The 98th Independence Day was marked in various ceremonies attended by dozens of Afghans across the country.
Saturday, August 19, is marked as Afghanistan’s 98th anniversary of independence that was gained 98 years ago from Great Britain during King Amanullah Khan’s rule.
The Independence Day ceremonies in Kabul and Herat were attended by President Ashraf Ghani.
On Saturday morning, President Ghani participated in an official ceremony at the Ministry of Defense where he laid a wreath in the Minaret of Independence.
The event was attended by senior government officials and political leaders, including former president Hamid Karzai.
Kabul had many ceremonies to mark the Independence Day. Groups of youth surfed in Kabul streets with decorated vehicles and hoisted the Afghan flags.
“We should have a sense of patriotism and the sense tolerance and acceptance. We should stay united and we must not follow discriminative ideologies,” said Naqi Karokhi, a resident of Kabul.
“I hope that no problem occurs today and I hope that we always stay independent like today, because in this day we gained our independence,” Saleh Mohammad, another Kabul resident, said.
In other part of the city, a number of youths celebrated the Independence Day at a special event.
“Unfortunately, Afghanistan’s historic days have been credited to a specific ethnic group, language or region by groups inside the government and outside the government and this is a big oppression against the nation,” said Sayed Abdullah Hashimi, head of Afghanistan’s Youth National Assembly.
President Ghani after laying a wreath in the Minaret of Independence went to Herat province – in the country’s west - and attended the Independence Day ceremony where he called the day as a national unity day.
“Today, one million signatures (collected on a petition by Herat residents) send a clear message to the enemies of Afghanistan that the Afghan nation is a united nation and will not surrender to anyone,” Ghani told a big gathering in Herat.
He inaugurated a textile factory and then went to 207 Zafar Military Corps Headquarters where he hoisted the country’s flag decorated by one million signatures of Herat residents in support of government.
“Afghanistan’s Independence Day is a turning point in our modern history. In this day, Afghanistan’s real sons gained the independence of the nation,” Ghani said. “The Independence Day is the rehabilitation of our national pride. It tell us that how our ancestors were thinking big and how they rescued Afghanistan.”
He pointed out to the current situation and the ongoing war in some provinces and said that to overcome the conflict and the problems on the ground, all the Afghans should stay united and say no to the slogans that promote fracture among the nation.
He also hinted at recent tensions that have challenged government, saying that his administration would resolve the problems.
“The pre-war generation, the generation involved in war, and the post-war generation, we all have come together on a single covenant and it is to accomplish the uncompleted season of Afghanistan’s modern history. We will succeed over the disagreements and gaps. We are aware of our roles and will not say yes to the temptations which are against the national interests,” Ghani added.
In Balkh province, in north, the Independence Day was marked by the local officials where they raised their concerns over the “expansion of war and insecurity to the northern provinces”.
“The Taliban and Daesh are trying to expand insecurity in parts of the country, especially in the north,” said Gen. Amanullah Mobin, commander of 209 Shaheen Military Corps.
Addressing the Independence Day ceremony, he said the Taliban, who conducted Mansuri operation this year to increase insecurity in the country, have suffered heavy losses so far.
Members of Balkh Provincial Council, the Ulema Council and Balkh residents said at the event that they are worried about security situation in the province.
They urged the military corps personnel to leave no stone unturned to ensure the safety of Balkh residents.
Nangarhar started celebrating the Independence Day on Friday evening. The National Cricket Team was also invited to attend the celebration ceremony in Jalalabad city.
Nangarhar officials and some residents laid wreath in the tomb of King Amanullah in Jalalabad.
They also attended ceremonies across the province to mark the day.
Nangarhar residents said their main demand from government is to ensure their safety and to eliminate insurgents in the province.
Paktia local officials also held a ceremony in the Gardez city to mark the Independence Day, the Paktia governor’s office said in a statement.
Some officials from Kabul were also invited to the event.
Paktia citizens marked the day by going to recreational places with their families and friends.
The residents said all Afghans should stay united. They urged government to ensure a lasting peace and stability across the country.
The Independence Day was marked by Afghans living abroad. And in the meantime, an event was held in Astana city, in Kazakhstan, attended by Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and his team.
Some cabinet ministers of Kazakhstan and other foreign diplomats also participated at the event, the chief executive’s office said in a statement on Saturday.
Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov congratulated the Independence Day to Abdullah and said Afghanistan is an important partner to Kazakhstan in terms of business, transit and economy.
He said Kazakhstan is ready to increase its cooperation with Afghanistan in the mentioned sectors.