Assistant Secretary Brownfield Hosts the 2017 Memorial Wall Ceremony
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Thank you gentlemen, please be seated.
Your Excellency Hamdullah Mohib, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States of America and Mrs. Lael Mohib, Mr. Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, Deputy Chief of Mission of Pakistan to the United States of America, Mr. Richard Baum, Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Ambassador Arnold Chacon, Director General of the Foreign Service and Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador Kristie Kenney, former Counselor of the Department of State and Ambassador to Thailand, the Philippines, and Ecuador, Laurel Miller, Acting Special Representative of the United States to Afghanistan and Pakistan, representatives of members of the Congress of the United States of America, Nancy Lindborg, President of the United States Institute for Peace, Dr. Kerry Healey, President of Babson College, Imam Zia Makhdoom, Founder and Executive Director of MakeSpace and leader of the Afghan-American community, Dr. Rashid Chotani, Executive Director of the Muslim Community Clinic and leader of the Pakistani-American community, Mr. Muslim Lakhani, CEO of ML Resources and leader of the Pakistani-American community, ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome to the Rededication Ceremony of the INL Memorial Wall for those who have given their lives in law enforcement and rule of law missions overseas.
This is, as the Assistant Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department can confirm, National Law Enforcement or National Police Week. Many of you will notice this week, not hundreds, but thousands of police officers from around the United States of America who come to Washington at this time every year for the annual vigil and entry of new names of law enforcement officers who have given their lives in duty in the United States of America.
I mention this for two reasons. First, because we have this ceremony every year during this week. And second, because it is the reason why we have an INL Memorial Wall. Years ago, we argued that these names should be entered on to the U.S. Law Enforcement Memorial. But by their rules, only those who were in the exercise of law enforcement missions in the United States were eligible. We then sought to enter these names in the State Department Memorial, found in the C Street lobby of the Department of State. But their rules of eligibility limited those on that wall only to Foreign Service and Civil Service employees of the Department of State who lost their lives while on duty overseas. So in 2012, we established our own memorial and our own wall. That year, ladies and gentlemen, there were 86 names on the wall. This year, five years later, there are already 100 names.
Faisal Khan, a citizen of Pakistan, was born and raised in the town of Hari Pur, in Pakistan. He joined INL at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar in 1998. By the year 2016, he was the most senior employee in INL and one of the most senior employees in all of the United States Embassy and its Consulates in Pakistan. I met him on my first visit as INL Assistant Secretary to Pakistan in 2011. He was competent, smart, focused, courageous, and a deep and intense family man.
Abid Shaw, a citizen of Pakistan, joined the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar as a driver in 2009. He too was an intensely family-oriented man. He had seven children. On March 1, 2016, Mr. Khan and Mr. Shaw set off on an evaluation and observation mission in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, going up into the tribal territories, to verify that an INL program to provide crop substitution and alternative development opportunities to opium poppy farmers was being implemented correctly.
Faisal was insistent that he ride in an unarmored vehicle, that would look like all the others, so as not to draw attention to himself. Although, he did go in a police convoy. The convoy was targeted by terrorists. And Faisal and Abid died in an IED explosion that was clearly targeted at them.
Naqib Ahmad Khpulwak, a citizen of Afghanistan, born and raised in Jalalabad. He was a great Afghan legal scholar, teacher, professor, practitioner, a member of the law faculty of the American University of Kabul, a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University in 2013, a Fulbright Scholar, a leader in the U.S. Afghanistan Public-Private Partnership for Justice Sector Reform in Afghanistan, and for several years the Head of the United States Institute for Peace Rule of Law Program throughout all Afghanistan.
On August 24, 2016, he was exactly where you would have expected him to be, at the University in Kabul working with students and professors in the furtherance of law and justice in Afghanistan. As most of us know, on that day, terrorists attacked the American University. There were 12 victims who died. One was Naqib. He is survived by his parents, 13 brothers and sisters, much and broad family, and many, many friends, many of whom are with us here today. We are honored, in particular, with the presence, representing his family, of his cousin, Zabiullah Salar.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, we recognize and honor not just three fine men, but three heroes. And while a ceremony will occur in Kabul and in Peshawar, where the families will be presented a flag, it is appropriate that we do the same here, recognizing the family that is present with us today.
In U.S. ceremonies, ladies and gentlemen, when a member of our security or law enforcement forces give their lives while in service, the flag, in this case one that has flown over the Department of State, is presented to the nearest family member with a simple [INAUDIBLE]. I present this flag [INAUDIBLE].
So ladies and gentlemen, here is the wall. As you would expect, since this is a wall located in the Department of State of the United States of America, most of the names on this wall belong to American citizens, but not all. 16 different nations and nationalities are represented on this wall. Let me describe just five of them.
Rickie Finley was a DEA Agent assigned to Peru. On May 20, 1989, following a drug operation in the Peruvian jungle, he was returning to Lima. He gave his seat on the aircraft to a colleague who was suffering from altitude sickness so that he could get back to sea level sooner. Mr. Finley took the next flight out. That flight crashed. You will find his name on the first panel, column 1.
Brett Benton was a Kentucky Law Enforcement Officer of more than 20 years experience. He volunteered for a NATO Police Training Mission in Afghanistan in 2011. He was killed by an IED on June 4, 2011. You will find his name on the second panel, column 2.
Hit Bahadur Gurung was a Gurkha from Nepal. He volunteered as a Security Guard and was assigned in 2010, to the INL Police Training Facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan. On June 7, 2010, the Taliban attacked that facility. Gurung held his position so that the students and trainers could escape the attack. They survived. He did not. You will find his name on the second panel, column 2.
Deborah Klecker was an Oregon Law Enforcement Officer and a very good one. She is believed to be the first female Deputy Sheriff in Oregon history. In 2005, she volunteered to serve as a Police Liaison Officer for INL in Iraq. On June 27, 2005, her vehicle was attacked with an IED. And she died in that attack. Her name can be found on the first panel, column 4.
And finally, my old friend, Kris Kriskovich. After a brief career in the Army-- I always suggested to him it was brief because he was such an obnoxious and snotty rascal-- he joined the FBI, where he served honorably and successfully for 25 years. At the conclusion of which, ladies and gentlemen from the Department of Justice, as he liked to say, he founded the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, or ICITAP, which remains one of the premiere international police training organizations today. Kris retired from the FBI in 1996, and immediately volunteered to serve as the United Nations Deputy Commissioner for the International Police Training Force in Bosnia. Kris died in a plane crash on September 17, 1997. He died seated next to his best friend, who had joined the UN Mission with him, Al Beccacio. You will find them both side by side on the first panel, column 2.
Faisal Khan, Abid Shah, Naqib Ahmad Khpulwak, you are in good company.
And now ladies and gentlemen, it is a tradition in the Law Enforcement and Fire Fighting communities of the United States of America to conclude solemn ceremonies with a particular musical instrument. Most of you have heard of it and have heard it. Honoring us today, from the Virginia State Police, may I call upon the Pipe Master to give us a tune.
[MUSIC - "AMAZING GRACE"]
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Thank you, Pipe Major. Ladies and gentlemen, may I ask you once again to please rise for the changing of the watch. Honor guard, please change the watch.
Thank you gentlemen. Please be seated.
Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our ceremony. May I offer a closing comment that you will rarely hear from me. And it is as follows, let us all hope and pray that this is the last such ceremony that we will have to attend at this particular location. Let us hope and pray that 100 is the final number of names that we will have to place upon this wall. This concludes our ceremony. I thank you all for coming. I invite you all to visit and to take a look at the wall and the new names. And those who feel the urge, by all means, sign the visitor's guest book. Thank you all very much.