On February 4th, I had the opportunity to meet with a group of four Afghan nationals, representing the Afghan NGO and independent media communities and enjoyed a spirited discussion on a broad range of issues of mutual concern. At the same time in Kabul, the U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Ambassador, Francis Ricciardone, was meeting with members of the Estonian Parliament’s Defense Committee, including Chairman Mati Raidma. In addition to the meeting with Deputy Ambassador Ricciardone, Raidma and his colleagues met with General Stanley McChrystal, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
These meetings demonstrate clearly the strong cooperation between the U.S. and Estonia to help build strong governmental institutions in Afghanistan. It is important that the international community, of which America and Estonia are two important members, continues to engage the Afghan people on the vital issues of good governance, freedom of speech and political responsibility.