International Civil Society and Private Sector Forum in Support of Afghanistan - Paris, May 24

Some documents about the conference:
>> Hotaki's speech to Paris Conference
>> The document by PeaceWaves and Afghana.org

The Pre-conference on Paiwatsoon

The Afghan NGO Coordination Bureau (ANCB) dedicated the last number of its magazine "Paiwatsoon" to the Afghan Civil Society Pre-Peace Conference. You can access the articles (in english) from the following links:

Press release
from KABUL, PeaceWaves Press Office

The Afghan Civil Society National Pre-Peace Conference “AFGHANISTAN BACK TO THE PEACE -  All Human Rights for All”, carried out in Kabul on the 27th and 28th of January, ended yesterday with a very successful participation.

The Italian Onlus PeaceWaves has organized the event together with the main aggregations of the Afghan NGOs, represented by a Lead Group (ANCB, ACSF, AWN, SWABAC).
This Pre-Conference, created with the contribution of The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the Italian Embassy in Kabul was useful, over the two days of work, in order to:

1. Hold the Peace Conference at the end of March 2008;
2. Form a committee to make preparation for the March Conference and prepare the agenda and all other relevant arrangements;
3. Highlight the vision of Civil Society about the military presence to change its current strategy and focus more on the development and reconstruction efforts in the country;
4. Enhance the national, regional and international cooperation in ensuring peace and development.

Moreover, this was the occasion for sharing and inserting within the final resolution the document Afgana, proposed by the Italian Civil Society, thanks to discussion and implementation of the Afghan Civil Society.

The great participation of the various representative ‘souls’ that compose the civil society in Afghanistan – more than 100 participants arrived from Kabul and the provinces-, the quality of the interventions and the results of the group-works have been so promising that PeaceWaves with its local partners have already started to work for the planning of the next event that will be hold in Kabul at the end of March, named Afghan Civil Society Peace Conference.

Part of this process is the organisation of a visit to Italy in the first half of March of the Lead Group with the aim of designing the Peace Conference and implementing the involvement of the Italian Civil Society in this process.

Conclusion of the Pre-Peace Conference
from KABUL, Valentina Giorda

The first Afghan Civil Society Pre-Peace Conference ended successfully today with the telephone congratulations message from President Karzai.

During the day several representants of the Afghan civil society intervened, while in the afternoon the final resolution of the conference was presented and voted. This included the document presented by the Italain civil society
At the end of the day PeaceWaves officially donated a piano to the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Kabul, that is going to be used both by the students of the University and of the Victoria Music School. Moreover, a whole multimedial set was also donated to the Afghan Women Network, as their office was recently destroyed by a fire.

> The Final Resolution
> Marco Braghero's speech

The Pre-Peace Conference begins
from KABUL, Valentina Giorda

The official opening of the "Afghan Civil Society Pre-Peace Conference" took place today, counting more than one hundred participants both form the city of Kabul and from the Provinces.

During the opening we read the greetings message from the Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affaires, Patrizia Sentinelli.
The day was divided in two sessions, one plenary in the morning, with several interventions by the representants of local NGOs, and some working groups in the afternoon. The issues that were tackled are: the preparation of the first Afghan Civil Society Peace Conference; the international military presence in Afghanistan; cooperation at a local, national, regional and international level.

The day ended with a piano performance by a local player and a concert by an Afghan traditional group.

from KABUL, Marco Braghero

The Afghan Civil Society Pre Peace Conference started today in the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul.
Yesterday the participant’s accreditation took place and, in the occasion of the “Act together for another world day” organised by the World Social Forum, a delegation donated equipments and material to the local orphanage sustained by PeaceWaves.

120 participants are present today for the first day of works: more than 30% are women. They all are opinion leaders, including malik and mullah. As the concert by the Teatro Regio of Torino has been cancelled for security reasons, there will be a piano performance by an afghan maestro and an afghan music concert. The piano used during the evening will be donated tomorrow to the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Kabul.

> Introductory speech by Marco Braghero

The Agenda of Afghan Civil Society Pre Peace Conference has been defined
from KABUL, Anna Re

A final meeting of Lead Group has been carried out where it was defined the new agenda of the Pre Conference taking place in Kabul on the 27th-28th of January. 

The new agenda, very articulated, will deal with both the topics that will be discussed during the Afghan Civil Society Peace Conference in March, and the political aspects on which this event is based, as for instance defining a common final document, strongly stressing how the Civil Society, in all its extended elements, can and must have a more and more constructive and decisive role in the project of reconstruction and stabilization of this Country.

Afghan Women’s Network Office destroyed by a fire
from KABUL, Anna Re

A fire destroyed during the night the seat in Kabul of the Afghan Women’s Network. The causes seem to be accidental.
It provoked serious damages to the building and its equipments; however there are no victims of the accident. In particular the computer room, used to teach computer science to afghan women, went completely destroyed.
After an initial estimate of the damages, the members of the association, who are already working on the reconstruction, will draw up a list of the first necessities.

The Afghan Women’s Network thinks that everybody in Afghanistan  - women, men and children - could participate equally to the social life. Moreover, its members aim at creating an afghan community that values, respects and boosts the great women’s capacities and their contribution to the culture and afhan society.

from KABUL, Anna Re

Today the Lead Group meeting took place in Kabul in order to write the new Agenda of the “pre-conference” that will be held on January 27th and 28th 2008.

The “Afghan Civil Society Pre Peace Conference” has the goal of preparing the great Peace Conference to be organised in March 2008.

In particular the new Agenda will have to:
- Determine and reinforce the cooperation projects between Italy and Afghanistan;
- Formalise the Lead Group for the organisation of the next Conference;
- Plan the Peace Conference on March 2008, opened to the Civil Societies of the whole Region, and its Agenda;
- Increase awareness, involve and motivate the Afghan Civil Society towards the realisation and their participation in the Peace Conference;
- Draw up the final declaration in order to set roles, tasks and responsibilities for the next Conference in order to involve of the Italian and Afghan Governments, the United Nations and the International Community.

Kitzbuel? Kortina? No, Kabul
Troubles in reaching the capital from the province

from KABUL, Anna Re (photos by Claudio Gianetto)

The bad weather is making seriously problematic the arrival of the afghan regional delegates invited to the First Afghan Civil Society National Peace Conference. That is one of the main reasons that drove us to decide the postponement of the conference to March 2008 and the substitution with a “pre-conference”. In fact, an exceptional cold snap beat on the whole country. The airport in Heart has been closed for 4 days because of ice and snow and also in Kabul the huge snowfalls play up to the practicability of the roads and to the airport, that remained isolated from the city for a whole day.
The sun is back, but the ice problem remains because of low temperatures and the arrival of other snowfalls. Who said that climate changes are not a problem?

from KABUL, Marco Braghero

Another terrorist attack upset Afghanistan and the International Community. The attack, which has been claimed by the Taliban, was carried out by several armed man in Serena Hotel, in the centre of Kabul, and left a toll of eight dead, one was a Norwegian journalist. Notwithstanding the lean attention given to it by the Media, this attack seriousness is extremely high, it represents a change in the terrorists’ strategy. It was a real military action, planned in more than two months, that deeply frightened the city. Kabul seems to be back to the curfew times, as it was 6-7 years ago.

This attack forced us to change the programme of our Conference. After a long meeting with the Italian Ambassador in Kabul Ettore Sequi, after many contacts with the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Patrizia Sentinelli and the Minister of Crisis Unit Elisabetta Belloni and, finally, after the meeting between a delegation of the “Afghana” organisation and the Minister of Foreign Affair Massimo D’Alema, PeaceWaves and its partners decided to replace the original program with a “pre-conference” in order to prepare in the best way an even bigger conference to be held on March 2008.

This change has been obviously influenced by security reasons; moreover, we had to understand that it would be better arrive to the Peace and Reconstruction Conference more consciously and well prepared.
This “pre-conference” will have to pursue these objectives:
1. Create a network of the Afghan civil society, working as a main interlocutor for international governments and the United Nations in the reconstruction and peace building in the country;
2. Organise the Conference in March 2008, paying a particular attention to the regional dimension, re-defining the main themes to be discussed and the conference Agenda;
3. Draw up a political document to be submitted to all the National Governments and the United Nations in order to promote and sustain a peace building process and reconstruction “from the bottom line”, in a shared and participated way.

Tomorrow the meeting between PeaceWaves and its Afghan partners will take place in order to assume new decisions and agree and on the Agenda of the “pre-conference”, that is supposed to take place in Kabul in January 26-28.

15-01-2008 by Reporters sans frontieres
Norwegian journalist killed in Taliban attack on Kabul hotel

Reporters Without Borders offers its heartfelt condolences to the family and colleagues of Carsten Thomassen, a Norwegian journalist employed by the Olso-based daily Dagbladet, who was fatally injured in an armed Taliban attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul yesterday.

"Civilians, including journalists, are the victims of the indiscriminate suicide attacks being used with increasing frequency by the Taliban and their jihadist allies," the press freedom organisation said. "Five journalists were killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2007. These attacks on Afghan and foreign civilians are war crimes, and we firmly condemn them." Two German journalists were killed in Afghanistan last October. The police never completed the investigation into their deaths.

Thomassen sustained serious stomach injuries in yesterday's suicide attack on the Serena Hotel and died in a field hospital near Kabul. He was part of a group of journalists accompanying Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere on a visit to Kabul. Stoere, who was in the hotel at the time of the attack, was not hurt but a Norwegian diplomat was seriously injured.

The attack, which has been claimed by the Taliban, left a toll of eight dead and six wounded. It was carried by several men armed with grenades and AK-47 rifles, one of whom blew himself up in the entrance to the hotel, which is located in the centre of Kabul near the presidential palace and many foreign embassies.

Aged 38, Thomassen was based in Oslo and covered foreign affairs for Dagbladet, which is one of Norway's leading dailies. "We feel great sorrow and powerlessness," editor Anne Aasheim said.

The First Afghan Civil Society National Peace Conference is getting closer and closer. Tomorrow, Tuesday 15th January 2008 at 11 am, a presentation press conference will take place in Rome (Farnesina, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), with the speeches of the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Patrizia Sentinelli, the PeaceWaves president Marco Braghero, the overseer of Teatro Regio in Turin Walter Vergnano, the Intersos president Nino Sergi and the Afghana delegate Emanuele Giordana.

The PeaceBlog of the last PeaceWaves mission in Afghanistan (November 2007) with photos and comments is available in Italian on this link.

Welcome to the First Afghan Civil Society National Peace Conference Website, part of the www.peacewaves.org network. We are currently working in order to complete the website adding new contents and multimedia resources and we apologise for any missing information: please contact us to report errors or make suggestions. In the next days, especially during the ones close to the Conference, this page will be daily updated with news and photos from Kabul: come back to visit us!


> DAY 1: Saturday, January 26
> DAY 2: Sunday, January 27
> DAY 3: Monday, January 28