Welcome to our e-newsletter Vol. 44 July 2007  

Embassy of Afghanistan Expresses Condolences to the Afghan People upon the Passing of Father of the Nation Mohammad Zahir Shah:   His Majesty Mohammad Zahir Shah, former King and Father of the Nation, passed away on Monday, July 23 at the age of 92. The late Mohammad Zahir Shah was known as the father of democracy and a symbol of national unity in Afghanistan. The Government of Afghanistan has announced a 3-day mourning period, during which all flags will fly at half mast. President Karzai announced the former King's passing at a news conference in Kabul, praising the king for bringing development and education to Afghanistan. MORE

President Karzai to Meet with President Bush at Camp David: President Hamid Karzai will travel to Camp David for meetings with U.S. President George W. Bush on August 5-6. The Presidents will review their work together to enhance Afghanistan's long-term democracy, prosperity, and security as agreed in the Joint Declaration of Strategic Partnership of May 23, 2005. They will discuss progress in implementing Afghanistan's National Development Strategy, as well as steps to improve governance and fight corruption, justice sector development, and economic development. MORE
World Leaders Remember Father of the Nation Mohammad Zahir Shah:   On July 23 heads of state and leaders across the world expressed their condolences to the Afghan people upon the passing of the former King and Father of the Nation Mohammad Zahir Shah. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was "deeply saddened" by the death and sent his condolences to the former King’s family, as well as the Afghan government and people. Mohammad Zahir Shah will be remembered for the long period of peace and development during his reign," Ban said in a statement. MORE
President Karzai Attends Rome Conference on Rebuilding Afghanistan's Justice System:   Afghan President Hamid Karzai, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other top officials gathered in Rome on Monday July 2 for a major two-day international conference on "Justice and the Rule of Law in Afghanistan" in which the international community discussed how to strengthen the country's frail justice system, largely destroyed by more than 25 years of violence. MORE

President Hamid Karzai: "Hostage Taking Is Against Islam and Afghan Culture": President Hamid Karzai met with Baek Jong-chun, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun's Special Envoy, at the Gulkhana Palace on June 29. They discussed efforts to free the 22 South Korean hostages currently held by the Taliban. Mr Jong-chun conveyed President Moo-hyun's message to President Karzai and thanked him for his efforts to secure the safe release of the South Korean hostages. MORE

Embassy of Afghanistan Legislative Update for July 2007: This month, the United States Congress took a number of steps to examine and address important issues in the region, including holding hearings at the House National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Armed Service Committee. The Embassy of Afghanistan has been tracking these events and working with members of the US Congress to assist them in these efforts. Ambassador Said T. Jawad met this month with Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Evan Bayh. MORE
President Karzai Visits Turkmenistan, Builds on Excellent Relations: On July 5 President Hamid Karzai traveled to Turkmenistan for talks with his new Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov. The leaders discussed prospects for a $2 billion project that would pipe natural gas from energy-rich Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan. President Berdymukhammedov said his country was seeking to ship 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually through the pipeline. MORE

President Karzai Meets New British Foreign Secretary: President Hamid Karzai met with Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband, of Britain, at the Gulkhana Palace on July 24. During the meeting, bilateral relations, the situation in Afghanistan and the region, the fight against terrorism, the role of Britain in reconstruction and strengthening of security and the fight against terrorism and narcotics were discussed in detail. MORE

Ambassador Jawad Speaks with New Media Pioneers: In the month of July, Ambassador Jawad gave interviews with two prominent Blogs, the first given to “new media” outlets by the Embassy. In an audio interview with Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters and a video interview with Spencer Ackerman of Talking Points Memo, the Ambassador discussed the continued fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda, regional security, the nature of Afghan democracy, tribal dynamics, Afghanistan’s strategy to fight the invasive influence of narcotics, and the consequences of Afghanistan’s educational breakdown through 30 years of war. MORE

Second Annual U.S.-Afghanistan Trade & Investment Council Meeting Convenes: Afghanistan’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Mir Muhammad Amin Farhang concluded his third official visit to the U.S. on July 11, 2007 following the second official meeting of the U.S.–Afghanistan Council on Trade & Investment. In addition to bilateral talks with the U.S. government, Dr. Farhang signed a Joint Statement on Commercial Cooperation with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. MORE

Ambassador Jawad Briefs Congressional Committee on Afghanistan and Global Security: On July 12, Ambassador Said T. Jawad was invited to brief the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs on “Afghanistan’s Stability and Global Security.” Subcommittee Chairman Congressman John Tierney of Massachusetts along with several Subcommittee members and professional staff attended the briefing. MORE

Britain's Continued Commitment: Britain’s new Prime Minister Gordon Brown called President Hamid Karzai this month to reiterate his country’s commitment to the fight against terror in Afghanistan. Mr. Brown, assuring his country’s continuous support to Afghanistan, said Afghanistan’s security is the world’s security, and pledged more efforts in reconstruction. Britain has around 7,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, to rise to 7,700 in the coming months. MORE

Afghan Army Executes First Major Operation: On July 3, two Black Hawk helicopters swooped down into the makeshift base in the middle of a Taliban hotbed, and U.S. soldiers snapped salutes to the mission's top general - an Afghan. Afghan officers, with assistance from U.S. counterparts, planned and executed Operation Maiwand, their first major operation as part of a month-long offensive, taking a key step forward in building the capacity of the Afghan National Army. MORE

Ambassador Said T. Jawad Thanks American Soldiers on the 4th of July: In celebration of the 4th of July festivities celebrating the independence of the United States of America, Ambassador Said T. Jawad attended an Ambassador's reception hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice at the U.S. Deptartment of State. in a taped message, the Ambassador thanked American soldiers making Afghanistan and the world a safer place. MORE

U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council Travels to Afghanistan:  U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky traveled to Afghanistan July 16-20 to convene the ninth formal meeting of the U.S. Afghan Women's Council (USAWC). The Under Secretary co-chairs the Council with Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Afghan Minister of Women's Affairs Dr. Hussn Banu Ghazanfar, and Afghan Minister of Education Mr. Hanif Atmar MORE

Political Counselor Haidari Speaks with National Guard Training Team: Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari was invited to participate in the Leadership Development & Education for Sustained Peace (LDESP) workshop for the US National Guard Embedded Training Teams (ETT) at the Ft. Riley in Kansas on June 27. Members of the ETT will soon be deployed to Afghanistan to train the Afghan National Army (ANA). MORE

Political Counselor Aziz Discusses Afghanistan and Central Asia at the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service Institute:   The Embassy of Afghanistan’s Political Counselor Masood Aziz was invited to lecture on Afghanistan and Central Asia at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute on June 12. Mr. Aziz presented Afghanistan as vital to the development of Central Asia and the greater Central and South Asia areas. MORE

Virtual Exhibition: Afghan Artist Fatana Arifi: Fatana Arifi is an Afghan artist currently residing in Virginia who has created her own art form, Handasism, which uses bright colors and several geometric shapes to convey images and ideas. Arifi had never imagined a decade ago that she would be in America publishing a book and copywriting a new form of artwork. However, she has only completed half her journey. Arifi wants to paint full-time and tell Afghanistan’s story to the entire world. MORE

UN Celebrates 800th Birth Anniversary of Rumi: In a befitting tribute to renowned Afghan poet Maulana Jalaluddin Balkhi (Rumi), the United Nations observed his 800th birth anniversary at its headquarters on Tuesday July 3rd. The daylong event co-hosted by Afghanistan , Iran and Turkey was attended by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, General Assembly President Sheikh bin Khalifa, and Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations. “The messages of the Maulana are mirrored in the UN Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights, and we must live up to his legacy,” said Ambassador Tanin. MORE

Planes, Trains and Limousines: Growth in Afghan Transport Sector: Encouraging signs of economic improvement in Afghanistan are emerging, with developments in the private aviation industry, as well as those related to another - less conventional - form of transport. A limousine service seems like an audacious business venture in a country like Afghanistan. But Shams Limousine, Said Maqsud's company with a fleet of three used Lincolns shipped in from Los Angeles, appears to be doing brisk business in Kabul.  MORE

Everyday Heroes in Today's Afghanistan: Each day, men and women from the United States and Afghanistan are meeting throughout Afghanistan, from the markets of Kabul to the homes of tribal elders in the northern, southern, eastern and western corners of the country. They come from different backgrounds and different cultures, but what unites them is their shared dream of a prosperous, secure, pluralistic, free Afghanistan. The Embassy will periodically highlight their work in this section of the website. MORE

Major New Text Examines Afghan History: “Afghanistan: Political Frailty and Foreign Interference,” was recently published by Routledge Press as part of their Studies in Middle Eastern History Series. The volume, authored by Dr. A. Nabi Misdaq, examines Afghan history from the formation of the state until the present day, and is augmented by anthropological, sociological, and political theory, as well as study of the themes of the nation, nationalism, tribalism, ethnicity, and Islam as they developed over the past two and a half centuries. MORE

Land of the High Flags: Afghanistan When the Going was Good: Rosanna Klass arrived in Afghanistan in the late 1950s to discover a peaceful country filled with hospitable people, beautiful customs, and thousands of entrancing stories. In 1964 she documented her experiences living in Afghanistan and teaching at a boy’s school in a book, “Land of the High Flags.” As a young woman, Klass was drawn to Afghanistan, a country that was then known more as an alluring, mysterious land. MORE

Global Afghans Gather for Soccer Tournament: In the largest Afghan sports gathering outside of Afghanistan over 7000 Afghans from all over the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia gathered at the Discovery Center Soccerplex in the suburbs of Washington DC to celebrate the Afghan Sports Federation’s 10th Anniversary of 4th of July sporting events. The 4-day event began on July 5th in Fairfax County Virginia with 14 soccer teams, 10 basketball teams, 6 men’s volleyball teams and 5 women’s volleyball teams. MORE

Picturing Afghanistan: Two photography exhibitions, one in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province and the other in Toronto, Canada, are displaying images that reflect the complex beauty of Afghan society. “Today's Afghanistan in Pictures,” the first photo exhibition organized in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, was exhibited at the German-Afghan Media-Tech Center. MORE

Embassy in the News: This month, Ambassador Jawad spoke to Voice of America's Dari and Pashto services about the legacy of the former King, as well as to two prominent blogs, Talking Points Memo and Captain's Quaters. 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. Commerce Minister Farhang traveled to the U.S. to attend the Second Annual U.S.-Afghanistan Trade & Investment Council Meeting. To read these articles, please click Investment News

Embassy Events: To view photographs from and read about Embassy events, please click on Embassy Events


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