Press Release: Afghan language

N. R. Liwal liwal at
Wed May 7 19:15:28 CEST 2003

Dear All;

Mr.Michael Everson, have spend few days in Afghanistan to survey
"Computer Local Requirement for Afghanistan". The press release
which he post here has some misleading information, i.e. he writes:

"Until now, there has been virtually no way for the people of  Afghanistan
to communicate digitally in their own tongue."

The truth is that almost for a decade and half, myself developed "
Pashto/Dari Support for WordPerfect 5.1" 1992, Pashto/Dari
Support for Microsoft Windows 3.x, 9x, 2K and XP" and is used locally
and Internationally". Our support and Fonts are based
on Microsoft and Unicode standards. Also we were in very close contact
with Microsoft and others on the subject. Although Microsoft could not
implemented Pashto for some reasons. But Dari language
(Afghani dialect of Persian) support is implemented
under Farsi, Since Windows 3.x, and a Keyboard download is available
for Farsi/Dari for Windows 2k  from Microsoft Site and Farsi/Dari
Keyboard is included in Windows XP.

Also we have done partial work on MAC and Unix to support Pashto
and Dari.

Then he say: "Today less than three per cent of Kabul's population
knows how to use a computer. In other regions the computer
skills are close to zero.

Although this slogan will be good for fundraising, but is not true,
according to our surveys, more then 20% of  literate generation
are computer literate in Kabul. And in all Major cities like, Jalalabad,
Herat, Mazzar and Khost. There are more then 100 private computer teaching
centers, with thousands of students. Recently, we opened our training
in Kabul and a remote city like Khost (for what we teach is
we had 50+ enrollment  in a week. I would say that there are thousands of
computer literates who need job and attention of software companies, very
low cost labor.

Our organization, was working for the fast 15 years in localization issues
in Afghanistan and Pakistan and have been working for Pashto and Dari
languages not only technically, but using our solutions for our own
needs and thousand other users.

So far I had a quick review of his report, but he need more understanding of
languages and technical analysis to revise his reports to sever the
computing community and not to mislead.



----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Everson" <everson at>
To: <unicode at>; <unicore at>; <ietf-languages at>;
<icu at>
Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 2:51 AM
Subject: Press Release: Afghan language

> 4 May 2003 (1382/2/13) Kabul, Afghanistan -- Afghanistan takes a
> major leap toward entering the age of digital communication with the
> release of an important report on Tuesday by a team of Afghan,
> Iranian and Irish computer experts and linguists. The document
> provides, for the first time, the comprehensive information needed by
> software programmers and vendors in order to bring this country's
> languages to life on computer keyboards and screens.
> "This means that Afghan culture, ideas, innovations and thought can
> now be communicated via computer, unfiltered, in local Afghan
> languages," says Ercan Murat, UNDP Country Director for Afghanistan.
> "Afghanistan will benefit, but so will the world."
> Until now, there has been virtually no way for the people of
> Afghanistan to communicate digitally in their own tongue. With no
> existing software to support the official languages, Pashto and Dari,
> the use of computers for communication has been effectively blocked,
> forcing most government and business offices to rely on typewriters.
> The report, Computer Locale Requirements for Afghanistan, was
> commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and
> funded by the EU.  It focuses on an esoteric but important area of
> information technology: the multilingual character encoding and
> keyboard drivers.
> "Unfortunately the big computer software providers who make fonts and
> software applications that, for instance, support Arabic, do not
> support the Afghan languages. This causes serious constraints and
> problems for all aspects of information technology for the entire
> country," says Michael Everson, project leader and consultant from
> Everson Typography of Dublin, Ireland. "This study will also help
> save existing information resources, to be shared and exchanged in
> the future. We will be urging software companies to ensure that
> Afghanistan's computing needs are met," Mr. Everson says.
> "Language support includes inputting characters on a keyboard,
> displaying them on a screen, and printing the information. The
> alphabetical order in which data is expected to be sorted, date and
> time formatting, calendars, and other cultural-specific locale
> elements are also involved," explains Roozbeh Pournader, the study's
> specialist in Arabic-script implementations, from the FarsiWeb
> Project of Tehran, Iran.
> Today less than three per cent of Kabul's population knows how to use
> a computer. In other regions the computer skills are close to zero.
> As Pashto and Dari are used by more than 80 per cent (19 million) of
> the Afghan population, computer software in these languages will help
> increase the computer skills of the Afghan people considerably, and
> be an important tool for human development in the country.
> The study offers more information about Pashto and Dari than is
> currently available for other languages in the region such as Urdu
> and Persian, the official languages of Pakistan and Iran.  The study
> will be presented to members of the Unicode Consortium and to
> relevant companies such as Apple, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, and
> Sun. It will also be available online at
> A press conference will be held at The Ministry of Communications in
> Kabul at 10:00 am on 6 May 2003.
> For more information contact marc.lepage at in Kabul: +93 70
> 280 871; nina.jorgensen at in Kabul: +93 70 27 95 20 or
> cherie.hart at in Bangkok: +662 288 2133.
> --
> Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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