As Turkmenistan celebrates a recent Guinness World Record award for the highest density of white marble buildings, Caravanistan writes about the “weird, sad, and revealing” world records held by other countries of Central Asia.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Afghanistan
Ahmad Shuja, an Afghan blogger and political commentator based in US, shares his observations on how today's Afghanistan is different from what it used to be under Taliban rule:
Afghans and some foreign observers claim that Afghanistan is a vastly different country now than it was under the Taliban. Few of these observers can tangibly explain exactly what they mean by this change apart from pointing to the number of students in school, the proliferation of TV channels and the improved road networks… [I]t’s the evolution in thinking and expectations that has made Afghanistan such a different place now than it was a mere 10 years ago.
On The Peace Cycle, Omid Bidar writes about a 16-year-old Afghan girl who was raped and murdered by a local strongman in the country's Bamyan Province. “We have forgotten many such stories… [We] will add this [one] to the forgotten list too,” suggests the blogger bitterly. According to one estimate, there were about 1,000 cases of violence against women, including 52 murders, in the past four months in Afghanistan.
In a recent op-ed piece in the Washington Post, American scholar Michael O’Hanlon (who also advises the CIA) argued that the US should pick the next president of Afghanistan. Ahmad Shuja, an Afghan blogger and political commentator based in US, calls this proposal “a terrible, terrible idea” and a “dangerous option that displays a naive understanding of Afghan politics”. Shuja also recommends a list of alternative options that the US should pursue “instead of installing another dictator-president” in Afghanistan.
Following our recent report on a string of attacks targeting female students at schools in Afghanistan, there have been three new attacks over the last three days in the country's north. About 300 girls have been poisoned. Commenting on the latest attack, Brazilian journalist Maria Stella Soares writes on Twitter: “Ignorance and brutality: Ninety students are poisoned at school in Afghanistan to discourage female enrollment”.
Ahmad Shuja, an Afghan blogger and political commentator based in US, has put together a list of 15 must-follow Twitter feeds by Afghan women leaders. Shuja explains: “I thought I’d try and share with the world the wonderful work Afghan women do everyday, often in extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances”.
The Presurfer shares a small video documentary of one of the only two remaining Afghan box photographers left in Kabul, and how he takes pictures and processes them inside a small black box.
Basir Ahang from the Afghan PenLog blog tells about a a demonstration of hundreds of the Bamiyan region residents, who rallied against injustice and discrimination in their province.
Nick Fielding writes that funds appear to be getting tight for the Taliban, whose Financial Commission has issued a plea for funds on the organisation's website – backed by the threat of Hellfire.
Nick Fielding writes that investigation into the February 2010 tragedy, when 23 Afghans travelling in three vehicles in Uruzgan province were attacked and killed by US helicopters, is over.
Mohammad Amin Wahidi writes about a women group called RAWA in Afghanistan that is reportedly miusing the funds of international donors, while operating as the Taliban's aide in promotion of fundamentalism and ethnic discrimination.
Joshua Foust reviews media reactions and provides his own comments regarding the massacre on Sunday of 16 innocent Afghans — 9 of them children.
Nick Fielding digged out an amazing story about the US Army offering a $10,000 reward for any information as to the whereabouts of two SUVs equipped with classified technology used to jam roadside bombs that had been stolen from a military base in Kabul.
Nick Fielding writes that the most complete database of prominent Afghans and Afghan political groupings can be found on a site called Who is Who in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: Internal displacement risingInternal displacement rising in Afghanistan Internal displacement rising in Afghanistan Internal displacement rising in Afghanistan
Nick Fielding says more than 100,000 forced to leave their homes between January and June last year due to the spreading conflict in Afghanistan.
Nick Fielding reports that, according to figures from the United Nations – in contrast to the figures issued by the US military – the number of Afghan civilians killed and injured rose for the fifth consecutive year in a row.