The following is the transcript of an address by Amrullah Saleh, acting president of Afghanistan, to Canadians. For context, this address was recorded shortly before the August 26 terrorist attacks outside of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Listen here.
In a heartfelt plea, Afghanistan’s ousted vice-president says what’s happened to his country is not a fait accompli, urging Canada and allied forces to provide moral, political and material support to Afghans resisting Taliban rule.
“Afghanistan is not dead, it’s wounded,” a defiant Amrullah Saleh, now self-declared acting president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, said to Canadians in a statement obtained by the Toronto Star.
“Freedom is not dead, it’s wounded. Liberty is not dead, it’s wounded. Afghanistan is savable. The Afghan cause is not lost. Different tools, different strategies, different policies are needed to reverse the situation.”
Saleh made the statement from his current residence in the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan and it was released through the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa-based national public policy think-tank.
In thanking Canadians for their work, sacrifice and support for Afghanistan, Saleh rebuked those who claim that Afghans didn’t fight for their country against the Taliban.
“Millions and millions of Afghans aren’t going to flee, they want to stay. I want you generous Canadians, kind Canadians, to stay with the majority,” Saleh said.
In his statement, Saleh also asked the West to acknowledge the role of Pakistan in destabilizing Afghanistan and to pressure Pakistan to withdraw its support for the Taliban, saying the fall of Afghanistan is a result of political misjudgments due to a lack of understanding of the country.
There are still many Afghans who believe in freedom and pluralism, and who are willing to keep fighting for these values, he said.
“This is a message to Canadians and through us to supporters of democracy and freedom everywhere,” said Chris Alexander, Canada’s first resident ambassador to Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005, and a former immigration minister under prime minister Stephen Harper’s government.
“Amrullah Saleh reminds us all that he and others are still resisting invasion and repression — fighting for the values that first took Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan in 2001. Now more than ever, Afghans deserve our support.”