Today, Secretary Clinton spoke with U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan, where she said:
"I just want to make three quick points. First, we are here for a purpose, and this is a mission that is important to the United States and to those who have joined us in it. It’s a mission that partners with the people and Government of Afghanistan against a common enemy that poses a threat not only to people here, but people back at home, wherever you may be from. And that’s why I really express on behalf of certainly our country – President Obama and our Administration and the American people – our gratitude for your willingness to serve.
Secondly, we have to do everything we can to create the capacity of the Afghan Government and the Afghan people to protect themselves. And I was very pleased to hear today when President Karzai said that he hopes that within three years, the Afghan security forces will have the lead in important areas, and within five years – which is an ambitious goal, but he stated it – the Afghan security forces would have the lead throughout the country.
Now, there would probably be the necessity for continuing partnering, advising, training, but to take the lead and to take the fight to the enemy is what he said he wanted to see happen. And the only way that could happen is by the work that you do – the training, the mentoring, the support that you give to your Afghan counterparts. And we’re going to be giving you the kind of encouragement that you need to be able to help deliver on this goal that President Karzai set for Afghanistan.
Thirdly, I know that serving here is challenging. There are a lot of sacrifices, most particularly not being able to see your family and friends for long periods of time, and that many of you have been here not just once, but twice, three times, and I met somebody today who is on his fourth tour. So I really appreciate your willingness to serve, but I also know that for everybody who serves, there’s a family that serves as well, that’s trying to take care of everything and hold it together back wherever home is. And I hope if you email or you call or you write, you’ll let them know that I’m grateful for their service as well. Because we couldn’t have, in the United States, the superb, all-volunteer service we have if it wasn’t a family commitment. Parents, spouses, kids, everybody knows that when you sign up, there’s no predictability about where you’re going to be and how often they’re going to get to see you. And I guess as a mom, I’d say be sure you write home and email and all of that. (Laughter.)"Full Text