ï»¿ï»¿Afghanistan’s national cricket team today defeated Nepal by 7 wickets in the final match to win the 2013 ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Twenty20 Cup, which was held in Nepal. This is the the fourth time that Afghanistan has won this tournament. A total of 10 team from Asia participated in this yearâ€™s tournament. The teams were divided into 2 groups. Group A consisted of Hong Kong, Nepal, Malaysia, Maldives, and Singapore. Group B consisted of Afghanistan, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain.
After defeating Hong Kong in the semifinals, Afghanistan went up against host country Nepal in the final match of the tournament. Afghanistan won the coin toss, but chose to field, and let Nepal bat first. They kept Nepal at 135 runs. When they got up to bat, they easily reached the target with 7 wickets remaining. Afghanistan’s 22 year old Gulbadin Naib was chosen as the player of the match for scoring 43 runs (not out) in the game. The young players on the team really played a big role in ensuring victory for Afghanistan, according to the Afghan coaches. This means that the future of Afghan cricket is very bright.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has agreed to grant Afghanistan’s education ministry with $68.5 million, according to a report yesterday from Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN). Per the report, under the agreement signed in Kabul, 2,270 schools will be built in Afghanistan’s rural areas to pave the way to provide education to 555,000 Afghan children. According to Afghanistan’s Education Minister, Farooq Wardak, the ministry will also arrange clean water and print textbooks for schoolchildren.
PAN had also reported last week Â that the Ministry of Education has pledged to reconstruct buildings and boundary walls for 56 schools in central Maidan Wardark province. The ministry will also establish 2 agricultural high schools, per PAN. The cost of this project is estimated to be $400,000 and the work is scheduled to be completed this year.
CBS news report shows how the extraordinary national park in Afghanistan is changing life there for the better.
ï»¿ï»¿An inauguration ceremony was held today in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Kunar for a newly constructed building for the Syed Jamaludin Afghan University, Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) has reported. The project to build the 2-story building was funded by the Minister of Higher Education at a cost $550,000, Kunar’s provincial governor, Syed Fazlullah Wahidi, told PAN.
In other good news, PAN also reported yesterday that 2 bridges over the Harirod River were inaugurated in the Daulatyar district of Afghanistan’s western province of Ghor. The 36 and 21-meter bridges will serve thousands of families and reduce the amount of time people will need to bring their products to the local market, thus increasing economic activity. On resident told PAN that before the bridges, they had to travel dozens of kilometers towards the south to cross the river.
ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿Yesterday, the Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjou came to Afghanistan to meet with Afghanistan’s Minister of Water and Energy Mohammad Ismael Khan. The two ministers attended an inauguration ceremony on Sunday for two newly operational Iranian-made electrical turbines, as well held talks to further expand ties between the neighboring countries. The new turbines have the power generation capacities of 25 megawatts. Khan describe his meeting with his Iranian counterpart as positive and constructive. Today, the two signed an agreement in which Iran has agreed to increase power supply to Herat and Nimroz provinces. Iran currently exports 90 megawatts of electricity to Herat per hour and 10 megawatts to Nimroz. Under the agreement, the power supplied to Herat will be increased by 50 megawatts and there will be a 14 megawatts increase to Nimroz. Khan also said that Iran has agreed to export 50 to 100 megawatts of electricity to Farah province. According to Afghan media reports, a joint technical team was expected to visit the province for a survey. Besides the United States and Japan, Iran is one of the most important donors to Afghanistan towards the reconstruction of the country. Iran has built roads, power transmission lines, border stations, and is still involved in many other infrastructure projects
ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿Yesterday, the government of Japan donated 8 snow-clearing machines to Afghanistan, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) said. According to a Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) report, the machines are worth $1.6 million. The report added that 6 of the machines will be used to clear the Salang Pass of snow and the rest will be allocated to Afghanistan’s western province of Ghor.
Earlier this month, PAN reported that Japan will give Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Heath (MoPH) $13.5 million to help eradicate polio and prevent other epidemic diseases. According to the PAN report, the money will be paid in a year, and it will be spent through the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for vaccination campaigns in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s Minister of Public Heath, Dr. Suraya Dalil signed an agreement to the effect with Japanâ€™s Ambassador Hiroshi Takahashi and Peter Croly, the UNICEF chief in Afghanistan.
Japan has been one of Afghanistan’s biggest contributors towards the reconstruction and development of the country.
An Afghan official told the Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) today that nearly 240 projects benefiting 87,000 families have been completed in Afghanistan’s northern province of Takhar this year. The projects completed include such things as the graveling of 154 km of road, construction of 600 small bridges, laying of 9 km of water supply pipes, implementation of 573 potable water wells, building of 17 small power dams, 127 canals, 39 community centers, and protective walls. The projects were implemented at a cost of $1.8 million in the Farkhar, Wersj, Kalfagan, Rustaq, Chah Aab, Khwaja Ghar, Baharak and Namak Aab districts, as well as in the provincial capital, Taloqan.
In other development news, Afghanistan’s Bakhtar News Agency (BNA) reported last week that 14 new school buildings have officially been opened in Afghanistan’s northern province of Badakhshan. The BNA report stated that the schools were constructed in the Shuhada, Warduj, Baharak, Darayim, Keran wa Menjan, Nasi, Jurm, and Zebak districts. It took one year to build the school buildings. This is good news for a province in which out of the 702 schools it has, 200 do not have buildings, and the students have to study under tents.
Afghan boxer Hamid Rahimi made history today by defeating Tanzanian Said Mbelwa in the 7th round via a technical knockout (TKO) to win the vacant World Boxing Organization Intercontinental middleweight belt in Kabul. This was the first international boxing event to be held in Afghanistan in 30 years. Millions of Afghans both inside and outside the country watched the fight with lots of excitement. The match was dubbed “Fight4Peace”, and Rahimi accomplished his goal of holding a major professional boxing event in Afghanistan.
Rahimi has been telling both Afghan and foreign media that “sports is something that can bring people of all religions and all regions together.” With this win, Rahimi improves his record to 21 wins and only one loss. Mbelwa went into the fight with 19 wins, 8 losses and 4 draws. Mbelwa lost honorably and was a great sport. He even lifted up Rahimi after the match and congratulated him.
See video below.
Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported today that an international airport, a railway and a 400-bed hospital will soon be inaugurated in Afghanistan’s northern province of Balkh. Balkh’s deputy governor Mohammad Zahir Wahdat said that the airport which has been overseen by a Turkish company and is being funded by Germany and the United Arab Emirates is almost 90 percent complete. Once fully completed and utilized, the projects will significantly impact Afghanistan’s health and economy in a positive way.
In other development news, Khaama Press reported today that a major Islamic Center is going to be built in Maranjan Hill at the center of Kabul City. Afghan officials said that the center which is called “The Malik Abdullah Islamic Center” will be built on 60 acres of land. The funding for the construction project which is expected to be between $45 million to $100 million, will be provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The project is expected to begin next year and will take 3 years to complete. Besides a masjid, the center will have a major Islamic studies university, a hostel that will serve at least 5000 students, a hospital, and a sports complex. According to the report., the masjid part will have the capacity for more than 15,000 people for prayers.
A three-day nationwide wide campaign to vaccinate around 8 million children against polio in Afghanistan recently concluded. The campaign, which was led by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, had started on September 16th and included 55,000 service provides, as well as 40 volunteers who went door-to-door to administer the anti-polio vaccines to children under 5 years of age. Traveling children at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border points were also given the vaccines. Polio which is short for poliomyelitis, is a highly infectious disease that affects the nervous system and can lead to partial or full paralysis. While the disease has been virtually eliminated in most of the world, it is still prevalent in Afghanistan. According to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, 17 cases of polio were reported in Afghanistan this year. On top of the vaccines, children from 2 to 5 years of age were also given de-worming tablets to help reduce the number of worm infestations, which is also another health issue affecting children in Afghanistan.
An large iron processing and melting factory was officially opened at the industrial park, in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat, last week. Herat’s provincial governor Daud Shah Saba, Afghanistan’s Commerce and Industries Minister Anwarul Haq Ahadi, and Afghanistan’s Economic Minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal attended the inaugural ceremony held to mark the event. Officials said that the factory will help meet domestic demands for iron-made goods and provide employment opportunities for Afghans. The factory currently produces about 80 tonnes of iron on a daily basis, however, plans are underway to increase the capability to 400 tonnes per day.
In other good news, Afghanistan’s Bakhtar News Agency reported yesterday that a new large congregational masjid, that has the capacity for 7000, has been opened in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand. The masjid was built at a cost of $2,500,000. Funding for the project came from the United Arab Emirates and private donors.
New Zealand’s government announced today that they will fund the largest solar energy plant in Afghanistan. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said that they will provide 18.6 million NZ dollars ($15.05 million US) so that a solar energy system can be built in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province. Construction is expected to be completed at the end of 2013.
Once completed, the 1.05 megawatt solar plant will provide power for as many as 2,500 homes, businesses and government buildings. Two New Zealand companies, NetCon Ltd and Sustainable Energy Services International, have been awarded the contract to build the plant.