Kabul-e-News 287

12 March 2014 – Number 287

A weekly summary of good news and development news about Afghanistan with a circulation of more than 18,000 and a Facebook presence of 40,000+

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A Ski Break Without Crowds

BAMyAN, Afghanistan — It will be a long time before anyone calls this mountain town a tourist trap, especially at 9,000 feet when lows in the winter can plunge to 20 degrees below zero. When two new hotels open in the coming year, Bamyan will have hotel rooms for fewer than 300 tourists. While a new private airline, East Horizon, has made it possible to avoid insurgent checkpoints on the only two passable roads here, even frequent fliers might raise their eyebrows at some well-connected passengers who take their assault rifles with them in the cabin. Intrepid tourists, however, are finding their way to this mountainous area of central Afghanistan in growing numbers, even in the coldest months. More>>>

International Women’s Day, 8 May 2014


Female Schooling Success in Southeast Afghan Province

When Nadia was a young girl growing up under Taleban rule in the southeastern province of Khost, she longed to go to school. As soon as the regime fell in 2001, she decided it was time to begin her education. Residents of Khost say female access to education has improved vastly in recent years, in a province where schooling even for boys was once seen as undesirable. More than 100,000 girls are now in education across the province, which has a total population of 547,000, according to recent Afghan government statistics.More>>>

Afghan women boxers eye 2016 Olympics

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s young female boxers train in Kabul’s Ghazi Stadium, hoping to become good enough to compete in the 2016 Olympics. Previously, non-governmental organizations supported them. At one time, 25 young women were on the team who received a salary the equivalent of $100 per month and transportation to and from training at the stadium. But aid organizations have dropped out. Afghanistan’s National Olympic Committee took over, but it has little money for the women.  Now there are only 11 women.  More>>>

  Afghan Woman Among 50 Women Religious Leaders

The Huffington Post celebrated International Women’s Day by presenting 50 influential women from around the world. Afghanistan’s Dr. Sakena Yacoobi featured amongst the 50.  She is the founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning, the Professor Sakena Yacoobi Private Hospital in Herat and the Professor Sakena Yacoobi Private High Schools in Kabul and Herat.  More>>>

  Afghan Woman Shows the World Courage

Another Huffington Post feature included Colonel Jamila Bayaz, Afghanistan’s first female police cheif. She was appointed to run security in the Kabul’s District 1 in January., becoming the first woman in such a senior frontline role. The mother-of-5 is responsible for policing an area of the Afghan capital that includes the presidential palace, government ministries and the central bank. “This is a chance not just for me, but for the women of Afghanistan,” she told NBC. “I will not waste it. I will prove that we can handle this burden.” More>>>

  Honoured for Bridging Cultural Divide through Sports

Zahra Mahmoodi was honoured recently with the Spirituality Award at the 2013 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards in Louisville, KY, USA for her work toward gender equality in her home country. The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards were created to celebrate the greatness of people around the world who are making differences in the areas of social justice and peace. Zahra was one of six young people, age 30 and under, who were honored for their contributions to their communities and the world.More>>>

  Frustration Over Afghanistan’s Women’s Rights Struggle

KABUL, Afghanistan – In 2009, the United States gave Wazhma Frogh the International Woman of Courage award for her women’s rights activism in Afghanistan. For Frogh, the experience underlined the state of the women’s right movement in her country. There have been countless words of support from the West and from the Afghan government, yet the successes that have been achieved remain vulnerable. Ultimately, women still have nowhere to turn when their battle for equal rights puts them on the firing line, she said.More>>>


Kabul to get another park for women

KABUL – A special park for females will be constructed in Kabul very soon, Kabul Municipality Mayor Mohammad Yunus Nawandish said recently. The nine-acre park will be constructed in the Macrorayan area, beside the Kabul River, Nawandish announced at a seminar to commemorate International Women’s Day, Afghanistan Times reported.  More>>>

Interesting Interviews
The following three articles are part of the “Unveiling Afghanistan, the Unheard Voices of Progress” campaign which explores views held by Afghan civil society actors. Over 50 days, 50 influential social, political, and cultural actors hope to spark conversation and debate about building a society that is inclusive of women’s and human rights in Afghanistan. You can read the interviews in English and Dari HERE
  ‘Afghanistan Needs Educated Women to Combat Reactionaries’

Sayed-Askar Mousavi was born in 1956. He has spent much of his life in exile. He went to high school in Iran, lived in exile in India and Pakistan, and received a Master’s Degree and a doctorate from the University of Oxford, where he was a senior member of St Antony’s College. He has been a political activist since the age of 14 and a prominent figure in exile of the “cultural struggle” during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. He formerly served as a senior adviser in Afghanistan’s Ministry of Higher Education. He has written extensively and is the author of ‘The Hazaras of Afghanistan: An Historical, Cultural, Economic, and Political Study’, published in 2009 by the University of Cambridge. Read the interview with him. More>>>


“Open minds: the key to a safe, sustainable future”

Ahmad Shah Behzad is a Member of Parliament from Herat province. He was forced to migrate to Iran during the war and stayed there until the fall of the Taliban. Upon his return to Afghanistan with his family, he started working as a journalist for Radio Azadi [Radio Free Afghanistan]. Subsequently, he was elected to the parliament and became deputy speaker. Behzad is presently studying for a Law degree. Read the interview with him. More>>>


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If you have even a drop of Oirish blood …. Be There in your Greens

(Monday Nights – $5 for charity per person)

The Quiz” has been operating since 2006. Originally it was held in the Springfield Sports Bar / Restaurant, Wazir Akbar Khan.  It was held in the garden as much as possible despite the noise from generators. The quiz then moved to the restaurant which has been variously known as the “German Club”, the “Maple Leaf” and the “International Club” in Shar-e-Naw.  It remained there until moving to the current location in 2010. Read More About the Quiz Here>>> and  For information about location email us here>>>



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  Aussie to Head New Afghanistan National Cricket Accademy

The Afghanistan Cricket Board announced today the appointment of former Papua New Guinea National Coach, Peter Anderson, as the new Afghanistan National Cricket Academy Coach. He will take up his role on 15 April and will be based at the Academy in the Kabul Cricket Stadium. “We are pleased to be welcoming a person of Peter Anderson’s calibre to head our new Afghanistan Cricket Academy,” Dr Noor Mohammad Murad said today, “he brings to us years of experience in the cricket world both in Australia and internationally.”  More>>>

Sri Lanka to Support Afghanistan Cricket

The Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, this week hosted a visit by His Excellency President Hamid Karzai and cricket was on the agenda. President Karzai invited Dr Noor Mohammad Murad, CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, along as part of the delegation. President Karzai in discussion with President Rajapksa, had a light-hearted moment when he said: “If Sri Lanka can provide us good coaching to defeat all other countries but Sri Lanka.”  More>>>

  T20 Afghanistan’s strong suit – Nabi

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi is looking forward to the World Twenty20 and believes the shortest format plays into his team’s strengths. Also, several players in the squad already have some experience of the conditions, having played in the Bangladesh domestic circuit, and that’s a plus, Nabi said.More>>>


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Afghanistan’s Minerals Await Vital Railroads

At the Naibabad freight terminal near the northern Afghan town of Mazar-e-Sharif, workers rush to unload wheat and construction materials from Uzbekistan that have arrived on Afghanistan’s only railroad. Trucks will have to carry the cargo through the icy Hindu Kush mountains to the rest of the country because Afghanistan, which encompasses almost 252,000 square miles, has only 47 miles of train track. The government has grand plans to change that by constructing a 2,237-mile national rail line to transport not just food and other goods but its vast natural resources, including iron, copper, and gold. More>>>

  Afghanistan: Memories of Glass

The Hamidy family produces glass objects for their store. There are a few old family photos in the store of their patriarch, Haji Sultan Hamidy. Three people work in the store, but there aren’t any customers – not for the glass, or the jewelry and collectibles, the old Soviet currency and antique helmets that fill the store. Khalid recalls, with a tinge of wistfulness, that about a decade ago a Frenchman placed an order for 10,000 glasses, which he then sold around the world in return for donations to the “poor people of Afghanistan.”  More>>>

  Afghanistan could be self-sufficient in potatoes

Self-sufficiency could come from proper cultivation and storage strategies in Bamyan Province. Provincial agriculture department said more than 1,400 storages had been built throughout the province which had the storage capacity of 25 percent of total potato crops. Eng. Mohammad TahirAtai, Provincial Director of the Agriculture Department, said the crop had increased from three and half tons to five tons on a half acre of land. He said distribution of refined seeds and creating awareness among farmers community led to bumper potato crops in the province. More>>>

  Journalist Shot Dead In ‘Brazen’ Kabul Attack

KABUL, March 11 (Reuters) – A gunman shot dead a Swedish journalist, Nils Horner, 51, outside a restaurant in a brazen attack in one Kabul’s most heavily guarded districts on Tuesday, police and embassy sources said, underscoring growing insecurity threatening next month’s elections. “Nils was one of our absolute best and most experienced correspondents and what has happened to him today is terrible,” said Swedish Radio’s director-general, Cilla Benkö, who described this as one of the worst days in the corporation’s history. More>>>

Marshal Fahim Dead

KABUL, March 9 (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s powerful vice president, Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, died of natural causes on Sunday, only weeks before the country is due to elect a new leader. He was 57. “It is with deep sadness that we learn of the passing away of Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, the First Vice-president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. May his soul rest in peace,” President Hamid Karzai’s office said, declaring three days of national mourning. More>>>

  New Maps of Afghanistan Provide “Fingerprint” of Natural Resources

A coalition of scientists from the United States and Afghanistan today released high tech maps that will help Afghanistan chart a course for future economic development.  These maps represent a milestone as Afghanistan is the first country to be almost completely mapped using hyperspectral imaging data.Hyperspectral imaging is an advanced imaging technique that measures visible and near-infrared light reflecting off the Earth’s surface. Researchers use hyperspectral imaging spectrometer data to identify and characterize mineral deposits, vegetation, and other land surface features.  More>>>

  Mazar: Skatepark and Classrooms for 1,000 Children

After opening Afghanistan’s first skatepark in Kabul, Skateistan have taken their unique project north to Mazar-e-Sharif and there is no talk of a 2014 withdrawal. Skateistan, a charity set up to teach skateboarding, has opened a new site in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif. When full, the purpose built complex – comprising a skatepark, sports hall and education centre – will cater to 1,000 young people.  More>>>

  Uncertainty in Kabul

In an article written in The New York Times yesterday, Qais Akbar Omar, an Afghan residing in US, speaks of the rising nervousness in Afghanistan about the country’s future after the exit of US troops. The main reason for concern is the ongoing standoff between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Barack Obama on signing the bilateral security agreement. Prices are rising in the country, many financially well-off Afghans are leaving the country to safer zones abroad and those who are unable to leave are deeply worried. Afghans fear that if Americans go, the country will be engulfed in another civil war. More>>>

  How Teachers are Ignored in Afghanistan

Yosuf Warastah expresses his views on Afghanistan teachers in his blog: “Teaching is usually called the most respected profession in the world, but teachers and the teaching profession have usually been neglected through history and this has multiplied in my country, Afghanistan. Many different indicators show how teachers are neglected in Afghanistan. Being forced to live from hand to mouth, low salaries, no encouragement, no job security, not having a good social reputation, and being considered as second hand citizens in the society are the obvious examples of how teachers are ignored here. Why is this so?”  More>>>

  British Aid to Afghanistan Wasted

Much of the £1.6billion sent in aid to Afghanistan by Britain since 2006 was wasted, a major report warns today. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact says that much of the programme to cut opium production has ‘performed poorly’, with little monitoring of value for money. The aid watchdog delivers a withering verdict on the Department for International Development’s efforts to divert economic activity away from the cultivation of opium, much of which ends up on Britain’s streets. More>>>

  Treasures of ancient Afghanistan arrive for Sydney exhibit at Art Gallery of NSW

Scores of ancient artefacts that survived the destruction of war in Afghanistan have been brought to Sydney for a new exhibit. The pieces were saved from the National Museum in Kabul in the late 1980s by staff concerned at the risk posed by the civil war that broke out in Afghanistan in the wake of the failed Soviet invasion. More than 230 pieces, including sculptures, glassware, and ancient works of art, will be on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from tomorrow. More>>>

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