The Afghan Foreign Ministry on Friday expressed appreciation to the Paris Council for honoring Afghanistan’s National Hero Ahmad Shah Massoud by naming a square after him.
The ministry said the unanimous decision by the Paris Council shows the depth of friendly ties between Afghanistan and France.
The ministry said that honoring national figures like the national hero of Afghanistan by friend countries not only deepens friendly ties between nations but also strengthens unity among countries in the world in jointly fighting terrorism, ensuring peace and stability and honoring modern and universal values.
Arnaud Ngatcha, deputy of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and in charge of international relations said on Twitter that "Paris is the first city in the world to honor the peace veteran who fought for the freedom of Afghanistan and against the Taliban's obscurantism."
The proposal to commemorate Massoud in Paris was supported by his longtime friend, philosopher, intellectual and journalist Bernard-Henri Levy, according to Anadolu news agency.
“This decision is a clear testimony of the friendship that the French people have with the Afghan people for a century. It is also a sign of great admiration and great support that French people have always had for Commander Massoud,” French ambassador in Kabul David Martinon said. “We have to remember that it is no later than March 1980 just after the Soviet invasion that the first French doctors came to Panjshir to create a small hospital. Thanks to Ahmad Shah Massoud who welcomed them.”
He said that Ahmad Shah Massoud’s legacy is long-lasting and enduring in Afghanistan and that his image is the image of a man of great integrity and great courage. “We acknowledge this legacy which is absolutely needed today in Kabul and in Afghanistan.”
The move was also welcomed by Afghans on social media within the country and abroad.
Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, welcomed the gesture.
“Indeed, Massoud was a man of peace whose unwavering commitment to the cause transcended national borders. Massoud’s perpetual struggle and the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and justice will inspire future generations for a long time to come,” he said in a tweet.
First Vice President Amrullah Saleh thanked France for the move.
“I owe Massoud. We owe him. Afghanistan owes him. RIP the last humane, graceful and larger than life freedom commander,” he said.
Massoud’s son Ahmad Massoud also thanked Levy and Hidalgo for recognizing his father’s contributions to peace, justice and freedom in Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan and France’s friendship has deep roots and we will never forget the contributions and assistance that the French nation provided throughout history. My father admired France's history of defending these values and for this reason, he cherished his friendship with the French people,’’ he said on Twitter.