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Rice Visits Afghanistan

After a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Afghanistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that "There is absolute certainty that Afghanistan is going to strengthen the gains of the past five years. . . . We have [a] constitution, elections for the president, a very vibrant parliament and a strengthening civil society." Mr. Karzai acknowledged that "terrorists will try to hurt us," and that "Afghanistan has problems." These include a weak bureaucracy and police force, corruption, and illegal drugs.

Yet, Mr. Karzai said, "The very fact that Afghanistan is where it is today is testimony to the fact that we have won. And we have won massively in Afghanistan. There are four-and-a-half million refugees back in this country."

Secretary of State Rice says, "President Karzai is admired":

"He is admired for his courage. He is admired for his leadership. He is admired for what he has done to bring this country from civil war now to a democratically elected government."

Today, more than ten-thousand Afghan, NATO, and U.S. forces are taking part in a counter-insurgency operation in the southern Afghan provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan, and Zabul. These provinces have been the stronghold of remnants of the ousted radical Islamic Taleban regime. The operation is intended to extend the reach of the Afghan government and to expand humanitarian and reconstruction efforts.

Secretary of State Rice says that the Taleban military resurgence is not matched by any political resurgence. She says the optimism she shares with President Karzai "is not a matter of trying to ignore the problems and the challenges, but simply to say that in a country that five years ago was still under the rule of the Taleban, the progress has been extraordinary."

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