For the last two weeks, I have watched in disbelief and dismay as CAI’s Afghan friends and family faced unspeakable horrors, enduring violent attack after violent attack. Just this Monday, 31 people were killed in a series of attacks in Afghanistan. On April 22, a suicide blast in Kabul killed 57 people -- including at least five children -- and wounded over 100 more at a voter registration center. That attack was preceded by a car bombing in southern Afghanistan in which at least 13 people were killed and 35 others injured. In early April, Taliban militants struck a girls’ high school in Logar Province and set it on fire. A separate assault was conducted on a school in Nangarhar Province the following Saturday. According to the U.N. civilian deaths from violent attacks have doubled in the first quarter of 2018 versus 2017. Attacks involving civilians have become almost commonplace. It’s easy for those of us not living in fear to turn a blind eye. But CAI will not look away. We will not turn our backs on our brave friends and colleagues in Afghanistan. As I write this 44% of Afghanistan is either controlled or contested by the Taliban or the Islamic State. Experts are warning today that violence will increase in the coming weeks with the announcement of the spring fighting season, the approaching 2018 elections and continuing opposition to proposed peace talks. With so much disheartening news behind us and more predicted ahead, CAI is reaffirming right now that we will stand with the men, women, and children of Afghanistan. We will not waiver in our support. It is our firm belief that education is the surest path to peace. Not only that, but education is a fundamental inalienable human right of all people. Despite an increasingly hostile environment in many of the regions in which we work, CAI will continue to provide access to quality education; especially for girls. To the teachers, students, and parents in Afghanistan, we salute your bravery. Nevertheless, it is not enough to keep you in our thoughts and prayers, or salute your bravery. We at CAI are committed to moving forward with you. This includes our personal support and the support of our entire global network. We are behind you 100%. We have great confidence that with education and your undefeatable spirit, we will have peace in Afghanistan. Sincerely,
Jim Thaden, Executive Director Central Asia Institute
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