In his remarks about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s travel to the region, Special Chargé d’Affaires LIorens said Tillerson after his discussion with President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah said, “We are here to stay until we can secure a process of reconciliation and peace.”
Tillerson traveled for the first time to South Asia to reaffirm and hold in-depth discussions on the U.S. South Asia strategy with senior officials.
LIorens said the Secretary believed that it was important to meet with Afghanistan’s leaders here in Afghanistan at the beginning of the trip.
In his excellent October 23 meeting with President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah at Bagram Airfield, the Secretary made clear that the United States is firmly committed to working with the government and people of Afghanistan to create conditions for a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan free from terrorists, insurgents and the extremists who directly threaten the security of Afghanistan, the United States, and our partners entire world.
“This beautiful land, full of tremendous hope and promise, matters not just to the region, but also to the entire world.”
“The United States and our partners are committed to helping Afghanistan root out extremism and deny safe havens to terrorists.”
LIorens said the Secretary made clear that there are too many terrorist groups that find sanctuary and a safe place in Pakistan from which to conduct their nefarious operations and attacks against other countries.
The Secretary also pointed out that the terrorists operating out of Pakistan were growing in strength and capability and represented a direct threat to Afghanistan, all of the nations in the region, and Pakistan itself.
Tillerson also pointed out that their ultimate aim must to be to support peace between the National Unity government and those Taliban willing to reconcile.
“Such a peace settlement would be vital to the region’s long-term stability. In fact, Secretary Tillerson expressed interest in the Taliban bringing moderate voices to discuss peace and reconciliation with the Afghan government.”
” At the same time, he was unhesitant in his statement that those unwilling to come to the peace table and who continue committing terrorist acts will be dealt with harshly. “
Tillerson and Ghani in their meeting agreed that regional collaboration is critical to achieving a peaceful, stable, and prosperous future for Afghanistan.
President Ghani assured Secretary Tillerson that his government is firmly committed to implement reforms under the Afghanistan-U.S. Compact, including holding credible and inclusive parliamentary elections in 2018 and presidential elections in 2019.
According to LIorens, good governance and security are but two parts to the South Asia strategy, and of the Afghanistan-U.S. Compact. “Afghanistan is blessed with a bounty of resources.”
He said Afghan government must adopt market-based policies to attract private sector investment as the best and only viable means to create sustainable growth and create the jobs of the future for millions of Afghans.
“The United States and our partners will stand by the Afghan people in the fight against our enemies until the job gets done. We will also continue to build on the incredible progress Afghanistan has achieved in the last 16 years. I am confident that together, we can achieve a peaceful and sustainable future for Afghanistan and its people.”