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Volume 28 :: February 12, 2006                  

In This Issue
  • International Community Renews Commitment to Rebuilding Afghanistan
  • President Karzai Addresses Trade and Investment Conference in London
  • President Bush Praises Afghanistan's New Democracy
  • Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah Discusses the Afghanistan Compact
  • Ambassador Jawad and Georgetown University Host Joint Reception at the London Conference
  • Embassy Reaches Out to Media to Discuss the London Conference
  • Afghan Parliamentarians Share Their Views on Afghanistan's New Democracy
  • Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky Committed to Helping Afghan Women
  • Ambassador Jawad Congratulates the UN Special Envoys to Afghanistan
  • First Secretary Haidari Briefs 10th Mountain Division Leadership on Afghanistan
  • Embassy Hosts Symposium on Women's Participation at AUA
  • Ariana Afghan Airlines Improves Air Cargo to Afghanistan
  • Indiana Soldier Writes of Hopes for Afghan Children
  • Vermont Couple Builds Schools in Afghanistan
  • Embassy Chef Demonstrates How to Make Afghan Cuisine
  • Afghan-American Fashion Designer Launches New Collection
  • Development Gateway Enhances Collaboration among Development Practitioners

International Community Renews Commitment to Rebuilding Afghanistan

The Government of Afghanistan and the international community met in the London Conference on January 31-February 1, and signed the Afghanistan Compact and introduced the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) to implement the Compact's objectives. The Compact reiterates the Government's security, governance, human rights and economic goals and timelines, while renewing international commitment to financing the reconstruction process based on the ANDS. Donors pledged $10.5 billion in reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan over the next few years. President Karzai expressed satisfaction and appreciated the world's attention to the plight of ordinary Afghans. "Four years on from the Bonn Conference, the people of Afghanistan have made great strides towards peace, stability and democracy. We owe our successes to the resilience and unfailing determination of the people of Afghanistan, as well as the generous support of the international community," the President said. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan endorsed President Karzai's statements: "After being forced to sacrifice so much in war, the Afghan people have willingly given even more to peace. They expect a peace dividend. And they deserve it."
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President Bush Praises Afghanistan's New Democracy

President BushIn his sixth State of the Union Address on January 31, President George W. Bush stressed Afghanistan's global importance, applauding President Karzai and the Loya Jirga for their advances in both the war on terror and the building of democratic institutions. "We are writing a new chapter in the story of self-government, with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan, and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink, and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom," the President stated. Afghanistan's Deputy Speaker of the House Fauzia Koofi and Deputy Speaker of the Senate Hamed Gailani were guests of honor at the State of the Union and seated by the First Lady Laura, signifying the US commitment to Afghanistan's new democracy.

Ambassador Jawad and Georgetown University Host Joint Reception at the London Conference

Ambassador Jawad and Georgetown University Host Joint Reception at the London Conference Ambassador Jawad and Georgetown University Chief of Staff Stewart McLaurin hosted a joint reception for government officials, nonprofit leaders and members of the private sector in the midst of the London Conference at the Berkeley Hotel in London on January 30. The reception provided an informal opportunity for Conference participants to meet before the Conference officially commenced. The Ambassador said, "This significant gathering of 70 countries presents us all with an opportunity to take Afghanistan beyond the achievements of the Bonn Agreement towards longer-term stability and development of our country. The Afghanistan Compact sets out our national priorities in the areas of security, governance, and socio-economic development, and human rights with the counter-narcotics campaign as a cross-cutting theme. It declares our firm commitment to addressing these challenging issues with the continued support of the international community based on the Afghanistan National Development Strategy to be presented at the Conference."

Over the past three years, the Embassy has supported the efforts of Georgetown University with a long commitment to engaging public and private organizations to help revitalize Afghanistan. In January 2002, Georgetown President John J. DeGioia presented then Interim Chairman Hamid Karzai with the President's Medal recognizing his dedication to Afghanistan's reconstruction. Georgetown also hosted the Afghanistan-America Summit on Recovery and Reconstruction the following July 2002, bringing together seven Afghan cabinet ministers, top U.S. government officials, industry leaders and experts in development, health, and human rights to the campus to explore ways in which the international community and the Afghan government could address Afghanistan's most pressing needs. In November 2003, Georgetown convened its second Afghanistan-America Summit on Recovery and Reconstruction to assess the progress made and significant challenges ahead in the recovery and reconstruction of the country.
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Afghan Parliamentarians Share Their Views on Afghanistan's New Democracy

Afghan Parliamentarians...Sayed Hamed Gailani, First Deputy Speaker of the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of the Afghan National Assembly), and Fawzia Koofi, Second Deputy Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Afghan National Assembly) were special guests of President Bush at the State of the Union Address on January 31. They spoke on "Afghan Democracy: Challenges for the New Parliament" at the National Endowment for Democracy on February 2. Speaker Gailani stressed the importance of continuing exchanges between the new parliament and other countries, to learn from their experience. He invited Afghanistan's allies to "come forward and interact with parliamentarians, to educate them and to help them mature," yet he also noted that a successful democracy must account for the particular cultural values of its society. "There is so much to learn about rights and parameters of responsibilities," he added. "Freedom is a blessing of God; to preserve it, we need mutual responsibility and understanding."

In her remarks, Speaker Koofi described the gender issues facing Afghanistan, citing the country's 14 percent literacy rate for Afghan women, and the highest female mortality and infant mortality rates in the region as indicators that while substantial progress has been made since the 2001 Bonn Conference, the country's real challenges start now. These include addressing the lack of infrastructure, health facilities, quality schools, sustainable and licit livelihoods, and strengthening women's capacity. The Speakers talked optimistically about the situation for Afghan women. "Women's political participation is not just symbolic. Thirty percent participation of women will strengthen democracy," Speaker Koofi explained. That 17 women won parliamentary seats coming on their own votes-without the set-aside seats reserved for women during the elections, reflects a new culture of acceptance signaling hope for the future. "If you don't have challenges, it's not a democracy," she added. The parliamentarians agreed with President Karzai's recent request for international aid to be channeled through the Afghan government. "Afghans want the reconstruction of their country to be a transparent process. The construction of basic infrastructure should be done in a country context and not by small projects," said Speaker Koofi.
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Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky Committed to Helping Afghan Women

Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky Committed to Helping Afghan WomenU.S. Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs and Democracy Paula Dobriansky joined Ambassador and Shamim Jawad in a dinner reception attended by other dignitaries on January 5 at the Embassy. A guest of honor, Undersecretary Dobriansky expressed her continued support to government and people of Afghanistan. Ambassador Jawad noted with gratitude the efforts of the Undersecretary to help Afghanistan rebuild, particularly her role as co-chair of the US-Afghan Women's Council. Presidents Bush and Karzai established the Council in January 2002 as a means to help empower the women of Afghanistan in the society. Undersecretary Dobriansky has led the efforts of the Council in enhancing the status of Afghan women in the society through economic empowerment, education and literacy, legal protection, political participation and access to healthcare.
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Embassy Hosts Symposium on Women's Participation at AUA

Embassy Hosts Symposium on Women's Participation at AUAThe Embassy hosted an informative symposium to discuss women's participation at the American University of Afghanistan (AUA) on January 17. The symposium brought together scholars, experts, government officials, and other interested parties from a wide variety of institutions and perspectives. Ambassador Jawad remarked on the importance of establishing private schools in Afghanistan, and called AUA a substantial long-term development project. Afghanistan's Former Minister of Higher Education Sharif Fayez, founder and president of the University, addressed the audience and asked for public and private support to help AUA achieve its mission of enhancing Afghanistan's scarce human capital. Women's Affairs Officer Maryam Qudrat discussed an initiative to introduce a Women and Politics Institute at AUA. Based on the existing models at American universities, the Institute would serve as a mechanism to advance women's issues, support professional development and leadership skills, and strengthen women's participation in the Afghan society. The American University of Afghanistan is the first private university in Afghanistan, and will offer undergraduate degree programs in business administration and information & communication technology. AUA will be co-educational and instruct in English. The first pre-academic orientation begins in March 2006.
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Indiana Soldier Writes of Hopes for Afghan Children

Children of AfghanistanAfter a 7-month tour of duty, CPL. Chad M. Urban of Indiana recently wrote to the South Bend Tribune newspaper to express his emotions, while interacting with and protecting children in Afghanistan. "Look, here comes the little girl who always trades a big smile in return for some candy thrown her way. And look, there's the little boy playing ball who looks just like your little brother Jordan. They're probably not all that different really. In a different world, they could have easily been the closest of friends. The kids are so innocent, I swear. Every time you drive through their villages, you are the main star in their parade. And I can see the look in their eyes. A look of hope," wrote CPL.
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Vermont Couple Builds Schools in Afghanistan

Vermont Couple Builds Schools in AfghanistanDonald and Sally Donovan Goodrich from Bennington, Vermont have quit profitable jobs in the private sector in order to raise money to build schools in Afghanistan. They have already helped build a twenty-five room building for 500 students, and are in the planning stages of a second building venture. The couple's efforts were driven in part by the death of their son in the September 11th terrorist attacks. Despite recent violence directed against schoolteachers in Afghanistan, Ms. Donovan stressed the importance of giving girls a basic education. "There is a tremendous need for schools in Afghanistan," she said. "My goal is to live in a way that honors my child and to move Afghanistan forward in a way that respects the plan the Afghani government has for the country."
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Afghan-American Fashion Designer Launches New Collection

Samira AtashHoping to dispel the image of Afghanistan as a war-torn and impoverished land, fashion designer Samira Atash draws upon her country's rich cultural history for inspiration as she designs clothing, jewelry and other accessories. Ancient tribal motifs, expert craftsmanship, and beautiful fabrics are the trademarks of Samira's clothing and accessories, which were nominated for Fashion Group International's 2005 Rising Star Award. Clothing characteristics include high necklines, long sleeves and long hems, for a simultaneously modest and contemporary look. The designs are complimented by high-quality, synthetic-free organic fabrics. Samira hopes to stimulate trade and public diplomacy by exposing Americans to the eye-catching potential of Afghan fashion. Furthermore, Samira's efforts encourage responsible consumption by maintaining humane working conditions in Afghanistan. To peruse or purchase Samira's beautiful items, visit http://www.samiradesigns.com/.
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Development Gateway Enhances Collaboration among Development Practitioners

Development GatewayThe Development Gateway has launched a portal dedicated to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. The Development Gateway is an online community that promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration among development practitioners. The Afghanistan Reconstruction page gives participating individuals and organizations the ability to connect with a community of nearly 6,000 practitioners, find more than 3,000 reports and news articles, join in online discussions, find job announcements, and access 1,700 records on Afghanistan-related development projects. To join this growing online community, visit<topics.developmentgateway.org/afghanistan>.
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M. Ashraf Haidari - Editor
Embassy of Afghanistan
2341 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202.483.6410
Fax: 202.483.6488
<www.embassyofafghanistan.org>

In the Media
London Conference The Government of Afghanistan and its international partners from more than 60 countries met in the London Conference on January 31 and February 1 to reaffirm their long-term political and economic commitment to Afghanistan. Please read below.

Statement from Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad

In the Media"This Conference is a tremendous success for us. We are here to celebrate the significant achievements of the government of Afghanistan in partnership with the international community, as well as the reaffirmation of our commitment and shared vision to strengthen peace and build a pluralistic and prosperous society. The Afghanistan Compact and the National Development Strategy (NDS) set out our national priorities in the areas of security, governance, socio-economic development, human rights, and counter-narcotics. The execution of the Afghanistan Compact and the launching of the NDS further prove that the Afghan government is not only committed, but has also acquired significant capacity to set forth national priorities and deliver services to people."
- From Ambassador Jawad's remarks delivered at the London Conference reception.

Message from the Editor
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President Karzai Addresses Trade and Investment Conference in London

President KarzaiLondon's Asia House hosted President Karzai at a conference on trade and investment that coincided with the high profile London Conference on Afghanistan. The conference explored trade and investment opportunities arising from Afghanistan's increasing political stability. The conference focused on private sector commitments to Afghanistan and examined the ways in which increased trade and investment have stimulated economic development and helped expand opportunities for the Afghan people. President Karzai was joined by US Undersecretary for Economic and Business Affairs Josette Shiner, the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA), and business delegations from Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Europe. Ambassador Jawad attended the conference, and the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington assisted AISA to organize the event.

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Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah Discusses the Afghanistan Compact

Foreign Minister Dr. AbdullahSpeaking at London's Royal Institute of International Affairs just before the London Conference, Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah urged the international community to endorse the Afghanistan Compact on January 31. He reminded the audience of Afghanistan's recent achievements, the drafting of the constitution, the parliamentary and presidential elections, and the return of 3.5 million refugees. However, he stressed: "It is not job done... The challenges are as big as they were in the past." The Foreign Minister also addressed concerns about security and narcotics, while affirming that the Afghan government would increase its ownership of the rebuilding process. "We hope that we will have the continued support of the international community. Building on success should get us to a point where Afghanistan is able to stand on its own two feet," he said.
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The Embassy Reaches Out to Media to Discuss the London Conference

London ConferenceAlthough several key global events coincided with the London Conference in late January, the media did not lose its central focus on the importance of the Afghanistan Compact. Major US newspapers ran a handful of commentary articles by leading experts on Afghanistan weeks before and on the eve of the Conference, drawing the attention of the world leaders to Afghanistan's state-building achievements and the country's continued dependence on international support and cooperation to see the rebuilding process through. During the week of January 27 and February 3, Ambassador Jawad discussed the London Conference in interviews with BBC, VOA, Radio Free Europe, and several newspapers in London.

Meantime, First Secretary Ashraf Haidari reached out to the Washington media and discussed the importance of the Afghanistan Compact and the National Development Strategy. He spoke on the BBC World TV and VOA Radio, interviewed with The Washington Times, and published an op-ed on the Conference in The Washington Diplomat. In his article entitled "Continued International Support Key to Afghanistan's Future," Haidari summed up the needs of the Afghan people and their expectations from the international community. He stated: "Our population of 25 million consists of peasants demanding alternative livelihoods to poppy cultivation; refugees demanding reintegration aid to rebuild their lives; landmine victims demanding welfare to escape psycho-social degradation; former combatants demanding jobs to avoid resorting to crime and violence; and women and children demanding education and healthcare to build the future of Afghanistan." He indicated that the Compact and Strategy to implement it focus on meeting these popular needs and the strengthening of Government institutions to deliver public goods to a nation that has only seen war and destruction over the past 25 years. In addition, Haidari called on the international community to increase per capita aid to Afghanistan to meet the country's request for $20 billion over the next five years. He said doing so would "expand Afghanistan's democracy and freedom," while shortchanging it would "encourage the forces of evil and terror to undo our achievements of the past four years."

In addition, members of the Government delegation attended numerous press meetings in London organized by the Embassy Cultural Attaché Hamed Elmi. They discussed the challenges of state-building in Afghanistan and the country's Compact with the international community to address them over the long run.

Ambassador Jawad Congratulates the UN Special Envoys to Afghanistan

On January 5, Ambassador Jawad congratulated Tom Koenigs on his recent appointment as the new UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan. "During the past four years, Afghanistan has witnessed remarkable achievements in our transition towards a democratic, stable and civil society. Your background and experience are very impressive, and I am confident that the tenure of your service will be a major success," he wrote in a letter to Ambassador Koenigs. Ambassador Jawad also thanked former UN Envoy to Afghanistan Jean Arnault, who played a central role in Afghanistan's elections to institute a permanent government in the country. Ambassador Jawad called Arnault's work a "historic achievement" and appreciated the Envoy's personal sacrifices in service to the people of Afghanistan.
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First Secretary Haidari Briefs 10th Mountain Division Leadership on Afghanistan

First Secretary Haidari Briefs 10th Mountain Division Leadership...First Secretary Ashraf Haidari participated in the Leadership Development and Education for Sustained Peace Residence Program at Fort Drum, New York, on January 10. He discussed "Governance in Afghanistan: Challenges and the Future" with Major General Benjamin Freakley, the division commander, and commanders of the deploying units consisting of 5,800 Fort Drum soldiers being deployed to Afghanistan through early March. Haidari briefed the division's leadership on broad governance and security issues in Afghanistan, and specifically discussed the achievements and challenges of the security sector reform including the formation of the national army and police, judicial reform, counter-narcotics, disarmament and reintegration, and disbandment of illegal armed groups. He also talked about the supportive human environment in Afghanistan where the Coalition forces operate, and assured US soldiers of being warmly welcomed by the people. "Our people's concern is about your leaving Afghanistan sooner rather than your staying there until our security forces are fully able to defend Afghanistan. They deeply appreciate your sacrifices, and commitment to securing the future of Afghanistan and making the world a safer place," said Haidari.

Roughly one-third of the 3rd Brigade troops deploying have been to Afghanistan at least once previously; and fully half have combat experience, said Gen. Freakley, who is among those going to Afghanistan. "No one has more experience there than the 10th Mountain Division," he stressed. Additionally, the division will be preparing for the transition of the region to NATO control. The NATO-led force has about 12,000 soldiers from 36 nations and is responsible for security in Kabul as well as northern and western regions of Afghanistan. The U.S.-led force is in the east and south hunting Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.


Ariana Afghan Airlines Improves Air Cargo to Afghanistan

Ariana Afghan AirlinesUnder the leadership of its President Dr. Nadir Atash, Ariana Afghan Airlines has improved air cargo options to Afghanistan. Ariana recently entered into a cargo sales agreement with Consolidated Shipping Services Group (CSS), a U.A.E. based integrated freight forwarding & logistics provider. CSS will handle freight from the U.A.E to Afghanistan. Initially, Ariana will operate IL-76 aircrafts with a frequency of two flights a week and will later increase the frequency depending on cargo traffic on the route. As Afghanistan's national carrier, Ariana has been playing a constructive role in the revival of the country's aviation sector. Air cargo will allow goods to reach Afghanistan more quickly and will improve options for Afghan exports as they reach international markets.
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Embassy Chef Demonstrates How to Make Afghan Cuisine

Special Counter-Narcotics Police Destroy Drug Labs in Takhar ProvinceDThe Embassy hosted Smithsonian Associate magazine at a dinner event in honor of Chef Manhan Arefi on January 30. Over 80 guests were in attendance, as Chef Manhan demonstrated traditional Afghan cooking. The guests then enjoyed the opportunity to sample Kabab-e-Murgh (grilled chicken kebob), Qabelie Palaw-Gosht-e-Gosfand (Rice with lamb and onion), Dogh (a yogurt drink made with water, cucumber, and crushed mint), Manto (small pastries filled with beef and seasoning) and Firnee (sweet pudding flavored with nuts, sugar and rose water). Washington Diplomat columnist Gail Scott opened the evening, and Mrs. Shamim Jawad warmly introduced Chef Manhan. Chef Manhan joined the Embassy with over 18 years of cooking experience. He had his own highly successful cooking show seen nationwide on Afghan television. Chef Manhan has accomplished all of this without any formal culinary training.
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