Dinner in Honour of Afghan-UK Military Partnership
Ambassador Said T. Jawad
November 22nd, 2017
Gloucester Millennium Hotel
London, United Kingdom
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- Thank you for joining us to celebrate the UK-Afghan Military Partnership.
- I would like to especially recognize the presence of distinguished colleagues:
- The Right Honourable Mark Lancaster – Minister of State for Armed Forces.
- General Sir Nicholas Carter – Chief of the General Staff.
- Major General Nick Welch
- Major General Stuart Skeates
- Air Vice Marshall Michael Wigsto
- Air Vice Marshall Edward Stringer.
- Thank you for your services in and to Afghanistan.
- I am very grateful for the presence of every one of you, as our special guests.
- I would like to thank my longstanding and dear friend, General Sir Nick Carter, former ISAF Deputy Commander and Commander of RC South for helping to organise this event.
- Please allow me to convey the greetings and best wishes of the Commander in Chief of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, President Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan to you.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- This event is first and foremost to convey the message of true gratitude of the Afghan people the support and true sacrifices of the British soldiers, their families and their loved ones, and to celebrate what we have jointly accomplished in Afghanistan.
- Tens of Thousands of the UK citizens, both civilian and military, have served in Afghanistan; we are deeply indebted and sincerely grateful to every one of them.
- Those who served in Afghanistan, alongside our security forces, to make Afghanistan, the region and the world a safer place for our children, are true heroes.
- Every one of the 456 British heroes who had fallen in Afghanistan, and the 2951 soldiers of the NATO and our allies of 49 countries, as well as over 40,000 fallen Afghan National Army and Police Force are our heroes. I salute every one of them.
- The people and the government of Afghanistan would never forget those UK and NATO service personnel who have lost their precious lives in Afghanistan.
- Please remember, our joint fight in Afghanistan is contributing to the national security of our countries, safety of our citizens and the security of the globe.
- The threat of terrorism is real in Kabul, in London and in Madrid. It requires the courage and commitment of many selfless British, Afghans, NATO and other soldiers to insure the safety and security of our cities and citizens.
- 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 agencies played a crucial role in counter terrorist operations in my country.
- We welcome your continued engagement to train, advise and assist our security forces.
- Your tough fight in difficult places, like Helmand, not only defended the UK 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 hometown bases.
- We value your honourable role in giving all Afghans the best chance for stability, security and a more secure, stable and self-reliant future.
- Today, your development support continues to enable us building infrastructure, improving governance, supporting democratic and civic institutions, enhancing access to education for over 9 million boys and girls, providing healthcare for our citizens, especially Afghan women, and support the integration of refugees, as well as the peace process in Afghanistan.
- In today’s troubled world, 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.
- As we share the common values of democracy and pluralism, and face the common threats of terrorism and extremism. UK has proven to be reliable partner in our shared vision and common struggle.
- There is no longer 137 FOB’s and over 9500 UK troops in Helmand. However, our struggle continues. The Afghan soldiers are carrying out this fight, today. We will prevail. I am certain. An Afghan proverb says, “The night can be dark and cold, but it cannot be for ever.”
- It is our fight now! There is no shortage of courage and commitment in our part. There is still shortage of skills. We appreciate your support and engagement in helping us overcome these shortfalls.
- Thank you for staying engaged and helping us sustain and train the 350,000 strong Afghan National Security Forces, including 194 000 ANA, who have now fully assumed the fighting responsibilities, bravely and effectively, throughout Afghanistan.
- 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.
- Thank you for training a new cadre of Afghan military leaders in your defence institutions and in our Afghan National Army Officer’s Academy in Kabul. Some of them are here form Sandhurst. We are very proud of them.
- Thank you for looking after Afghan civilians that served alongside you. We have Qari Zamray here with us tonight. He lost three limbs serving Afghanistan and the United Kingdom. He is proud of his service.
- Last, but not least, I want to thank my wife and my staff for working hard for this event. We will do another event soon.
- The Afghan Embassy, our diplomats and our Defence Attaché are your partners and we are at your service.
- Finally, please join me to wish Her Majesty the Queen the best of health and continued joy as she celebrates her 70th wedding anniversary.
- Wish you and your families a very happy Holidays.
- Thank you