Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Visits Afghanistan

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
October 20, 2011

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On October 19, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made an unannounced visit to Kabul, Afghanistan. Earlier today, the Secretary met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and participated in a roundtable with civil society leaders.

Following her meeting with President Karzai, Secretary Clinton underscored four points. First, the United States remains focused on the shared goal of a stable, sovereign, independent, and prosperous Afghanistan and a region free of al-Qaida and extremists who would try to undermine the progress that the people of Afghanistan have made.

Second, the United States remains committed to an inclusive Afghan peace process that ends the conflict, protects the gains the Afghan people have achieved in the last 10 years, and helps bring greater stability and prosperity to the wider region. Third, Afghanistan's future is tied to the future of the entire region both politically and economically -- that is why the United States is working with Afghanistan to secure commitments from all of its neighbors to respect Afghan sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to support peace in Afghanistan. The United States has also embraced a vision of Afghanistan at the heart of a New Silk Road, which will increase cross-border trade, investment that creates jobs and opportunities, and leads to broad-based prosperity. Secretary Clinton then outlined her fourth point, stating:

"...And the final point is that all of this work advances the plan for transition that Afghanistan and NATO agreed on at the summit in Lisbon. The transition to Afghan-led security has already begun, and we are identifying the next group of districts that will be ready to be handed over to the Afghans. This process will conclude by 2014, when Afghans will have full responsibility.

"But I want to be clear: The United States is making an enduring commitment to the people of Afghanistan that will not end in 2014. We will not abandon Afghanistan. We continue to make progress toward a new Strategic Partnership Declaration that will provide a framework for long-term cooperation between the United States and Afghanistan. We hope that this agreement and the clarity it brings will bolster Afghan and regional confidence that this country will not again become a safe haven for terrorists or an area for competing regional interests. Our work depends on an ethic of shared responsibility. The United States will do our part.

"Now, over the years ahead, our role and our military presence will change significantly, but we will remain committed and engaged. And we will look to work with our Afghan partners. We know that ultimately all of this depends upon the people and leadership of Afghanistan. And so let me just end by saying a word directly to the people of Afghanistan -- men and women from every ethnic group, every geographic area, every part of the political spectrum: The time has come for you to choose what kind of country you want. America cannot make that choice for you. Even your president cannot make that choice for you. It must be a choice by the people of Afghanistan with the leadership of Afghanistan working to make it a reality.

"I am confident, given the strength and resilience of the Afghan people, that you will make a choice for a future of peace, prosperity, and stability, where every Afghan boy and girl has a chance to live up to his or her own God-given potential."

You can read the Secretary's full remarks here, and follow her travel here on



California, USA
October 21, 2011

Nancy in California writes:

Thanks for all you do, Hillary. I LOVE YOU.

Ashim C.
October 21, 2011

Ashim C. in India writes:

The recent statements from Mrs. Clinton to the effect that Pakistan must choose whether it wants to be with US in war agaist terrorism following General Kayani's warning to US that Pakistan is a nuclear power and that US shoould think ten times before it interferes in safe havens of terrorist in Pakistan are an indication of atleast fast deteriorating security environment in South Asia. In delivering the warning to US, one hopes, Gen. Kayani may have tried merely to assuage the anti US sentiments in Pakistan, but the ve4ry fact an important leader of Pakistan's ruling elite can nurture thoughts and express them reveals what it takes for Pak leaders to satisfy fundamentalist terrorist given the present level of intensity of anti Americanism. It shows Pakistan may have been officially professing officially it's support to US in it's war against terrorism but Pakistan leadership has done little to justify this policy and position to the nation.

Now that the truth about Pak theory of non state actors as perpetrators of terrorism is becoming clear to US, Pakistan is naturally showing it's agressive intentions against US as a nuclear power. Mrs. Clinton is a very skillful in diplomatic language and one hopes that she will leave Pakistan giving the world and region creating an impression that things are not as bad in Afpak region after her talks with Pak leaders, but if that will change the fundamentals for US-Pak relation and implication of that not only for Afpak region but the rest of South Asia is doubtful. General Kayani's statement indicates that military establishment it has a need to be in jingoistic mode which may make Pakistan escalate terrorist or even it's millitary activities in Kashmir and other western Indian border states even as Pakistan and India are engaged in peace building process. In these efforts Pakistan in all possibilities has China to encourage it. Without this being openly acknowledged, one is affraid, US policy of withdrawal from Afpak region will not work out. US has to engage itself in South Asia through SAARC system with Pakistan included in it the same way as US is engaged in South East Asia and pacific region through ASEAN and then integrate SAARC with ASEAN economically, politically and strategically.

South Korea
October 21, 2011

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Before talk, Successfully finished the whole thing, going to a new era that will be a celebration. Risk, but everyone enjoyed the time I think.

However, the

Libya as a springboard for independence from Samsung can we do about it?

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only say to here....only today.

October 22, 2011

Beverly writes:

I read in parade about the haircut . I cut mine and was sorry I did. Please tell Hillary not to cut her hair.

California, USA
October 23, 2011

Sue in California writes:

Now that the State Department has taken over Walter Reed Army Medical Center, I would like to make a suggestion. Would the government donate the gazebo that is on the Walter Reed property to Knollwood Army Distaff Retirement Center? Many of the residents at Knollwood were stationed at Walter Reed during their military career and are very fond of the gazebo. The structure would make a wonderful addition to Knollwood's extensive grounds.


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