This week, as part of the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Dialogue, President Karzai and Secretary Clinton spoke at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton said:
"We have put together on both sides a whole-of-government response. This is no longer president-to-president. As important as that is, or the occasional meeting between the secretary of defense and the minister of defense or the secretary of state and the minister of foreign affairs, we are building a very strong partnership that links together all levels of our government to work on these challenges that we are facing together.
"Certainly, the headlines are about our military and our defense and law enforcement challenges, but we are working very closely with the minister of finance -- and there's been great improvements in the economy -- the minister of agriculture, the minister of health and education. I could go on and on. So the implementation has already started, because following the opening meeting that we had in the State Department on Tuesday morning, groups broke off and went into great depth about the specifics as to what would be the follow-through. And as President Karzai said, we have some milestones along the way. There's going to be an enormous amount of effort put in by the Government of Afghanistan, with our support, in preparation for the Kabul conference. We heard a description at lunch with the President yesterday by Dr. Ghani about how we're going to be teeing up a lot of decisions. And it's going to be the Afghan Government that does it, but we are going to be in support of that.
"And that there then will be an implementation schedule following the Kabul conference. The parliamentary elections will be very important in September. And I met with the women ministers who are here just a little while ago, and there's a great number of women who are putting themselves forward as candidates.
"The story about what's happening below the surface doesn't get told often enough. And the ministers and the president and we on our side are determined to do so. And also, it is critical that we go into this with our eyes open. Even though we have extremely professional counterparts that we are working with on both sides, there are very serious problems and challenges. And that's why, as President Karzai said, the first step in his process of moving toward some peace effort will be this peace jirga on May 28th -- 29th, which will bring people from across the country for a consultation. The United States supports this. The United States supports the efforts that the president and his leadership and the people of the Afghanistan are pursuing."
Read the full remarks here.
Read more about the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Dialogue and President Obama's meeting with President Karzai on the White House Blog.