Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
July 15, 2002
(Remarks at Esenboga Airport, Ankara, Turkey)
I think I'd just like to say very briefly that we just had a very interesting day in Afghanistan. We met with American forces, with coalition forces; we met with President Karzai and members of his cabinet, including Foreign Minister Abdullah and Defense Minister Fahim. We visited the place where the training of the Afghan army is taking place, had an excellent meeting with General Zorlu at the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force, where, as I'm sure everyone in this country knows, Turkey is taking the lead in that crucial effort. Then we paid a fascinating visit to Mazar-i Sharif and met with General Dostum and Prof. Muhakkik and visited the Jordanian field hospital where they've been treating some eighty thousand Afghan patients. So it was a very full day. Learned a lot. The purpose of the visit has been to come and learn, and I expect to learn a lot during my time here in Ankara over the next day and a half. I think the only thing I would like to say tonight is, in addition to expressing great appreciation for what American forces have been doing for our country there in Afghanistan, it is wonderful to have a partner like Turkey. What Turkey has done with us has been indispensable. And Turkey's role in taking on the leadership of the International Security Assistance Force is something that we appreciate very much. Its been done with the kind of professionalism that we come to expect of the Turkish Armed Forces and we appreciate it a lot. Thank you very much.