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The Washington Diplomat

Afghan Embassy Hosts Rug Delegation, Magazine Launch
By Gail Scott


U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez—along with David Bohigian, assistant secretary for market access and compliance at the Commerce Department and chair of the Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force—joined Afghan Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad at the embassy’s July 19 reception to welcome 10 aspiring Afghan rug makers and celebrate Afghanistan’s long history of hand-woven rugs.

“I am honored to showcase an Afghan product that is a symbol of our country’s culture, history and tradition,” said the ambassador. “I have sincere gratitude to the U.S. Department of Commerce, especially to the Assistant Secretary Bohigian. Showing support for the rugs is an investment in peace, safety and security.”

Jawad noted: “Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan and rug makers have changed the color and design to cater to the international market demands.”

Secretary Gutierrez stressed the need for continued economic cooperation between the United States and Afghanistan, recalling how proud Afghan President Hamid Karzai is of the Afghan textile industry. “The rug industry is ingrained in the identity of the Afghan people,” Gutierrez said.

In addition to meeting with U.S. officials, the Afghan delegation was here for the renowned Atlanta International Area Rug Market and to forge possible business partnerships with leaders of the American rug industry.

Two-way trade between the United States and Afghanistan reached $330 million last year, a 43 percent increase over the previous year. Afghan rugs are allowed access to the U.S. market duty-free since June 2005.

A few days after the rug reception, Afghan Ambassador Jawad and his wife Shamim hosted a reception for Washington-based Zeba magazine, the first Afghan glossy monthly lifestyle and entertainment magazine to be released in the United States.

Zeba, which translates to “beautiful” in Farsi, celebrates the rich culture of Afghanistan and the accomplishments of Afghan-Americans while promoting democracy and modern culture. Printed in both Farsi and English, Zeba feature stories on entertainment, health, sports, fashion, food, the arts and business. Prominent members of Washington’s growing Afghan community—along with Aman Feda, Zeba’s publisher, and his wife Samira Feda, Zeba’s editor-in-chief—celebrated the launch with traditional Afghan delicacies at the reception.

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