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‘Digital Silk Road’ on track as Afghanistan and Turkmenistan connect 

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2021)

Thursday marked another milestone in Afghanistan’s modern history when President Ashraf Ghani inaugurated the new fiber optic connection between Turkmenistan and the commercial port of Aqina in Afghanistan’s Faryab province.

Within four months of having signed the memorandum of understanding with government the Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) had successfully completed the task of connecting the two neighboring countries. 

In a virtual address at the launch, Dr Ehsan Bayat, the founder and chairman of AWCC, said he was “delighted” to celebrate the company’s success in connecting Afghanistan with its friends in Turkmenistan – especially given the past year that has involved unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, which also impacted people’s ability to connect with each other across the globe. 

“When Afghan Wireless embarked on the journey to build Afghanistan’s largest nationwide fiber network, we did so with the goal of realizing President Ghani’s vision to transform the country into a hub of digital data connectivity for Central Asia. 

“Today marks an important milestone in the building of a digital silk road across the region with Afghanistan at its center; a road that will connect millions of Afghans to the digital economy.

He said the latest optical fiber connection, between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, is the country’s fifth and sixth international border connections. Others include Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan. 

“From Mazar to Jalalabad, and from Kabul to Kandahar to Kunduz, communities across the country are benefiting from high-speed connectivity. And now our connection to Turkmenistan through Torghundi and Aqina will enable Herat and western cities to become Afghanistan’s next major bridge for digital transformation,” he said.

However, Bayat stated that the impact of AWCC’s project should not be measured in kilometers of fiber laid, or megabytes of data transmitted, or even money invested but instead, it should be measured by the industries revitalized, the local businesses boosted, the jobs created, the pace of economic development and the enhancement to critical services in health, education, commerce and finance.

“This project could not be delivered without Afghanistan and Turkmenistan working together. 

“Afghan Wireless’ optical fiber connection between the two countries that we are celebrating today is a powerful testament that when we work hand in hand with our neighbors, not only do we strengthen our countries individually, but we also strengthen our region together,” he said.

The Turkmenistan to Aqina cable has the capacity to transfer 2,500 megabits of the Internet and can therefore provide high quality and cheap Internet to Faryab province.

According to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, a fiber-optic network is the result of the rapid development of telecommunications and information technology, which has become an integral part of modern life.

The ministry states that along with the progression of technology and innovation, the shape and quality of tools have also changed to a great extent.

At the beginning of the invention of the telephone, copper cables were used to transmit information and sound, but today, with the advancement of technology and increasing human needs, these cables have been replaced by a new generation of signal conductors or fiber optics.

Because of the need for fast and cheap digital connectivity in the country, Government has already connected a total of 25 provinces in the country with the national fiber-optic network.

Business

A company will invest $27.5 million in ruby mining on the outskirts of Kabul

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(Last Updated On: February 23, 2024)

The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum on Friday announced that Ariana Highland Company will invest $27.5 million in the extraction of Jegdalek ruby mine on the outskirts of Kabul.

In a statement, the ministry said that the bidding ceremony for the mine was held again with the participation of Ariana Highland and Mirza Sultani companies, adding that the former won it by accepting 44 percent share for the Islamic Emirate.

Based on the statement, Ariana Highland Company will spend $5 million in the social services.

Jegdalek ruby deposit is located 100 km from Kabul city, in the southwest of Surobi district, and it covers 6.9 square kilometers.

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MoU signed for start of Trans-Afghan railway feasibility studies

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(Last Updated On: February 20, 2024)

The Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA) announced on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed for feasibility studies on the Trans-Afghan railway project.

ARA said that the head of the organization, Bakhtur Rahman Sharafat, signed the MoU during his visit to Uzbekistan on Monday. The MoU was signed between Uzbek and UAE officials and Afghanistan.

ARA said once the feasibility study has been completed, results will be shared with various stakeholders including financial institutions, countries and businessmen from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

Officials attending Monday’s meeting also decided a virtual meeting would be held on Wednesday with Qatari and Pakistani officials.

The Trans-Afghan railway once completed will connect Central Asia with South Asia.

Starting in Balkh’s Mazar-e-Sharif, the 647km line will pass through Samangan, Baghlan, Bamiyan, Maidan Wardak, Logar and Paktia provinces and on to Pakistan.

This project has been under discussion for many years. After regaining power, the Islamic Emirate approved the initial survey which was successfully completed by the technical teams of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan Railways.

ARA has meanwhile said it once again invites countries, financial organizations and businessmen to invest in Afghanistan railway projects.

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Import, export volumes total $7.5 billion in 1st nine months of this solar year

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(Last Updated On: February 19, 2024)

Afghanistan’s export and import volumes totaled $7.5 billion in the first nine months of this solar year – 1402, the National Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA) said on Monday.

NSIA said exports totaled $1.35 billion while imports amounted to $6.22 billion.

Last solar year, 1401, saw exports total $1.37 billion while imports totalled $5.12 billion.

NSIA said most exports went to Pakistan ($689.9 million), followed by India ($463 million) and the UAE ($32 million).

The most popular export item was dried fruit, which totaled $342.7 million. Medicinal plants, minerals and fresh fruit were second, third and fourth respectively.

The authority stated that the most imported items in the first nine months of this solar year came from Iran and totaled $1.31 billion.

Goods from Pakistan followed totaling $1.15 billion and then China with goods worth $1.14 billion.

Imports were dominated by fuel, petroleum and gas, at $1.1 billion, followed by machinery, vehicles and spare parts which totaled $691.9 million.

Other high volume goods included textiles, metals and metal products.

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