At the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan today, Mawlana Hazar Imam reaffirmed his commitment to Afghanistan and its people, underlining the importance of regional cooperation and a commitment to pluralism as key factors in the country’s development and stability.

Hazar Imam joined Afghanistan’s President His Excellency Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive His Excellency Abdullah Abdullah, Foreign Ministers from numerous countries, and heads of development organisations working in Afghanistan who had gathered in Geneva.

The conference aimed to bring the international community together to show solidarity with the Afghan people and government in their efforts for peace and prosperity.

“As we come together to support the National Unity Government,” Hazar Imam said, “investing in civil society – encouraging private organisations designed to serve public goals – deserves equal attention. Such institutions can be stabilising factors and points of continuity. That is why AKDN supports the full spectrum of civil society, devoting special attention to health, education, culture, community governance, and public-private partnerships to deliver other services.”

Hazar Imam also stated that “the experience of the past 17 years has strongly reinforced my conviction that the path to sustainable peace in Afghanistan depends heavily on two key principles — regional cooperation, which is key for national development and stability; and a commitment to pluralism — the country’s diversity must be cultivated as a source of strength. Everyone in all regions should benefit from investment that creates hope for the future. This is a guiding principle of our investment in Afghanistan.”

Since 2002, AKDN and its partners have committed over US$ 1 billion in development assistance to the country. Its economic projects now span over 287 cities and districts in the country’s 34 provinces. Its social development work began in 1996 with humanitarian relief, and now spans food security, education, and healthcare in 61 districts in seven provinces. Its cultural programmes in Kabul, Herat, Balkh, and Badakhshan have restored over 90 historic buildings.

Following the conference, Mawlana Hazar Imam held meetings with Their Excellencies Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, with Germany’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, and with Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner in charge of International cooperation and Development.