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President Karzai Addresses the Youth of Afghanistan on the 88th Anniversary of Independence

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Dear compatriots, sisters and brothers, our esteemed jihadi leaders,

I congratulate you all on the arrival of the 88th anniversary of our dear country's independence. I congratulate all the people of Afghanistan, anywhere around the world, on this day.

The victories of the people of Afghanistan have been a result of the devotion and sacrifices of the young people of this country. The people of Afghanistan, from every nook and cranny of the country and from every village and house, joined hands and saved our dear country from foreign influence during the war for independence, and during the Afghan jihad.

Today we celebrate the 88th anniversary of the day when the people of Afghanistan announced a jihad against the biggest colonial power of the world, which did not control Afghan soil, but influenced Afghan foreign policy. The people of Afghanistan, by announcing a jihad, totally liberated the country. This was an initiative by His Majesty Ghazi Amanojllah Khan, and his colleagues, including Nader Khan, Mahmud Tarzi, spiritual personalities like Nur al- Mashayekh, and religious scholars, tribal elders and influential personalities, and the young people Afghanistan, who took up the sword.

We gained the independence of our country, but unfortunately after some years, Afghanistan's independence, and the route of development that we were following, came under mysterious and hidden attacks by the enemies of Afghanistan, and finally resulted in the fall of Ghazi Amanollah Khan's government.

Dear compatriots, through the efforts of the brave mojaheddin and the Afghan nation, Afghanistan once again gained independence from the invasion of the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the results of our jihad again faded away as a result of the plots of the enemies of this land.

All the efforts, troubles, devotion and bloodshed of the young people of this land were overshadowed when Afghanistan fell into the hands of a hidden invasion, and a movement called the Taleban, and their foreign supporters, including Al-Qa'idah and terrorists. They occupied this land.

Afghanistan was once again liberated with the help of the international community and the strong determination of the people of Afghanistan.

Dear youngsters, we see that our soil is still coming under attack by the enemies of the country. We again see that they are trying to hinder our development process, and are trying to create obstacles in the way of reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.

Just yesterday, and the day before that, the enemies of Afghanistan gave us gifts on the arrival of Independence Day of Afghanistan: their gift was the killing of innocent people. They killed the governor of Zheray District of Kandahar Province and his three innocent children, his two-year daughter, and his four- and eight-year-old sons.

Yesterday, we saw that the enemies of Afghanistan want to reach their objectives by killing the innocent people of Afghanistan, by killing women and children of this land.

But this time, all the people of Afghanistan have come together in unity, and they understand the truth. All the people of Afghanistan know what tricks, ways, and plots the enemies use against their country. Afghanistan is all alert this time, and it has international allies and colleagues.

Dear young people and compatriots, gaining independence is one issue which can undoubtedly happen with sacrifices. But maintaining independence and leading it to its objectives is a separate issue. In order to prevent Afghanistan from being attacked and invaded again, it is necessary for us to gain the highest level of education and to highlight our position in the world with knowledge. With this, we will no longer be dependent on foreign countries. Otherwise, with poverty, lack of education, lack of academic capacity, and lack of capacity in science and technology, our country will not only remain poor, but will always be open to foreign attacks and plots.

So, for an independent and developed Afghanistan, strong enough to compete with other countries of the world, the young people of this country should spend every single second of their life in gaining knowledge and education. They should make effort every single second of their life to learn better and better.

They should continue trying until there are no more illiterate people and illiterate women throughout Afghanistan, until there are no more young people not going to school, and until there are no villages or places in Afghanistan lacking doctors, clinics, bridges, electricity, and other livelihood facilities.

Dear brothers and sisters, today, the world is here to help us build the basics and lay the foundations in our country. With their support, we are laying the foundation for the construction of roads, schools, clinics, electricity and irrigation projects, and implementation of other capacity building projects. But we can take advantage of all the basic projects and foundations only when we have education of our own.

I am glad that the ministers of education and higher education are here today. Dear youngsters, wherever you are in this country, protection of the independence and honor of this land depends on your efforts, and talents. If you develop your talents by gaining more and more knowledge, the country will undoubtedly become self sufficient. Otherwise, we will continue to have the hand-to-mouth life, which we hate.

Did you hear me? Are we tired of the hand-to-mouth life or not? Do you hear me or not? If you hear me, say loudly that we are tired of the hand-to-mouth life.

Say that we want an honorable and rich life. How can we have an honorable and rich life? Will the foreign assistance give us an honorable and rich life? No, this cannot happen only with foreign assistance, but it can happen with our own efforts, especially the efforts of the young generation.

This requires effort by young people to gain knowledge every day and night, and their endeavors to become engineers, doctors, and architects. It means effort to gain knowledge of all the sciences that have helped the world develop. Dear young people, an independent and self-sufficient Afghanistan needs your education and your knowledge.

Dear compatriots and young people, we come very far over the past five years, but it is a very long road. It is a tough journey on this long road, and we set off on this journey with great caution and firm steps.

We have so far had some achievements in the course of this journey. The biggest achievement is that, with the grace of God, today we can prevent the death of 85,000 [newly-born] children every year. Three or four years ago, when I was flying into or out of Afghanistan at night, the whole of Afghanistan was buried in an absolute darkness. The other day I was flying back to Afghanistan from Kyrgyzstan. When we entered Afghan air space from Tajikistan, thank God, I saw that Konduz city was completely illuminated with electricity. Villages around it were also illuminated, and the light continued all the way to Kabul. May God help us expand this light throughout Afghanistan, to every village and house. And this can happen when you become very good engineers and electricians, and help Esma el Khan, our minister of energy and water, to expand electricity projects all over the country.

Will you do so? Say it loudly. Say loudly that you will. The loud voice of our dear youngsters gives us more courage, strength, and stronger determination. The voice of our young people is our strength. Then please shout loudly that you will take electricity all over Afghanistan. Well done.

Dear youngsters, I have nothing else to say for Afghanistan. All I want to say is, and I repeat, that the young people of this country should be educated. The government and the people should try, including our young people, should also try to make efforts day and night, so that at the end of the day, we all have schools and proper education.

Schools and education are our only way forward, and we have no other way to achieve development. I wish you all success. I pray for an honorable and developed Afghanistan.

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