On November 25, 2001,Â Mike Spann, a CIA paramilitary officer, was murdered by Taliban prisoners during an uprising in Qali Jangi.Â This was particularly difficult for me as he had become a valuable member of our team in defeating the Taliban.Â He remains a hero not only to us, but to all Americans and is remembered for his dedication to freedom.
In his honor, we created a monument at Qali Jangi so that his sacrifice is never forgotten. In fact other than a solitary star at CIA headquarters, the monument I created is the only memorial to the sacrifices of this war.
This is my speech from the inauguration of that day:
Distinguished Members of the Family of Mike Spann, His Excellency Ambassador Robert Finn of the United States, distinguished diplomats, respected guests and compatriots, allow me to welcome you all on behalf of Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan and its leader Hamid Karzai and the Leadership Council of the North to this important and significant commemoration.
Today we have gathered to inaugurate the monument honoring the heroism and sacrifice of Mike Spann. Mike was a unique American who came to us at a moment of great conflict in the world and in Afghanistan. He came to us as part of the first group of Americans at a point in time when our struggle against Taliban-Al Qaeda extremism and fascism became a world struggle. This band of courageous Americans fought with us side by side from Darisuf to Mazar-I-Sharif. They fought with us every step of the way and it was our joint effort and cooperation that finally broke the back of the terrorists. This my colleagues, Ustad Mohaqeq and Ustad Atta, who were an important part of this struggle, can fully confirm. But victory was a victory not only for the North but also the whole country, freeing it from chains of the Taliban-Al Qaeda terrorists.
Mike played an important role in these battles. His courage, dedication and sincerity were a shinning example to our soldiers during those hard days of battle. We who fought remember Mike as our comrade in arms, we remember him as a great soldier, but most of all we remember him as our friend. A friend who gave his life for his new Afghan friends.
But Mike excelled not just on the battlefield but also in his connection his new friends. He touched us with his understanding and his kindness. He helped in everyway he could, he shared his meals and time with us, as one of us. His special qualities gave us courage.
I want to personally thank the family–his wife, Shannon; his mother, Gail; his father Johnny and his intelligent and charming daughter, Alison. You have made very long journey to come to this place. I want you to know from all of us who knew Mike that we have the greatest respect for him. I want you to know that in the battle of Kalagangi, in which Mike lost his precious life, that he was not alone. In that battle fifty another dear lives of Northern Alliance soldiers, including four senior military leaders were lost. One family, the Amanullah family, lost two sons during the same battle. Some of these Afghan soldiers have been buried in a cematary honoring their courage and commitment to freeing the people of Afghanistan.
We are bonded with you the family of Mike not only in our friendship with him but also in the pain and suffering you have endured. We know this pain and suffering which is with so many our families hurt by the actions of the cruel, hateful and destructive terrorists.
This monument that we inaugurate today is a symbol of many things: It is a symbol of Mikeâ€™s courage and sacrifice; It is a symbol of friendship between the Afghan and American men who fought together to free the North. It is a symbol of our friendship with America, and it is finally symbol of our will and commitment not to let Mikeâ€™s death and the deaths of our Afghan brothers be in vain.
I want finally to thank all those who have help make the monument and this ceremony a great success, particularly the personnel of Kalagangi and Kotabak who have worked so hard to make the monument and special thanks to the American Foundation, FCAD, for its assistance in facilitating the Spann Familyâ€™s visit and its helpful support for the idea.
Finally, let this monument serve as a sign for today, for tomorrow and for the future that we will never allow extremism, narrow-mindedness and terror to return to our country.
This is my letter to his family which I sent shortly after his murder:
To the family of the late Mike Spann and the people of the United States of America, the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan and especially the innocent people of the North will always remember Mike Spann as a hero for his ultimate and courageous sacrifice that helped to bring freedom from the bonds of inhumanity and cruelty imposed by the Taliban-Al Qaeda terrorists who occupied our country.
We so deeply appreciate the sacrifice of this courageous man, Mike, and honor him today. We understand and know that there is no greater gift for freedom than to give oneâ€™s life. And Mike gave his life for the cause of freedom, for the cause of good over evil, and for this we count him as an eternal friend. We will not forget Mike and we will honor his sacrifice by resisting and never allowing the evil of extremism and terror to return to this place. This monument represents a symbol of our deep appreciation.
May God Bless Mike and all those who have sacrificed their lives for the great cause of freedom.
Alhaj General Abdul Rashid Dostum Special Envoy of the Islamic Transitional State and Commander of Northern Afghanistan