Zmarak Khan is a practicing attorney in Washington DC. His expertise includes legal compliance, national security, business expansion and strategic partnership, public relations and image building, institution building, education development and reform, cultural sensitivity and understanding, and human rights. Mr. Khan has experience representing and advising global companies and U.S. defense contractors operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other conflict and post-conflict areas. He has represented these companies in lawsuits as well as congressional investigations, government inquiries, and internal investigations. He has also provided business expansion, cultural sensitivity, and other advice to companies that are expanding their business to Afghanistan and other conflict areas. Mr. Khan fluently speaks English, Pashto, Urdu, and Hindi, and basic Dari/Farsi. He has travelled to and collected evidence in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in support of his caseload. Mr. Khan is active in various news media, writing editorials and articles and appearing on radio and TV, discussing issues related to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Mr. Khan is a graduate of Cornell Law School where he received both a Doctor of Jurisprudence and Master of Laws in International and Comparative Law. He earned his B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Yar M. Taraky
Yar M. Taraky is a well-known Afghan intellectual and is active in the political, cultural and education sectors. Yar Taraky has authored several articles and recommendations to the Afghan and Canadian governments that outlined policy and strategic road maps on Afghanistan and the region. He has worked as a consultant with UNESCO, World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and several other international organizations. Yar Taraky holds two Master degrees in Engineering economics and in Arts. His Bachelor degree was in International Relations. Yar Taraky has worked for Stantec Consulting Ltd. For over 10 years in Canada since 1999. He has completed over 30 small and large infrastructure projects in Afghanistan and Canada. Yar Taraky has worked as one of the Directors of the Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility (AICF) Harakat, responsible for proposal management and evaluation for funding. He was heavily involved in the Afghanistan private sector related reforms such as Land lease Reform, Licensing Reform, Construction Permit Reform and a number of initiatives dedicated to the private sector growth in Afghanistan. Yar Taraky also worked as the Managing Director of the Dehsabz New City within the Kabul New City project and later on as the Director of Codes, Standards and Environment for the New City mega project. This project is the largest undertaken by any Afghan Government ever. The Kabul New City is being supported by the Government of Afghanistan and Government of Japan. Yar Taraky’s most recent work was the Technical Advisor to the Afghanistan National Standards Authority in the area of Policy and Planning. Yar Taraky in this assignment has provided expert support to the National Priority Programs for Standardization and Quality Infrastructure Systems, including but not limited to the Quality management Systems (QMS) – ISO 9000, ISO 9001, Environmental Standards – ISO 14000. He has contributed to the capacity development of national staff and participated in major conferences and coordination sessions as part of the Civilian Technical Assistance Program supported by multilateral donor community. Yar Taraky is advocating for deep government reforms in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is well-versed about the economic and value chain systems in Pakistan and cross border economic ties between Afghan and Pakistani business community. His understanding of the economic trends and economic modeling skills will provide additional assets to the team.Recent Projects by Yar Taraky include: Member of the International team on Economic Studies and management framework of the Industrial Park in Afghanistan. IT included the Economic modeling, financial analysis, infrastructure requirements, management framework for Hessari Shahi industrial park in Jalalabad-Afghanistan. The project was implemented for the World Bank funded initiative in Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA), ICT Skills gap assessment and Strategies for ICT skills development in Afghanistan – The project was funded by the World Bank for the Afghan Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) – The project included detail assessment of the current ICT market and skills required for the next 5 years. The project outcome included design of fifteen small and mid size projects to be part of the MCIT Strategic plan. Development of the Execution Plan for the Pilot Proejct of the Kabul New City. Funded by JICA the Pilot project includes over 6000 housing units for around 42000 people. The execution plan was developed by a team for Afghan young professional lead by Yar M. Taraky. The plan included analysis and sequencing of the development, economic analysis, infrastructure requirements, cost estimates, business plan and implementation sequencing.
Abraham Sangar has worked as a senior journalist with various media outlets in the United States and Canada, focusing on the South-Central Asia region- reporting and writing on Afghanistan and Pakistan’s security, political and economic affairs. Prior to his career as a journalist, Mr. Sangar worked at York University in Toronto, Canada, as a Researcher, coordinating a four-year research project on the social and integration issues of communities originating from the Greater Middle East region. Mr. Sangar has also worked in the non-profit sector, mainly dealing with migrant communities in Australia, Canada and the United States. Mr. Sangar is fluent in English, Pashto, Farsi/Dari, Urdu/Hindi and Punjabi languages. Mr. Sangar holds two master’s degrees in social anthropology and international social development from Quaid e Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan and The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, respectively.
Adela Raz is an international development practitioner with specialization in economic analysis and private sector development. Ms. Raz has worked in the capacity of project management, and has gained experiences in SME and rural finance development, governance and rule of law—inside Afghanistan and in the United States.
In Afghanistan Ms. Raz completed an assessment of Afghanistan's Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) law. The aim of this evaluation was to identify clauses that required amendments for accurately responding to the needs of CSO and NGOs in Afghanistan. She co-authored a study about “Public Private Cooperation in Fragile States” with a focus on the New Baghlan Sugar Factory. For Care International she conducted an assessment of the Humanitarian Assistance for the Widows of Afghanistan, a micro finance project helping women develop sustainable livelihood. Mr. Raz proposed necessary recommendations to help the project create better economic opportunities for women and increase access to finance.
Ms. Raz also has worked with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). She identified policy areas where UANAM Central Field Office could help the Ministry of Women Affairs and its regional offices adopting approaches about women participation in economic and social arenas. She helped running the Political Rights Verification Campaign during the first presidential and parliamentary elections. She assisted the UN Special Rapporteur in writing her report on Violence against Women, Yakin Erthurk. Ms. Raz liaised with the government, UN agencies, and NGOs to create baseline data on the human rights, political and development situations and gender equity. Ms. Raz also has consulted private business in developing their business plans, financial record keeping, and marketing.
In the United States Ms. Raz has worked implementing USAID projects, and she is experienced in State Department’s compliance requirements. She provides technical support to non-banking financial institutions to strengthen their market outreach, financial management, and business development. Ms. Raz holds an MA degree in Law and Diplomacy with a focus in International Development from the Fletcher School/Tufts University, and a BA in Political Science, Economics, and International Relations from Simmons College in Boston. She is a frequent commentator in the AfPak regional affairs and has appeared on several media channels. Ms. Raz is a native Afghan and fluent in Pashto, Dari, English, and has a working knowledge of Urdu, and basic understanding of Arabic.
Andrew Finkelstein has worked with both public and private sectors. In 2008 and 2009, he worked on Capitol Hill in Congressman Farr’s office. The following year he worked with Global Communities (formerly known as CHF) in their Asia Office of Global Operations. During the past two years, Mr. Finkelstein has been involved in DC consulting, working with The Cohen Group and Resolute Consulting, respectively. Mr. Finkelstein is a Princeton University student majoring in politics and international relations with a focus on South Asia. His experience in the region consists of living and traveling in the area, coursework, and business projects. He has achieved proficiency in Hindi and is intensively studying Urdu.