Welcome to our e-newsletter Vol. 51 February 2008  

President Karzai, Foreign Minister Spanta and Ambassador Jawad attend U.S.-Islamic World Forum:   In his February 16 keynote address to the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, President Hamid Karzai urged cooperation with the West in combating terrorism and furthering opportunities for development throughout the Islamic world. The U.S.-Islamic World Forum is a conference operated by the Brookings Institute’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Leaders from nations across the globe convened on Doha Qatar to share ideas and strategies, and to develop plans for cooperation for the coming year. MORE

Afghanistan's Cabinet Meets with Jalalabad Elders: President Hamid Karzai took Afghanistan’s cabinet to eastern Afghanistan on February 25 as part of a new initiative to hold dialogues with tribal leaders, provincial governors and local authorities around the country. Mobile Cabinet meetings will be held in a different province each month to discuss the security situation, development requests, and propose solutions to challenges in security and governance.   MORE
Foreign Minister Spanta Visits Norway, Sweden and Finland: Foreign Minister Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta traveled to Norway on March 25 for a two-day visit. He met with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, and Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen to discuss recent developments in Afghanistan and Norway’s contributions to the country’s rebuilding efforts.  MORE
Prof. Sibghatullah Al-Mojadeddi Travels to U.S. for National Prayer Breakfast: Chairman of the Upper House of Parliament and head of the Independent National Commission for Peace and Reconciliation Prof. Sibghatullah Al-Mojadeddi traveled to the United States on February 7 as an honored guest of the annual National Prayer Breakfast with U.S. President George Bush. Prof. Mojadeddi has been a voice of reconciliation and consensus-building during times of conflict and is renowned as one of Afghanistan’s most respected scholars. MORE

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband Travel to Afghanistan to Demonstrate International Unity: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband traveled to Afghanistan on February 7, following bi-lateral meetings in London. The two foreign secretaries visited Kandahar to meet with soldiers and Kabul to meet privately with President Karzai. Following the meeting, they held a press conference, in which Secretaries Rice and Milliband strongly insisted that the Afghan mission remain a priority for NATO. MORE

The Man in the Middle: Monocle Q&A with Ambassador Jawad: This month, Monocle Magazine traveled with Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad during one of his routine visits to Kabul. In this in substantive profile, Ambassador Jawad discusses the challenges and opportunities he has discovered as the lliason between the Afghan and U.S. governments. MORE
Embassy of Afghanistan Expresses Condolences at the Passing of Congressman Tom Lantos: On February 11 the Embassy of Afghanistan learned with deep regret that a longtime friend of Afghanistan Congressman Tom Lantos succumbed to esophageal cancer and passed away at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. In letters to the family of Congressman Lantos and his Congressional colleagues, the Embassy paid tribute to his service to the United States, Afghanistan and the world.  MORE

Ambassador Jawad Briefs Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University: Ambassador Said T. Jawad discussed counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts at the Ambassador’s Roundtable Series hosted by the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University on February 20. The talk gave an update on the current security conditions in Afghanistan, and also addressed other key issues such as the coordination of international efforts, profiles of terrorism, and political outreach. MORE
New York Times: Soccer as an Escape to Hope for Afghan Teenager: In world religion class, Shamila Kohestani is neither the adolescent who defied the Taliban in Afghanistan nor the symbol of liberation that shared the stage with stars from Hollywood and sports at the 2006 ESPY Awards. She is a teenager whose lips move as she takes notes, and whose list of words to look up grows exponentially each minute, each hour and each day. MORE

Afghan Women to Unite for Peace on International Women's Day: While women across the world unite to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, women in Afghanistan’s most insecure will bravely gather for peace at a number of public events. With the main gathering in the volatile Kandahar province, women will be wearing white scarves as a symbol of peace. MORE

This Is America Interviews Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad: This month, host of PBS' This is America Dennis Wholey sat down with Ambassador Jawad to assess the last six and a half years of developments in Afghanistan. In a half an hour interview, the Ambassador commented on the obstacles that Afghanistan has faced through its reconstruction process, the role played by neighboring countries, and the path forward to win the peace in Afghanistan. MORE

Washington Post Letter to the Editor - Hamid Karzai's Leadership: Anne Marlowe's "Two Myths About Afghanistan," was right when she concluded that "considering where it started, Afghanistan isn't doing too badly" and stated, "Today, most Afghans are living in the best conditions they have ever known, slowly growing their economy out of poverty." Indeed, important progress has been achieved in a short period... MORE

Embassy of Afghanistan Legislative Update for February 2008: This month, several key Congressional committees held important hearings on Afghanistan. Senators Biden, Kerry and Hagel visited Afghanistan and expressed their commitment to focus on Afghanistan in Congress and address its current challenges. The House Foreign Affairs Committee sadly lost its Chairman Rep. Tom Lantos to cancer. In addition, $1.1 billion dollars was requested by President Bush for Afghanistan in the 2009 Defense Budget Request. MORE

Project Artemis Seeks Afghan Businesswomen: Thunderbird University’s Project Artemis is seeking potential candidates for their third class of Afghan female entrepreneurs. Project Artemis is a unique business-skills training program that aims to build the entrepreneurial skills of promising Afghan businesswomen. Thirty women from Afghanistan have participated in the two sessions of Project Artemis, held in 2005 and 2006. MORE

Political Counselor Haidari Speaks to U.S. Forces Deploying to Afghanistan: Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari visited Fort Riley in Kansas and Fort Campbell in Kentucky in early and mid February to express the gratitude of the Afghan government and people to the deploying troops and their families. “Please allow me to welcome you to Afghanistan where our people have strongly supported international security forces, and look forward to working with you to secure our country,” Haidari told the forces. MORE

Afghan Student Pays Good Fortune Forward: “The problem with a good idea is that it usually devolves into hard work,” as the saying goes. And no one knows that better than Qiamuddin Amiry. Qiamuddin, or Qiam for short, is an Afghan national living and studying in the United States at Colby College. Qiam’s early life in Afghanistan gave him a true appreciation for all the educational opportunities he had been afforded. MORE

Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University Needs Financial Support: Cultural preservation is necessary to safeguard a nation’s history for present and future generations. Many pieces of Afghan culture were threatened from years of war and violence, and one establishment has taken efforts to protect Afghanistan’s history: with over 38,000 documents in their possession and 165 mobile libraries to provide educational resources to different provinces, the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU) is dedicated to maintaining and preserving Afghan culture and history. MORE

Bamiyan Development Community Preserves and Protects Local Culture: The online Bamiyan Development Community has attracted experts from all over the world to explore the development of Bamiyan’s infrastructure and local culture. With the mission of “bridg[ing] the gap between different generations, disciplines and cultures on a global scale,” the Bamiyan Development Community works to support UNESCO’s designation of Bamiyan a world heritage site and the restoration and protection of Bamiyan’s cultural history. MORE

Australia Shifts Focus, Recommits in Afghanistan: Although Australia has officially set a timeline the withdrawal of its nearly 1,000 troops from Afghanistan in 2001, Australian Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has emphasized his nation’s commitment to Afghanistan’s reconstruction. “We’ve made it very clear that our commitment in Afghanistan is a long-standing one,” he said at a recent press conference. In security talks, Australia has emphasized greater emphasis on training the Afghan army and national police force. MORE

USGS Official Awarded Afghan Presidential Medal: Earlier this month, Mr. Pat Leahy of the US Geological Survey (USGS) was awarded the highest medal for scientific excellence by the Government of Afghanistan in a special ceremony at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. The medal was awarded in February to Mr. Leahy based on his prior work with Afghanistan while he served as Associate Director for Geology within USGS. MORE

Walsh University and Walt Whitman Model UN Students Visit the Embassy:  The Embassy of Afghanistan hosted a group of students from Walsh University and Walt Whitman High School Model UN Program on February 29 and 14 respectively. Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari briefed the students on Afghanistan’s rebuilding achievements in cooperation with the international community, describing the dire situation of Afghans on the eve of the international intervention in 2001. MORE

Afghan-Americans Weighing Presidential Candidates' Afghanistan Policy: Afghan-Americans are carefully listening to the views of the U.S. presidential candidates on their policy objectives and specific plans for the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. Most Afghan-Americans in the US are first and second generation Afghans with direct and close ties to their native homeland. Thus, who they will vote for in the remaining primaries and general elections will not only depend on the candidates’ domestic agenda but also their policy towards Afghanistan. MORE

International Partners Help Afghanistan Keep Warm during Country’s Coldest Winter:  Afghanistan has been facing what experts are calling its coldest winter in 30 years. Heavy snowfalls have blocked roads and made rural Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain impassable. Meanwhile, howling winds and temperatures of less than -20 C have resulted in nearly a thousand deaths. Aid efforts are underway but face severe challenges. MORE

Embassy in the News: This month, Monocle Magazine profiled Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad during his recent trip to Afghanistan. Ambassador Jawad also spoke to PBS' This is America, Foreign Exchange TV, and Time Magazine and participated in a CATO Institute podcast. Additionally, Political Masood Aziz published a Letter to the Editor in the Washington Post. To read or watch these interviews, please click Embassy in the News.

Investment News: This month, numerous publications covered Afghanistan's mineral sector. 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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