For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 12, 2008
Fact Sheet: The Afghanistan Support Conference: Renewed U.S. and International Commitment
President Bush And The International Community Pledge A Revitalized Long-Term Commitment To Achieve Peace And Stability In Afghanistan
Trip to Europe 2008
Today, Mrs. Laura Bush addressed the Afghanistan Support Conference to reiterate President Bush's support of a strong international partnership committed to Afghanistan's recovery. This young democracy has made tremendous progress, but it still needs the full support of the international community for the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) to ensure continued political and financial assistance for Afghanistan. The First Lady's speech in support of a stable, democratic, and productive Afghanistan further reinforces President Bush's commitment to aid the men, women, and children of Afghanistan as they fight tyranny and radical extremism.
- Since 2001, the international community has worked to promote peace, stability, and reconstruction in Afghanistan. At the Afghanistan Support Conference, President Hamid Karzai presented his strategic plan to achieve long-term capacity development, sustained poverty reduction, and stable democratic governance in Afghanistan, with assistance from donor nations.
President Bush and the International Community Will Work Together To Further Afghanistan's Progress:
The Afghan government has made tremendous progress in the six years since the fall of the Taliban as it works to deliver the promise of democracy to the men, women, and children of Afghanistan. In 2001, an estimated 8 percent of Afghans had access to basic healthcare. Today, the figure is over 80 percent. Under the Taliban, there were only 30 miles of paved roads. Today, thousands of miles of roads connect Afghans and enable expanded trade and commerce. Under the Taliban, less than a million children were in school. Today, approximately six million Afghan children receive an education and a third of those are girls.
- The United States will provide additional funding for Afghanistan to further our shared goals of advancing democracy.
- The United States is pledging $10.2 billion dollars, a portion of which is dependent upon Congressional approval of the budget requests. This pledge surpasses the $5.9 billion the United States pledged in London in 2006.
- To build on developmental progress, the United States joins partner nations to support the Afghan government's new five-year development plan, the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS):
- The Afghanistan National Development Strategy was completed and approved by President Karzai on April 21, 2008.
- ANDS reinforces Afghan leadership of development in the country by prioritizing the needs of the Afghan people. President Karzai places agriculture and energy as top reconstruction priorities agriculture to promote food security and employment and to provide an alternative to growing poppy, and energy to support commerce and improve living conditions in both cities and rural communities
- The Afghanistan Support Conference demonstrates the international community's efforts to mobilize support for Afghanistan. At the Afghanistan Support Conference, the international community is building on recent security contributions by pledging funding to an effective developmental strategy. At the April NATO Summit in Bucharest, the NATO Allies and partners reaffirmed their support for the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, and this Afghanistan Support Conference builds on our joint security and developmental strategy for success in Afghanistan.
- Because of President Bush's sustained commitment, there are tangible gains coordinating efforts in Afghanistan. The combination of the Afghanistan Support Conference, the Bucharest Summit, and the appointment of United Nations Special Representative to the Secretary-General in Afghanistan Kai Eide show the progression of international coordination, with a focus on the upcoming Afghanistan elections:
- The Afghanistan Conference reinforces democratic progress in Afghanistan as a priority through a focus on obtaining specific donor commitments to the upcoming 2009 and 2010 Afghanistan elections.
- This funding will support voter registration, election administration, public awareness of elections, and logistics surrounding the vote.
- The United States looks forward to supporting the Afghan elections and supporting the United Nations' coordination of international assistance for the elections.