U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently co-chaired the third meeting of the U.S.–Afghan Bilateral Commission in Kabul with Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani. At the center of the U.S.-Afghan relationship, he said, is a shared commitment to peace based on security from violent extremism, coupled with a desire to promote prosperity and social progress in every province across Afghanistan.
Both sides discussed the goal of launching peace talks with the Taliban. Secretary Kerry expressed U.S. support for an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process and called on the Taliban to enter into talks that would provide equal rights and protections for all Afghans and bring an end to the violence and suffering that the people of Afghanistan have endured for so many years.
Meanwhile, the United States remains committed to the mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan Security Forces as they combat the insurgency and protect the Afghan people.
The U.S. recognizes that Afghanistan cannot secure a prosperous future without continued support from friends and allies. NATO will discuss providing additional assistance at its security summit in July, and the international community will meet in Brussels to review development aid in October.
“Democracy requires credible institutions,” said Secretary Kerry, . “It requires a willingness by people from different political and ethnic and geographic factions to be able to come together and work for a common good,” adding, “It’s not just up to leaders; it’s up to citizens to help shape their communities and their country.” “That, and not more war and not more terror, is the surest way to bring about real stability and prosperity to [Afghanistan].”
U.S. and Afghan leaders also reviewed the process of implementing the $800 million new development partnership. This initiative, said Secretary Kerry, will promote stability and accountability by linking funds to specific reforms that promote the rule of law, encourage private sector growth, and enhance women’s rights.
One of the great accomplishments of Afghanistan in these years has been the opening of opportunities for women. Today there are millions of children in school, and fully a third of them are girls. That is an enormous step forward for the future of Afghanistan.
We know that Afghans are going to continue to work to achieve further progress. That’s something the United States has confidence in. We also know that the world stands with Afghanistan in this effort, and no country more so than the United States of America.