H.E. Dr. Mohabbat Speech on the Occasion of the 98th National Day of Afghanistan

October 30, 2017: Ba Sefarate Afghanistan khoshamaded, De Afghanistan Sefarat Ta Khraghlast, Ahuganisutan Tashikan he Youkoso, Welcome to the Embassy of Afghanistan. Dear H.E. Mr. Natso Yamaguchi, Chief Representative of the Komei Party, H.E. Ambassador Mr. Hiroshi Oka, Assistant Minister & Director General of the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau of MOFA Japan, H.E. Deputy Chief Justice Ms. Kiyoko Okabe, Supreme Court of Japan, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, All our beloved friends, On behalf of the people and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; all the diplomats, and staff of this embassy, as well as myself; I bid you all warm greetings and welcome you tonight.

It is with great pleasure that I can certainly call all of you true friends of Afghanistan, and it honors me to celebrate and commemorate the Independence Day of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan together, here at our embassy in Japan. Of all places, Tokyo perfectly embodies and represents the long and ongoing amicable and beneficial diplomatic relationship between Afghanistan and its many international partners, who have all come together on this day. Those of us lucky enough to call this place home, or home of our mission, or even just home for now know how magnificent and benevolent Tokyo, and moreover Japan is. We are all fortunate to call the noble nation of Japan a friend and partner.

My friends, Afghanistan is a wondrous and unique country that would make you fall in love with her at first glance. Located at the heart of the Silk Road, Afghanistan is a flourishing melting pot of commerce, knowledge, and advancement, filled with an ancient history, and a remarkable culture which defines our nation and our society. The lands of Afghanistan are rich and fertile, and its sky stretches vastly over its mountains, which have stood strong and resistant to wind and weather long over time. However, it is the people of Afghanistan who are the most precious and valuable fruit of our beloved country – their minds are as rich as the fields, their hearts are as vast as the sky, and they stand together united as strong as the mountains. As highlighted in our National Anthem, the people from Afghanistan come from many diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds but as one spirit strive towards unity, tolerance, peace, and happiness.

In 1919, Afghanistan gained its independence, marking the start of a difficult drive towards prosperity. For the last 98 years, our great country has undergone countless challenges and times of hardship, but together we grew as a nation, overcoming difficulties, standing united in our pursuit for peace. Reinforced by the selfless and generous support of the International community and their wonderful citizens, we have been able to accomplish great progress in developing Afghanistan – in particular since the establishment of the new National Unity Government in 2014. In addition to this remarkable provision of official development assistance and investment to Afghanistan, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has been an essential partner in restoring peace and stability. Hence, again, on behalf of the people and Government of Afghanistan, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude and my deepest appreciation to all international participants for this invaluable support which has helped Afghanistan and her people to live fuller, richer, healthier and happier lives.

The Afghan National Unity Government has understood that the path towards self-sufficiency and peace passes through education, capacity building, and the empowerment of women and girls. Today, education holds the spot as the second largest governmental expenditure; second only to providing improved security measures to help achieve regional peace and stability— and female empowerment and participation in Afghan society is a high-priority target. Whereas in 2002, only one out of six children could enjoy constant access to education, today, fifteen years later, nearly five out of six children are enrolled in primary and secondary education. The number of pupils attending school has increased by more than nine million from 2001 to 2017. In particular, the number of girls in classrooms rose strongly, making up over forty percent of students in a classroom today, whereas they were almost nonexistent in the early 2000s.

I would like to present to you a poem written in the 13th century by our famous Afghan poet Maulana Mohammad Jalalludin Rumi Balkhi, for whom this very hall you are standing in is named, which I dedicate to the strong, determined, persevering sons and daughters of Afghanistan:

You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You were not meant for crawling, so don't. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.

Educating the young generation and enhancing their human potential, symbolizes the fundament of making Afghanistan’s future peaceful, resilient, and prosperous. By strengthening the personal skill-set, professional abilities, and academic know-how of the young Afghan generation, their fullest abilities can be reached as their capacities are being built. Capacity building is the building of hope, it enables new perspectives, it carries potential – capacity building is the building of a future.

Today, Afghanistan is looking towards its promising future – a future of overcoming the darkness of the past together; a future of assuring the protection of peace and democracy; a common future of friendship and collaboration. Today, while celebrating the 98th National Day of Afghanistan, I am inviting you all to be a part of this future. Let us continue to work towards ensuring democracy, security, and happiness to the people of Afghanistan, as we commemorate the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s most auspicious day.

A zillion, zillion thanks.