A delegation from Afghanistan visited Glover Cottages on Monday 27 November to discuss relations with Australia. It was led by Ambassador to Australia Wahid Waissi, and included a former Agriculture Minister, Assadullah Zamir, a political counselor from the Afghanistan Embassy in Washington, Sayed Zafar Hashemi, a television executive, Lotfallah Naja Fizada, and the co-founder of the philanthropic group Artlords, Omaid Sharifi.
Ambassador Waissi explained that the delegation was here to strengthen bilateral relations through four initiatives: people to people exchanges, an Afghan-Australian parliamentary friendship group, a political dialogue and, from 2018, the beginnings of an Afghan Chamber of Commerce presence in Australia. Liberal Sunshine Coast MP Andrew Wallace, Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and DFAT Secretary Frances Adamson were all involved in one or more of these initiatives. Waissi added that the initiatives were necessary and timely. Twenty five thousand members of the Australian Armed Forces had served in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan government and the 75,000 Afghanis lived in Australia deeply appreciated this commitment. But it was time to broaden this narrow relationship with a broad spectrum of non-military activities. Hence the
initiatives. AIIA NSW President Richard Broinowski welcomed the delegation’s visit and the initiatives its members were promoting. For too long all that most Australians knew about Afghanistan was corruption, drugs and a war that with Australian involvement was dragging on and on. He hoped that the initiatives would add new and welcome dimensions to the relationship. AIIA NSW councillor Carole Lamerton briefed the delegation on her involvement in a wide-reaching non-governmental philanthropic project in Afghanistan.
Report by Richard Broinowski