Defense Minister Ziankahn Highlights AFL’s Challenges, Achievements

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Defense Minister Daniel Dee Ziankahn (Photo: Executive Mansion)

Defense Minister Major General (Rtd) Daniel Dee Ziankahn has highlighted several challenges and achievements of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), including investment in infrastructural improvements for men and women in the arm.

Minister Ziankahn made the remarks at this year’s Armed Forces Day celebration held at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia on February 11, 2021.

This year’s celebration is held under the theme: “The Military in Sustaining Democracy,” and the formal program was graced by Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers and others.

“We also need to invest in infrastructure improvements at various military barracks to meet the accommodation needs of military personnel and their growing families, and provide the basic needs that reflect sustenance of our men and women in arms,” Minister Ziankahn said.

Minister Ziankahn, who previously served as Chief of Staff of the AFL, said the Liberian Army has a unique opportunity to plan for the future and now is the time to build a military that will cater to the future needs of our country and that will continue to represent the admiration of the Liberian people.

“We must ensure that budgetary allocations are made to begin the recruitment and training process,” he said.

Major General Ziankahn said this year’s Armed Forces Day is an occasion to honor the dedicated and committed Men and Women of the Armed Forces, and to pay homage to those who sacrificed their lives to protect our Nation.

According to him, unlike other Armed Forces Day Celebrations when men and women of the Military and Paramilitary Organizations participated in drilling ceremonies, this year’s virtual program symbolized the challenge Liberians are facing as a nation due to the global pandemic, Covid-19,  which requires a coordinated and robust response effort to ensure its containment.

He said due to the urgency for a collective response effort, the involvement of the Armed Forces in the fight against the rapid spread of the Corona Virus became imperative.

He told President Weah that based on his directive as the Commander-in-Chief, the AFL began deployment of personnel from the medical command, utilizing the newly constructed 14th Military Hospital as a treatment facility.

Minister Ziankahn said this strategic coordination headed by the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL) created an all-inclusive approach to implement a response system that aligned with international healthcare protocols and thus reducing the fatality rate of patients infected with COVID-19 in Liberia.

He said this effort, coupled with other contributions on the part of the men and women in arms, demonstrates the professional competence and readiness of the military.

“A little over ten months ago, you instructed the Armed Forces of Liberia to begin construction of sidewalk pavement at several locations in the country. I am proud to report that the full implementation of your directive is ongoing and the Armed Forces of Liberia continues to demonstrate its readiness to support civil authorities as a ‘Force for Good’,” he said. 

He said the Armed Forces of Liberia recently participated in joint border patrol exercises with the Guinean counterpart as a show of force.

According to him, while these exercises are intended to strengthen their relationships, it also reaffirms the AFL’s commitment to protecting the territorial integrity of Liberia against armed aggression and at the same time restores the confidence of the Liberian people in their security forces.

He expressed gratitude to international partners, the United States, China, India, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, but most especially the United States Government, the AFL’s traditional partner.

“Your continued support to our men and women in arms, particularly in the midst of this global pandemic is appreciated.  We are grateful for your partnership over the years in strengthening the capacity of the AFL as a Force for Good and we will “Dare to Defend,” he said.

He added that, “As we celebrate this day, let us remember that we have set the milestone towards the attainment of a better Armed Forces of Liberia. Every individual soldier must at all times embody the core Army values. You have the responsibility as the people’s Army to do what is right at all times.”

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