enough. They should be legally prosecuted as well.

Mr Osmani,

As you mentioned in your remarks, there are many problems in our administrative procedures, rules and regulations and laws. All this has led to corruption in the government of Afghanistan.

You have been working on this for the past two years. You spoke about the traffic department today. The continuation of your activities will undoubtedly ensure easy administrative procedures in the administration.

Corruption undoubtedly exists in any government department where you need 35 signatures and three months time to obtain driving license or registration documents for a vehicle. So, it is impossible to rule out corruption in such a department.

But the level of corruption can be low in a department where you can get things done with one or two signatures and in one or two days. It is difficult to be involved in corruption in such a department.

Simplifying administrative procedures and rules and regulations and making sure that our laws serve our people and make things easier will help curb corruption in the government and in our activities.

Developed societies have made progress by using and simplifying their laws and by removing complicated procedures. They have simplified administrative procedures and rules and regulations in their departments. This is what we should also do with our administration.

The other issue is about our politics and politicians.

A disaster Afghanistan has been suffering from for the past 30 years is the mental dependence on foreigners. Our mental captivity and our expectations of foreigners are the other problems about which I have spoken several times in the past and do not repeat it again today.

We also have problems in our economy, our practices and the lack of capability in our administration to prevent the points that you [Mr. Osmani!] mentioned. This once again depends on our laws and rules and regulations.

I know that Mr. Osmani, the Attorney General and other departments of the government have done all in their power to address the problem. I know you have been making efforts for the past three years.

Let's focus even more on our own problems, I mean the problems of our people and our Afghanistan.

The question is: Have the 30 years of war, disaster, foreign interferences and our destitution negatively affected us? The answer is unfortunately YES. Our emigration to foreign countries has also been a problem.

Dear sisters and brothers!

I have come to know now as I have said in the past, that our jihad has been very right, but our emigration has been a big mistake. Our migration abroad was an extremely big mistake. Afghanistan is still paying the price for our migration and it will have to pay the price for many more years.

Our emigration to the neighboring countries took away from us our pride and very desirable traditions and culture of self-confidence. It forced us to ask foreigners for a piece of bread. We went to refugee commissionaires and many others to ask them for help. Almost 30 or 35 percent of the people of Afghanistan took refuge outside.

The other wave of our emigration was the migration of our educated people to Europe and America, that weakened the working and intellectual capability of our society.

They have lived there for 30 years and have now grown older. Their children are there and have lived abroad all their life. They may not return.

We consider it bad, but not as bad as something that deserves punishment.

I have repeatedly faced cases of corruption and crimes in the past seven years of my government, including the past one month.

Our people, elders, scholars and tribal leaders have all been coming to me asking me to release them [criminals]. They come and ask me to release a prisoner assuring me that he will not commit the act again.

This is one of our big faults. It has happened throughout Afghanistan. People from all over Afghanistan have come to me.

People come and ask me to release terrorists and others [criminals]. If they come and ask me to release terrorists, it is of course easy for them to come and ask me to release those involved in bribery and corruption.

I hope we, as a nation, can get rid of this culture and do not mediate for the release of a criminal or corrupt person. We should instead ask for their punishment.

In one hand, we criticize corruption in the government, our media criticize and people criticize corruption, on the other hand, they [people] come and ask me to release them.

Twenty, 30, 40 or 50 people come and ask us to forget what has happened and release the person, assuring us that it will not be a problem.

They have realized the trick and know that I quickly accept what my people say.

We should start reforms from ourselves. This is our problem. This is our social problem and we should address it.

I do not say our traders or private investors should not do business and earn money. They should earn even thousands and millions of times higher than what they earn now. It is good for Afghanistan if our traders, investors and industrialists grow richer because the money will help create employment in our own country and will make our country rich. However, it is a big national crime if the traders and investors earn the money by importing outdated and low-quality medicines.

This leads to the death of our innocent people, especially in rural areas and villages, where people in the rural areas cannot read and identify the right medicines. It even happens in our cities and among our educated people.

Mr. Osmani and esteemed minister of public health!

It is a very important issue and I know you are cautious about it and have been working on it for the past three or four years.

The same applies with low-quality foodstuffs. I hope our national traders, private investors and businessmen earn even more money, and I know they sometimes sell at higher prices which we still buy without complaining. But they should import high-quality goods. If not, then they should not complain.

We discuss this issue every day and in every cabinet meeting. We discuss it in every cabinet meeting.Fuel prices fallen all over the world, falling from 150 to 40 dollars last night. But they are still the same in Afghanistan.

When prices were high, they [traders] increased the fuel prices even though they had bought fuel at a low price. Now prices have fallen, they say they bought their fuel at high prices and that is why they do not want to sell it more cheaply.

Our ministries are also not able to lower prices. I do not know why. I do not know whether it is because of corruption or their weakness or whether it is because of the inability of the government to implement its decisions. There are many such issues in our country. We are unfortunately faced with problems of corruption in all spheres of life.

And these problems exist within the government, the National Assembly and the judiciary. We have corruption in all three branches of authority.

In the economy, we have problems in business and investment. In politics, we have problems with parties and politicians and foreign influence on them is fatal to us. We also have problems with our media sources.

This is a widespread problem in our country. The media cannot address its problems on its own. The government cannot introduce reforms in its departments on its own. Our economy sector cannot be reformed on its own. This applies to our politicians as well.

We should all make a big national decision if we r eally want to live in this country, on our soil - Afghan soil.

Some days ago, I was watching a song [Dari: Ahang] on TV. I do not remember the name of the channel. We call it [the song] "baid". It was a very nice song. An Afghan refugee child - I do not know where he lives, maybe in France, Canada, America or somewhere else - sings a very good song about the country he lives in. In the song, she says it is a very beautiful place {the country she is seeking refuge in} but not her coutry. It is a very nice song.

Even though it is a poor country suffering from different problems, it is still our country and our soil. Those who go and live in America should try to reform America. Afghans who do not want to live here and want to live in America and Europe, will naturally not care about us very much.

But dear brothers and sisters, dear compatriots, We, the people who want to live on our own soil - in Kabul, Panjsher, Logar, Parwan, Gardez, Sharan, Kandahar, Bamian, Konar, Daikondi, Herat, Badghis, Fariab, Balkh, Badakhshan, Nimroz, Pamir and any other corner of Afghanistan- and if we want children to be born and brought up here, if we want to be buried here and if we want our children to grow up and live here and, we should make sure that we have a good, peaceful and prosperous land.

We should have everything. We should make sure our children and families live with confidence. All this is possible when we have laws and implement them on ourselves and only when we have laws that make our life easy. Corruption, bribery, looting, robbery and treason to this soil will never give us the opportunity to live in our soil with the hopes that we have.

With the existence of these problems, our sons will be forced to go to Iran in search of employment and be expelled from Iran in cold weather or in summer. Or our young people will go to Pakistan every day to become Taliban fighters and will be sent against us with weapons. Or their mothers and fathers will try to send their sons and children to America or Europe so they can send them back dollars to make a living.

Therefore, sisters and brothers,If we want to live on our own soil, we should know that this is our home and this is our life. Every human has the right to live in comfort, peace and prosperity. This is only possible in a lawful society with a strong and prosperous government. We can build such a government and system only when we all make joint efforts. One flower does not make a spring.

Today is the day for all of us, all Afghans, to promise and to join hands with Mr Osmani so he can eliminate the roots of corruption. We, including the president, the judicial power, prosecution office and the government should stand with him to put it into practice.

What do we need to do requires a strong governance. What is strong governance? It is a government established based on laws, implements the law and a government that enjoys legitimacy and does not discriminate anyone.

Today, poor people are put in prison while powerful people are free. Even elders of our country come to ask for the release of powerful people if they are imprisoned. No one comes to ask for the release of poor people. We do not even know about the fate and imprisonment of poor people.

Thousands of people are in prison and the president is not aware whether they are in prison rightly or wrongly. The government is not aware. This is a very big problem in this land.

So this highlights the need for good governance. I explained the internal obstacles that hinder the strengthening of the government.

The internal factors include corruption and the use of personal relations to get things done. You are aware of all of it.

Unfortunately, the current government of Afghanistan and maybe the past governments too, have faced foreign obstacles. I would briefly like to speak about foreign obstacles so our foreign friends know and help us address the foreign obstacles.

One of our sisters spoke about corruption in foreign contracts. That is completely true.

The year before last, a project was implemented with foreign funding in a province of Afghanistan. The project costed 60,000 dollars. I do not remember it was last year or the year before last. It was an ordinary project. It was contracted to someone else. The foreigner in charge of the project came and gave the contractor 40,000 dollars out of 60,000 dollars and told him not to ask about the remaining 20,000 dollars and simply leave. There have been several other cases of corruption in foreign aid and in the spending of foreign aid in our country.

We have several times shared this issue with foreigners. Government officials are aware of it. We have spoken to them very openly.

The second foreign obstacle in strengthening the government is their irresponsible activities in Afghanistan.

They irresponsible entering and search of people's homes is an act against the authority of the Afghan. The government of Afghanistan can never be strengthened if foreigners are given the right to enter our homes, detain our people, or worse than that, kill or martyr our people in their homes. This destroys the government of Afghanistan instead of strengthening it.

Foreign soldiers enter a house in my country, detain people and beat them up and even kill them. They repeated this act in Khost Province yesterday. They did it in Khost Province yesterday. They have entered a house and martyred the husband, wife and their child and detained some others. How can the people of Afghanistan trust their government when it cannot defend them? How can this government eliminate corruption when it cannot even prevent the killing! of its people? The irresponsible detention and imprisonment of people is also a problem and there are several other cases.

Pajhwok News Agency has published a picture today. The picture shows a child bitten by a dog belonging to foreign troops. I have the picture.

We very much thank our foreign friends for their assistance, but they will not be able to strengthen the government of Afghanistan unless they respect the government and Afghanistan's laws. This will take Afghanistan and the world to the wrong direction. The war on terror will not succeed too.

We have taken measures in the past five to six years. The last effort we made was last month. We sent a detailed list of our requests to the government of America asking them to stop entering our homes and to stop bombarding our villages and irresponsibly detaining our people. They do not have the right to do it. It is the authority of the government of Afghanistan and our laws to do it. Let us see where the process of talks reaches.

It will be very difficult to ensure good governance in Afghanistan unless we address the internal factors, the shortcomings that we have whether they are within the government or the problems in our law or whether they are our national and social problems. We will not be able to have good governance unless foreign friends respect Afghanistan's laws, Afghanistan's families and Afghan traditions.

We will not be able to strengthen the government even if we spend billions of dollars unless we stop these activities. It is not possible.

I now come to another issue that we discussed and agreed on at the Paris Conference. It is the need for coordination of assistance between Afghanistan and the international community.

I thank Mr. Kai Eide, who is the UN special envoy, for coming here. He is in touch with the international community and Afghanistan with great sincerity and friendship. I hope the international community cooperates with him in their promises of coordination and I hope they support him. We, from the Afghan government side, have given him a blank cheque.

He can come, criticize us, speak to us and tell us openly about the shortcomings in our government. He can ask me about the shortcomings and tell us that we need to address them. We accept what he says. It is our responsibility to address shortcomings wherever they exist.

We should first address our own shortcomings. Then we can tell others about their shortcomings. We support him and thank him for his friendship. I hope the international community and Afghanistan further boost their cooperation and coordination with Kai Eide.

If this happens, if we dare to take more measures inside our country, if we take fundamental measures to address our own shortcomings, we will make new progress in all fields including governance, economy, politics and media. We will be able to reach a national agreement and contract that we will not help the bad guys, but will instead make sure the government does not release them. When the government takes serious measures to address the problems Mr Osmani mentioned, we will have good achievements.

The other issue, which is important but I do not want to focus on today because we should address our own problems first, is the need for better coordination between our foreign friends. They also need to review their contracts and sub-contracts. As our sister said, it also plays a big role in corruption in Afghanistan.

The other third very important question is our governance. The only way to strengthen the government of Afghanistan is to respect it and to respect Afghanistan's laws. The people of Afghanistan and their homes should be dealt with by the government of Afghanistan under Afghanistan's laws. Foreigners should not enter our homes. They should not search our homes and should not kill or detain our people in their homes.

I am firmly committed to achieving all this. If this happens, Afghanistan will have a strong government and then this soil will be the real soil about which our 11 or 12-year-old refugee young boy sings: Paris is a beautiful place, but not my place. It is a beautiful soil, but not my soil. When we do this and when we implement laws in this beautiful soil of Afghanistan, our country will be built and corruption will be eliminated. But if we do not do it, then our life will remain bad, poor and we will continue to live in poverty and we will continue to remain dependent on others. May God save us from that condition. May God bestow on us the ability to achieve our objective which is the dream of every son of Afghanistan: A strong, rich, self-sufficient, powerful and lawful Afghanistan.

I once again thank you Mr. Osmani.

Continue with your work. I am sure everyone will stand with you on this. The people and the government support you. You can start your work from my office first. Find corruption in my office first and then bring it to me. If you reformed my office, others will be reformed quickly. If you failed in my office, you will not be able to reform others because they are of course more skilled.

Welcome all of you. May you be very successful.

Thank you Mr. Eide. Thank you very much.

I have to go with your permission. We have a human rights meeting at 12:00. Thank you all. Good bye


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