October 2023
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M.K. Khalili: Address to World Summit 2013


H.E. Mohammad Karim Khalili, Vice President of AfghanistanIn the name of God, the most merciful and the most benevolent, we seek assistance from him.

I am really glad to participate in this magnificent gathering, in which different people and figures who hold different beliefs and opinions and belong to different regions and cultures have come together to discuss some of the most fundamental human concerns of the current century: peace, security, and human development. I thank UPF for holding this summit and the Republic of Korea for hosting it. Holding this summit is a humanitarian and gracious act, and we can achieve its aims only if the nations and states of the world unite and join their efforts.

Peace is a multidimensional phenomenon resulting from the all-inclusive and comprehensive, cooperation of the international community. Fortunately, human societies over the many episodes and occasions of war have insisted on peace as the only and ultimate solution and have worked seriously to build it. Human development needs sustainable peace, and the two concepts are correlated and codependent; if there is no peace in the society, human development will be disrupted; conversely, human development plays a vital role in establishing sustainable peace.

The people of the world aspire to peace and security because these are the blessings of God promoted by responsible and faithful people during turbulent social and political situations. Fortunately, during the long course of history we have seen courageous and innovative actions by individuals, social institutions, and international organizations who have tried to rebuild and establish peace in the world. In my opinion, the whole set of theories that have been postulated about the mechanisms of building and promoting peace - such as setting up an international government, disarmament, balance of power, etc. - have focused on peace as something being bestowed from top to bottom. But we should not stop at only this aspect of peace. We should try to experience peace as a phenomenon owned by each of us experienced in individuals and in societies.

Talking about peace in the civilization of the 21st century invites society to ponder upon the content of this civilization, its concomitants, and its consequences, because if the factors within this civilization that threaten human safety and tranquility are not identified and tackled, the likelihood of building a sustainable peace is far away. We live in a world in which countries have been divided into separate worlds in terms of their political power, economy, technology, knowledge, etc. This has led to the classification of countries into developed, developing, and underdeveloped categories. This classification that points to the existence of gaps and divisions between the countries and nations can be regarded as one of the factors that disrupt peace and security at the worldwide level. By narrowing these gaps and differences we can take the essential and solid steps towards peace. Narrowing the gaps and differences entails joint efforts and activities to develop the less developed countries. An essential task in this respect is for developed countries not only to export their industrial products to developing or underdeveloped countries but also together with these exports to spread their knowledge and skills so that the gaps between the countries are minimized.

I believe that when the gap between the nations in terms of their level of knowledge, technology, and well-being becomes less and there is a relative balance between them, the possibility of peace between them is greater. Therefore, by creating a balance between different societies in terms of knowledge, technology, and well-being, we can address the defects and shortcomings of the theories that have been postulated and proposed about peace so far.

I am speaking on behalf of a country that has been a victim of poverty, war, horror, and terrorism for many long years and that now more than ever is in need of immediate security, sustainable peace, human development, and a strong economy. Our people, as all of the peace-loving nations of the world, love peace, but unfortunately war and insecurity have been constantly imposed on them from outside. Therefore, the government and the people of Afghanistan welcome any initiative and effort that aim at solidifying peace between nations and within nations. We thank the international community that has been assisting in building peace and security in our country and fighting against terrorism. During the past ten years, the people and government of Afghanistan, with assistance from international community, have achieved great and valuable successes in terms of strengthening security, promoting human development, ensuring social welfare, and establishing democracy.

But all these efforts are not adequate, and we need to increase and expand them. Thus, first of all, the underlying contexts and factors of insecurity, violence, war, and recruitment by terrorists and extremists in our country have to be tackled. Undoubtedly the low level of education, poverty, and lack of adequate human development constitute these factors.

Another point that I would like to make is that extremism and violence do not have any relation with Islam, and Islam has denounced such actions and attitudes clearly and adamantly. It has been clearly stated in our holy book, the Qur'an, that “if someone kills an individual human being, it is as if he or she kills all human beings, and if someone saves the life of an individual human being, it is as if he or she saves the lives of all human beings.”

Imam Ali, a great leader of Muslims, advised one of his governors to treat people who lived in his area of governance as equal citizens whether they were Muslims or non-Muslims, because they were his brothers and sisters in religion or creation. Therefore, Islam never allows oppressing people and depriving them of their rights, justice, and opportunity for peaceful coexistence.

In respect to peace with those with whom Muslims are at war, the Qur'an says, “if they propose peace, accept from them, relying on God who is hearing and seeing.” Because of this, relying on religious teachings that have been revealed by God to establish peace in the world is vital and necessary.

On behalf of the people of Afghanistan, I would like to ask all peace-loving individuals and organizations to take mindful and reasonable measures to promote peace in the world to keep menaces and dangers from undermining our achievements so far.

For more information about World Summit 2013, click here.