Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of His Highness the Aga Khan, I thank the Governments of Germany, Qatar, the United Kingdom, as well as the United Nations, for convening this meeting at a time when so many Afghans are in peril.
Since August, despite huge challenges, in cooperation with UN agencies, the Aga Khan Development Network has maintained its life-saving work across Afghanistan: keeping its hospitals and clinics open; assisting communities with food, shelter and livelihoods; and continuing to help thousands of children of both genders to access learning.
That is a sign of the unfailing commitment of the Ismaili Imamat and the AKDN to the people of Afghanistan. Our experience over the past three decades, along with generous support from many international partners, has taught us to believe deeply in the capacity of Afghans, in their pluralism, and in the strength of their vibrant, diverse communities. They have shown time and again that they are resilient and resourceful, but today, they need help.
That is why we urge the international community to support the UN’s humanitarian appeal with generosity and speed. But it must also address the causes of this crisis – the economic collapse, banking and monetary paralysis, and the strangulation of legitimate Afghan businesses and jobs. These deserve equally urgent and practical attention.
Today, we must send a signal of hope to Afghans across the country, and especially at the community level where Afghanistan’s future will be determined. It is there that Afghans of all backgrounds will come together to address their most urgent needs. Let us act swiftly in solidarity, with foresight and with compassion.