Saturday, August 29, 2009

Minister in Town

In our leadership seminars' graduation for official government at the Institute for Leadership Development, we had the minister of Economic handling the diploma to the graduates. The minister of the economic with his wife was invited with his delegation to the ceremony and after giving a speech, he distributed the diplomas. The minister emphasied the importants of the ILD work for the government and leaders in community from the bottom - up level, building thier capacity and empowering them through the leadership seminars can be an important element in building the future organizations of the government. He also promised to teach few classes for ILD students and also leadership seminars at ILD for the government officials. In this photo three of the ILD instructors - Mr. Petrus, Mr. Pete and Aref are with the minister and his wife at the institute for leadership development, Herat Afghanistan.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Institute for Leadership Development

Institute for Leadership Development is an American higher education center in Herat Afghanistan. It was established in 2003 by Mr. Philip Adams and is the first post graduate training for Afghan young and emerging leaders in Afghanistan, especially in Herat. Here we teach and train the people on leadership, personal development, mentoring and coaching, and peace and conflict resolution studies. We have a mixture of Afghan and American instructors doing a two-years program. Beside of our normal classes, we conduct leadership seminars for governement officials from many different department yearly by bringing teams from the state. Our program is very popular and really supported and well received by the government and the people from NGOs, University, Government, Business and Locals. We have graduated more that 100 young leaders during the 4 years and more than 12 of them are following thier education in many different educational centers in the state by being granted fulbright scholarships. This is a photo in one of our training for the official governments which I am also teaching with one of our guest speakers from the state.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

After the August 20 - the Election day

Recently, we had the elections for presidential and provincial Shura in Afghanistan. Right before August 20th, fear and mistrust, uncertaninty, no hope for future, and doubt were among the whole population. No body believed that the election is about to happen. People did not want to go on election day and vote becaus the fear of insecurity was all over and very common. But, fortunately every thing went well and there were no major incidents in most part of the country. People voted and now are waiting to hear the final results. People have a little hope for thier future and are very optimist for a better future. This is a photo taken from a fruit market yesterday. You can see the guy selling his product. This is very common for farmers and people from the villages to bring thier products to the city to sell. Some times they them selves sell and most of the time they sell to the people whom are at the market and thier job is selling the products received from villagers with a little profit.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nomadic Life

On my way to the villge last week, I saw nomadic people living in black tents and busy with animal husbandry to support thier needs with a peacefully way of living. This is a normal way of living for this group of people in Afghanistan. All they posses is few sets of tents, few camel, sheeps and very basic utensils for cooking. They always travel from places to places. They stay in palces with having enough greens and garsses for thier animals as food. When there is not enough greens and grass as food to the animla, they travel to the other palces with enough food for the animals. This is thier life. Very simple but peacefully. They sells some of the animal products as milk and the wool to buy thier basic needs. I took this phot 4 days ago when I was going to my village during the elections. There is another photo which shows the sun set and its beauty in the village.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Afghan Dish

Afghan people pay much respect and give honor to their guests when some one is invited or come to us as a guest. We try to prepare the best food and dishes and welcome the guests. What we cook for the guests usaully includes rice, kabab ( lamb, beef ), meatball, plus salad, coke, and fruits. It is very important in an Afgham culture that the best food and dishes shoube be prepared for the guests otherwise there is a sense of not respecting and giving honor to the guest. We always sit on the ground instead of table and eat the food with hands instead of fork and spoons. But this is an optional to eat with hands or with fork and spoons. After every one finish and stop eating we pray and thank God for his blessings. We wash our hands before serving the food even a person eats with fork and spoon and wash again after we finsh the food. This is a photo taken recently from one of my friends house in a garden in the country side of Herat.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Herat City Wide Soccer Team

First of all, I apologize for not posting in the last 5 days. I had gone to the village during the elections with my family. We stayed there and till Saturday August 21st. everything went well during the election with no major incident in Herat and its 14 districts. People were able to vote for the presidential and provincial council at the same time.
In this posting I wanted to post a photo from Herat City Wide Team involved in ‘Peace’ tournament in Jalal Abad Province.
Recently, Herat City Wide Soccer Team had participated national tournament in Jalal Abad province in north – east of Afghanistan, very close to Pakistan border. The tournament was called ‘peace tournament” and aimed to choose Afghanistan football national team’s players. 8 provinces who were able to be champions in their zones had the right to be a part of this big tournament. The results ended with Kabul as the champion team, Jalal Abad the second and Herat got the third position among all provinces in Afghanistan. The governor of Jalal Abad – Mr. Gol Agha Shirzai did a great job in hosting the best 8 provinces while they were in Jalal Abad. He is one of the best and closet friends for President Karzai and President Obama and one of the best governors in Afghanistan as %99 of the population believe so. I was the head coach for Herat City Wide Team in this tournament.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mom and the Daughter

After the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, women's life quite changed. The rights of freedom and education were two main issues which gave them more hope for a better future. The new government considered women as a major element for developing the country, because they believe if we have educated mother and sisters in our families, they can grow sons with a culture of non-violence that can prevent the next generation from going into another war. A part of Afghan old tradition is the way women wear. Some of the women, especially in villages, they still wear " Bughra " to hide thier faces and mostly the whole body under it. I can say that there is no obligation on this and this is the women's choice. In towns, women especially in educated families do not wear "Bughra" any longer. This is a photo from a mom and her daughter sitting on a bench in a park in Herat city. The mom still is wearing Boghra but the daughter is not wearing that any longer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mousallah Complex

Collection of minarets, a mosque and a medressa ( school ), the whole complex is known as the Mousallah Complex. The old Medressa was bnuilt by the queen Gowhar Shah in 1411. She was the daughter of famous ruler Timur. Close to the complex there is a large domed tomb of Gowhar Shah.There were total 12 minarets in this complex. 7 of them are destroyed with time but still five remain in the complex. The Mousallah Complex has been described as the most beautiful example in color and architecture ever devised by man.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

President in Herat

President In Herat

On Friday, August 14th, president Hamid Karzai gave a visit to Herat for the election rally. Thousands of people came to the Herat stadium and welcomed the president with his delegation from the capital - Kabul. In a high security scheme with cooperation of ISAF, Afghan National Army and the President Special Security Force, every thing went well without any incident. The elders of many tribes in the west region came to welcome the president and claimed thier fully supports from Mr. President for the second round of the elections.

Friday, August 14, 2009

At the Stadium of Herat City

This is a photo taken on Thursday August 13th before the arrival of the President Karzai to the city. You can see the big posters with the president along with some historical places as background. I am going to post few photos from Karzai in town by tomorrow morning.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Presidential Election

This is a photo taken yesterday from one of the main streets in Herat. The street is called " Jadeh Welayet" which means the governor street. At the end of the street the governor office is located. You can see the banners on street and too many photos on the trunk of the trees. It is very funny to see too many pictures of the provincial candidates all over the street. Both, the presidential and provincial election is going to be on the same day, August 20th. The main ones - the banner on the street is for the presidential election. There are three candidates among all others that have more supporters in compare with the rests. The first one is Hamid Karzai the current president and the second one is Dr. Abdullah one of the Jehaddi figure and the spokesperson of Ahmad Shah Masood, and the third one is Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai- the former minister for finance in Karzai cabinet. There is a strong believe and chance for President Karzai to the second round of the election. He still is the figure that %80 of the whole population can trust him in compare with Dr. Abdullah - one of the Jehaddi figure. Tomorrow, Friday August the 14th, President karzai is going to come to Herat for election compaign which is going to be fun and dangerous. Fun because thousands of people from Herat and its 14 districts are coming to welcome the president. Dangerous because some opposition groups and insurgents have distributed letters among people that avoid of coming to welcome the president otherwise if there is any suicide attack, your lives is at danger and not safe. This is Afghanistan. I am trying to post some photos from tomorrow if to have a chance for photographing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In Afghanistan's leafy western city of Herat, a two-lane road slices between the city's five remaining 15th-century minarets. Every truck, car, bus, motorcycle, and horse-drawn carriage that passes by sends vibrations coursing through the delicate structures. In particular, the Fifth Minaret -- all 55 meters of it -- seems ready to collapse into a dusty heap of bricks and colored tiles at any moment. A large crack near its base makes drivers speed up just a little as they pass by. These are one of the several historic heritages we have in Herat and very very famous.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bakery Shop

Yesterday afternoon, I was on my way home and wanted to buy some pieces of loaf from the bakery at the corner of the street near my home. It was very interesting to see the baker and few of his apprentices baking bread in such a hot weather in summer time. We - Afghans, usually have fresh breads with any food we eat. It is our tradition to have fresh pieces of bread with any kind of food. The first thing we bring to the tablecloth is fresh bread which is called "Naan" in our language. It is a must to have Naan with foods and dishes and that is why we have numbers of Bakery, baking fresh Naan in every corner.

Fruits and the Summer

In summer, the prices of many kinds of fruits come down in Herat, Afghanistan. That is because it is the harvest time and many of the farmers in country side bring their products to town to sell. Farmers and gardeners usually grow different kinds of fruits and vegetables such grapes (all varieties), pomegranates, apricots, berries, oranges, plums, figs, olives, walnuts, almonds and also vegetables like onions, potatoes, carrots, beans and peas.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Potluck party idea came to the Institute for Leadership Development from our US instructor's side. We - Afghan, did not know about this great idea of potluck parties. I remember during the first year of our classes, this idea was introduced to the students by the founder of ILD - Philip Adams. From then, the potluck party became very interesting part of our gatherings once or twice a month at the ILD - where I am teaching. Every body brings food for at least three people and we have different dishes. It is a lot of fun. If you ask most of the youngs these days about potluck they will say what it is while two years ago no body knew about what it was. In this picture, the first round of ILD students with Philip Adams from US as the founder and teacher at the Institute for Leadership Development. You can be a part of this friendly gatherings if you have a chance to come to Herat and teach for one or two weeks in our leadership classes. We always bring human resources from US and all the other parts of the world if interested in Afghanistn - Herat and they teach at the Institute for Leadership Development.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


In weekends, usually we go to gardens in country side with friends and families. In this photo, a week ago there was an invitation and I hosted about 30 friends in a very nice garden just 15 minutes far from main city. We usually cook " Kabab" for dinner or lunch. It is full of fun and really enjoy our time. In these days of the summer, the weather is very hot and it is the time for swimming. Usually gardens have a nice swimming pool and the funny part is that everybody should swimm and if not they will be forced to come into the water. I love cooking and sometimes when we go out, I do the cooking for the whole group.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hares and Milad

With this posting, I wanted to let you know about my family. I am married and live in an appartment in Herat. My wife and two sons. I have two children, Hares 6 years and Milad almost eight months old. Hares is going to pre- school and very sharp. Milad, his little brother is very lovely and we have wonderful time all together. By the coming election time on August the 20th, it seems that the security situation is getting worse and we are

planning to move to our village which is two hours far from the city towards the north.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ansari Football Club

Ansari Football team is one of the famous teams in Afghanistan. For the last 10 years, this team achieved excellent results. Several championshios in and out of Herat has been recorded in the history of this club. Ansari club was established in 1994. Currently I have been coaching this team in tournaments for the last 10 years. We just finished the first round of Herat " Bartar League" as the champion team.
Aref Noorzai - Ansari Football Team Coach

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bomb blast in Afghanistan’s Herat

A silence full of sorrow

The Taliban killed at least 12 people and critically injured a local police chief in western Afghanistan’s main city - Herat, on Monday with a remote-controlled bomb hidden in a trash can. It killed 10 civilians and two police. The attack appeared to target the police chief for nearby Injil district who was driving into town. He said the district chief, Mohammad Issa, was being transferred to a NATO-run hospital in critical condition. Later today, the injured commander also passed away. The bombing in the comparatively calm Western city of Herat highlighted the volatile situation across the country as Afghanistan braces for presidential and local elections later this month. A close friend of mine was also among these deaths. He had only 24 years old whose father is a chef earning little cash to support the family. Nadershah was jobless for almost 3 years and finally got a job as a driver at provincial reconstructin team ( PRT Italian ) in Herat, earning $200 a month to help his father and family financially. His death is unbelievable and even his body is burried but his wife still thinks that he is just injured and is in hospital. I had a very sad week and were not able to post pictures from Herat. The picture posted here is my very closed friend who was killed in Monday bomb explosion jn Herat.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Countryside of Herat in 2009

Afghanistan experienced a very bad drought last year. Because of that, the farmers had thier worst season in compare with the past three years. In most part of the country, the price for one kilo wheat was $1 and the normal income for %60 of population is about two dollars a day. Afghan people survived and coped with many challenges last year. This year, 2009 was one of the most beautiful and rainy seasons we have ever had. The percentage of the crops were quite high. We can see happines among people because of this rainy season. This is a photo taken early on January this year in a countryside of Herat.