Thank you, Mr. President, for convening this meeting.
Mr. President, the United States is pleased to join other member states in co-sponsoring the General Assembly’s resolution on the situation in Afghanistan. This resolution recognizes the progress made by the Afghan people in building a stronger Afghanistan and acknowledges that much important work remains.
We commend the significant contributions of the United Nations to Afghanistan, noting especially the crucial roles played by the Secretary-General, his Special Representative, and the staff of UNAMA and other UN agencies on the ground. We also salute the bravery of the Afghan security forces and the International Security Assistance Force, who are helping to build a more secure Afghanistan.
Mr. President, violent attacks by the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other extremist and criminal groups threaten our common efforts to achieve stability and security. These groups use violence to oppose the Afghan government’s vision of an Afghanistan that is stable, secure, just, and prosperous.
We share this vision and echo this resolution’s firm condemnation of such violence, including the October 23 attack on the United Nations compound in Herat. We applaud the decisive response of Afghan security forces and ISAF to that attack, which averted greater bloodshed, and we welcome the United Nations’ unwavering commitment to Afghanistan, even in the face of such violence.
Mr. President, the United States joins with the Afghan government in its efforts to seek a political resolution to the violence in Afghanistan through reconciliation, insofar as insurgents agree to cut ties to Al Qaeda, renounce violence against the Afghan state by laying down arms, and agree to abide by the Afghan Constitution, including its provisions guaranteeing the rights of women and all ethnic groups and religions.
We strongly support Afghanistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and are committed to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. As such, we have more than tripled the number of U.S. civilians in Afghanistan from 320 in January 2009 to more than 1,000 today.
The efforts of the United States, NATO, and other ISAF contributor nations have focused increasingly on providing trainers and funding to develop and support the Afghan National Security Forces in line with President Karzai’s goal to have Afghanistan take the lead security responsibility throughout the nation by 2014. This transition will be governed by careful assessments of conditions on the ground and the capacity of the Afghan forces.
Mr. President, this July, more than 60 nations and international organizations recommitted themselves to rebuilding a stronger Afghanistan at the Kabul Conference. We call on all member states to redouble their efforts to promote stability and prosperity for the Afghan people, along with peace and security for the region.
We know there are great challenges ahead but the United States and our international partners are working closely with the Afghan people to support their efforts to lay the foundation for a better, more stable and prosperous future.
This site is managed by U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City and the Bureau of Public Affairs in Washington, DC. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.