Message from the Ambassador, March 2009
The month of March is, in many places, the month of spring, imbued with light, colour and smell, but it is nowhere more vivid than in Afghanistan. This year’s spring in Afghanistan
arrived early and by the time Afghans set out to celebrate Nawroz, the Afghan new year
(March 21st), the daily temperatures had climbed to 30 and flowers were in full bloom everywhere.
As the tradition in Afghanistan goes, tens of thousands of people from all parts of the country swarmed to the city of Mazar-i-Sharif to celebrate Nawroz, the Afghan style. Thanks to the relative peace and the notable development that Mazar has experienced over the recent years, the city is well placed to welcome its guests. This year, the city even welcomed two visiting foreign ministers from Iran and Tajikistan during the celebrations.
On the political front, after weeks of constitutional wrangling about the date of the forthcoming elections in Afghanistan, the month of March saw agreement both on the date of the elections (August 20th, 2009) and that President Karzai can legitimately stay on in office until the election results.
And finally, the last day of March saw a major international conference on Afghanistan held in The Hague. Hosted by the United Nations and the governments of Afghanistan and the Netherlands, this ministerial conference was attended by representatives from around 90 countries and organisations and reiterated the international community’s resolve to support Afghanistan. All the above, alongside the relatively lower level of terrorist
inflicted violence around the country, made March a special month.