Karzai calls upon parliamentarians to work hard for Afghanistan

Kabul, Dec. 19, 2005 ( Xinhuanet) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday called upon the newly elected parliamentarians to serve the people honestly and take the nation towards prosperity. "This is your responsibility to serve the people of Afghanistan without discrimination in line with the guidance of Islam the religion and the Constitution," Karzai told the newly elected members of parliament (MPs) while administering their oath.

The first-ever Afghan parliament in three decades formally opened amid tight security at the renovated Parliament House Monday morning.

With the opening of the parliament session Monday morning, the last phase of the historic Bonn agreement towards stabilizing democracy in the post-Taliban nation has completed.

Hailing the achievements made by the government in the past four years, President Karzai said: "Afghanistan is no more the isolated country as it was during Taliban regime. Today we have parliament, we have legitimate government, we have 1.5 billion US dollars foreign exchange reserve and we have the international support in rebuilding our country."

Over 6.5 million Afghan girls and boys had begun going to school since the collapse of Taliban four years ago while the strength of Afghan National Army (ANA) has reached over 34,000, he said. "It is essential to have a strong army and air force to defend the country's geographical borders," he added.

On the government foreign policy, President Karzai said: "Our foreign policy is based on non-interference in others' internal affairs and respect international law." Afghanistan wants friendly relations with the Islamic countries, strategic cooperation with the Western world and enhancing relations with the regional nations, he said.

The president said that his government would continue with the anti-drug campaign and work hard to give an end to corruption in government departments.

"Without ethnic and regional discrimination we must work for the welfare and prosperity of Afghanistan. This is our right to get united and struggle collectively for the regaining of the honor of this phoenix, Afghanistan," President Karzai said.