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Ambassador Said T. Jawad Travels to Afghanistan

 

Ambassador Said T. Jawad returned from his regular consultation visit to Kabul with a renewed optimism with the situation in Afghanistan. While in Kabul, Ambassador Jawad met with President Hamid Karzai, Vice President Mohammad K. Khalili, Minster of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, and Minister of Finance Dr. Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi. The Ambassador’s meeting with President Karzai focused around three main issues: the security situation in the South, counter-narcotics programs, and increasing the capacity of the Afghan government to provide and deliver services to their people. The Ambassador briefed Dr. Spanta on the activities of the Embassy in Washington.

The Ambassador was briefed on spring military operations by NATO and Afghan forces, the capacity building progress in the Afghan National Army and Police, and the overall development effort in Afghanistan. “Their spirit is very high and our soldiers and our generals are satisfied with the new equipment that they are receiving from the United States.”

 

Ambassador Jawad met with Speaker of the House Younus Qanouni to discuss legislative issues and Afghan electoral law. Ambassador Jawad also met leaders in the private sector, a delegation of parliamentarians, and foreign ambassadors to Afghanistan, including US Ambassador Ronald Neumann and the Japanese, Indian and Pakistani Ambassadors.

The Ambassador also met with the staff of the Center for Conflict and Peace Studies (CAPS), a think-tank in Kabul. At the Center, the Ambassador was briefed on a variety of projects, including Drugs and Security, Media and Conflict, Violent Actors and the Study of Suicide Terrorism in Afghanistan. It was brought to the Ambassador’s attention that there has been a lack of research investigating the links between the insurgency and Narco-Trade in Afghanistan and that CAPS is conducting research in the field. Ambassador Jawad was impressed with the Center and emphasized the contributions being made by such organizations to Afghanistan's national development.

Upon his return, Ambassador Jawad said that roads and power are a big priority to Afghanistan because they “provide economic opportunities and strengthen national unity and security”. Approximately six percent of Afghans have access to electricity and providing the nation with a reliable and affordable power source will attract more investment and improve the quality of education and business. The different sources of power that the Ambassador and his colleagues discussed were imported power, gas-generators, or small to mid-sized hydro damns.

Following the Ambassador’s return, President Bush announced during his Feb. 15 speech that 11.8 billion dollars in foreign aid will be invested in Afghanistan, 2 billion of which will go towards reconstruction, with a strong emphasis on building roads and providing power to Afghanistan.

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