Welcome to our e-newsletter Vol. 52 March 2008  

President Karzai Meets with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in Kabul:   On President Bush’s request Vice President Dick Cheney traveled to Afghanistan for the fourth time as vice president on March 20. His visit was part of a 10-day foreign trip ahead of the upcoming NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania. Vice President Cheney met with President Hamid Karzai, to whom Cheney expressed that the United States’ commitment to Afghanistan is “firm and unshakeable”. MORE

President Karzai Addresses the Organization of the Islamic Conference: President Hamid Karzai traveled to Dakar Senegal this month to participate in the Organization of the Islamic Conference’s 11th international summit. The summit aimed to bring together the leaders of the Islamic world to develop a new charter that will enable it to play a more active role in the world of the 21st Century. President Karzai addressed the OIC about the continuing violence in Afghanistan and discussed the role of the international community in rebuilding the Afghan economy. MORE
Foreign Minister Spanta Travels to Tajikistan for Tripartite Meeting: Afghanistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta arrived in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on March 25 to take part in the tripartite meeting between Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan. Prior to the meeting, Dr. Spanta was received by President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.  MORE
New U.N. Envoy Arrives in Afghanistan: The new U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, arrived in Kabul on March 28. Eide has promised to improve coordination both among the international community and between the international community and the Afghan government. "The Afghan government has asked for that for a very long time and we have to respond in a better way than we have managed so far," said Eide, a former Norwegian ambassador to NATO. MORE

Reconstruction Opportunity Zones Enhance Global Security And Promote Afghanistan’s Economic Development: On Mach 14, legislation was introduced to the U.S. Senate by Senators Maria Cantwell, Orrin Hatch, Kit Bond, Joe Lieberman, and Chuck Hagel that would authorize President George W. Bush to designate Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in Afghanistan and the border regions of Pakistan (Senate Bill no. 2776). ROZs enable non-trade sensitive exports such as rugs, gemstones and handicrafts from Afghanistan to enter the U.S. duty-free. They will provide a compelling economic incentive for private sector investment and become a major source of employment in Afghanistan. MORE

Afghan Government Commits to Renewable Energy and Environmental Protections at Washington Conference: 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. MORE
Afghan Women Raise Their Voices on International Women's Day:In observance of International Women’s Day on March 8, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky presented the International Women of Courage Award to eight leaders in the fight against gender based oppression. This years recipients represented four continents and eight very different cultures, yet all shared a deep commitment to gender equality and empowering women.   MORE
Washington Times OP ED - Equal Human Rights: Afghan women have much to celebrate on International Women's Day. Yet their precarious situation still warrants international attention and support. Although Afghan women have now regained most of the freedoms that they lost under the Taliban's gender apartheid, they still constitute one of the most vulnerable groups in Afghanistan. Worsening security and violence threaten the freedoms Afghan women have fought for over the past seven years. MORE
1/3 of Country Tunes in to Choose Next Afghan Star: On March 21, millions of people across Afghanistan were on the edge of their seats, tuned in to the season finale of Afghan Star. The phenomenally popular talent show is modeled after American Idol and was concluding its third successful season. Of the 30 million people in Afghanistan, around 11 million watched the final episode. Several VIPs were invited to watch the taping, and according to one of them, former US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Afghan Star is actually better than American Idol. MORE

Afghan Champion of Human Rights Honored as Young Global Leader: An ambitious young Afghan was named one of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders for 2008. Nader Nadery, the Commissioner of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission joins 245 leading executives, public figures and intellectuals from around the world under the age of 40 awarded the honor. “I am honored to receive this award and being acknowledged among such a distinguished individuals by the World Economic Forum,” said Nadery. MORE

Embassy of Afghanistan Legislative Update for March 2008: This month, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs held a hearing on the Fiscal 2008 Emergency Supplemental Request and provided $1.4 billion in emergency funding, while the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on NATO Expansion. Ambassador Jawad met with Senator Chuck Hagel, and Representatives Joe Wilson and Steve Israel. Senator Maria Cantwell introduced legislation to increase economic development in Afghanistan and Pakistan through the establishment of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones and Senator Joe Lieberman wrote about security strategy in Afghanistan in the Washington Post. MORE

Embassy Hosts Reception for Launch of Justice Reform Partnership: On Monday, March 3rd Ambassador Said T. Jawad hosted a reception to celebrate the launch of the Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington D.C. Ambassador Jawad, U.S. Coordinator for Counternarcotics and Justice Reform Thomas A. Schweich, and co-chair of the Public-Private Partnership Robert O’Brien gave short remarks on the state of the Afghan Justice Sector MORE

OP ED: More NATO Troops and Trainers Needed to Defeat the Taliban: Securing Afghanistan against the Taliban’s cross-border insurgency will take center stage at the NATO summit in Bucharest. Lagging commitment on the part of donor nations has been a factor in giving the Taliban new life. According to a recent study by the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief, an astounding 40 percent of the $25 billion in aid that has been pledged to fund Afghanistan’s democratization process has not been delivered. MORE

First Day of School for Afghan Children: With the passing of Norouz, the Afghan new year and the first day of spring, children all across Afghanistan returned to school for the seventh time since the international intervention of 2001. This year, over 6 million Afghan children attended their first day of class. The number of children in school rose from 5.7 million last year, to almost 6.2 million, but the gender disparity among students is still a challenge. MORE

New Reconstruction Projects will Help Over 6000 Families: The Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development recently completed 15 uplift projects in the provinces of Herat and Nooristan. These projects include the building of roads and bridges, power cable repairing and work on a water supply network. According to a spokesperson for the Ministry these projects benefit over six thousand families. MORE

Embassy in the News: This month, Ambassador Said T. Jawad spoke to Asia Pulse about Afghanistan's ICT Sector. Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari published Op Eds on women's empowerment in the Washington Times and The Culture and Conflict Review, as well as a Letter to the Editor in the Baltimore Sun on the upcoming NATO conference in Bucharest, Romania. To read or watch these interviews, please click Embassy in the News.

Investment News: This month, Investment News focused on the privatization of Afghan Telecom and Saudi Prince Al-Walid's comments on the investment climate in Afghanistan. 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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