In the first 100 days of office, President Ashraf Ghani and others leaders of the national unity government traveled abroad extensively in order to improve Afghanistan’s economic and political ties with regional and global powers.
Upon taking the oath of office, President Ashraf Ghani offered an explicit explanation of the foreign policy approach he planned to pursue. He said that Afghanistan’s foreign policy would be formulated on the basis of ties with regional countries, the Islamic world, the West, Asia and international institutions.
“The President tries to promote Afghanistan’s relations with the region and the world on the basis of the five circles of policy,” said Faramarz Tammana, the head of the Center for Strategic Studies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Ghani’s first foreign tour was to Saudi Arabia, where he held wide ranging discussions with Saudi officials after performing a pilgrimage to Mecca. In the meetings, both sides vowed to further intensify their bilateral relations in various spheres including Saudi Arabia’s role in the Taliban peace process.
Not long after the president visited China, where he pursued two main objectives: first, to convince Chinese officials to put pressure on its strategic ally Pakistan to be a more honest contributor to the peace process in Afghanistan, and, second, to attract Chinese investments. Ghani ended up signing ten different agreements with China.
President Ghani also visited Islamabad within his first 100 days. He spoke with Pakistani officials about a number of important issues and the trip yielded an immediate gain in the halting of the Pakistani military’s bombardment of parts of Afghanistan’s eastern provinces where they had claimed militants were seeking refuge. The trip opened a new window of cooperation between the two countries, which have often operated separately or subversively against one another in their mutual struggle to reign in violent extremist groups along the shared border.
“President Ghani’s Pakistan tour was successful, because the perception of Pakistani officials with regard to militancy has now changed,” head of Parliament’s foreign affairs commission Abdul Qadir Zazai said. Although many Afghan leaders maintain an air of skepticism when it comes to Pakistan’s commitment to curtail insurgency in the region, given the long history of the Pakistani military’s duplicitous support for the Taliban, optimism that Kabul has an increasingly committed partner for peace across the border has grown.
President Ghani also visited Nepal to attend the SAARC conference, a gathering of regional South Asian leaders. Then national unity government leaders toured Azerbaijan to improve economic cooperation and later to Brussels to attend the NATO foreign ministers conference. President Ghani and CEO Abdullah together urged NATO leaders to continue backing Afghanistan in the coming years.
Just a few days later, the London Summit on Afghanistan was held. There President Ghani and CEO Abdullah committed to undertaking fundamental reforms in various sectors, including in the country’s electoral commissions and system of management for financial aid.
After the London Summit, both national unity government leaders travelled to Berlin to praise Germany’s historic support for Afghanistan and request continued backing as the NATO combat mission ends.
Most recently, Ghani and Abdullah travelled to Kazakhstan to participate in the Shanghai Summit.