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18 Sep 2017 description

Everybody will end up losing if hate speech is left unchecked.

By Alan Davis

While religious nationalists in Myanmar have proved highly adept at understanding and exploiting the power of social media, they seem oblivious to Newton’s Third Law of Motion. The principle that for every action there is a reaction may not be well known to a group that ranks astrology above science or logic.

08 Jun 2017 description

Statistics showing rising numbers of female officials do not tell the whole story.

By Mina Habib

Maliha (not her real name) works in the press office of an Afghan government ministry. She told IWPR that although one of her responsibilities was to issue invitations to press conferences and briefings, her boss simply did not allow her the authority to do her job.

28 Apr 2017 description

Increased fighting and an ongoing economic downturn are leaving many at risk of serious health problems.

By Mohammad Ibrahim Spesalai

Rising numbers of children in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar are suffering from malnutrition, according to local health officials, with more than 36,000 in need of assistance.

18 Apr 2017 description

Groundbreaking project showcases women’s achievements in a male-dominated industry.

By Salma Rasad

The ruins of Kabul’s once grand Darulaman Palace, devastated by decades of war, have long been an iconic sight in the capital. An ambitious Afghan-led 16 million US dollar reconstruction project agreed in May 2016 aims to both restore the palace built by King Amanullah Khan in the 1920s and turn it into a symbol of regeneration rather than conflict.

18 Apr 2017 description

Diplomatic efforts have stalled with little progress in sight

A year after the worst clashes between Azerbaijani forces and the Armenian-backed Karabakh army since the 1994 ceasefire, regional experts warn that any future outbreak of violence is likely to be even deadlier.

More than a dozen civilians living on the frontline were killed and many more injured after fighting broke out between in the early hours of April 2, 2016.

(See also Frontline Residents Count Cost of War.

06 Apr 2017 description

Underage workers routinely endure hot, dusty and dangerous conditions.

By Yaqub Azorda

Shir Ahmad, 12, spends all day working in the pitch darkness of a coalmine in the Dara-e Suf district of northern Samangan province.

His face black with dust, he said he spent his time loading a donkey with coal to then transport to the surface.

The work was dangerous, Ahmad explained, continuing, "Once a big piece of coal fell on my head and I was in bed for ten days."

06 Apr 2017 description

Disabled people say they face social prejudice and government inaction.

By Farid Tanha

Fazluddin, a tall, thin 25-year-old who lives in Dolana, central Parwan, has a whole household to support on nothing more than disability stipends.

He himself lost his right eye and suffered multiple injuries aged just two when the family was caught in a Taleban bombardment. His mother, who now lives with him, lost her right arm in the same attack.

23 Mar 2017 description

The consequences of early marriage often ruin girls’ lives.

By Sohaila Ahmadi

Bibi Asma was in her cradle when her father promised her in marriage to a boy just a few years older than her.

When she was 15, her fiancé came back from Iran where he had been working to visit her at her home in Lafra, a part of Firoz Koh city in Ghor province.

Bibi Asma said that the boy's family had provided her father with a bride price of some sheep and a cow, worth about 100,000 afghanis (1,500 US dollars).

02 Mar 2017 description

Activists warn of flourishing trade in male prostitution and “bacha bazi” or boy play.

By Qayum Babak

The majestic blue-tiled Hazrat e-Ali mosque complex in the centre of Mazar e-Sharif serves as a recreational space as well as a place of worship for many of the city’s residents.

But Ahmad Javed, (not his real name), lounging on a chair near the public toilets, was there for business.

The 15-year-old was waiting for customers looking for sex at the shrine, revered as the burial place of Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad.

27 Feb 2017 description

A lack of security in districts means that boys and girls can simply not learn.

Civil society activists are warning that the state school system in the southern province of Kandahar is in chaos, with some 50,000 children completely deprived of access to education.

Mohibulah Qadiri, director of Kandahar’s education department, told IWPR, “Kandahar has 573 schools and 420 of these schools are currently active. But the remaining 153 are not functioning.”

27 Feb 2017 description

Impoverished parents and organised gangs routinely exploit children for profit.

By Ozra Aziz

Farishta lay on the ground by a busy road junction in the centre of Herat city, begging alongside two boys the 40-year-old said were her grandsons.

The young children, dressed in flimsy clothes despite the wintry weather, seemed drowsy and unable to feel the cold.

“I give them sleeping pills every morning,” Farishta told IWPR. She said that she used to beg on the streets alone, but only managed to earn a pittance.

14 Feb 2017 description

Project focuses on solving long-standing distribution problems.

By Nisrine al-Ahmad

Locals in Kafr Nabel have high hopes of a revived water pumping scheme which aims to solve ongoing shortages in many liberated areas.

A project to solve this crisis was first launched in June 2014 by the Union of Revolutionary Bureaus in the western countryside of Maarrat al-Nu’man.

It drilled five wells, equipped two of them with machinery and linked them to the main network providing water to Kafr Nabl and its surroundings.

13 Feb 2017 description

Gender violence, poverty and associated social problems fuels widespread mental health problems.

By Sudabah Ehrari

The razor scars on 18-year-old Leila’s hands and neck bear witness to her past attempts at suicide. The Herat teenager told IWPR that she had become deeply depressed after her marriage to a 45-year-old man.

10 Feb 2017 description

An influx of former refugees returning from Pakistan has put intense pressure on services.

By Fahimullah

When Qareeb-ul-Rahman returned to Afghanistan after years living in the Akora Khatak area of Pakistan, his primary concern was how his six children would be able to continue their education.

Like many other recent returnees from Pakistan, he settled in Jalalabad, the provincial capital of the neighbouring province of Nangarhar.

06 Feb 2017 description

Event hears how social development has suffered as a result.

By Mosa Khan Zabuli

Conservative traditions are holding back progress in Afghanistan’s southeastern province of Zabul, according to speakers at an IWPR-organised debate.

The event, held in the provincial capital of Qalat city on January 23, 2017, heard that human rights and gender equality were particularly affected by such practices.

27 Jan 2017 description

Relatives of both of state security operatives and insurgents say they are subject to harassment from the other side.

By Farid Tanha

Gul Khanim, 30, was forced to leave her home in Parwan province’s Shinwari district after the Taleban killed her husband four years ago.

Now living in the Ashaba valley of Jabal us Saraj district, she is spending the freezing winter months living in a threadbare tent with her five children.

24 Jan 2017 description

Whole families live and work in brick factories, struggling to pay off impossible debts.

By Mahfooz ul-Haq

Sajid, 13, has been working in a brick-making plant ever since he was taken out of school three years ago.

He spends 12 hours a day heaving a handcart full of earth from one place to another. His father and four siblings, the youngest of them only six years old, work alongside him soaking, shaping and drying the bricks.

18 Jan 2017 description

Campaigners hail progress in efforts to end ancient practice.

By Suhaila Ahmadi

When families in some parts of Afghanistan fall out over serious matters, one way of avoiding an escalating blood feud is for the offending party to hand over a woman to the other side.

Known as “baad”, the custom involves an arranged marriage between the woman and someone from the injured family.

17 Jan 2017 description

Penal code allows men to claim extenuating circumstances in cases of so-called honour killings.

By Zarghona Salihi

Campaigners are calling for the Afghan government to follow through on promises to change parts of Afghanistan’s penal code that they argue actually serves to legimitise violence against women.

13 Jan 2017 description

Debate hears of “staggering” amount of damage caused to the system.

By Mohammad Hamid Hashimi

Children are being denied access to education in the central Afghanistan province of Maidan Wardak by a combination of conflict, poverty and conservative tradition, according to speakers at an IWPR event in the provincial capital Maidan Shahr.

Around 100 local people had the chance to question education officials and activists at the debate, held at Tabish private university on December 31.