Welcome to our e-newsletter Vol. 67 July 2009  

President Karzai Meets with Holbrooke, Fields: Throughout July President Hamid Karzai kept an active schedule, meeting with senior officials from various countries and taking steps to ensure that the Afghan people can securely cast their ballot in the August 20 election. President Karzai met with Gen. Arnold Fields, the U.S. Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, and Special Envoy for Afrghanistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke; he chaired a meeting of his cabinet focused on election security; and met with senior European officials. MORE

Foreign Minister Meets with Deputy U.S. Ambassador: Afghanistan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta met with Mr. Francis Ricciardone, Deputy Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Foreign Minister Spanta thanked the Ricciardone for U.S. support and assistance for Afghanistan's reconstruction; the combat against terrorism and Afghanistan's stabilization efforts. MORE

Minister of Health Addresses Women's Health: Minister of Health Dr. Mohammad Amin Fatimie described the advances made in women's health in Afghanistan over the last eight years in a Capitol Hill briefing on July 14. During his presentation, Minister Fatimie pointed out that since 2001, access to health services has improved; the quality of health services has risen; more health services have been focused on children, women and the poor; and mortality rates amongst women and children have declined. MORE

Ambassador Jawad Thanks U.S. Soldiers for Service: In response to an increase in U.S. casualties in Afghanistan in 2009, Ambassador Said T. Jawad released a statement thanking U.S. servicemen and women for their service in Afghanistan. "I would like to convey our most sincere condolences to the friends and families of each of those that have fallen in Afghanistan," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. They are heroes and their valiant sacrifices are not in vain...they will each be remembered for their distinguished service and valor in this fight for a noble cause." MORE

Middle East Bulletin Interviews Ambassador Jawad: A wide-ranging interview with Ambassador Said T. Jawad appeared in the Middle East Bulletin, an online publication of the Center for American Progress, on July 21. During the interview, Ambassador Jawad discussed the new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan, the growth of the Afghan National Army, the role played by Afghanistan's neighbors and improvements in the disbursement of development assistance. MORE

Preparations Continue for Fast-Approaching Election: With less than one month to go until Afghanistan's second presidential election in history and first Afghan-led electoral contest in over three decades, preparations continue to ensure that all eligible Afghan voters can cast their ballots freely, fairly and securely. "Our first presidential election was historic, but this election will mark the continued maturity and growth of Afghanistan’s pluralistic political system," said Ambassador Said T. Jawad. MORE

Business Council Announces Entrepreneurship Competition: It has been long known that security not only means the absence of violence, but also the presence of opportunity. It is this principle that underlies the work of the Business Council for Peace, or Bpeace, and a nationwide competition they have announced for Afghan entrepreneurs. MORE

Ambassador Jawad Participates in Green Cup Polo Match: On July 18, Ambassador Said T. Jawad joined Washington, D.C.'s most green to support and participate in the Third Annual Green Cup Polo Match at the Capitol Polo Club in Poolesville, Maryland. The Green Cup was established to promote conservation and protection by bringing together committed parties to show support of those prominent organizations that work to solve today's environmental issues. MORE

Op-Ed - Let's Not Forget About the IDPs: On July 16 Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari published an op-ed in Eurasia Insight in which he advocates on behalf of internally displaced people in Afghanistan. "The world annually celebrates Refugee Day in late June, an event that helps raise awareness about the plight, courage, and resilience of the world’s refugees. By contrast, internally displaced persons have no day of their own. It is time for this discrepancy to change," he writes. MORE

Op-Ed - The Challenges We Face: Anything is possible. This may be a cliché, but for Rahila Muhibi, it is her life story and inspiration. From a remote village in northeastern Afghanistan, she rose against all pressures to become the first in her tribe to get a college degree and the first-ever Afghan to graduate from Methodist University in North Carolina. Along the way, she has accomplished so much more. MORE

Political Counselor Haidari Lectures at Norwich University: Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari gave a lecture on international stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, on July 18, 2009. He argued that as the international community began delivering on their firm commitment to Afghanistan’s democracy, the Afghan people would completely support them in achieving “our common objectives and interests towards global peace and security.” MORE

Afghan Mountaineers Make History: Afghan climbers have scaled the highest peak in the country for the first time. The two mountaineers made it to the summit of Mount Noshaq, 7,492m (25,000 ft) above sea level, in Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountain range on July 19. Malang Jan Darya and Amruddin Sanjar had to scale a sheer cliff face and battle against driving winds and snow to reach the summit. MORE

Teacher, Can We Leave Now? No: On July 18, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote: "I confess, I find it hard to come to Afghanistan and not ask: Why are we here? Who cares about the Taliban? Al Qaeda is gone. And if its leaders come back, well, that’s why God created cruise missiles. But every time I start writing that column, something stills my hand. This week it was something very powerful." MORE

Afghan Midwives Step Up to Save Lives: The war in Afghanistan may no longer be forgotten but the true victims always are. Women and children in the landlocked Asian country have continuously paid the ultimate price throughout the decades of conflict and war. But there are women in Afghanistan stepping up within the crowds of the forgotten and pushing past the barriers. They are training as midwives across the country to help bring change and save lives. MORE
In Other News:In Afghanistan, A Feel-Good 'Star' Search (Washington Post) ... Prospects For Environmental Protection In Afghanistan Improve (RFE) ... Chinese Group Begins Multi-Billion Afghan Project (Reuters) ... Moonlighting as Afghanistan's Musical Hope (BBC) ... Afghan Mine Clearers Rescue Artifacts (AP) ... Afghanistan - Where Tourists Go To Relax? (AP) ... Afghan Election Environment Improving, But Obstacles Remain (RFE) ... Dutch Success in Afghan Conflict (BBC) ... Ballots, Not Bullets for Afghanistan (Huffington Post). MORE

Embassy in the News: This month, Ambassador Said T. Jawad's spoke to Pajhwok News about the implementation of the new U.S. strategy and the Washington Times covered his statement thanking U.S. servicemen and women for their service in Afghanistan. Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari published op-eds in the Washington Times and Asia Chronicle. To read these and other articles and op-eds, please click Embassy in the News.


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