Welcome to our e-newsletter Vol. 55 June 2008  

Ambassador Said T. Jawad Speaks on U.S. Casualties: As we approach the Fourth of July, it’s important to reflect on the sacrifices that brave American patriots have made for freedom, both in the U.S. and in Afghanistan. In 2001, U.S. soldiers entered Afghanistan to liberate the country from the tyranny of the Taliban and help the Afghan people fight for the same principles that motivated America’s struggle for independence. The fight in Afghanistan has not come without sacrifices, however. Since 2001, 541 U.S. and 331 NATO servicemen and women and have lost their lives securing Afghanistan and defending freedom. These deaths are tragic, but they are not in vain. MORE

President Bush Signs War Funding Bill for Iraq, Afghanistan: On June 30, 2008 President George W. Bush signed a bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through late 2009. The bill, known as the Supplemental Approriations Act (H.R. 2642), was passed by the U.S. Senate on June 26 and by the U.S. House of Representatives a week earlier. It provides $162 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the case of Afghanistan, the bill will provide Afghan security forces with $3 billion through September 2009, the Economic Security Fund with $859 million, and $65 million for anti-narcotics campaigns. The measure also provides $479 million to the Commander’s Emergency Response Program. MORE

Paris Conference Yields $21 Billion for Development: More than 65 countries and 15 international organizations met in Paris on June 12, 2008 to outline donor contributions to Afghanistan for the next year. The meeting, which was hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, yielded some $21 billion for Afghanistan's development projects, the majority coming from the United States. First Lady Laura Bush was on hand to announce the United States contribution of more than $10 billion. "Afghanistan has reached a decisive moment for its future. We must not turn our backs on this opportunity," she stated. MORE

First Lady Laura Bush Travels to Afghanistan: On Sunday, June 8, First Lady Laura Bush arrived in Afghanistan for her third suprise visit. During her visit, Mrs. Bush met with President Hamid Karzai, members of the Afghan Cabinet, U.S. and NATO soldiers at Bagram Airbase, as well as Afghan civilians as she toured Kabul and traveled to Bamiyan province. The First Lady praised both Afghan and Western efforts and re-emphasized the U.S.'s commitment to Afghanistan. "It's very important for the international community to redouble their efforts so that the word gets out to the people of Afghanistan that the rest of the world is with you and that we're not going to leave you." MORE
Afghan Attorney General Visits U.S.: Afghanistan's Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabit visited Washington from June 24-25, 2008 as part of an official trip to the United States. During his visit, Attorney General Sabit met with various members of the Bush Administration to discuss the ongoing efforts regarding rule of law, justice and security in Afghanistan. After his visit to Washington, Attorney General Sabit traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend a graduation ceremony of 15 Afghan prosecutors that just completed a special training program at the University of Utah School of Law." MORE
Ambassador Thanks Gen. McNeill, Welcomes Gen. McKiernan: On June 3, 2008 Ambassador Said T. Jawad expressed his gratitude for U.S. Gen. Daniel McNeill's service as commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and welcomed his successor, U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, to the position. In a letter to Gen. McNeill, Ambassador Jawad wrote, "Since international reengagement in Afghanistan in 2001, you have made every possible effort to restore, keep, and sustain peace and stability in Afghanistan," wrote Ambassador Jawad. MORE

Benefit Hosted for American University of Afghanistan:

Hundreds of guests dined on Afghan food and received an update on progress made at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) during a benefit event for the university held at the Embassy of Afghanistan on Monday, June 16, 2008. The guest of honor was Ms. Joanne Herring, a longtime advocate for Afghanistan who was memorably played by Julia Roberts in the blockbuster "Charlie Wilson's War." Speakers included Ambassador Said T. Jawad, AUAF President Thomas Stauffer and two students from the university. MORE

Resolution Creates Reconstruction Opportunity Zones: On June 26, 2008, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced legislation that would create reconstruction opportunity zones (ROZs) in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The legislation would allow qualified businesses duty-free access into U.S. markets for designated products. If passed by the Congress, the ROZs will enable non-trade sensitive exports from Afghanistan and Pakistan such as rugs, gemstones and handicrafts to enter the U.S. duty-free. These exports would provide a compelling economic incentive for private sector investment in the two countries and become an additional source of jobs. MORE
Ambassador Jawad Speaks on Rule of Law Initiatives: Ambassador Said T. Jawad spoke to legal scholars, Stanford University Law School Dean Larry Kramer and alumni of Stanford University Law School in an event on June 19 that explored Afghanistan's state-building efforts through the modernization of its justice sector and the implementation rule of law initiatives. In his speech, Ambassador Jawad recognized that while Afghanistan's heritage and history once allowed conflicts to be resolved through traditional dispute-resolution mechanisms, the decades of conflict and current peace-building process require a modern justice system to be put in place. MORE
Embassy Hosts Benefit for Afghanistan Center: On Friday, June 20 the Embassy of Afghanistan hosted a benefit for the Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation and the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University (ACKU). The benefit event brought together friends of Afghanistan for the purpose of helping the Dupree Foundation raise the necessary funds for ACKU's new building. The Afghanistan Center was established in 1989 in Peshawar, Pakistan by Louis Dupree and Nancy Hatch Dupree. The center's purpose is to collect information, documents and cultural artifacts on Afghanistan, especially during the years of conflict in the country. MORE
Haidari Discusses Canada's Assistance to Afghanistan: Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari discussed Canada’s assistance to Afghanistan with a group of students from University of Maryland and Georgetown University on June 26, 2008. Haidari briefed the students on the many contributions Canada has made towards helping secure and rebuild Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. "Canada has been one of our key partners from the beginning, and we greatly appreciate the assistance the people of Canada have so far provided us, as well as their government’s balanced approach to peace building in Afghanistan," Haidari told the students. MORE

NPR Features Afghan Cuisine, Interviews Mrs. Shamim Jawad: On June 22, 2008 NPR interviewed Mrs. Shamim Jawad, wife of Ambassador Said. T. Jawad, in a segment on Afghan cuisine that included a recipe for a traditional eggplant dish. In the segment, Mrs. Jawad speaks of Afghan food and her childhood in Kabul, and she walks NPR reporter Daniel Zwerdling through the simple preparation of the eggplant dish, known as borrani banjan, by Chef Nasim Ahmadi. Afghan cuisine is a rich mix of a variety of regional and local cuisines, from Chinese to Indian. MORE

Afghan Geodesy and Cartography President Visits Washington: Geodesy and Cartography President Abdul Raouf Yari visited Washington, D.C. on June 2-13, 2008. Accompanied by members of the executive management of the Afghan Geodesy and Cartography Head Office (AGCHO) and Colonel Waris Khan Momand from the Afghan National Army, President Yari attended bilateral meetings and participated in technical seminars to discuss issues relating to the Afghan Mapping Initiative, a cooperative relationship between AGCHO and the U.S. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA). MORE

Washington Diplomat Reviews Hidden Treasures Exhibit: Now that much of the original hype surrounding the landmark exhibition “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul” has faded, what’s left to consider? Forget all the fanfare, lectures, films and other events that often accompany a major international display of ancient relics — especially one from a country with such global relevance. Forget too that the exhibition carries with it a rousing tale of intrigue, discovery and courage in the face of extreme adversity. A month after the exhibition opening, there remains a basic question: Is it worth seeing? The answer: Absolutely and emphatically yes. MORE

Foreign Minister Publishes Op-Ed in Washington Times: As a matter of history, destroying something has always been easier than creating it. For Afghanistan, three decades of conflict leveled the country's institutions and tore at its social fabric. And while the last six years of reconstruction have been marked by positive achievements, we still have a long way to go. The Paris Support Conference is an important opportunity for Afghanistan and its international partners to review joint achievements and correct shortcomings. It is a chance to share ideas on tackling the remaining obstacles in our arduous journey towards joining the international community as a progressive, democratic and prosperous nation. MORE

Wireless Milestone Reached in Afghanistan: This week, the two largest Afghan cellular communications companies, Afghan Wireless and Roshan, announced they had each reached two million subscribers. Afghanistan currently has over 5.4 million cell phone users out of a population of 32 million, and more than $1 billion has been invested in cell phone infrastructure. Minister of Communication and Information Technology Amir Zai Sangin has predicted that the telecommunication and information technology sector will be "the engine of growth for Afghanistan." MORE

Other News - Newborns, Potatoes and Skateboards: Afghanistan Strives to Register All Newborns (NPR) ... Netherlands Work the 'Dutch Touch' in Afghan Conflict (Earth Times) ... Spud Farmer Returns to Roots to Help Afghans (AP) ... Kabul's Kids Master the Flip Tricks as Skateboarding Invades the Streets (The Guardian) ... Should Buddhas Blasted by the Taliban Be Rebuilt? (Time) ... Teaching in Kandahar Requires Bravery (Toronto Star) ... Women Boxers Challenge Afghan Culture (San Francisco Chronicle). MORE

Embassy in the News: This month, Ambassador Said T. Jawad spoke to Al Hurra television about Afghanistan's relations with Pakistan and was quoted in a Washington Times report on the benefit event for the American University of Afghanistan. Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari published an op-ed on Pakistan's peace deals with the Taliban in the Middle East Times, discussed aid effectivness in an op-ed published in EurasiaNet, spoke to the Voice of America about Afghanistan's National Development Strategy and had a letter published in the Washington Times regarding security in Afghanistan. To read or watch these interviews and op-eds, please click Embassy in the News.


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