Dr. Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, chief advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, visited Washington, D.C. on May 4-5 to meet with key members of U.S Congress, World Bank specialists, and U.S. business leaders.
In meetings on Capitol Hill with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) – (pictured at left with Dr. Qayoumi) – Rep Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and their staffers, Dr. Qayoumi provided an overview of development efforts in Afghanistan, including the status of agriculture projects, dam development, electricity and the national grid, mines, extractive sectors, and other related areas. He also provided updates on anti-corruption efforts, governance reforms, and the fight against terrorism. Dr. Qayoumi recognized the United States as a foundational partner of and close ally of Afghanistan.
He also briefed members on how external state support for terrorist groups threatens Afghanistan and provided details on the various terrorist groups operating in the region. Sen. Moore Capito and the other U.S. officials reiterated their support for Afghanistan in Washington and expressed interest in learning more about recent developments in the country and possibly visiting in the near future.
While in Washington, Dr. Qayoumi also met with leaders of several American companies interested in investing in Afghanistan’s mining sector and coal industry and outlined the challenges and opportunities involved in doing so. He stressed the importance of extracting Afghanistan’s natural resources – which some estimates value at $3 trillion – and gaining access to both regional and world markets, and noted that the government is working to improve shortfalls in the legal system.
When Afghanistan is at peace and the security situation has stabilized, Dr. Qayoumi said, investors will be attracted not just to Afghanistan, but to the region.
The president’s chief adviser also held meetings with the World Bank to discuss a range of economic projects in Afghanistan and the continuation of funding and support. Both sides also discussed progress and challenges on a number of regional energy and gas endeavors.
Toward the end of his visit, Dr. Qayoumi did an interview with the BBC, in which he discussed U.S-Afghan bilateral cooperation, particularly on economic projects, and Afghanistan’s stability and development.