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Afghanistan ambassador to U.S. ends service

From Charley Keyes, CNN Senior Producer
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The ambassador says "a smear campaign" is not forcing him out
  • Afghan websites reportedly have carried photos from an embassy party during Ramadan
  • The photos purportedly showed alcohol, dancing and women in Western clothing at the event
  • Jawad says after seven years as ambassador, "my service is coming to an end"
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Washington (CNN) -- Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, Said T. Jawad, confirmed Tuesday that he has completed his service as ambassador but he adamantly denied that he has been forced out by what he called "a smear campaign."

The Washington Post has reported that the ambassador's departure was prompted by Afghanistan websites that have carried photographs purportedly showing an embassy party held during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with alcohol, women in sleeveless dresses and dancing at the event.

Jawad denied any improper behavior in violation of Muslim customs or that publicity about allegations against him had forced him out.

"My ending my time as ambassador has nothing to do with that ... it has nothing to with the smear campaign going on in Afghanistan," he told CNN in a telephone interview. "I have not been recalled."

"I've been serving as ambassador for seven years and that is a long term for any ambassador," Jawad said. "My service is coming to an end."

Jawad said he would continue to work on Afghanistan's behalf but gave no specific details. "I'm totally committed to service for Afghanistan," he said.

In a lengthy farewell message posted on the embassy website, Jawd said: "Our hopes are still high and I am committed to continuing to contribute to Afghanistan's future in my private capacity as well as through the newly formed Foundation for Afghanistan, so Afghans can realize their full potential for building a pluralistic and prosperous society...We have been blessed to be the face and voice of the new Afghanistan in America."