Afghanistan

Afghans look toward more prosperous, secure future

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News and Press Release
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The State Department released a fact sheet March 24 outlining the progress made by Afghans and the Afghan Government towards "more prosperous and secure future."

The fact sheet stated that "significant inroads" have taken place to realize this goal, including the return of over 2.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes, the formation of a "stable, ethnically balanced government" under President Hamid Karzai, and the introduction of a new currency.

The country has also seen the construction of health clinics and schools, roads repaired, the return of women to public life, and an increase in security, according to the fact sheet.

The fact sheet states that Afghanistan is successfully facing its challenges, and the rest of the world is "witnessing the beginnings of a constitutional democratic government, the revival of an entrepreneurial economy, the reemergence of a rich and vital Afghan culture, and the recovery of hope in a people traumatized by decades of war."

Following is the text of the State Department fact sheet on Progress in Afghanistan:

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U.S. Department of State
Office for Afghanistan Reconstruction
March 24, 2003

Fact Sheet

Progress in Afghanistan

The Bonn Accord of 2001, agreed to by a traditional Afghan institution known as a Loya Jirga, laid out an Afghan-driven road map for the drafting of a new constitution and the holding of elections in June 2004. While much work remains to realize these goals, significant inroads have taken place. With a promise for a better future, over 2.5 million Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons have returned to their homes since 2001. Under the leadership of President Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan has formed a stable, ethnically balanced government that is working to provide basic services to the Afghan people and interacts constructively with the international community. Another significant step the Afghan government has taken is the introduction of a new currency designed to facilitate and improve financial transactions.

Development is occurring throughout the country as health clinics are built and roads are repaired. Women have returned to public life. Three million boys and girls have enrolled in newly opened schools. The country's security, too, is steadier than it has been in decades, thanks in particular to U.S. and coalition troops and increasingly, the presence of U.S.-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams in the countryside. Over time the newly created Afghan National Army will assume responsibility for maintaining stability, and the Afghan Government has made a firm commitment to a program of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration. As a result of these historic achievements and continuing progress, Afghans can look forward to a more prosperous and secure future.

The United States and its international partners remain committed to helping Afghans realize their vision for a country that is stable, democratic, and economically successful, and to an Afghan government committed to the protection of women s rights, human rights, and religious tolerance. So far, Afghanistan has risen to successfully face these challenges, and as a result the world is witnessing the beginnings of a constitutional democratic government, the revival of an entrepreneurial economy, the reemergence of a rich and vital Afghan culture, and the recovery of hope in a people traumatized by decades of war.

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(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)