Sunday, 18 March 2018

Afghan women apply to join police force

Opium production in Afghanistan reaches record high

Opium production in Afghanistan has been on the rise since the US invasion in 2001.

  • Last year 9,000 tonnes were produced, an increase of 87 percent.

As a result, the record number of people turning to drugs in desperation is also increasing.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Saffron business blooms in Afghanistan


L’apprendimento dei principali nodi, delle manovre di cordata, delle tecniche di discesa in corda doppia e di risalita di corda fissa nonché l’uso di teleferica per il trasporto dell’armamento di reparto: sono solo alcuni degli obiettivi di apprendimento inseriti nel programma didattico previsto per il corso di “Mountain Warfare” organizzato dal Train Advise Assist Command West (TAAC W) a favore di dieci militari dell’ Afghan National Army (ANA) e finanziato dall’Italia per il tramite dell’ANA Trust Fund. Il corso - condotto da tutto il personale di TAAC W ed in particolare da istruttori del Centro Addestramento Alpino di Aosta - è durato tre settimane e si è concluso con una esame finale valido per il conseguimento dell’abilitazione al combattimento in alta quota, che ha avuto luogo su una falesia naturale attrezza per l’occasione e situata a circa 20 Km di distanza dalla base di Camp Arena, ad Herat. Questo tipo di addestramento è nato dalle richieste di supporto espresse dal comandante del 207° Corpo d’Armata afghano per rendere ancor più aderente l’addestramento dei propri militari con la morfologia del territorio. Grande soddisfazione è stata manifestata dagli istruttori del contingente italiano, su base Brigata “Sassari”, per i risultati conseguiti e la prestazione fornita dagli allievi durante le attività pratiche del corso "Mountain Warefare".
>>> SOURCE: Italian Ministry of Defence

Over 100 Afghan businesswomen from different provinces of Afghanistan participated in an expo at Babur Gardens in Kabul to market their products

A businesswomen’s expo opened at Babur Gardens in the Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on 14 March 2018 with over 100 businesswomen from different provinces of Afghanistan participating. This Expo has been organized jointly by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) of Afghanistan and in the framework of rural industries program, providing a platform to the Afghan Businesswomen to market their products. Some of the partipating businesswomen say that the Afghan Government should outline new economic and business policies for women so that they can market and export their products. The Deputy Minister of Women Affairs (MoWA) of Afghanistan, Nabeela Musleh, has called on government to take more concrete steps towards empowering women. “Some programs have been implemented for women, these programs have proved effective. But we need to create an infrastructure for the women and this will bring major changes to the development of businesswomen,” said the Deputy Minister. Officials of MoWA also said that currently Afghan Businesswomen have the capacity to participate in the bidding process for public tenders, and that women could contribute substantially to the economic sector if the Government will be open to working with businesswomen on a national level.
Today in a street of the Beautiful 📌 🚍🗓️ 🏦 🇪🇺 🇺🇸 🇦🇫 🏪🔹Thursday, March 15, 2018 ✔️🏔️ 🇮🇹

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Italy urges the Afghan Government to move forward on infrastructure projects financed with Italian taxpayers' money

The Italian Embassy in Kabul hosted today 14 March 2018 the Joint Committee to move forward on the project for the construction of the 155 km road from Herat to Chishti Sharif funded with Italian taxpayers' money.

In the pictures below, the First Secretary Ugo Ferrero with the Afghan Minister of Public Works Yama Yari and representatives from the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Afghanistan (AICS Kabul).

Italy is financing the Herat-Chishti Sharif Road Project with a Soft Loan worth approximately 92.3 Million Euros and 2.0 Million Euros as a Grant to UNOPS for technical assistance; the Intergovernmental Agreement has been signed on April 2016.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif invited Pakistan to participate in Chabahar project, says the Chabahar port was not meant to “encircle Pakistan … strangulate anybody"

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday invited Pakistan to take part in the Chabahar Port project. According to Dawn News this came as Zarif sought to ease concerns of Pakistan over India’s involvement in the port. Zarif also meanwhile extended the invitation to China. “We offered to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chabahar,” said Zarif, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan. While in Pakistan, Zarif held bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif and addressed a trade conference, Dawn News reported. This move comes after Iran last month signed a lease agreement with India, which would give India operational control of the port. Dawn news stated that Zarif said both Pakistan and India need to link through sea and land routes in order to boost development in eastern and south-eastern Iran and in south western Pakistan. Minister Zarif also said the Chabahar port project was not meant to “encircle Pakistan … strangulate anybody” and twice said Iran would not allow anyone to hurt Pakistan from its territory much like Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against Iran, Dawn News reported.

Scale operators at Hairatan dry port in northern Afghanistan collect toll, but don’t give us receipts: Truckers

Some drivers complain that they are forced to make undocumented payments in high tonnage scale at Hairatan dry port in the northern Balkh province.
They say the operators of the scale ask them to pay the toll, but don’t give them official receipts. Due to rampant corruption in the country’s freight weighing stations, Afghanistan’s High Economic Council decided in December 2017 to transfer control of some high tonnage scales, including Hairatan port’s scale, from the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) to the Ministry of Finance (MoF). Traders and drivers say the amount of money they pay at the key northern port is different from day to day. Jalil, a driver, told The Heart of Asia: “These payments go to the pockets of local officials because neither a receipt is given to drivers nor is the amount of payments specific. The money is paid as per the agreement of both sides.” A security source from the port reveals to The Heart of Asia that drivers were not being asked to pay the money when Balkh police chief along with some police visited the scale last Saturday. The revenue collected from the cargo weighing station at Hairatan port is embezzled by strongmen who flex muscles with the central government and have special representatives posted in the revenue centers, the source alleged, saying that high tonnage scales in other provinces have been shut down, but the one in Hairatan is still operating. Meanwhile, Mehdi Rohani, the MoPW spokesperson, told a press conference a few days ago that the control of high tonnage scales has been transferred to the Ministry of Finance. Nonetheless, the MoF is unwilling to provide explanation for the issue. “Truckers pay money at the port as per their load. More load means more money, or otherwise. There are no instances where overloaded vehicles have been stopped and turned back. They pay more money, and then they are allowed,” Hamidullah, another driver, told The Heart of Asia. According to him, the toll for 20 ft and 40 ft trailers changes every night, and each driver has to pay from 3,000 AFN to 20,000 AFN. The Ministry of Finance initially promised to talk to The Heart of Asia, but later on refused to say anything despite several attempts. Musafir Quqandi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, said the issue did not belong to them, nor have received any complaints from traders.

The safety of the TAPI gas pipeline project is a top priority: Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan

The Ministry of Interior has deployed thousands of security force members to ensure security at the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.  Work on the Turkmenistan section is going to be completed while work on the Afghanistan section of the pipeline project started few weeks ago in Herat province – in the west of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. “Thousands of security force members have been deployed to ensure better security for the TAPI project,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said.
According to the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, technical and economic teams are working on the project right now. “The pipeline has reached Afghanistan. We are focusing on technical work of the project in order to ensure better implementation of the plans and programs of the project inside Afghanistan,” said officials of the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Afghanistan - Kabul Municipal Development Program (KMDP) has given a sense of ownership to the people. Residents are now paying attention to their streets, especially to maintenance

Kabul, Afghanistan – The sidewalks are full of pedestrians at rush hour, mostly girls on their way home from school. Amid this crowd, Shakila, 48, is walking toward a kindergarten with her young daughter. Her bright, colorful umbrella shields them from the glaring sun.
“Just a year ago, rush hour was incredibly dusty,” says Shakila, a kindergarten teacher. “I used to keep my children at home. Sometimes the air was so bad that even wearing a mask didn’t help.”
It takes her an easy 10 minutes to walk from her home in the Sarak-e-Azam area in Kabul’s district 11 to work every day. “It is good now, there is no dust and I can take my children out,” Shakila says.
Islamuddin, 28, another Sarak-e-Azam resident who has a grocery store in the area, is just as pleased with the change from the dirty, dusty streets. “The streets always used to smell so bad due to the standing water. It would waft into our homes,” he recalls. “It was shameful, especially when we had guests. Now, instead, our environment is clean and there is no standing water.”
The improvement in the quality of life in Sarak-e-Azam is the successful outcome of the work carried out by the Kabul Municipal Development Program (KMDP), which modernized the area and established an organized garbage collection and drainage system.
Some 9,000 residents are benefiting from the development project, which was completed in 2016. KMDP worked closely with the community during project implementation. “Our project has given a sense of ownership to the people,” says Mohammad Arif Asifi, KMDP community mobilizer. “Residents are now paying attention to their streets, especially to maintenance.” To maintain the environment, households contribute 120 afghanis ($1.75) a month for three garbage collectors, while KMDP has provided equipment for maintenance.
Healthier and Safer Environment
KMDP, which operates under Kabul Municipality, aims to increase access to basic municipal services in selected residential areas in Kabul city; redesign the municipality’s Financial Management System to support better service delivery; and enable early response in the event of a relevant emergency.
Supported by a $110 million grant from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), KMDP is expected to benefit over one million people throughout the capital city through services provided in some 3,020 hectares of government-owned land. To date, more than 530,000 people have benefited directly and over 200,000 indirectly, including students and staff of several schools and institutions of higher education. About three quarters of the beneficiaries are women and children. In addition, more than 1.5 million man-days of temporary employment have been generated from KMPD projects.
Some 2,300 hectares have been upgraded to date. The project has built about 24 km of trunk roads, while upgraded areas have benefited from the construction of about 337 km of neighborhood roads, about 457.7 km of community drains and 25.73km of water supply pipes. Work has been executed to high standards, as the technical designs are subject to quality assurance and quality control procedures on par with international standards.
As a result, upgraded neighborhoods, like Sarak-e-Azam, have become healthier and safer to live.
After the streets were paved, households were encouraged to install a lamp in their yard. The lighting has not only brightened the area, but also reduced security concerns, especially for those who drive at night.
“Even though I am from the area, I didn’t drive or take passengers during the night because of security concerns,” says driver Din Mohammad, 45. “Now you can see to the very end of the street because of the lamps.”