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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2004 > March

Remarks After Visiting Afghan Voter Registration Site

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Marian Lyceum High School
Kabul, Afghanistan
March 17, 2004

Secretary Powell remarks after visiting Afghan Voter Registration Site. State Department Photo I am very pleased to be back in Kabul and see all that has happened over the last couple of years and to see reconstruction activities underway. I am looking forward to my meeting shortly with President Karzai and members of his cabinet and also looking forward to visiting a provincial reconstruction team in Gardez, and also get briefings with the respect to the building of the Afghan Army and other security forces.

At this school I have been very impressed by the registration process that is taking place. Throughout the country right now some 8,000 people a day are being registered as we move forward with the process of preparing Afghanistan for its elections, for both the President and the legislature, in due course. I look forward to discussing with President Karzai how he sees that unfolding in the months ahead.

It was particularly impressive to see women coming out, women coming out in numbers. Some 28% of the people registering now throughout the country are women and in some parts of the country that number is as high as 43%. And it has been growing over time as women go back to their communities and tell other women that it is appropriate for you to register, it isnít hard, it is easy to do. And so, I think this is an exercise in democracy, and as I said to the women, civil society leaders that I just met with, the United State is in this for the long haul. They donít have to hope we will be hereówe will be here.

President Bush is totally committed to reconstruction and rebuilding of Afghanistan into a nation that will be resting on a constitution that will be a democracy, with an economy that begins to flourish, and where all people of the society can have hope for a better future. This is also the goal of the United States Congress and the goal of the United States -- the citizens of the United States. We are in this for the long haul. We are committed.

So, I want to thank the leaders that I met here today for the work they are doing, both the Afghan and UN leaders who were here today, who are running this registration site. It is also a pleasure to be back with my old friend Ambassador Khalilzad and to thank him and his team for all the great work they are doing.


Released on March 17, 2004

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