In this ceremony, some London based Ambassadors, High commissioners, diplomats and officials from FCO and DFID, as well as some Afghan Diaspora in UK had attended.
The ceremony opened by recitation of verses from the Holy Quran by Qari Abdul Wakil head of the Afghan Islamic Centre in London, followed by speechs by Mr. Siamak Herawi, Charge’d’ Affairs of the Afghanistan Embassy in London and Mr.Owen Jenkins, Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan in
After welcoming the guests, Mr. Herawi counted some achievements made in the last fifteen years joint efforts by Afghanistan and its international partners such as UK. He added that “Over the past fifteen years the Afghan people have done their bests to achieve a better life. Holding three rounds of presidential and parliamentary elections, expansion of friendly and strategic relations with countries in the region and beyond, the revival of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, increasing the number of students at schools up to eleven million, access of health services to seventy percent of the population, development of telecommunication services and the Internet, building thousands of kilometres of roads, democracy, vibrant media and establishment of up to eighty two new active TV channels, two hundred and twenty radio stations and more than six hundred printed publications are clear examples of development and progress in Afghanistan”.
He further added “Today as we gather here is completely different comparing to fifteen years ago. I am happy to inform you that today Afghan women occupy high-ranking posts such as minister, governor, Ambassador, chairperson and employee and play an active role in public and private sectors.
In conclusion, Mr. Herawi thanked the International community’s assistances to Afghanistan for one and a half decade and welcomed the recent decision made by the US President Barack Obama’s that U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan at their current levels throughout much of 2016 to support the Afghan government.
The US decision, which is supported by Great Britain and other partners hopefully will contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan.
In his speech, Mr. Owen Jenkins said that Great Britain will remain along side with Afghanistan and will help Afghans to protect the achievements we made together. UK has played a significant role with huge human and financial prices to help Afghanistan making their life better.
He also said that security and stability in Afghanistan brings security and stability in Great Britain and elsewhere. He recalled the strong historical ties between Afghanistan and Great Britain, and added that the relationship between Afghanistan and UK is expanding well.
In this ceremony, the participants enjoyed the Afghan food and music. John Bailey a British well-known musician who has spent most of his life in Afghanistan played Rubab (an Afghan famous instrument) accompanied with Tabla by Ustad Asif, a famous afghan musician.
Mr. Hashmat Ehsanmand an Afghan singer has also entertained with patriotic songs and Ghazals at the end of the ceremony to the participants.
Commemoration of the 96th anniversary of Afghan independence
Comments by Owen Jenkins, The Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be here today to commemorate Afghan’s independence. I would like to thank Chargé d’ Affairs Siamak and the rest of the Embassy for their hospitality today. The relationship between Afghanistan and UK is steeped in history, but I am pleased that in recent times, and into the future, our partnership is and will continue to be a strong one.
I would first like to recall the loss we have recently suffered in the tragic accident in Kabul. The death of two Royal Air Force personnel reminds me of the commitments and sacrifice the British people have made for Afghanistan. And the recent Taleban attacks in Kunduz also highlight the great sacrifices demanded of the Afghans themselves. Our two nations, combined with vital contributions from international partners, have stood together to try and bring peace, security and prosperity to Afghanistan, and will continue to do so into the future. We, and the Afghan people, are proud of what has been achieved.
Afghanistan has entered a new chapter of its history, and we should celebrate the progress the government has made towards a better future for its people. We should also celebrate the achievements of its people and the security forces, standing on their own as defenders of their country. Despite facing a number of challenges, Afghanistan continues to strive forward for the good of all Afghans.
The UK will continue to work with the Government of Afghanistan to build what has been achieved over the last decade and a half. We will work together to realise Afghan self reliance as set out by President Ghani. This is how we can together bring about an Afghanistan that is free from violence and of poverty and a better life for all Afghans.