Welcome to our e-newsletter Vol. 60 Nov/Dec 2008  


President Bush Warmly Received in Afghanistan: President George W. Bush made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on December 14-15, possibly the last of his two-term presidency. While there, he spoke to the 1,000 U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field, stressing that the international effort in Afghanistan had produced important achievements. He also met with President Hamid Karzai, and was presented the Ghazi Amir Amanullah Khan Insignia for his work in rebuilding the country. MORE


Foreign Minister Spanta Seeks Regional Cooperation: Foreign Minister Dr. Rangin D. Spanta attended an informal gathering of regional leaders in Paris on December 14, where Afghanistan and its neighbors discussed cooperation on security issues. The meeting, which was hosted by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, included representatives from China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, the European Union and the United Nations. MORE

President Karzai Meets with President Zardari in Turkey: President Hamid Karzai and President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan met in Turkey on December 5 to discuss the shared challenge of terrorism and deepen ties between the two countries. The meeting between the two leaders was hosted by Turkish Prime Minister Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This was the second time the three leaders have met; they first convened in April 2007. MORE

President Karzai Holds Teleconference with Pres.-Elect Obama: President Hamid Karzai and President-elect Barack Obama spoke on the phone on the evening of November 22, discussing how to further increase cooperation between the U.S. and Afghanistan on security and development. During the conversation, President-elect Obama expressed his commitment towards working to address remaining challenges in Afghanistan. MORE


President Karzai Responds to Critics: President Hamid Karzai sat down to talk with Chicago Tribune correspondent Kim Barker in Kabul on December 18. In a frank, one-on-one exchange, Karzai reacted to criticisms by then presidential candidate Barack Obama and called for focusing the war on terror more on neighboring Pakistan than Afghanistan. President Karzai also defended his leadership and highlighted areas where cooperation could improve. MORE

First Lady Hosts Teleconference with Afghan Women: First Lady Laura Bush and Ambassador Said T. Jawad hosted a video teleconference and reception to discuss the state of Afghanistan's women on December 18, where she was joined members of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council and senior officials of the Afghan and U.S. governments including Foreign Minister Dr. Rangin D. Spanta, Minister of Women's Affairs Hasan Bano Ghazanfar and Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky. Together they highlighted the advances and identified the remaining challenges for women in Afghanistan. MORE

First Lady and Ambassador Jawad Appear on 'Meet the Press': Ambassador Said T. Jawad joined First Lady Laura Bush on a Thanksgiving edition of NBC's "Meet the Press" on November 30 to discuss Mrs. Bush's advocacy for the women of Afghanistan and the existing opportunities and challenges the country faces in creating a peaceful and prosperous society. During their discussion, the First Lady and Ambassador Jawad described some of the achievements that had been made in Afghanistan and assessed the needs of the country in the areas of security and development. MORE


Ambassador Jawad Receives Global Citizen Award: On December 3, Ambassador Said T. Jawad was awarded the 2008 Global Citizen Award by Roots of Peace, a non-governmental organization that focuses its efforts on unearthing landmines in war-torn countries and turning former minefields into productive land for agricultural products. The award came during the Harvest of Hope Gala, which was held in the ornate Thomas Jefferson Room at the U.S. State Department. Mrs. Gillian Sorenson, Senior Advisor at the United Nations Foundation, was also presented with the award. MORE

Afghan Girl in Focus in Orlando: Ambassador Said T. Jawad traveled to Orlando, Florida on November 21-22 to speak at the opening of the "In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits" exhibit at the Orange County Regional History Center. While there, he also spoke to a group of middle-school students who had just completed a segment on Afghanistan in their social studies class. MORE


Ambassador Jawad Speaks on Security Solutions: In two recent speaking engagements in Washington, D.C., Ambassador Said T. Jawad emphasized the need for a continued international commitment in Afghanistan in 2009 and articulated a number of initiatives to address pressing security challenges. He also expressed his desire to work closely with the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama. MORE

Under Secretary Dobriansky Leads Trip to Afghanistan: Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky led a delegation of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council on a trip to Afghanistan on November 19-20. During the trip, members of the delegation met with President Hamid Karzai and other senior officials and discussed the future of the council. MORE

High-Level Delegations Visit Afghanistan: Two high-level congressional delegations visited Afghanistan in December, highlighting the continued U.S. commitment to winning the battle against terrorism. On December 7, Sen. John McCain, Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Lindsey Graham visited; on December 23 a delegation including Rep. Steve Israel and New York Governor David Patersontraveled to Kabul. MORE

Embassy Hosts Dinner for U.S.-Afghan Women's Council: The Embassy of Afghanistan hosted a dinner for members and supporters of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council on December 18, capping off a busy day that included a video teleconference with First Lady Laura Bush and a reception with President George W. Bush and the First Lady. MORE

Education for Girls Lights Path Forward: Few things symbolize progress in the fight against poverty better than the face of an educated girl. And I was fortunate enough to see hundreds of them during a trip to Afghanistan in 2006. Those faces, eager and alert, lit up the courtyard of a new school built to educate 1,000 girls in central Afghanistan's Bamian province. Gone were the days of Taliban rule, when girls were forbidden to study and women weren't allowed to teach. Afghanistan's future leaders could learn -- out in the open. MORE
Pomegranates Bring Hope for Afghanistan: In late November, both The Economist and the Associated Press published articles on a fruit that may soon become a powerful and lucrative export for Afghanistan - the pomegranate. Long known as one of the fruits of paradise, the pomegranate's rising popularity in the U.S. and Europe has spurred increased interest in Afghanistan, where some of the world's most desired pomegranates grow. Could the pomegranate be the export Afghanistan was looking for? Possibly. MORE & MORE
Join Ambassador Jawad on Facebook and YouTube:

If you've got a Facebook account or regularly watch videos on YouTube, Ambassador Said T. Jawad is but a click away from being your friend. As part of an outreach strategy that includes using interactive Web 2.0 tools, Ambassador Jawad and the Embassy of Afghanistan have joined the ranks of Facebook and YouTube users. Come join us!

       Ambassador Jawad's Facebook - Embassy Facebook - YouTube

Political Counselor Haidari Visits Utah: On behalf of Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad, Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari visited the State of Utah on December 7-9, 2008. His visit came at the invitation of Utah Valley University International Affairs Vice President Dr. R.E Rusty Butler and Afghan student Najibullah Niazi and was aimed at creating a relationship between Utah and Afghanistan. MORE

Political Counselor Haidari Speaks at Emory: Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari was invited to give a lecture and a public talk at the Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 2. Speaking to a group of South Asian politics students, he discussed Afghanistan’s relations with its six neighbors, highlighting the country’s foreign policy as one strategically aimed at maintaining and enhancing regional cooperation along common economic interests in a rapidly globalizing world. MORE
In Other News: Virginia Lawyers Ready to Help in Afghan Legal Effort (AP) ... Ten-Year Carpet Export Strategy Unveiled (Quqnoos) ... Holy Cow Shopping in Kabul (NPR) ... 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' Hits Afghanistan (Daily Telegraph) ... Afghan Basketball has Fremont Flavor (Inside Bay Area) ... Soccer Helps Afghan Girls Reclaim Some Freedom (Reuters) ... Afghanistan's Stunning Lakes Thirst for Tourism (AFP) ... Afghanistan Markets its Brand of Pomegranates (AP) ... Saffron Exports Boom, Ministry Says (Quqnoos). MORE

Embassy in the News: This month, Ambassador Said T. Jawad appeared in three different Wall Street Journal articles, two Voice of America pieces and two Pajhwok dispatches. He also appeared alongside First Lady Laura Bush on NBC's "Meet the Press" and was featured in an article in the Orlando Sentinel. Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari's trips to Utah and Georgia were widely covered in local media. To read these and other articles and op-eds, please click Embassy in the News.

www.embassyofafghanistan.org

Questions and comments can be directed to newsletter@embassyofafghanistan.org

To unsubscribe click here.