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Afghanistan needs more Scientists than Philosophers

By Haseeb Rahimi

The recent Pandemic has left most nations vulnerable and clueless, and made us humans reconsider the priorities of governance, economics, and scientific research. Our systems that we were proud of establishing and nourishing over the decades are at the verge of collapse. Employment numbers in the west are off the roof, and sectors that never imagined seeing a significant change in demand in next decade, were unprepared for the sudden disruption of human biology and its behavior. But good news, we will get through this turmoil, thanks to modern biotechnology and medicine.

I hope this curse has brought us to a realization of how far behind Afghanistan as nation is in this era, and how far behind its citizens are as individuals. We are the ancient philosophers who tend to gossip and share stories of how our tribe, our ancestors, the battles we have fought so hard, and the stories of our courage and sacrifice closely align with our identity and history. Yet we are at the mercy of World bank, India, China, and Iran to send us testing kits, hydroxychloroquine, and paracetamol Tablets.

 It is unfortunate that while other nations are trying to support their vulnerable, investing in their medical research, developing vaccines, and helping those in need with financial bailouts, here in Afghanistan, we not only have a research institute to identify any sort of a virus but also, we are at the pity of others to give us the funds and the resources to navigate through this pandemic. I hope this can serve as wake-up call for everyone that identify themselves as an Afghan or Afghanistani or someone who unfortunately happens to live in this geography. It is about time that as a nation we realize that Afghanistan is not in need of philosophers who consistently debate with each other on twitter or Facebook to make a point, but in need of scientists and visionaries who understand the lessons from the history, challenges of the 21st century, and what the future folds for our species.

A scientific movement in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics is required to happen. We need to invest in STEM schools and establish modern scientific research institutes if we are serious about advancing in the 21st century. Time is not in our favor. Advancement in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are at its peak and it will change everything from the way of governance to human interactions. We need to prepare now before it is too late.

The writer is Ex-Instructor of Mathematics at AUAF, Ex-Advisor at Ministry of Finance and Co Founder at Economic Club of Kabul

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