Soldiers in Afghanistan commemorate the foundation of Czechoslovakia

Czech and Slovak soldiers from military units serving at the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport Base celebrated the 99th Anniversary of the foundation of the independent state of Czechoslovakia on October 28th, 1918. The Czech 9th Guard Company also commemorated the event at its base at Bagram Air Field.

9th Guard Company at Bagram lining up to commemorate the Anniversary
9th Guard Company at Bagram lining up to commemorate the Anniversary

Petr Stepanek, the Czech Ambassador to Afghanistan, addressed the soldiers and the Turkish Commander of the HKIA Base, Brigadier General Murat Selçuk Çol, was also present, as well other high-level guests. On this occasion, the Commander of the Afghan 377th Helicopter Squadron, Colonel Farid Sahim, was decorated with the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic. The entertainment on offer included various sports activities, sampling classic Czech and Slovak dishes, and several demonstrations from both republics.

"Throughout the day, we were able to fully appreciate the pleasant atmosphere and strong sense of collegiality between Czechs and Slovaks," said one of the event organisers.

Celebrations also took place at Bagram Air Field. Czech soldiers of the 9th Guard Company hoisted the National Flag and the American military band played the Czech National Anthem.

"We were very happy to commemorate this day, and we always welcome the opportunity to participate in the traditions and customs of our coalition partners,“ said the band commander.

The Commander of the 9th Guard Company, Captain Roman Rostas, explained the importance of this national holiday to his American colleagues, and reminded them that the United States was among the first of the Great Powers to accept the creation of the new republic in Central Europe in 1918.

The Bagram celebrations included screening of movies about the foundation of Czechoslovakia and, also, original historical film footage of the day the first Czechoslovak President, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, returned to his country.

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By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

November 3, 2017