Delegation of the High Peace Council visits Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. (April 20, 2012) H.E. Minister Stanekzai, Advisor to the President on Home Security and Secretary General of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan, visited Washington DC from April 16 to April 20, 2012 to discuss the peace efforts in the country with key US Government officials as well as members of the Congress. Minister Stanekzai was accompanied by several other high ranking members of the High Peace Council including Mr. Mohammad Ismail Qasemyar, Advisor to the Council in International Relations; Senator Sidiqa Balkhi, and Ms. Hawa Alam Nuristani, Members of the Council and Mr. Qaseem Ludin, Policy Advisor to Minister Stanekzai.

During the course of his visit, Minister Stanekzai and the rest of the Delegation met with key members of the Congress from both the House and Senate. They also met with officials from the Department of State including Ambassador Marc Grossman, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Melanie Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner. The Delegation also met with officials from the National Security Council and the USAID. In his meetings, amongst the many things discussed, the Minister highlighted the significance of the peace process, and the ongoing efforts and talked about other major processes in the country such as security transition as well as the prospects for long-term strategic partnership between Afghanistan and the international community.

Following a roundtable discussion with Senator Balkhi and Ms. Hawa Alam Nuristani, the Minister participated in a panel discussion hosted by the United States Institute of Peace. During the Q&A session, questions were asked by many participants in regards to the prospects for the reconciliation process and the progress being made in taking over the security responsibilities from the international forces by the Afghan National Security Forces.

Emphasizing the Afghan leadership of the peace process, Minister Stanekzai said that “The first thing is that this process has to be Afghan led and that all the international partners respect that notion and they should help.”

The Embassy of Afghanistan hosted a media breakfast where the Minister briefed the Washington based journalists about the challenges and goals of the reconciliation process.

The US-Afghan Women’s Council hosted a luncheon and a Q&A session for the Minister and the rest of the Delegation during which the Minister provided the Council with an update on the peace process and the role that Afghan women are playing in the process.