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Embassy Press Releases




March 7, 2008



Joshua Gross, Director of Media Relations

Office: (202) 292-4285

Email: [email protected]




WASHINGTON, DC – Afghanistan’s Minister of Energy & Water Ismail Khan and Director-General of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) Prince Mostapha Zaher concluded their first official visit to the United States on March 7, 2008 while attending the three-day Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC) in Washington, D.C. The conference brought together 6,000 participants, including 86 Ministers from over 100 countries. On the final day of the WIREC, Minister Khan pledged on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan to complete a national assessment of Afghanistan’s renewable energy capabilities. He announced that electricity provided by renewable energy would reach at least 60% of its rural population by 2018. On behalf of NEPA, Prince Zaher pledged to improve air quality in Kabul between 10-12% by the year 2012. These commitments will work in concert with Afghanistan’s Environment Act of 2006.

“We recognize that energy solutions are needed urgently in order to further economic growth and stabilize security in Afghanistan,” said Minister Khan. “We see renewable energy options including solar and wind-produced energy as critical to help us reach these goals while keeping our environment clean.” Minister Khan called upon the conference participants to help provide Afghanistan with cost-effective technology to support the goals of the country’s National Development Strategy.

“The environment is our greatest asset,” said Prince Zaher. “Without meeting adequate standards in air quality and sanitation, our population will not remain healthy enough to enjoy the benefits of having access to electricity. We are proud to represent Afghanistan here at this significant international forum on renewable energy and the environment and look forward to working hard toward meeting our pledged commitments in the next four years.” In support of these goals, the National Environmental Protection Agency announced that it will allocate at least 3% of its core budget to environmental research & development.

Minister Khan and Prince Zaher were joined by a delegation of six officials from the Ministry of Energy & Water, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the National Environmental Protection Agency. During the visit, they met with various senior U.S. government and multilateral officials including U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Samuel Bodman, USAID Deputy Administrator Jim Kundor, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson and Vice-President Praful Patel of the World Bank.

The conference was attended by President George W. Bush, and four members of his Cabinet. WIREC 2008 goals included: Advancing energy security, climate change, air quality, and sustainable development goals, including agriculture and rural development; Demonstrating global leadership in renewable energy research, policy development, technology innovation, commercialization and deployment; and Fostering industry and government collaboration to help solve global energy challenges.

In partnership with the international community, the Ministry of Energy & Water and the National Environmental Protection Agency hope to apply cutting edge solar and wind technology to address environmental concerns in one of the world’s poorest nations. Together, these two organizations are seeking to bring clean, efficient and cost-effective solutions to the citizens of Afghanistan while engaging the private sector through public-private partnerships.



The Economic, Trade & Investment Department of the Embassy of Afghanistan under the leadership of the Ministry of Commerce promotes economic and private sector development in Afghanistan. The Department serves as an information resource for companies interested in doing business in Afghanistan, while advocating for policy issues important to Afghanistan before U.S. government and multilateral institutions in Washington.

For more information on the WIREC Conference, please visit:

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