Saturday, 31 March 2018

AFGHANISTAN - BIDDING OPPORTUNITY Italian-funded Road Project 35 km

Bidding Documents may be obtained by interested bidders by downloading from the #AFG National Procurement Authority (NPA) website

Friday, 30 March 2018

Empowering Afghan businesswomen: Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industries

Canada Afghanistan Business Council

Afghanistan - Negli ultimi 12 mesi uccisi e feriti più di 70 giornalisti

Nell'anno solare 1396 in Afghanistan 21 giornalisti sono stati uccisi e altri 57 sono rimasti feriti.
Lo ha denunciato a Kabul il Centro dei giornalisti dell'Afghanistan (AJC). Il presidente dell'associazione, Ahmad Quraishi, ha sottolineato che nel complesso sono stati registrati dal marzo 2017 almeno 161 casi di violenze di ogni genere contro giornalisti, comprese minacce, insulti e distruzione di infrastrutture operative e materiali di lavoro.

Afghan conflict is without a shadow of a doubt a proxy war fought for the interests of outsiders, but verbal attacks between the US, and Russia, Iran and Pakistan have recently reached a level of grave concern

In addition to other factors, the blame game between various sides involved in Afghanistan has also added to the complexity of Afghan conflict. The regional countries allege that the goal of the military presence of the West, particularly the United States, in Afghanistan is to keep them in check. Even they view the emergence and activities of Daesh in Afghanistan as a conspiracy against them, and their concerns now are not at the level that should be shared through diplomatic channels, but the officials of those countries accuse the US through media of backing Daesh. Russia claims that American choppers are transporting Daesh terrorists to northern Afghanistan. Iran and Pakistan uphold the Russian claim, and also use it as a pretext to justify their links with Taliban. Meanwhile, the United States accuses Iran and Russia besides Pakistan of aiding the Taliban. In his recent interview with BBC, US Ambassador to Kabul has accused Iran of providing logistics support to the Taliban, saying that he did not know why Tehran was supporting the Taliban because it can destabilize Iran’s eastern border. In response to the statements, Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan has rejected the claims as baseless, calling on Washington to present concrete evidence about the issue to Afghan government instead of levelling allegations against Iran. He, however, acknowledged having contacts with the Taliban. Afghan conflict is without a shadow of a doubt a proxy war fought for the interests of outsiders, but verbal attacks between the US, and Russia, Iran and Pakistan have recently reached a level of grave concern. The diplomats of these countries say whatever they want without providing evidence, and respecting the national sovereignty of Afghanistan. They level allegations against each other, but never really present any evidence, a situation that has effectively turned Afghanistan into a spot of verbal clashes besides the proxy war. The embattled Afghan government has embraced silence on the intensifying blame game, and even has not tried to release a statement about it. To protect the country’s best interests, it is the responsibility of the government to stand out against, and not let, any outsider to violate the country’s national sovereignty and further complicate the ongoing Afghan conflict by making irresponsible statements.
on - Afghanistan: From a theater of proxy war to a theater of verbal clashes

Construction of the Afghan section of the 260km power transmission line between Uzbekistan and Afghan province of Baghlan, to start soon

Uzbekistan is all poised to launch work on a major project that will boost power exports to energy-deficient Afghanistan by 70 percent. Construction of the Afghan section of the 260-kilometer electricity transmission line between Uzbekistan’s Surkhan region and Pul-i-Khumri, the capital of Baghlan province, will start in June. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged USD 70,000,000 for the project, which is expected to cost USD 150 million. Uzbekistan will contribute to with USD 32 million, according to Eurasianet.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Kabul Prefabricated Housing Factory re-inaugurated after 25 years

The prefabricated housing factory was inaugurated in Kabul almost twenty five years after its operations were halted by sustaining damages during the civil war in the early 90s. The factory was inaugurated in the presence of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and other senior government officials including the Minister of Urban Development and Housing Syed Sadat MansoorNaderi. The factory first started operations in the early 1960s and continued to its operations until around 1992 when the country was hit by devastating civil war that resulted into the closure of the factory. A contract was signed for the reconstruction of the factory in 2016 in Kabul between Minister Naderi and OrhanGuner the head of the Turkish firm Vefa Group. The officials had then said the factory will produce around 300 cubic meters of prefabricated construction structures over a period of twelve months, once it becomes operational. According to the officials, the prefabricated materials would be used for the construction of schools, hospitals, clinics, and other public welfare projects. In the meantime, the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Syed Sadat MansoorNaderi said the opening of the factory will spark a revolution in the construction field, particularly in prefabricated housing sector. Naderi further added that the factory has a capacity of producing up to one million cubic meters of prefabricated housing materials and structures. He said the prefabricated materials and structures will be manufactured in less time with less cost. According to Minister Naderi, previously the construction of a school with eight classes cost around 350 per square meter and was built over a period of one and half years but the new factory will help to reduce the cost to 240 per square meter and the construction time will be from 6 to 8 weeks.

Monday, 26 March 2018

First phase of China’s Kabul housing scheme will begin very soon

The Ministry of Urban Development of Afghanistan says the first phase of China’s Kabul housing scheme, which includes the construction of 1,400 residential units, will begin in the near future. The spokesperson for the Ministry of Urban Development said that the construction of the 1,400 residential plots cost more than USD 75 million and will be distributed to Afghan security forces’ survivors and low-income people. Afghanistan Industrialists Association (AIA) said it believes that using the domestic materials of this city can lead to the economic growth. The Chinese government has pledged to provide two billion Chinese Yuan (about USD 300 million) for the entire project. The total cost of the second and third phases is also estimated to be near to 500,000,000 Chinese Yuan.
Today in a street of the Beautiful ❤️ 🗓️ 🏦 🇪🇺 🇺🇸 🇦🇫 🏪🔹Monday, March 26, 2018 ✔️🏔️ 🇮🇹

Saturday, 24 March 2018

“Carta dei Cittadini”, dall’Italia 2,5 milioni di euro per l'Afghanistan

Strade, scuole e ospedali per far ripartire l’Afghanistan. L’Italia, attraverso la Cooperazione allo sviluppo, ha donato 2,5 milioni di euro alla Banca Mondiale per sostenere una serie di progetti volti a dotare il Paese asiatico di una serie di infrastrutture di base, dalla fornitura di acqua pulita al sistema di gestione di rifiuti passando per la costruzione di strade e strutture sanitarie. Il contributo confluirà nell’ “Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund” (ARTF), fondo gestito dalla Banca Mondiale e dal governo afghano, e sarà erogato a favore dell’intervento “Citizens’ Charters Afghanistan Project” (CCAP), prima fase del più ampio “Citizens’ Charter National Priority Program” (2016 -2026) ovvero la “Carta dei Cittadini”, un patto tra lo Stato ed il cittadino al fine di garantire alla popolazione servizi ed infrastrutture di base e contribuire al rafforzamento dei “Consigli per lo sviluppo comunitario”, organismi di governo locale eletti dalla popolazione ed a forte presenza femminile. Il CCAP ha l’obiettivo di ridurre la povertà e migliorare gli standard di vita della popolazione, sviluppando ed accrescendo la fornitura di infrastrutture di base e servizi sociali alle comunità, rurali ed urbane, quali ad esempio la fornitura di acqua, servizi igienici, sistemi di gestione dei rifiuti, strade, scuole, sistemi irrigui, energia pulita, strutture sanitarie. L’intervento nella sua prima fase sarà diretto a 8,5 milioni di persone, di cui almeno la metà dei beneficiari diretti e indiretti saranno donne; coinvolti anche sfollati, returnees e rifugiati. La Cooperazione italiana allo sviluppo sostiene l’ARTF dal 2003 con un totale di contributi per circa 130 milioni di euro.
Author: Gianna Da Re

World Bank will train Afghan students to perform the digitization of roads

Mapping Afghanistan’s future, one road at a time
In May 2017, the World Bank celebrated its 15 years of reengagement in Afghanistan. Since reengagement, we have helped the government deliver public services to its citizens and, in the process, accumulated a wealth of data on many sectors from health and education to infrastructure.
However, publicly available base data used across sectors – also called ‘foundation’ data-- is still lacking. As it happens, that information is important to design projects and inform policies.
Case in point: while we may have data on vaccines given or babies born, we don’t know much about the roads that lead to the clinic. Similarly, we may get data on school attendance and passing rates of students, but we don’t know how long it takes for students to reach their schools.
These examples highlight how foundation data can help better plan the expansion of healthcare facilities or enhance access to education. After all, each mapped kilometer of a road can help us understand how long Afghan children must walk to get to school or how long it takes sick Afghans to reach a hospital.
Without question, there is a clear need for better foundation data to inform decision making at all levels.
Recently, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) and the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) have turned to open source software like OpenStreetMap to create high-quality data from high-resolution satellite imagery that will directly support road construction and maintenance efforts.
To properly conduct road maintenance and construction planning, one must have complete and accurate data of the road network. This data is critical to plan for the expansion and maintenance of the over 2,200 kilometers of new roads, 3,000 meters of bridges that have been constructed, as well as over 6,000 kilometers of existing roads, which are now maintained through the World Bank and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) projects.
OpenStreetMap is an open source geospatial data portal built and maintained by a community of mappers. The data generated by MRRD, who are responsible for tertiary roads, and MPW, who are tasked with building and maintaining secondary roads, will not only aid their own roads inventory project but will help provide every ministry and development organization with the best publicly available data for Afghanistan.
This information, in turn, could feed into future project design to ensure the ministries, World Bank, and development partners have the best possible data available to inform project and policy design.
Recognizing the power of having good baseline data, we collaborated with the Government of Afghanistan to conduct training in Kabul on open-source geospatial data for participants to digitize roads, land use (e.g. commercial, residential, or industrial areas), and communities in over 112 square kilometers of eastern Nangarhar province.
The two training sessions were held at the World Bank Office in Kabul, in September and November 2017, with 31 representatives from nine ministries, three development partners, one municipality, one university, and some of our very own World Bank Staff. During the training, participants contributed to OpenStreetMap by locating and marking unmapped communities, tracing roads and linking them to the existing network.
Road tracing involves looking at satellite imagery and creating vertices, which link road segments together, through either a web browser or stand-alone software. These vertices could be meters apart, in the case of turns, or hundreds of meters apart when roads are straight. Other attributes, like whether or not a road is paved, covered with gravel, or bare earth, are also captured. After the user creates or updates the information, it is uploaded to the server. Minutes later, the data is available to the world.
In the next training event, the World Bank will train Afghan university students to perform the digitization with ministry staff as supervisors and validators. Thus, we hope to crowd-source Afghan talent and nurture local knowledge while building portable skills, at low-cost.

Iran needs to invest in Sangan iron ore mine, Afghanistan

Iran is willing to invest in Sangan iron ore mine in Herat province and process the mineral resource in Iran, but the Government of Afghanistan says that mineral resources extracted from Afghanistan’s mines should be processed inside the country. Sangan iron ore is located in bordering areas between Iran and Afghanistan. Iran has extracted the mineral resource from its part and now it is trying to afford its need of raw materials for its factories from the Afghanistan part of the mine. Iran needs raw material for its processing plants and it has ended the mineral resource from its part of Sangan mine, on the territory of Iran.

Federica Mogherini will be in Uzbekistan to participate in the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan. Topics for discussion at the conference include also matters relating to the fight against the illicit cultivation of opium poppy

Opium production in Afghanistan reached record high.
Last year 9,000 tonnes were produced, an increase of 87%.
On Monday 26 – Tuesday 27 March, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini will be in Uzbekistan to participate in the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan: "Peace process, security cooperation and regional connectivity". The conference brings together Afghanistan, the five Central Asian countries, the United Nations and other stakeholders to work towards peace, increased security and regional development in Afghanistan and the region, and builds on the successful Kabul Process meeting held at the end of February as well as the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, held in October 2016. Topics for discussion at the conference include matters relating to peace and reconciliation, counter terrorism and counter narcotics, as well as regional cooperation. All of these themes feature strongly in the EU's own Afghanistan Strategy (Joint Communication; Council Conclusions), which was adopted in October 2017, as well as the EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development, which has been provisionally applied since 1 December 2017. The High Representative/Vice-President will address the conference as an opening speaker. She will also hold, in the margins of the conference, a number of bilateral meetings, including with the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, as well as several Ministers. Four months after the most recent formal EU-Central Asia Foreign Ministers' Meeting, chaired by the High Representative in Samarkand in November 2017, Federica Mogherini will again meet the five Foreign Ministers in order to discuss recent developments in the region and ways to take the EU's engagement forward, in particular in view of the new EU Strategy for Central Asia which is currently being developed and following a landmark meeting of Central Asian leaders held in Astana on 15 March, which gave new momentum to regional cooperation.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Borse di studio offerte dal governo italiano a studenti afghani

Il Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale (MAECI) offre borse di studio, in favore di studenti stranieri e italiani residenti all’estero (IRE) per l’Anno Accademico 2018-2019, con l’obiettivo di favorire la cooperazione in campo culturale, scientifico e tecnologico, la proiezione del sistema economico dell’Italia nel mondo e la diffusione della conoscenza della lingua e cultura italiana (Rif. Legge 288/55 e successive modifiche e integrazioni).

Le borse di studio sono offerte per svolgere programmi di studio, formazione e/o ricerca presso Istituzioni italiane statali o legalmente riconosciute.

L’elenco dell’offerta formativa è consultabile alla seguente pagina:

La lista dei Paesi beneficiari è consultabile alla seguente pagina del Portale

Tipologie di corsi per i quali si possono presentare le candidature

  • Corsi universitari di Laurea magistrale;
  • Corsi di alta formazione professionale, artistica e musicale (AFAM);
  • Dottorati di ricerca;
  • Progetti di Studio in co-tutela;
  • Corsi di lingua e cultura italiana;

Le candidature online devono essere trasmesse, utilizzando il Portale “Study in Italy”, entro le ore 14.00 (ora italiana) del 30 aprile 2018.


Important agreements were signed between Afghanistan and several foreign countries in the 1396 solar year

Despite the ongoing turbulence in the security sector, Afghanistan has made major strides in the economic cooperation sphere during the solar year 1396. In this year, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Turkmenistan signed the Lapis Lazuli agreement with Afghanistan - sealing an important international trade and transport corridor deal that will connect Afghanistan directly to European countries. The Lapis Lazuli Corridor will begin in the Afghan provinces of Faryab and Herat and will run through to Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan. The Lapis Lazuli Agreement was inked on the sidelines of the RECCA VII Summit in Kabul. In 1396, Afghanistan hosted also the 3rd Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in Kabul which was attended by representatives from 40 countries. SOM delegates discussed mutual commitments made by the international community and Afghanistan at Brussels Summit on Afghanistan in October 2016. At the Brussels Summit, the Government of Afghanistan pledged to the international community to carry out several reforms including the registration of assets by government officials, the undertaking of systematic reforms in the election law, the finalization of the procurement law, fighting corruption, reforms within legal and judicial institutions and mainly ensuring the security of foreign investments and investors. The conference in Brussels brought together 75 countries and 26 international organizations and agencies. At the summit, the international community endorsed the reforms agenda presented by the Afghan government. They undertook to ensure continued international political and financial support for Afghanistan over the next four years. The total sum committed by the international community was USD 15.2 billion. In the solar year 1396, after many years of waiting, finally started the work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline mega-project (TAPI) following a ground-breaking ceremony in the province of Herat in western Afghanistan. “TAPI project has been a foundation for a major economic corridor in the region and many countries have voiced support for this project,” said an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. “The ministry of finance is responsible to look after 14 agreements we have with the neighboring countries, we have achieved major gains with the help of these projects, this has left positive impacts on Afghanistan’s economic and trade relations with other nations,” said a spokesman of the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan. But, the import and export relations between Afghanistan and its neighboring countries faced some ups and downs during 1396. And the commercial and economic relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan deteriorated. “We have achieved some gains this year, but we also had problems in terms of security including a rise in kidnapping of the businessmen and other problems,” said the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI). During the 1396 solar year, Afghan officials held economic talks with Iran and finalized agreements on the development of Chabahar Port. Chabahar is the closest and easiest access point in Iran to the Indian Ocean and Iran intends to turn it into a transit hub for immediate access to markets in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia. In 1396, the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signed a number of bilateral agreements with his Turkmenistan counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov during a one-day official visit to Ashgabad. The parties also signed the Regulation on Organization of Railroad Transport between Imamnazar and Akina Border posts. In addition, an agreement on cooperation between the Ministry of Energy of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Energy and Water Management of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to supply Turkmen energy to Badghis and Jawzjan provinces was also signed. During talks, the two presidents focused on regional security and bilateral cooperation. Particular attention was paid to the implementation of the TAPI gas pipeline Project.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Afghanistan and Iran traded USD 2.48 billion worth of goods in 11 months

According to a latest report, Afghanistan and Iran traded USD 5.32mn tons of non-oil commodities worth 2.48bn in the past 11 months. Iran imported 22,673 tons of goods worth USD 18.71mn during the period till Feb 19. Furthermore, Iran exported 5.30mn tons of goods worth USD 2.46bn to Afganistan. Exports from Afghanistan, seventh biggest export destination for Iran, fell by 7.84 percent. Afghanistan's exports made up 0.07 percent of Iran's total imports.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Monday, 19 March 2018

Grants for Afghan students awarded by the Italian government

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) offers grants in favor of foreign citizens not residing in Italy and Italian citizens living abroad (IRE) for the academic year 2018-2019 in order to foster international cultural, scientific and technological cooperation, to promote Italian language and culture and to support Italy’s economic system in the world (According to Law 288/55 and its subsequent changes and additions).

Grants are offered to pursue study, training, and/or research programs at Italian Higher Education Institutes, both public and legally recognised. The list of these institutions is available on the following website:

Courses for which grants are available:

  • Master’s Degree (Laurea Magistrale 2° ciclo);
  • Courses of Higher Education in Arts, Music, and Dance (AFAM);
  • PhD programmes;
  • Research under academic supervision (Progetti in co-tutela);
  • Italian Language and Culture Courses.

Afghanistan and Iran governments will work together to resolve problems around Chabahar port

Among the problems is the lack of a standard banking system that limits work and development in the port. A diplomat from the Iranian Embassy in Kabul said that in order to overcome these challenges, Iran and Afghanistan will work together to find appropriate solutions. According to the Iranian diplomat, sanctions in place against Iran by some countries that affect Afghanistan-Iran relations should be removed. “Those limitations that affect Iran-Afghanistan ties and have been imposed on Iran, must be removed,” said the diplomat. Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) meanwhile said US sanctions against Iran have slowed down the work process at Chabahar and Iran wants these limitations removed by gaining support from other countries. ACCI said that currently the world’s financial systems will not even allow the transfer of USD 500 million that the Government of India wants to invest in Chabahar. “Although we can send suggestions to our intl partners, we are not sure that such issues against Iran will be resolved,” said a representative of ACCI.

ORZALA Perfume - Made in Afghanistan


Afghan traders sign important deals at Dubai food show

Amid ongoing efforts to bolster the economic sector of the country through exports and domestic production, a group of at least 25 Afghan traders participated in a Food Show in Dubai where contracts worth $ 20.5 million were signed with the foreign traders. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says Afghan traders have inked $ 20.5 million in signed and potential deals for high-value agricultural products due to their participation in February at the Gulfood Exhibition in Dubai. According to a statement, USAID supported 25 Afghan exporters at the February 2018 Gulfood Show, where Afghanistan’s agricultural riches, including world-class pomegranates, saffron, apples, apricots, melons, grapes, nuts, and raisins were on display for international buyers. The statement further added that Gulfood is the world’s largest annual food and hospitality show. Now in its 23rd year, the event showcased 5,000 exhibitors from the food, drink, food services, and hospitality industries. This year’s exhibition welcomed more than 97,000 visitors in the course of the five-day event. “USAID-supported exporters have yielded tens of millions of dollars in deals since Afghan participation began in 2010. This year, India was the lead buyer of Afghan produce, with 48 percent of the $12 million in confirmed deals signed at the event, followed by Saudi Arabia, which came in at 17 percent. Potential deals totaled US$8.5 million. The 2,500 metric tons of produce negotiated included raisins, figs, pistachios, saffron, and pine nuts,” the statement added. “As a result of our participation in Gulfood, we signed the largest contract our company has ever received to export Kandahar pomegranates,” said Mr. Mahmood, the owner of Afghan Red Pomegranate. Agriculture is backbone of Afghanistan’s economy. Up to 80 percent of Afghans are dependent on farming and livestock, and agriculture comprises 25 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. >>> READ MORE @

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%! 😱
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.”

Monday, 12 March 2018

Афганистан | Беларусь поставит 4 боевых вертолёта модели Ми-35

Недавно Министерство обороны Афганистана подписало контракт на поставку партии российских вертолётов в распоряжение афганских авиационных сил с правительством Республики Беларусь.
Подписание контракта состоялось в Нью-Дели. В соответствии с условиями соглашения афганский лётный парк пополнят 4 штурмовых вертолёта модели Ми-35. Средства на приобретение винтокрылых машин выделит индийская сторона.

Ministry of Mines of Afghanistan to tackle problems facing key projects

Officials of the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum say they have established committees to tackle problems relating to 15 mining projects in the country. Officials said the ministry has prioritized the issue of resolving these problems. “This issue is a priority and resolving the problems around these projects is very important for the people of Afghanistan and for the country’s economy,” said the acting director of legal services for the ministry of mines. However, mining experts have said that in the absence of a clear vision for the development of mines in the country, problems in relation to the projects will continue. These mining experts also said the lack of capacity within the ministry of mines is an ongoing challenge. “I think that in the present situation, the Ministry will not be able to solve these great problems of mines; maybe it's a start, but if we do not have a clear vision for our projects, it's unlikely that we will achieve results,” said a legal expert in the mining industry. Seventeen years ago, attempts were started to begin the extraction of minerals at the country's largest mines. Of these, Aynak Copper Mine, Hajigak Iron Mine, Tajik and Amu Darya oil fields, and several other mines, were earmarked as key mines but little has been done to date to get these mines up and running.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Construction has begun on the Afghan section of a major gas pipeline linking four countries in Asia

Afghan rural program lays strong foundation for the future

Ismaelkhil Mandozayi District, Khost Province, Afghanistan – The azan sounds from the village mosque as people gather for the noontime prayer. Shir Khan, 39, leaves off working on his crops and walks past fields of ripening wheat, across the flowing waters of the irrigation canal, toward the village mosque.
It has been more than 15 years since Shir Khan returned from Pakistan to his native village, Melani Kalay, more than 15 kilometers west of Khost city in southeastern Afghanistan. Nestled in a broad sweeping valley, and surrounded by bare brown hills, the inhabitants of the village have long endured both floods and water shortages. In recent years, however, they have seen a great deal of improvement in their lives with the help of the National Solidarity Programme (NSP).
Some 15 years ago the village had no irrigation canal nor enough water for its people. The farmlands in the village were dry, especially in summer, the peak growing season, and locals had to work as day laborers in neighboring villages or venture out to the provincial capital of Khost city to earn a bare living.
“We had no water to irrigate our lands,” remembers Shir Khan, who farms a tiny patch of land (2 jeribs or 0.4 hectare) in the village. “As all the male villagers worked as unskilled agricultural laborers and there was never enough labor, we never had enough money to look after our families.” The irrigation canal, he says, has greatly improved the situation.
“The irrigation canal is a lifeline for us,” says Besmillah, 40, a farmer and another CDC member. “Our financial situation has steadily improved since the canal was built. Now most people work on their own farms and some even take their produce to sell in the market.”
Today, the canal irrigates large tracts of village farmland (56 hectares) with pomegranates and walnuts accounting for the largest share of horticultural production. The villagers also grow wheat, maize, alfalfa, and clover, and crop yields have risen. All told, more than 290 families have benefitted from the canal.
The five-kilometer long canal was one of the results of the NSP. The NSP not only brought village communities together but also empowered them to identify, plan, manage, and monitor their own projects through their local Community Development Council (CDC).
Apart from the much-needed canal -- built at a cost of about 1.5 million afghanis ($22,000) -- the NSP also enabled the villagers to construct a series of walls to protect their lands from flooding in the winter, spending 1.9 million afghanis ($28,000) on the effort. Each time, the villagers contributed 10 percent to the project costs. Following this, the NSP gave the village a grant of 640,000 afghanis ($9,600) for the repair maintenance of the canal, under its Maintenance Cash Grants (MCG) sub-program.
Importantly, the NSP helped village communities resolve any conflicts or problems that arose amongst them. “The NSP was our project and we had a deep respect for it,” says Besmillah. “It not only gave us many things like roads and schools, it also established CDCs and unified us.”
“Melani Kalay inhabitants now gather in the mosque to make decisions, solve conflicts, and resolve other matters related to the village,” adds Haji Pir Salimuddin, another member of the local CDC. “This has now become normal for them.”

Building on the NSP

The NSP, which ran for thirteen years and closed in March 2017, helped communities across Afghanistan build roads and schools, and bring drinking water, irrigation, and electricity to their villages. “We can say that a significant number of the basic needs of the people in the communities covered by NSP in the province have been met though the NSP,” says Engineer Sayed Ghaffar, monitoring and evaluation officer in Khost province.
The NSP has now been succeeded by the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP). The CCAP seeks to strengthen the CDCs and aims to bring infrastructure and social services for 10 million people in all the country’s 34 provinces and four large municipalities over the next four years.
The Citizens Charter is an inter-ministerial, multi-sectorial NPP, where Ministries have collaborated to provide basic services to rural communities. The key service delivery ministries involved are: Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), with oversight by Ministry of Finance (MoF). MRRD has a key role and will be responsible for infrastructural development and strengthening CDCs and Cluster CDCs.
“I know that NSP is now being succeeded by the new project - CCAP,” says Besmillah, who is hopeful for the future. “Under the new project, we will implement bigger projects, which would hopefully benefit more people.”
After more than a decade of experience in project implementation and local governance, CDCs will be able to implement projects more efficiently. “We are very happy about the NSP projects and have learned a lot from them, and this will help us to implement the CCAP much better.”
NSP was supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF), and other bilateral donors.

The CCAP, supported by ARTF and IDA and resources from the Afghan Government, has defined a set of core infrastructure and services that the government will provide to all accessible communities. The Citizens’ Charter will be the first inter-ministerial program where ministries will collaborate on a single program in both rural and urban areas.
  • NSP established more than 35,000 CDCs throughout Afghanistan.
  • In Khost province alone, 1,138 CDCs were established across all the 13 districts.
  • 2,900 NSP projects were implemented in different sectors in this province alone.
>>> SOURCE: World Bank

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Message from the EU Heads of Mission to the Women of Afghanistan

We, the Ambassadors representing the European Union and its Member States in Afghanistan, wish to mark the International Women's Day by this message to the women of Afghanistan.
Since 2001, the situation of women in the country has tremendously improved but it still remains a matter where we must together press for further progress. Afghan women in all walks of life face discrimination and violence, a situation which has been aggravated by large scale terrorist attacks and criminal activities. The Kabul Process conference last week has gone further than other initiatives to advance the aspirations for peace in Afghanistan. In the course of the peace process, special attention needs to be paid to safeguarding achievements made in the field of women’s rights in recent years.
As we move forward together towards peace, we want therefore to express our solidarity and our determination to continue working for the women of Afghanistan.
The EU Strategy for Afghanistan, adopted in October 2017, pays a special attention to women in various critical fields. This includes supporting the implementation of the National Action Plan for the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the Women's Economic Empowerment National Priority Programme and the Citizen's Charter. With equal attention, we advocate an increase in the number of special court divisions on violence against women in the country and the promulgation of measures aimed at combating sexual harassment.
Women of Afghanistan already demonstrate the contribution they are bringing to the development of their country; it is obvious in so many fields, from the economy to politics. To further develop the role of women in building their country's future, it is of high importance that education leaves no girl or woman behind. This is a dimension where the EU will continue to support the efforts of the government and other relevant stakeholders. Health and justice are two other pivotal sectors where the right of women to equal treatment cannot be compromised.
2018 and 2019 will be two important election years in Afghanistan .Be it as a candidate, voter or staff member of the election commissions, women must be fully acknowledged as citizens whose rights are equal to men's.
We feel inspired by the courage, competence and commitment shown by women of this country as illustrated by the recent creation of an Afghanistan Women's Chamber of Commerce and numerous other active business associations supporting women's empowerment, a growing number of women politicians and high ranking civil servants, members of the Security Forces and successes in many fields such as arts and sports that have received an international accolade.
The EU in Afghanistan therefore considers that working for women is among the most important and relevant actions we could possibly undertake. We wish this message of encouragement will reach not only the women but also the men of Afghanistan.

  • Pierre Mayaudon, Ambassador of European Union
  • Roberto Cantone, Ambassador of Italy
  • Emilio Pérez de Ágreda, Ambassador of Spain
  • Jakob Brix Tange, Ambassador of Denmark
  • Walter Hassmann, Ambassador of Germany
  • François Richier, Ambassador of France
  • Petr Stepanek, Ambassador of Czech Republic
  • Hannu Ripatti, Ambassador of Finland
  • Sir Nicholas Kay, Ambassador of United Kingdom
  • Radu Gimbutan, Head of Mission of Romania
  • Geoffrey van Leeuwen, Ambassador of Netherlands
  • Tobias Thyberg, Ambassador of Sweden

Iran to boost trade through Chabahar sea port

In order to boost trade through Chabahar port, Iran is working to connect Chabahar’s railway line to the railway network in the country. Officials of the Iranian Embassy in Kabul said that the development of Afghanistan's railways to the north and east of the country could play a major role in expanding trade between Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian countries. “We are working to connect the Chabahar Free Zone to Afghanistan; to South Asia, to Arab countries, to Central Asia, through the national railway lines of Iran; in fact to the Caucasus region and via Turkey to Europe,” said the economic advisor to the Embassy of Iran in Kabul. Meanwhile, a number of businessmen have called for export companies to standardize packing in order to increase exports. “It's clear that the issue of certifications and other issues have been raised; businessmen must standardize (packaging), and businessmen must invest in this and when they invest in packaging and processing, they themselves have to take responsibility and this is their job,” said one businessman.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Afghanistan - Corruption at 13,000 feet

Crossing Salang Pass in 2018 will leave you shaken because despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent over decades on improvements, most of the road is now little more than a dirt track.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Happy International Women's Day!

8 March 2018

В Госдепе заявили о снижении влияния США на Пакистан из-за России, Китая и Ирана

Укрепление отношений Пакистана с Россией, Китаем и Ираном мешает влиянию Вашингтона на Исламабад. Об этом говорится в отчёте управления генерального инспектора Госдепартамента США, с которым ознакомился RT.  «Китай, Россия и Иран продолжают поддерживать связи с Пакистаном, что отрицательно сказывается на американском влиянии и потенциальных сдерживающих факторах», — подчёркивается в документе. Отмечается, что на фоне сложившейся ситуации США намерены усилить свои позиции в соседнем Афганистане. Так, в 2018 году туда планируется направить ещё 3 тыс. американских солдат. Кроме того, Вашингтон хочет заменить поставленные для афганских ВС вертолёты Ми-17 российского производства на американские Black Hawk. Только в 2018 году на эти цели будет выделено более $700 млн.
>>> ПОДРОБНЕЕ — в материале RT.

L’Italia dona 2,5 milioni di euro alla Banca Mondiale per sostenere una serie di progetti volti a dotare l'Afghanistan di una serie di infrastrutture di base

Strade, scuole e ospedali per far ripartire l’Afghanistan. L’Italia, attraverso la Cooperazione allo sviluppo, ha donato 2,5 milioni di euro alla Banca Mondiale per sostenere una serie di progetti volti a dotare il Paese asiatico di una serie di infrastrutture di base, dalla fornitura di acqua pulita al sistema di gestione di rifiuti passando per la costruzione di strade e strutture sanitarie. Il contributo confluirà nell’ “Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund” (ARTF), fondo gestito dalla Banca Mondiale e dal governo afghano, e sarà erogato a favore dell’intervento “Citizens’ Charters Afghanistan Project” (CCAP), prima fase del più ampio “Citizens’ Charter National Priority Program” (2016 -2026) ovvero la “Carta dei Cittadini”, un patto tra lo Stato ed il cittadino al fine di garantire alla popolazione servizi ed infrastrutture di base e contribuire al rafforzamento dei “Consigli per lo sviluppo comunitario”, organismi di governo locale eletti dalla popolazione ed a forte presenza femminile. Il CCAP ha l’obiettivo di ridurre la povertà e migliorare gli standard di vita della popolazione, sviluppando ed accrescendo la fornitura di infrastrutture di base e servizi sociali alle comunità, rurali ed urbane, quali ad esempio la fornitura di acqua, servizi igienici, sistemi di gestione dei rifiuti, strade, scuole, sistemi irrigui, energia pulita, strutture sanitarie. L’intervento nella sua prima fase sarà diretto a circa 8,5 milioni di persone, di cui almeno la metà dei beneficiari diretti e indiretti saranno donne; coinvolti anche sfollati, returnees e rifugiati.

Switzerland and Afghanistan have signed an agreement in Kabul to boost development cooperation and humanitarian aid to the People of Afghanistan

Switzerland and Afghanistan have signed an agreement in Kabul to boost development cooperation and humanitarian aid to the troubled country.
“This enhances the legal basis for cooperation between the two countries,” as stated in the below Swiss Government Media Release:

On 6 March 2018, Swiss Ambassador Thomas Kolly and Afghanistan's Minister of Finance Eklil Hakimi signed a framework agreement in Kabul on technical and financial cooperation and humanitarian aid. This enhances the legal basis for cooperation between the two countries. Switzerland has been engaged in Afghanistan since the 1970s and has had a permanent presence there since 2002. Through the ongoing Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) programme, Switzerland supports Afghanistan's political and economic reform process and provides humanitarian aid.
Afghanistan is one of the world's poorest countries, with 40% of the population living below the poverty line. Afghanistan is also currently one of the most fragile states worldwide. Forty years of continuous armed conflict have had serious repercussions on the country's development and the humanitarian situation there.
Switzerland's engagement in Afghanistan dates back to the 1970s. A permanent presence was established with the opening of the SDC cooperation office in Kabul in 2002 after the fall of the Taliban regime.
This framework agreement updates and supplements the legal framework for humanitarian aid and the technical and financial cooperation programmes for people in need. It sets out the principles and forms of cooperation between Switzerland and Afghanistan and simplifies certain aspects, such as the import and use of goods needed to implement the programmes. The Federal Council approved the framework agreement on 1 December 2017.
The SDC's priority programme in Afghanistan is fighting the causes of fragility and crises and working to reduce the negative consequences, particularly for women and vulnerable population groups. Switzerland's current engagement in Afghanistan is based on the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017–20.
The SDC's programmes contribute to building trust in Afghanistan's state institutions such as the police and the judicial system. For example, Switzerland's contribution has been used to recruit and train 3,500 female police officers. On the whole public trust in the police has increased steadily since 2015. Moreover, in 2017 alone, almost a thousand people in need of protection obtained free legal aid and a fair judicial process. In the four provinces in which the SDC runs education programmes, the school enrolment rate is higher than the national average: 270,000 children now attend school there with SDC support, of whom over 40% are girls. In rural areas, more than 200,000 people have been able to increase their agricultural production and thereby improve their livelihoods. Certain activities, such as vegetable growing or goat and poultry breeding, provide an opportunity to include women in project activities. This enables them to contribute to the household income for the first time.
Through its ongoing support for the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the SDC also makes a direct contribution to protecting the rights of those affected by the conflict, particularly internally displaced persons and returnees from countries neighbouring Afghanistan.
Switzerland works on the ground in close cooperation with local authorities, other donor countries and international organisations. The SDC's current 2015–18 cooperation strategy for Afghanistan is guided by a long-term commitment, even in periods of instability and insecurity.