Afghanistan marked the 87th anniversary of its independence from British rule this week on Saturday, August 19 with observances across the globe. As VOA's George Dwyer reports, the Afghan community in Washington, D.C. celebrated Thursday at the Embassy of Afghanistan.
The Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington D.C. honored the nation's pursuit of freedom this week.
"The independence of Afghanistan is a celebration for each Afghan," Ambassador Tayeb Jawad. He is the chief representative of Afghanistan in the United States and hosted an Independence Day gathering in recognition of all who have paid the price for freedom in an often-troubled land.
"Countries like Afghanistan have gone through many hardships,” said the ambassador. “We have gained our independence 87 years ago. We should actually remember the men and women who fought to gain our freedom. It was hard won."
First officially observed in 1919, Independence Day ceremonies have been held on or around August 19th ever since. Afghanistan 's Independence Day marks the country's successful struggle and ultimate liberation from British rule. But many here on this evening also have a more recent struggle for freedom in mind. Among them, retired U.S. General and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers.
"People will reflect on the year they want to reflect on, but I think -- having left the service now --looking back on my tenure and thinking about the tens of thousands of men and women in the U.S. armed forces, and other armed forces that have dedicated their lives literally to a free Afghanistan, is what I think about this day," said Myers.
Afghanistan's fight to maintain its independence continues, as Taleban-led rebels persist in their insurgent attacks. But just this week, NATO -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has security forces in Afghanistan -- pledged continued support for the nation's fledgling democracy.
"The road ahead of us is challenging but we are sure that we have chosen the right path, said Ambassador Jawad. “The Afghan constitution, the Afghan Parliament, the elected President will provide actually the necessary tools, and the determination of the Afghan people, more importantly, to take Afghanistan further."
As for the present, the mood on this 87th birthday celebration of Afghanistan's freedom seemed decidedly hopeful.