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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs > Releases > Public Statements on South and Central Asian Policy > 2002

First July 4th Celebration in 13 Years Held in Kabul, Afghanistan

Sally Hodgson, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Kabul
July 4th Celebration at U.S. Embassy
Kabul, Afghanistan
July 3, 2002

[photo gallery]

Over 250 guests, including Vice Presidents Fahim Khan, Mohammad Karim Khalili, Nematullah Shahrani, and Heydayet Arsala joined U.S. diplomats, military personnel and assistance workers at the first July 4th celebration in 13 years at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The event, held despite security threats, marked the return of the United States to Afghanistan following 23 years of civil war and the rule of Taliban.

In a brief speech, U.S. Ambassador Robert P. Finn said America 226 years ago was confronted by many of the same problems that face Afghanistan today. "A devastated economy, problems of regionalism, even the choice of a national language and whether to have a monarchy faced the young America," he told the crowd. "But Americans, like Afghans, approached the future with hope and with a strong sense of national identity, and succeeded in building a vibrant national state."

"Afghans, with international help, recently cast off the rule of the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists, leading to a rebirth of their nation," Ambassador Finn continued. "Boys and girls once again eagerly attend school together to further their education and improve their lives; women are no longer imprisoned in their own homes and can pursue educational or job opportunities. In fact, all over the country, you see signs of Afghans rebuilding their lives and their nation -- from the opening of shops to the holding of the Emergency Loya Jirga, which resulted in the selection of President Hamid Karzai and his government."

Ambassador Finn noted that a country’s struggle to preserve and maintain its freedom and liberty can exact a costly price. "The armed forces of the United States and Afghanistan are engaged, shoulder-to-shoulder, in a deadly fight to rout the remaining terrorists who enslaved and tortured the people of this great nation," the Ambassador said. "It is tragic that civilians become victims of the fighting, such as those in Uruzgan province. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed or injured in the recent military operation. The U.S. Government and military are working with the Afghan Government to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances."

He ended by stressing the full commitment of the United States and its coalition partners to helping the people of Afghanistan rebuild their country and rejoin the community of nations.

Released on July 3, 2002

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