26 June 2017

RSS Facebook



Wednesday May 17, 2017

Kabul (BNA) World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is marked on May 17th every year not only in Afghanistan but also in all countries having membership of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
ITU General Secretary has announced in a statement that the theme for the 2017 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day would be ‘Big Data for Big Impact’. The insight brought on by advanced analysis can strongly complement the evidence-based nature of decision-making that can be leveraged at national, regional and international levels to drive success towards attaining sustainable development goals for 2030. Fortunately, Afghanistan has obtained membership of ITU; therefore, May 17th has been marked as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day in Afghanistan since 2003.
According to officials for Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology, telecommunication technology has unprecedentedly development in Afghanistan in the past one decade and currently 90 % of the country’s areas are covered by telecommunication services provided by six government and private telecommunication companies the subscribers of which have recently reached to 22 million.
In total, Afghanistan government gets more than $ 250 million annual incomes from telecommunication sector. Meanwhile, more than $ 2.5 billion has been invested in telecommunication and information technology sector in Afghanistan so far. For example, optical fiber considered as key source for providing technology and internet services has considerably developed recently in the country. Proper polices and laws in this sector have been codified by Afghanistan government, which has paved ways for most of private telecommunication companies in order to invest and provide telecommunication services to their subscribers in the country.
Besides, presence of international telecommunication companies and investors is considered as one of the main reasons for telecommunication development in Afghanistan. These companies by their world experiences have joined Afghanistan telecommunication market and changed it to competitive scene. For example, Roshan, Afghan Telecom, Salam and Afghan Wireless which are considered as top telecommunication companies have international telecommunication companies’ investors who have brought international experiences, work procedures and standards to Afghanistan telecommunication sector. To continue their presence and get much interest, these companies regularly assess their rival companies’ activities and make policy based on the assessment. Despite of all achievements attained by the domestic and international telecommunication companies, they are facing with a series of challenges as increasing insecurity in the country particularly in remote areas where telecommunication companies are obliged to deploy guards to protect and maintain security for their antennas.
Lailuma Noori

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kabul (BNA) The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is deeply concerned by the continued increase in conflict-related child deaths in 2017 and urges parties to the conflict to take immediate measures to reduce harm, a statement from the agency said.
“I was appalled to hear that an unexploded mortar round killed five boys from the same family yesterday (on Monday). The children were playing outside their home and found the mortar round, likely fired during fighting earlier in the day,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, the statement further said.
“A family destroyed in seconds - this horror is just one of too many incidents documented at the onset of this fighting season.” The explosion took place in Mehterlam city, Laghman province, the statement added. The first quarter of 2017 witnessed the highest recorded number of child civilian casualties resulting from conflict-related incidents in Afghanistan, including the highest number of children killed, for the same comparable period since the Mission began documenting cases, according to the statement.
Between 1 January and 30 April 2017, UNAMA preliminarily recorded 987 child casualties (283 deaths and 704 injured), a 21 per cent increase in child deaths compared to the same period in 2016.
During 2017, child deaths have risen largely as a result of the persistent use of indirect and/or explosive weapons in civilian-populated areas and due to the use of illegal and indiscriminate improvised explosive devices. Ground fighting caused 118 child deaths between 1 January and 30 April, responsible for 42 per cent of the total.
The death on Sunday of two girls and injury of seven other children, as well as two women, after a mortar round fired into a residential area impacted their home in Pashtun Kot district, Faryab province, illustrates the dangers to which many Afghan children are exposed.
After ground fighting, explosive remnants of war killed most children, resulting in 50 child deaths. In the period up to 30 April this year, aerial operations have been responsible for 44 child deaths and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) responsible for 38 child deaths. Pressure–plate improvised explosive devices, which are activated by victims and therefore pose great risk to civilian populations, caused 27 of the 38 child deaths from IEDs.
Many of the more than 700 children injured in conflict-related incidents have suffered life-changing injuries, including loss of limbs, as well as significant and lasting trauma such as witnessing the death of siblings, parents, destruction to their homes or displacement.
UNAMA once again urges parties to the conflict to prioritize the protection of children as the 2017 fighting season continues by taking all necessary precautions to reduce harm to civilians during fighting, including refraining from the use of indirect and/or explosive weapons in civilian-populated areas, particularly where distinction between civilians and non-civilians cannot be ensured. UNAMA welcomes the commitment of the Government to formally ratify Protocol V to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons. The mission urges all parties to the conflict to commence marking, clearing, removing and destroying explosive remnants of war left behind from fighting in areas under their territorial control, the statement concluded.

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."

Tuesday May 16, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Addressing the fourth three-day symposium “Afghan Women, the messengers of peace” in the capital Kabul, President Ghani said peace and stability was the most important demand and requirement of the Afghan people.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said women could play a vital role in ensuring peace and a real peace would come when basic rights of Afghan men and women were protected. Pointing to the peace agreement with the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), the president said a strong will and going by the Constitution were preconditions for peace talks.’ Calling women’s role in peace and stability as important, the president said, “Women of our country were real supporters of peace in the past centuries. We should hear their views about peace in the present time too.”
“It is an Islamic principle that no achievements can be made when the will is weak, realistically understanding and rightly diagnosing the situation are other preconditions for achieving peace,” the president added. “Even if there is a right intent, will and understanding of the situation, the peace process would not succeed when it is in contradiction with the Constitution,” he said. “We have a strong commitment that we can reach peace through constitutional framework and protection of people’s rights, fortunately we are followers of a religion that does not divide humans as first and second class, both men and women are equal and of same grade in human dignity,” the president said.
President Ghani went on saying Muslim women had an active role in social, economic and political areas in the Islamic history and mothers of former Afghanistan kings Mirwais and Ahmad Shah were educated. But he regretted some Afghans currently did not allow their daughters to get education. The Afghan women have gained significant development in political, social, economic and cultural areas over the past 15 years and reasons behind the promotion was the rights and opportunities given to them by the constitution, President Ghani said. The number of women deprived of education is three times higher than men in Afghanistan and the main reason is the imposed war on Afghanistan, he said. He added most of the victims of the ongoing conflict in the country were women. President Ghani asked women taking part in the symposium to share their suggestions about peace with the government and the people.
“I believe this symposium will give strength to the peace process and peace culture and will send a clear message to the nation and the government,” he said. Meanwhile Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said that the symposium was part of a series of symposiums organized in Washington, the capital of the United States, Oslo, the capital of Norway and Kabul. He said the main goal of the symposium was to promote women’s participation in different areas. “The aim of this symposium is to promote women’s participation in the peace process, he said.” He added the government had taken many steps for women’s empowerment over the past 17 years, but this generation needed more and continued support. FM Rabbani said women’s role in elimination of violence, promoting peace, friendship and educating a generation for a bright future was vital. UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said, “The United Nations stands in solidarity with Afghan women, and supports all efforts to ensure that women’s involvement in peace is meaningful.”
“This three-day symposium is an excellent opportunity for you to share your experiences, discuss your visions for the future and strategize about how women must play a leading role in building peace in Afghanistan.” said Yamamoto, who is also the UNAMA’s special representative for Afghanistan. He said experiences about peace from around the world showed the women should be involved in peace efforts from the outset. “As half part of the population, the empowerment of Afghan women and girls is essential to ensure their full participation in the political and social life, and help realize Afghanistan’s full potential.” “Women and girls also have variety of roles in the home, community and nation that are critical to the promotion of peace”, he said. The Afghan government has pledged to increase the presence of women in government institutions to 30 per cent by 2020. “We hope that this goal will be achieved,” Yamamoto added. The UN in Afghanistan has been supporting the government’s efforts to strengthen implementation of women, peace and security commitments in compliance with Afghanistan’s international obligations, and Afghanistan’s National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325, he added.

Page 6 of 371