8591145833_87ab4c519cAs my time in Kabul comes to a close, I have such mixed feelings and it’s hard for me to capture my feelings precisely.  I am excited to go home, of course, but also sad to leave friends and colleagues, both Afghan and ex-pat, who have meant so much to me here.  Afghanistan is a country with both real possibilities and real challenges.  Like almost everyone here, I lost a good friend to senseless violence, and I will remember Anne and her work for the rest of my life.  And, I also know I am not alone.  I honor the many others, Afghan and ex-pat, who have lost their lives to violence, while doing their jobs and living their lives.

For me, honoring that sacrifice means that I admire and support the painstaking work done daily, by Afghans and ex-pats, to tear down the barriers to a stronger and more peaceful future for this country, and for the millions of people who call it home.  It’s very often done without fanfare and external recognition.  From the businesswomen and men creating jobs, to the civic activists, educators and civil servants, your work is critical.  You are all so important to the future of Afghanistan, as well as our collective future.  I will miss you all, but will continue to support you and all you do to build a future for Afghanistan where everyone – women and men, girls and boys – can thrive.