2 Dec. 2008
PR# 2008-676

Albanians celebrate Independence Day in Afghanistan

Albanian Army Major Eduart Ismolli from Tirana gives a speech in honour of Albanian Independence Day to a formation of soldiers and international guests at Camp Arena, International Security Assistance Force Regional Command-West Headquarters, Nov. 28. 

KABUL, Afghanistan - Albanian Army service members and their international guests met for a flag-raising ceremony and the singing of the Albanian national anthem in honour of the nation’s independence.  The ceremony took place in the courtyard of Regional Command-West Headquarters in Herat, Afghanistan, Nov. 28.

“We are celebrating in a special way today,” said Albanian Army Sergeant Paulin Jaku of Shkodra, North Albania. “We are in Afghanistan and proud to contribute with the coalition forces in order to ensure peace. The fact we are here is a clear demonstration that international solidarity is the way to development and democracy.”

General Paulo Serra, ISAF RC-West commander, attended the ceremony where he was also the guest speaker.

“Ten years ago NATO was in your country to sustain Albanians in overcoming a transitional crisis,” said Serra in front of Albanian ranks. “Albania is again on its feet, a young country with a bright future in front of it. On this particular day I wish to forward to all the Albanians here in Afghanistan all the best for a radiant future.”

Albania’s struggle for independence spanned many years and was birthed in an identity crisis. Part of the Balkan Ottoman Empire for 71 years, there was pressure on Albanians to see themselves as Ottomans first, Albanians second. A period of national renaissance that began in 1831 culminated in the Albanian flag being raised by Ismail Quemali in Flora, Albania, on Nov. 28, 1912, to publicly proclaim the independence of Albania from its Ottoman authorities.

Following the ceremony in the courtyard, Albanians and their guests moved indoors for the cake-cutting celebration.

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/