Ambassador Olson opened his remarks thanking Lt. General Muhammad Asghar, Rector of NUST, for hosting the event and supporting academic exchanges and linkages with U.S. institutions. Ambassador Olson’s remarks emphasized the importance of cooperation between the United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in order to support regional stability and prosperity.
Ambassador Olson began his remarks by saying, “…a strong relationship between our two countries [U.S. and Pakistan] is of great importance to regional stability and to achieving a more prosperous future for our citizens…One of the most critical ingredients for achieving regional stability and prosperity is creating a peaceful and stable future for Afghanistan.”
The Ambassador spoke about the results of the Declaration of Enduring Partnership signed between the Government of Afghanistan and NATO in 2010 to provide long-term security, economic, and political support to Afghanistan and the importance of regional efforts to its continued success. He said, “An increasingly stable Afghanistan that is at peace and enjoys productive relations with its neighbors will be an effective counter-weight against extremism. A stable Afghanistan is also conducive to economic development in South and Central Asia.” Ambassador Olson also highlighted the moment that the United States and Pakistan have to “… set future events on a positive course and seize the opportunity for a brighter future in Afghanistan.” He encouraged Pakistan to continue its efforts to strengthen relations with Afghanistan, adding, “There is much work to be done together on important issues, such as security, trade and economic ties, reconstruction and rehabilitation, and regional cooperation.”
The Ambassador reaffirmed the enduring U.S. commitment to Pakistan and the region, saying “The United States will remain engaged; we see our role in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region as one of a sustained commitment that is in our own national security interest as well as that of the countries of the region.”
Ambassador Olson concluded by calling on the students at NUST to play a role in leading Pakistan to a more stable and secure future. “You have an opportunity now to choose a better future, and put aside the differences of the past. Pakistan is a young society, and so is Afghanistan. Young people in both countries can make the choice now to set the course for a positive and constructive direction. I hope you will seize that opportunity. And rest assured that the United States is committed to supporting you in your critical role to help Afghanistan through this period of transition.”