On 29 November, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov discussed about Uzbekistan’s water management issues, the situation in Afghanistan and political reforms.
According to Ashton, the main issue of the agenda was the regional challenges in Central Asia and in particular the situation in Afghanistan. Ashton and Karimov discussed about the withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014 and the impact that could have in the region. On June 2012, Uzbekistan withdrew from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation and according to Fox, Karimov did that move to pursue a more independent and Western policy in military issues. The U.S. in January removed a ban on providing military assistance to Uzbekistan, and on 25 August, Washington launched negotiations with Tashkent, discussing the possible establishment of an Operative Reaction Center in Uzbekistan, which could accommodate warehouses storing weapons and military hardware following the U.S. forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. Continue reading →
The popular culture of this area is unique and contains many specific genres. Even though in the past many traditional forms of music culture had been adapted to religious purposes, during latter centuries they have taken on a different appearance. Today when the development of TV and radio is global, influencing daily life and transforming the original practice of local performances, music has become an enclave where features of the past and present are intertwined. Popular music conveys a number of references to previous music and its religions connections, and our task is to focus on such cases. Continue reading →
A planned new Uzbek power station could mean more electricity for Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
In November, the Uzbek state company Uzbekenergo announced plans to build a power station in the next five years in southern Surkhandarya Oblast bordering Afghanistan. The plant will supply electricity to Uzbek users as well as export energy to Afghanistan.
“The new power station will be a unique project: it is the first power station to be built from scratch in present-day Uzbekistan. Before this, energy problems have been addressed only by renovating Soviet-era power stations,” said Muzaffar Mukhitdinov, an Continue reading →
BONN – More than 1,000 delegates from around the world met in the former West German Parliament chamber December 5 to discuss the future of Afghanistan at the second historic Bonn Conference and to reaffirm support for the country’s fledgling democracy after 2014, when most international coalition forces plan to leave the country.
Live rock returned to Afghanistan after three long decades on Saturday as young men and women cheered and leapt into the air to the sound of heavy bass beats and punk rock.
Bands from Australia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan served up a six-hour musical feast of blues, indie, electronica and death metal to hundreds of fans, many of whom had never seen live music before.
Sound Central was something new in a deeply conservative Muslim country where music was banned under the austere Taliban regime. Even now music shops are attacked in some cities and musicians taunted for their clothes or hair.
The festival retained a distinctly Afghan accent, with alcohol banned, kebabs the only snacks and a respect for strong religious values amid the rock and roll. Continue reading →
When you tell people in Denmark you are going to Afghanistan for a week, you are often met with a great deal of scepticism. The media are filled with bad stories about Afghanistan. But in Mission East we know this is not the whole story: There are lots of good stories as well – stories of the many hundreds of thousands of Afghans that Mission East have helped during 10 years of carrying out projects in the remote north-eastern part of the country. When you read about the more than half million people Mission East has helped it is easy to forget that each of them represents a unique person with a unique story, and that each of them would not have had the same opportunities in life, or even be alive, were it not for the work of Mission East and our reach into remote and very difficult-to-reach villages.
Thomas Barfield will introduce the audience to the bewildering diversity of tribal and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, explaining what unites them as Afghans despite the regional, cultural, and political differences that divide them. He will show how governing these peoples was relatively easy when power was concentrated in a small dynastic elite, but how this delicate political order broke down in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when Afghanistan’s rulers mobilized rural militias to expel first the British and later the Soviets. Armed insurgency proved remarkably successful against the foreign occupiers, but it also undermined the Afghan government’s authority and rendered the country ever more difficult to govern as time passed. Barfield vividly describes how Afghanistan’s armed factions plunged the country into a civil war, giving rise to clerical rule by the Taliban and Afghanistan’s isolation from the world. He will examine why the American invasion in the wake of September 11 toppled the Taliban so quickly, and how this easy victory lulled the United States into falsely believing that a viable state could be built just as easily.
Thomas Barfield is professor of anthropology at Boston University. His books include The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China, 221 BC to AD 1757; The Central Asian Arabs of Afghanistan; and Afghanistan: An Atlas of Indigenous Domestic Architecture.
Holocaust Memorial Day
On January 24-26, 2011, Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State – Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev will arrive in Washington, DC, to meet with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other high-ranking US officials. He is also scheduled to meet with a host of US congressmen.
An Afghan peace delegation is traveling to Pakistan for talks on resolving the Afghan conflict.
The delegation headed by former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani is expected to hold talks with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and other senior officials. The discussions are expected to focus on efforts by the Afghan government to initiate negotiations with the Taliban.