United States Congratulates President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 29, 2014

Today we congratulate President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah on this historic inauguration. I have known both of them for many years, and they are both patriots committed to the success of their country. Never has that been more evident than in the spirit of cooperation and partnership that united them in establishing a government of national unity to fulfill Afghan aspirations for peace, prosperity and stability.

Afghans have taken a moment of challenge and turned it into a moment of real opportunity.

I also want to recognize President Karzai's contributions to the cause of democracy, development and security. It's no secret that our relationship with President Karzai has been punctuated by disagreements. But always, always, the world has recognized that he is a nationalist, a patriot, and an important figure who stepped forward when his country needed him, and helped profoundly shape one of the most challenging periods in Afghan history that has seen remarkable progress.

No one should forget for a minute what's been accomplished in Afghanistan. Thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of so many from around the world, in addition to the strides it has made in consolidating its democratic system, Afghanistan has made unprecedented gains in the life expectancy, health, and education of its people– particularly women and girls.

If I learned anything from my recent visits to Kabul, it's that the Afghan people are determined to choose unity over division and ensure that the first peaceful democratic transition in the history of their country will not be its last.

This is a beginning not an ending, and with all beginnings the toughest decisions are still ahead. As Afghanistan enters this new chapter in its history, the United States looks forward to deepening its enduring partnership with a sovereign, unified and democratic Afghanistan.