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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 > 2006

Statement by U.S. Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann at Inauguration of the Shah Shahid Shrine

Ronald E. Neumann, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan
Kabul, Afghanistan
January 3, 2006

Remarks by U.S. Embassy Kabul

Ambassador Neumann at the inauguration Ceremony of Shah Shahee Shrine.
Ambassador Neumann at the inauguration Ceremony of Shah Shahee Shrine
Minister Raheen, Minister Shahrani, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honor, as well as a pleasure, for me to be here today as a witness to the reopening of the historic Shah Shahid Shrine. This holy site serves as a focal point for the community, a place where the men and women of Kabul come both to pray, and to celebrate the Afghan New Year. The Shad Shahid Shrine remains an important tie to Afghanistan’s past. But it is also a testament to your country’s commitment to a peaceful and prosperous future. This rebuilding highlights Afghanistan’s strong commitment to building a bright future on the foundations of a venerable past.

As you know, noble efforts to preserve Afghanistan’s cultural sites will require your stewardship. Today’s decisions will determine the legacy you leave to your children, your grandchildren and to subsequent generations. After more than 30 years of war there remains a critical need to reclaim and restore your country’s cultural heritage. All of Afghanistan’s people share in a proud past -- and, it is a heritage that future generations should celebrate.

Today, cultural heritage is endangered. It requires a global effort to preserve and protect what is left of past civilizations. Nations have an obligation to protect the traditions, historical sites, and traditional crafts that make each of our peoples unique.

The people of the United States of America are proud to partner with the Government and people of Afghanistan in preserving their heritage. We, along with our international partners, continue to marvel at Afghanistan’s historical achievements. Today, we are privileged to share in the restoration and revival of many Afghan heritage sites and cultural traditions.

In addition to the Shah Shahid project, the American people have contributed nearly half a million dollars to preserve the cultural heritage of Afghanistan. These efforts include:

  • $100,000 for the reconstruction of Afghanistan’s National Museum
  • Almost $100,000 for the reconstruction of the 17th century Mullah Mahmood Mosque
    $37,000 for the repair, restoration and rehabilitation of the historic pavilion at Bagh-e-Babur
  • $60,000 to renovate the National Archives to ensure proper preservation of its priceless collections

In addition, we have provided support for the restoration of the Afghan National Gallery, the two cannon sites above Bagh-e-Babur, the Paghman Arch, the tomb of Sayed Jamaluddin Al-Afghan, and a renovation survey of the Presidential Palace. And we are committed to continuing our strong cooperation in the field of cultural preservation.

In closing, I would like to make a special note of thanks to the members of the Development and Humanitarian Services for Afghanistan organization whose contributions and efforts have made today’s dedication possible.

Thank you for inviting me here today to share in this memorable event.

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