Washington — The United States will remain a staunch supporter of Afghanistan after 2014, when most foreign troops are scheduled to leave and the government in Kabul assumes full responsibility for security, according to U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice.
Rice said the United States is looking forward to the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan July 8, when the international community will discuss assistance levels to Afghanistan after 2014. The current commitments extend until the end of that year.
“The enemies of the Afghan people should know that there will be steadfast and capable Afghan forces standing against them, with strong NATO support” after 2014, Rice said at the U.N. Security Council open debate on Afghanistan in New York June 27. “The transition is on track, Afghans are increasingly standing up for their own security and future,” she said.
Rice said the United States and other Western allies have signed strategic partnership agreements with Afghanistan, demonstrating that “the international community continues to come together to support Afghanistan.”
Rice said the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan, and the U.S. presence there after 2014 “will be shaped in close consultation with the Afghan government and will support Afghanistan’s social and economic development, security, institutions and regional cooperation.”
She appealed to the Afghan government to intensify its fight against corruption and improve the effectiveness of its institutions because the country “cannot rely on donor financing indefinitely.”
“As Afghanistan makes progress on governance and anti-corruption, the United States and the international community will take concrete steps of our own to help,” Rice said. “Continued investment in Afghanistan is essential, and it should come from both governments and the private sector,” she added.
Rice praised the work of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to help Afghan refugees return voluntarily, a process that combined with improved security will create economic opportunity.
“The Afghan government and people, the region and the international community have demonstrated their resolve and long-term commitment to a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” Rice said in closing. “The United States will work with all of them, every step of the way.”