Afghanistan Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Services Program(IRP) written in English, Dari and Pashto
Keshim-Faizabad Road, looking upstream on Kotcha River Schoolgirls at well pumping clean water Afghan workers building part of a bridge Asphalt being laid on an Afghan road A section of North West Kabul Power Plant Aerial view of the Kajakai Dam

An Advisor Becomes a Leader
With Washington, D.C. in the background Mirwais Atta is congratulated by a representative of the International Leadership Program on US Foreign Policy and Energy.
With Washington, D.C. in the background Mirwais Atta is congratulated by a representative of the International Leadership Program on US Foreign Policy and Energy.
When he is not participating in international workshops or briefing Afghan ministers, Mirwais Attaulhaq is assisting USAID and the multiple donor agencies that help to provide electrical power to Afghanistan.

Mirwais is the advisor to the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Energy, known as ICE. Funded by USAID and implemented by the Afghanistan Infrastructure Rehabilitation Program, ICE seeks to coordinate donor support for energy infrastructure development as well as energy policy and best practices that maximize the country’s energy resources. ICE also supports the commercialization of energy so that Afghanistan can pay for the energy that it needs.

When he began, Mirwais was deputy to the expatriate manager who guided the Secretariat. Today, after an apprenticeship of three and a half years, during which time Mirwais became deputy manager, Mirwais is now the manager, and the deputy is his former boss. “One of the purposes of the advisor to the Secretariat, the former manager said, “is to help develop Afghan leadership, and Mirwais is an example of that.”

In his role, Mirwais helps to conduct ICE’s monthly meeting, publish energy sector reports, and shuttle among the organizations to follow up initiatives. During Mirwais’ tenure, ICE has become known as a model of interagency cooperation and progress.

In the summer of 2010, Mirwais was invited to participate in the International Leadership Program in the U.S. to learn about foreign policy and energy security. While there, he visited several cities that are exploring ways to conserve energy and use alternative sources. “In the U.S. electricity is standardized,” he said. “Here we are just beginning.”

Though he acknowledges that Afghanistan has many challenges in the energy field, Mirwais, himself, is the reason for optimism. USAID, too, knows that leaders like Mirwais and commissions like ICE, make all the difference in the future of Afghanistan’s energy efforts.

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