Confucius institute in Kabul marks 10 years of service
By Zhang Mengyuan, Ding Siyue
Recent years in Afghanistan have been marked by war and hardship. But it has not deterred students of Chinese language in the capital Kabul from pursuing their dreams. It's now been ten years since the establishment of Kabul University's Confucius Institute, which has developed into an outpost of Chinese culture and knowledge. 
Construction of a reading room was completed in May at the Chinese Pavilion of Kabul University's Confucius Institute. Here, students can access more than 5,000 books and peruse through the chapters on Chinese culture, history, economics, and medicine. They can also study through computers and interact with teachers on a touch screen.
"The library and these computers are very helpful. We can read books and use the computers at any time. We do our homework on computers, too. We can also search online while studying," says one student.
Established in 2008, Confucius Institutes have enjoyed the active support of the Chinese government. Many local Chinese teachers enrolled in the training programs here.
"We provide some training at Kabul University. For example, we held the first Chinese teaching training in 2017, which achieved good results. We also provide at least one short-term training in China for each teacher in 2017 and 2018. I think these programs are necessary to guarantee our teaching quality," says Zhan Peng, director of the Chinese department of Kabul University's Confucius Institute.
From terrorist attacks to bomb blasts, life in the country is unpredictable. A few students have faced the worst consequences of war and terrorism. 
"In 2016, one of our students got a chance to study in China, but unfortunately died in an explosion. It was a huge loss for both his family and us. Another student lost a leg in a bomb attack in 2017. But he insisted on studying, and finally got the scholarship to study in China. We can feel the difficulties and sorrow, but we still pursue our mission, despite the situation," says Li Huiyang, Chinese dean of Kabul University's Confucius Institute.
With a generous aid provided by the Chinese government, the Confucius Institute built a teaching building with an area of over 2,000 square meters in 2014. It's now home to eight classrooms and a 150-seat function hall. Teachers who once worked in a crowded office enjoy their private workspace.