Representatives from some seventy countries met in London, England, at an international donors conference on Afghanistan. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that what brought them together "is one of the most monumental achievements. . . .the ongoing transformation of Afghanistan from tyranny to democracy":
"The United States is fully devoted to the long-term success of Afghanistan. For us, this is a strategic partnership. We have committed tens of thousands of our troops to help stabilize the country. . . .and now, in addition to our current commitment of nearly six billion dollars. . . .I am proud to announce that President [George W.] Bush will ask our Congress for one-billion-one-hundred-million dollars in new assistance to support the Afghan people next year."
Ms. Rice says, "The international support for Afghanistan has been extensive and impressive. Many different countries," she says, "are lending their expertise and resources to reconstruction."
During the five years since a U.S.-led coalition overthrew the extremist Taleban regime that harbored al-Qaida terrorists, Afghanistan has made a substantial recovery. Some six-and-a-half-million boys and girls are attending about nine-thousand Afghan schools employing fourteen-thousand teachers. More than seven million Afghans in fourteen provinces have access to health services. Hundreds of kilometers of primary and secondary roads have been constructed. Afghan president Hamid Karzai says Afghanistan is a country that now has "a constitution, a president, a parliament, and a nation fully participating in its destiny."
Secretary of State Rice says, "In Afghanistan today, the world is witnessing an unprecedented moment in the history of freedom. The impatient patriots of Afghanistan," she says, "are helping to lead the expansion of liberty throughout the broader Middle East. They are affirming -- just as Europeans, and Asians, and Africans, and Americans themselves did in earlier times -- that the longing for liberty and self-government is universally desired, and universally deserved."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.