Updated: 30-Oct-2006 NATO Speeches


8 June 2005

Opening remarks

by Abdul Rahim Wardak, Minister of Defence of Afghanistan
at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Defence Ministers with non-NATO ISAF contributors

8 June 2006 - NATO HQ
Defence Ministers Meetings
Audio file of the opening remarks

Thank you very much indeed.

Secretary General, Ministers, Your Excellencies,

I'm honoured to have been invited to participate in this meeting of ministers representing the Alliance that has played such a proud role in defending peace and democracy in Europe and which together with its partner is now addressing new challenges beyond its traditional boundaries.

In the past four years, with your help, Afghanistan has made significant progress and political and constitutional reform, the development of security forces and the extension of central government authority across the country. And preparing for the coming expansion of the ISAF mission we should remind ourselves why it is so important that we succeed in our common endeavour.

I'm confident that the people of your great nations appreciate the importance of our mission to rebuild a devastated nation, prevent the reestablishment of a haven for terrorism and reduce and end the flow of drugs.

Increased prosperity and security by offering a model of what a democratic government can deliver for the ordinary people of Afghanistan will marginalize the extremists in my country and around the world. With your assistance and our firm resolve, we will fulfil this noble mission to derive from the ashes a nation that has suffered so much and make it a model of peace, prosperity, moderation, freedom and democracy.

Time does not permit me to praise the contribution of all your nations individually. But I would like to thank the current ISAF commander, Lieutenant General Richards, whose support and comradeship I value greatly, his predecessor General Del Vecchio and all the ISAF commanders, the Turks, the French, the Germans, the Canadians and the British and all your military personnel who have served in Afghanistan . I must also praise Minister Cetin and his team for their work over the past two.

Your forces deserve more than commendation and compliments for their achievement, dedication far beyond the call of duty. They have served with distinction and contributed greatly to security, stability in reconstruction in my war-torn country. They have represented your armed forces with honour, dignity and gallantry and demonstrated the highest degree of soldiering, skills and professionalism.

On behalf of my president, the people of Afghanistan , the Afghan National Army, I would like to express our deepest appreciation, gratitude and heartfelt thanks to you all.

Thank you very much indeed.

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