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Afghans gear up for Independence Day celebrations

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Afghans are preparing to mark the Independence Day with great zeal. There is a scene of competition among residents of different cities. Dwellers of Kabul are also busy in decorating homes, streets and shops with posters and flags.

Scores of Kabul residents termed the Independent Day celebrations on August 19 as a reminder that how the ancestors fought for freedom of the country to defeat the British Empire and take control of the country’s foreign policy back in 1919.

They said that public and the government shall celebrate the Independence Day magnificently to recall sacrifices of the brave Afghan heroes who stood like an iron wall against the then powerful empire of the world.

The late king of Afghanistan, Amanullah Khan, proclaimed the independence of Afghanistan from Great Britain in 1919. After failing repeatedly to subdue Afghans by force, the British Empire formally recognized Afghanistan as an independent country and signed a treaty.

The empire waged three wars (1839–42; 1878–80; 1919) against Afghanistan but suffered humiliating defeats despite having a large and well-equipped military. Since then Afghans celebrate the Independence Day with great pomp and show. This year’s theme for the Independence Day is “Day of National Defense” to honor the Afghan security forces for their sacrifices in the line of duty and commend them for their capabilities.

Najiba Arian, a resident of Kabul City, said that August 19 is a day of national pride for Afghanistan. “It’s the day when Afghans gained the independence from the British Empire. This year, we will mark 96th Independence Day since the Great Britain signed the Anglo-Afghan Treaty in 1919 with Afghanistan,” she said.

Our library is a critical part of our history, and it is important to remember it ,96 years ago Afghans came together to fight for independence with a vision of unity and prosperity, and yet, it is deeply unfortunate that in recent years our political leaders acts are based on ethnicity, language and religious sectarian, Ms Arian said.

Ahmad Wali, a shopkeeper in the capital city, said that Independence Day is a great pride for Afghans and it reminds how the ancestors fought against the then super power with unity and never allowed the invaders to take control of the country and decide their fates.

“Now it is our duty to work together and hard for prosperity of our country and once again prove that Afghans are united as a one nation and nobody could subdue it,” he said.

In the last few years the Independent Day of Afghanistan was not marked with a huge official ceremony. While in the past the Independent Day was celebrated with pomp. Citizens across the country came out from their homes and participated in the ceremonies and the government held military parades when Afghanistan was at peace. These all activities conveyed a clear message about the importance of the independence.

Noor Mohammad, a car driver, said that although some people might not have the opportunity to celebrate the Independence Day with huge celebrations, but it does not mean that the day is not seen as important or will be forgotten.

He said that Afghanistan is facing many challenges including insecurity, corruption, violence against women, inadequate employment opportunities, weak economy and poverty, all of which pose a threat to Afghanistan’s peace and stability. “Nevertheless, this year, on August 19, Afghans has the opportunity to celebrate their independence as a unified proud nation at any level,” he said.

He further said that the day represents all the history, culture, and the heroism of the Afghan people and it sends an obvious message to the world that despite a lot of challenges, still Afghans are committed to defend their homeland as their ancestors had been done.

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