Statement on Road Construction in Afghanistan
President of the United States
Prime Minister of Japan
Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia
September 12, 2002
Since the horrific events of September 11, 2001, the Governments of the United
States, Japan, and Saudi Arabia have worked together both on ridding the world
of the scourge of terrorism and, following the success of Operation Enduring
Freedom, supporting Afghanistan's Transitional Administration, led by President
Hamid Karzai. With Japan, our joint work on this endeavor grows from the close
bilateral relationship that has long existed between our peoples and our governments
as reflected in the U.S.-Japan Partnership for Security and Prosperity, based
on our shared values, mutual trust and friendship, reaffirmed at Camp David
in June 2001. Similarly, the United States and Saudi Arabia have built a strong
bilateral relationship over the past 60 years based on mutual trust and respect
and a common vision of a just, peaceful, and prosperous world.
In November 2001, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Japan foresaw the need
for the community of nations effectively to plan how to provide humanitarian
relief and reconstruction for Afghanistan as the Taliban fell from power. This
culminated in the Tokyo Pledging Conference in January 2002, which yielded 4.5
billion dollars in pledges to finance Afghanistan's humanitarian and reconstruction
needs over the next five years.
Our governments have acted as leaders in the international community to address
the humanitarian needs of Afghanistan, including repatriation and resettlement
of refugees and the internally displaced.
While these challenges continue, it is now time for the international community
to take strong, visible steps to begin Afghanistan's physical reconstruction.
Traditionally, Afghanistan's key unifying transportation artery has been the
road connecting Kabul in the east to Herat in the west. This is the key link
in Afghanistan's "ring road" which also connects its northern provinces
with the capital.
To launch the reconstruction of this key transportation network, which now lies
in ruins, the United States, Japan, and Saudi Arabia are committing today to
reconstruct the road from Kabul, through Kandahar, to Herat to international
standards. We invite others to join us in this project. But to make clear our
determination, the United States is today committing eighty million dollars
toward this project, Japan is committing fifty million dollars focusing its
effort on the road from Kabul to Kandahar, and Saudi Arabia is also committing
fifty million dollars. Taken together, this initial funding alone should complete
the bulk of this roadway.
Because it is essential for Afghanistan's people to see the fruits of their
government's work and the commitment of Saudi Arabia, Japan and the United States
made real, we intend to begin initial construction before winter sets in and
will make every effort to complete the entire highway--from Kabul to Kandahar
to Herat--within thirty-six months.
We intend to use this project to foster opportunity for economic growth and
prosperity in Afghanistan. It is our belief that this road, along with others
that will connect Afghanistan to its neighbors north and south, can set the
stage for a complete transportation system, the lowering of tariff and other
barriers to trade, and the establishment of links through Afghanistan from the
Indian Ocean to Central Asia and from the Caspian Basin to the Far East. With
this vision in mind, we look forward to the day that Afghanistan regains its
place along the "Silk Road" connecting East and West in a highway
of mutual understanding, commerce, and peace.