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Afghanistan Conference Set In Italy For May

February 7, 2007 -- Italy will host an international conference on judicial reform and security in Afghanistan in May, one month later than originally scheduled.

The meeting will be part of Italy's stepped-up political involvement in Afghanistan as the new UN Security Council nonpermanent member in charge of Afghan issues.

The conference will bring together the Afghan government's main backers, including Britain, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the United States, as well as the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Judicial reform, counternarcotics, infrastructure reconstruction -- which have all been hampered by corruption and a violent insurgency -- are to feature highly at the event.

Italy was earmarked to play a prominent advisory role in reforming Afghan judiciary practices under the UN-backed stability and reconstruction plan that followed the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001.


Saving Afghanistan's Heritage

A UNESCO team working to stabilize Herat minarets in 2003 (UNESCO)

THE MINARETS OF HERAT: In Afghanistan's leafy western city of Herat, a two-lane road slices between the city's five remaining 15th-century minarets. Every truck, car, bus, motorcycle, and horse-drawn carriage that passes by sends vibrations coursing through the delicate structures.
In particular, the Fifth Minaret -- all 55 meters of it -- seems ready to collapse into a dusty heap of bricks and colored tiles at any moment. A large crack near its base makes drivers speed up just a little as they pass by....(more)

Click on the image to view an audio slideshow of this story by RFE/RL correspondent Grant Podelco.


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