Afghan Women on the March

On my very first trip to Kabul as secretary of state, I met Roya Mahboob, and she’s changing Afghanistan. Roya is chief executive of the software development firm Citadel. Roya is chief executive of the software development firm Citadel. She’s one of Afghanistan’s most successful Internet entrepreneurs. 

“You have to show everybody that men and women are equal,” Roya told Newsweek last year. “Women can do something if you allow them. Give them opportunity and they can prove themselves.”

Afghan Women aren’t stopping. They’re marching forward and we all need to march with them
Secretary Kerry on Afghan Women in OpEd in Politico. 

Listen to Secretary Kerry’s Morning Edition interview on npr with about Afghanistan and Syria.

President Obama Discusses U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy
Today at National Defense University, President Obama laid out the framework for U.S. counterterrorism strategy as we wind down the war in Afghanistan.

President Obama discussed how the threat of terrorism has changed substantially since September 11, 2011, and explained his comprehensive strategy to meet these threats.  MORE

U.S. Secretary of State delivers remarks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Jalil Jilani before their meeting in Tervuren, Belgium on April 24, 2013. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/04/207920.htm

A photo board with photos of Anne Smedinghoff, a Foreign Service Officer killed in Afghanistan, stands in the Diplomatic Lobby of the U.S. Department of State on the day of her wake, April 16, 2013. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]

A photo board with photos of Anne Smedinghoff, a Foreign Service Officer killed in Afghanistan, stands in the Diplomatic Lobby of the U.S. Department of State on the day of her wake, April 16, 2013. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]

Everything that our country stands for, everything we stand for, is embodied in what Anne Smedinghoff stood for…
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, April 7, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reflects on the life of Anne Smedinghoff, a Foreign Service Officer who lost her life in Afghanistan on April 6, and says she was as “everything our country stands for,” during his remarks to U.S. Consulate General staff and families in Istanbul, Turkey, April 7, 2013. Go to www.state.gov for details about the Secretary’s travel. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reflects on the life of Anne Smedinghoff, a Foreign Service Officer who lost her life in Afghanistan on April 6, and says she was as “everything our country stands for,” during his remarks to U.S. Consulate General staff and families in Istanbul, Turkey, April 7, 2013. Go to www.state.gov for details about the Secretary’s travel. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Deadly Attack in Zabul Province, Afghanistan

The outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, as seen on March 31, 2013. [AP File Photo]

On April 6, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement about the attack in Zabul Province, Afghanistan. The Secretary said:

"Our State Department family is grieving over the loss of one of our own, an exceptional young Foreign Service Officer, killed today in an IED attack in Zabul province, along with service members, a Department of Defense civilian, and Afghan civilians. Four other State Department colleagues suffered injuries, one critically.

"Our American officials and their Afghan colleagues were on their way to donate books to students in a school in Qalat, the province’s capital, when they were struck by this despicable attack.

"Just last week in Kabul, I met our fallen officer when she was selected to support me during my visit to Afghanistan. She was everything a Foreign Service Officer should be: smart, capable, eager to serve, and deeply committed to our country and the difference she was making for the Afghan people. She tragically gave her young life working to give young Afghans the opportunity to have a better future.

"We also honor the U.S. troops and Department of Defense civilian who lost their lives, and the Afghan civilians who were killed today as they worked to improve the nation they love.

"I spoke this morning with our fallen Foreign Service Officer’s mother and father and offered what little comfort I can for their immeasurable loss. As a father of two daughters, I can’t imagine what her family is feeling today, or her friends and colleagues.

"I also have been in close touch with Secretary Hagel, the White House, and our senior management team at the State Department, including Deputy Secretary Burns, Undersecretary Kennedy, and Ambassador Cunningham in Kabul. We will all keep in close contact as we learn more facts about this attack and the brave people who were killed and wounded. We are also in contact with the families of those injured.

"We know too well the risks in the world today for all of our State Department personnel at home and around the world — Foreign Service, Civil Service, political appointees, locally employed staff and so many others. I wish everyone in our country could see first-hand the devotion, loyalty and amazingly hard and hazardous work our diplomats do on the front lines in the world’s most dangerous places. Every day, we honor their courage and are grateful for their sacrifices, and today we do so with great sadness."

Secretary Kerry Travels to Afghanistan

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on March 25, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

On March 25-26, 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled Kabul, Afghanistan, where he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other officials to discuss a number of issues of mutual interest. 

“Today, Afghanistan is managing three very significant transitions: a security transition, a political transition, and an economic transition,” Secretary Kerry remarked in a joint press availability with President Karzai. “And America will continue to support the Afghan people through all three of these transitions just as we agreed to do in the strategic partnership agreement and in the bilateral security agreement that we are currently negotiating. We also support the Afghan-led peace process, the reconciliation—recognizing that the reconciliation is the best… more »