26 May 2017

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kabul (BNA) The National Procurement Commission (NPC) with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on the chair held its 100th session here in Kabul at the Presidential Palace the other day, the President Press office said in a statement.
The contracts were including three procurement contracts of consultative services entities for implementation of citizen charter projects in Zabul, Uruzgan, Nouristan, Kunar, Laghman, Khost, Nangarhar and Paktia provinces, according to the statement.  Likewise, two contracts which were on Kabul Municipality’s fuels procurement and connection line of central office with New Kabul Bank branches have conditionally been approved in the meeting, the statement added.
The NPC also finalized CASA-1000 project which was principally approved in 89th session, the statement continued.
The meeting was attended by Chief Executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Second Vice President, Sarwar Danesh, ministers of finance and justice, acting minister of economy and the NPC’s in-charges.
 

Wednesday May 17, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Afghan security forces succeeded to discover and demolish a weapon depot belonging Taliban terrorist group in northern Kunduz province.
Ahmad Jawed Salim spokesman of Commando forces said BNA reporter, dozens heavy and light weapons seized by Afghan security personnel from the depot.
The depot have been discovered in Yatem village, Chardara district of the province.
Armed oppositions have been used the military mobilizations for terrorist activities, Salim added.
 

Wednesday May 17, 2017

Kabul (BNA) At least 15 prisoners were released based on president decree from Panjshir jail yesterday.
Abdul Basir Khalid head of prosecutor in Panjshir told BNA correspondent, the inmates released based on president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani decrees on the occasions of 8th March (International Women Day.
The people were imprisoned accused of different criminal offenses in the prison.
Also at the term of 3 other prisoners reduced.
It has been said now 100 inmates living in Panjshir jail.
 

Wednesday May 17, 2017

Kabul (BNA) At least 71 armed oppositions including their two local commanders were killed and 53 others were wounded following clearing operations led by Afghan security forces within the last 24 hours across the country.
Ministry of Defense (MoD) press office stated BNA, the operations were conducted to suppress anti-government militias and protect the lives and properties of people in insecure areas of Nangarhar, Laghman, Parwan, Kapista, Paktia, Logar, Khost, Ghazni, Kandahar, Urozgan, Zabul, Ghor, Kunduz, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Badakhshan and Helmand provinces.
Also 10 suspicious were arrested by Afghan security troops during the operations, the source added.
Some heavy and light weapons, ammunitions and military equipment have been discovered and seized during the operations.
 

Wednesday May 17, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Second spring round of anti-polio vaccination campaign with dropping of two drops of vaccine has started in Badghis province yesterday.
Abdul Latif Rostayee acting head of public health department in the province told BNA reporter, this round started with presence of Mohammad Anwar Eshaqzai governor of the province, members of provincial council and civil and military authorities. 
It is supposed that at least 190,000 children under the age of five will be vaccinated in this round around the province, Eshaqzai added.
Also warm tablets distributed to children.
The program to be continued for next two days and will be implemented by 600 volunteers.
 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Bamyan (BNA) A Taliban commander with his five colleagues were joined to peace process in Bamyan province.
Mohammad Asef Mobalegh deputy governor of Bamyan told BNA, Sakhi Amin a commander of Taliban with his five colleagues and several weapons joined peace process in Bamyan province.
He added, the joined commander and his colleagues are residents of Tala and Barfak district of Baghlan province.
Deputy Governor of Bamyan welcomed the joining of Taliban to peace process and called useful in betterment of security situation in that province.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Jalalabad (BNA) Two civilians were martyred due to a bomb blast in Nangarhar province last night.
The incident occurred in a guesthouse in Jalalabad city.
According to reports, the bomb was exploded while people gathered in the guesthouse.
Ataullah Khogyani spokesman for Nangarhar governor told BNA, in the blast, two civilians lost their lives.
So far, no individual or group has committed responsibility of the event.
 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Asadabad (BNA) 20 armed Taliban rebels were killed and 12 others were injured in a clash between Taliban and security troops in Kunar province.
Abdul Ghani Mosamim spokesman for Kunar governor told BNA, armed Taliban attacked on police checkpoint in Chapa Dara district, in which 20 Taliban rebels were lost their lives and 12 others were injured.
He added that six policemen were also martyred in the conflict.
 

Tuesday May 16, 2017

Kabul (BNA) For the last year Ziaullah, a resident of Jalalabad city in the eastern province of Nangarhar, has been regularly taking the medicine his doctor prescribed to treat his kidney stones.
But his agonizing condition had not improved for one simple reason, he told IWPR. It was virtually impossible to get decent medication locally, with a market flooded with substandard or out-of-date drugs. “My disease has made me tired of living,” he said, explaining that as he lacked the money to go abroad for treatment, he had no option but to take the poor quality medication available and hope for the best. “Between pain and poverty on the one hand and substandard medicine on the other, I can’t take any more,” he continued. “May Allah almighty help me, these drugs won’t.” Out-of-date or counterfeit medicines are a major risk to public health across Afghanistan, and a particular problem in provinces like Nangarhar, where a common border with Pakistan provides rich opportunities for smuggling, including substandard pharmaceuticals.
Local people have accused both public health officials and the security forces of either taking part in the illicit trade or turning a blind eye to it. “Anyone with a sense of humanity who was a good Muslim would not sell substandard medicines to people,” said Azizullah, another Jalalabad resident. “Some staff from the department of public health are involved in this business and share its profit, and this must be investigated.” Nangarhar officials have acknowledged the problem, explaining that they were struggling to deal with the flow of out-of-date and substandard medicines smuggled into the province. But Moqadas Miraj, the deputy director of Nangarhar’s public health department, denied any corruption and insisted that they were doing their best to stamp out the illicit trade. Every month, tones of low quality and out-of-date medicines were collected and destroyed in Jalalabad. As for those found selling such contraband, Miraj said, “We take legal action through issuing financial penalties, closing down pharmacies and confiscating drugs.
Every day our teams carry out inspections across the city, collect expired medicines and burn them.” Idress Momand, spokesman of the Nangarhar border police, also denied that his forces accepted bribes in return for allowing counterfeit drugs to be smuggled into the country, insisting that they constantly tried to prevent this illegal trade. “We can’t deny that substandard medicines are smuggled through the border areas, but in areas where our forces have set up outposts no one can smuggle such medicines or any other material into Afghanistan.” Ehsan Shinwari, head of the Nangarhar Civil Hospital, said that the problem had reached such a level people no longer felt they could rely on Afghan doctors and instead sought treatment in Pakistan wherever possible. “People don’t trust their doctors, but doctors are not to blame, as they properly prescribe medicines for patients but due to the poor quality of these medicines the treatment doesn’t work,” Shinwari said. “However, if the same medicines are prescribed by a doctor in Pakistan, the patient will respond to treatment and quickly recover, as the quality of medicines are better.
We are trying to tackle this problem and we’re collecting out of-date drugs daily and destroying them.” Fozullah Kakar, a doctor who has a private practice in Jalalabad, agreed that the substandard medicines in circulation had damaged the reputation of the local medical profession. He accepted that some doctors were involved in this trade but said that this was only a minority. The real culprits were the drug importers, Kakar argued, because they purposely bought cheap, low quality drugs abroad to resell for a greater profit in Afghanistan. “The medicines that are imported through smuggling routes are always of low quality, and the medicines that are imported legally are also of low quality. The medication doesn’t work as it’s intended to and then it’s the doctors who are blamed.” Some pharmacists blame the public for not being willing to pay top prices for high-quality medicine. Faridullah, who owns the Farid pharmacy in Jalalabad, said that patients needed to shoulder some of the blame for the market in inferior medicines since they often sought out the cheapest possible option. Khan Jan Alokozay, the vice-chairman of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Afghanistan imported 400 million US dollars’ worth of legal drugs from Pakistan each year.
But Najibullah Sahibzada, head of the Association of Pharmaceutical Businesses in Nangarhar, refuted any suggestion that his members knowingly smuggled low quality medicines into Afghanistan. He said that all drugs importing companies were registered with the government. “I categorically deny that the drug corporations and companies import substandard medicines,” he said. “If someone has smuggled it privately, then that’s a separate issue. Corporations do not import substandard medicines and if it was discovered then their license would be terminated.” The first major medicine and foodstuff quality-control laboratory, which cost five million US dollars to build, staff and equip, was inaugurated in Kabul in April 2017. But testing all imported drugs will prove expensive, and the smuggling routes are so established that few expect there to be much impact on the illicit pharmaceutical trade. Nusrat, a civil society activist, said that border police were bribed to allow substandard medicines into Nangarhar province via well-known smuggling routes. “If government corruption ends, then the buying, selling and smuggling of substandard medicine will also end, as corruption is enabling this problem,” he said. Ordinary people say that they remain at the mercy of local pharmacies. “My small daughter got sick and we took her to a doctor,” said Sayed Mirza, a 20-year-old who runs a grocery shop in Jalalabad’s Eidgah city. “The doctor prescribed some medicine but instead of getting better, she got even worse. When we took her to another doctor, he said that the medicines were just poor quality.”
IWPR
 

Tuesday May 16, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Groups of teenage girls huddle around computers in a bright blue classroom, some typing furiously, others browsing blogs with the latest fashion trends.
Just outside, people go about their daily business in Afghanistan's bustling city of Herat, famed for its ancient fortress and beautiful blue-tiled mosque. A few months earlier, these teenagers didn't know how to switch on a computer. These days, the girls at Goharshad Begum High School in Afghanistan's third-largest city, post to Facebook and Twitter, update their blogs and code with ease. Their newly acquired skills are the result of computer training programs set up in 2012 by the Digital Citizen Fund (DCF) – the brainchild of Afghan entrepreneurs and sisters Roya and Elaha Mahboob and Italian businessman Francesco Rulli. "We learned film programs, Gmail, Twitter and Viber," said teenager Hilai, while working on her computer in the school's bustling computer lab. "It developed our knowledge and awareness of technology."
Women's rights have advanced in Afghanistan and the streets of the capital Kabul are a testament to the shift. Some women still cover themselves head to toe in the powder-blue Afghan chador, but countless others wear skinny jeans teamed with long tops, leather jackets and open-toed shoes and clutch their handbags as they head to work, school or college. But for all that, there is still a widespread belief in the former Taliban-ruled country that a female's place is in the home – and not online. The Mahboob sisters wanted to change this and provide opportunities for women in the increasingly important tech sector by equipping girls' schools with computers and other equipment and teaching them how to use it. Elaha Mahboob (photo: DW) Facilitators in a digital age: "IT is the most important field right now," says Elaha Mahboob. "After the training we provided, we saw a change in their minds and interest in their computers. Some of them have decided to go on to study IT" "IT is the most important field right now," said Elaha Mahboob, sitting in a bright and airy Kabul office, eye on her constantly pinging smartphone. "We want to empower women through IT, because it will be very useful for them and their futures."
So far, the nonprofit has established 13 computer and coding centers in Herat and Kabul, acquiring more than 55,000 female students online. That's no small achievement in a country where adult female literacy rates stand at around 18 percent and where women are verbally harassed in public Internet cafes. DCF plans to train a further 5,000 female students in financial and digital literacy and coding and it's having an impact in more ways than one. "They really love it because they can connect, talk with their friends, share their blogs and ideas," says Mahboob. "After the training we provided, we saw a change in their minds and interest in their computers. Some of them have decided to go on to study IT. Suddenly they were far more connected to other parts of the world." Facing threats Elaha Mahboob and her sister are themselves a product of this more interconnected world. Their family fled to Iran during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and stayed there until 2003, two years after the collapse of the Taliban regime.
In their twenties now, the sisters studied computer science at Herat University and founded IT consulting firm Afghan Citadel Software, which defies social norms by employing mainly women. The company counts NATO and many Afghan government ministries among its clients. Still, Mahboob and those working in the programme have faced a backlash. Calls and emails threatening violence led one instructor to stop teaching the computer courses. But DCF refuse to quit. Instead, they are trying to challenge the fears some parents and local leaders have about introducing women to computers. "We are just talking to them to convince them that it is not something bad, but it is just to help their daughters, to enhance their knowledge and also it could be a financial help," says Mahboob. And this tack appears to be working. "Their trust in us and their daughters simply goes on growing."
Qantara
 

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