FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFNEWS) --
American military actions in Afghanistan are making progress toward ending tyranny and oppression in that country, said Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, Said Jawad, in a speech here March 1.
The ambassador visited Spokane this week at the invitation of the World Affairs Council of Spokane.
"It is my distinct pleasure and honor... to convey the gratitude of my people of Afghanistan for your contributions, for your friendship, for your partnership, and for the sacrifices of the families who are away from their loved ones," Mr. Jawad told Airmen gathered at Club Fairchild. "The Afghan people are very grateful for your sacrifice and your contributions."
American military presence in Afghanistan makes it possible for many Afghan children to have an opportunity to go to school, he said. "You make it possible for many mothers to have hope for tomorrow, for many parents to be free from the tyranny of the Taliban and terrorism.
"We in Afghanistan have suffered from 30 years of violence, five years of Taliban rule," said Mr. Jawad. "We know what it means suffering under tyranny and living under terror."
Indeed, since 1979 Afghanistan has suffered almost continuous conflict. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979, which led to 10 years of fighting. Eventually the American-backed Mujahideen prevailed, which was seen as an ideological victory in the United States.
"While we were able to push back the Red Army with your support and assistance, we fell victim to another sort of terror - the invasion of extremism," the ambassador said.
The country underwent years of civil turmoil as a result of infighting within various Mujahideen factions, which gave rise to a state of warlordism. It was this chaos and corruption that gave rise to the now-famous Taliban, which seized control of the capital, Kabul, in 1996. By the end of 2000, the Taliban controlled some 95 percent of the country.
It was the Taliban government that harbored Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network when they attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Following those attacks, the U.S. launched Operation Enduring Freedom, a military campaign to destroy Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Hamid Karzai was elected president in a national election in October 2004. Then interim-president Mr. Karzai in 2003 appointed Mr. Jawad as ambassador to the U.S.
While the country continues to be plagued by poor infrastructure, poverty and an ever-growing narcotics trade, Mr. Jawad said the country is making progress with the help of the U.S., especially in rebuilding infrastructure and making education accessible.
"Education is the only way to fight ignorance and extremism," he said.
While on base, Mr. Jawad also met with families of servicemembers deployed to Afghanistan to personally thank them for their sacrifice. Fairchild currently has 12 Airmen deployed to Afghanistan, according to the wing Personnel Readiness Unit.
"We are proud to serve alongside the men and women of Afghanistan, and we applaud your efforts," Col. Scott Hanson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, told Mr. Jawad after his speech. "For 60 years, U.S. Air Force airpower has assisted freedom-loving people around the globe.
"From the global reach humanitarian efforts of the Berlin Airlift to the global power that helped expunge extremists from your country, Airmen have demonstrated their commitment to the ideals of liberty and freedom around the world," said the colonel.
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