While the Obama Administration has appeared anything but decisive in response to field commanders’ calls for more troops in Afghanistan, the Administration is earning kudos from some for efforts to protect biodiversity. Rep. Elliot Engle has sent a “dear colleague” urging members to sign a letter to Special Envoy to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke commending the U.S. State Department for developing a biodiversity program in Afghanistan. According to the Engle’s letter, “…thousands of Afghans have been trained in natural resource management, seven environmental laws and regulations have been drafted and 45 community committees link rural communities with the central government in deciding the future of natural resources.”

But that’s not all. Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan’s first national park was established this year. According to the Engle letter the park is a “… series of pristine travertine lakes in one of the safer regions of the country” and “has a history of drawing tourists from around the world to enjoy its cultural and environmental beauty.”

One such recent visitor was the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, who, according to the Huffington Post, “…jumped in a swan-shaped pedal boat and beamed a bright smile as he cruised the waters with different Afghan officials.” (See Ambassador peddling green swan boat here.)