Karachi port: Books for Afghan students held up in NATO containers

Published: May 15, 2012
Majority of high schools affected, says Afghan education ministry. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Majority of high schools affected, says Afghan education ministry. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


Students across Afghanistan are suffering in the standoff between Pakistan and the United States over the resumption of Nato supplies, as four million books in 77 Nato containers are stuck at the Karachi Port since November last year, claimed Afghan authorities.

The curriculum books for grade 10, 11 and 12 Afghan students were published in Dubai with Nato support for educational institutions in the eastern parts of the country, said the education ministry.

Afghan Minister of Education Farooq Wardak told media on Sunday that his government has already raised the issue with the Pakistani authorities at the highest level. “They assured us of quick resolution of the issue, but it is yet to happen,” said Wardak.

He said the Pakistani authorities were impressed upon that politics must not deprive children of their basic right to education.

“I do not know why Pakistan has stopped our books. We are facing a shortage of books here,” said Nangialy, a 12 grade student of Dari language and literature at Kabul University. Another student of Pashto language grade 11 Abida Nazish appealed to the Pakistani government to immediately release the books.

The students said they got to know from the local media that the books were stuck at the Karachi Port due to ban on Nato supplies through Pakistan.

A lecturer at the university Ajmal Shakalay told The Express Tribune that the delay in arrival of new books could cause a failure in replacing the old curriculum. He further claimed that certain schools were closed due to shortage of books.

Education Ministry spokesperson Amanullah Iman said that fresh term in majority of schools in the country already began in May. However, in 40% schools the new term starts in August, but the curriculum changes are made simultaneously across the country, which could now be delayed, he added.

“The delay in the release of books’ containers were perhaps due to misunderstanding as the Pakistani authorities thought there were Nato supplies in the containers,” said Iman.

A Pakistani government official, requesting anonymity, said that it was surprising that books were being transported in Nato containers. He said the authorities were not certain as Nato containers, as per contract, are not opened to check the supplies.

“Naturally, and commonly they (containers) carry weapons and supplies for troops and not books for Afghan schools,” said the official. However, he said he could not comment on how soon the containers could be released as they were addressed to Nato authorities and not the Afghan government.

“The parliament will decide on opening the Nato supply routes. Until then, nothing could be done,” the official added.

The Afghan education ministry said the books were published by Oriental Publishing Company in Dubai under the support of Nato command. Therefore, they were being transported in the Nato containers.

An official of education ministry denied that schools were closed due to shortage of books. Rather a security threat to certain schools was the reason for their closure but they will be opened soon, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2012.


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Reader Comments (16)

  • hilalisman
    May 15, 2012 - 9:26AM

    See this is where Pakistan would have made money priting books. sad that uae is makin money.


  • JD
    May 15, 2012 - 9:38AM

    Yeah right, just like the Russian spy (can’t find link to his video and article) stated that there was loads of cargo transported to East Pakistan and it had the tag of ‘books for (a certain university)’ … when I opened one of them, it was full of arms and ammunition.
    So B please… nice try.


  • Sarcastically yours
    May 15, 2012 - 10:14AM

    Books for Afghan students held up in NATO containers

    Thats sad..

    but so are bombs, hummers and weapons of mass destruction


  • Ahmad
    May 15, 2012 - 10:17AM

    If only Pakistan’s contribution to the continued degradation of Afghanistan was limited to a shortage of books. Boy would that be nice.


  • amin
    May 15, 2012 - 10:28AM

    thier fault why would they put books in nato containers. either they plain stupid or there is something fishy.


  • John B
    May 15, 2012 - 10:41AM

    Pakistan could have made lot of money for their citizens by providing the basic necessities for Afghanistan and US troops- from books to bottled water and pencil to cotton shirts and towels. Oh forgot, NATO is PAK enemy, so no trade. It all makes sense.


  • Hashim Khan
    May 15, 2012 - 11:34AM

    Well, It’s okay with That Issue, but As far as the NATO supply is concerned, there should be no discussion on it. No more Discussion On NATO Supply.


    May 15, 2012 - 11:48AM

    While mourning about the books for children, let us not forget about AMMUNITION!


  • Tough Guy
    May 15, 2012 - 12:02PM

    NATO troops are teaching ABC to young afghan students there with weapons?


  • roadkashehzada
    May 15, 2012 - 12:24PM

    books is not the only thing where pakistan would have made money and …..


  • May 15, 2012 - 12:33PM

    CIA can air-drop them directly on schools.


  • ashar
    May 15, 2012 - 12:35PM

    I am sure the books would be full of propaganda material. Recommend

  • sunder khan
    May 15, 2012 - 1:31PM

    Send the books but not the NATO supplies under the cover of books.


  • Ahmad
    May 15, 2012 - 5:50PM


    As if given the history of Pakistan meddling in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, Afghanistan would depend on Pakistani entities for its educational materials. Sometimes it amazes me how completely in the dark Pakistani’s are about their reputation.


  • Ahmad
    May 15, 2012 - 5:52PM


    Did you think of that one yourself? What’s the central authority for Pakistani conspiracy theories these days? There’s a simple pile of books in a container in Pakistan and now it contains arms and is a conspiracy.


  • Dost
    May 16, 2012 - 10:24PM

    NATO supplies wont be opened. PTI/PMLN/DPC to block them.

    form a new government.

    Revolution is in the air.


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