Welcome to our e-newsletter Vol. 38 January 2007  

President Karzai Meets with US Secretary of Defense Gates: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates traveled to Kabul on January 16, where he was received by President Hamid Karzai and Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak. Secretary Gates met with Defense Minister Wardak after his arrival for consultations on what should be done to counter the Taliban’s most recent campaign of violence and provide the security needed to reconstruct the country. MORE

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Travels to Afghanistan: President Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta received Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay on January 7. Minister McKay traveled to Afghanistan for meetings with Afghan and Canadian officials, as well as to visit Canadian-funded projects throughout Kabul. MORE
Foreign Minister Spanta Signs MoU with Indian Counterpart: On January 23, Foreign Minister Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta received Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Kabul. The Foreign Minister discussed security concerns, as well as expanding trade relations between the two nations and expanding regional connectivity. They joined representatives from the United Nations Development Program to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding for a 100.08-million-dollar grant from India. MORE

US Congressional Delegation Meets with President Karzai: US Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Evan Bayh and Representative John McHugh traveled to Afghanistan on January 14 for talks with President Hamid Karzai including discussions on whether more US troops should be sent to fight the Taliban insurgency. The dialogue included in-depth discussions of security, bi-lateral relations, reconstruction and women's rights. MORE

Foreign Minister Spanta Travels to Egypt to Strengthen Bi-Lateral Relations: On his first official visit to Egypt, Afghan Foreign Minister Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta met his Egyptian counterpart Mr. Ahmad Aboul Gheit. The two exchanged views on Afghanistan’s ongoing reconstruction. Referring to Afghanistan’s determination to deepen its relations with Islamic and Arab nations, Dr. Spanta invited Egypt to increase its role in Afghanistan’s rebuilding effort. MORE

Afghan Rugs Leave Lasting Impression at Atlanta Exhibition: January 21 marked the successful end of the highly anticipated four-day exhibition Afghan Impressions: Area Rug Artistry & Inspiration — a celebration of Afghanistan’s resurgent rug heritage and culture at the America’sMart Atlanta International Area Rug Show. America’sMart is the largest wholesale marketplace of its kind in the world, and served as the perfect venue for this first major showcase of Afghan rugs and other cultural products. MORE

Ambassador Jawad Speaks to Young Professional in Foreign Policy: Afghanistan’s Minister of Defense, General Abdul Rahim Wardak, met on November 21 with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to discuss security issues concerning Afghanistan and the region. In a ceremony at the Pentagon, General Wardak was awarded the Legion of Merit Award with the Degree of Commander from Sec. Rumsfeld. The Legion of Merit is a military decoration that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. MORE

New York Times Travel Section: "Kabul — raw, ruined, yet stirring back to life — had never seemed more magical": From nytimes.com: Jonathan Bean regularly takes foreign tourists on walking tours of Kabul with a single, unarmed Afghan security guard. “People love Kabul,” Jonathan said. “They’ve heard nothing positive about the place — that it was destroyed, that it’s dangerous. Then they get here and get a big surprise — they see a bustling bazaar city, full of life.” MORE

Miraculous Operation Gives Afghan Boy a Second Chance: The remote southwestern city of Farah is home to much heartbreak, but one boy’s story is giving both Afghans and Americans a reason to celebrate. Thanks to Californian surgeon Peter Grossman and Army Captain Jay Berendzen, a young Afghan boy will be able to experience the joys of a normal childhood. MORE

Afghan Songbook Brings Delight to Afghan Children and Nostalgia to Parents: For many years, Louise Pascale dreamed of the songs she heard as a young volunteer in Afghanistan, songs that she feared had been lost forever. Today Ms. Pascale has partnered with a number of cultural organizations and talented Afghan artists to create a stunning book and melodic CD of songs that have been making expatriate Afghans long for their childhood. MORE

Embassy Hosts Female Students from Afghanistan: As part of the Embassy’s continued partnership with the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, the Embassy invited a group of female student from Afghanistan to meet with Ambassador Said T. Jawad and Embassy officials for tea on January 4. MORE

UNAMA Poll: Returning Home to Rebuild Afghanistan:

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is conducting a timely online poll to determine public opinion on “Should Afghans living abroad now return home to help rebuild Afghanistan?” MORE

De-Mining Success in Afghanistan:

The UN Mine Action Program for Afghanistan (MAPA) has announced that it has cleared more than 126 million square meters of land contaminated with mines from January through November 2006, more than 17% of Afghanistan’s minefields. MORE

Afghan Civilians Stop Terror Attack on U.S. Base: From CNN.com: Two civilians thwarted an attempted terrorist attack Tuesday when a vehicle loaded with explosives attempted to crash through the front gate of a U.S. base in the Afghan capital, according to the U.S. military. The two men, an interpreter and a security guard, dragged the apparent suicide bomber from the vehicle before he could detonate explosives.  MORE

Afghanistan to Receive New U.S. Ambassador:

On January 18 President George W. Bush announced his intention to nominate William B. Wood to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.  MORE

Outgoing Commander says U.S. commitment Will Live On in Afghanistan: On January 21, commander of the U.S.-led Coalition forces Army Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry stepped down from his post after a ceremony in which the command and its accomplishments were honored. Lt. Eikenberry said that the United States is committed to NATO’s success in Afghanistan and will remain the single largest contributor of troops to the mission. MORE

"Kite Runner” Filming in China:  Khaled Hosseini’s award winning novel “The Kite Runner” has been adapted for film and is currently being shot in western China. Mr. Hosseini is working closely with director Marc Forster to recreate life in Kabul throughout the last three decades, from the hopeful days before the Soviet invasion to the destruction of ensuing war. MORE

Afghan Students Benefit from Fulbright Scholarships:

30 students from Afghanistan are expected to arrive in the United States in 2007 as the proud beneficiaries of Fulbright scholarships. The Fulbright program pays the full tuition and living expenses for foreign students who wish to study in the United States, and also helps those students navigate the often elaborate visa application process. MORE

UNODC Welcomes Development Drive to Tackle Opium Production: From The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) welcomed President Karzai’s decision in early January to allocate US$ 76 million for reconstruction projects in all districts located near the border with Pakistan. 600 projects in 88 border districts will focus on rebuilding of infrastructure facilities and investments for local people. MORE

Op Ed: City of Hope:

Last week I traveled with President Hamid Karzai to the historical province of Qandahar. I was born in Qandahar and spent the first seven years of my life there until I became a refugee in Pakistan and later the US. My earliest memories of Qandahar are still strong. MORE

Legislative Update: At this crucial moment in time, the Embassy of Afghanistan is actively engaging the U.S. Congress to provide the resources and commitment necessary to successfully rebuild Afghanistan. As part of these efforts, we will provide regular updates on meetings with key U.S. Representatives and Senators and legislation pertinent to Afghanistan and the region. MORE

Embassy in the News: This month, Ambassador Jawad published a Letter to the Editor in the Washington Post. He and Embassy Officials were interviewed by a variety of media outlets, including Newsweek, Time and the Miami Herald. Interviews were broadcast on CNN, BBC, and the PBS program Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria. First Secretary Ashraf Haidari was profiled by the Washington Diplomat. To read or watch these interviews, please click Embassy in the News.

Investment News: This month, numerous publications covered business and investment opportunities in Afghanistan. To read these articles, please click Investment News

Embassy Events: In the month of January, the Embassy of Afghanistan hosted Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. To view photographs from and read about Embassy events, please click on Embassy Events


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