Washington — The United States and Afghanistan have successfully worked together for more than a decade to improve security, strengthen democracy, support civil society and enhance economic opportunity for the Afghan people, and the United States will continue support for Afghanistan as the country works toward lasting peace and stability, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says.
“The American people have invested a great deal in Afghanistan’s future,” Clinton said October 3. “Even though our role in Afghanistan is changing, this partnership will continue.”
The secretary spoke alongside Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul at the launch of the U.S.-Afghanistan Bilateral Commission at the State Department.
Clinton said the new commission “reflects a shared vision and a shared commitment to mutual responsibility and accountability.”
She said it will focus on areas critical to Afghanistan’s future, including security, human rights and democracy, institutions and governance, women’s rights, economic development and regional cooperation.
The commission will implement a strategic partnership agreement signed by President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul in May, a deal that outlines the next phase of bilateral relations as U.S. and international troops work to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
“The transition is on track,” Clinton said. “Every day, Afghans are increasingly capable and taking more responsibility for their nation’s security.”
The secretary praised Afghan’s agenda of political reforms leading up to the country’s 2014 election, and said Afghanistan also is working closely with the international community to transform its economy.
Rassoul said Afghanistan is committed to building on its recent successes to deliver results for its people.
“As we continue to advance human rights; enhance regional cooperation for peace and prosperity; develop our human and national resources; combat corruption; improve governance; build infrastructure, public health and education; and to fight terrorists and extremism, we will count on the continuing and substantial support of our biggest and most important ally, the United States,” the foreign minister said.
He said the Afghan government is committed to pursuing all priorities, with special attention to the continued promotion of the rights of Afghan women and girls and increasing their significant role in the social, political, economic and cultural life of Afghanistan.
Rassoul and Clinton both also spoke about the importance of negotiating a comprehensive bilateral security agreement, and said talks will be led by U.S. Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Warlick and Afghan Ambassador Eklil Hakimi.
Clinton said the launch of the bilateral commission brought together leaders and experts from across both the Afghan and American governments, reflecting the breadth and depth of the joint commitment to an enduring partnership.