On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send best wishes to the government and people of Afghanistan as you celebrate your Independence Day on August 19.
I have been to Afghanistan many times and seen firsthand the enduring partnership between our countries, which is founded on mutual respect and common interests. I have seen the people of Afghanistan work to build a peaceful, prosperous and unified nation that respects the rights of women and minorities in every fabric of society. The United States is committed to working with you and supporting the efforts necessary to achieve this goal and sustaining the gains that have been made.
There has been inspiring progress across Afghanistan in many sectors, including health care, media, education, women’s rights, trade and commerce. During the past year alone, the Afghan people have also taken significant steps to prepare for the coming security and political transitions, from the milestone event on June 18 that marked Afghan forces taking the lead for security across the country to the new electoral laws that set the stage for the coming 2014 elections. At the same time, Afghans continue to build their economy by working toward WTO accession, attracting private sector investment and developing their natural resources.
This progress is creating a better life for all Afghans. As you celebrate your independence, the United States shares your commitment to a strong and sovereign Afghanistan where Afghans enjoy security, peace, prosperity, and dignity for generations to come.