Entries in Afghanistan (3)


Ace Hardware to Open Stores in Afghanistan

Ace Hardware(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Ace Hardware thinks there's money to be made in Afghanistan.

The U.S.-based retail chain is apparently not too worried by the still tenuous security situation in the war-torn country and has enlisted one of Afghanistan's richest entrepreneurial families to run 15 Ace Hardware stores over the next decade.

The Safi brothers, who already operate a profitable airline and luxury hotel in Afghanistan, feel the country's young population will flock to the hardware center for their various home needs.

Despite the ongoing war, the housing market in Afghanistan happens to be doing well and while Afghans aren't traditionally do-it-yourselfers, the Safi brothers believe Ace stores will fill a growing need.

In a statement, the Safis said, "This is a brand new venture bringing a service standard and warranty on every single product. We are optimistic we can start turning a profit by the end of the year."

There's already an Ace Hardware preparing to open in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif with plans to follow up with another store in Kabul before long.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mini Robots to Help Troops in Afghanistan

File Photo. US Dept of Defense(NEW YORK) -- Knowing what lies around the corner is so important when you’re in combat, and Marines will now be able to test out a pint-sized robot that could be a lifesaver.

What sounds like science fiction will become reality in the next year when Marines in Afghanistan test throwable robots in real-life combat situations. Small enough to fit in a backpack or a cargo pocket and durable enough to be thrown anywhere, these wheeled robots might come in handy for Marines caught in tight combat situations.

Weighing a little more than a pound, the Scout XT robot by Minneapolis-based ReconRobotics Inc. looks like a handle wedged between two wheels.


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The tiny robot comes equipped with a camera that can relay live video back to a small screen that can be held by a Marine who might want to check out what’s behind a wall or around the corner. Darkness is no obstacle for the camera that also has infrared technology.

The company received a $1.7 million contract earlier this month to deliver 126 of its Scout XT robots that, according to ABC News San Diego affiliate KGTV, will be delivered by April 30.

The robots are designed to take a fall and work within seconds. “It’s a small, throwable robot system. In five seconds, you can turn this one and throw it to where you need it to be,” Ernest Langdon, director of military programs at ReconRobotics, told KGTV.

A Marine can control the small robot with a joystick and maneuver it into any kind of situation where an enemy fighter might be lurking. It can be tossed onto a roof, over a wall, driven around a corner or into crawl spaces.

“You can throw it as hard as you want; it’s designed to take 30-foot drops onto concrete,” Langdon said.

Although the tiny robot might be new to the battlefield, robots have become a common sight in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly when it comes to disarming roadside bombs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Chamber of Commerce Offering Job Help to Veterans

US Chamber of Commerce(NEW YORK) -- As thousands of troops prepare to come home soon from Afghanistan, those who choose to leave the military may have difficulty finding work.  The unemployment rate for veterans is already well above the national average.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hopes to alleviate this by launching a nationwide campaign to find jobs for veterans.

"What we're doing is connecting employers with those veterans," Kevin Schmigel of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says.

The former Marine notes that most vets make great workers, saying, "90 percent of all military occupations are directly transferable to jobs in the private sector."

Schmigel and the lobbying group are organizing a series of major job fairs for veterans that will provide advice on how to get a job.  During the events, vets will get a chance to "talk about what their skill set in the military will mean to a company," he says.

"I think they also need to take some time to sit down with people and do interviews," Schmigel adds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio