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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

All aboard the bus for future leaders in Afghanistan

Readers discuss America's role in the world, reading and health data

An Afghan mother holds her youngest child while reading a book at their house in Kabul, Afghanistan. Hedayatullah Amid / EPA
An Afghan mother holds her youngest child while reading a book at their house in Kabul, Afghanistan. Hedayatullah Amid / EPA

I write in reference to your article Bus takes the learning curve to Afghanistan’s youngsters (April 2): following decades of fear as a result of semi-constant bombs and terror attacks, it is heartening to know the people of Afghanistan – particularly its children – are so happy to get this blue bus, their destination the future of their country.

Freshta Karim, an Afghan woman who founded the Charmaghz project, bringing books and stimulating academic interest among children, deserves great plaudits. Children were initially reluctant but have received her very well and listen to her read. In an environment as wartorn as modern Afghanistan, education is, in my view, the best way to divert children’s minds away from dark and uncomfortable thoughts. The mobile library concept is truly laudable.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru

America has a role to play in stopping despots and war

I refer to your foreboding editorial Two presidents make their moves in Syria (April 1): US President Donald Trump has, in principle, signalled that the US will exit the disastrous quagmire that is now Syria.

This is unfortunate. To an extent, America’s presence was a balancing factor in the ongoing war, capable of reigning in the worst excesses of Bashar Al Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since the Second World War, the US has played a vital and determining role in resolving global conflicts and restraining dictators.

Now that America has a protectionist administration in the White House, it may well become rather insular in its international approach.

This would, in my view, be deeply concerning. Throughout modern history American military force has been a decisive factor in preventing dictators and despots from aggressively pursuing their intentions, to the detriment of ordinary civilians.

Rajendra Aneja, Dubai

Will insurers be able to access health information?

I refer to your exclusive story on Full body health scanners chosen for UAE trial to aid early diagnosis (April 1): this worries me and makes me wonder whether insurers could require us to sign up to reveal pre-existing conditions at some point in the future.

Data collection and dissemination is a hot topic at the moment, particularly after the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving data harvesting.

Advertisers buying personal data in other countries have been known to target people for holistic or medicinal marking.

As long as this does not happen in this case, there should only be positives to this innovation.

Name withheld by request

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