Obama's Cairo Speech: Afghans React during Live Call-In Show
June 4 -- For two hours, Afghans weighed in on Barak Obama's speech in Egypt on Radio Azadi's program, On the Waves of Liberty. Most listeners agreed with the in-studio analysts that the speech was well received in the Muslim world. [listen to the program in Dari or Pashto; read a transcript of the speech in Dari or Pashto; read about reaction in Afghan's rural areas in Dari and in English].
RFE/RL Talks With U.S. General David Petraeus
May 24 -- The commander of U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus, gave an exclusive and wide-ranging interview to RFE/RL about Guantanamo and "enhanced interrogation techniques," the looming deadline in Iraq, and combating militant Islamist extremists. Gen. Petraeus also fielded questions about successes and setbacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region, and highlighted the need for international forces to keep Afghan civilian casualties "to an absolute minimum." [watch the interview; see a summary; read the full transcript]
Coming to Kabul: Traffic Lights
June 3 -- For decades, Kabul has been without traffic lights. Now that the city has access to electricity 24 hours a day, officials are planning to install traffic signals. But will the new signals help to solve traffic congestion issues, if drivers do not know the meaning or significance of red, green, and yellow lights [read in Dari]? Radio Azadi also looked at the end of Kabul's longstanding electricity shortages, which have come to an end thanks to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and neighboring Uzbekistan [read in English].
U.S., UN Urge Crackdown on Afghan Drug Lords, Corrupt Officials
May 28 -- From the Pentagon to the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime, there appears to be growing recognition that Afghanistan's counternarcotics strategy is failing. Military and civilian officials admit they have focused too much on destroying opium fields without offering enough support to Afghan farmers who switch to legal crops. They say it is time to crack down on the handful of powerful drug lords who have made Afghanistan the source for 90 percent of the world's illegal opium, spreading instability along the way [read in English]. Radio Azadi also aired an interview with World Bank advisor William Byrd, an expert on the impact of illegal drug production on Afghanistan's economy. [read in English]
AfghanUniversity Graduates First Female Business Students
May 20 -- Afghanistan's first and only private university graduated its first class of female business students. Sixty women received their diplomas from Kabul's American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). Ubaid Adnan Nejati, head of AUAF's business school, told Radio Azadi that his institution is proud to give women the opportunity to promote free enterprise. One female student, Malalay, said she plans to apply her information technology degree to marketing and development.
Rising Number of Prisoners, Lack of Prisons Causing Problems
May 28 -- Afghan officials told Radio Azadi that the number of prisoners is increasing, despite the lack of space to hold them. [read in Dari]
Afghan-Turkmen Women Exhibit Crafts in Kabul
June 4 -- An exhibition of handicrafts produced by Afghan-Turkmen women opened in Kabul, in an effort to open international markets to the goods. [read in Dari]