Addressing guests attending Nowruz celebrations in Mazar-e-Sharif on Tuesday, Balkh provincial governor Atta Mohammad Noor said that he would in the near future discuss his future plans over running in the next presidential elections.
“I thank President (Ashraf Ghani) for his trust and for re-appointing me as the governor of Balkh. Soon I will make a decision over my resignation after consultation with political allies in order to participate in the upcoming elections,” he said.
Thousands of Afghans, including Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish, and other government officials gathered in Mazar-e-Sharif on Tuesday to welcome in the New Year.
At the ceremony, Noor spoke about his achievements over the past ten years and praised security forces for their sacrifices, for cooperating with him and for providing security in the province.
“Balkh residents are fully in support of the security forces,” he said.
He said that during the past couple of years, his office focused on preserving historical sites and significant work has been done in the education sector.
Currently 57 health care centers operate in Balkh province and the maternal and infant mortality rates have dropped, he said.
“A lot of work has been done in the past ten years to build the airport, railways, highways and other large projects,” he said.
Noor stated that 280 factories had been built in industrial parks in the province in this time and that the authorities had made achievements in promoting human rights in the province.
Noor also thanked everyone who had helped with the development of Balkh.
In the meantime, Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish, who also addressed those present, congratulated the nation on Nowruz.
Danish acknowledged that 1395 had been a tough year but said the security forces had stood their ground against insurgents.
He praised the public for their support of security forces and appealed to them to continue doing so in the year ahead.
Danish also thanked the international community for their support and said economic cooperation had improved across the region.
“Currently 20 terrorist groups are active in Afghanistan and terrorism is a global threat,” he said adding that the international community needed to support Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism.
Danish also stated that government is preparing to hold elections in Afghanistan and that work was being done to roll out electronic ID cards and to digitize the electoral process.
On the issue of corruption, he said Afghans were aware that corruption was inherited from the previous government “but the current government is committed to fighting the problem.”
He also said government was committed to human rights and freedom of speech and will take a firm stand against violence against journalists and women.
He claimed that the Taliban was behind the killing of six out of seven journalists in the past year.
Danish said the Afghan-led peace process with Hizb-e-Islami is moving forward but called on all insurgent groups to join the peace process.