ISLAMABAD: United States Ambassador Richard Olson Wednesday said his country was in partnership with Pakistan for promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and both sides were cooperating in curbing terrorism.
Speaking at the a two-day international conference on “US-Nato Exit from Afghanistan: Challenges and Options Beyond 2014” at National University of Modern Languages (NUML), here he stressed the need to achieve the twin objectives in Afghanistan. The conference has been arranged by the Department of International Relations, Conflict and Peace Studies.
The ambassador said there had been a lot of progress towards building of national institutions in Afghanistan over the past several years. He expressed the hope that Afghanistan will be able to preserve the gains and maintain stability after the withdrawal of US-Nato Forces from there, said a NUML news release.
He pointed out that Afghans were enjoying more civic amenities now then ever. Eight times as many children are enrolled in schools, one third of them are girls and more than ten times as many students attend university education in Afghanistan now.
Olson said in a way it would not be an exit in 2014 as his country would continue its engagement with Afghanistan beyond 2014 in pursuit of Kabul's objectives of peace, security, and stability.
He also said that the US will not disengage from the region as it did in 1989 which was a mistake. He quoted President Obama saying “We will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America.”
The Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani in his presidential address said that Pakistan had been working closely at bilateral, trilateral and multilateral levels to support intra-Afghan reconciliation.
Pakistan is keenly looking forward to restoration of peace and normalcy in Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan is not only in its own interest but also in the interest of the regional countries particularly Pakistan.
Pakistan despite its financial difficulties, he said, was contributing towards Afghanistan's reconstruction and development. Pakistan provided assistance of $ 330 million to Afghanistan for projects in the infrastructure, health, and education sectors.
Jilani said Pakistan and Afghanistan were linked by historic ties and the sky was the limit as far as the potential of the two countries was concerned as a land bridge, between the vast regions of South and Central Asia as well as East and West Asia.
He said Pakistan respected Afghanistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity and it will continue to extend every possible assistance to Afghanistan for the achievement of shared goals of peace and stability.
In his address to the conference, ambassador Mohammad Omer Daoudzai of Afghanistan highlighted Pakistan's role in promoting peace in Afghanistan. He said his country will like to sign a strategic agreement with Pakistan to institutionalize partnership between the twocountries in areas of peace and security.
He said Afghanistan believed in establishing good relations with all regional countries. He dispelled the fear being expressed by certain circles that Taliban might overrun Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US-NATO forces. He said that situation now is quite different from that which obtained in the past.
Prof. Dr Tahir Amin, Director National Institute Pakistan Studies, Quai-i-Azam University, in his key note address stressed the need for understanding and conciliation among various world orders explaining that US perceived world order was not the only one such order. He also called for promoting a culture of dialogue for the resolution of world issues, avoiding use of force.
Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Excutive Director Higher Education Commission, in his address said the education was a key to promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. He said the HEC has offered a large number of scholarships to Afghan students and would like to offer more to help that country in its pursuit of social progress.
In his welcome address Rector NUML Maj Gen (R) Masood Hasan said that the University holds such conferences on vital issues to promote intellectual culture of the University and contribute to national consciousness.
Director General NUML Brig Azam Jamal expressed profound thanks on behalf of NUML to US and Afghan Ambassadors as well as participating scholars and participants for gracing the conference.
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