Ladies and Gentlemen:
First of all, I wish to extend my warm greetings to Professor Zemaryalai Tarzi and the distinguished members of the Honorary Host Committee—whom I deeply regret being unable to join today, as I have been away from the United States on an extended visit overseas.
But please allow me to pay tribute to the continuing lifetime achievements of Professor Tarzi in service to Afghanistan. For the past fifty years, the Afghan history has witnessed the tireless efforts of Professor Tarzi to help conserve and preserve our heritage, while making scientific contributions of immense importance to the world heritage and history.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan recognizes with pride and deep gratitude the perseverance with which Professor Tarzi has pursued his archaeological excavations in Afghanistan for several decades now. While past communist and extremist regimes in Afghanistan actively undermined, barred or destroyed work on preservation of the Afghan heritage, Professor Tarzi courageously spoke out against such acts and advocated for global attention to protecting the heritage we proudly share with the rest of the world.
Thanks to Professor Tarzi’s hard efforts since 2002, the Afghan people are optimistic about the restoration of the great statutes of Buddha, which the Taliban brutally destroyed in 2001. We are thankful to the Professor for helping raise resources and attention to train a new generation of Afghans to build upon the invaluable archaeological findings of DAFA. We are equally grateful to the Government of France and UNESCO for continuing to support Professor Tarzi in helping discover and protect the archaeological heritage of Afghanistan.
I also wish to express my gratitude to Ms. Nadia Tarzi for her leadership in the Association for the Protection of Afghan Archeology, as well as to the Board of Directors of the Association, whom I am delighted to join in celebrating Professor Tarzi’s fifty years of archaeological services to Afghanistan and the world at large.
Once again, I wish Professor Tarzi the best and wholeheartedly congratulate him on his continued accomplishments.