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“We Deliver What We Promise”
The Afghan National Unity Government has been pursuing a clear strategy of development and prosperity for the people of Afghanistan.  Based on this strategy, the government made some promises to the nation that it would implement certain major development and infrastructural projects that will affect their lives in the long run and will improve economic growth in the country by paving way for new businesses and creating jobs in the country.
A number of negative critics chanted that the Afghan Government leadership is not carrying what it promised to the people, and the government’s words and deeds are not identical.  Some of these critics even held demonstrations challenging the government for failing for fulfill its promises and pledges.
The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has made it clear in his speeches that he is prioritizing things and will carry out the promises he made with the nation one after another, but things take time. 
In 2015, the first and utmost focus of the president was to foil the enemies’ plots to divide Afghanistan.  The president, with wise decision kept the country united and foiled the conspiracy of the enemies of this country.   The president, with very active diplomacy and project based plans, ensured a long term funding source for Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.  There were many other things that the president focused on and implemented them in 2015.  The National Unity Government succeeded in its programs for 2015, though many of those programs will have strategic impacts on the lives of people and its results will not be seen on a day to day basis.
President Ghani began year 2016 with very clear promises with the nation and a clear picture going forward.  He said 2016 will be the year of motivation and action and the people of Afghanistan will witness the start of major infrastructural and development projects. 
The opening of Chabahar Port, the Salma Dam, and the signing of several contracts for building new dams and upgrading old ones in Farah, Helmand, Kunduz, and Nangarhar Provinces, are some of the major projects took place just last month.  
Earlier this year, the president promised to build 29 new dams in Afghanistan.  Some critics paid a suspicious look into this commitment of the president and doubted his ability accordingly.  But contrary to these negative critics, the president carried out what he promised to the nation.
In addition, recently a number of people were provoked by some circles challenging the TUTAP project.  The president in a meeting at the palace attended by key members of his government and MPs decided that TUTAP should be implemented as it is designed, but promised that he would supply electricity to Bamyan.  A number of people again doubted his commitment.  But, this week, the president signed an agreement with Asian Development Bank in regard to supplying 300MW electricity to Bamyan within three years.  Bamyan has been ignored over the past 14 years, but President Ghani is paying attention for the development of this province.
This signing has sent a clear message to the people of Afghanistan that the president is keen to carry out what he promised.  He has a clear picture of what he does and knows when and how to do them. 
We need to be tolerant and give the president the time he requires to implement major development projects for the people of Afghanistan.  Let’s support the president and let him put his ideas into action for the people of Afghanistan.  He has many great ideas in mind to turn Afghanistan into an economic giant at the region and make this country a place of opportunities, investments and businesses.  The people of Afghanistan should be assured that the president will carry out what he promises to the nation and only thinks about the development and welfare of this great country.   The government assures the people of Afghanistan that the words and deeds of the president are identical, and the president will deliver what he promised with the public.
Afghanistan to Turn into a Good Market for Indian Products
Afghanistan markets are dominated by Chinese, Pakistani, and Iranian products some of which have low quality.  These poor quality products of foreign countries are widely seen in Afghan markets.   According to some local economic experts, Indian products have good reputation in Afghan markets.  Afghanistan as a consumer country is considered a good market for foreign products.  There is a big competition between many countries of the region to attract consumers in Afghan market.
India is a country that is perceived among Afghans as a peace-loving and peace-supporting country.  Afghans believe that India pursues prosperity, welfare, development and peace in Afghanistan and has made major economic contributions to support development in Afghanistan.  Some experts believe that given the economies of scale Indian products have; they can offer standard ISO quality at low cost.  Moreover, Indian companies can also support the local distribution system to become more channelized for organized retailing.   Very big Indian companies will not even be that much profit minded and price things lower.
India invested around $300 million dollar to build Chabahar Port and is building the railway line costing another $ 400 million to connect Afghanistan, a landlocked country, to the sea.  India also, invested around $300 million to build Salma Dam in western Afghanistan. India also built the most beautiful building in the region for Afghan Parliament last year. India for pursuing a peaceful policy toward Afghanistan and not being involved in any of the violence in Afghanistan over the past several decades, has a good reputation among Afghan people. After surveying Afghan markets, one will find many Indian products which include but not limited to rice, wheat, electronic equipments, clothing, shoes, medicines and medical equipments.
A number of Afghan traders who regularly do business with Indians say that products which Afghan consumers need to buy on regular basis and for long term usages both can be very nicely handed by ISO 9000 standard organizations from Indian side at price never thought possible before.  Plus for industrial level products big machineries and plants can also come with high functionalities at reasonable cost.
Furthermore, Indian companies can also be easily approached for creating assembly hubs in Afghanistan for various Indian products which will increase job opportunity and support the GDP.  Proper tanning machineries and raw materials can make – leather industry modernize, weaving technology to upgrade high quality and durable plus dependable carpet production and newer farming technologies can convert small scale industries like honey production into a big scale export oriented global industry apart from doing the same for other agriculture product.   The opportunities are endless for comprehensive holistic development.
Another issue is that most Afghans follow the policy of buying & throwing away of household items due to none availability of proper service centers.   According to an Indian economic expert and business developer Mr. Prithwi Tilak Banerjee improving business with India will help to establish “standard after sale services centers” including repairing services.   He said Afghans will no longer have to throw their used items or items that needs to be fixed.

Some Indian products and brands are very famous in Afghanistan. TATA is a famous Indian brand in Kabul.  Hundreds of TATA made buses are transporting Afghan citizens in Kabul from one side to another on a daily basis.  According to a number of Afghans interviewed, Afghans prefer to buy Indian products rather than the products of other countries of the region for good quality and for the India’s generosity and good will toward the people and government of Afghanistan.  An Afghan citizen working for the government seeking anonymity said that after surveying several markets in Kabul last week, Indian products attracted his attention. This Afghan government employee said that he bought an Indian made refrigerator which even cost more than other refrigerators in a market in Kabul. He said he believes that Indian products are of good quality and his family has the faith in that.
Thousands of Afghans visit India for medical purposes on the daily basis and in their return home; they bring Indian medicines home which they later distribute to relatives and friends.
A friend of mine told me that Indian medication is of high quality.  He said India has a good will toward Afghanistan and will never think of selling poor quality products.
Furthermore, Indian spices are very famous here. One will find Indian black peppers and cardamom in every Afghan kitchen.  Experts believe that the construction of Chabahar Port will boost trade between Afghanistan and India.  Afghan markets will soon welcome many Indian products.  If the Afghans encourage Indian traders and businessmen to have joint ventures that will be a big boost.  The Afghan Government is determined to pave way for Indian investment in Afghanistan for more trade between two friendly countries.  Afghan markets are open to Indian products—Afghans will happily purchase these products. Indians are urged to boost trade and economic relations between Afghanistan and India.

A Big Day for Afghanistan
Today is a big day for Afghanistan.  It is the first time for Afghanistan to inaugurate a hydroelectric project which will produce electricity and generate water for irrigation since 1988.  

President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially inaugurated Afghan-Indian Friendship Dam ( Salma Dam) during a specially ceremony in Herat Province today.  

Salma Dam built and funded by Indian Government, is considered one of the biggest Indian investments in Afghanistan which will have positive economic impacts on the lives of the people of Herat.  Construction of Salma Dam lasted almost 10 years.  The foundation stone of this dam was laid down 40 years ago by the first Afghan President Sardar Daud. 

Salma Dam will produce 42MW electricity and will irrigate more than 80,000H of lands in Herat Province.  According to Afghan specialists, utilization of this dam will create almost half a million jobs to local people and will help business to dramatically improve in Herat.  In addition, this dam will generate $36 million dollars as revenue to the Afghan budget annually. 

Salma Dam will have positive impacts on agriculture, local businesses, and improvement of industry in Herat province which will improve the lives of hundreds thousands of people in western part of Afghanistan. 

Furthermore, Salma Dam covers a land of more than 20 KMs which can pave the way for the construction of new residential buildings, factories, parks and tourism which can generate additional income and support economies in the province. 

Afghan President is committed to control and manage Afghan waters, and use them for the development of Afghanistan which will bring economic stability and sustainable development to Afghanistan.

The opening of Chabahar Port and the inauguration of Salma Dam will complement each other to create new businesses in Afghanistan.

Electricity is important for running businesses and building factories in Herat.  Salma Dam will not only produce electricity and water, it will give hopes, lives and a bright future for the people Herat Province.  Building Salma Dam is considered a major step for the development of Afghanistan. 

Afghan-India Friendship Dam will provide water to 640 villages in several districts and bring light to 250,000 houses in Herat Province.  This dam will restore hopes to people and improve local agriculture. 

In addition, the construction of this dam will further strengthen the relationship between Afghanistan and India.  India’s support to Afghanistan is remarkable.  Last December, the new Afghan Parliament Building was inaugurated with Indian Funding in Kabul. 

The inauguration of Salma Dam shows the firm commitment of President Ghani to invest on major water management projects.  He is determined to start the construction work of 21 dams across Afghanistan this year.  The construction of Salma Dam is a clear commitment of the Afghan Government for sustainable development.

Incredible Achievements by National Unity Government
The National Unity Government has had incredible and tremendous accomplishments since its establishment in 2014.  Some of these achievements got less attention in the media and less people know about them.  In this article, some of the major projects and programs initiated by President Ghani are examined and underlined.  These projects and programs will have a lasting positive impact on the lives of Afghan people. 
The National Unity Government (NUG) has faced serious challenges and problems most of which were left behind by the previous government.  NUG inherited corruption, lack of governance, financial problems, fragile political situation, social problems, the fragile pledges to fund Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF), and the withdrawal of almost 150,000 international troops.  Almost triple of this size were Afghans recruited by international forces to fight for them and to support them in achieving their common goals.  They also lost their jobs.
The NUG had to prioritize the challenges and problems and seek solutions for them and ways how to overcome them.  Plus, carry some of the promises the NUG leadership made with the public during their presidential campaigns.
The first and utmost priority for President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and his team in the NUG was to sign Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States to secure long term funding for Afghan forces to carry out security and defense operations in Afghanistan and defend territorial integrity and national sovereignty of this country.
In 2015, the enemies of Afghanistan had a plot in mind to divide Afghanistan by pieces and threaten Afghanistan’s unity.  The enemies have launched their offensive across Afghanistan to achieve their evil goals.  They tried to gain control of major areas in Afghanistan to expand their areas of control through exerting fear in the minds and hearts of people.  The enemies failed to control areas in Afghanistan except the capture of Kunduz Province for a few days –which later was recaptured by government forces and the Taliban suffered lots of casualties.
During 2015, the main focus of the President was to save Afghanistan from division and keep the county unified and a “whole” again and prevent the enemies advancement in the combat area and push them backward.  With long working hours, wisdom, making bold decisions, and by inspiring ANSDF and making them to focus on defeating enemies, the President and his team in the NUG succeeded to save Afghanistan from division and foil the enemies plot.  This was a major success and achievement. 
Simultaneously, President Ghani also focused on some major reforms, anti-corruption, and long terms and strategic development projects for Afghanistan.
In anti-corruption efforts, President Ghani has assigned a commission to deal with Kabul Bank scandal and recovered $250 million back.  Formed National Procurement Authority which could prevented waste of money and saved billions Afs from contracting. The president presided over 50 sessions of contracting to ensure transparency and save money.  The president prevented corruption in MOD fuel contracts and ordered serious investigation which helped to save billions of Afs in fuel contracting only at the MOD.  More than 600 MOD mid level officials were asked to declare their assets.  Twenty five percent of Customs Officers have been fired.
The first and second rounds of reforms of the Supreme Court have been completed.   Over 600 judges have been changed.   Every single provincial judge and provincial head of Prosecution Department in this country have been changed.  135 Appellate court judges have been reshuffled or dismissed.  Twenty percent of the prosecutors have been released from their duties.   Afghan Attorney General has reshuffled 40 senior officials at his organization as part of a series of reforms.  He also announced that he will open a judicial center in the near future to fight against corruption and release the results of its investigations to the public in a time frame already stated in the Afghan laws.   In addition, Afghan Chief Justice and Attorney General have agreed that before October, each of them will have five key reforms that are going to be driven by them.
President Ghani promised to double the size of the Special Crimes Task Force and authorized them to investigate governors, ministers and high-ranking Afghan Government officials.  They have a total mandate based on president’s direct orders to prosecute senior government officials.  Several senior government officials have been arrested by this task force on charges of embezzlement and corruption. 
The NUG has developed the financial management roadmap and brought major reforms in the Ministry of Finance.  Despite a severe recession bordering on depression, revenue has increased by twenty two percent. 
Afghanistan became member of International Trade Organization –most countries in the region wish to become members.  Chabahar Port was inaugurated which will facilitate trade between Afghanistan, Iran, India and countries of central Asia.  Chabahar will link Afghanistan to the region and the world.  Chabahar will also bring down the cost and the time of the cargo trade to Europe.
NUG has undertaken many development and strategic projects; President Ghani has promised to begin work on the construction of 21 water dams this year.  These dams will produce electricity and will also provide water for irrigation.  In addition, Salma Dam will soon be inaugurated in Herat Province.  This Dam will provide 42KW electricity and irrigate 80 thousand acres of lands in Herat.  
CASA-1000 Power Project and TUTAP were signed and the implementation process will soon begin.  Khawaf-Herat railway project final phase is about to complete.  Jabel Saraj Cement Factory has started operation and cement factories in Herat and Samangan will soon start operation.  Production of Afghanistan liquid gas has increased by four folds. 
The construction of three main government buildings; the Afghan Parliament Building, Afghan Defense Ministry Building and Afghan Interior Ministry building were completed and put to utilization.  They are the three major government building less seen in the region.  The reconstruction work of Darulaman Palace was officially inaugurated by President Ghani yesterday.
Afghan Air Force received war planes and helicopters from its international allies for the first time since the establishment of the new democratic era in Afghanistan in 2001.  Aiming to boost the capabilities of the Afghan Air Force (AAF), the United States completed the first batch of A-29 Super Tucano aircrafts to AAF, and India has handed over three of the four Mi-25 gunship helicopters to Afghanistan.  Currently, more than hundred Afghan pilots are being trained outside Afghanistan.  It is expected that the United States will provide 12 Super Tucano war planes to Afghan Air Force in the next three months.  India is also investigating ways to provide more helicopters to Afghanistan in the future. 
The National Unity Government, for the first time developed its five years operational and security plan and came up with a clear definition of its enemies.    Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, irrigation and Livestock has developed a comprehensive master plan for the development of agriculture in Afghanistan.  President Ghani has promised to manage and control Afghanistan waters.
The first group of six Terrorists and Taliban militants’ inmates accused of atrocities and capital crimes and killing innocent people were executed in Kabul sending a clear message to the enemy that the government will have no mercy on criminal and terrorists. 
In regard to roads connecting peoples and nations and boosting and facilitating trade and transportation, work on building Lazuli Road will soon begin, building railway between Jalalabad-Peshawar is under processing, and the construction of Khost-Gardez High Way was completed.
At the regional and international level, allies and partners of Afghanistan including the United States, NATO, European Union, countries in the region and World Bank announced their long term financial, civilian and military support to Afghanistan.
Afghan Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development Mr. Durani has announced that his ministry has completed 4,000 development projects with a total cost of $112 million over the past five months across Afghanistan. 
The Afghan Government has simplified the process of getting passports for Afghan citizens.  Now, Afghans can get their passports from the nearest post office to their residential area. 
To summarize the projects at the regional level affecting Afghanistan economy, one can underline the of Opening of Chabahar Transport and Transit Port, TUTAP Power Project, completion of Salma Dam, and getting membership of World Trade Organization as some of the major economic projects.
It is worth mentioning that the National Unity Government has had major accomplishments in different areas, but were not well communicated to the public.  Communicating with the public is very vital at this time.  The president has realized the important of communication and has appointed Nader Nadery as his Chief Advisor for Strategic Communications and Ambassador at-large for Freedom of Expression.  
The above mentioned projects are some of the major projects started by NUG and will have a strategic and long term impacts on the lives of people in Afghanistan.  Focusing on economic efforts at national and regional level, adopting clear stance toward the enemies of Afghanistan, and establishing strong relationships with Afghanistan international allies and partners specially the United States, can be considered as the three major areas of importance for Afghanistan.  Because of a clear and strong diplomacy, Afghanistan is once again the focus of attention for the United States and the international community.

President Ghani Determined to Link Afghanistan to the Region and the World
President Ghani, President Ruhani, and Prime Minister Modi signed a trilateral agreement to boost trade and economic ties in the region.  Chabahar Agreement signed between the three leaders on Monday this week is described to be a benchmark achievement for Afghanistan and a focal point between Afghanistan, Iran and India in many terms.  With this, Afghanistan becomes the only land-locked country to have its own seaport.
The Chabahar Port will connect Afghanistan with India through Iran and will decrease Afghanistan and India dependency on Gwadar and Waga ports to transit commercial goods. 
Using Chabahar Port will strengthen economic and trade connectivity between Afghanistan and India and will also connect Afghanistan through India to European countries.  Chabahar will also bring down the cost and the time of the cargo trade to Europe.  Compared to Pakistan Port, Chabahar is 700 KM closer to Afghanistan.
Countries in this region have to live together and exchange and export good stuff to each other rather than exporting evils and terrorism.  Creating a sound neighborhood is important for co-existence in this region and supporting one another will make the region stronger.  Islam which is the religion of peace and prosperity emphasizes on a friendly and healthy relationship with neighbors.  Respect and care to neighbors makes the basis of the relationship between neighbors in Islam.  Allah the almighty orders Muslims to be good to their near and far away neighbors, but unlike this saying, Afghans believe that Pakistan continues to harm Afghanistan.   As President Ghani mentioned in his speech in Iran that some countries export terrorists, but Afghanistan, Iran and India export hope, cooperation and trust.
Through Chabahar Port, Afghanistan and India will not only strengthen their commercial ties but will strengthen their public diplomacy as well.  A number of Afghan analysts interviewed on Afghan channels believe that Chabahar will serve as a trilateral transport and transit corridor as well as a corridor of peace and prosperity for the people of this region.
With Chabahar Agreement, countries in the region are entering a new chapter of their interests—from national interests to regional interests.  This will provoke these countries to do their utmost to preserve their regional interests and help bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.  Without peace and security a whole, strong and united Asia is not possible.
In addition, Asia is changing and moving towards economic continent in its speedy way.   As President Ghani stated that in next coming years 60 trillion dollars will be invested in building infrastructure in the world and a major part of this money will be invested in Asia.  Analysts believe that a proper management will turn Asia into an economic giant in the world in the years ahead.  It is believed that mutual cooperation, science and technology will make the future of regional countries.
President Ghani’s agenda for economic development is very clear.  He took important and strategic steps to support Afghanistan’s economy.  Economically engaging countries of the region is a milestone to support economic development in Afghanistan. 
Through Chabahar Port, Afghanistan will get an assured, effective, and a friendly route to trade with India and the rest of the world.  This corridor would drive unrestricted flow of commerce throughout the region.
Agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor marks a new foundation of junction between nations of these three countries which will have positive impacts on the lives of people & deepen economic ties.   It will also open new opportunities for Indian Companies to explore Afghanistan’s mineral wealth and invest in this country.
Our message to our neighbor is clear.  Afghanistan is determined to link with the region and the world by finding the best and cost effective and friendly routes.  It is time for some countries with negative mindset toward Afghanistan to change their policies toward this land and think about regional cooperation and regional co-existence for the future of this region and the future of Asia.  By being together and supporting each other, we can turn Asia into a land of opportunities for the rest of the world and turn Asia into an economic giant in the world.   Chabahar is a good example of regional cooperation which was made possible with the wise leadership and management of President Ghani and his counterparts in the region.  India’s interest and intention to a safer and friendly environment for cooperation and trade should be symbol and a pattern for others who still believe in harming others and create obstacles before development in the region.  President Ghani’s economic policies will turn Afghanistan into a land of opportunities for the region and the world.  Chabarhar, TUTAP, Salma Dam and membership of World Trade Organization are the major economic projects made possible with the leadership and management of President Ghani in a short period of time.


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