Ottawa, August 17, 2019
Her Excellency the Right Honorable Governor General,
Excellency Minster of National Defense
General Vance, who twice served as General commander of Kandahar joint Task force
Families of the Fallen Heroes
ladies and gentlemen;
Let me tell you about two Kandahars. One Kandahar was on its way from being a vibrant, modern city and a centre of proper Islamic education, to becoming the seat of power for the world’s darkest regime, a launching place for its reach to terrorize the world. A regime that had no respect for humanity or the inherent values and beliefs of mankind and indeed of Islam.
The other Kandahar is, the one we have now. Today’s Kandahar is again a vibrant city.
Thanks to Canada’s contribution, in provision of security and development projects that have empowered Kandahar again. In today’s Kandahar, citizens have access to education, healthcare and all other public services. Women and girls have a restoration of rights and have political representation in the provincial council and national parliament.
This revitalization became possible because of the fallen heroes we honour here today. They have invested in blood and with their lives to create with us today’s Kandahar and the hope-filled Kandahar of the future.
Their names are etched here in this cenotaph so that we will never forget what CANADIANs and the fallen heroes have selflessly given. Let me say loud and clear, that their legacy is also indelibly etched in the living hearts of my people, and is now forever part of our history.
We see the sacrifice of your loved ones each time a girl is educated, each time an Afghan citizen casts their vote, each time a women is elected to lead, and in each stride Afghanistan takes towards securing its future.
In addition to the 158 Canadian military and 3 civilians, the 42 US soldiers and 1 civilian serving under Canadian command that gave the ultimate sacrifice, many US and NATO/ISAF troops sacrificed their lives to fight international terrorists and to reconstruct Afghanistan.
To the families of the fallen heroes, on behalf of my nation, I say that there are no words that adequately express how deeply we appreciate and will forever remember the sacrifices of your brave men and women. It has not been in vain. We continue the work.
Preserving the joint achievement and advancing the vision has a great cost: we suffer the same pain of loss and we understand too well your grief; we pay with the lives of our people, a considerable number of whom fall daily. In fact, the courageous national security forces of Afghanistan have taken more casualties than other nation in the fight against our common enemy, terrorism and their supporters.
We are determined to carry on what we started together. In 2014, we completed the security transition and have taken full responsibility of our security. We will keep fighting for the security, stability, and prosperity of our country, carrying with us the memory of those who have fought with us when we needed them the most.
My parting message, on behalf of Afghan people and government is, to tell the families of those who have fallen, those who were wounded, and those who served in Afghanistan that we will never forget your sacrifice,