- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 29, 2011


In a message for Memorial Day, the Afghan ambassador mourned the loss of American troops fighting to save his country from Taliban terrorists.

“Like the American people, my countrymen will never forget the sacrifices your troops have made for the stability of our region,” Ambassador Eklil Hakimi said.

“We are eternally grateful and determined to make sure the blood and treasure you have invested in Afghanistan bring greater security to both of our countries.”

Mr. Hakimi noted the “enormous challenges in front of us” that will “require more fighting and, indeed, more losses.”

“But there is no doubt in our minds that, together, we will prevail and make the world a safer and more civil place for all of us,” he said.

Nearly 1,600 American troops have died in Afghanistan since the United States invaded in 2001 to topple the brutal Taliban regime for sheltering Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network.

Former President George W. Bush launched the campaign in Afghanistan to avenge the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans and other nationals in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Mr. Hakimi, a career diplomat, took up his post in February, replacing Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad.


The killing of Osama bin Laden should serve as a lesson to terrorists that the United States will catch them, no matter how long it takes, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines said Sunday.

U.S. commandos killed the al Qaeda leader May 2 in Pakistan, after a 10-year manhunt for the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

“That serves as a reminder to anyone who would use terrorism as a weapon that there will be relentless effort to bring you to justice,” Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. told an audience of Americans and Filipinos in a Memorial Day speech at the American cemetery in Manila.

U.S. troops are currently helping Filipino soldiers in a fight against the al Qaeda-linked terrorists of Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines.


Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin of Colombia, who addresses a joint meeting of the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas, the Inter-American Dialogue, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

• Michel Barnier, the European Union’s commissioner for internal market and services, who meets with Rep. Spencer Bachus, Alabama Republican and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the senior Democrat on the committee. He also holds talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.


• Karel Schwarzenberg, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of the Czech Republic. He meets Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican and chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He also addresses the 60th anniversary celebration of Radio Free Europe.

• Moushira Khattab, former minister for family and population of Egypt and former Egyptian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and South Africa; and Lilia Labidi, Tunisia’s minister of women’s affairs. They discuss the future of women in the Middle East and North Africa in a briefing at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrison@washingtontimes.com. The column is published on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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