20 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-208

Greeting from the Commander of the NATO - International Security Assistance Force to the Afghan people on the occasion of Now Ruz

Now Ruz is here, and people all over Afghanistan and beyond are celebrating this important cultural holiday.  Now Ruz is celebrated in different ways in many parts of Afghanistan, but its underlying theme - common to all Afghans - is one of hope and a new beginning.

Now Ruz is a time for the Afghan people, who have suffered grievously during almost three decades of war and civil strife, to look to a bright future. Despite continuing problems confronting the nation, there are many promising trends for which the Afghan people can give thanks: a growing economy; improving access to healthcare made possible by more roads, clinics and other infrastructure; an Afghan National Army and National Police that continue to grow in strength and capability; and the enduring moral and material commitment of the international community to help the Afghan people sustain that progress. 

Against this record of progress, the enemies of peace and stability want to deny the Afghan people their rightful expectation of a better life for themselves and future generations.  We should never forget that the celebration of Now Ruz was banned under the Taliban regime.  Today, the Afghan people are free to celebrate Now Ruz and its themes of hope and a new beginning.  These themes are exemplified every day in the progress the Afghan government is making on behalf of its people. 

To that end, the Government of Afghanistan and ISAF need your support for future operations that will focus on further improving security and facilitating more reconstruction.  Over time, these efforts will fundamentally improve the lives of the Afghan people.  I ask each of you to work for the benefit of the future Afghanistan - one in which all Afghans can share in the economic bounty and social harmony that is the destiny of this great country. 

To President Karzai and to the members of the Cabinet and the Parliament, I offer my congratulations for the work you have done and continue to do on behalf of the Afghan people.

To all Afghans, I wish you peace and prosperity during Now Ruz and all the days of your lives.

Sincerely,

Dan K. McNeill
General, U.S. Army
Commander, NATO-International Security Assistance Force

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/