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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 19, 2006

MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Joshua Gross, Director of Media Relations
(202) 483 6410 ext. 8002
gross@embassyofafghanistan.org
website: www.embassyofafghanistan.org

AMBASSADOR JAWAD TRAVELS TO PHILADELPHIA

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States Said T. Jawad traveled today to Philadelphia, PA to speak about Afghanistan’s achievements and the challenges that remain five years after the initiation of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Ambassador toured Shriners Hospital for Children, visiting patients and taking the opportunity to express the gratitude of the Afghan people and government for the hospital’s generous donation of prosthetic devices to the Afghan National Army Hospital in Kabul. These devices are being used to help prevent amputations due to injuries sustained from explosive devices such as landmines. The Ambassador addressed the hospital’s Board of Governors, Shriners, and staff, speaking about the reconstruction of Afghanistan’s health infrastructure. “I have heard inspiring stories of men who are once again able to feed their families, and little boys and girls who are given the gift of a childhood thanks to these prosthetic medical devices. Afghanistan is striving towards better health and education every year,” he said.

In 2001, only 8% of Afghans had access to basic healthcare. Today, over 80% of the country can be treated at rudimentary health clinics and hospitals. In 2006, the first class of women graduated from Midwife Training Academy is Khost in a celebration that coincided with International Women’s Day. By 2010 the Government of Afghanistan aims to train 12, 000 community health workers and 6,000 midwives, reduce maternal mortality to 15% and provide full immunization coverage for infants under 5 for vaccine-preventable diseases.

Following his tour of Shriner’s hospital, the Ambassador addressed a distinguished audience at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. “I am delighted to be here in Philadelphia, a city that has been a friend of Afghanistan. President Karzai still speaks fondly of his Fourth of July visit to your beautiful city two years ago. It is a very special honor to be in your city, the home of a cherished relic, the Liberty Bell,” he said. The Ambassador spoke on Afghanistan’s numerous achievements, such as holding Presidential and Parliamentary elections and adopting the most enlightened constitution in the region.

The Ambassador praised the success of Coalition Forces and the Afghan National Army, but reiterated that military action alone is not going to defeat terrorism; only by going to the sources of terrorist motivation, financing and training will the international community win the peace in Afghanistan. Ambassador Jawad concluded, “Afghans and Americans share great many cherished values. We love freedom, show respect for our elders, honor dignity, individualism and patriotism, and live in diverse, multicultural societies. Symbols such as the Liberty Bell inspire millions of Afghans who are moving forward against all odds.”

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