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Ambassador Erfani addressed the conference of Afghan diaspora, titled “What is our Role in the Future of Afghanistan?”

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Vienna, 24 August 2015

On Saturday, August 22, 2015, AKIS (afghanische Kultur, Integration, Solidarität) and the Organization for Solidarity with Afghan Refugees in Europe (Verein Solidarität mit afghanischen Flüchtlingen in Europa) in collaboration with Afghan associations and NGO’s in Vienna, organized a conference, titled “What is our Role in the Future of Afghanistan?”.

In his opening statement to participants, H.E. Ambassador Erfani, praised the organizers of the conference for bringing together the Afghan diaspora to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and the role of the Afghan diaspora in the future of the country. He welcomed the wide variety of participants, including a delegation from Afghanistan, Afghans living in Austria, and other Afghan expatriates, commending their interest to do their part for the future of Afghanistan.

During his statement, H.E. Ambassador Erfani briefed the participants on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, referring to the decade long achievements made in Afghanistan, gained thanks to the sacrifice of Afghan people in combination with support from the international community. He also emphasized the important role of Afghan expatriates to contribute in strengthening the current achievements and progress made in the country and to support the National Unity Government of Afghanistan to implement its programs for the success of the Decade of Transformation, and among them the ongoing efforts to preserve peace, achieve stability and promote economic development for the country.

The key note speakers of the conference delivered their comprehensive statements which created an opportunity for an open question and answer session followed by the adoption of the findings of the conference. Diplomats from the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna also attended the conference.

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Ambassador Erfani addresses the IAEA’s meeting with National Experts

 Ambassador Erfani addresses the IAEA’s meeting with National Experts 

Ambassador Erfani with IAEA experts and the Afghan Delegation

Ambassador Erfani with IAEA experts and the Afghan Delegation

Vienna, 06/02/2015

Ambassador Erfani addressed the organisers and Afghan delegation in Vienna for the IAEA National Experts Meeting to Design and Formulate Technical Cooperation National Projects of Afghanistan for 2016-2017, at the VIC today. The meetings were held from 2-6 February and it was a great opportunity for the delegates to discuss furthering technical cooperation in Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani addressed the closing session noting the important achievements Afghanistan has made for the past decade, such as the establishment of the Independent Nuclear Energy Commission and how far Afghanistan has come in terms of capacity building in the country, with the assistance of the IAEA, especially in the areas of safety, agricultures and human health. He mentioned that Afghanistan’s priority of strengthening the quality control of X-Ray equipment; radiological monitoring; energy planning; using atomic energy in water, soil and crop improvement; and the Aliabad teaching hospital telemedicine program, among others, are all of great importance as we moved towards improved capabilities and capacities in the country. We appreciate the active cooperation and partnership of the IAEA with Afghanistan in these fields.

Additionally, this week Ambassador Erfani was kept busy with a number of pressing issues: He met with academic Ms. Edit Schlaffer (Women without Borders, Sisters against Violent Extremism) to discuss empowerment of women in Afghanistan, making reference to the successful women’s employment project in Kunduz. They discussed her organisations and possibilities for cooperation with Afghanistan in the future; and the OSCE’s engagement with Afghanistan and neighbouring countries.

On Tuesday Ambassador Erfani met with Ambassador Launsky, head of the Austrian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Development Cooperation to discuss Austria’s furture possible involvement for development projects in Afghanistan and they also discussed including the issues related to the Kunduz project on womens empowerment.

On Wednesday, Ambassador Erfani attended a brainstorming session at the OSCE to prepare for a Security Days discussion on how the OSCE could enhance its efforts to promote tolerance and non-discrimination, as one way to help to prevent the growing challenge of religious related violence in the OSCE region and expressed Afghanistan’s position. Ambassador Erfani noted the importance of the sensitisation of all people to religious diversity and promotion of tolerance and respect for all people. At the meeting he condemned the brutal killing of the Jordanian pilot this week at the hands of extremists.

On Friday, Ambassador Erfani met with the head of the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) and his team, to discuss UNODC projects in Afghanistan and how the UNODC can be more actively implement these projects in the country. They exchanged views on the future of cooperation and the mandate of the UNODC and Afghanistan’s National Priority Programs. He thanked the UNODC’s continued participation in  Afghanistan’s stabilisation process.

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Embassy Internship Program – recruiting now!

Dear friends,

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan is currently looking for new interns.

To apply, please send your CV and motivation letter to embassy@afghanistan-vienna.org.

In order to qualify for the position, you must be enrolled in tertiary education at a University and be under 30 years of age.

The internship is 3 months, full time and unpaid.

Fluency in English is required, due to our work with the international organisations in Vienna.

We look forward to hearing from you.

The Embassy team

Ambassador Erfani attends the New Year’s Reception hosted by President Dr. Heinz Fischer

Vienna, 12.01.2015     

H.E. Ambassador Erfani today attended the New Year’s Reception for the diplomatic corps in Vienna, hosted by the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, H.E. Dr. Heinz Fischer.

The Ambassador had the opportunity to briefly discuss a number of issues with the Federal President, including the completed transition process in Afghanistan and the opportunities and challenges in the upcoming Decade of Transformation (2015-2024) in Afghanistan. Mr. Ambassador also informed the President about the cabinet nominations presented to the Afghan parliament.

Ambassador Erfani expressed his gratitude for the continued generous support from Austria, both on the bilateral level and through European Union and other multilateral channels.

Ambassador Erfani also conveyed the best wishes to the Federal President and to the people of Austria from the President of Afghanistan, H.E. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

President Fischer delivered a comprehensive speech, analyzing current global developments and making reference to Austrian policies:  “Also in this New Year, we will strive to contribute to a positive and peaceful development in the international realm.” The President also condemned in strongest terms the barbaric murders in Paris and commended the response given by France calling it “absolutely impressive and convincing”.

Ambassador Erfani was accompanied by the Deputy Head of Mission, Minister-Counsellor Mr. Abdul Wahab Arian, and by the Second Secretary Mrs. Fatima Frozish.

 

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Die Presse Artikel – “Ich war in Kabul viel freier als später in Innsbruck” Buchpraesentation von Heide Amato Koller

Heide Amato-Koller lebte als Kind in den Fünfzigern in Afghanistan. Nun schildert sie ihre durchaus schönen Erinnerungen in einem Buch.

   (DiePresse.com)

Mrs Amato-Koller signs one of her books.

Mrs Amato-Koller signs one of her books.

Es ist ein heißer Nachmittag in der afghanischen Botschaft in Wien. Der kleine Saal, geschmückt mit Kristallleuchtern und goldbraunen Vorhängen, füllt sich mit unterschiedlichsten Gästen – mit Männern in feinen Anzügen und Frauen mit Kopftüchern oder dunkler Langhaarfrisur. Eine etwas nervös wirkende grauhaarige Frau mit vielen Papiertüten in der Hand sticht aus dieser Menschenmenge hervor. Sie setzt sich zwischen den afghanischen Gesandten und den Botschafter hin und legt ein Buch auf den Tisch.

Fast 60 Jahre nach ihrer Kindheit in Kabul beschloss die Tirolerin Heide Amato-Koller ihre Erinnerungen in einem Buch zu verarbeiten. In der afghanischen Botschaft stellt die 72-Jährige „Kindheit in Kabul” erstmals vor. „Uns ist es wichtig, dass dieses Buch gerade zur Zeit großer Transformation von Afghanistan erscheint”, sagt der Botschafter Ayoob M. Erfani. „Wir sind froh, dass man über Afghanistan auch Positives hört, wie im Amato-Kollers Werk. Das sollte noch mehr gefördert werden.”

Dann beginnt die Autorin mit ein wenig unsicherer Stimme aus ihrem Buch zu lesen. „In Hall, unserem kleinem Dorf in Tirol,hat damals kaum jemand von Afghanistan gehört”, erinnert sie sich. „Sogar Lehrer konnten mir keine Auskunft über dieses Land geben.”

Das Buch umfasst mehrere Geschichten aus der Perspektive eines Kindes, als auch Briefe und Fotografien, die ihr Vater aufgenommen hat. Auch die wichtigsten historischen Ereignisse jener Zeit werden im Buch prägnant dargestellt. Das 100-seitige Werk erschien heuer im März im Eigenverlag. Beim Schreibprozess sei der anwesende „Ghostwriter” Mario Jandrokovic eine große Hilfe gewesen.

Angefangen hat die Geschichte mit der Bewerbung ihres Vaters für eine Stelle in Kabul. „Als Gymnasiallehrer hatte er in Tirol keine großen beruflichen Aussichten gehabt. Nach halbjährigen Vorbereitungen reisten wir endlich ab. Vom Mailand nach Karatschi mit Propellerflugzeug, dann quer durch Pakistan mit Zug, schließlich mit dem Auto über Chaiber- Pass nach Kabul.” Die langwierige Reise, auf der sie Nomadenvölker, Oasen und eine unerträgliche Hitze begegnet sind, klingt wie eine exotische Erzählung aus Tausendeine Nacht.

Ein Schaf auf der Ladefläche

In Afghanistan konnten sie jedoch nicht alleine herumreisen. Amato-Koller beschreibt den einzigen Ausflug, den sie mit ihrer afghanischen Freundin machen durfte als die beeindruckendste Erinnerung jener Jahre. „Durch den Kontakt mit meiner netten afghanischen Freundin konnte ich vom Alltag von einer Kabuler-Familie mehr miterleben als meine Eltern. Eines Tages durfte ich Isturei begleiten, als sie mit ihren Verwandten einen Ausflug in die Kabuler Umgebung machte. Ich staunte nicht schlecht, dass sich auf der Ladefläche des Autos auch ein Schaf befand….”

Ab und zu unterbricht sie sich entschuldigend und sagt, sie wird wirklich nur noch einen kurzen Aufsatz lesen. Später, in einem ein wenig privateren Gespräch, erklärt sie, das sei ihr erstes Buch. „Das Publikum ist für mich etwas ganz Neues. Ich bin gar nicht an diese Aufmerksamkeit gewöhnt!” Nachdem sie das Buffet mit afghanischen Spezialitäten eröffnet und sich die meisten Gäste neugierig um das Essen drängeln, darf sie sich wieder auf dem Sofa im Büro des Botschafters niederlassen.

Auf die Fragen, welche Sprache sie in Afghanistan gelernt hat und wie viel Kontakt sie mit den Einheimischen hatte, antwortet sie lächelnd: „Ich war in einer kleinen deutschen Privatschule, in der Deutsch und Englisch unterrichtet wurden. Wie gesagt, habe ich nur eine afghanische Freundin gehabt. Alles andere über Afghanistan und seine Einwohner habe ich von meinen Eltern erfahren.” Obwohl sie nicht wirklich reisen durften, verbindet Amato-Koller sehr positive Erinnerungen an jene Zeit. Es sei in den Fünfzigern für Frauen viel einfacher gewesen in die Schule zu gehen, zu studieren und in Kabul ohne männliche Begleitung Spaziergänge zu machen. „Ich war viel freier wie später in der Ursulinenschule (Anm.: Mädchengymnasium) in Innsbruck”, sagt sie schmunzelnd.

Die Frage, warum sie später nie mehr in Afghanistan war, kann sie sich selbst nicht beantworten. Zurzeit wäre es ihr aber zu gefährlich: Ich würde zwar natürlich gerne wieder nach Afghanistan fahren und das Land so sehen, wie es jetzt ist. Aber ich habe zu viele Bedenken”, sagt Amato-Koller und meint damit prekäre Sicherheitslage im Land. Afghanistan wünsche sie jedenfalls nur das Beste.

 

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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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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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Condolence message for the passing of H.E. Barbara Prammer, President of the Austrian National Council

On behalf of the Afghan people and government, I express my deepest condolences to the family of Her Excellency Barbara Prammer and to the people and government of Austria on the untimely loss of an outstanding leader who committed her life to the people of Austria and to important political matters of global significance.

 

Afghanistan remembers a proven friend of our country and a strong advocate of international cooperation, especially when it came to developing countries such as Afghanistan. In particular, the women of Afghanistan will always value her as a symbol of vigorous struggle for gender equality and universal women’s rights.

 

Let me reaffirm Afghanistan’s appreciation for the friendship between our two countries and our two peoples. As Austria bids farewell to the beloved Barbara Prammer, we join you in honoring her great commitment to her country.

 

Ambassador Ayoob Erfani

Embassy & Permanent Mission of Afghanistan

Vienna