Welcome to our e-newsletter Vol. 45 August 2007  

President Karzai and U.S. President Reaffirm Commitment to Defeat Taliban at Camp David:  President Hamid Karzai met with U.S. President George Bush at the presidential retreat Camp David early this month to further strengthen the strategic partnership between Afghanistan and the United States. The two leaders vowed to win the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda during a press conference on August 6, following detailed discussions of Afghanistan's reconstruction, military cooperation, regional issues, civilian casualties, the fight against terrorism and narcotics, and the peace Jirga between Afghanistan and Pakistan. MORE

Enhancing Regional Cooperation at the SCO Summit: President Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta visited Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on August 15 to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. The SCO, a regional cooperation organization founded in June 2001, includes China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as members. In his address to the SCO, President Karzai urged regional countries to focus on fighting drugs and smuggling and cited terrorism and drugs as the two major threats to peace and stability in Afghanistan. MORE
Historic Jirga Unites Afghanistan and Pakistan to Empower Traditional Leadership Against Terrorism:   The historic Afghanistan-Pakistan Peace Conference—or jirga—commenced on August 9, with President Hamid Karzai addressing more than 600 Afghan and Pakistani tribal leaders on the need for a common solution to the region's growing violence. A historically Pashto term and centuries-old tradition, Jirga, translates to “council.” It is a unique forum in which tribal elders convene to discuss and resolve conflicts. MORE
Afghanistan and Tajikistan: Committed Partners and Good Neighbors:  On August 25, President Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta traveled to Dushanbe, Tajikistan for meetings with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon. The counterparts discussed security, border protection, and economic integration. President Karzai praised Tajikistan as a good neighbor and trading partner, and expressed the Afghan government’s interest in enhancing ties between the two nations, especially in the power generation sector. MORE

Foreign Minister Spanta Visits China, Camp David and Bishkek: After returning to Kabul from Camp David, Foreign Minister Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta arrived in China as a guest of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. On August 22 Foreign Minister Spanta Chinese met Vice President Zeng Qinghong and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan in Beijing to discuss enhancing bi-lateral ties between China and Afghanistan. MORE

Afghanistan Remembrance Former Prime Minister Abdul Rahim Ghafoorzai: August 21, 2007 marked the 10 Year Anniversary of the death of former Afghan Prime Minister Abdul Rahim Ghafoorzai. Late Prime Minister Ghafoorzai was a distinguished career diplomat who served Afghanistan in a dignified and patriotic manner for many years. On the occasion of the anniversary, Afghan President Hamid Karzai conveyed a message of condolence on Radio Television of Afghanistan and a commemorative announcement was also made at an opening session of the Afghan parliament. MORE
President Karzai Addresses the Youth of Afghanistan on the 88th Anniversary of Independence:  All the efforts, troubles, devotion and bloodshed of the young people of this land were overshadowed when Afghanistan fell into the hands of a hidden invasion by the Taliban and al Qaeda. Afghanistan was once again liberated with the help of the international community and the strong determination of the people of Afghanistan. Dear youngsters, we see that our soil is still coming under attack by the enemies of the country. We again see that they are trying to hinder our development process, and are trying to create obstacles in the way of reconstruction and development of Afghanistan. MORE

Embassy of Afghanistan Celebrates Independence Day: On August 17, in celebration of the 88th anniversary of Afghanistan's independence, the Embassy of Afghanistan hosted a reception and concert. U.S. policymakers, Ambassadors from across the world, business leaders, scholars of Afghanistan and South Asia, journalists, artists and members of the diplomatic and Afghan communities joined the Ambassador and Embassy officials. Guests celebrated Afghanistan's independence over a traditional Afghan feast.before being serenaded by the famous Afghan singer Ehsan. MORE

Ambassador Jawad Responds to Foreign Policy Magazine: In their summer 2007 issue, Foreign Policy Magazine joined together with the Fund for Peace, an independent research organization to publish the third annual Failed States Index. Using 12 social, economic, political, and military indicators, Foreign Policy ranked 177 states in order of their vulnerability to violent internal conflict and societal deterioration. In a taped interview, Ambassador Said T. Jawad responded to Afghanistan's ranking of 8, explaining that while Afghanistan is not a failed state, it remains fragile and in need of long term international support and assistance. MORE

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Travels to Afghanistan: U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez traveled to Afghanistan for the second time on August 29. Secretary Gutierrez discussed regional economic cooperation during a ceremony with President Karzai and President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan. The Secretary also met with Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Mir Mohammad Amin Farhang. MORE

Op Ed: Help Wean Afghans From Poppy Crop: After decades of violence, the opium poppy crop remains one of the few stable income sources for poor Afghan farmers, who cannot be effectively persuaded to end poppy cultivation without being granted alternative ways of making a living. In 2005, most farmers complied with the poppy ban set out by the Afghan government with the understanding that legal alternative means of survival would be provided. MORE

Afghan Girls Soccer Team Scores Big in International Debut: Six years ago in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan football looked like a thing of the past, banned for men and unimaginable for women, who were barred from all outdoor sport. Today the sport has made such a spectacular comeback that there are now 17 women's football teams. The Afghan girls team, an underdog compared against their much more experienced competitors, surprised and enthralled audiences at Pakistan National Women's Championship in Islamabad. Hundreds of Afghan refugees who live in Pakistan turned out to cheer for the Afghan girls, many of whom wore head scarves along with their red jerseys. MORE

Young Afghan Cricketers Make History: On August 27, Afghanistan's under-19 cricket team beat the United Arab Emirates in the Asian Cricket Council's U-19 Elite Cup semifinal in Kuala Lumpur, Malysia. It marked the first time Afghanistan reached the final match of an international tournament. Afghanistan outplayed Hong Kong by 17 runs to reach the semi-final, with Noorul Haq, Izzatullah and Obaidullah Kunari giving the most impressive performance. MORE

Governance and Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Challenges and Opportunities : Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari was invited to participate in the Leadership Development & Education for Sustained Peace workshop for the senior leadership of the US Army 101st Airborne Division at the Fort Campbell in Kentucky on August 8. Haidari gave a presentation to Commanding Major General Jeffrey J. Schloesser and his senior officers on “Governance and Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Challenges and Opportunities.” MORE

International Coordination Board to Assist Afghan Police:  In an effort to improve international coordination of Afghan National Police training, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union have agreed with the Afghan government to introduce common standards. As a result, the different methods of training previously adopted by the United States, Germany and other countries will be put under a single new authority: the International Police Coordination Board Secretariat, based in Kabul. MORE

University of Maryland to Hold International Rumi Conference: The universal vision Jalal ad-Din Mohammad Balkhi (1207-1273), known in the West as Rumi, will be explored during a University of Maryland Center for Persian Studies (founded by Embassy friend Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak) International Conference in September. The Persian poet is widely read both in his birthplace of Afghanistan and throughout the world, and has recently been honored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) declaration of 2007, the 800th anniversary of the poet’s birth, as the International Rumi Year. MORE

Political Counselor Haidari Meets with Georgetown Students:   Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari met with a group of 25 Georgetown University summer students and briefed them on the importance of international peace-building in Afghanistan in late July. Haidari told the students that in a world that is rapidly shrinking to a global village, instability in one country has far-reaching spill over effects in the rest of the world. MORE

Profile of a Suicide Bomber: From Time Magazine: Last week, at the Directorate of National Intelligence in Kabul, I met a failed suicide bomber. Arrested two weeks before in Jalalabad, preparing to assassinate the governor of Nangahar Province, Farhad was setting outside of Pakistan's Waziristan Province for the first time. Only 17, he was terrified. Not only because of an uncertain fate, but perhaps more so because the world was not as the Taliban had described it. MORE

Afghanistan Goes Green: Afghanistan was once known as the “Orchard of Central Asia,” but decades of war have uprooted orchards and vineyards throughout the country. Droughts and floods create additional problems for Afghans who are trying to replant the sources of their former livelihoods. New initiatives are providing hope for the country’s fragile environment, such as the formation of a Restoration and Environment Working Group for Drought Mitigation in Afghanistan and the Green Afghanistan Initiative (GAIN). MORE

Visiting Afghan Students Ask for more Education Resources: Three students from Afghanistan and an Afghan teacher visited the Embassy in August as part of a trip sponsored by the humanitarian organization Relief International. The students met with the Embassy’s Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari to discuss their unique experiences as international exchange students in the U.S. MORE

Afghan Women Given a Sporting Chance, and Take It: In many areas of Afghanistan, women’s participation in sports is becoming the rule rather than the exception. A growing number of professional and amateur Afghan female athletes are representing Afghanistan around the world. This month, Afghanistan’s National Women’s Soccer Team will play their first ever international match abroad, against their Pakistani counterparts in Islamabad. MORE

Portland State University Announces Pashto Language Program: The Heritage Language Initiative (HLI) Program at Portland State University (PSU) will begin offering a Heritage Pashto course for the fall term of 2007. PSU is one of only a handful of universities nationwide to offer Pashto. Pashto is the language of the Pashtuns and is widely spoken in Afghanistan and the western region of Pakistan. MORE

Legislative Update: As Congress was not in session during the month of August, Afghanistan was not subject to the routine debate and scrutiny. However, a number of important developments occured, both on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail. Several senators asked the Bush Administration to create a bipartisan Afghanistan Study Group to review strategy and develop recommendations for bringing stability to the country in a letter addressed to General Lute. MORE

Embassy in the News: This month, Ambassador Jawad published letters to the editors of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy Magazine, and recorded a video response to Afghanistan's ranking in a recent Failed States Index on Foreign Policy Magazine's website. He participated in a roundtable on NPR's Diane Rehm show, and discussed President Karzai's trip to Camp David on Morning Edition. Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari published an Op Ed on Afghanistan's war on drugs in the Baltimore Sun. The Ambassador and Embassy officials discussed the situation in Afghanistan with the New York Times, the Hindustan Times, the New York Daily News, WTOP News, VOA News, and South Asia Life and Times. To read or watch these interviews, please click Embassy in the News.

Investment News: This month, numerous publications covered business and investment opportunities in Afghanistan. The U.S. Secretary of Commerce traveled to Kabul to inaugurate an international carpet fair, and the Associated Press reported on Afghanistan's telecom boom. To read these articles, please click Investment News

Embassy Events: To view photographs from and read about Embassy events, please click on Embassy Events


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