Welcome to our e-newsletter Vol. 65 May 2009  


President Karzai Meets President Obama in Washington: President Hamid Karzai traveled to Washington, D.C. on May 4-8 for an official visit during which he and a senior delegation of ministers met with their U.S. and Pakistani counterparts as part of a trilateral summit to discuss U.S. policy towards the region. During his visit, President Karzai met with President Barack Obama and other senior U.S. officials, spoke to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, engaged with members of the U.S. Congress, and spoke at a think tank and to the media. MORE


Foreign Minister Holds Bilateral Meeting with Secretary Clinton: Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rangin D. Spanta held a bilateral meeting with Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton on May 7. He thanked Secretary Clinton for organizing the second round of the trilateral discussions and pointed out that the Afghan and Pakistani delegations had substantive discussions on a number of key issues, including foreign policy and regional cooperation, agriculture, finance, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and law enforcement. MORE

Ambassador Eikenberry Presents Credentials to President Karzai: Retired Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry presented his credentials to President Hamid Karzai on May 12, becoming the new U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. Ambassador Eikenberry replaces Ambassador William Wood, who served in Afghanistan since April 2007. MORE

Ambassador Jawad Addresses Engagement with Taliban: During an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on May 12 launching a new report on Afghanistan, Ambassador Said T. Jawad directly addressed the issue of engagment with the Taliban and spoke of the need for institution-building as a key to success in Afghanistan. In discussing the Taliban, Ambassador Jawad highlighted the different types of engagement that are necessary. MORE

Political Counselor Speaks at USAID Swearing-In Ceremony: On behalf of Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad, Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari attended the swearing-in ceremony of Mr. William Frej, the new USAID Mission Director for Afghanistan, on May 8 at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C. Speaking at the ceremony, Haidari congratulated Mr. Frej on the new and critically important assignment. "Mr. Frej's assignment as USAID Mission Director for Afghanistan comes at a critical moment in our strategic partnership with the United States," said Haidari. MORE

'Hidden Treasures' Closes in Houston, Heads to New York: The critically acclaimed exhibit "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures of the National Museum, Kabul" recently ended a three-month run at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, where it attracted 317,000 visitors. It opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on June 23, where it will remain until September 20. The New Yoprk show will be the last in the exhibit's 18-month U.S. tour. MORE


Political Counselor Addresses Congressional Progressive Caucus: Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari spoke on a panel discussion titled "Afghanistan: A Road Map for Progress" hosted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus on May 13 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The panel focused on the current regional efforts undertaken by the Obama administration to help stabilize Afghanistan and discussed whether those efforts were enough to address the challenges facing Afghanistan and its international partners. MORE

New Power Line Lights Up Afghan Capital: The lights are on again in Kabul. And that’s no small change. For years, residents of the Afghan capital endured shortages of electricity, with power sometimes rationed to only a couple of hours a day. But thanks to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Afghanistan’s neighbor Uzbekistan, things are now looking a little brighter. MORE & MORE

'If You Can Take the Heat, Invest in Afghanistan': Isolated by poverty and war from the global recession and heavily dependent on expensive imports, Afghanistan can offer healthy profits to investors with a strong stomach for risk, one of the country's first fund managers says. "There are certain sectors that have tremendous investment potential: mining, gold, marble, telecoms, agro-processing." MORE


Political Counselor Speaks to Intl. Affairs Forum: Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari gave a lecture entitled, "Governance, Security, and Reconstruction in Afghanistan: Challenges and Opportunities" at the International Affairs Forum in Traverse City, Michigan, on May 21. Haidari thanked the American people including those in the State of Michigan for their strong support and goodwill for the Afghan people. MORE

Afghan Air Force Taking Off - Again: Afghan pilot Habibullah Khushiwal feels lucky to be alive after years of dangerous flying, sometimes at gunpoint and frequently in impossible conditions during Afghanistan's years of devastating war. Since then, the United States has taken the lead in training and equipping Afghan troops to fight a Taliban-led insurgency -- including the revival of the air force. MORE


Wheat Production Increases in Afghanistan: Two reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture have found that wheat production will increase and wheat imports will decrease in Afghanistan over the course of 2009 and 2010. According to the May 2009 "World Agricultural Report," wheat production for 2009 and 2010 is expected to climb to 3 million metric tons, double the production of 2008 and 2009. MORE & MORE
In Other News:Afghan Govt. To Preserve the Jungles (Quqnoos) ... Afghanistan to Get Its First Cricket Board (AP) ... Dynamite Sticks and Gem Stones (BBC) ... Madam President in Afghanistan? (AFP) ... Afghanistan Opens First Honey Processing Plant (RFE) ... Bringing Japanese Hospitality to an Afghan Valley (Reuters) ... Next Hot Tourist Destination: Afghanistan? (Reuters) ... Afghan Pop Idol a Boost for Democracy: UK Filmmaker (Reuters). MORE

Embassy in the News: This month, Ambassador Said T. Jawad's spoke to ABC's Jake Tapper about civilian casualties, told the Washington Times that Afghanistan was looking forward to working with Gen. Stanley McChrystal and stressed that terrorist safe havens must be done away with. Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari published an op-ed in in the Baltimore Sun and spoke of the steps needed to secure the rights of Afghan women. To read these and other articles and op-eds, please click Embassy in the News.

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