What do the U.S., Argentina, Afghanistan, and Myanmar have in common? This summer, two opportunities enabled me to explore this question from my perspective as an American violinist who recently moved to Argentina from Afghanistan.
In the months leading up to the first round of presidential elections April 5, and again now in the run-up to the runoff vote, tens of thousands of Afghans have been meeting up in schools, police stations, homes, public parks, women’s prisons, shelters and other communal spaces in villages throughout the country to watch and participate in these mobile theater performances. They're aimed at encouraging Afghans to believe in the power of their vote — in the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan after 30 years of war — and to stand up to the Taliban.
India shares traditionally warm ties with Afghanistan. After shunning Afghanistan during the Taliban regime, India become a friend and a strategic partner to the Afghan government. Indian culture, including Bollywood, as its film industry is known, is hugely popular in Afghanistan and India sees an opportunity to win economic influence, boost security, and gain a trade link to Central Asia through Afghanistan.
A deal struck with Taliban militants in Afghanistan to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only remaining U.S. prisoner of war, could revive efforts to broker peace talks between the insurgency and the Afghan government, officials in Kabul said.
The Afghan people have an opportunity now to build on the progress that's been made, to achieve a more secure, more prosperous, and more peaceful future. President Obama has made it clear that as they do, the United States will stand with them.
Decades of war have had a huge impact on biodiversity and agriculture in Afghanistan. Efforts are on to tap farming knowledge and preserve ancient crop varieties that are key to securing the world's food supply.
The conference, “Sharing Experiences and Developing Regional Hazard and Risk Picture for Joint Action Plan,” comprised of five thematic sessions during which participants gathered to develop a regional risk picture for informed and resilient development planning through disaster risk reduction mainstreaming for contingency planning. The event, organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), was attended by representatives from Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.