Statement by His Excellency Ambassador Sham Lall Bathija on the occasion of National Day of Honor
H.E. Sham L Bathija, Ambassador Extra ordinary and plenipotentiary and special envoy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada and H.E. Deborah A. Lyons, Ambassador of Canada to Afghanistan
Ottawa, May 9, 2014- Laissez moi premièrement présenter à vous et à la population canadienne les Salaams chaudes et les salutations de mon président Son Excellence Hamid Karzaï, premier vice-président SE Yonus Qanouni, deuxième vice-président SE Khalili, présidents de Loya Jirgha et Wolasi Jirgha (Sénat et Chambre basse) et mes ancien collègues ministres du Conseil des ministres, en particulier, SE Zarar Ahmad Osmani, le ministre des Affaires étrangères, les forces armées et la police de mon pays et le peuple afghan.
It is indeed a privilege for me to attend this solemn commemorative occasion of the National Day of Honour, being held here at Parliament Hill, to venerate the service and sacrifices of members of the Canadian military, those who have served in Afghanistan as well as their families. Having served with exceptional courage and commitment alongside the people of Afghanistan, these veterans magnanimously contributed toward the establishment of peace and security and the collective efforts to help build a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan.
Today we stand in full unity with you celebrating the Canadian Members of the Armed Forces who served in Afghanistan to make sure that their valor, heroism and sacrifice made in the country are not deemed in vein, and to reflect that the Afghan nation continues to hold them in their memory in highest esteem.
Over a decade on since liberation from the reign of terror imposed upon by international terrorism and the extremist, Afghanistan has made great strides on all areas that underpin sustained growth, development and the rule of law.
To begin with and be more specific, the Province of Kandahar is far more secure and prosperous, today, than it was back over ten years ago since the inception of the Canadian Mission there, thanks to the Canadian men and women in uniform who carried out their mandate in true Canadian spirits and morale.
Moreover, with broad support from Canada and the rest of our allies within the international community, tremendous progress has been achieved towards women’s rights and freedoms all guaranteed under the Constitution of the country.
Similarly, the nation has witnessed a paradigm shift as regards education, as a solid majority of the population maintain access to healthcare and education with as many as over 3 million girls attending school.
Much the same, the successful process of the transfer of security responsibilities from the international coalition troops to Afghanistan’s indigenous security forces clearly accounts for the remarkable achievements made by the security institutions of the nation.
Also, convening successfully the third democratic Presidential poll just this past April is yet another pillar in the steady progress being made by Afghanistan.
One may wonder why counting these gains must be so important. Here is the answer: Because as we know it all, these hard-won achievements constituted the real aims and purposes of the mission for which 158 Canadian soldiers and countless Afghan military service men and women and ordinary citizens laid their lives. And in fact that is what gives real sanctity to their sacrifice and provides meaning to this grand national event.
These sacrifices are unequivocally of great value to the people of Afghanistan and of the world at large, as were made in defense of the values treasured worldwide and by the whole humanity.
En terminant, je souhaite vivement que la service historique et des sacrifices faits par les troupes canadiennes vaillants et par les vaillants soldats afghans contre le terrorisme et l'extrémisme et pour le bien de la sauvegarde de nos valeurs et des idéaux partagés ajoutent une force et consolident les relations bilatérales entre le Canada et l'Afghanistan visant à mettre sur un cadre pour un partenariat durable à long terme entre nos deux pays.