Back, in 1990, in software my company could do things that, Iranian, Pakis and Indian could not do. The Iranian consulate in Peshawar was begging me to visit Tehran and cooperate with Iranian companies to enable the then Windows NT for Farsi, which they could not do, Pakistan IT Minister and GHQ of Rawalpindi was begging me to help them on National Identity project and other Urdu computerization.
Because of the x-dumb Minister Amirzai Sangin, the market was dump with his unwanted Indian in-laws and their main tool was to win on bribes anyone and anything. The corrupt Afghan officials will cooperate with them, even if local company offered them huge incentive of national interest, but they will always go after their petty involvement. Out of thousand, I will bring one example, back then World Bank, funded the VCN and DCN project for 3500, Desktop PCs, my company in a joint venture with American company GSI won the contract. Contract, mentioned 1 year warranty for the PCs, we offered 3 years no question asked replacement warranty, local support within hours reach for Liwal Branded PCs, which were assembled in Kabul. But Mr. Sangin, rudely was against locally assembled PCs and through Karzai(thee then President of Afghanistan) and Khalilzad (thee then Ambassador of US in Afghanistan) pressurized GSI to cancel their partnership with us and supply DELL American branded PCs, through Mr. Karzai relatives.
The difference in Liwal and Dell PCs was only the casing, Pashto/Dari keyboards, Pashto/Dari enabled OS (Dell offered English only OS), mouse and the brand, inside of both were Intel, Seagate, Kingston and other similar components. They accepted Dell for one year warranty and no local support and no warranty at that time (still in doubt if they were supplied as per the specification of the contract). Later on many departments bought our Pashto/Dari Keyboards and add-on at additional cost and time wasting of national employees. This was all done because, his in-law Mr. Mohammad Ismail Bhat, World bank employee will have some petty share in that supply. This gentelaman Mr. Bhat may be still there in Afghanistan world bank structure.
Since then I see more intelligent young Afghan in the ICT sector and I am 1000% confident we can overcome the needs of Afghanistan ICT requirements. Even we can export ICT products and services if there was leadership in MCIT and government, which is not there unfortunately. Being in ICT, I am ashamed, that the present government canceled the National Identity Card Project. These are procurement flaws, Mr. Ghani was supposed to correct the flaws in procurement laws, instead he took the procurement department to presidential palace, what a shame.
For more than 25 years in ICT, I know the region, there are many areas still Iranian could not do better than Afghans in ICT sector, because of embargo, perhaps if present minister would like to cooperate with Iranian to open Iranian market for Afghans companies we can help Iran. Otherwise if his in-laws are also from Iran, we have to suffer and wait for their pockets to fill or ICT sector can organize and show leadership to manage this.
There is a great need for really free and independent ICT society of Afghans to overcome these issues. This society should be free from government and NGO type funding and should purely serve on the basis of membership from the sector players. Otherwise we will end up in another black-hole as we were and are now.
Do not take for granted, my this or other writing, that I am against good relation between Afghanistan and other great nations, but I strongly believe no relation is better then a relation, based on corruption, interference and a relation that is supporting corrupt people on both sides, such relation is not in the interest of Afghanistan, the related country and the world.