UNICEF: child marriage in Afghanistan declines by 10%

The rate of child marriages in Afghanistan has declined by 10 per cent, but “more is needed to end the practice”, according to a report published by UNICEF on Sunday.

According to the joint study by UNICEF and the labour ministry in both urban and rural areas of five of the 34 Afghan provinces, 42 per cent of families have at least one member who was married before the age of 18, although the figure varies widely from region to region.

“This study is unique, it not only builds on previous studies, but looks at child marriage in Afghanistan from various angles, providing hence a comprehensive picture of this practice,” Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled Faizullah Zaki said.

The report findings showed that the security situation, poverty, deeply embedded beliefs and social norms put Afghan girls at a disadvantage.

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Nancy Dupree, a well-known American scholar on Afghanistan, dies aged 90

Nancy Hatch Dupree, a well-known American scholar on Afghanistan, has passed away at the age of 90 in Kabul.

Nancy first arrived in Afghanistan in the 1962 and has worked tirelessly to document the cultural heritage of the country.

An internationally recognized expert on the history, art, and archaeology of Afghanistan, Nancy has written 5 guidebooks for Afghanistan Tourist Organization, the guide to the National Museum and over 250 pieces on topics including the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

In 2007, she founded the Dupree Foundation to promote charitable, education and scientific endeavours among Afghans.

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Scholars Adamant That No Group Will Divide Afghan Shia And Sunnis

Prominent Shia and Sunni scholars on Wednesday said that no force, no country and no group will be able to sow the seeds of sectarianism among the people of Afghanistan.

The leading scholars, both Sunni and Shia, came together at a meeting in Kabul to discuss the issue.

They said that Shia and Sunni Muslims have lived peacefully together throughout Afghanistan’s history.

They called on the Afghan government to step up efforts to tackle the enemies who are working to destroy national unity.

The statement comes a few days after four suicide attackers linked to Daesh launched a deadly attack on a mosque in Kabul killing over 30 worshipers and wounding dozens more.

The scholars slammed these suicide attacks and said they were against Islamic principles and human values.

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Winter Music Festival Launched In Kabul

The National Music Institute on Wednesday launched its seventh winter music festival where students and musicians from around the country will be trained for eight weeks in preparation for concerts.

“The National Music Institute has a good criterion; at least 50 percent of its students are street children,” said Rahil Mohammad Formuli, deputy head of vocational studies at Ministry of Education.

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Afghan actress wins Marrakech International Film Festival award

An Afghan actress has won the Award for the best performance by an actress in Marrakech International Film Festival, it has been reported.

The award was given to Fereshteh Hosseini during the 16th Marrakech International Film Festival on Saturday.

The 19-year-old Fereshteh appeared in ‘Parting’ movie jointly produced by the Afghan and Iranian filmmakers.

Directed by Navid Mahmoudi, the film is based on the story of two young Afghans, Fereshteh (played by Hosseini) and Nabi, who are in love, according to Financial Tribune.

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European kayakers visit Panjshir province for the first time

A group of European kayakers have for the first time visited the northern Panjshir province of Afghanistan defying the threats amid ongoing violence in the country.

The kayakers who are search of the best white water have said Panjshir River offers some of the best kayaking in the world.

A Scot kayaker Callum Strong has told The Associated Press “It’s extreme geography that attracts extreme sportsmen, not the fact that the place is at war.”

Strong visited Panjshir together with his three friends Brit Joe Rea-Dickins, Scot James Smith and Austrian Kristof Stursa — are also recent graduates in their early 20s and amateur kayakers who met through their love of the sport.

“Before I came here, I was worried as the only news you hear from Afghanistan is bad news,” Strong said. “But I believe most places you go in the world, most people are good — and the river here looked very good, so we wanted to come.”

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Noor writes to UN regarding attempts by Turkey, Iran about Rumi’s masterpiece

The acting provincial governor of northern Balkh province Ata Mohammad Noor has written a letter to the Afghan Permanent Representative to the United Nations regarding attempts by Iran and Turkey about Rumi’s masterpiece inclusion as intellectual heritage of the two countries in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“There are reports that, in an imperious manner, Masnavi-ye Manavi the timeless masterpiece of poet laureate Mowlana Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi is proposed to be listed as the intellectual heritage of Turkey and Iran in Memory of the World Register of UNESCO,” the letter by Noor said.

It also added “Since Mowlana’s birth in Balkh and upbringing in Wakhsh, Larende and Konya under the watch of his great father Balkh’s eminent scholar Bahauddin Walad, he is the pride and a symbol of convergence for this expansive region”.

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Afghan Professor living overseas spends $125,000 to build library, conference hall in Nangarhar University

A patriot Afghan national who lives in a foreign country but still holds love for his country has spent $125,000 of his ‘hardly-earned’ money to build a library and conference hall for students of Medical Faculty in Nangarhar University.

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Mausoleum of King Amanullah Khan to be reconstructed

The mausoleum of King Amanullah Khan who fought with world’s biggest empire and acquired independence for Afghanistan would be reconstructed in near future.

A delegation of the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs and Housing comprised of Minister Sayed Sadat Mansour Naderi, Deputy Minister for Construction Affairs Amiruddin Salik and other high ranking officials arrived in Jalalabad on Thursday for a technical survey of the mausoleum.

In a meeting with Saleem Khan Kundozi, Governor of Nangarhar province, the delegation said that a budget would be allocated for the project and its reconstruction would begin after the technical survey.

The orders of reconstructing mausoleum of the acquirer of independence for Afghanistan were given by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani during his recent visit to Jalalabad.

Who was King Amanullah Khan?

96 years ago Afghan nation led by King Amanullah Khan upraised and fought with the world’s biggest empire and acquired independence for Afghanistan.

Amanullah Khan was the third son of Amir Habibullah Khan who rose to power after his father was assassinated on 20 February 1919 in Laghman province of eastern Afghanistan.

Amir Amanullah Khan was the governor of Kabul, controller of the army and treasury during the kingdom of his father.

But after the assassination of his father he organized a gathering of Afghans in front of Kabul’s grand mosque and said: “As I am putting on the crown on my head, I am announcing the complete independence of my country and urge you to accompany me in this admirable journey.”

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Alternative Visions of Syria’s Future: Russian and Iranian Proposals for National Resolution

(Presented at the European Parliament on November 12, 2015)

Russia

Russia’s immediate goal, in simplest terms, is to end the fighting and return stability to Syria. The Kremlin has made it clear that: it considers president Assad’s government legitimate; considers Russian intervention legal because made at the request of the Assad government; and — importantly — that it does not consider extremist elements limited to IS but that they are fluid groups of fighters operating under different banners often receiving financing and training under the guise of moderate opposition and then bringing those resources to IS, the Al-Nusra Front, Al Qaeda and any number of other radical military forces. This does not mean that Russia is not willing to engage genuine moderate Syrian opposition. As a matter of fact, Russia has been engaging the Syrian opposition, whose representatives — along with those of the Syrian government — have come to Moscow for talks time and again throughout the civil war. I myself have met with them. Russia has also engaged the moderate Syrian opposition in the Geneva conferences and other international talks.

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