- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2008

‘IN AFGHANISTAN’

Dutch Ambassador Renee Jones-Bos and Afghan Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad are planning a stunning photo exhibit to show off daily life in Afghanistan and Dutch efforts to help rebuild the war-torn South Asian nation.

“As partners in the reconstruction efforts, we are moved by the strength and tenacity of the Afghan people and their commitment to rebuild their country. These images capture that strength and hope,” Ms. Renee Jones-Bos said in announcing the photo display that opens next month at the Touchstone Gallery in Northwest Washington.

Mr. Jawad added, “This exhibition highlights our close cooperation in fighting extremism and working to build a peaceful and prosperous society.”


The Netherlands has committed $10 billion to help rebuild Afghanistan and deployed 1,800 troops to help secure the nation against Taliban insurgents. The Netherlands Foreign Ministry commissioned to document the reconstruction projects and capture images of the history of the nation.

His photos include young Afghans at a makeshift school and others riding a motorcycle past the old Darul Aman Palace in Kabul. The palace, once a grand European-styled architectural jewel, is intended to be the seat of a future parliament. Now it stands like a symbol of the destruction of the country.

Built in the 1920s and gutted by fire in 1969, it was bombed repeatedly during communist coup and in fighting between rival rebel groups in the early 1990s. Today, NATO troops use part of the building as an observation post.

The “In Afghanistan” exhibit presents “images that pay tribute to the determination of the Afghan people to survive and live as normally as possible through the upheaval, building homes, going to school and working and playing in trying times,” the Dutch Embassy said in a description of the photo presentation.

“We are proud of our close working relations with the Royal Netherlands Embassy and grateful for its efforts to exhibit the daily joys and struggles of the Afghan people,” Mr. Jawad said.

The exhibition, which is free to the public, opens Sept. 10 and runs through Oct. 4 at the gallery at 406 Seventh St. NW.

GEORGIA CAMPAIGN

Activists urging stronger congressional support for Georgia warn that a weak response from the United States will only encourage Russia to reassert pressure over the other neighboring nations that once made up the Soviet Union.

“Unless Russia and the rest of the world see decisive American actions, there will always be a grave threat of similar brutal attacks on other independent states in Russia’s ‘near abroad,’ who are only guilty by association with values of freedom and democracy,” said Maka Gabelia, executive director of the Georgian Association in the United States. “As a U.S. ally, Georgia needs immediate bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress.”

In an e-mail, she urged supporters to write letters to members of the Senate and House, urging Congress to support the total sovereignty of Georgia, including the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Her organization also wants NATO to accelerate procedures for Georgia and Ukraine to join the Western military alliance.

The association wants Congress to support revoking Russia’s selection to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and limit travel to the United States by Russians who have close ties to the Russian government and freeze their assets in U.S. banks.

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