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Busy bees turn Afghan schoolgirl into an entrepreneur
7 April 2018 - In war-torn Afghanistan, honey is regarded as a traditional cure-all but for one schoolgirl, the sticky commodity has also created sweet opportunities to work and own a business in a country where few women do so. Three years ago, Frozan, now 19-years-old, obtained a small loan, bought two beehives and learned about apiculture from Hand in Hand International, a non-governmental organization that focuses on poverty. (more)

Library on wheels brings joy of books to Afghan kids
16 March 2018 - The children of Kabul love the blue bus -- they rush toward it every time it pulls into their street, eager to come onboard, their young eyes brimming with excitement. It's it's a library on wheels -- the first such enterprise in Afghanistan's war-battered capital. Inside the bus are rows of neatly stacked books for children, hundreds of them in both Dari and Pashto, the two main languages in Afghanistan. The library was the initiative of Freshta Karim; a 25-year-old who recently got her master's degree in public policy from the University of Oxford, England. (more)

Afghan province declared landmine-free after 10-year clearance drive
15 February 2018 - Afghanistan's deadliest province for landmines has been declared free of the explosive devices after a decade-long clearance effort, the demining group HALO Trust said on Thursday (15 February). HALO spokesman Paul McCann said nearly 80 percent of the country's minefields had been cleared in the past three decades. (more)

ADB approves US$45 million grant for Afghanistan's largest solar project
27 November 2017 - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$44.76 million grant to support the development of a 20MW solar PV project in Afghanistan. The project in Naghlu, located in the capital Kabul's Surobi district, would generate around 43GWh of electricity per year. Elswhere, construction has already started on a 10MW solar PV project at Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). (more)

Solar power in Afghanistan to get $44.76 million boost
27 November 2017 - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $44.76 million grant to finance the construction of a 20-megawatt (MW) on-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Afghanistan. The ADB said that Afghanistan's 'renewable energy resource potential' was estimated to be more than 300,000 MW, with more than two-thirds of that potential supply coming from solar. (more)

Afghan women break ground with TV station launch
19 May 2017 - A new TV channel dedicated to women is set to begin broadcasting in Afghanistan, the first of its kind in a country whose media industry, like many areas of society, remains dominated by men. Zan TV ('Women's TV') launches on Sunday with a staff of all female presenters and producers, following a high-profile marketing campaign on billboards in Kabul and on social media. (more)

Afghan brothers develop drone to clear landmines
14 December 2016 - As young boys growing up on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, Mahmud Hassani and his brother Massoud [were] inspired ... to develop a drone prototype to detect and destroy landmines. Their invention was on Wednesday (14 December) featured in the NT100, a list by Britain-based charity Nominet Trust of innovations that use technology to tackle major world problems. Mahmud Hassani, who lives in the Netherlands along with his brother, said their drone prototype was up to 120 times cheaper and 20 times faster than traditional mine clearing techniques. (more)

Spice of life: Saffron harvest offers jobs, opportunity in Afghanistan
23 November 2016 - It is early morning in a saffron field outside the western Afghan city of Herat and dozens of women are harvesting the delicate purple flowers, working quickly to gather as many as they can before the sun gets too hot. ... the Afghan saffron industry has grown and is establishing a reputation for quality in a market still dominated by neighboring Iran, which accounts for almost 90 percent of global production. (more)

Award-winning Afghan refugee whose tent school empowered a thousand girls
14 October 2015 - Aqeela Asifi, a refugee in Pakistan, worked tirelessly to set up a school and educate the girls in her community, helping to shift entrenched gender roles. Today, the school has a permanent building and Asifi's work has seen 1,000 girls attend school, with many receiving national lower secondary certification. But she prefers to look at what remains to be done -- ensuring girls can continue their studies into secondary level and beyond. (more)

Taliban, Afghan officials hold peace talks, agree to meet again
8 July 2015 - The first official peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul concluded with an agreement to meet again after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, officials said on Wednesday. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the United States welcomed the talks, calling them 'an important step toward advancing prospects for a credible peace'. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China backed the process and was in touch with all sides. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Afghanistan: 'Transcendental Meditation could be the answer to ending war'
20 June 2017 - War and terrorism in Afghanistan could quickly end if a minimum of 578 of Afghanistan's troops were trained in Invincible Defense Technology (IDT), writes Dr David Leffler in TOLOnews.com. The purpose of this IDT group would be to practise the non-religious Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique and its advanced programmes in groups twice a day. Extensive peer-reviewed research and military field-tests worldwide show that proper application of these programmes brings about measurable decreases in crime, terrorism and war and improvements in quality of life, resulting from the reduction of societal stress. (more)

'Military solution improbable in Afghanistan': Invincible Defence Technology addresses root causes of terrorism and war - Pajhwok Afghan News
17 June 2009 - A scientifically verified alternative to military action is available in Afghanistan, say Invincible Defence Technology (IDT) experts Major General (Ret.) Kulwant Singh, Colonel Brian Rees, and David Leffler, PhD. Extensive peer-reviewed published research demonstrates the effectiveness of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation Programme and its advanced techniques for reducing the societal stress that fuels violence, terrorism, and war. (more)


Flops
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Drought threatens millions of Afghans with hunger - U.N.
29 May 2018 - Millions of Afghans face hunger after a drought decimated crops in the war-ravaged country, U.N. officials said on Tuesday (29 May), calling for an extra $115 million to help families buy food. Two thirds of Afghanistan's 34 provinces have been hit by a lack of rain or snowfall since late last year, said a bulletin from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). (more)

Taliban battle into west Afghan city in new crisis for government
15 May 2018 - Taliban fighters with heavy weapons and night-vision equipment fought their way close to the center of the western city of Farah on Tuesday (15 May), as Afghan forces with U.S. air support battled to force them back, officials and residents said. Residents of the city, capital of Farah province on the border with Iran, have warned for months the city was vulnerable and the attack threatened a repeat of the Taliban's capture of the northern city of Kunduz in 2015. (more)

Taliban launch large-scale assault on western Afghan city
15 May 2018 - The Taliban launched attacks from multiple directions on a city in western Afghanistan early Tuesday (15 May) killing and wounding at least six security forces, officials said. Fared Bakhtawer, head of the Farah provincial council, said the insurgents overran several security checkpoints in the provincial capital of the same name and that heavy fighting was underway. He said casualties were high among security forces, but couldn't provide a precise number. 'Security checkpoints around the city have collapsed into the hands of the Taliban, causing high casualties among security forces,' he said. (more)

Dark day for reporters as 9 killed in Afghan bombing
30 April 2018 - Monday (30 April) marked the bloodiest day for journalists in a long time: At least nine were killed and half a dozen wounded in a double suicide bombing in Afghanistan's capital. Almost as alarming as the bloodshed -- at least 25 people were killed overall and dozens wounded -- was the modus operandi. It appeared that the journalists were intentionally targeted by a bomber who hid among members of the media rushing to cover the first explosion. Monday's bombing by the Islamic State group was the deadliest attack targeting reporters since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, according to Reporters Without Borders, also known by its French acronym RSF. (more)

Twin bombings in Afghanistan kill 25, including 9 reporters
30 April 2018 - Two Islamic State suicide bombers struck in Afghanistan's capital on Monday (30 April), killing 25 people, including nine journalists who had rushed to the scene of the first attack, in the deadliest assault on reporters since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. The attack was the latest in a relentless string of large-scale bombings and assaults in the capital and elsewhere in Afghanistan this year. (more)

Emergency alerts loom as drought takes hold in war-torn Afghanistan
23 April 2018 - Afghanistan faces the threat of serious drought this year after recording the lowest snowfall and rain in years over the winter, officials said on Monday (23 April), with at least 20 of 34 provinces already suffering badly. The 20 provinces in the war-torn country saw a 60 percent shortfall in rain and snowfall during the winter season. . . . snowfall in Afghanistan's last winter season was the lowest since 2002. Snowmelt is an important source of water for crops and irrigation in a country where food is scarce for many households. (more)

Sales of Afghanistan's renowned carpets unravel as war intensifies
12 April 2018 - Sales of Afghanistan's ancient carpet-weaving industry have dropped by half in the past year as war with Taliban militants heats up and neighboring Pakistan clamps down on border traffic. Prized by buyers as much for their artistry as utility, carpets are still a chief export of the impoverished nation, but their share has shrunk to six percent from 27 percent within less than a decade. (more)

IS attack on military academy in Afghan capital kills 11
29 January 2018 - Islamic State militants attacked Afghan soldiers guarding a military academy in the capital on Monday (29 January) , killing at least 11 troops and wounding 16. The attack, which began before dawn and continued well past daybreak, was the latest in a wave of relentless violence in Kabul this month unleashed by the Taliban and the rival Islamic State group that has killed scores and left hundreds wounded. (more)

Russia, Pakistan, China warn of increased Islamic State threat in Afghanistan
27 December 2016 - Russia, China, and Pakistan warned on Tuesday that the influence of Islamic State (IS) was growing in Afghanistan and that the security situation there was deteriorating. . . . Officials in Kabul and Washington have said that Russia is deepening its ties with Taliban militants fighting the government, though Moscow has denied providing aid to the insurgents. (more)

Corruption soils Afghanistan's bright blue treasure
6 June 2016 - When David Cameron described Afghanistan to the Queen as 'fantastically corrupt' over drinks at Buckingham Palace in April it was widely regarded as a gaffe. But the British Prime Minister was not wrong. Afghanistan ranks a woeful 166th out of 168 countries in Transparency International's latest assessment of graft and crooked dealing around the world. And there is no better evidence of just how deep corruption goes than the fate of one of Afghanistan's greatest treasures, the gemstone lapis lazuli. (more)

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