Inauguration of the Codan Communication System Throughout AfghanistanRobert P. Finn,
Ambassador to Afghanistan
March 25, 2003
Released by the U.S. Embassy Kabul
His Excellency, Minister of Communications Mr. Muhammad Masoom Stanikzai, friends and colleagues of the Ministry and USAID: It is a great pleasure to be here with you today for the formal inauguration of this small but very important project.
The installation of codan communication devices in all 32 provinces of Afghanistan is a singular milestone, one more step in the patient reweaving of the network of connections and ties – electronic, human, and political – that are reversing more than two decades of fragmentation.
The codan devices will provide phone, fax, email and radio services throughout the country. They will enable the Kabul and provincial communications departments to communicate directly which each other for the first time in many years. While the service will operate out of provincial post offices and is intended primarily for government use, it will also be available to the business sector and the general public on a cost-recovery basis. It is our hope that it will not only tie government offices and individual Afghan citizens together but that it will spur regional economic revival and promote Afghanistan’s connections with the outside world.
This project will be complemented by the installation of an additional 32 codan radios in priority districts to be identified by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, and with the support of UNICEF who donated these codans to the ministry. The total cost of this USAID-funded project of installation in all provinces is estimated at approximately $290,000. It is a tangible recognition of the Ministry of Communications’ priority of making national electronic connectivity as a first step in the rehabilitation of the country’s communication system. American assistance to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban is approaching $1 billion and the United States recently promised another $820 million at the Brussels Donors’ Conference last week.
This significant communications initiative joins two other larger projects – the new national currency and the Kabul-Kandahar-Herat road project – as concrete steps by the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan and by the United States and others to repair what war and tyranny had cruelly rent asunder. Our efforts mirror but can never hope to match the heroic ongoing efforts of the Afghan people to rebuild lives, communities and relationships. We will not be deterred in our work of helping them achieve their highest aspirations and their most cherished dreams.
Thank you very much.