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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 > 2004

U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan on the Eve of National Elections

Andrew Natsios, USAID Administrator
Statement before the House International Relations Committee
Washington, DC
September 29, 2004

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity to present testimony on the subject, "U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan on the Eve of National Elections".

In December 2003, a gathering of Afghan, American and international officials commemorated the just completed paving of the 300-km highway that overcame rugged terrain, 600-km supply lines, minefields, and repeated attacks by Taliban remnants.

At one level, the Kabul to Kandahar highway was a generous development contribution by the governments of the United States, Japan and Saudi Arabia to one of the world’s most desperately poor places. The newly paved roadway will allow impoverished farmers to access new markets, spare sick children and pregnant women from a bone-crunching, hours-long trip to health clinics, and facilitate school construction in isolated regions.

Yet, at another level, the highway was a precision weapon in the war on terror; perhaps not as lethal as air strikes, but every bit as threatening to the terrorist enemies of President Karzai’s post-Taliban government, as evidenced by their repeated attempts to disrupt its construction. Perceived as a threat to terrorist operations, the highway was carefully and routinely targeted: the roadway slashes through the heart of the former Taliban strongholds in southeastern Afghanistan and bolsters the central government’s ability both to link the nation’s two largest cities and to extend services to ethnic Pashtun regions. The reconstruction process in war-ravaged Afghanistan combines two bodies of theory and practice that are not usually analytically linked: international humanitarianism and the global war on terror.

For the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Afghanistan provides unique challenges, even after fifty five years of experience in rebuilding fractured societies and more than a dozen post-conflict interventions in the post-Cold War period alone. Afghanistan provides the purest case of the U.S. government and allies marshalling humanitarian and war-fighting assets on the same "battlefield." What makes Afghanistan so dramatically different from Somalia, East Timor, Ethiopia, Bosnia, and other humanitarian crises of the past several decades is the recognition that the U.S. national interest stakes are even higher. Post-9/11 high-level recognition of the direct links between what happened at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with events in rural Afghanistan elevated humanitarian and reconstruction programs to the stature of geo-politics, and drove national security down to the level of building schools in isolated villages.

Understanding the interplay between humanitarian and anti-terrorist programs is likely to be critical to effective U.S. foreign policy in the war against terrorism. The United States and its allies will continue to encounter amalgams of poverty and fanaticism, illiteracy and alienation, suffering and militancy as the war on terrorism continues. It is clear, as President Bush points out in his National Security Strategy: 2004, that poverty and human suffering do not, in and of themselves, spawn terrorism; the September 11 hijackers, most of whom came from middle class families, many with college degrees, were hardly the "poorest of the poor." But, it is equally clear that impoverished and oppressed societies provide fertile ground for recruiting the foot soldiers that would follow the educated, but fanatical, leadership of terrorist networks. Humanitarianism, reconstruction projects, and counter-terrorism programs are likely to be co-joined frequently in the coming decade; the challenge is how to make the mixture effective.

In this brief testimony, we argue that the U.S. government reconstruction program in Afghanistan – in its humanitarian, security, political, and economic aspects – is both appropriate to the needs of the Afghan people and the complex realities of their long-suffering country, and an effective weapon against terrorism.

This testimony summarizes the U.S. government reconstruction strategy in Afghanistan, highlighting how elements of that strategy fit together and reinforce one another. More importantly, my testimony provides examples of the complex interplay between humanitarian and counter-terrorism activities in Afghanistan and answers some of the common criticisms of our reconstruction strategy.


By almost any measurement, Afghanistan was one of the poorest places on the face of the earth, even before the Soviet incursion provoked decades of conflict. Per capita income was, and remains, among the lowest in the world, and illiteracy rates – estimated by UNICEF to be 71 % – among the highest. Nearly one in four Afghan children will not survive disease to reach his or her fifth birthday. Afghanistan has recorded some of the highest maternal mortality rates in modern public health history. In the several years before 9/11 Afghans held the world record for the lowest per capita caloric intake in the world, perhaps with the exception of North Korea. The conflict against the Soviets, and subsequent internal power struggles culminating in the Taliban regime, lasted twenty- three years. Those years of warfare devastated Afghanistan, destroying roads, bridges, schools, and telecommunications facilities, while leaving much of the nation’s farmland and byways laced with anti-personnel and anti-tank landmines.
This massive destruction of Afghanistan’s infrastructure was matched by destruction of the nation’s institutions as well. Afghanistan virtually ceased to exist as a nation-state, with no functioning army, police, border controls, civil service or viable ministries to support the state. Long-standing ethnic and regional tensions erupted into communal violence, punctuated with widespread human rights violations and atrocities. More than six million Afghans fled to the relative safety of bordering countries, and the Taliban enforced medieval restrictions on those who remained within the country.
Four economies provided wealth and jobs in the country: a) the warlord economy (of weapons trade, kidnapping, and looting); b) the international aid economy; c) the drug economy, and d) traditional agricultural economy.
In short, U.S. and other international relief officials entering Afghanistan in early 2002, after the defeat of the Taliban, encountered a substantial humanitarian, human rights, and reconstruction crisis. These officials rapidly organized assessment missions, composed of representatives of organizations like the World Bank, United Nations operational agencies, donor nation development agencies, and NGOs, in order to prioritize the international response.
In the spring of 2002, USAID commissioned and funded a national survey of 1600 people conducted by the Feinstein Famine Center at Tufts University to determine what the Afghan people needed from the reconstruction effort, what survival challenges they faced in their families, how they coped, and what effect the years of terrible hardship had had on the social order. From these initial assessments, and ongoing contacts with representatives of the then-newly installed Afghan Transitional Authority and Afghan organizations, flowed an integrated U.S. government reconstruction strategy with the following elements:
1. Prevention of a major humanitarian catastrophe: Six months before the 9/11 attacks on the United States, USAID and NGO staff began seeing the appearance of pre-famine indicators brought on by five years of drought, collapse of the agricultural system, massive economic decline caused by Taliban mismanagement, and the destruction of the remaining Afghan coping mechanisms. USG teams were sent to Afghanistan in the summer of 2001 to organize a relief effort to prevent a famine. USAID’s Food for Peace Office, working through the World Food Programme and international NGOs, rushed 400,000 metric tons of food into Afghanistan, while the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance opened emergency transport routes, provided shelter materials, and began delivering medical supplies. USAID provided grants to UNICEF and NGOs for a nationwide immunization campaign against measles and polio, which vaccinated 4.2 million children, which prevented an estimated 20,000 deaths. Overall, these interventions and a relatively mild 2001-2002 winter combined to prevent what could have been a catastrophic humanitarian disaster.
2. Support for displaced person resettlement and refugee repatriation: Refugee and internally displaced camps, while sometimes necessary because the alternatives are so unacceptable, can mutate over time as they did in the case of the Afghan camps into breeding grounds for hopelessness, bases of operations for terrorist and criminal networks, and the destruction of traditional culture. The return of people to their home villages in Afghanistan was essential to restore some semblance of normalcy, allowing people to support themselves, plant their crops, and reconstitute their animal herds, instead of relying on international relief. The removal of the Taliban and prospects for progress in Afghanistan encouraged a massive return of Afghan refugees, primarily from Pakistan and Iran, all this supported by U.S. government contributions in excess of $330 million.
3. Establishment of a peace and reconciliation process: A conference of Afghans held in Bonn in November 2001 produced a coalition government, based not only on the Northern Alliance factions that had held out against the Taliban advance, but also included Pashtun tribes and other representatives of the Afghan populace. This "Bonn Agreement" specified a number of discrete steps to rebuild a political consensus in Afghanistan, including a carefully sequenced series of loya jirgas, or grand councils, and a constitutional drafting process, all leading to elections by late 2004. The Agreement also specified the creation of a Human Rights Commission, Judicial Commission, and other confidence-building institutions targeted at national reconciliation and institutional reform. These Bonn-generated processes provided the international community and U.S. reconstruction planners with a third set of tasks, which demanded sensitive negotiations; a tight, specific timeline; and daunting logistics challenges sometimes requiring the transport of thousands of delegates in Afghanistan’s rudimentary transportation system.

The flagship component of this peace and reconciliation process was the drafting of the national constitution, which demanded enormous commitment from Afghan leaders and support from donors, including the U.S. government. As the national embodiment of political consensus, the new Afghan constitution represents a very substantial step forward in knitting back together the frayed body politic after decades of deep-rooted conflict.
4. Restoration of basic government institutions and ministries: Without a functioning national government providing public services to the population, capable of restoring law and order, and seen by the Afghans as helpful instead of corrupt, incompetent, tyrannical, or predatory, the centrifugal forces pulling at the country would grow dangerously strong. This required a deliberate strategy of government institution-building, the rebuilding of physical infrastructure that ties the country together, and the provision of centrally-supported public services that improve life for the people even in most remote areas, in order to re-kindle a competent central government in Afghanistan.
A year and a half ago at the request of the Afghan government, USAID hired, jointly with government ministers, 1000 new staff to serve in their ministries (with ministers supervising them, but paid for by USAID): 879 professional Afghans (many from the Afghan diaspora) and 128 expatriates who bring technical and managerial expertise that is allowing the ministers to introduce higher professional standards for public services, reform management structures and processes, and root out corruption.
With colleagues from other international organizations, U.S. government agencies contributed to the resuscitation of key ministries and government facilities. Since 2001, USAID has helped rebuild 18 ministries, contributed to the UN Development Programme’s initiative to restart the salary payment system for government employees, established a telecommunications system linking Kabul ministries to the provinces, and even constructed day care centers at public buildings to allow women employees to return to their jobs. Other donors have invested and taken the lead in developing the judicial institutions of Afghanistan, without which there can be no rule of law or protection of human rights.
5. Re-creation of vital security institutions: As has been widely reported, Afghanistan’s security institutions – the national army, the police system, the intelligence services, the border and customs enforcement mechanisms, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of the Interior – had largely evaporated since the late 1970s, replaced either by ethnic and regional forces or, for a period, by the fanatical fundamentalism of the Taliban. Without a national army, for example, the ability to launch military operations would continue to reside with regional militias and regional military commanders, often collectively referred to as "warlords." And without a professional police force, trained in human rights responsibilities and modern policing methods, human rights guarantees embedded in a new national constitution will have little practical meaning for most Afghans. Substantial progress has been made in the security field. A new national army has been formed with several battalions trained, equipped and deployed. Police training, under the leadership of the German government, has commenced with many more police officers now "on the beat." And, among other reforms, the Ministry of Defense has adopted a reorganization plan to guarantee civilian control over the military establishment, multiethnic leadership, and sound management and budgetary controls.
6. Creation of a national economy and the stimulation of sustained economic growth, especially in agriculture: Long a commercial and transportation center for Central Asia, and a nation with the capacity to produce its own food needs, Afghanistan deteriorated economically during warfare and Taliban mismanagement to become, by the late 1990s, substantially dependent on international largesse to feed the population of 26 million. During the 1990s the U.S. government provided nearly a billion dollars in humanitarian aid to keep people alive, but no more. A critical component of reconstruction of Afghanistan, it followed, had to be the reestablishment of a functioning economy and the ability of average Afghans to earn a living.
Since an estimated 85% of the population is engaged in one form or another in agriculture (as farmers, processors or transporters of agricultural products, and as suppliers to the agricultural sector), the U.S. government targeted the restoration of agriculture and rural markets as the best short-term prospect to increase production and income. Agricultural recovery itself is a daunting task, requiring substantial direct investment in de-mining in order to restore fertile land to production, investment in rebuilding market centers destroyed by fighting (USAID has built 119 such centers), investment in farm-to-market roads (USAID is constructing 1000 kilometers), and investment in the vast irrigation networks on which so much Afghan agriculture depends. USAID, State INL and USDA are working together now in Afghanistan to provide alternative livelihoods, not just in agriculture, to small scale poppy farmers in Helmand and Kandahar, and hope to expand this effort to additional provinces next year.
In addition, economic recovery required reforms away from the farm in order to stimulate growth and investment. Such reforms include a stable national currency, development of internal sources of revenue to support the national government and public services, investment laws that promote rather than discourage private investment (indigenous investment and investment from abroad), and a functioning banking system, which had ceased to exist in Afghanistan. With technical assistance from donor governments and the World Bank, the Ministry of Finance has made dramatic progress in accomplishing these tasks.
According to data from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, production of wheat (the staple grain in Afghanistan) increased by 82% in one peaceful growing season in 2003, an almost unprecedented advance in such a short period, and a tribute to the industry of Afghan farmers, improved wheat seed variety—drought resistant and high yielding--provided by donor nations, and the fortunate arrival of good rains. While many problems remain on the path to economic recovery, a new Afghan national currency has been put in place, private banks are opening in Afghanistan, and a new investment law has been written to encourage private investment. Road reconstruction has begun on a substantial scale. USAID is rebuilding with smaller contributions from the Saudi and Japanese governments the famous 648-mile "ring" highway from Kabul to Herat (half of which is now complete). The EU and the IDBs are reconstructing the northern half of the ring road.
The results have been impressive the Afghan economy grew 30% in 2003 and will grow an estimated 25% this year, with good prospects for a sustained rate of national growth of 15% over the next few years.
Critical to the creation of a nation state is the sharing of common values, world view, and the creation of a national civic culture. Radio is one of the major sources of entertainment and news for Afghans: Afghanistan is a radio culture. USAID invested in a chain of 19 independent, commercially viable, radio stations, which have succeeded – through popular programming – in building a national audience. This has allowed the new government to communicate with its people, to encourage the emergence of a national culture above tribe and sect, to give voice to emerging civil society, to hold factions, ethnic groups, religious and political leaders accountable to the public for their behavior, and to tie the country together commercially and intellectually. The network is being used to provide distance learning to train teachers and health messages to women, and provide national coverage of the presidential and constitutional loya jirgas and elections, as well as international news.
7. Restoration of health, education and other public services. Unless the reconstruction effort transparently and directly improved the lives of the average person, the public would not see that the new Karzai government and its alliance with the United States and our allies made any appreciable difference in their predicament.
U.S. government reconstruction assistance has been heavily invested in basic primary education and the restoration of health facilities, with an emphasis on small rural clinics. In the health field, working with the Afghan Ministry of Health, USAID has established the goal of opening and staffing a functioning health clinic within four-hours travel of every part of Afghanistan’s scattered and often-isolated rural population. Over three years, USAID, working with the Ministry of Education, is building 502 schools, training 50,000 teachers, and printing and distributing 30 million textbooks to create a functional ministry of education and an improved school system.
In recognition of the particularly difficult challenges faced by Afghan women, U.S. government reconstruction efforts have directly supported the newly established Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the establishment of a "women’s center" in each of the nation’s 33 provinces, and accelerated educational programs for girls denied schooling during the Taliban period.
8. Close cooperation between Operation Enduring Freedom military operations and the civilian reconstruction effort: Simultaneously with the reconstruction of roads, bridges, ministries and schools by civilian agencies of donor governments, the U.S.-led Coalition, allied forces and, increasingly, the revitalized Afghan National Army have been conducting both offensive military operations against Taliban remnants and "stability operations" to bring calm to all regions of Afghanistan. To a greater degree than in many previous environments, civilian reconstruction projects and military operations have been strategically linked in Afghanistan. In the most remote border areas, where the possibility of attack from Taliban remnants remains, USAID reconstruction experts and State Department colleagues share housing and assessment duties with Coalition military forces, forming civil-military "Provincial Reconstruction Teams" (PRTs). In other cases, military personnel provide air and ground security to major reconstruction projects, like the Kabul-Kandahar-Herat highway, or even initiate smaller reconstruction projects themselves.

In many ways the Afghanistan reconstruction experience serves as a model for future post-conflict interventions in the post-9/11 world, and taking lessons from it and a dozen other reconstruction efforts the State Department and USAID have been involved in over the past 50 years since the Marshall Plan, is useful. It has not been without criticism, however: criticism that now requires some examination.


Among the most common of these are:
[image] The U.S. government has been too slow to respond or has invested insufficient resources in Afghanistan
[image] The U.S. government has relied too much on a bilateral approach in its reconstruction effort;
[image] The U.S. government has invested too much in regional leaders, and insufficiently in the central government of President Hamid Karzai; and,
[image] The U.S. government has relied too heavily on military forces in the reconstruction effort, or has employed those military forces inappropriately in the reconstruction process.
To address these criticisms, we would like to respond with some general observations about the reconstruction effort.
First, though the international effort to bring progress to Afghanistan is commonly characterized as a "reconstruction" program, it is in fact a "construction" program. As noted above, low levels of socio-economic progress in Afghanistan are not simply a reflection of war-time destruction. Afghanistan ranked as one of the poorest nations in the world before Soviet troop formations arrived in the late 1970s.
What was required in Afghanistan – and what has been undertaken by the United States and other donors – is a reconstruction program that provides short-term results, but also builds the foundation for long-term economic, social, and institutional progress. Donor nations must meet pressing immediate needs in Afghanistan while simultaneously building Afghan capacity for long-term progress. And while this two-pronged approach, with heavy investment in long-term development, takes longer to yield results – and is more subject to criticism that the reconstruction program has been slow to respond – such a strategy is precisely what is required in Afghanistan.
Nations are not constructed in one or two years. The damage of 23 years of chaos and war can not be repaired quickly; this effort, if it is to be permanent, stable, and successful, is a slow and difficult process under even the best of circumstances, which Afghanistan, clearly does not enjoy. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are still alive, even if contained geographically, with a reduced leadership, and operating ability. The war is not over.
While in 2002 the more modest funding levels for Afghanistan were focused on preventing famine and refugee and IDP resettlement, President Bush’s aggressive effort to accelerate the reconstruction process led to USG contributions in nearly $1 billion in FY 03, climbing in FY04 to over $2.3 billion, not counting the cost of Coalition military operations. The reconstruction program in Afghanistan is the largest in dollar terms, the most comprehensive, and the most complex in which USG has been involved since the Marshall Plan, with the single exception of Iraq.
Second, Afghanistan’s history of regionalism and ethnicity must shape the reconstruction response. A recurring theme advanced by scholars of Afghanistan’s history is the fluctuating balance between centralism and regionalism, between the struggle to create a viable nation state within the national territory, and the struggle to respect regional diversity. A desire for regional and ethnic balance contributed to the large and complex cabinet structure created during the Bonn peace process.
These complex issues of ethnicity and regionalism continue to shape the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan today, as the United States and other international donors analyze the impact of their programs. The continued relative stability of the Afghan government and President Karzai’s administration stand as a testament to the importance of balancing regional and ethnic interests as reconstruction proceeds. The high politics of national reconstruction is not an exact science; it is a series of prudently designed, carefully executed programs, which gradually knits back together the tattered social fabric at the community level; builds what will become in time a vibrant civil society; creates the national economic, legal and physical infrastructure needed to encourage private investment and a private market economy; restores essential public services; and strengthens the carefully balanced coalition of political, ethnic and regional forces needed to sustain the peace and complete reconstruction.
Looked at from a different perspective, the reconstruction effort is part of a two-front struggle, one front against radical fundamentalists; and the other against the centrifugal forces pulling the country apart. As has been noted by many observers of Afghanistan’s recent history, there are two primary internal threats to Afghanistan’s economic and political viability. The first of these threats is a resurgence of the Taliban or another radical fundamentalist group that would undercut the nation’s steps toward democratic capitalism. The second is that tribal elders, regional commanders and regional forces would remain strong, slowing the drive toward national cohesion.
International reconstruction efforts – especially, although not solely, those in the security arena, including efforts to rebuild the national army, police, and intelligence services – must balance these competing threats. Reconstruction programs must be designed to create a viable nation state in Afghanistan, and to overcome irregular authorities in the countryside. But, simultaneously, local ethnic/tribal leaders, which often provide a measure of regional stability, must not be dismantled before Afghan national institutions are fully functioning, thereby opening the door for a fundamentalist resurgence. This real-world requirement to balance the dual threats posed by regionalism and fundamentalism adds to the perception that the U.S. and international reconstruction program has been slow, and to the unfounded assertion that international aid has been too generous to, or insufficiently aggressive toward regional commanders/"warlords."
Yet, we would argue, the pace and balance of the current reconstruction effort has successfully moved us to a point in the rebuilding of Afghanistan that many would not dared dream of just two years ago: a functioning central government that is steadily extending its writ across the national territory; high rates of economic growth; the restoration of food security; the absence of any serious regional challenges to the Karzai administration; and, weakened fundamentalist forces capable of launching only the occasional terrorist strike.
Third, the reconstruction effort is shaped by the nature of Coalition operations. As former participants in international reconstruction programs organized under a Security Council mandate, in which the military forces on the ground were UN-mandated peacekeeping troops, we continue to be astonished at the number of critics of the U.S. reconstruction efforts who fail to grasp the essentials of coalition operations. This failing directly drives criticism that the United States displays a "go-it-alone" approach, or has relied too heavily on military forces in the reconstruction effort.
Simply put, Afghanistan is not Bosnia or El Salvador. The reconstruction program in Afghanistan takes place in an environment where sworn enemies of the United States and Western society remain actively arrayed in the field; it is not an environment where the international community has arrived to nurture the peace on which formerly competing factions have agreed.
U.S. military forces, with Coalition allies, continue to be engaged in active combat operations in Afghanistan, in order to ensure that those Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces that planned the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings are not in a position to launch similar attacks in the future. U.S. assets, both diplomatic and foreign aid, deployed to Afghanistan are also engaged in this battle against those who fundamentally oppose the creation of civil society, the protection of human rights and the building of democratic governance. To pretend otherwise, and to criticize U.S. reconstruction efforts for not matching those in, for example, Bosnia seriously misconstrues the nature of coalition operations on an anti-terrorist battlefield.
Fourth, despite the extensive critiques of military involvement in reconstruction activities in Afghanistan, the international reconstruction effort remains substantially civilian. Appearances can be deceiving. When US or international military forces undertake a campaign their equipment, their weapons, their flags, and uniforms make them extraordinarily visible, easily identified with their nation state or the UN. When they rebuild a school, their presence is visible and obvious for the same reason.
The international reconstruction institutions, such as USAID, the World Bank, UNICEF, or NGOs do not have uniforms, do much of their work through local staff and community groups, and government ministries. When they undertake a project their visible presence is light, sometimes invisible, deliberately so that Afghans can begin to take leadership. Of the total USG non-security sector reconstruction spending (approximately$3 billion underway or planned), about 2% is being directed by U.S. military forces, and 98% by U.S. civilian institutions.
Some in the humanitarian community argue the operational and philosophical wall they want to maintain between coalition military presence and aid agencies has been breached with regularity, endangering the theoretical neutrality of aid workers. While Western aid agencies may see themselves as neutral in the war against terrorism, they are not seen as such by Al Qaeda or the Taliban: Western NGOs and UN agencies preach equality between men and women, the full participation by women in the life of the community, the protection of human rights, the rule of law, and democratic institution building, clearly not the cultural values of the fundamentalist zealots.
Because of this clash, the remnants of the Taliban have increasingly targeted aid workers, a circumstance which has led to widespread criticism of donor governments not providing more security for the reconstruction effort. Our response has been the Provincial Reconstruction Team concept, which combines military security with State Department and USAID staff in the field working on reconstruction in an integrated fashion. The traditional neutrality principles advanced by international organizations in peacekeeping environments simply face a new reality in post-9/11 Afghanistan: we either provide security through military forces for the reconstruction effort or the Taliban will drive aid agencies and workers out of the regions of the country in which they maintain some strength.
The forces of civilization will not defeat terrorists on the cheap or with quick fixes: only a sustained effort over many years will yield victory. Our soldiers, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, have shown they can defeat armed terrorists in the short-term. But eliminating the conditions that feed terrorism is a long-term struggle, requiring a different category of weapons. To win the war in places like Afghanistan, we have to be willing to fight the war by providing better schooling, better health care, better long-term economic prospects, and more hope to those who now have virtually none. The West won the Cold War because of staying power; we need the same persistence in the war on terrorism.
It may indeed be true, as the much-quoted saying has it, that it is "hard to drain the swamp while up to your knees in alligators." In fact, the hunt for "alligators," in the form of Taliban remnants, continues, even as the swamp draining – in the form of a new constitution, a new investment code, new currency, a new school curriculum, and a hundred other efforts – proceeds. Much progress has been made on the military front, and a good start has been made on the full reconstruction agenda. The efforts underway, while incomplete, have been informed by sound assessment and U.S. government reconstruction experience in dozens of other post-conflict situations, and address the broad range of security and structural improvements needed in Afghanistan in an integrated, holistic fashion.
Thank you.

Released on September 29, 2004

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