The Embassy of Afghanistan Web Site             
Volume 29 :: March 07, 2006                  

In This Issue
  • President Bush Makes Historic Visit to Afghanistan
  • President Karzai Seeks Pakistan's Sincere Cooperation in Fighting Terrorism
  • Washington and Kabul Hold Strategic Talks
  • Ambassador Jawad Speaks at Institute on Religion and Public Policy
  • Ambassador Jawad Discusses Education Role in Afghanistan's Future
  • First Secretary Haidari Speaks to US Soldiers Deploying to Afghanistan
  • Afghanistan Receives USTDA Country of the Year Award
  • Counter Narcotics Police Seize 133 KG of Processed Heroin
  • UN Security Council Endorses the Afghanistan Compact
  • Energy Ministers Sign MOU on the TAP Pipeline Project
  • Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Praises Afghanistan's Progress
  • U.S. and Russia Announce Cancellation of Afghan Debt
  • Ariana Television Goes Global
  • Fruit Exports Earn Millions for Afghanistan
  • Construction Opportunities Attract Female Entrepreneurs
  • Afghans Have High Hopes for Skiing on Maranjan Mountain
  • Youth Advances Afghan Film Arts
  • Ancient Treasures Displayed in Kabul

President Bush Makes Historic Visit to Afghanistan

President Bush Makes Historic Visit to AfghanistanPresident George W. Bush made a historic visit to Afghanistan on March 1, and praised the warm hospitality of the Afghan people during his brief stay in Kabul. First Lady Laura Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accompanied the President at the head of their trip to India and Pakistan later in the week. "Well, such a wonderful moment for us in Afghanistan today to have our great friend, our great supporter, and a man that helped us liberate, a man that helped us rebuild, a man that helped us move toward the future, President Bush, today with us in Afghanistan," President Karzai delightfully welcomed his counterpart at the news conference in Kabul.

The Afghan people received President Bush as their honored guest, who became the second American leader to visit Afghanistan since President Dwight D. Eisenhower who visited the country in December 1959. "First of all, I want to thank you for the fantastic lunch we just had. I did get a taste of Afghanistan's hospitality, and it's good," President Bush told the Afghan press. President Bush praised the achievements of the Afghan people in establishing a democratic state and assured them of the U.S. long-term support to consolidate Afghanistan's new democracy. "From here, I'll go to cut a ribbon at our new embassy. The embassy should be a clear statement to the people in Afghanistan that we're dedicated to helping," stated President Bush. "I absolutely will bring up the cross-border infiltrations with President Musharraf. These infiltrations are causing harm to friends, allies, and cause harm to U.S. troops. And that will be a topic of conversation," President Bush responded to a press question on the problem of cross-border infiltrations of terrorists into Afghanistan where they attack soft targets and run back into Pakistan where they receive training and logistical support.
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President Karzai Seeks Pakistan's Sincere Cooperation in Fighting Terrorism

President Karzai Seeks Pakistan's Sincere Cooperation...President Hamid Karzai visited Pakistan on February 15 for talks with President Pervez Musharraf on bilateral relations and security concerns. President Karzai discussed with his counterpart the deep concern of the Afghan people over increased terrorist activities in the south and east of Afghanistan, which has been the scene of many terrorist attacks organized from across the border. In an effort to help the government of Pakistan close down terrorist training camps and break down terrorist networks, the President handed over to President Musharraf specific and detailed intelligence on the names and location of terrorists, recruitment agents, and their training camps of suicide bombers and terrorists inside Pakistan, and demanded Pakistan's sincere cooperation in stopping cross-border infiltration into Afghanistan. "We have provided President Musharraf with a lot of very detailed information on acts of terrorism being carried out in Afghanistan and we discussed in great detail what actions Pakistan could now take," President Karzai told Daily Telegraph. "Our people are suffering, so it is time that action is taken to stop these acts of terrorism and interference in Afghanistan internal affairs." President Karzai noted that the prosperity of each nation is linked, and stressed that Pakistan will benefit the most from peace and prosperity in the region. President Karzai was accompanied by Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah, Commerce Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala, Finance Minister Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi, Defense Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak, and National Security Adviser Zalmay Rasul.

Ambassador Jawad Discusses Education Role in Afghanistan's Future

Ambassador Jawad participated in a conference on Education and Development: Building Sustainable Systems of Higher Education in Developing Countries hosted by Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, on March 2. The Ambassador said that the government of Afghanistan fully realizes the importance of human security, an integral part of which is education. It is only through education that we can overcome both the short-term problems of weak capacity, aid ineffectiveness, corruption, and the long-term challenge of developing Afghanistan on a sustainable basis. Although Afghanistan has achieved a great deal in the education sector since four years ago with over five million Afghans back to schools and universities across Afghanistan, the government of Afghanistan has specifically outlined its plans in the Afghanistan Compact and the I-National Development Strategy (I-ANDS) for enhancing education as a true means to secure the future of Afghanistan. By end of 2010 in line with Afghanistan's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), net enrolment in primary schools for girls and boys will be at least 60% and 75% respectively; a new curriculum will be operational in all secondary schools; female teachers will be increased by 50%; 70% of Afghanistan's teachers will have passed a competency test; and a system for assessing achievement such as a national testing system for students will be in place. At the same time, by the end of 2010, enrollment of students to universities will be 100,000 with at least 35% female students; and the curriculum in Afghanistan's public universities will be revised to meet the development needs of the country and private sector growth.

Ambassador Jawad called on the Colgate University to help Afghanistan achieve its five-year goals in the education sector. He stated: "Offering programs to train teachers and professors at your university, creating partnerships between universities in Afghanistan and academic institutions in the United States, focusing academic study of Afghanistan in the classroom, conducting research on Afghanistan's education, security, and economic development, funding scholarships, waiting tuition for Afghan students, and holding forums of exchange-such as today's event-are all ways to assist with the revival of the education system in Afghanistan." Former Finance Minister and Chancellor of Kabul University Dr. Ashraf Ghani also participated along with a number of other education experts to discuss the importance of strengthening higher education to develop Afghanistan's human capital. Years of war destroyed much of Afghanistan's educational infrastructure and left a whole generation illiterate, while most educated Afghans fled the country and were permanently uprooted. Investing in the social development of Afghanistan is an integral part of the Afghanistan Compact and the National Development Strategy.
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Counter Narcotics Police Seize 133 KG of Processed Heroin

Counter Narcotics PoliceThe Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan successfully interdicted 133 kilograms of fully processed heroin from the District 8th of Kabul on February 12. This is one of the largest drug seizures made by the Afghan Counter Narcotics Police. Ministry of Interior reports that the police arrested one trafficker in connection with transportation of the seized heroin which he had hidden in a taxi vehicle destined for Western Europe. Deputy Interior Minister for Counter Narcotics General Mohammad Daud said, "All Afghan police forces are alert and fully-committed to eliminating drugs; they are ready to mount any anti-narcotics operations throughout the country." In the past, drug raids have rarely resulted in charges against suspected traffickers. However, the trend has recently changed due to the increased vigilance of Afghanistan's counter-narcotics efforts, and the increased capability of the courts to prosecute and sentence traffickers.
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UN Security Council Endorses the Afghanistan Compact

UN Security Council On February 15, the United Nations Security Council officially endorsed the five-year Afghanistan Compact. The Compact, signed by delegates from over seventy nations at last month's London Conference, reaffirms the partnership between Afghanistan and international community in rebuilding and strengthening Afghanistan's infrastructure, military, economy and civil society. The 15-member council unanimously adopted a resolution backing the Compact as "the framework for the partnership between the Afghan government and the international community. "The Afghanistan Compact was an important step forward," said John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the UN and the Security Council president. "This resolution is intended to convey the full support of the Security Council. It was adopted unanimously and I hope it will be conducive to further progress in Afghanistan."
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Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Praises Afghanistan's Progress

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Representative Ileana Ros Lehtinen recently briefed Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and the House of Representatives on the progress she had witnessed as part of a recent congressional delegation to Afghanistan. She reported that she was struck by, "the enthusiasm and the determination of the Afghan people to finally and deservedly live in a free society." She praised President Karzai's leadership and expressed her support for the principles and goals of the Afghanistan Compact. Representative Ros-Lehtinen also recommended that Congress continue to meet the funding needs for Afghan reconstruction. She closed her statements by reiterating that a rehabilitated Afghanistan will stand as a potent victory in the war on terror. "At a time when many are questioning the legitimacy of U.S. efforts abroad, Afghanistan serves as the perfect example of why our efforts to bring stability, freedom, and security are crucial, just, and attainable. Clearly, the new Afghanistan is emerging as one of our closest allies in our fight against extremists," she said. The Representative's address stressed the critical need for a sustained strategic partnership between both nations.
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Fruit Exports Earn Millions for Afghanistan

Director of the Provincial Chamber of Commerce Abdul Raziq Rafiq announced this month that Kandahar had exported 21,000 tons of raisin, figs and walnuts and 16 tons of fresh fruit including pomegranates, grapes and melons to foreign countries. These exports earned over $17 million dollars for local traders. The fruits were sent to Ukraine, Bangladesh, Germany, South Korea, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Japan and Saudi Arabia via Ariana airlines company planes. These sales represent a great victory in Afghanistan's reconstruction and confirm that Afghanistan is a strong contender in the global marketplace. Officials hope that fruit exports will continue to be lucrative for Afghan farmers and supplement poppy as a primary crop.
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Construction Opportunities Attract Female Entrepreneurs

Construction Opportunities Attract Female EntrepreneursAn emerging class of female entrepreneurs is discovering a diverse range of opportunities. Nawabi Construction, launched by Shahla Nawabi and her business partner Ahmad Nawaz Baktyar is a 2-year-old company that has completed nearly a dozen construction projects around the country, including a kindergarten in Kabul and a police station in Ghazni. Ms. Nawabi's previous career was in the fashion industry, but she finds construction alongside fellow Afghans to be preferable to a more glamorous life in Europe. For those charged with developing Afghanistan's private sector, the work of Nawabi and others like her is crucial to transforming the country into a global competitor.
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Afghans Have High Hopes for Skiing on Maranjan Mountain

Not long ago, Afghanistan had a ski resort in Argandhi which boasted a large international clientele and an impressive ski-lift. The resort was operated by the family of Mohammed Yusuf Kargar who, at the age of 16, was Afghanistan's national skiing champion in 1978. Mohammed will never know if he was Olympic material, as skiing became impossible after Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Eventually, the resort was destroyed, caught in the crossfire of the communist forces. No matter what troubles befell him over the intervening decades, Mohammed protected his skiing equipment, waiting for the day when he would once again take to the slopes. Now, with four sets of skis and two pairs of boots, he is hoping to open a ski school and revitalize the sport. Unfortunately for Mohammed, the mountains that surround Kabul are heavily mined. Refusing to be deterred, he has managed to clear a single safe run. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines has identified Afghanistan as one of the world's most heavily mined countries, and estimate that landmines claim 80 victims a month. Mohammed hopes that some of the $10 billion pledged by donor nations at the London Conference will be spent de-mining the mountains. Mohammed's ultimate dream, of course, is to send a ski team to the 2010 Winter Olympics. He may be too old to compete, but he is not too old to coach.
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Youth Advances Afghan Film Arts

Afghanistan is home to one of the world's youngest film directors. Only seven years-old, Jawanmard Paeez already has impressive credentials. He played a stone-throwing child in "Diamond of the East," and a deaf victim of a rocket attack in "Dust and Ashes." His directorial debut came late last year with a seven-minute film called "Bad." The film is a character study of a young boy who does not listen to his parents. Many of Jawanmard's colleagues in the Afghan film industry describe him as a remarkable talent. Some even call him a genius, who scolds his actors when they are not being natural in front of the camera. Besides filmmaking, Jawanmard enjoys learning the Koran, going to school, football and snowball fights. He has expressed an interest in making educational films in the future.
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M. Ashraf Haidari - Editor
Embassy of Afghanistan
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Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202.483.6410
Fax: 202.483.6488

In the Media
President George W. Bush made a historic visit to...President George W. Bush made a historic visit to Afghanistan on March 1, and praised the warm hospitality of the Afghan people during his brief stay in Kabul. Please read below for details. Please read below.

Statement from Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad

In the MediaThe London Conference reasserted the international consensus that has been the foundation of the Afghan people partnership with the international community. In London, we launched the Afghanistan Compact, which sets out an ambitious agenda with quantitative and time-bound benchmarks for rebuilding Afghanistan. The Compact is a realistic reflection of what we need to do in order to further consolidate the peace and state-building process. We need to enable our new national and democratic institutions, all of which are successfully established under the Bonn Agreement, to deliver services to the Afghan people, to improve security, to fight the menace of narcotics, to create job and opportunities, to enforce laws, and to protect our citizens, both men and women, from crimes, corruption and human rights violations. We recognize that urgent actions in our part and enhanced support of the international community are needed to face these challenges.

We have come a long way, but we are not out of the woods yet. Improving security is the heart of the joint efforts of our Government and the international community. It must be done through military and non-military means. Considering the recent spike in terrorist infiltrations, attacks in the Southeast and Southwest, and further incidents of suicide bombers generated outside Afghanistan, the continuing strong presence and robust role of the US military is needed and welcomed by the Afghan people. We hope that NATO is capable and determined to meet the expectations of the Afghan people to fight the war against terror effectively and decisively. We have asked our neighbors to cooperate sincerely.

We have also presented our comprehensive National Development Strategy for the next five years in London, and asked our partners and the donors to channel more international assistance through the government's budget and recognize our national development priorities. We are extremely grateful for the new pledges, amounting to about $10.5 billion dollars with $4 billion coming from the United States. These pledges demonstrate a continuing donor confidence in Afghanistan.

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Washington and Kabul Hold Strategic Talks

Foreign Minister Dr. AbdullahForeign Minister Dr. Abdullah will lead a senior government delegation to attend bilateral talks on the US-Afghan Strategic Partnership hosted by the US Department of State on March 20-21. The agenda will consist of plenary and closing sessions, as well as three working groups composed of U.S. and Afghan senior officials to further bolster US-Afghan strategic partnership with a special focus on strengthening democracy and governance, prosperity, and security in Afghanistan. In June 2005, Presidents Karzai and Bush signed the Joint Declaration of the United States-Afghanistan: Strategic Partnership.

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Ambassador Jawad Speaks at Institute on Religion and Public Policy

Ambassador Jawad addressed a group of religious leaders, congressional staffers and State Department officials at the Institute on Religion and Public Policy on February 28. The Ambassador discussed religion to be an integral aspect of the Afghan society and culture, noting that Afghans' strong faith in Islam is a moderate social force which promotes peace, co-existence, and tolerance. He pointed that Islamic fanaticism has no place in the Afghan traditional Islamic values, and that extremism had always been imported into the country. "Afghans are devoted Muslims, but tolerance and moderation are an integral part of our culture," the Ambassador said. Indeed, the convergence of security forces from more than 40 countries in Afghanistan to build peace and democracy there demonstrates the supportive and tolerant human environment in Afghanistan. "We live in a divided world," Ambassador Jawad concluded. "Where extremists are trying to build walls, Afghanistan is building bridges."
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First Secretary Haidari Speaks to US Soldiers Deploying to Afghanistan

First Secretary Ashraf HaidariFirst Secretary Ashraf Haidari spoke on "Achievements, Challenges, and the Future of State-Building in Afghanistan" to the leadership of the 4th Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Polk, Louisiana, on February 21. Secretary Haidari thanked the US soldiers for their continued support to secure the environment for building peace and democracy in Afghanistan, and to make the world a safer place. He told 150 deploying officers that although American forces had been dispatched to many war zones and post-conflict countries to make or keep peace since the end of the Cold War, their deployment to Afghanistan was very special. "It is special because you will make a long lasting difference in the lives of 25 million Afghans, mostly my generation, who only suffered by growing up in war, destruction, and hopelessness over the past thirty years," said Secretary Haidari. "You are going to Afghanistan to help our people change their future for the better," he added. The officers learned a great deal about the Bonn political process and discussed the Afghanistan Compact and the National Development Strategy with Secretary Haidari. He assured the deploying soldiers of a supportive human environment in Afghanistan where they would be welcome and assisted by the local populations to execute their jobs.

Afghanistan Receives USTDA Country of the Year Award

USTDAU.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Deputy Director Leocadia I. Zak presented a plaque commemorating the agency's 2005 Country of the Year award to Ambassador Jawad on February 15. Ambassador Jawad stated: "I am very proud of Afghanistan's selection as USTDA's 2005 Country of the Year. The selection recognizes the achievements of the Afghan private sector in helping rebuild Afghanistan as well as the government of Afghanistan for their catalyst role in shaping Afghanistan as a free-market democratic state in partnership with the international community." The presentation took place during a ceremony in the Longworth House Office Building attended by Congressman Jim Kolbe, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs of the Committee on Appropriations. The award celebrated the partnership between USTDA and Afghan lawmakers, engineers and entrepreneurs over the last several years. "The economic recovery of Afghanistan and its transition to a democracy over the last four years has been remarkable," said Deputy Director Zak. "USTDA is proud to have played a role in the country's continuing development and looks forward to working with our Afghan partners to build on our mutual success." Examples of successful USTDA assistance in Afghanistan span a wide range of projects, including telecommunications development, assistance to the American University of Afghanistan, the building of a 100 megawatt power plant, business training programs, and valuable private sector analysis.
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Energy Ministers Sign MOU on the TAP Pipeline Project

Energy Ministers Sign MOU on the TAP Pipeline ProjectA Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the conclusion of a two-day Ministerial meeting of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on February 15. India, which participated as an observer, expressed its willingness to join the TAP. The Turkmenistan Oil and Gas Minister Gurbanmurat Atayev, Pakistan Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Amanullah Khan Jadoon, and Afghanistan Mines and Industries Minister Mir Mohammad Sidique represented their countries at the meeting. Indian State Petroleum Minister Dinsha Patel attended the meeting as an observer while Energy Specialist Dan Millison represented the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The two-day meeting deliberated on the key issues of gas availability, security, route, pipeline structure, gas pricing and financial aspects of the project. The meeting expressed satisfaction over the pace of progress on the project and agreed to adopt a strategy to implement the project as early as possible for the benefit of the member states and the region as well. The meeting considered the feasibility report presented by the ADB. It was agreed to hold a technical experts meeting followed by TAP Ministerial meeting in Islamabad in April for finalizing the gas pricing agreement.

U.S. and Russia Announce Cancellation of Afghan Debt

U.S. and Russia Announce Cancellation of Afghan DebtOn the heels of the London Conference, both the United States and Russia have announced their plans to cancel Afghanistan's significant debt. In separate announcements, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack and Russian President Vladimir Putin urged other countries to provide complete debt relief to Afghanistan. The elimination of the debt is meant to assist Afghanistan's economic development by stimulating trade and investment. The relief is being carried out through the Paris Club, a group of wealthy creditor nations.
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Ariana Television Goes Global

Ariana Television Goes GlobalAriana Television Network (ATN) has begun satellite broadcasting to the United States. ATN, based in Kabul, expressed hope that its international broadcasts will provide Afghans living in the United States with accurate news about Afghanistan, as well as reacquaint them with Afghanistan's rich heritage through cultural and entertainment programming. The station's founder, Ehsan Bayat, believes that media will be a powerful force in the reconstruction and cultural revitalization of Afghanistan. Broadcasts to the United States are only the beginning, however, as ATN hopes to expand its broadcasts to Europe in the near future.
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Ancient Treasures Displayed in Kabul

Afghanistan put on part of its collection of 2,000-year-old Bactrian gold on display in Kabul this month. The gold was exhibited for the first time in 17 years, having only resurfaced in 2003 after fears that it had been destroyed in war. President Karzai, the cabinet members, heads of diplomatic missions, the country's new parliamentarians and selected media were among those invited to see the items. "This exhibition is an important step in the introduction of Afghanistan's rich cultural heritage to the world," national museum director Omarakhan Massoudi said. The 25 relics displayed on Saturday, most of them dating to the first century BC, included a Bactrian Aphrodite, a intricate chained belt with buckles showing a man riding a lion, a solid gold plate, a dagger and sheath, and jewelry delicately inlaid with turquoise and garnets.
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