U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video

Opposing View: We're Making Solid Progress (Afghanistan)

Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs
Op Ed in USA Today
July 14, 2008

Enemy in Afghanistan is growing weaker, but big challenges remain.

After 9/11, the United States helped Afghan partners topple a brutal, repressive Taliban regime. Since then, the Afghan government, under President Hamid Karzai's leadership, has achieved great progress in its fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, establishing infrastructure, securing territory and providing education, health care and training. Broad swaths of Afghanistan are hardly recognizable in contrast to where they were in 2001.

We have had significant successes, but we have our work cut out for us. Daunting challenges remain — especially in security, counternarcotics and governance. Al-Qaeda, a massive narcotics trade and growing corruption must be addressed.

Because it can't win on the battlefield, the Taliban has resorted to tactics of pure terror: improvised explosive devices, suicide bombs and the targeting of Afghan and international civilians. It is weaker than it was last year and is not a strategic threat to the government. Nevertheless, it harms the day-to-day safety and security of the Afghan populace.

Stability relies on more than security, and lasting stability will come only when the Afghan government can step in to fill the void that is left when insurgents are removed. We continue to focus on the critical goal of extending nationwide the rule of law, human rights, basic services and economic opportunities to all corners of the country.

U.S. foreign assistance fosters programs big and small to bolster government at the local level. This June in Paris, international donors pledged to match our $10 billion pledge to support the five-year Afghan National Development Strategy, to address the things the Afghan people most need and want.

We know the challenges in Afghanistan. But we have a solid foundation of progress on which to build and a strategy to overcome them. With sustained resources and effort, we have every prospect of securing a stable, democratic and lasting ally in Afghanistan and an important linchpin for the region. We should not lose sight of the progress that has been made and that we continue to make year by year.



  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.