Impromptu Remarks by the Special Representative of the of the Secretary-General For Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi the Opening Ceremony the Afghan National Army Central Corps

Your Excellences, President Hamid Karzai
Vice-President and Minister of Defense, Rahim Khan
Vice-President Khalil
other members of the Cabinet,
Officers
Other members of the Central Corps

Assalamu-Alaikum.

It is a great honor for me to attend this ceremony, which is the formal beginning of the creation of the national army of Afghanistan. I would like to congratulate your Excellency Mr. President and Marshal Rahim for this achievement. I think that this ceremony is also an indication that peace and security and stability have come back to Afghanistan and are going to stay in the country.

This is an indication that soon the only people wearing a uniform, the only people allowed to go around with guns in their hands will be the members of the national army and the national police of Afghanistan.

I think one of the most important symbols of a state is precisely the monopoly it has to exercise and use force when necessary through its national police and army. Nobody else in the state is allowed to go around with a gun, let alone, use that gun against the people of the country.

Afghanistan has lived through very difficult years. For a quarter of century it suffered from war, destruction and strife. During that time, many Afghans have courageously defended and tried to protect the independence of their country for the honor and the dignity of their people. In doing so, they gained the respect and admiration of the whole world. But more importantly they gained the respect, admiration and gratitude of the people of Afghanistan. Now, however, it is time for them to go back with dignity to civilian life and continue serving their country and their people through other means. So all the military formations, small or big and the commanders who defended their country for a quarter of century, can now, with pride and honor pass the torch to the national army of Afghanistan.

I would like also to congratulate President Karzai, Minister Rahim and all the people who have worked so hard to start the process of reform and modernization of the Ministry of Defense.

As Marshal Rahim I believe said a while ago, anybody inside or outside Afghanistan who stands in the way of the creation of the national army or in the way of the creation of the national police; anybody who stands in the way of reform of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior or the Administration of Afghanistan, both in the capital and in the provinces; anybody who stands on the way of the great work for peace, that has been done is against the national interest of Afghanistan and is also against peace and stability in this region – this very important region for international and world peace.”

On behalf of the United Nations, I would also like to express appreciation to all those countries and friends of Afghanistan such as the United States, France, and the United Kingdom who are helping in this effort to build a national army as well as Germany with the national police. I very much hope that many other counties will join them in support of this effort.

As Marshal Rahim said, it is a really great achievement that the new structure of the Ministry of Defense has been completed and is now on the desk of President Karzai for him to sign and make final.

We look forward with Marshal Rahim tithe appointment of the new people – military and civilian – who are going to fill the positions that have been created at the helm of national army; and the whole international community standing alongside Japan and United Nations to work with the Ministry of Defense and with the commission headed by Us tad Khalil to help demobilize and reintegrate former combatants into civilian lives. The United Nations and all the international community stand ready your Excellency Mr. President, to support you and work with you in extending this support to the rest of the government administrations both in the capital and in the provinces.

Once again I would like to congratulate the Central Corps, their officers and their staff and I wish them very good service for the people of Afghanistan, peace and security, progress and prosperity.

 

Thank you very much