- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2009

AFGHANS THANKFUL

Afghan Ambassador Said T. Jawad praised the heroism of American soldiers killed this month fighting Taliban forces in his country and expressed his condolences for their families.

“They are heroes and their valiant sacrifices are not in vain,” he said in an e-mail statement. “They will each be remembered for their distinguished service in this fight for a noble cause.”

At least 39 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan in July, according to the latest Associated Press count Sunday.

Mr. Jawad added that Afghans appreciate the commitment of U.S. forces to build a safe and democratic nation in the troubled Central Asian region.

“We are indebted to the government and the people of the United States, especially those who have given their lives for a peaceful Afghanistan, a stable region and a secure world,” the ambassador said.

Mr. Jawad said U.S. and Afghan authorities expected increased casualties with a surge of American forces and a new offensive against the Taliban. He noted that Afghan troops and police are also dying in higher numbers.

“Since May, an average of six Afghan policemen have died on a daily basis, alongside of hundreds of soldiers from the Afghan national army and other Afghan security officers,” he said.

Mr. Jawad also addressed security plans for the Aug. 20 elections for president, vice president and provincial councils. More than 47,000 police officers will be deployed to protect voters on election day, and more than 8,000 monitors will observe the process and report on its fairness.

“Our first presidential election was historic, but this election will mark the continued maturity and growth of Afghanistan’s pluralistic political system,” he said.

Mr. Jawad added that 41 candidates are running for president, 82 for vice president and nearly 2,000 for the provincial council seats. A record number of 16 million Afghans are registered to vote, with women making up 35 percent of the electorate.

DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Monday

Antonio Canova of the Bolinaga Levy Marquez & Canova law firm in Caracas, Venezuela, Luis Vicente Leon, a Venezuelan political pollster, and Asdrubal Oliveros of Ecoanalitica, a Caracas-based economic research firm. They address the American Enterprise Institute on economic conditions under President Hugo Chavez.

Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo of China. They meet with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner for the first joint meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Wednesday

Akbar Atri, a founder of Iranian Students for Democracy and Human Rights, and Mariam Memarsadeghi, an Iranian human rights activist. They’ll address the Middle East Institute on the protests over the Iranian presidential election.

Adel Abdellatif of the United Nations Development Program and Bahgat Korany and Heba El-Laithy of the American University-Cairo. They’ll participate in a forum for the release of the Arab Human Development Report of 2009 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Thursday

Guillermo Zuloaga, president of Globovision, the only remaining independent television station in Venezuela, and Marcel Granier, general director of RCTV, which the government shut down two years ago. They’ll address the Cato Institute on the status of press freedom and other civil liberties under President Hugo Chavez.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.

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