Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agreed to further cooperation in peacebuilding at a meeting in Kabul on Monday (29/01), during the first visit by an Indonesian leader to Afghanistan in nearly six decades.
"Without peace, there will be no prosperity. And without prosperity, peace cannot be preserved. For this reason, when we work together to build peace, cooperation in the economy must also be strengthened," Jokowi said, as quoted in a statement by the Cabinet Secretariat.
The last Indonesian leader to visit Afghanistan was former President Sukarno in 1961.
Jokowi's arrival in Kabul reciprocates Ghani's visit in April, during which the Afghan president said that "Indonesia is a symbol of hope. Indonesia is a symbol of success, and has a history of good leadership in politics and culture."
On Saturday, a bomb hidden in an ambulance killed more than a hundred and injured over 200 people in Kabul. On Monday, militants attacked a military academy, also in the capital, killing 11. Jokowi conveyed condolences to Ghani, and said the attacks will not taint the spirit to strengthen peacebuilding efforts.
Indonesia's commitment to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan was already expressed by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in November, when she met with the Afghan president and Mohammad Karim Khalili, Afghanistan's High Peace Council chairman.
On Monday, the presidents also discussed opportunities to improve bilateral trade. Indonesia is going to send a business delegation to Afghanistan within the next few months.
"I'm certain that an intensive exchange between the private sectors from both countries will open many opportunities for cooperation," Jokowi said.
Indonesia and Afghanistan will also increase cooperation in capacity building — women's empowerment, developing small and medium enterprises, health care, law enforcement and governance.
Jokowi said Indonesia will also offer 100 scholarships to Afghan students.
President Jokowi was warmly greeted by President Ghani.
After they exchanged their countries' traditional headgear, Jokowi led a prayer.
Upon his arrival in Kabul, Jokowi wrote on Twitter: "Greeted by snow in Kabul, Afghanistan. This is the second presidential visit from Indonesia, after President Sukarno's visit in 1961."
Disambut salju di Kabul, Afghanistan. Ini kunjungan kedua Presiden Indonesia setelah kunjungan terakhir Presiden Sukarno pada tahun 1961 -Jkw pic.twitter.com/bekluAcpg0— Joko Widodo (@jokowi) January 29, 2018
The video of the warm greeting went viral in Indonesia.
Afghanistan is the last country Jokowi visits during his trip to South Asia, which started last week. His visit to the region is part of Indonesia's foreign policy focus on the Indo-Pacific region, and an effort to expand economic and trade cooperation.