Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said military surge in Afghanistan has ramped up pressure on Al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents.
Ms. Clinton said President Obama is meeting the goals he set for its three-track strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“The military surge has ramped up pressure on al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents. The civilian surge has bolstered the Afghan and Pakistani Governments, economies, and civil societies, and undercut the pull of the insurgency. The diplomatic surge is supporting Afghan-led efforts to reach a political solution that will chart a more secure future.” -Ms. Clinton
According to Ms. Clinton, all three surges – military, civilian, and diplomatic – are part of the vision for transition that NATO endorsed in Lisbon last December and that President Obama reaffirmed last night.
Ms. Clinton reiterated President Obama’s plan to begin drawing down its forces next month and transitioning to Afghan responsibility.
“I will leave it to my colleagues from the Defense Department to discuss the specifics. But the bottom line, as the President said, is that we have broken the Taliban’s momentum. So we do begin this drawdown from a position of strength.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton reported that there should be no doubt about the results of U.S. investment, despite the very difficult circumstances. She said economic growth is up, opium production is down. Under the Taliban, only 900,000 boys and no girls were enrolled in schools. By 2010, 7.1 million students were enrolled, and nearly 40 percent of them girls.
She noted that hundreds of thousands of farmers have been trained and equipped with new seeds and other techniques. Afghan women have used more than 100,000 microfinance loans. Infant mortality is down 22 percent.
“Despite the many challenges that remain, life is better for most Afghans. And the Karzai government has many failings, to be sure. But more people, in every research analysis we are privy to, say they see progress in their streets, their schools, their fields. And we remain committed to fighting corruption and strengthening the rule of law in a very challenging environment.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton stressed that the United States will ensure to continue targeting terrorists and supporting a sovereign Afghan Government to implement it.