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Afghan News RoundUpApril 2013 - part two

Afghan Artists

Since 2001, Afghan artists have worked in relative freedom. Will it endure ?

The Taliban banned music. Public concerts are now common, though not universally. In March, in Ghazni province, a show was banned after local officials reportedly described music as "forbidden."

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Afghan News Roundup of stories you might have missed in April 2014. Soft power may harden, foreign hangouts closed, Bagram opens its gates, inflation up, MH 370 down in Kandahar ? Compiled by Elayne Jude for Great North News Services.

Soft power: Is it enough ? Indian options

In Afghanistan today, India's strategic interest means preventing an extremist takeover of the country that could spread havoc across the border. Afghanistan is a potential "land bridge," giving India access to economic opportunity in Central Asia. To achieve the stability and security this requires, India needs to increase its assistance to Afghanistan, and engage with security affairs and with local leaders and traditional institutions.

India's pledge of $2 billion in aid makes it Afghanistan's fifth largest bilateral donor (behind the US, the UK, Japan, and Germany). In 2011, India and Afghanistan signed the Agreement on Strategic Partnership (ASP), an institutional framework for extensive bilateral cooperation beyond 2014.

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