Prominent Coverage of Kabul Ibn-Sina Conference In Italian Daily

In last week’s issue, we covered the successful conference on the reconstruction of Afghanistan, organized by the Ibn Sina Research and Development Center in Kabul Nov. 6-8. An envoy of the Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano, who was at that conference, reported on it in the Nov. 19 edition. He describes the reality of the new Afghanistan in terms quite different from the biased mainstream media, focusing on the differences between the new generation of Taliban leaders, oriented to economic and social progress, and the old, traditionalist one.

Il Fatto being Italy’s seventh largest daily newspaper by distribution (paper and digital combined), the report is an important breakthrough for the Schiller Institute’s efforts to build a bridge between the new Afghan and Asian realities and the West, countering the Anglo-American push for the division of the world into blocks.

Author Stefano Citati describes the atmosphere in Kabul outside and inside the conference, writing that there were “few burkas”, but many cellphones to be seen. Furthermore, many women participated in the conference, which he views as “promising” for women’s emancipation.

“A few days ago, a conference was held in Kabul organized by the Schiller Institute and representatives of the large Afghan community in Germany, which sought to inspire the regime on the priorities, especially economic ones, that can bring the country out of isolation and enable it to lift itself out of endemic poverty. Numerous members of the government showed up with a large female following that crowded the conference hall, taking vexatious selfies with smartphones that no one is deprived of anymore…” He further notes that several members of the government talk openly, though not yet officially, about lifting the ban on female teaching.

After a long introduction on the last 50 years of Afghanistan’s history, the author reports on former UN anti-drug Czar Pino Arlacchi’s intervention at the conference, including the proposal for a donors’ conference to raise $100 million over five years to ensure that the 500,000 or so farmers can permanently replace the profitable opium fields with other crops, which met with immediate success. Another issue prominently discussed, Citati notes, was the Qosh Tepa canal, a major infrastructure in Northern Afghanistan which should be 285 km long and convert half a million hectares of desert into farmland.

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