Welcome to our e-newsletter Vol. 35 September and October 2006  

President Karzai Holds Bilateral Meeting with President Bush: As part of his official visit to the United States, President Hamid Karzai held a bilateral meeting with US President George W. Bush on September 26. The two leaders discussed terrorism in the region, and security and reconstruction assistance to strengthen Afghanistan’s security and governance institutions. Empowering tribal leaders was discussed as a means to fight extremism in Pakistan and terrorism in Afghanistan. MORE

Trilateral Summit on Counter-Terrorism: EOn September 27, President Karzai joined President Bush and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in an Iftar dinner. The three leaders discussed enhancing Afghan-Pakistani cooperation in security and intelligence matters to fight and eliminate the sources of terrorism that lie outside Afghanistan. President Karzai proposed two jirgas (tribal councils) on each side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border be convened to discuss means of empowering traditional legitimate leadership and strengthening civil society. MORE

US Bipartisan Support for Doubling Reconstruction Efforts: President Karzai arrived in Washington on September 24 for a four-day visit, following his official trip to Canada. He met with senior US Administration officials including Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The President also met with the Senate and House leadership, and Senators Chuck Hagel, Jack Reed, Richard Lugar, Joseph Biden and Hillary Clinton. MORE

Foreign Minister Spanta Meets with Counterparts in New York: While attending the UN General Assembly visit in New York, Foreign Minister Dr. Rangin Spanta had productive meetings with numerous foreign counterparts to discuss bi-lateral policy issues, including the Foreign Ministers of South Korea, Denmark, Canada, Holland, Hungary, Spain, England, Ukraine, Egypt, Italy, Australia, Norway, Bulgaria and the People’s Republic of China. MORE

President Karzai Discusses Security at Woodrow Wilson Center: "No matter how many battles we fight and win against terrorists on the Afghan soil, the war will only be won if we dismantle the sources of terrorism – its ideological, financial and military networks – outside our border. State elements relying on religious radicalism as an instrument of policy must be removed. We must close those terrorist hotbeds which call themselves madrassas or religious schools. These schools do not teach religion but preach hatred and train suicide bombers.” MORE

President Karzai Addresses the United Nations General Assembly:On September 20, President Karzai addressed the UN General Assembly and praised the UN’s role in facilitating international cooperation, particularly in Afghanistan. President Karzai recounted the steps Afghanistan has made in its post-war transition and celebrated last year’s inauguration of Afghanistan’s National Assembly, which marked the completion of the development of the three independent branches of a democratic state. MORE

President Karzai Receives Honorary Degree from Georgetown:Speaking at the reception, the President stated: “Thank you for being Afghanistan’s partner and friend. Over the last five years we have taken steps to rebuild a stable and pluralistic society. From the Afghanistan Reconstruction Summits in 2002 and 2003 to the London Conference earlier this year, Georgetown and President DeGioia have been our friends every step of the way.” MORE

Canadian Parliament Welcomes President Karzai: On September 22, President Karzai addressed the Canadian Parliament and thanked the Canadian people for sending their sons and daughters to secure Afghanistan. “Canada has made a tremendous difference in the lives if millions of Afghans already. Your country is helping us on a daily basis. Canadian troops are defending security and peace and the basics of life for Afghan children,” he said. MORE

President Karzai Meets with Private Sector Leaders: During the discussions, President Karzai encouraged these corporations to pursue a relationship with the Afghan business community. Special emphasis was placed on agriculture, specifically Dole’s potential contribution to Afghanistan through assistance with the processing and export of high-value products such as pomegranates, melons, raisins, grapes and figs. MORE

Ambassador Jawad Hosts Iraqi President Talabani: Ambassador Said T. Jawad hosted Iraqi President Jalal Talabani at the Embassy on September 23, as the Iraqi President was officially visiting Washington, DC. The President and his delegation dined on a feast of traditional Afghan cuisine. Although the lunch was informal, the participants exchanged views on the process of state-building in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the war on terror. MORE

Ambassador Jawad Discusses Post 9/11 Afghanistan in Texas: As a guest of the World Affairs Council of Dallas Fort Worth, the Ambassador addressed audiences in both cities, where he outlined the government’s ongoing security and counter-narcotics efforts. “Tragically, Americans understand better than anyone that global security depends upon defending freedom in each and every corner in the world. We must remember that Afghanistan was the first front on the war on terror, and will remain a crucial mission...” MORE

Afghan Debt Restructured in Historic Agreement: On September 27, Minister of Finance Anwar ul Haq Ahady and US Deputy Secretary of Treasury Robert Kimmitt signed a historic agreement whereby the previous US loan to Afghanistan of $105 million given the country before 1979 will be restructured, allowing for payment to be made over the next four years. MORE

The Center for American Progress Hosts Ambassador Jawad: The Ambassador’s speech was preceded by remarks from Sen. Tom Daschle, who spoke on the need for the international community to remain committed to the mission in Afghanistan. The Ambassador praised the Senator’s work on the behalf of the Afghan people and the continued bipartisan support for winning the peace in Afghanistan. MORE

Ambassador Jawad Visits Philadelphia: The Ambassador toured Shriners Hospital for Children, visiting patients and taking the opportunity to express the gratitude of the Afghan people and government for the hospital’s generous donation of prosthetic devices to the Afghan National Army Hospital in Kabul. “I have heard inspiring stories of men who are once again able to feed their families, and little boys and girls who are given the gift of a childhood thanks to these prosthetic medical devices. Afghanistan is striving towards better health and education every year." MORE

Foreign Service Officers Briefed on Threats to Afghanistan’s Stability: Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari addressed junior US Foreign Service Officers at the Department of State Foreign Service Institute on October 16, 2006. “Weak state institutions, Pakistan-based Taliban insurgency, and drug trafficking and terrorism pose the greatest threat to stability in Afghanistan, in the region, and in the world. These same problems were ripping our country in 1990s that culminated to the tragic events of 9/11. These threats reinforce one another and can only be resolved through an integrated strategy with adequate resources." MORE

Embassy Hosts Students to Discuss Afghanistan’s Strategy to Win the Peace: Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari received a diverse group of the Washington Semester students from the American University School of International Relations at the Embassy on October 11, 2006. Haidari briefed the students on the ongoing international peace-building efforts in Afghanistan, and told them that the country had come a long way in five years. MORE

Penny Campaign for Peace : On the five-year anniversary of 9/11, Mrs. Shamim Jawad, wife of Afghan Ambassador Jawad, traveled to Fremont California to speak to more than 1,000 teenagers participating in a special junior high school assembly. The event launched the annual Roots of Peace Penny Campaign to give children in Afghanistan safe schools and soccer fields. MORE

AISA 2006 Road Show Coming to America: From Oct. 29 - Nov. 8, 2006, the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA), the one-stop-shop for investing in Afghanistan will present Investing in Afghanistan: The Heart of Asia, the second annual investment promotion road show of AISA in North America. As last year, the road show will kick off with the second U.S.-Afghan Business Matchmaking Conference hosted by the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce (AICC). MORE

Ariana Afghan Airlines Attract Investment: On August 15, Former President of Ariana Afghan Airlines Dr. Mohammed Nadir Atash announced two major investment proposals by US and European companies. Ariana, Afghanistan’s national carrier, has provided air passenger and cargo service to Afghanistan for over five decades and has expanded its operations and service since the fall of the Taliban. MORE

Pomegranates Make Lucrative Alternative Crop: In order to support the alternative crop development plan of Afghanistan’s national drug control strategy, President Hamid Karzai is encouraging Afghan farmers to plant pomegranates. Pomegranates have been grown in Afghanistan for centuries, and before the Soviet invasion were a major cash-crop in Afghanistan’s booming agricultural sector. The fruit is renowned for both its sweet taste and its medicinal properties. MORE

Girls Enjoy Football in Kabul: The first-ever Kabul Girls Football (soccer) competition ended with high spirits as UN Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan Ameerah Haq presented a trophy to the winners –celebrating both a victory and a milestone event for young women in Kabul. “Sports provide children of all ages, boys and girls, with opportunities to express themselves, to contribute their opinions, and to become agents for change,” Haq said. MORE

Afghan Girls Learning the Sound of Music : Mazar-e-Sharif is home to a music school specifically for girls – the only one of its kind outside the capital Kabul. It only opened in mid-August and already has 30 students who learn singing and how to play the guitar, electric keyboard, harmonium and drum. The school was started by the Balkh Musicians’ Union with a grant from the Afghan Foundation for Culture and Civil Society. MORE

Immunization Campaign Helps Afghan Mothers and Infants: Every year millions children in Afghanistan die before the age of five. In the complex immunization effort now under way, more than 4 million children under five will be vaccinated against measles and an estimated 4.2 million women of child bearing age are to receive tetanus vaccine. Temporary immunization posts are being set up in villages across the country. Teams are also going from house to house to immunize women against tetanus. MORE

Corneal Transplant a First for Afghanistan: History was made Aug. 21 when a U.S. Army surgeon completed the first corneal transplant surgery in Afghanistan. Ophthalmologist Maj. Buck Rogers performed the transplant on a senior Afghan military officer. The operation at the 14th Combat Support Hospital took just under two hours. MORE

Embassy in the News - Secure Afghanistan: "Regional cooperation is key to fighting terrorism and narcotics, which not only threaten our new democracy but also undermine regional stability. We need to fight the sources of terrorism outside Afghanistan, including those who lead, fund, equip, train, and shelter terrorists to attack soft targets in Afghanistan and run away across the border. Fighting drugs is impossible without full regional cooperation, as we know from international experience in Southeast Asia and South America." MORE


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