The Embassy of Afghanistan Web Site

Volume 33 :: July 2006     

H.E. Foreign Minister Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Mr. Tre Stephens, Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs and Democracy Ms. Paula Dobriansky, Stewart McLaurin and H.E. Ambassador Said T. Jawad at Georgetown University

 


In This Issue

 

In the Media

President Hamid Karzai attended the sixth summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on June 15, 2006..." Please read below for details.

Ambassador Jawad: Enhancing Security in the South

As you are aware, Operation Mountain Thrust is currently unfolding in four southern provinces. This crucial operation involves over 10,000 Coalition and Afghan soldiers fighting side by side. However, large-scale, periodic military sweeps will not completely eliminate the terrorist infiltrations. Eventually, the soldiers pull back, and the terrorists crawl out of their hiding places to renew their campaign of fear and intimidation. President Karzai recommends a “Clear, Hold and Build Strategy” in order to fight terrorism effectively. We should first clear the countryside of terrorists through large scale, periodic operations. Then we should have compact and highly mobile international military force working closely with our national army and local government authorities to hold the area and respond to daily terrorist attacks. In the long term, our national police force must be given adequate training, equipment and salaries to be present twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to hold and defend the population.

Excerpted from remarks at the Las Vegas World Affairs Council in Las Vegas, NV

 

President Karzai Attends SCO Summit


President Hamid Karzai attended the sixth summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on June 15, 2006. The summit convened the leaders of China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to discuss regional issues and future cooperation. In his address to the SCO, President Karzai shared Afghanistan’s accomplishments: “In the last four and half years, Afghanistan has taken great strides towards the establishment of a state based on rule of law, building state institutions, reconstruction, economic growth and trade between Afghanistan and countries of the region. These achievements are indeed objectives that are also incorporated as part of the SCO framework.” A number of agreements were signed, among them a declaration to fight “the three evils” of separatism, extremism, and terrorism. All heads of state agreed that the organization will continue to devote themselves to the pursuit of trust, equality, and mutual benefit.
 


Foreign Minister Dr. Rangin Spanta Visits Washington


Foreign  Minister Dr. Rangin Spanta visited Washington DC during July 5-9, 2006. This was his first official visit to the United States as Afghanistan’s new Foreign Minister. The Foreign Minister held productive meetings with senior US government officials including Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. The Minister discussed with them the main security challenges facing Afghanistan including terrorism, narcotics, and weak state institutions due to a lack of resources. He highlighted the need for going after “the sources of terrorism” outside Afghanistan’s borders. He said narcotics continue to undermine governance and security in Afghanistan. The problem would not be resolved unless poor Afghan farmers were given sustainable alternative livelihoods, the Minister stressed. At the same time, he blamed weak state institutions on a lack of resources to strengthen their capacity and deliver services to people, particularly in the south and east of Afghanistan. As a result, the government has lost the active loyalty of the people that is critically needed to expand and sustain the authority of the government throughout Afghanistan.

The US officials stressed their firm support for President Karzai and Afghanistan’s reconstruction. Vice President Cheney said: “President Bush and I are committed to President Karzai and his efforts for rebuilding Afghanistan.” He commended Afghanistan’s achievements of the past years and said that the credit for the achievements should go to President Karzai and the people of Afghanistan. “We just helped, you did the job,” he said.

In addition, Minister Spanta spoke at the Center for Strategic Studies and International Relations and the US Institute of Peace. At each venue, the Minister highlighted Afghanistan’s significant achievements under President Karzai’s leadership over the past five years. Discussing Afghanistan’s security challenges, he called for specific action by the international community to help Afghanistan succeed in its efforts towards sustainable peace and prosperity. He said Afghanistan’s security was inextricably linked to international stability, as demonstrated by the events of September 11. Hence Afghanistan’s success was a shared international objective.

Georgetown University, an educational institution with long-standing relations with the Embassy of Afghanistan, hosted a ceremony in honor of Foreign Minister Spanta, in which numerous high-ranking members of the U.S. Administration, multi-lateral institutions and members of the diplomatic community were in attendance. Prior to the official ceremony, Foreign Minister Spanta and Ambassador Jawad awarded US Undersecretary of State for  Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky and Tre Stephens for their longstanding commitment to Afghanistan.

In numerous interviews with the media, Minister Spanta discussed his recent visit to Pakistan, and said that Afghanistan needs Pakistan’s further cooperation in the fight against terrorism. The Minister stressed that our neighbors have much to benefit from peace and stability in Afghanistan and expansion of trade, investment, and economic cooperation. He said trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan had risen to $1.6 billion a year compared to $30 million a year during the Taliban era.

 

To listen to audio or watch video of Foreign Minister Spanta's appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, please click here
 


Afghanistan and China Sign Bilateral Agreements


President  Karzai made an official visit to Beijing after the SCO summit on June 15. The President met with his counterpart Chinese President Hu Jintao and other senior Chinese officials to discuss bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest. China and Afghanistan issued a joint statement agreeing to deepen bilateral economic, security, and humanitarian ties on June 20. To that end, Afghanistan and China signed a number of key agreements, including Treaty of Good-Neighborly Friendship and Cooperation, Cooperation Agreement on Combating Transnational Crime, Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation, Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, Exchange Letter for China Granting Zero Tariff Treatment to Certain Goods Originated in Afghanistan, Air Service Agreement, Agreement between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Afghanistan National Army on China’s Provision of Military Aid Gratis for the Training of Military Personnel to Afghanistan, Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation, Agreement of Cooperation between the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Agreement of Cooperation between the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
 


Afghanistan's Future

 

Ambassador Jawad spoke on “The Future for a Democratic Afghanistan” at the Las Vegas World Affairs Council on June 26. The Ambassador discussed Afghanistan’s reconstruction strategy and the role the people and government of Afghanistan play in the global war on terror. “President Karzai recommends a “Clear, Hold and Build Strategy” in order to fight terrorism effectively,” said Ambassador Jawad. He welcomed the Operation Mountain Thrust to clear southern Afghanistan of the terrorists and insurgents. But he said the operation’s effectiveness would depend on addressing the basic socio-economic needs of the people in rural Afghanistan. “To keep the trust and support of ordinary citizens, we must work together to build the countryside and improve the daily lives of civilians. Without adequate development and job opportunities, people will be taken hostage by the terrorists and narco-traffickers,” the Ambassador said.

In addition, he outlined the important role of the private sector in helping rebuild Afghanistan. “With each passing week, more and more investors are recognizing Afghanistan’s potential. With 25 million people, it is the second most populated country in Central Asia. Geographically, in central and south Asia all roads lead to Afghanistan,” he told the audience. The Ambassador encouraged US investors to take advantage of Afghanistan’s favorable business environment and the many opportunities the country offers to first mover.

The participants included business leaders, members of the Afghan community, and US soldiers from the Nellis Air Force Base, who have served in Afghanistan. The Ambassador thanked the soldiers for defending freedom in Afghanistan and for making the world a safer place. Ambassador Jawad concluded his Las Vegas visit with a tour of the newly built World Market Center, where he discussed enhancing Afghanistan’s rebuilding effort with two Las Vegas Economic Development Officers.

 

Throughout the month, Ambassador Jawad discussed these and other issues on television and radio. To hear some of the Ambassador's interviews, click on the following links:

The Kojo Nnamdi Show

NPR's Talk of the Nation

Voice of America Uzbek Service

Washington Journal on CSPAN (scroll down to bottom of page)
 

 

Ambassador Jawad Invites Investors to Afghanistan


Ambassador Jawad and Acting Commercial Attache Khaleda Atta spoke at a roundtable at University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University’s Colleges of Agriculture on June 6 and 7. In his address, the Ambassador cited the many positive measures taken by the Afghan government in the past four and a half years to develop Afghanistan’s economy: “the pursuit of market-driven, private sector led growth, combined with significant investment in human capacity, physical infrastructure, legal reform, and institution building.” The Ambassador also encouraged his audience to invest in a variety of Afghanistan’s sectors including natural resources, telecommunications, food processing, and carpet production. The speakers also discussed higher education and institution building with a special focus on how agricultural colleges in the US can facilitate growth and development of the agriculture sector in Afghanistan.

 

Afghan Soccer Girls Team Wins Arthur Ashe Courage Award

The Arthur Ashe Courage Award was presented to Shamila Kohestani and Roia Noor Ahmad, representing young women who play in organized soccer leagues in Afghanistan. Maura Mandt, executive producer of The 2006 ESPYS, lauded the team, “Just five years removed from the Taliban’s rule, these girls are helping to spark a women’s revolution by simply playing a sport that they love. The young girls that we are honoring are showing the same courage that Arthur Ashe showed when he went to South Africa during apartheid: using sports to further freedom. We are glad to be able to help them share their story with the world, as the idea of female athletes competing in the open becomes more acceptable in their home country.”

Awista Ayub, Education & Health Officer at the Embassy of Afghanistan, has played a pivotal role in developing youth sports, particularly girls' soccer. She attended the awards ceremony and said: “Around the world, athletics has become a tool to create positive social change. I have seen the role soccer plays in the lives of Shamila, Roia and hundreds of other female soccer players in Afghanistan, as I watched them grow from girls into confident young women and strong leaders. As an Afghan I know that when children are suddenly given the tools to change their lives, they embrace the opportunity to improve their own world, and as an Afghan-American I know that helping Afghanistan ensures a more secure world. After 30 years of war Afghan girls can once again become leaders. Sports are rapidly becoming the gateway to leadership, peace and equality in Afghanistan.”

The teams, which were honored at the ESPYs, were formed by the Afghan National Olympic Committee (ANOC).  Shamila and Roia represent a handful of girls from Kabul who traveled to the U.S. in the summer of 2004 to attend soccer clinics as part of Awista’s newly created organization the Afghan Youth Sports Exchange (AYSE). Valuing athletics and eager to help Afghans, Awista has devoted herself to promoting athletics for children in Afghanistan. In addition to organizing the girls’ soccer trip to the US, Awista sponsored a soccer clinic for 250 girls in Kabul, which is currently registered with the ANOC, and  dsupported the new Afghan national team. Her efforts have been recognized by ABC news and Glamour Magazine from which she received Person of the Week this July and Hero of the Month respectively.

 

Undersecretary Dobriansky Speaks on Child Trafficking at Embassy


Wife of Ambassador Jawad, Mrs. Shamim Jawad, hosted a luncheon talk on behalf of Innocents at Risk, a non-profit organization working to combat child trafficking around the world, on June 6. The event featured remarks on global human trafficking issues by Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky. Founder Deborah Sigmund highlighted the different people and organizations that had joined together to combat human trafficking around the world. Mrs. Jawad spoke about the need to help vulnerable children. “Over two million children are trafficked worldwide, hundreds kidnapped every day. Whether in the United States, Eastern Europe, the Middle East or Afghanistan, women and children are all equally deserving of protection,” she said.
 


Afghan Counter-Narcotics Pilots Graduate


Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari joined US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Douglus to address the first graduating class of Afghan pilots on June 3 from a training program in Fort Bliss, Texas. Sixteen Afghan soldiers are now trained to fly MI-17 helicopters in anti-drug missions. “Today, I personally feel happy, happy because with your graduation, Afghanistan and the world have gained more strength in the fight against humanity’s most destructive enemy: narcotics,” Haidari told the pilots. “Narco-terrorism is not only threatening our new democracy but also endangering international stability” he added. Since his election as Chairman of the Interim Administration in 2001, President Hamid Karzai has been warning, “If we do not eliminate drugs, drugs will eliminate us.” The President’s statement sums up the need for the international community to cooperate more closely in the fight against drugs. Failure to do so will harm producing and consuming countries alike, while narco-terrorism will threaten the security of every nation.

Historically, Afghanistan had never been a drug producing country. But today opium production is the result of three decades of war and destruction in the country. The pilots left the US prepared to assist the Afghan National Interdiction Unit, which works closely with the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Haidari honored the pilots as heroes at their graduation ceremony. “Thirty years of war left the country in ruins and fueled the drug trade,” he said. “Your graduation is a testament to the long-term commitment of the United States to Afghanistan.” The pride these soldiers have in assisting their country is clear. Shirzia, an Afghan Army Air Corps soldier, explained, “Because we went through a lot of hard times we want our children to grow up in a safe world. We want our kids to respect humanity.”
 


World Bank Procurement & Contracting Procedures


The Embassy and the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) hosted the second of four 2006 Business Dialogues on June 15. World Bank Senior Procurement Specialist Elzbieta Sieminska presented the Bank’s procedures to the private sector representatives on how to bid for reconstruction and development contracts. In addition to the World Bank’s procurement page, she offered www.dgmarket.com as a way to track opportunities for the World Bank-financed programs in Afghanistan. In April, the series was kicked off by a similar procurement and contracting event highlighting the USAID process. Upcoming Business Dialogue events include “Opportunities in Afghanistan’s Energy Sector” on September 14 and “Afghanistan’s Privatization Program” on December 7. Please contact the Commerce Department at the Embassy for more information.


Investing in Afghanistan


The International Resource Group, Inc. (IRG) and the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara (WTCBN) will host Acting Commercial Attaché Khaleda Atta to speak on investment in Afghanistan on July 25. The nine-county Greater Rochester area is an international trade hub, exporting more than $12 billion to 165 countries last year alone. Large companies in the area such as Kodak, Xerox and Bausch & Lomb, continue to expand exports overseas, while smaller companies routinely send a variety of products abroad. “Investing in Afghanistan…the Heart of Asia,” will take place at the Strathallan Hotel in Rochester, New York, at 11:30 am. To register for the luncheon, contact the IRG directly at irg@rochester.rr.com.



Central Asia Power Sector Forum

 

During June 12-14, the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) sponsored a Central Asia Power Sector Forum entitled “Electricity Beyond Borders” in Istanbul, Turkey. This follows on the heels of the Central Asia Infrastructure Integration Initiative launched in October 2005 in an effort to economically integrate Central Asia through energy trade. Afghan Minister of Water and Energy Ismael Khan gave an overview presentation on the electric power sector in Afghanistan. He was followed by Deputy Minister of Water and Energy Dr. M. Jalil Shams’ comments on the North East Power System and the Sherberghan Power Plant. USTDA awarded an $800,000 grant to the Ministry of Energy of Tajikistan to fund early investment analysis on developing Central Asia’s electric power transmission and generation capacity to export power. Specifically, the project will evaluate options for Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to export their excess electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan. For further information on USTDA programs in Afghanistan please visit their website.


Afghan Girls Show off Soccer Skills


From June 10-24 the U.S. Department of State sponsored a group of 30 international youth soccer players representing 15 different countries, including Afghanistan. The delegation members are part of a World Cup Youth Delegation program bringing together young athletes from around the world. The delegation also traveled to Germany to attend games for the 2006 Men’s World Cup. While in the States the delegation meet President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes. Another youth soccer initiative that kicked off this month in Kabul was sponsored by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). UNAMA worked with their staff to buy and donate soccer balls, which was distributed to Afghan students after a UNAMA coaching team visited schools.
 


Afghan Women Parliamentarians Honored in Paris


The Franco-Afghan Chamber of Commerce and the MEWA Association (Mobilization for Elected Women in Afghanistan) organized a conference on that brought together Afghan women parliamentarians and their French counterparts. US ambassador to France Craig Roberts Stapleton hosted the 30 Afghan women at his residence as part of the festivities. Additionally, State Department Senior Coordinator for International Women’s Issues Steven E. Steiner spoke at the conference and acknowledged France’s important participation in Afghanistan’s reconstruction, including their commitment of 1,300 troops. He emphasized that Afghanistan’s development requires the economic, political, and social empowerment of Afghan women.
 


Work Opportunities for Afghan Diaspora


Of the many opportunities available to qualified Afghans who want to be active participants in their nation’s reconstruction, RTI International offers a new way for Afghan-Americans to make an impact. An independent, nonprofit, corporation that has become a premier research institute, RTI’s mission is to assist developing and democratizing countries with complex issues of public health, education, governance and management, urban development, environmental resource management, public finance and economic growth. RTI is currently bidding on a USAID project designed to build institutional capacity for Afghan public institutions, private for-profit businesses, NGOs and academic institutions. This type of sustainable development within Afghanistan’s economic, social and political spheres is vital to Afghanistan’s long-term survival as a country. Several posts in RTI’s programs including Deputy Chief of Party, provincial team leaders, trainers, and gender specialists are available. For more information, please contact Dr. Sam Taddesse at staddesse@rti.org  

 


The Challenges of State Building in Afghanistan


Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari addressed Wabash College alumni and faculty on "The Challenges of State Building in Afghanistan" on June 2 in Crawfordsville, Indiana. "Our challenges are very clear," Haidari said as he described increased attacks in Afghanistan’s southern provinces. With Afghan troops and police undermanned and poorly equipped, and terrorists pouring over the border from camps in neighboring Afghanistan, a security vacuum has developed. The Taliban are filling the gap. “The Taliban were not captured or killed one-by-one," Haidari said of the US efforts to drive the regime from Afghanistan. "They were dispersed into Pakistan. Now the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are joining terrorists from other countries to fight the coalition forces,” he said. "Government troops have old weapons, and are no match for well-equipped terrorists, who are acquiring advanced weapons and better communications systems from abroad. They are attacking soft targets and run back into safe sanctuaries across the border,” he added. A thriving drug trade also is fueling Taliban efforts. "Afghanistan’s drug problem is the result of thirty years of war and destruction, and we are keenly aware of the nexus between extreme poverty and poppy cultivation. We have made every effort to enhance human security as a long-term solution to drug elimination in Afghanistan,” Haidari said.


However, Haidari stressed the supportive human environment for peace-building in Afghanistan to be a strategic asset in the war against terrorism. “Unlike in Iraq, we have the support of the people. That's our greatest asset," he pointed out. But that hope could turn to bitterness if improvements in the economic and security situation don't come soon. "Abandoning Afghanistan again would be disastrous for global security," Haidari said. "There can be no justice without human capital, which Afghanistan is direly lacking," he added. "The education I received here at Wabash equipped me to help my country, and I urge Wabash to continue to admit international students to make a difference in the world." Haidari was especially pleased to hear that a student from Afghanistan will join Wabash College this year's freshman class.” With what he learns here, that student will have an immediate impact on the future of Afghanistan.

 


Afghan Engineers Host Management Conference


The Society of Afghan Engineers (SAE) and the Society of Afghan Architects and Engineers (SAAE) will be hosting an international conference in Kabul entitled Management Practices for Afghan Professionals: The Engineering of Infrastructure, Resources and Human Development during December 23-25, 2006. While the date and location are being finalized, papers, presentations, and workshop proposals are being accepted for submission to the conference. Requested topics include:

1) Management: Concepts, Practices and Skills
2) Human Resources Development and Management
3) Effective Leadership
4) Professional Ethics
5) Information and Knowledge Management
6) Project Management
7) Finance and Accounting
8) Management of Natural Resources in Afghanistan
9) Total Quality Management
10) Other relevant topics as proposed

Deadline for submissions is July 30, 2006. For more information, contact Dr. Bahaudin Mujtaba, SAE/SAAE Conference Chair: mujtaba@sbe.nova.edu
 


M. Ashraf Haidari - Editor
Embassy of Afghanistan
2341 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202.483.6410 (Ex 811)
Fax: 202.483.6488

 

E mail: haidari@embassyofafghanistan.org

Website: www.embassyofafghanistan.org