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A Lecture by Abed Nadjib, Minister Counselor at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Berlin

March 10th, 2013

Minister Counselor Abed Nadjib

Minister Counselor at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Berlin


News from Berlin. Abed Nadjib entered academic life in 1983 after a brief period in the private sector. He participated in a number of various research projects at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany. During this time, he was involved in caring for and supporting Afghan refugees in Pakistan through the German NGO HELP (eV).

In 1994 he entered Afghan foreign politics and has contributed significantly to the country’s domestic stability and international political relations. He was responsible for guiding the political debate on the democratization and modernization of Afghanistan at the Bonn Process of Afghanistan’s recent emergency Loya Jirga.

He also played an important role in developing strategies of economic cooperation and humanitarian aid at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2006, he founded the German-Afghan Society and retained the post of Director there until 2009. In March of that same year, he was appointed Minister Counselor at the Embassy of the Islamic State of Afghanistan in Bonn/Berlin. After completing primary and secondary school in Kabul, Abed Nadjib pursued further qualifications in Germany from 1971 to 1978.

Berlin Global

News from Berlin.

“Nation Branding in Afghanistan”

A Lecture by Minister Counselor at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Berlin, Abed Nadjib

The Berlin International Economics Congress 2013

(Berlin; March 6th – 10th, 2013)

Minister Abed Nadjib talks about the challenges which they undertook as a nation to provide a unique image to the world and the necessary steps they need to take in their re-branding strategy.

Other Videos

An Interview with Abed Nadjib (Minister Counselor at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Bonn/Berlin)

28/05/2010 Interview conducted by Heike Rainer

Q1. Since the overthrow of the Taliban government in 2001, insurgency has continued to be problem. This has obviously had a massive effect on the country, especially on the social, political and economical infrastructure. What are the obstacles to achieving peace in the country? Do you think that a deal can ever be made for peace between the Karzai led government and the Taliban?

First of all, I do not think that the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan is a solution. They came to restore peace and bring stability to Central Asia, especially Afghanistan, and also to bring peace to the west in Europe. Since 2001, terrorism continues to increase everyday but progress has also been made. This surely does not mean, however, that there will be no more setbacks, as they, the Taliban, still exist. Of course they threaten Afghanistan, but together with the Afghan state we have to find solutions for the future: a peaceful solution for Central Asia and the Afghan people.

Q2. The Karzai government won the elections in 2009 amidst rumours of corruption from Washington. Do you believe that accusations like this will damage the future stability of the country?

We should not forget what the Taliban did to the country between 1996 and 2001. They not only harassed people, but put them under pressure and also violated human rights. Many girls and young people, for example, were not allowed to go to school.

Watching TV was forbidden as the country did not have a free press, but many things have changed since then. We now have a constitution, a parliament, a senate, and a stable currency.  Six and a half million girls are now attending classes in schools, and around 13,000 students graduate every year in Afghanistan. We have restored many things like social society, medical health care, and electricity to the country. But we cannot expect everything to be rebuilt within seven years, after 30 years of destruction. We need to be patient and understanding.

Many of the seven and a half million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Europe have returned. We have around 5 million citizens in Kabul alone. This would be a challenge for any government, especially for the Afghan government after 34 years of war. Back then there was no real government in Kabul like there is today. Now we have to look to our failures in the past. Why are the Afghan people still not cooperating with us? Why is the Taliban still supported by the Afghan people? They do so not because they want to but because they are being suppressed.

Another thing to mention is that one should not call the terrorists Taliban. They are just terrorists. Bin laden is not Taliban. He is a terrorist.  Some of the Taliban might be involved with the terrorists, but the Taliban is not a terrorist organization. As long as we see it this way, many terrorists will hide under the guise of being Taliban. We need to address terrorists properly.

Q3. You have worked in assisting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop their humanitarian aid strategies. What do you think can be done for the millions of citizens that have been displaced due to the conflict in Afghanistan?

Our capital, Kabul, was completely destroyed. We are restoring everything in order for the people to come back to the places they once lived in. This is why Kabul is overpopulated, because the people there are searching for protection and for new homes. Now, we need more projects to be done in rural areas. There are currently some good projects running when it comes to agriculture and industry, but we cannot possibly rebuild everything overnight. We need patience and good concepts.

Q4. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the last ten years has seen a greater focus on the use of hard power. Do you think that there is a role, however, for soft power and cultural diplomacy in bridging the divide between the West and the Islamic world?

First of all, the Afghan people need peace and security. After achieving this, we can start thinking about cultural projects. Of course there are many representatives responsible for building cultural relationships, in Germany and around the world for example.  We have about 60 -70,000 Afghan exchange students every year, who finish their studies abroad and later return to Afghanistan. It is beneficial for the next generation of Afghans to get such higher education, but also to learn what social society, justice, openness, human rights and the acceptance of different cultures means. This plays a major role and therefore needs to be supported. There are currently 80.000 Afghans living, working and studying in Germany, who represent their homeland and want to return soon.