Camp David has an old Afghan connection
CAMP DAVID (Pajhwok): The picturesque presidential retreat of Camp David has an Afghan connection, a reference to which by Secretary of State John Kerry and the President Ashraf Ghani was converted into some lighter moments at a news conference by Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah.
“Camp David was named after the grandson of Dwight Eisenhower, who in 1959 became the first American president to visit Afghanistan,” Kerry told a news conference here along with Ghani, Dr Abdullah and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
“And en route from the airport in Kabul, Eisenhower was greeted by tens of thousands of cheering citizens. While in country, he paid tribute to our bilateral friendship, relationship, and shared values and the courage and the fierce independence of the Afghan people – a pride of independence that we have come to know well,” Kerry said.
In his remarks, Ghani said he was 10 years old when Eisenhower visited Afghanistan. “I was 10 years old when President Eisenhower visited Afghanistan. All the school children were lined up to greet the President of the United States,” he said.
“What impressed us most was he chose to ride in an open car. All other heads of state that visited Afghanistan would not show their faces to the public or stand in an open car. That openness is what has characterized the American attitude to life, to politics, and to engagement,” the President said.
“Talking about President Eisenhower’s visit to Afghanistan, there was a little bit of age revelation as well,” Dr Abdullah joked soon thereafter referring to the remarks of Ghani. “Exactly,” Ghani said.
“So I don’t remember that visit; I’d heard about it,” Dr Abdullah said. “Were you born?” asked Ghani.
“That’s a different question,” Dr Abdullah said amidst laughter. “So that shows that the relation goes back to the history, and then you have been with us during easy times and difficult times,” he said.
In August 2007, the then US President, George Bush, had hosted the then Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, at Camp David.
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