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Senior Afghan Delegation Visits Washington

A delegation of senior Afghan officials arrived in Washington on February 23 for high-level meeting with the Obama administration and U.S. Congress. The delegation is being led by Foreign Minister Dr. Rangin D. Spanta and includes Minister of Defense General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Minister of the Interior Mohammad Hanif Atmar, National Security Advisor Dr. Zalmay Rassoul, Director of National Intelligence Amerullah Saleh and Director of the Independent Directorate on Local Governance Jelani Popal. Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development Mohammad Ehsan Zia is also in Washington on a separate visit.

The visit is meant to allow for Afghan input into the strategic review of U.S. policy towards Afghanistan, establish working relations between Afghan officials and their new counterparts in the Obama administration and work with Pakistan and the U.S. on a regional approach to problems such as terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond. Minister Zia is looking to attract additional funding and support for the National Solidarity Program, an effective and widespread rural development program in Afghanistan.

During the visit the delegation will meet with members of the Obama administration including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor James Jones to discuss the strategic review of U.S. policy towards Afghanistan. Members of the delegation will also meet members of Congress and the leadership of key congressional committee such as the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The trip will include a bilateral meeting between Foreign Minister Spanta and his Pakistani counterpart and a trilateral meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S.

Each minister will also participate in public speaking events at different think tanks in Washington:

Minister of Interior Mohammad Hanif Atmar

“Promoting Good Governance and Fighting Corruption in Afghanistan”

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 25, 10-11:30 a.m.

Host: Brookings Institution

Moderating: Dr. Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy

Q&A: Yes

Location: Brookings Institution, Stein Room, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW

RSVP: http://onlinepressroom.net/brookings/new or (202) 797-6105

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rangin D. Spanta

“A New Strategy for Afghanistan”

Date & Time: Thursday, February 26, 9-10 a.m.

Host: Center for American Progress (CAP)

Moderating: Rudy DeLeon, Vice President for National Security, CAP

Q&A: Yes

Location: Center for American Progress, 1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor

RSVP: http://www.americanprogress.org/events/2009/03/afghanmfa.html/rsvp or (202) 682-1611

Minister of Defense General Abdul Rahim Wardak

“Securing Afghanistan in 2009: Challenges and Opportunities”

Date & Time: Thursday, February 26, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Host: Center for New American Security (CNAS)

Moderating: John Nagl, President of CNAS

Q&A: Yes

Location: St. Regis Hotel, Chandelier Room, 923 16th Street NW

RSVP: srosen@cnas.org, (202) 457-9427

Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development Mohammad Ehsan Zia

“Development in Afghanistan: The National Solidarity Program and Beyond”

Date & Time: Thursday, February 26, 3-4 p.m.

Host: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Q&A: Yes

Location: CSIS, B-1 Level Conference Room, 1800 K Street NW

RSVP: pcrproject@csis.org

Related News: Afghan Delegates Likely to Have High-Level Talks in the U.S. (Pajhwok)

                           Afghanistan, Pakistan Figures Arrive for Talks (Washington Independent)

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