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Rice On Afghanistan

In a meeting in Kabul with Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “America is here to stay as a partner and friend for Afghanistan.” Ms. Rice said the U.S. understands “that our own interests were hurt tremendously when we abandoned this area the last time and we’re not going to make that mistake again.”

Secretary of State Rice and President Karzai discussed continuing attacks by Taleban remnants and other violent extremists. “America and some other coalition partners," said Ms. Rice, "have capabilities that are specific to the needs of certain parts of the country where there remain serious terrorist or other threats." For that reason, she said, “we are on the offense with our Afghan partners” to defeat the terrorists."

Referring to recent bomb attacks on Afghan police and security forces, President Karzai said, "the attacks after the election are a clear indication of the frustration” of the extremists over “the success in Afghanistan of the political process.” State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli says despite the threat posed by Taleban remnants and other extremists, Afghans have made real progress:

"You just look at what’s happened. You’ve had the election of a President. You’ve had a constitution drafted and approved. You’ve had parliamentary elections throughout the country with thousands of voting booths happening and fifty-three percent, I believe, of the people voting, forty percent of whom are women."

Secretary of State Rice said the elections offer new hope to Afghan women. “My message for Afghan women is that there is now a possibility that they can achieve whatever they want to achieve,” she said. Ms. Rice pointed out that “women have been elected to the parliament. . . .there are women business ventures [and] women are involved in the security forces.”

Secretary of State Rice urged Afghan men to “welcome women as equal partners in the development of the new Afghanistan.” Working together, she said, Afghan men and women are beginning to lay the foundation “for a strong and democratic Afghanistan.”

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