I commend today’s announcement of the transition in leadership in Balkh province, from Atta Mohammad Noor to Governor Ishaq Rahguzar. The health of Afghanistan’s democracy depends on further strengthening institutions, resolving disputes peacefully and renewing public confidence in leaders through elections. My government and I applaud the Afghan government and ex-Governor Atta for putting the interests of the people of Afghanistan first. We will continue to support President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah and the people of Afghanistan in building a country in which every citizen of Afghanistan can live in peace, dignity and freedom. Former Governor Atta has been a leader and an important partner of the United States who has made valuable contributions to Balkh province and Afghanistan. We wish him success in his future endeavors. We also look forward to working with newly named Governor Ishaq Rahguzar.