DCM Minister Faqiri discusses current issues in Afghanistan with American University students

Embassy of Afghanistan

Minister Faqiri talks with the American University students during the Q&A session.

Embassy of Afghanistan

Minister Faqiri talks with the American University students during the Q&A session.

Photo: Minister Faqiri at AU 2
Photo: Minister Faqiri at AU 1

October 3, 2013

WASHINGTON—Deputy Chief of Mission Minister Ahmed Zahir Faqiri spoke with nearly 50 students this afternoon at American University about the current situation in Afghanistan and what the future holds at such a critical time in the country's development.

Minister Faqiri highlighted many of the progresses made over the past 12 years as well as some of the challenges that remain. He also explained the upcoming transitions underway in Afghanistan as it approaches the 'Transformation Decade.'

The nearly 50 students in attendance represented over 15 countries and dozens of universities around the county.

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Below are excerpts from Minister Faqiri's remarks:

  • Since 2001, with assistance from more than 40 other countries, in particular the United Sates, Afghanistan has been transformed. We’ve made notable progress in all spheres of the state-building process. Some 8 million children—40% of them girls—have gone back to school, while thousands of students are busy studying at public and private universities across Afghanistan.
  • Moreover, access to health-care, electricity, and clean drinking water has increased exponentially. As a result, our previously terrible developmental indicators—including high rates of maternal and infant mortality—have vastly improved. Widespread poverty has diminished, as per-capita income has doubled and continues to steadily increase across Afghanistan.
  • And let’s recall the past situation where the Taliban completely banned freedom of expression and denied women their basic human rights to education and work. Today, Afghanistan boasts one of the freest media sectors in the region and women have active roles in all spheres of social and economic life.
  • Private TV channels and newspapers have flourished, raising the voice of a vibrant civil society. And, we’re blessed to have more female members in the Afghan parliament than in the legislative bodies of some of the most established democracies in the world.
  • In Afghanistan today, three defining transitions are underway: a major security transition, a political transition – including a historical Presidential election next April -- and an economic transition.
  • We’re not complacent or naïve to claim that our struggle to ensure the rights and freedoms of our people fully is by any means complete. We have an enormous job before us.
  • But we have made exponential and groundbreaking advances in development indicators, economic growth, governance maturation, and regional cooperation not seen before. And with the selection of a new government in 2014, the people will stay on the path they chose in 2001.