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Afghanistan's March To Democracy

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said her visit to Afghanistan occurred at a time of great promise for the country. “Afghanistan," she said, "is now inspiring the world with its march toward democracy, with the successful presidential elections that brought. . . .the first elected president to Afghanistan, and then the parliament that has just been elected. And in both cases,” she said, “we recognize that the foundation is being laid for a strong and democratic Afghanistan.”

Secretary of State Rice reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan, even if the size of American and NATO military forces in Afghanistan changes with evolving political and security conditions. “It is absolutely the case that military forces will change. . . .over time as. . . .Afghan military and police forces are taking more of the load. That’s only appropriate,” Ms. Rice told Radio Afghanistan. “But you can be sure that we have a long-term commitment to Afghanistan. [A]s long as the Afghan people want our partnership and friendship, they will have it,” she said.

Secretary of State Rice also said the United States would increase its support for the Afghan government’s efforts to confront the growing illegal narcotics trade. Speaking to Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a press conference, Ms. Rice said, “[W]e will redouble our efforts with you to help to educate the Afghan people, to help to eradicate, to help to bring alternative livelihoods to those who choose a legal path, and also to support your efforts at criminal justice for those who continue in [illegal] activities.”

Continued political and economic development is the key to defeating terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere. “The Afghan people have an important role to play in defeating the terrorists,” said Secretary of State Rice. “It is my hope that now with the parliamentary elections done that all Afghans will now see that the road ahead and the future is on the political front, not in violence.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.