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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs > Releases > Public Statements on South and Central Asian Policy > 2003

Statement Upon Leaving Kabul, Afghanistan

John W. Snow, Treasury Secretary
Kabul, Afghanistan
September 18, 2003

Released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury 

My visit to Kabul has offered an enlightening and encouraging perspective on the reconstruction of Afghanistan.  Clearly, this is a crucial time in Afghanistan’s post-war economic development.  The United States and the international community are committed to seeing this long-troubled nation through to peace and stability, and we redoubling our support for the goals and priorities of President Karzai’s government.

We cannot allow the people of Afghanistan suffer a return to the humanitarian disaster of the past 20 years, in which a lawless land with the promise of much more unfortunately became a haven for terrorists and drug traffickers.  We must reverse this sad history.  The reconstruction of a new, democratic Afghanistan must succeed – for the sake of the Afghan people, for the region and for the world community.  Much hangs in the balance and failure cannot be an option.

During my visit, I held meetings with President Karzai, Finance Minister Ghani, Central Bank Governor Ahady and other cabinet ministers, and saw several examples of their leadership and vision for Afghanistan’s future.  Among their notable achievements are the new banking laws, the new currency, improvements in centralizing customs revenue and increasing the transparency and accountability of the budget process.

Most important for long-term growth and employment opportunities in the country are the Karzai administration’s policies encouraging private sector investment and productivity.  Also, stronger trade and transportation relationships between Afghanistan and its neighbors, especially Pakistan, will be essential for integrating Afghanistan’s economy with the global economy, and creating opportunity for the Afghan people.

I want to thank the Karzai government and the people of Afghanistan for their hospitality today.  The American people will stand by you.  I look forward to returning soon to scenes of even greater progress.

Thank you.


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