Today, Secretary Clinton participated in the London Conference on Afghanistan. The Secretary said:
"[W]e have just wrapped up a very productive conference and we have seen the results of cooperation in the international community on a number of very important issues. I want to thank Prime Minister Brown and Foreign Secretary Miliband, the Government of Afghanistan, and the United Nations for bringing us all together and sponsoring this important meeting.
"And I think that what we have seen is a global challenge that is being met with a global response. I especially thank the countries that have committed additional troops, leading with our host country, the United Kingdom, but including Italy, Germany, Romania. We also are grateful to all those who made their contributions known today. There are other countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, who are providing air space rights and other transit assistance.
"But as important as our military mission is, we know that force alone cannot achieve our goals. Last week, I released the U.S. Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy. Its goal is to support Afghan-led efforts to transform and strengthen their own society and ensure their own security. As we heard a lot today, starting with Prime Minister Brown and President Karzai and many others, the goal is to have an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned strategy, and we are seeing that translated into reality every day.
"President Karzai laid out an ambitious agenda for reform at his inauguration last year. There have been a number of plans put forth and Afghanistan has moved forward on preparation for a conditions-based transition to take responsibility for its own security and an agenda for development and governance, which is critical to the future. Among the decisions made today was to establish a Peace and Reintegration Trust Fund to support the Government of Afghanistan's efforts to draw disaffected Taliban back into society so long as they renounce violence, renounce al-Qaida, agree to abide by the laws and constitution of Afghanistan.
"Japan has shown an extraordinary commitment with its announcement of $50 million for the fund. And in parallel, the United States military has been authorized to use substantial funds to support the effort, enabling our commanders on the ground to support Afghan Government-led initiatives to take insurgents off the battlefield.
"We've agreed to support NATO's plan to work with the Afghan Government on the conditions-based, province-by-province security transition. As President Obama has made clear, our efforts will allow us to begin to transition our own troops out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. But as I said this morning and would underscore this afternoon, this is not an exit strategy. It is about assisting and partnering with the Afghans.
"Now, the kinds of reforms that President Karzai and the Afghan Government have announced are important, and we're going to watch them carefully and make clear our expectations that they be fulfilled. Among them are their efforts to combat corruption, provide more public services to people, effectively manage international aid. We also had very constructive conversations last night at dinner, hosted by Secretary Miliband this morning at breakfast, hosted by Prime Minister Brown and during the conference, about how the international community can support these reforms more effectively, including significant progress toward Afghanistan's benchmarks for debt relief from the Paris Club and international financial institutions.
"I also believe very strongly, as is apparent in what I say about this issue, that women have to be involved at every step of the way in this process. To that end, I unveiled our Women's Action Plan. It includes initiatives focused on women's security, women's leadership in the public and private sector; women's access to judicial institutions, education, and health services; women's ability to take advantage of economic opportunities, especially in the agricultural sector. This is a comprehensive, forward-looking agenda that stands in stark contrast to al-Qaida's recently announced agenda for Afghanistan's women, attempting to send female suicide bombers to the West.
"So the agreement reached today brings us closer to the goal of a stable Afghanistan and advances our efforts to combat the violent extremists who threaten all of our citizens."
Read the Secretary's full remarks here.
More information:Afghanistan: The London Conference