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Embassy Press Releases


August 18, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week Afghanistan celebrates two milestones in the country's history – Independence Day and a presidential election.

On August 19, Afghanistan will celebrate the 90th anniversary of its independence. Though Afghanistan's history dates back more than 5,000 years and is rich in cultural diversity, much of the country's contemporary history was marked by battles for control by various European powers. It was only in 1919 that Amanullah Khan, the reform-minded King of Afghanistan, formally restored the country’s independence, marking the beginning of a period of peace and growth.

On August 20, Afghanistan will hold a national election, when millions of Afghans will cast their ballots for president and provincial council candidates. The election, the second presidential contest in Afghanistan’s history and first Afghan-led balloting in over three decades, will help continue the growth of the country’s nascent democratic institutions.

Ambassador Said T. Jawad released the following statement in recognition of the two days and their importance in Afghanistan’s history:

While August 19 marks the 90th anniversary of the restoration of our country's independence, August 20 marks the historic day that the Afghan people stand up to elect their president and exercise their right to vote in a free, independent and democratic state.

Despite the post-independence challenges of underdevelopment and the Soviet invasion in 1979, Afghanistan had been a pluralistic society with a strong tradition of democratic values and institutions.

This month's presidential election will demonstrate the maturity of the democratic and constitutional system that has developed in Afghanistan since 2001. It will also serve as evidence of the significant return on the investment made by Afghans and our international partners to build a civic and democratic society in our country.

Though security has been a concern for us all, the campaign and presidential debates so far have been extremely vibrant, women’s participation as candidates and voters has increased, and polls have shown that the resilient people of Afghanistan will go out and vote in large numbers. Recent surveys confirm that Afghans prefer democracy over any other system and trust that the election results will represent their will.

This August 20, Afghans will continue working for peace and solidifying the independence they claimed on August 19, 1919. With the invaluable assistance of our American friends and the international community, we can ensure that the decades to come bring the lasting peace and opportunity Afghans have long sought.

Ambassador Jawad will be available throughout the week for comments or inquiries related to the celebration of Afghanistan's independence and the historic presidential election.


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