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Afghan Mission participates in United Nations Asset Recovery meeting

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The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna today participated in the 8th Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Asset Recovery of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) promotes the convention and its implementation.

 

Ambassador Erfani, while aligning his delegation with the statement made by the Group of 77 and China, made some remarks in his national capacity. He emphasized that “recovering the proceeds of corruption as a fundamental principle of UNCAC remains an important area of anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan.”

 

The Ambassador continued by explaining recent relevant legal reforms and improved institutional frameworks in Afghanistan, such as the Afghan Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which has been established in 2006. “The FIU increasingly plays a critical role in countering money-laundering and in facilitating the return of proceeds of crime, also through regional and international cooperation”, Ambassador Erfani noted. Another key national institution operating in this area is the High Office of Oversight, which also oversees asset declarations by government officials. To this date, almost 5,000 asset declaration forms have been entered into their database.

 

 

Furthermore, Afghanistan has recently signed extradition agreements with several countries in the region and those agreements have already yielded positive results in terms of successful asset recoveries and extraditions.

 

The Ambassador closed his intervention by recalling the cross-border nature of this dimension of corruption, calling for enhanced bilateral, regional and international cooperation. Due to the complex and multi-faceted character of the process of asset recovery, transfer of knowledge and capacity-building will be vital to effectively address this issue.

 

 

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Afghanistan observes week of Martyrs and the 13th Anniversary of the Assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud

 

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This week, the people of Afghanistan observe the week of Martyrs which coincides with the 13th anniversary of the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud (09.09.2001), a Hero of the Afghan Nation, who fought against the Soviet Union’s Red Army and the barbaric Taliban regime and Al Qaeda terrorists.

 

The people of Afghanistan honor their compatriots who lost their lives in the struggle for independence, peace and stability of the country. We commemorate them and will always remember their sacrifices. Our hearts and thoughts are with their families and friends. We also recall the sacrifices of our international friends and partners, and their efforts to provide a better future for our country. Afghanistan works towards implementation of their ideals, for a sovereign, peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan, where all of its people can enjoy security and a life free of fear.

 

Ahmad Shah Massoud was killed two days before 9/11 by two Al Qaeda suicide bombers posing as journalists, to help clear the way for the attacks in the United States. He changed history and affected so many around him. Observance of the week of Martyrs is an expression of the strong commitment of the Afghan people to continuously build upon previous achievements and towards an independent, united and prosperous Afghanistan, free from terrorism and threats, which were the noble goals of uncounted Afghans who lost their lives in serving their country.

 

“We consider this our duty — to defend humanity against the scourge of intolerance, violence, and fanaticism.” — Ahmad Shah Massoud

 

 

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Ambassador Erfani meets with religious leaders to condemn recruitment of youth to fight in Syria

Vienna, 11 August 2014     

Ambassador Erfani and Minister-Counsellor Wahab Arian meet with Afghan religious leaders in Vienna to condemn the recruitment of Afghan Youth to the fight in Syria.

Ambassador Erfani and Minister-Counsellor Wahab Arian meet with Afghan religious leaders in Vienna to condemn the recruitment of Afghan Youth to the fight in Syria.

Today, Ambassador Erfani and Minister Counsellor Wahab Arian met with a selection of religious leaders from the Afghan community in Vienna to condemn the continued recruitment of Afghan youth in Vienna to the war in Syria. During the past period, a number of Muslim youth have been apprehended attempting to cross the Austrian border to fight in Syria.

Ambassador Erfani thanked the leaders for their attendance and called upon their support during this difficult time, where all Afghans must be united to direct the Afghan youth in Austria to respect the laws of the host country, continue their education and to see the disastrous effects of engaging with recruiting teams who would see our youth head to Syria for the wrong reasons. Ambassador stated that “it is in all our interests to unite against such unsavoury elements, as we have seen in Afghanistan’s past, who would lead our youth astray and see an unstable, hostile Afghanistan return”.

Following the Ambassador’s warnings and suggestions, the group discussed the best way to tackle the issue of recruiters in Austria and to dissuade the youth from following such bad examples. They discussed the importance of preaching good values in the Mosques in Vienna, to encourage Afghan youth to participate positively in the host country and be thankful for the unity, solidarity and peace in the country, and to know the effects of war that their forefathers have experienced. Additionally, Ambassador Erfani noted the importance on togetherness in the Afghan community in Austria and encouraged attendees to remain supportive of each other and their children.

If you know of anyone who you suspect of being in contact with such recruiters or may be in danger of being recruited, please be in contact: embassy@afghanistan-vienna.org or  +43 (0)1 4021006 or call the Austrian police.

 

 

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The Embassy hosts an Eid celebration

The Embassy of Afghanistan in Vienna celebrates Eid 

 

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Ambassador Erfani delivers an Eid message

 

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna marked the end of the Ramadan period with an Eid celebration on the Embassy premises.

 

A large group of fellow Afghans from the community here in Austria joined the celebration at the Embassy, in addition to local Austrian officials and some journalists. Ambassador Erfani and Deputy Chief of Mission, Minister-Counselor Abdul Wahab Arian welcomed all guests before the guest of honor, author Dr. Heide Amato-Koller opened the buffet of a delicious selection of Afghan treats. Ambassador Erfani welcomed the guests to the event and he expressed his wishes for sustainable peace and prosperity in Afghanistan. He asked the Afghan community in Vienna to continue to focus on educating their children, as the new promising generation of Afghanistan.

 

The Permanent Mission prepared Afghan dishes for the invited guests. After the meal concluded, H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani took the floor, thanking all guests for their attendance, wishing them all the best and highlighting the significance of Eid celebrations for unity, solidarity and peace in the country and beyond, in particular in light of the 2014 Transition and upcoming Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). Additionally, Ambassador Erfani noted the importance on togetherness in the Afghan community in Austria and encouraged attendees to remain in close contact with the Embassy for future endeavours. Representatives of the Afghan community took the floor and appreciated the active involvement and engagement of the Embassy with the Afghan community in Austria.

 

 

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Embassy hosts book presentation: ‘Kindheit in Kabul’

The Embassy of Afghanistan in Vienna hosts a book presentation of ‘Childhood in Kabul: My years in Afghanistan 1950-1955’ by Heide Amato-Koller

Mrs Amato-Koller and Amabssador Erfani

Mrs Amato-Koller and Ambassador Erfani

 

Vienna, 06.08.2014

The Embassy of Afghanistan in Vienna today hosted a book presentation with author Heide Amato-Koller who presented and read passages from her book detailing the period of her childhood which she spent in Kabul, titled “Kindheit in Kabul – Meine Jahre in Afghanistan 1950 – 1955”.

In his welcoming remarks, H.E. Ambassador Erfani commented that, Mrs. Amato-Koller’s book has been published at an important time of transition and transformation for Afghanistan. As young Afghans work for progress, democracy, and an open society, it is important to view the future in the light of the past.

Ambassador Erfani opened the event with introductory remarks, after which Minister-Counselor Mr. Wahab Arian introduced Mrs. Amato-Koller and her ghostwriter Mr. Mario Jandrokovic.

Ms Koller spoke of her love of the country and the wonderful friendship she made with an Afghan girl, who was her neighbor in Kabul. She also spoke of the intricacies of Afghan society and different cultural experiences she made whilst in Kabul.

Attended by a number of local officials, journalists and members of the Afghan community, the event included a reading of passages from her book and a brief Q&A session, followed by a reception in the Embassy with Afghan specialties.

 

From left: Minister/Counsellor Wahab Arian, Ambassador Erfani, Mrs Amato-Koller and Mr Jandrokovic

From left: Minister/Counsellor Wahab Arian, Ambassador Erfani, Mrs Amato-Koller and Mr Jandrokovic

 

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The Embassy & Permanent Mission of Afghanistan host a memorial ceremony and Khatme-e-Quran to honor the victims of the Paktika province terrorist attack

Vienna, 21 July 2014

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Today the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna hosted a memorial ceremony and Khatm-e-Quran “Fateha” in memory of the victims of a terrorist attack which occurred last Tuesday in the Argan district of Paktika province.

Members of the Afghan community, including representatives from various Afghan Associations and representatives of mosques in Austria, gathered at the Embassy and mourned the victims of one of the most devastating terrorist attacks of recent times in Afghanistan, in which almost 100 lives were lost during the holy month of Ramadan.

Following the prayers, Ambassador Erfani spoke with those gathered about the challenges still facing Afghanistan in this period and demonstrated his solidarity with the victims of the attack and their families.  The Afghan community expressed their strong solidarity with the victims in Argan district, emphasized the unity and understanding of Afghans for the need of stability in Afghanistan and expressed their readiness and commitments to join Afghans in the country and abroad who are making concentrated efforts towards a stable Afghanistan.

Ambassador Erfabi and representatives of the Afghan community

Ambassador Erfabi and representatives of the Afghan community

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Ambassador Erfani congratulates the new G-77 + China Chairmanship, The Philippines

Vienna, 16.07.2014

 

Ambassador Erfani first expressed his gratitude to Her Excellency Ambassador Yparraguirre, Permanent Representative of the Philippines, incoming Chairperson of the G-77 and China, as well as to His Excellency Ambassador Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, outgoing Chairperson of the G-77 and China.

 

He continued by stating: “I congratulate the Philippines for taking on this responsibility and pledge our full cooperation. Let me thank you, dear Ambassador Yparraguirre for your insightful remarks and comprehensive presentation of the work programme for the rest of this year”.

 

The Ambassador then reminded about pressing economic, social and environmental challenges in some of the G-77 regions: “I applaud our shared efforts to eliminate extreme poverty and hardships”. But he also highlighted that a number of G-77 and China countries are among the emerging economies and have become drivers of global growth, and added: “Afghanistan, given its rich natural resources, young and capable workforce, and our upcoming Decade of Transformation (2015-2024), will hopefully be able to join them in the near future. I have the feeling that this will be a decade for the Afghan people, who had to suffer so incredibly much over the past three decades, and we reach for the stars.”

 

The Ambassador encouraged his fellow Permanent Representatives to sustain the momentum concerning the Millennium Development Goals, promote the empowerment of women in order to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of society.  “We believe that the women and youth are decisive forces for Afghanistan’s future development and we are committed to this end”, he noted.

 

The Ambassador also proposed the creation of an informal working group for the ongoing negotiation between G-77 and developed countries on the budget, in particular the increase of the fund for Technical Cooperation.

 

The Ambassador closed by reiterating Afghanistan’s full support to the new Chairmanship.

 

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Ambassador Erfani responds to the 2015 Serbia Chairman of the OSCE

Vienna, 15.07.2014

 

The delegation of Afghanistan joined other delegations in warmly welcoming His Excellency Ivica Dačić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia to the OSCE Permanent Council. “We thank you, Excellency Mr. Minister, for your insightful remarks while presenting your priorities for the Serbian OSCE Chairmanship in 2015, and for your close collaboration with Switzerland” Ambassador Erfani said, also highlighting that “this is an excellent example of close co-operation and co-ordination between incoming and outgoing chairmanships in the history of the OSCE.”

 

H.E. Ayoob Erfani noted that Afghanistan has been transformed into a better place for its citizens as a result of Afghanistan’s decade-long and continuing partnership with our friends in the international community, including the OSCE: “We are a committed partner of the OSCE and are dedicated to engaging with the Serbian 2015 Chairmanship on its priorities, and we look forward to close co-operation with the Serbian Chairmanship in 2015, with the capable Ambassador Vuk Žugić, and we trust that Afghanistan will remain high on the OSCE’s agenda.”

 

A joint two-year work plan of the consecutive Swiss and Serbian Chairmanships has been agreed upon by the two countries and is widely seen as being an excellent opportunity towards continuity and consistent activities.

 

Ambassador Erfani also expressed his hope that a supportive declaration on Afghanistan could be agreed upon by OSCE participating States at the Basel OSCE Ministerial Council in December this year, and encouraged more active engagement between the OSCE participating and partner States in the framework of the OSCE’s Helsinki+40 process.

 

In closing, Ambassador Erfani stated that Afghanistan highly values its historic relationship with Serbia and wished H.E. the Minister and the people of Serbia continued success and prosperity.

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The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan hosts a Colloquium on Perspectives on Afghan Women

Vienna, 10.07.2014

Ms Naderi, MP, Ambassador Erfani and Ms Seraj at the panel discussion.

Ms Naderi, MP, Ambassador Erfani and Ms Seraj at the panel discussion.

Today, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan hosted a colloquium on “Perspectives on Afghan Women: 2014 and beyond”. The event was made possible with the support of the UNODC and ACUNS, and took place at the Vienna International Center.

 

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani opened the colloquium with a statement which started by thanking the international community for the support it has given to Afghanistan. He also highlighted the growing participation of women in all levels of government and civil society, which was embodied in the two guest panelists, Ms. Farkhunda Naderi, a current member of the Afghan National Assembly, and Ms. Mahbouba Seraj, Executive Board Member and Chair of the Afghan Women’s Network.

 

After a second short welcoming statement by UNODC Director Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Ms. Naderi took the floor, giving a passionate statement which highlighted the progress that Afghanistan has made over the past 13 years, but also its many remaining challenges regarding women’s rights.  She praised the Afghan people on its determination and courage in nourishing democracy, as seen by impressive voter turnout rates, especially for women, in its recent presidential election.

 

Ms. Naderi was followed by Ms. Seraj and gave an equally fervent address entreating the international community to maintain its support for Afghanistan, as democracy in the country “has just taken its first steps and must be allowed to grow”. She also stressed the importance of engaging the youth, calling them the brightest hope for the country’s future.

 

A Q&A session followed, where questions touched on a breadth of topics such as the emerging role of women in the area of security and the sovereignty of Afghanistan and its relationship with the International Community.

 

Ambassador Erfani closed the colloquium by thanking all those who helped organize the event, as well as all participants, stating that this dialogue provided “renewed energy” to continue the conversation about women in Afghanistan and the decade of transformation. He emphasized the role that men also have in improving women’s rights in Afghanistan and reiterated the commitment of the Afghan government to improving the role of women in Afghan society. He concluded by signifying how vital the continued support of the International Community is during this period and the gratitude for their support thus far.

 

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Afghanistan joins Security Sector Reform Group at the OSCE

Afghanistan joins Security Sector Reform Group at the OSCE

07 July 2014

Today H.E. Ayoob Erfani gave a statement on Security Sector Reform and thanked Slovak Republic and Switzerland for co-hosting the Joint Conference on Strengthening OSCE – UN Co-operation on Security Sector Reform (SSR).

Ambassador Erfani spoke of the many achievements and significant progress which has been made by Afghanistan in this sector in the last years and especially the improvements since Afghanistan joined the Group of Friends of UN-SSR in 2007, where it has benefited through ongoing support.

Ambassador Erfani reiterated the importance of Groups such as these in combating the global menaces of terrorism and illicit narcotics trafficking, which Afghanistan have been prime victims of, in securing a safer and prosperous global community through capacity building and encouraging safer practices through information and skills exchanges.

He concluded by stating that ‘Afghanistan welcomes and supports this initiative and declares membership of the SSG/R Group of Friends. We as a committed partner of OSCE are ready to do our part for the success if this young process.’

 

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