19 08, 2019

Today is Afghanistan’s Independence Day: 100 Years of Freedom, 40 of Them at War

2019-08-19T11:45:52-06:00August 19th, 2019|Afghanistan, General|0 Comments

Today celebrates 100 years since Afghanistan gained its independence. December will mark 40 years of violent conflict. And, if the most optimistic projections are believed, 2019 could be the first year of peace since then.

The eighth and possibly final round of talks between the United States and Taliban concluded earlier this month, with U.S. Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad tweeting, “if the Taliban do their part, we will do ours, and conclude the agreement we have been working on.” The agreement will open negotiations between Afghan parties over the country’s political future, providing a […]

28 05, 2019

In Wake of Taliban Peace Talks, Afghan Women Hope Basic Human Rights Still Theirs

2019-05-28T18:01:39-06:00May 28th, 2019|Afghanistan|4 Comments

Earlier this year the United States commenced peace negotiations with the Taliban in the hope of ending its 18-year military engagement in Afghanistan. While peace is on the table, other pressing issues are also at stake, namely the future of Afghanistan’s women.

Of utmost concern among the Afghan people is the possibility that the Taliban might regain influence in their country. Memories of life under Taliban rule are painful and, with no women invited to the negotiating table, women’s rights are especially vulnerable. The notion that Afghanistan could return to the repressive regime of the Taliban puts fear into the hearts […]

19 03, 2019

Nowruz: Celebration of Good Fortune and Springtime

2019-04-26T12:02:18-06:00March 19th, 2019|Afghanistan Culture|0 Comments

As winter begins to loosen its grip, millions of people around the world will welcome the warmer weather by celebrating the Persian New Year, Nowruz.

Nowruz was originally a Zoroastrian tradition, but it has become a part of many different cultures. Countries, like Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, even observe it as a national holiday.

Nowruz – meaning “New Day” in Persian – coincides with the vernal equinox and the onset of spring. Harvest festivals, outdoor games and dancing, and presentations of nature’s bounty are all ways that the New Year is celebrated.

Want to have […]

11 03, 2019

Advantages of Education for Kids in the Developing Country of Afghanistan

2019-03-11T10:58:33-06:00March 11th, 2019|Afghanistan|1 Comment

The education of children and women in Afghanistan is an emotional cause, with humanitarian urgency. But if you follow the numbers, it’s easy to see a ripple effect that impacts the entire nation – educating kids has advantages for the whole country.

Beginning at birth: Afghan children live longer when girls receive an education

The highest infant mortality rate in the world: for years, Afghanistan held that tragic distinction. The prevalence of conflict, widespread poverty, limited access to health services, and a lack of access to the schooling and cultural rights over decades compounded, resulting in devastating infant mortality statistics. In the […]

28 09, 2018

PART II: Crippling Drought Grips War-Torn Afghanistan

2018-09-30T14:00:44-06:00September 28th, 2018|Afghanistan|0 Comments

Last week, Alice Thomas spoke with us about the ongoing drought that has taken hold of Afghanistan. In part two of the conversation, she explains the direct impact of drought on education and migration. Hannah White (HW): What do our readers need to know about drought and education?

Alice Thomas (AT): It’s challenging enough for girls to get to school in rural Afghanistan, but in times of drought it becomes harder for them. And it becomes so much more important to have more robust funding for education to help cover families’ out-of-pocket costs in […]

23 09, 2018

Part I: Crippling Drought Grips War-Torn Afghanistan

2018-09-27T14:50:20-06:00September 23rd, 2018|Afghanistan|1 Comment

Afghanistan is in crisis. Already plagued by seemingly endless war, more than two-thirds of the country is now experiencing the effects of a crippling drought.  Some sources are calling it “the worst drought in decades”[1] and UNICEF estimates 500,000 children are affected by the disaster[2].

Alice Thomas is an expert on situations like this. In 2010, Alice joined Refugees International to launch the Climate Displacement Program, bringing with her over a decade of experience in international development and environmental law and policy. The goal of the program is to advocate for solutions to address the increasing impact […]

12 06, 2018

ISIS Attack on CAI-Supported Schools

2018-06-12T11:43:09-06:00June 12th, 2018|Afghanistan|3 Comments

We are deeply saddened to report that earlier this month ISIS militants in Afghanistan attacked two schools supported by Central Asia Institute. Fortunately, neither students nor staff were hurt in the attack, however, the main gate and adjoining portions of the boundary wall were destroyed when a bomb was detonated. CAI’s implementing partner in the region, Star of Knowledge (SKO), has made the decision for the safety of everyone involved, to temporarily suspend program activities at those locations. SKO and the community will continue to evaluate the situation and determine next steps at a later date.

Our hearts go out to […]

1 05, 2018

Photo Update: New Construction to Keep Children Safe

2018-05-07T12:02:45-06:00May 1st, 2018|Afghanistan, Pakistan, Programs, Tajikistan|7 Comments

For many in Central Asia, education takes place outdoors. Without classrooms or school buildings, students sit in chairs or on a carpet. If there is enough money, the school can buy a tent to keep rain and wind from stopping a lesson.

With little else to distinguish where a school property begins or ends, strangers can wander right onto the property or lurk at its borders. If that sounds concerning to you, it is as well for parents. Too often, that danger results in children kept at home, away from a threat of kidnapping or abuse. In conservative communities, where many […]

27 04, 2018

In Wake Of Recent Attacks On Schools, Boundary Walls Are Essential

2018-04-30T16:24:07-06:00April 27th, 2018|Afghanistan, Field Notes|8 Comments

For the last 10 years, attacks on schools by Taliban insurgents have been almost unheard of. According to a recent New York Times article, Taliban school attacks “proved so unpopular with communities that the insurgents announced that they would not be continued, even claiming to support girls’ education.”

Things changed on April 11 when insurgents struck a girls’ high school in Logar Province and set it on fire. A separate assault was conducted on a school in Nangarhar Province the following Saturday. Labs and archives were reportedly set ablaze.

Although both operations occurred at night and no students were harmed, the […]

13 12, 2017

Afghan Food Celebrates Culture and Tradition

2018-07-03T09:44:09-06:00December 13th, 2017|Afghanistan, Afghanistan Culture, Journey Of Hope|9 Comments

During this festive time of the year the sweet smell of seasonal treats and the taste of traditional holiday foods connect us with familiar memories of family and culture. Hanukkah has just begun and many people are sharing potato latkes and sufganiyot(jelly donuts) or sitting down to meals of savory Brisket. People who celebrate Christmas are enjoying traditions from many cultures including specialty cookies, cakes, and puddings that hail as much from ancestral regions as they do family tradition. In many of the countries where CAI works, food plays an important cultural role during holidays, and nowhere is this more apparent than Afghanistan.  Afghan food plays a central role in culture, gatherings, and holidays.