Remarks at Afghan Embassy Flag-Raising CeremonyRichard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State
Afghan Interim Authority Chairman Hamid Karzai
January 28, 2002
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Thank you. Thank you, Larry. Good morning. On behalf of the Government of the United States, I am very pleased obviously to be here today to welcome our honored guest, Chairman Karzai, Foreign Minister Abdullah, and other members of their delegation to the United States for this historic visit. I would like to particularly thank Charge d'Affaires Amin and the members of his staff here for the opportunity to be present at this very welcome event at the Afghan Embassy.
It seems to be, Chairman Karzai and friends, that the warmth of the day is a harbinger for the warmth of the relations which are going to develop between the United States and Afghanistan. So let me extend our warmest congratulations on this occasion. It is a great pleasure, and it will be a great pleasure, to again see the Afghan flag flying over the Afghan Embassy here.
It is also a tribute to the Afghan people, to the Afghan Interim Authority, and to the American and international commitment to Afghanistan that we are able to welcome you back to Washington after many years away, and operations in our Embassy in Kabul are also getting under way. You know, I can tell you that we understand the feelings you must have as you see your flag about to be raised above the Embassy. We felt the very same thrill when we raised our flag at the United States Embassy in Kabul just last month, and we look forward to completion of the work on this beautiful structure and your moving here from your temporary office.
We hope now that our two countries can return to our traditionally close working relationship; yet we recognize, Chairman Karzai, that much work remains to be done. Much remains to be done in Afghanistan and there is a continuing need for broad international engagement to assist the Afghan people. We are not able to eat the enthusiasm which has been generated. We are not able to translate exuberance quickly enough to meet the needs and the hopes and the aspirations of the Afghan people. But it reminds us in the United States that we have to really put our shoulders to the wheel, to push forward.
And this will be the message you are hearing from Vice President Cheney at lunch today, and further it is a message that our President is very much looking forward to giving you himself when you meet with him later this afternoon.
So, sir, welcome to your home in Washington, and we look forward to hearing from you now. (Applause.)
CHAIRMAN KARZAI: Ladies and gentlemen, Under Secretary Armitage, it is a thrilling moment for us to have Afghanistan recognized again as a nation-state, as a government, and to have all of you distinguished ladies and gentlemen here to watch the raising of the Afghan flag at the Afghan Embassy. This flag and the ceremony today is raised not without costs, without the costs of having struggled for many years, without the cost of having lost so many lives in order to have a free, sovereign and good Afghanistan, an Afghanistan without the presence of threat of terrorism, an Afghanistan without the presence of threat of radicalism and all evil that both of them brought together to the people of Afghanistan and to the people of the United States of America.
The Afghans share that pain with the American people because Afghans have gone through the same pain, so they know what it is. We have had some distinguished sons of our country lose their lives in this struggle, and I must mention one of those sons was Ahmed Shah Masoud -- (applause) -- who struggled to defend his country and who was martyred by terrorists themselves directly, very directly. They went to him and killed him there.
We have had other sons of this country as well who were martyred, millions of them. One of them was Commander Abdul Haq, who was killed by the Taliban in a brutal way. It is because of sons like this that Afghanistan had whose memory will be forever that you are capable of standing here today and to raise this flag.
I am thankful to the American people, to the government, for giving us this opportunity, for helping to rebuild this embassy and for helping us organize this event. Let's hope that this flag will be there forever and that the partnership between the American and the Afghan people will be forever. That is what the Afghan people have been asking for, and I too ask for that.
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. (Applause.)
(The flag is raised.)
Released on January 28, 2002