U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has lauded progress made by Afghan women and girls in education, health, and entrepreneurship.
Speaking at an event at Washington's Georgetown University, Kerry and his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, said women's empowerment is key to maintaining gains achieved in Afghanistan since the end of Taliban rule in 2001.
"Investing in Afghan women is the surest way to guarantee that Afghanistan will sustain the gains of the last decade and never again become a safe haven for international terrorists," Kerry said.
The U.S. and Afghan governments are currently negotiating whether to leave in place a small U.S. combat force after the 2014 withdrawal of international troops.
Kerry said Afghan women need a seat at the table of any peace negotiations and the rights of both men and women must be respected.
With reporting by AP