Speech To Representatives of the
United Nations Security Council
In the Name of God,
Dear Distinguished Ambassadors, we welcome you and would like to thank you for coming to Northern Afghanistan. We hope your trip to the North will have a positive effect not only here but also throughout Afghanistan. The people of the North appreciate the role of United Nations in helping our people. Afghanistan is passing through a difficult and complicated time.
We are sure the distinguished Ambassadors are aware of the great loss of life and blood that our people endured in defeating the Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists together with the international anti-terror coalition. Thousands of Afghan soldiers from the North were lost in defeating the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Thousands more were killed or disappeared during the Taliban reign of terror. We are saddened that so few who come to the North ever acknowledge or even know of the great sacrifices our people have made.
We are also sure that the distinguished Ambassadors before me are aware of our record of protection of international and UN personnel. We take this responsibility very seriously and always carry it out to the best of our ability. We are the friends of the international community, yet rarely are we praised for this commitment and friendship.
We are sure the distinguished Ambassadors are aware of the positive record of the North regarding the eradication of opium production. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the North has one of the lowest levels of opium cultivation in the country. We have consistently stated our readiness to eradicate what little opium production there is in the North. But we are amazed that there has been little interest from either the central government or the international community to follow up on these matters.
Dear Distinguished Ambassadors, we have been fully cooperating with the Central Government. Its very existence was built on the blood of those who fought to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda here in the North. We see this as our government as much as anyone. Our people have given up the revenue from the region to the Center and we have given up our positions, yet our people have received little back from the Center and many of those who fought terrorism risking their lives have been ignored and forgotten.
But we would ask the distinguished Ambassadors here also to take the time to re-evaluate some of their assumptions about Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a complex and diverse country. Many who have sought to help it have often ignored its diversity and complex history. And it has been this denial of its history-of domination-and it diversity that has been the cause of much suffering. We are many different peoples who live in this country-Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, Pashtuns, Turkmens, Amioqs, Arabs, Nooristanis, Qizelbash, Baluchis, and many others. The repression of this diversity has often fanned the flames of extremism. Our people want to move forward in freedom. But this freedom can only emerge if we build trust and goodwill between our different communities.
How can we build trust if our people are not treated fairly? For example the recent draft constitution, which we have only seen yesterday, seeks to concentrate nearly all power in the hands of one man, the President. Is this normal for any government to concentrate power to such an extent? We are told that this concentration of power is necessary to protect the nation. But how can the rejection of the right of people to choose their own leaders in their own communities, villages, cities and provinces undermine the principle of democracy? This is a question that our people have a right to know. Can you, distinguished Ambassadors, help us understand why the international community has supported such a draft?
We believe in disarmament and a national army. We have submitted ideas in order to speed these processes. But any disarmament must be nation-wide and it must be balanced and proportional or one runs the risk of creating much more instability and conflict, not less. Yet, today these basic principles are ignored and we are asked to do things that will cause more instability and insecurity for our people. This contradicts the very principles of the UN regarding fairness, balance and protection of communities.
Many today are still ignoring or downplaying the growing threat of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and Hezb-I-Islalmi. Even the UN peacekeeping chief has mentioned the growing threat of these extremists and terrorists in a number of provinces of Afghanistan. These are the same people who caused so much suffering in the North--tens of thousands killed and thousands still missing. Some recommend a pattern of disarmament that will create a security vacuum and lead to the return of terrorists and the destruction of our people. This makes no sense to us.
We want to build a new and democratic Afghanistan operating with respect to Islamic principles that protects the rights of all its people. We have great hope that you will encourage and facilitate the reconstruction of our region, which has until now seen no serious reconstruction efforts. Finally, we hope you will see the need to build our future on trust and goodwill between all our peoples. We will continue our cooperation with the international community to build a strong, just and fair Afghanistan.
General Abdul Rashid Dostum
General Atta Mohammad
Sardar Mohammad Sayeedi