The Foreign Secretary visited Herat in the west of Afghanistan today and witnessed first hand that progress made nationally is being felt at the local level.
The Foreign Secretary was first briefed at the HQ of the Italian-led Regional Command (West) and discussed with Provincial Governor Nuristani the economic potential of the province, which has significant natural resources andmineral deposits including gold, iron and marble. The prospect of improved communication and transport links both within and outside Afghanistan could help the province realise its full potential.
The Foreign Secretary also visited Herat University to talk to a group of law and political science students. The group, which consisted of both men and women, raised a variety of issues including the important role education can play helping poor and vulnerable people being exploited by the Taliban. Similarly, the students thought that increasing the strength and capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces would help to both improve security and, as a consequence, development. The students spoke of the importance of human rights and women’s rights, but urged the international community to be culturally sensitive in the pace at which reforms in these areas are implemented.
Speaking during the visit, the Foreign Secretary commented: “What we’re seeing here is the expansion of education in Afghanistan. The development of this society goes along with the tremendous efforts of our troops and will allow Afghanistan to deal not only with its own security, but will enable it to have the education and infrastructure that is necessary for a more secure society.”