Construction work on a bridge started yesterday in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province, according to the Bakhtar News Agency (BNA). According to the BNA report, the new bridge, which is expected to be 12 meters long and 4 meters wide, will be built in the Qandahari village of Pul-e-Khomri city. It should be completed in 9 months, BNA reported. With this new bridge, transportation problems faced by the residents of Qandahari village as well as other neighboring villages will be resolved.
In other good news, the residents of central Bamiyan province are celebrating as construction has been completed on three new school buildings. According to the Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN), the construction of the school buildings were funded by the government of Japan. An education official told PAN that one of the schools has eight classrooms and four administrative rooms, one has eight classrooms and eight administrative rooms, and one has 12 classrooms and eight administrative rooms. A student told PAN, “We are happy to have a proper building now. Earlier, we used to study in the open”.
Residents and officials from Afghanistan’s northern province of Kunduz told the Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) today that Malaria has been completely eliminated in the province. PAN reported that over the past 6 months, no positive cases have surfaced. Â Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is caused by a parasite, and it is a major public health problem in Afghanistan as it threatens the health of millions of people. Afghanistan is prone to malaria due to its climate, poor waste management, and other environmental factors. Residents told PAN that the cases of malaria in Kunduz dropped due to mosquito nets distribution and awareness programs.
In other health news, Afghanistan’s Bakhtar News Agency reported yesterday that a polio vaccination program has started in eastern Nangarhar province. The 3-day program is expected to vaccinate thousands of children under 5 years of age. Polio is a highly contagious viral infection that can lead to paralysis and/or even death. While the disease has been eradicated in the western world, it’s still an issue in Afghanistan mostly due to its importation from neighboring Pakistan.
Afghanistan defeated Nepal today to win the 2014 ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Premier League tournament. The 50 overs, round-robin event had started on May 1st in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and involved 7 teams: Host country Malaysia, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Nepal, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In the Nepal vs. Afghanistan final match, Nepal won the coin toss but chose to field first. Afghanistan scored a total of 262 runs in 49.3 overs. Both Usman Ghani and Hashmatullah Shaidi each scored 51 runs for Afghanistan. Interestingly enough, Ghani had been scoring well throughout the whole tournament, and was even given the “Batsman of the Tournament” award. When Nepal came up to bat, they managed to score only 128 runs, and lost 9 wickets. Afghanistan ended up winning the match by 108 runs (Duckworthâ€“Lewis method).
Afghanistan lost only lost one match in the whole tournament, and that was to host country Malaysia, which finished last in the tournament. Afghanistan finished with the best record, 4 wins, 1 loss, and a total of 8 points. Both Nepal and Afghanistan will now move on to the Asian Cricket Council Championship, scheduled later this year.
ï»¿ï»¿At least 80,000 women in Afghanistan’s north-eastern province of Badakhshan were provided with vocational training, according to a report yesterday from Afghanistan’s Bakhtar News Agency (BNA). The women were provided with formal training on such fields as livestock raising, handicraft, and raising honey bees. The goal of the education project was to help make the women in this area more economically independent and improve their standard of living.
In other education news, BNA also reported that a new building for the Hazrat Abuzar Ghafari Primary School was inaugurated in northern Takhar province a few days ago. According to the BNA report, the new building has 8 classrooms and four administrative rooms. The school was built at a cost of $261,000, and was funded by the German government.
Last night, in a star-studded event held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Afghanistan’s national cricket won the Laureus “Spirit of Sport” award. The Laureus World Sports Awards are viewed by many as sort of the “Oscars of sports”. It is held annually to celebrate the greatest achievements in the world of sports. Afghanistan’s national cricket team was given the award this year for their swift rise in the world of cricket. In the past 12 years, the Afghan team went from almost nothing to being a major player in international cricket. So far, the team has qualified for the one-day World Cup, as well as for 2 successive World T20s. A Laureus press release stated that “Afghanistan’s success on the pitch has, indeed, captured the imagination of the whole cricketing world”.
The award was officially accepted by the CEO of Afghanistan’s Cricket Board (ACB), Noor Mohammad Murad. Murad said that, “We are very proud to receive the Spirit of Sport Award, it recognizes the hard work of players, officials and administrators over the past 12 years in building cricket in our country.” He added that “Cricket is more than a game in Afghanistan. It is a tool which is making an impact in the development of peace, unity and development.”
ï»¿Â Afghanistan’s U19 (Under 19) cricket team officially entered the quarter-finals of the ICC (International Cricket Council) U19 World Cup after defeating Namibia by 4 wickets yesterday in Abu Dhabi. The U19 World Cup tournament consists of 16 teams, divided into 4 groups: A,B, C and D. Afghanistan is in Group B with Australia, Bangladesh, and Namibia. Australia and Afghanistan were the top 2 teams in Group B, and so both will progress to the Super League quarter-finals. Previously, Afghanistan also defeated Australia by 36 runs on February 17th. Their only loss so far came at the hands of Bangladesh, which was by 10 wickets. However, Afghanistan will move on to the quarter-finals instead of Bangladesh, as Afghanistan ended up with a higher Net Run Rate than Bangladesh, after they lost to Australia.
The success of the young Afghan team so far has proven that the future of Afghan cricket is very strong. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the world. In fact, Afghanistan was awarded 2 awards by the ICC recently. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) won the 2013 “Best Overall Cricket Development Programme” award and the “Best Junior Participation Initiative” award. The awards recognized the country’s efforts in developing the sport of cricket at all levels. Afghanistan has even introduced the sport into the school curriculum. The activities of the ACB has shown to be very successful as the Afghan cricket teams, both the national and younger teams, have done very well in international competitions.
Construction work on a cricket stadium in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Khost officially started today, according to a report from Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN). The new stadium, which will have the capacity for 30,000 spectators, will be financed by the government of Germany at a cost of $1.3 million, according to the PAN report. The work is expected to be completed in two years. Ever since the fall of the Taliban, and mostly due to the success of Afghanistan’s national cricket team in international competitions, the sport of cricket has grown to become very popular in the country, particularly in the east and south. An official told PAN that the hope is that this new stadium will produce more cricket players for the country. The foundation stone for the stadium project was laid by Khost’s provincial governor, Abdul Jabar Naeemi.
In other development news, Tolo news reported today that according to Kabul’s mayor (Muhammad Younus Nawandesh), over 2000 streets in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul will be paved this coming year, thanks to the implementation of 26 new road projects. “According to Nawandesh, with the start of the [Afghan] new year, roads from the Polytechnic University to Mirwais Maidan, from Parwan Sewom to Sesad-o-Panzda, from Kartse to Shaheed Square and from Karte Chahar Square to Karte Sakhi will be reconstructed.” Furthermore, Tolo news quoted the mayor as saying that “roads from Tank Tel Logal will be extended to Chehl Dokhtaran, a special road will be built named Metro Bus for city buses, which will go through tunnels that will connect Karte Sakhi with Karte Ariana, and Sultan Mahmood Road will connect Airport Square to Pol Charkhi road”.
AÂ museum and cultural center will be built in Afghanistan’s central province of Bamiyan, officials announced today in Kabul. The museum will be built on land that will be provided by the Afghan government, and the $5.4 million funding for the construction project will come from the South Korean government. A funding agreement was signed today in Kabul between South Korea’s ambassador to Afghanistan, a representatives from the United Nations, and Sayed Makdhoum Raheen, Afghanistan’s Minister of Information and Culture.
According to officials, the museum will provide a modern space for showcasing archaeological and ethnographic artefacts. The goal of the project is that the museum will have a role in educating Afghanistan’s new generation on their own history, and even attracting international tourists and visitors to Afghanistan.
ï»¿Afghanistan’s Pajhwok Afghan News reported today that a middle school for boys that was closed for 8 years due to insecurity has been reopened. The school is in the Zheri district of Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province.
An education official told Pajhwok Afghan News that the school was made operational 10 years but had to close just two years later because of fighting in the area that caused considerable damage to the building. On the day the school was reopened, 150 students showed up ready to learn. Officials hope that the numbers will increase in time.
ï»¿Afghanistan has become more business-friendly, according to a 316-page report released yesterday jointly by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Two years ago, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoIC) implemented the Afghanistan Business Licensing Reform project with the aim of reducing administrative burdens and opportunities for corruption. The efforts of the ministry was recognized in the recently released report.
The report, which is titled, “Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises” states that “Afghanistan made starting a business easier by reducing the time and cost to obtain a business license and by eliminating the inspection of the premises of newly-registered companies”. With the newly implemented licensing system in Afghanistan, it only takes 2 days, instead of 30 days to obtain a business license. The report also states that Afghanistan strengthened its secured transactions system by implementing a unified collateral registry for movable property.
Afghanistan won the coin toss but chose to field first. Kenya scored 93 runs. Afghanistan easily reached the target in 20.5 overs, thanks to excellent batting from Mohammad Nabi who hit 46 runs (not out).
With this historical win, Afghanistan for the first time in history has secured a spot in the 2015 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Afghanistan will be grouped in Pool A at the World Cup, amongst cricket power houses like Australia and England.
This makes it now 2 months in a row where Afghan sports has shined. Last month, the national football (soccer) team defeated India to win the 2013 South Asian Football Federation Cup – the country’s first international trophy in the sport.