On this day last year, Vice President Biden was in Afghanistan meeting with President Karzai. He was there to assess progress on the ground as we move toward empowering a fully independent Afghanistan, capable of providing its own security and governance. (Click here for a photo gallery from his trip)
Much has been accomplished since the Vice President first traveled to Afghanistan nine years ago as a Senator, after the Taliban was initially driven out of power. On his trip last year, Vice President Biden said that while the United States will remain a committed partner in furthering progress in Afghanistan, it is the responsibility of the Afghan people to build and secure their country:
Together, we will work on a framework for future bilateral relations and a lasting friendship with the Afghan people and the American people. And going forward, we’ll continue to train and advise the forces and to provide civilian assistance.
Let me say it plainly, Mr. President, it is not our intention to govern or to nation-build. As President Karzai often points out, this is the responsibility of the Afghan people, and they are fully capable of it. As President Obama said it in a slightly different way, he said, “It’s Afghans who must secure their country. And it’s Afghans who must build their nation.” And we stand ready to help you in that effort.
For more information on progress in Afghanistan, see:
- The Way Forward in Afghanistan: President Obama addresses the nation on Afghanistan and his plan to remove 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011, and a total of 33,000 by the summer of 2012.
- We’re Keeping Our Promises: Vice President Biden speaks about the promises this Administration has made – and kept – when it comes to the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and our commitment to defeat al Qaeda