- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rebuilding lives

Artificial limbs donated by a hospital in Philadelphia are restoring the shattered lives of men and children in Afghanistan who lost arms and legs to land mines and war, the Afghan ambassador said on a visit to the city.

“I have heard inspiring stories of … little boys and girls who are given the gift of a childhood thanks to these prosthetic medical devices,” Ambassador Said T. Jawad told staff members at the Shriners Hospital for Children on a trip there last week.

“Afghanistan is striving toward better health and education every year.”

Five years after a U.S.-led coalition defeated the austere Taliban regime, more than 80 percent of Afghans have access to basic medical treatment, he said. In 2001, 8 percent had health care.

In the next four years, Afghanistan plans to train 12,000 community health workers and 6,000 midwives, reduce the mortality of pregnant women to 15 percent and immunize children younger than 5 against childhood diseases, the ambassador added.

Mr. Jawad also said Philadelphia is a symbol of freedom for Afghans, who have learned of the city’s history as a center of rebellion during the American Revolution and as the home of the Liberty Bell, which was rung to proclaim independence in 1776.

The ambassador noted that Afghan President Hamid Karzai remarked on the city’s beauty when he visited Philadelphia on July 4, 2004.

“It is a very special honor to be in your city, the home of a cherished relic, the Liberty Bell,” Mr. Jawad said in a speech to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.

“Afghans and Americans share a great many cherished values. We love freedom, show respect for our elders, honor dignity, individualism and patriotism and live in diverse, multicultural societies.

“Symbols such as the Liberty Bell inspire millions of Afghans who are moving forward against all odds.”

Mr. Jawad also thanked Americans for their sacrifice in Afghanistan and for their determination to help his country achieve peace. He said the fight against terrorism will not be won by military actions alone, adding that nations must act together to stop the flow of terrorist financing and training.

He recounted Afghanistan’s political progress since the overthrow of the Taliban, citing presidential and parliamentary elections and the adoption of the “most enlightened constitution in the region.”

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, who meet President Bush and attend ceremonies for the opening of the House of Sweden, which includes the new Swedish Embassy.

• Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who discusses nuclear issues in a briefing at Georgetown University. Tomorrow he speaks at the University of Maryland at College Park.

• Jean-Marie Guehenno, U.N. undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, who discusses the U.N. mission in Lebanon at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Tomorrow

cForeign Minister Bernard Bot of the Netherlands. He speaks at Georgetown University.

• Ustun Erguder, director of the Istanbul Policy Center at Turkey’s Sabanci University. He addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars about the challenges facing Turkish democracy.

Wednesday

• President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, who meets President Bush. On Thursday, he addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

• Cai Wu, China’s minister of the State Council Information Office. He addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Thursday

• Brian Lang, principal and vice chancellor of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, who signs an academic partnership with Georgetown University.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.


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