Today, President Bush Discussed Our Progress In Afghanistan, The Challenges We Still Face There, And The Strategy We Are Pursuing To Defeat Our Enemies And Achieve Our Objectives. The Administration recently completed a top-to-bottom review of its Afghanistan strategy.
America Has A Clear Goal In Afghanistan. We will help the people of Afghanistan defeat the terrorists, and establish a stable, moderate, and democratic state that respects the rights of its citizens, governs its territory effectively, and is a reliable ally in the War on Terror.
The President Is Asking Congress For $11.8 Billion Over The Next Two Years To Help President Karzai Defeat Our Common Enemies And Help The Afghan People Build A Free And Successful Nation. The President has also ordered an increase in U.S. forces in Afghanistan – by extending the stay of 3,200 troops now in the country by four months and by deploying a replacement force that will sustain that increase for the foreseeable future.
Afghanistan Is Making Significant Progress
Today, The Taliban Have Been Driven From Power, Al Qaeda Has Been Driven From Its Camps, And Afghanistan Is A Free Nation.
Afghanistan has a democratically-elected President and National Assembly.
Afghanistan's parliament includes 91 women, and President Karzai has appointed the first woman to serve as a provincial governor.
The Afghan economy has doubled in size since liberation, and since 2001, Afghanistan has attracted $800 million in foreign investment.
More than 5 million Afghan children are in school – and about 1.8 million of them are girls.
The United States has built or renovated 681 health clinics across the country.
More than 4.6 million Afghan refugees have come home in one of the largest return movements in history.
This Spring, There Will Be A New NATO Offensive In Afghanistan
We Face A Thinking Enemy, Who Watches Our Actions And Adjusts His Tactics – And In 2006, This Enemy Struck Back With A Vengeance. Escalating attacks were part of a Taliban offensive that made 2006 the most violent year in Afghanistan since the liberation of the country. This Taliban offensive was turned back by the courage of Afghan soldiers, fighting alongside NATO forces.
The Intensity Of The Fighting Decreases During Afghanistan's Winter – But This Winter, NATO Has Stayed On The Offensive Against The Taliban And Al Qaeda. This spring, there will be a new offensive in Afghanistan – and it will be a NATO offensive.
Additional Forces And Funds Will Help Us Implement Our Strategy In Afghanistan
Our Strategy Is Focused On Several Key Goals:
The United States And Our Allies Will Help President Karzai Increase The Size And Capabilities Of The Afghan Security Forces. We will help the Afghan government increase the size of its National Police from 61,000 people today to 82,000 by the end of 2008. We will help them strengthen the police by adding new civil order, counter-narcotics, and border surveillance capabilities. We will also help the Afghan government increase the size of the National Army from 32,000 people today to 70,000 by the end of 2008. We will provide them with more lethal and reliable weapons and help them add new commando battalions, a helicopter unit, and combat support units that will allow Afghans to sustain their own forces in battle.
Together With The Afghan Government And NATO, We Have Created A New Joint Intelligence Operations Center In Kabul – So All Forces Fighting The Terrorists In Afghanistan Have A Common Picture Of The Enemy. The United States and our allies will also work with Afghanistan's leaders to improve human intelligence networks in areas threatened by the Taliban.
America Will Work With Our Allies To Strengthen The NATO Force In Afghanistan. Today, Afghanistan is NATO's most important military operation – and defeating the enemy will require the full commitment of the Alliance. Many allies have made commitments of additional forces and support. The people of Afghanistan are grateful for these commitments – and NATO members need to provide the troops and support that NATO requires to achieve its mission in Afghanistan.
The United States And Our Allies Will Help President Karzai Improve Provincial Governance And Develop Afghanistan's Rural Economy. NATO is operating 25 joint civilian-military provincial reconstruction teams across the country to help the Afghan government extend its reach into distant regions, improve security, and deliver reconstruction assistance. In the coming year, these teams will help build irrigation systems, improve power production, and provide access to micro-credit. They will also undertake new efforts to train provincial and local leaders so they can be more effective in delivering real improvements in the lives of their citizens.
To Help Defeat The Taliban, The International Community Has Stepped Up Its Road-Building Campaign Across Afghanistan. So far, the United States and other nations have completed construction of more than 4,000 miles of roads – including much of the ring road that links key provincial capitals to Kabul, as well as rural and district roads. In 2007, we will build 1,000 more miles of roads.
The United States And Our Allies Will Help President Karzai Reverse The Increase In Poppy Cultivation That Is Aiding The Taliban. The United States is working to support President Karzai's efforts by improving the eradication capacity of the Afghan government and helping President Karzai expand alternative livelihood programs in provinces where poppy production has increased – providing farmers who give up the poppy trade with credit, seeds, fertilizer, and assistance to bring their products to market.
The United States And Our Allies Will Help President Karzai Fight Corruption – Particularly In Afghanistan's Judicial System. President Karzai has established a Criminal Justice Task Force that is pursuing public corruption cases. To support the work of this task force, the United States, Britain, and Norway are providing full time prosecutors, judges, police, and defense attorneys to act as mentors to their Afghan counterparts. The United States has built or renovated 40 judicial facilities, distributed more than 11,000 copies of the Afghan constitution, and trained more than 750 Afghan judges, lawyers, and prosecutors.
The United States Will Help President Musharraf Defeat The Terrorists And Extremists Operating Inside Pakistan And Work With Afghanistan And Pakistan To Increase Cooperation In The Fight Against Terror. The United States is helping President Musharraf equip Pakistani security forces that are patrolling the border regions with Afghanistan, funding the construction of more than 100 border outposts, and providing high-tech equipment to help Pakistani forces locate terrorists attempting to cross the border. We are also funding an air wing, with helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, to give Pakistan better security and surveillance capabilities.
The United States Is Encouraging Afghanistan And Pakistan To Increase Their Cooperation In The Fight Against The Extremists. In the coming year, Presidents Karzai and Musharraf will work to improve intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan and expand trade links between these two nations. The United States will support them in these efforts, and one way we can do so is by establishing Reconstruction Opportunity Zones on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to give residents the chance to export locally-made products to the United States duty-free.