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CELEBRATING A HARVEST OF HOPE
The Embassy of Afghanistan

11/02/2005

Washington, D.C. - As we celebrate Thanksgiving, Ambassador and Mrs. Said Tayeb Jawad of The Embassy of Afghanistan and Heidi Kuhn, Founder and CEO of Roots of Peace, will host a special celebration of a harvest of hope where Roots of Peace, a US-based nonprofit organization, has turned Mines into Vines by replacing the deadly scourge of landmines with bountiful vineyards of grapes in Afghanistan. Famous Afghan pomegranates, grapes, pistachios, almonds and vegetables—some recently harvested on former minefields and delivered fresh from Kandahar and Kabul—will be shared at a reception at 6:00 p.m. Over two hundred guests including members of the US Congress and Administration, friends of Afghanistan, media, and Washingtonians are anticipated to attend the event in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.

Although Afghanistan is rapidly rebounding after years of conflict, it remains one of the most severely landmine affected countries in the world. The rural and agricultural areas of Afghanistan have been the hardest hit. Landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXO) are still scattered throughout the country’s agricultural land, water ways, residential areas, roads, footpaths, and commercial areas. Over one million Afghans are disabled by the anti-personal mines planted throughout the country at various times over the course of the past two and a half decades of conflict.

Shortly after September 11th, 2001, Roots of Peace began its innovative demine-replant program in Afghanistan to revitalize the grape and raisin industry that was devastated by the years of war. Roots of Peace efforts have focused on demining over 100,000 landmines and UXOs from 40 vineyards in the Shomali Plain region which once produced over 70 varietals of table grapes. As a result of Roots of Peace’s programs, Afghan farmers celebrated a bountiful harvest of over 500 tons of grapes on former minefields in Afghanistan this fall.

Commenting on the event, Ambassador Jawad said: “I am very delighted to share Afghanistan’s fresh fruits with the supporters of demining agricultural lands in my country. Let us hope that the unique taste of these fruits opens up market opportunities for Afghanistan’s horticultural products in the US. I am very grateful to the Roots of Peace for its effective recovery work helping revitalize Afghanistan’s agricultural economy, as well as to many individuals who made the fresh delivery to Washington possible for the first time”

For more information, please visit www.rootsofpeace.org or www.embassyofafghanistan.org.

Contact:
M. Ashraf Haidari
(202) 483-6410, (Ex-811)
Haidari@embassyofafghanistan.org

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