About the Author: Katie Dowd serves as the New Media Director at the U.S. Department of State.
On Tuesday night the world watched as President Obama laid out his strategy for U.S efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The President spoke to a packed auditorium of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. President Obama spoke of the challenges we face along with the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the region, and the world. He committed the United States to an even greater effort to bring stability to the region, and to secure us all from the threats of violent extremism. As he spoke directly to the people of Afghanistan he said:
"The people of Afghanistan have endured violence for decades. They've been confronted with occupation -- by the Soviet Union, and then by foreign al Qaeda fighters who used Afghan land for their own purposes. So tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand -- America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country. We will support efforts by the Afghan government to open the door to those Taliban who abandon violence and respect the human rights of their fellow citizens. And we will seek a partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual respect -- to isolate those who destroy; to strengthen those who build; to hasten the day when our troops will leave; and to forge a lasting friendship in which America is your partner, and never your patron."
He also promised that America will help Pakistanis realize their great potential by being a strong supporter of Pakistan’s security and prosperity. Building on the President’s message to Afghanis and Pakistanis, Secretary Clinton recorded a short message to the people of Afghanistan and to the people of Pakistan. Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton are committed to sending word to those on the ground in the region that the United States is committed to working with them and that only by working together can we ensure the security, stability and sovereignty of both nations for the lasting future.
In a new effort produced by the State Department, we are working to ensure these messages are delivered to our DipNote audience, and more importantly that they directly reach the people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. With Internet penetration relatively low in the region (around 2% for Afghanistan and 11% for Pakistan), we sought new ways to use technology to share these messages. So we have made messages from President Obama and Secretary Clinton available online and also for download directly from your mobile phone. To make sure the people the message reaches more of the people in the region, we have dubbed them in Dari, Pashto, Urdu and Arabic.
Building on the lessons of 21st century statecraft, we are aiming to continually listen, learn and engage people around the world. It is our hope that we can continually leverage new tools and technology to reach and engage people whether they are 10 or 10,000 miles away. We welcome your feedback on these efforts and your comments, and we hope that we can continue this conversation with all of you.
To download the Secretary and President’s message from your mobile phone please visit: http://oursmsvoice.com/
Click here to see Secretary Clinton’s message to the people of Afghanistan.
Click here to see Secretary Clinton’s message to the people of Pakistan.