The government's revenue performance, as you just heard from President Ghani, who announced that three months ahead of time, they are where they promised to be � that performance remains strong as well, despite the many security challenges that it faces. And this summer, Afghanistan completed its accession to the World Trade Organization. And it has negotiated a new Extended Credit Facility with the International Monetary Fund. President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah also worked � are focused on the vital work of reforming Afghanistan's electoral system. I urge them to move forward as a matter of urgency to appoint electoral authorities and unveil a realistic timeframe for parliamentary elections. The right to choose one's government representatives through credible, free, and fair elections belongs to each and every Afghan. And that certainly includes Afghanistan's women. Where women are both secure and empowered to exercise their rights, we have all learned, particularly in the dawn of the 21st century but also in the history of the 20th century, that where women are empowered to exercise rights, societies are more prosperous and they are more stable. That is not true occasionally. That is true everywhere where you have women empowered and participating.
The Afghan Government deserves extraordinary credit for improving not just the numbers of girls in school, but women's representation in government and helping them to improve their socioeconomic position in society. Under the Taliban, the only right women enjoyed was the right to remain silent and hidden. In the Afghanistan of today, women hold 69 seats in parliament, four cabinet posts, two provincial governorships, and one out of every four seats on elected provincial councils. There are also more than 160 female judges. And while 15 years ago, those very few children, girls were in school, as we've heard President Ghani and others relate, today's 3 million kids are getting � girls are getting education.
But here's the importance of it: It's not just that girls are going to school today. We've been at this for 15 years. And a whole generation of children started to go to school 10 years ago, 11 years ago. And for those who are nine and ten years old or twelve years old, today they're adults, young adults participating in society, going to university, part of those people presenting their resumes to President Ghani to help with the future of Afghanistan. That's how transformation takes place and that's why our longevity, our prolonged commitment is so critical to this transformation. The gains made in recent years are absolutely indisputable. But they're also fragile. Collectively, we have a responsibility to ensure that positive changes continue and that they become permanent. To that end, I can assure you that even after our election in the United States of America, I have absolutely no doubt the United States is going to continue, there will be a renewed commitment, and the next administration will remain at this table as committed as we are today.
We pledge to deepen our strategic partnership with Afghanistan and to work with Congress to provide civilian assistance at or very near the current levels, on average, all the way through 2020. That is our financial commitment. And we expect to continue a significant � though gradually declining � level of support as Afghanistan later becomes more self-reliant through the end of the transformation decade.
We look forward to hearing other pledges that are made over the course of this conference. Every person here has a key role to play, but let me just say there are several countries that actually could help come together, and I urge Russia, China, Pakistan, India, and Iran to think about the special role that they could play in this region in order to help make a major difference not only in the long-term economy and future and social structure of Afghanistan, but in reaching peace with the Taliban. The more integrated the Afghan economy is with those of its neighbors, the more expansive economic growth will be, the more jobs that are going to be created, and the more investors will be attracted to the region. And I just remind everybody, when we started talking about the drawdown from 140,000 troops to 10,000, everybody said, well, my God, what's going to happen to the Afghan economy with the withdrawal of those kinds of funds and that kind of spillover into the economy? Well, Afghanistan has made that transition, we've made that transition, and ultimately, sustainable growth will depend on the private sector. So it's up to the Afghan Government and the leaders throughout Central Asia to create the kind of investment climate that will serve as a magnet to capital and thereby unlock the full potential of Afghanistan and the entire region. It's also important to remember that the pledges we make here are only as valuable as the degree to which they are implemented. We have to make sure that the funds we invest are wisely spent and they go as far as they possibly can.
With that in mind, the United States joins with other donors today to work closely with the Afghan Government to improve the efficiency with which they deliver our aid. And I'd just underscore this is a goal that our Afghan partners share. Their strategic vision is reflected in the new Afghan National Peace and Development Framework, the National Priority Plans, and the renewed mutual accountability indicators that will be endorsed today. These documents will serve as the blueprint for all of our assistance going forward. They will also enable us to hold each other accountable in the years to come. So, colleagues, we cannot forget what has brought us to this effort. Fifteen years is a long time. I don't know of any other opportunity where as many nations have come together in a coalition � except at the United Nations itself � and stayed as committed to an ad hoc effort that is outside the UN in some ways. I know many of our nations have now committed far more to this undertaking than we ever thought we were going to, and that is both in blood and in treasure. And I also know that the progress that we've made together, though substantial, is often overshadowed by what is blown up in the media as the challenges that still plague the people of Afghanistan.
I just ask everybody here to remember that in this new, interconnected, smaller planet on which we all live, where power is far less hierarchical and far more dispersed and there are many more players at a table at any given time, it is absolutely vital for us to succeed. There are not a lot of examples of that. And what we see that we are fighting against is connected, whether it's the attacks in Paris or in America or in Belgium or anywhere. If we don't succeed at this, we all know that we face a more complicated challenge in many ways. And that is because we are fighting a kind of nihilism. We're fighting a primitive and sometimes barbaric, destructive reflex resistance to progress and to modernity, obviously tinted with a great deal of religious distortion, extremism based on lies.
So we, all of us represented in this room, need to remember the old Afghan proverb that there's a path to the top of even the highest mountain, and there's no question that the goal we share � an Afghanistan that is prosperous and secure and free and peaceful � that's a tall mountain to climb, I know. But I hope everybody here will remain committed to recognizing that we're working against people who have no goal of building a health care system, no goal of building schools, no goal of respecting history, no goal of doing anything except telling other people how to live. And it is clear that everyone in this room, our Afghan partners particularly, have made a different choice for themselves and for the future.
And so I think what we're doing here today could not be more important and I thank everybody for being part of this effort.
Source: U.S Department of State