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Afghans thank Bush
James Morrison
Embassy Row

Afghan Ambassador Said T. Jawad praised President Bush for his encouraging words in his State of the Union speech and said Afghanistan is "proud" to be a partner with the United States in the fight against terrorism.

"We appreciate President Bush's words of support for Afghanistan," said the ambassador, after attending the speech on Tuesday night. "We cherish the close partnership and enduring friendship forged between our two nations, which has yielded mutually beneficial results."
In his speech, Mr. Bush said, "The men and women of Afghanistan are building a nation that is free and proud and fighting terror."

After the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Afghanistan became the battleground in the war on terrorism, when U.S. forces liberated the country from the brutal Taliban regime that had sheltered Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network.
Mr. Jawad said his nation is building a democratic society with a new constitution that provides for equal rights and the full participation of women in society.

"The ratification of our new constitution ... is the most significant achievement in our common fight against terrorism," he said.

Mr. Jawad credited Afghan President Hamid Karzai with leading the country toward democracy and noted that Afghanistan will hold its first free national elections later this year.
"I welcome President Bush's commitment to help the Afghan people finish the historic work of building democracy and his plan to help further focus on the development of free elections, free markets and free press," the ambassador said.

"Our successful experience in Afghanistan proves that free press is a core value necessary for the success of political democracy."

Mr. Jawad said his government shares Mr. Bush's belief that "democracy is a realistic goal in all societies."

"Our new constitution proves that traditions and values of the Afghan society are fully compatible ... with an open democracy," he said.

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