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Ambassador Jawad Thanks Gen. McNeill for Service, Welcomes Gen. McKiernan

On June 3 Ambassador Said T. Jawad expressed his gratitude for U.S. Gen. Daniel McNeill's service as commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and welcomed his successor, U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, to the position.

In a letter to Gen. McNeill, who served as ISAF commander in February 2007, Ambassador Jawad extended Afghanistan's gratitude for his leadership, especially in helping lead reform efforts in the security sector. "Since international reengagement in Afghanistan in 2001, you have made every possible effort to restore, keep, and sustain peace and stability in Afghanistan," wrote Ambassador Jawad. "It is heroes like you that the world community owes our gratitude for making a lasting positive difference in the lives of others; we, the Afghan government and people, remain indebted to your tireless efforts for peace in Afghanistan."

In another letter, Ambassador Jawad welcomed Gen. McKiernan to the leadership position that he formally took on June 3 during a handover ceremony attended by President Hamid Karzai. "Your extensive experience in counter-insurgency and post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction is most needed in Afghanistan, where we look forward to supporting you in your new crucial assignment," wrote Ambassador Jawad.

In both letters Ambassador Jawad also expressed Afghanistan's grief for the death of ISAF soldiers serving in the country. "Our history and people will never forget these precious sacrifices for restoring freedom and hope to one of the world’s most devastated countries," he wrote. "In the long run, however, it is the desire of the Afghan people to defend our sovereignty and to become an exporter of security in the world ourselves—a goal which we will undoubtedly achieve with the continued support of the international community and the United States."

Currently, 40 countries contribute over 52,000 troops to ISAF. The international force is divided into five regional commands and 26 Pronvincial Reconstruction Teams.


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