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Embassy of Afghanistan Expresses Condolences at the Passing of Congressman Tom Lantos

On February 11 the Embassy of Afghanistan learned with deep regret that a longtime friend of Afghanistan Congressman Tom Lantos succumbed to esophageal cancer and passed away at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. In letters to the family of Congressman Lantos and his Congressional colleagues, the Embassy paid tribute to his service to the United States, Afghanistan and the world. Congressman Lantos’ assistance to Afghanistan dates back to the early 1980’s when he supported the liberation of the country from the invasion of the former Soviet Union. Congressman Lantos also exhibited his determination and dedication to witnessing Afghanistan rebuilt into a prosperous and secure country after the international intervention against the Taliban regime in 2001.

“It was always a pleasure working with Congressman Lantos. I clearly remember his sharp mind and clear vision during our discussions. His unflinching moral stance on human rights and freedom was admired by many of us in the diplomatic community. He will be remembered as a dear friend of the people of Afghanistan in our struggle for freedom, justice and security,” wrote Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad.

Congressman Lantos was born in Budapest and served 14 terms in the House of Representatives as only Holocaust survivor elected to Congress. In 1947, he won an academic scholarship to study in the United States and received degrees from the University of Washington and the University of California at Berkeley. He became an economics professor at San Francisco State University, a business consultant and international affairs analyst for public television. He also was active in Democratic politics and was an adviser to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when he ran for public office. His district included southwest San Francisco and much of San Mateo County. Lantos was a powerful figure on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he had been the senior Democratic member since 2001 and its chairman since 2007.

Congressman Lantos dedicated his life for human rights, democracy and justice in the world. He was a constant advocate for Afghanistan. His memories will live with many Afghans who came to know and admire him for generations to come.

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