To convey the message of gratitude of the Afghan people and government for the sacrifices of the British Army in Afghanistan, and to celebrate the joint military accomplishments, the Embassy hosted a reception for the leadership of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Ambassador Jawad, The Right Honourable John Mark Lancaster, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, and General Sir Nick Carter, Army Chief of the General Staff, praised the valuable contribution of those who have served in Afghanistan, alongside Afghan National Security Forces, to make the country, the region and the world a safer place. Among the attendees were ambassadors, generals, marshals of the air force and Afghan officers and cadets of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Jawad stressed that the people and the government of Afghanistan will never forget the UK and NATO personnel who lost their precious lives while fighting for our freedom. He also reflected on the sacrifices made by the Afghan, British and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan. “Every one of the 456 British heroes fallen in Afghanistan, and the 2951 soldiers of the NATO and our allies of 49 countries, as well as over 40,000 fallen in the Afghan National Army and Police Force are our heroes. I salute every one of them”, Ambassador Jawad said. “We are committed to continue our joint struggle for pluralism, prosperity, peace and security. This is a fight about ideas, a fight about our way of life, a fight for preserving our future, our values and our liberty.”
Ambassador Jawad reminded the audience that the British Army’s tough fight in difficult places, like Helmand, not only defended the UK and Afghan security priorities, but also provided an enabling environment to save and improve the quality of the lives of millions of people in other parts of Afghanistan by keeping the terrorists at bay at their main bases. “Thank you for being at the forefront of the international military efforts in Afghanistan since 2001. Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Airmen and Women, Royal Army and Navy, and other military agencies have played a crucial role in counter terrorist operations in my country”, Ambassador Jawad said. He also thanked Her Majesty’s Armed Forces for training a new cadre of Afghan military leaders in both UK Defense Institutions and in the Afghan National Army Officer’s Academy in Kabul: “We are planning to train an additional 20,000 Afghan Territorial Army to stabilize areas cleared by our Special Forces. They will be recruited locally, but fully controlled and led by the Ministry of Defence in Kabul”.
Guests of honour The Right Honourable John Mark Lancaster and General Sir Nick Carter also spoke at the event, thanking the ambassador for his hospitality. Having served in Afghanistan as a Royal Engineer in 2006, The Right Honourable John Mark Lancaster emphasised that he was struck by the great progress that has been made in Afghanistan the last decade. He also pledged continued UK support for Afghanistan, stating that “I take this opportunity to absolutely reassure you Ambassador that we will continue to play our part in supporting Afghanistan on its journey”. This was supported by General Sir Nick Cater who stressed that progress should be measured in years and decades. He also emphasised that Her Majesty’s Armed Forces are “behind you and we are entirely confident that we will succeed”.
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