TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:10:51 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) TOLOnews 6pm News 29 January 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18014-tolonews-6pm-news-29-january-2015- Top news in this bullitine

Members of provincial councils on Thursday voiced concerns on Wolesi Jirga's (Lower House of Parliament) approval of amending four articles of the election law, announcing that the doors of all provincial councils will be shut in protest negating their rights of monitoring.

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Last Wednesday, 13 young males in a juvenile detention center located next to an all female prison in Kandahar found their way into the women's prison cell and gang raped four women, sources on condition of anonymity told TOLOnews.

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:00:05 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18014-tolonews-6pm-news-29-january-2015-
Four Female Prisoners in Kandahar Gang Raped http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18012--four-female-prisoners-in-kandahar-gang-raped

Last Wednesday, 13 young males in a juvenile detention center located next to an all female prison in Kandahar found their way into the women's prison cell and gang raped four women, sources on condition of anonymity told TOLOnews.

The condition of one of the victims is critical and was transferred to a hospital for treatment.

Provincial council members of Kandahar appalled by the horrific act said that the local officials hid the incident from them, adding that this is not the first time that such an act has occurred inside a female prison.

"A few people entered the females' room and took them hostage," Kandahar Council Member Muhammad Yousuf said. "The women were under their captivity from 6:30 p.m. until midnight. This corrupt administration did not tell us anything."

Security officials of the province did not want to comment on the matter, but Kandahar Human Rights Commission also confirmed the incident, adding that they heard the local officials speak of the incident several hours after it had occurred.

Kandahar Human Rights Commission members said that awareness has been raised about rape taking place inside female prison cells, but the government has not taken any action in resolving the alarming matter.

Meanwhile, on the contrary, the Justice Director of Kandahar Nek Muhammad said that "security forces responded quickly and arrived to the scene 30 minutes from the start of the female's captivity."

The matter rises as the General Director of the juvenile detention center reported to the president that "improvements" have been made in the centers.

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:12:00 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18012--four-female-prisoners-in-kandahar-gang-raped
Marshal Fahim Defense University Promotes Military, Professional Education for Cadets http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18011--marshal-fahim-defense-university-promotes-military-professional-education-for-cadets

Marshal Fahim National Defense University Rector Major General Jalandar Shah Bahnam spoke with TOLOnews on Thursday about the military and professional educations received by military cadets currently enrolled in the academy.

The National Defense University is divided into six branches, including the Command and Staff College, National Military Academy, Officers Academy, Senior Officers Academy, Military School and Foreign Language Institute. But according to General Bahnam, they are all united in their mission to provide the best training and learning opportunities possible for the Afghan National Army (ANA).

The National Military Academy is the largest branches of the university. It was previously located near Kabul International Airport, but was relocated to Qargha in 2012. General Bahnam says that the inspiration for the academy came from the West Point Military Academy in the United States, which is one of the oldest and most renowned military academies in the world.

Administrators say at the moment there are 2,150 cadets getting educations at the National Military Academy, including 31 female students. And over the past six months, 1,650 officers have graduated from the academy.

The head of the National Military Academy, Ghulam Sakhi Maihan, speaks highly of his institution and makes no secret of the confidence he has in the abilities of those educated by it. "The 2,150 graduates learning in the academy could by heavily armed within an hour and if needed they can get to any region of Afghanistan for military purposes," he told TOLOnews. Reportedly, every day, 200 different cadets are armed and detailed to rapid response duties in case of emergency.

Since the Military Academy became part of the Marshal Fahim National Defense University, its students have been provided with nonmilitary education in addition to their military training. The more conventional secondary education curriculum covers six field, including construction engineering, general engineering, computer science, language and culture, law, and management and leadership. Within the military curriculum, there are also fields of concentration, such as training for infantry, armored units, communications, artillery, intelligence and reconnaissance, supplies, finance and military engineering. By their third year, all cadets are expected to have selected an area of concentration.

Officials from the Marshal Fahim University frequently call attention to the fact that there are no foreign advisors conducting the training programs and that the cadets are entirely under the guidance of Afghan experts. With the addition of the new senior officer school and other elite training programs, the university is able to churn out class after class of leaders and service members with advanced skills that will allow for the ANA's education programs to remain in Afghanistan rather than relying on foreign academies and expertise as was the case in the past.

TOLOnews spoke with a female cadet at Marshal Fahim University named Khateema Rezayee from Jaghori district of Ghazni province. "I do not feel fear," she said when asked about the dangers of joining the ANA. "If we do not join these forces, and do not accept the risk, how will we be able to bring stability to our country?"

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:49:44 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18011--marshal-fahim-defense-university-promotes-military-professional-education-for-cadets
Provincial Councils Warn of Nationwide Protest Because of Election Law http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18009--provincial-councils-warn-of-nationwide-protest-because-of-election-law

Members of provincial councils on Thursday voiced concerns on Wolesi Jirga's (Lower House of Parliament) approval of amending four articles of the election law, announcing that the doors of all provincial councils will be shut in protest negating their rights of monitoring.

They believe that Parliament's decision was a hasty one, demanding the president not to sign off on the amended election law.

On Wednesday, the Wolesi Jirga approved a number of amendments to four articles of the election law one being that the provincial council members are banned from monitoring governmental institutions.

In response to the decision, several provincial councils throughout Afghanistan have closed their doors. Provincial councils include: Herat, Kandahar, Nimroz, Balkh, Jawzjan, Sar-e-Pul, Faryab, Samangan, Badakhshan, Logar, Parwan, Zabul, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar, and Nuristan provinces.

"If the monitoring right is snatched from the provincial council then it looks like a body without a soul," head of Kabul's Provincial Council Abdul Rahman said. "Initially, we will try and have our voices heard, but if that fails we will protest."

Other members have warned that they will resort to massive protests if the House does not review the amendments.

"We intend to continue our criticism and invite other members to Kabul to make the final decision," member of Kandahar provincial council Agha Lalai Dastgeeri said.

"Our perspective is that the president should make the final decision, otherwise, doors of provincial councils will remain closed," member of Nimroz provincial council Mohammad Sediq Jahansooz said.

Based on the election law, the provincial councils do not have the right of monitoring government institutions.

The amendments approved by Parliament have been sent to the president's office for a signature of approval.

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:27:26 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18009--provincial-councils-warn-of-nationwide-protest-because-of-election-law
Balkh Female Teacher Sells Her Daughter http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18008-balkh-female-teacher-sells-her-daughter

A female teacher in Mazar-e-Sharif City of Balkh province sold her month old daughter in exchange for 25,000 AFN.

The teacher known as Sabza said that a monthly income of 6,000 AFN, five children, a husband that left his family and poverty left her no choice but to sell her one month old.

"I had to sell my one month old daughter so I could provide food for my four other children," Sabza said. "There is no heating in my house. My children are living in the harsh cold weather."

She currently lives with her weary father and four children as the only breadwinner of the household.

"Everyone makes fun of us," Madina, Sabza's daughter, said. "We go to school hungry and come home hungry." Despite being made fun of, her four older children optimistically said that each will receive an education to serve her, the family and the country in the future.

In an effort to get Sabza's school director's reaction to the case, TOLOnews reporter was told by a school custodian that Sabza had sold her daughter to a colleague.

The school director was unwilling to speak to the reporter.

Meanwhile, the Independent Human Right Commission said that this year in the province of Balkh four children have been sold by their families because of poverty. The commission stresses that if the government does not pay attention to poverty the selling of children will only increase.

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:40:01 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18008-balkh-female-teacher-sells-her-daughter
Taliban Attack in Ghazni Leaves 11 Residents Dead http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18007-taliban-attack-in-ghazni-leaves-11-residents-dead

Residents of Andar district of Ghazni province launched an uprising against a Taliban attack on a police check post Wednesday evening, resulting in the deaths of seven insurgents and 11 residents, local officals said. 

Ghazni Deputy Gov. Mohammad Ali Ahmadi confirmed the incident stating that the attack took place when a group of insurgents attacked a police check post in the district of Andar.

Ahmadi added that six other uprising participants and six Taliban militants were wounded in the clash.

According to Ahmadi, the leader of the uprising, who was once inside the Taliban three years ago, is suspected of paving way for the Taliban and their attack in the district, adding that he has fled the area.

The victims have been taken to a nearby hospital.

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 10:36:29 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18007-taliban-attack-in-ghazni-leaves-11-residents-dead
22 Killed in Zabul Traffic Accident http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18006-22-killed-in-zabul-traffic-accident

At least 22 people died and 30 others injured in a traffic accident in Zabul province in ‎southern Afghanistan on Thursday.

"The incident took place in Qalat City of the province when a bus collided with a fuel truck," Zabul Security Chief Jalali Khan Farahi said, adding that "some of the injured victims are in critical condition."

Women and children are among the victims.

According to provincial government hospital, the bodies of five women and four children have been brought to the hospital.

The bus was traveling from Kabul to Kandahar.

Officials have blamed reckless driving as a reason for the increase in the number of accidents in the recent months.

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 08:33:44 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18006-22-killed-in-zabul-traffic-accident
4 Civilians and Policeman Killed in Two Separate Blasts http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18005-4-civilians-and-policeman-killed-in-two-separate-blasts

In a blast early Thursday morning in Jalalabad City of Nangarhar province near the Afghan-Turk school a child was killed, local officials said.

Provincial spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai confirmed the incident stating that the explosives were placed near the school when the child crossed the area the explosives detonated, killing him on impact.

Police have started investigations and so far no insurgent group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast, Abdulzai added.

Earlier that same day, three civilians and a local policeman were killed in a blast in Laghman province.

The provincial media office in a statement said that the blast took place around 8:30 a.m. local time in the city of Mehtar Lam when a civilian stepped on a roadside mine.

No insurgent group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the Laghman blast yet.

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 07:46:19 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18005-4-civilians-and-policeman-killed-in-two-separate-blasts
FARAKHABAR: 28 January 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/18004-farakhabar-28-january-2015

parliament approves eight ministerial nominees and NDS chief

After two weeks of controversy, the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved eight ministerial nominees out of 18 ministers. The successful nominees are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), nominee for Ministry of Interior (MoI), nominee for Ministry of Public Helath (MoPH), nominee for Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations (MoRR), nominee for Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), nominee for the Ministry of Finance (MoF), nominee for Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), nominee for Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs (MoHIA).

Parliament did not allow five other nominees because of their dual citizenship.

But what standards did the House consider while voting for the ministerial nominees?

In this episode of FARAKHABAR, host Yama Siavash discusses the topic with the following guest:

Abdul Qadir Zazai Watandost: head of the parliamentary commission for foreign affairs.

To watch the program, click here:

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 04:49:41 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/18004-farakhabar-28-january-2015
Gofteman: 28 January 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/programmes/goftman/18003-gofteman-28-january-2015

Ballot boxes placed inside Parliament for vote of confidence for ministerial nominees and NDS chief

Guests:

Dr. Abdul Qayoum Sajjadi: MP

Neelofar Ibrahimi: MP

Tahir Hashimi: University Professor

Amin Farhang: former minister

Themes of discussion:

What standards and priorities were considered by the legislators in today's voting?

How do you see the government's decision in introducing the nominees to occupy the post of ministers?

What is your perception about the decision of the House of Representatives with regard to voting for key government ministries?

How do you see open voting of some legislators?

What is your opinion about the management of the House of Representatives regarding the cabinet?

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}tizK24pfgZw{/youtube}

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 04:47:42 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/programmes/goftman/18003-gofteman-28-january-2015
TAWDE KHABARE: 28 January 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/18002-tawde-khabare-28-january-2015

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved eight ministerial nominees out of 18 ministers. The successful nominees are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), nominee for Ministry of Interior (MoI), nominee for Ministry of Public Helath (MoPH), nominee for Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations (MoRR), nominee for Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), nominee for the Ministry of Finance (MoF), nominee for Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), nominee for Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs (MoHIA).

After Wednesday's session Parliament members left for their winter vacation, leaving the remaining ministries undecided until their return from holidays.

But the question is whether the MPs voted on the basis of qualifications, national interests or were they influenced by the leaders of the National Unity Government?

In this episode of TAWDE KHABARE, host Shahpoor Bakhtiyar discusses the topic with the following guests:

Abdul Rahim Ayoubi: MP

Yanous Fakoor, political analyst

Qudratollah Zaki, MP

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}XEx7_2z4GK8{/youtube}

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 03:51:25 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/18002-tawde-khabare-28-january-2015
Jordan Offers to Free Militant if Islamic State Releases Pilot http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18001-jordan-offers-to-free-militant-if-islamic-state-releases-pilot

Jordan offered Wednesday (Jan 28) to free a female militant in exchange for a Jordanian pilot held by the Islamic State group, which is threatening to execute the airman and a Japanese journalist.

It came after the parents of the hostages made last-ditch pleas for their lives as a deadline set by IS for the release of the would-be suicide bomber approached.

"Jordan is ready to release the prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi if the Jordanian pilot is freed unharmed," Jordanian state television quoted a government spokesman as saying. "From the start, the position of Jordan was to ensure the safety of our son, the pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh," it added.

It made no mention of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. IS, in a video released Tuesday, threatened to kill Kassasbeh and Goto unless Rishawi is freed within 24 hours.

The Japanese government says it believes the IS deadline expires around 10pm Singapore time on Wednesday. Tokyo has been urgently seeking Jordan's help since an IS video released at the weekend said another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, had been beheaded.

Japan has sent Deputy Foreign Minister Yasuhide Nakayama to Amman to head an emergency response team. Rishawi has been on death row since 2006 for her part in triple hotel bombings in Amman that killed 60 people.

Kassasbeh was captured on Dec 24 after his F-16 jet crashed while on a mission against the militants over northern Syria. Jordanian officials have noted that while the IS video threatened Kassasbeh's life, it only mentioned freeing Goto in exchange for Rishawi.

'AT ANY PRICE'

Jordan is among a number of Arab and Western countries that have joined US-led air raids against IS, which has seized large areas in Syria and neighbouring Iraq. The pilot's father Safi Kassasbeh begged the Jordanian government to save his son "at any price", while Goto's mother urged Tokyo to "please save Kenji's life".

An angry Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had earlier blasted the militants' 24-hour deadline.

"This was an utterly despicable act, and I am appalled," Abe told reporters. "The government, in this extremely serious situation, has been asking for the Jordanian government's cooperation towards the early release of Mr Goto, and this policy remains unchanged," he told ministers.

Goto's mother, Junko Ishido, was at Japan's parliament Wednesday in a failed bid to meet with Abe. After being refused an appointment with the premier, she issued a plea for her son's life through assembled media. "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe," Ishido said. "Please continue your utmost efforts in negotiating with the Jordanian government until the last minute. There is not much time left."

Her anguish was mirrored in Jordan where Kassasbeh's father and several dozen members of the family's Karak tribe held a demonstration outside government headquarters in Amman late Tuesday.

They held his picture and a slogan reading: "We are all Maaz." "We have only one request, Maaz's return at any price," Safi Kassasbeh was quoted by local media as saying.

RESPECTED WAR REPORTER

After initially setting a US$200 million ransom for the release of Yukawa and Goto, the IS group, which rules swathes of Syria and Iraq with a extreme form of Islam, changed tack and demanded Jordan free Rishawi. In the latest video, Goto, a respected war reporter, is seen holding a photograph of Kassasbeh, while a voiceover, purportedly spoken by the Japanese hostage, warns that Jordan is blocking his release.

However, any suggestion of a swap will likely face resistance from the United States. Asked about recent developments, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said earlier this week a prisoner exchange was "in the same category" as paying a ransom.

The IS group has previously beheaded two US reporters, an American aid worker and two British aid workers, and committed numerous atrocities including mass executions, but the killing of Yukawa was the first time a Japanese national has been targeted.

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 03:09:37 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18001-jordan-offers-to-free-militant-if-islamic-state-releases-pilot
TOLOnews 6pm News 28 January 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18000-tolonews-6pm-news-28-january-2015- Top news in this bullitine

Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have pushed back militants from the district of Chak in central Maidan Wardak province after 13 years under Taliban control. This marks another achievement since assuming the security responsibility from their foreign counterparts.

To watch the whole bullitine, Click Here:

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 The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament) approved the proposed amendments in four articles of the election law with majority votes on Tuesday as part of the promises to bring reforms in the country's electoral system.

The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) approved of only nine out of 19 cabinet nominees on Wednesday, after almost four months of delay. Unlike other Parliament sessions, 243 MPs were present to cast their vote of confidence in favor or against the ministerial nominees and the National Directorate Security (NDS) nominee.

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:27:17 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18000-tolonews-6pm-news-28-january-2015-
ANSF Gain Control of District Chak After 13 years http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17999-ansf-gain-control-of-district-chak-after-13-years

Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have pushed back militants from the district of Chak in central Maidan Wardak province after 13 years under Taliban control. This marks another achievement since assuming the security responsibility from their foreign counterparts.

Chak was considered the Taliban's provincial center over the past 13 years. The militants had established several check posts in the area, according to ANSF officials.

"Previously, even we were unable to transfer our supplies through air because of the worsened situation, but now security is ensured here," said Noorzai, a police officer.

Security officials said the Taliban-run court where the group used to organize public trials was now the check post of security forces.
The local police forces have also played a significant role in pushing the militants back from the district.

"Taliban's oppression forced us to get together against them," said Lotfullah, a local police commander. "Initially we were only 50 people who promised to sacrifice our lives for the safety of the citizens," adding that the Taliban hung people from the trees.

Praising the improved security situation of the district, local elders called on the government to pay serious attention to the reconstruction of the district.

"There was no government in the past 13 years," a local elder Mohammad Asif said. "Now that the security situation has improved we want the government to pay attention to our living situation and restore our power dam."

After the end of the 13-year NATO combat mission in Afghanistan, the ANSF has now taken over the full security responsibility of the country. The limited number of alliance forces staying in Afghanistan will be leading their "Resolute Support" mission aimed at training, advising and assisting the Afghan troops.

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:25:11 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17999-ansf-gain-control-of-district-chak-after-13-years
Wolesi Jirga Approves Four Amendments in Election Law http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17998-wolesi-jirga-approves-four-amendments-in-election-law

The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament) approved the proposed amendments in four articles of the election law with majority votes on Tuesday as part of the promises to bring reforms in the country's electoral system.

Based on the new law, only those will be allowed to run for Parliamentary election that either hold a Bachelor's Degree or have been a MP in the past.

According to the amendment in another article of the election law, the selective members of the Senate should resign from their seats before they run for the House of Representatives elections.

"With majority votes and only 18 votes against the selective members of Senate should leave their positions before running for the House of Representatives elections," said Speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi.

Furthermore, the MPs approved the law interpreting that the ballots must be counted in the same polling centers.

In addition, the lawmakers approved that the duration of the complaint registration should be extended from 48 to 96 hours.

The mentioned amendments have been brought following the promises made by President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah after the country's longest presidential election was allegedly marred by massive fraud.

Following huge criticisms by the civil society groups and the citizens, both government leaders said that electoral reforms was their top agenda.

Stressing the need for reforms in the structure and formations of the electoral bodies, the electoral monitoring organizations warn of further crises if the coming parliamentary election is held within the same structure.

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:22:52 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17998-wolesi-jirga-approves-four-amendments-in-election-law
MCN Plans to Eliminate Fields Cultivated with Opium http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17997-mcn-plans-to-eliminate-fields-cultivated-with-opium

The Acting Minister for the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) Mohammad Haroon Rashid on Wednesday reported that 224,000 hectares of land across the country have been used to produce poppy in 2014, but MCN has succeeded in removing up to 24,000 hectares of poppy nationwide.

"On the basis of the drug eradication campaign, this year we plan to eradicate 10 percent of the poppy cultivation," Rashid said. "In some districts there are issues of commitment and provincial officials who are not dedicated in the fight against drugs."

Meanwhile, a number of district governors have said that drug production will continue in Afghanistan unless local officials end their support for smugglers.
"Unfortunately, in some cases drugs are transferred from one area to another inside vehicles of security forces, which officials support," Rostaq District Governor of Takhar province Abdul Manaf Faizi said.

Although, the Afghan government in joint cooperation with the international community has spent large amounts of financial resources in the past 13 years to eliminate the production and smuggling, Afghanistan still constitutes as the world's number one producer of opium.

According to statistics, $7.6 billion was spent in Afghanistan to combat the drug production, but despite efforts poppy is still being cultivated in at least 17 provinces.

"This year there has been seven casualties in the fight against drugs and 19 police officers were wounded, with majority still under treatment," Gen. Khalil Bakhtyar, the general director of operations at the Ministry of Interior, said.

Money received from drug smuggling is considered an important source of funding for the insurgents.

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:55:37 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17997-mcn-plans-to-eliminate-fields-cultivated-with-opium
Parliament Approves 9 of 19 Cabinet Nominees http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17996-parliament-approves-9-of-19-cabinet-nominees

The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) approved of only nine out of 19 cabinet nominees on Wednesday, after almost four months of delay.

Unlike other Parliament sessions, 243 MPs were present to cast their vote of confidence in favor or against the ministerial nominees and the National Directorate Security (NDS) nominee.

Each cabinet nominee must have attained 122 votes in favor to become a member of the National Unity Government's cabinet.

The results of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah's picks are as follows:

Introduced by Ghani:

Nominee for the Ministry of Finance Eklil Hakimi was approved: 128 votes in favor, 88 against, 21 blank, and eight invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs Faiz Mohammd Osmani was approved: 160 votes in favor, 61 against, 17 blank, and five invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Mines Daud Shah Saba was approved: 146 votes in favor, 74 against, 13 blank, 10 invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Higher Education Khatera Afghan was rejected: 71 votes in favor, 146 against, 21 blank, and three invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Borders and Tribal Affairs Qamaruddin Shinwari was rejected: 102 votes in favor, 112 against, 22 blank, and seven invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Public Works Abbas Basir was rejected: 85 votes in favor, 131 against, 19 blank, and eight invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation Faizullah Zaki was rejected: 81 votes in favor, 133 against, 25 blank, and four invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Defense Sher Mohammad Karimi was rejected: 96 votes in favor, 112 against, 26 blank, and seven invalid.

Introduced by Abdullah:

Nominee for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani was approved: 151 votes in favor, 70 against, 12 blank, and nine invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Interior Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Ulumi was approved: 131 votes in favor, 91 against, 15 blank, and six invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi was approved: 134 votes in favor, 87 against, 17 blank, and five invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development Nasir Durrani was approved: 145 votes in favor, 71 against, 19 blank, and five invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Public Health Ferozuddin Feroz was approved: 170 votes in favor, 54 against, 12 blank, and four invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Economy Sardar Mohammad Rahman Oghli was rejected: 104 votes in favor, 103 against, 27 blank, and nine invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Commerce and Industries Sardar Mohammad Rahimi was rejected: 111 votes in favor, 102 against, 20 blank, and nine invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Education Mohammad Gul Zalmai Younusi was rejected: 90 votes in favor, 123 against, 20 blank, and nine invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Water and Energy Abdul Rahman Salahi was rejected: 106 votes in favor, 109 against, 24 blank, and four invalid.

Nominee for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Barna Karimi was rejected: 115 votes in favor, 97 against, 26 blank, and five invalid.

NDS nominee Rahmatullah Nabil, who was an independent candidate, won the Parliament confidence vote with 154 votes in favor, 58 against, 22 blank, and nine invalid.

Upon hearing the announcement of the eight ministerial nominees and NDS Chief approved by Parliament, President Ashraf Ghani welcomed their decision. 

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:51:44 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17996-parliament-approves-9-of-19-cabinet-nominees
Female Police Officer Killed in Herat Blast http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17995-female-police-officer-killed-in-herat-blast

A female police officer was killed and a policeman was injured in a bomb blast in western Herat province, local officials said.

The incident took place Wednesday when the explosives placed inside a police check post exploded in Islam Qala road, local security sources confirmed.

The sources added that investigations are underway to know how the explosives were taken and placed at the check post.

No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast so far.

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:46:46 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17995-female-police-officer-killed-in-herat-blast
Parliament Approves National Budget http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17994-parliament-approves-national-budget

The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament) approved the national budget for the next fiscal year with majority of votes on Wednesday simultaneously suspending the budget allocated for the offices of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah and economic advisory.

The budget for the next Afghan fiscal year—beginning 21 March 2015 to 20 March 2016—received 132 out of 152 votes in favor.

Approving the fiscal budget, the House of Representatives suspended the budget for the CEO and economic advisory offices unless the formations of the newly-established offices are approved by the House.

Furthermore, the House rejected former President Hamid Karzai's decree to pay the salaries of his advisers for five years after the end of their tenure.

The approved 436.172 billion (AFS) national budget includes 283.486 billion for the ordinary budget and 152.686 billion for the development budget.

Initially, the House had rejected the budget for what they called "unfair and unbalanced" fund allocations.

Another reason MPs had rejected the budget was the withdrawal of 443 incomplete projects, something the MPs called a wastage of millions of dollars.

The approved budget now includes all the incomplete projects; however, no new development project has been considered for the next year.

Head of the Wolesi Jirga's Finance Commission, Amir Khan Yaar, said 135 billion of the budget would be paid from the domestic revenues, while the rest of them would be paid from foreign aids.

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:19:52 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17994-parliament-approves-national-budget
FARAKHABAR: 27 January 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17993-farakhabar-27-january-2015

All preparations for the distribution of electronic ID cards have been prepared, but for unknown reasons the distribution has not begun.

Director General of the Electronic National ID Cards Project, Humayun Muhtat said that a letter has been sent to the national security council in regards to the matter, but to no prevail.

The director warns that if the ID cards are not distributed soon the Ministry of Finance donors will cancel the project.

In this episode of FARAKHABAR, host Yama Siavash discusses the topic with the following guests:

Humayun Muhtat, Director General of the Electronic National ID Cards Project

Farhad Azimi, MP

To watch the program, click here:

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 03:37:58 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17993-farakhabar-27-january-2015
BA REWAYATE DIGAR: Findings Reveal that Afghanistan's Fragile Economy has Lost one third of its ... http://www.tolonews.com/en/ba-rewayate-digar/17992-ba-rewayate-digar-findings-reveal-that-afghanistans-fragile-economy-has-lost-one-third-of-its-value-in-the-past-year

Guests:

Azaraksha Hafizi: Head of the International Affairs department of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries

Feroz Masjidi: University Professor

Wafiullah Eftekhar: head of Afghanistan Investment Supporting Agency (AISA)

Ramazan Juma Zada: MP

Theme of discussion: Simultaneously with the drawdown of foreign troops, Afghanistan's economy has become vulnerable. New findings show that one third of the country's economic values has dropped over the past year. Apparently, the reduction of international aids and investments has been two main factors behind the decreasing economy.

Statistics show that Afghanistan is receiving billions of dollars of financial aids from the international community directly and indirectly. But with the end of the NATO combat mission, job recession and economic conundrum is on the rise and the government is still facing problems to ensure that salary is paid on time.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 03:35:17 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/ba-rewayate-digar/17992-ba-rewayate-digar-findings-reveal-that-afghanistans-fragile-economy-has-lost-one-third-of-its-value-in-the-past-year
TAWDE KHABARE: NUG Cabinet http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17991-tawde-khabare-nug-cabinet-

In this episode of TAWDE KHABARE host Yama Alimi discusses about the nominated cabinet ministers with the following guests:

Raihana Azad, MP

Simeen Barakzai, MP

Helai Arshad, MP

Maryam Kofi, MP

To watch the program, click here:

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 03:19:48 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17991-tawde-khabare-nug-cabinet-
Islamists' 24-hour Hostage Deadline 'utterly despicable': Japan PM http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/17990-islamists-24-hour-hostage-deadline-utterly-despicable-japan-pm

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday slammed as "utterly despicable" an Islamist militant threat to kill a Japanese hostage within 24 hours unless Jordan releases a jihadi bomber.

"This was an utterly despicable act, and I am appalled," the Japanese prime minister told reporters. "While we are in an extremely severe situation... the government is united to work for the early release of Mr Kenji Goto."

"The government, in this extremely severe situation, has been asking for the Jordanian government's cooperation towards the early release of Mr Goto, and this policy remains unchanged."

He urged ministers to do their utmost to resolve the issue and called on them to "take all possible measures to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals at home and abroad."

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 03:02:14 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/17990-islamists-24-hour-hostage-deadline-utterly-despicable-japan-pm
TOLOnews 6pm News 27 January 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/17989-tolonews-6pm-news-27-january-2015 Top news in this Bulletin:

Giving up their dual citizenship Noor-ul-Haq Ulumi and Salahuddin Rabbani were voted in favor by majority of the Parliament members to be reintroduced to the House to present their future plans as ministers.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on Monday the suspension of one of its largest nonprofit contractors, International Relief and Development (IRD), after the agency's investigations found misconduct and mismanagement of taxpayer money.

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Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:05:19 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/17989-tolonews-6pm-news-27-january-2015
Distribution of New ID Cards Faces Delay of Reasons Unknown http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17988-distribution-of-new-id-cards-faces-delay-of-reasons-unknown

Despite all preparations having been taken for the distribution of long-awaited electronic ID cards among the Afghan public, project leaders say none have yet been issued, and the reason for the delay remains unclear.

According to the Director General of the Electronic National ID Cards Project, Humayun Muhtat, following the publishing of a new population registration law outlining the legal parameters and functions of the new standardized ID cards two weeks ago, it was expected that distribution would begin promptly.

"Two and a half weeks ago, the Ministry of Justice's population registration law was published in its official gazette and on the same day we sent a letter to the National Security Council of Afghanistan and asked for permission [to start distribution]," Mr. Muhtat told TOLOnews on Tuesday. "So far we are waiting for the Security Council's response and we have not received any answer."

The Director General of the project, which is intended to help make elections run smoother as well as help Afghan law enforcement and security institutions, warned that failure to launch distribution soon could cause the funders of the project to back out. "If this situation continues, it can certainly be said that the program donors and the Ministry of Finance will be deterred from this program, and then we have to fire our staff," Muhtat said.

Nasrat Rahimi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, has said that planning for the distribution of the new ID cards has been in place for over a year. "The law has been signed and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology made all technical plans and arrangements a year and half ago," he said.

With parliamentary elections rapidly approaching, many in the public wonder if the ID cards will be distributed in enough time to be widely used. "The distribution of electronic ID cards is a serious need, especially for transparent elections," a Kabul resident named Ahmadullah told TOLOnews.

Regarding why the National Security Council has failed to issue a response to leaders of the project granting them permission to move ahead with distribution, a spokesman of Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Asif Ashna, cited the sluggish cabinet confirmation process. "We are waiting for the national unity government cabinet to be complete and with the beginning of electoral reform the ID cards distribution will start," Ashna said.

The electronic ID card project was launched under former President Hamid Karzai over 18 months ago.

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Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:23:19 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17988-distribution-of-new-id-cards-faces-delay-of-reasons-unknown
Wave of Judicial Assassinations Prompts Fears, Calls for Action http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17987-wave-of-judicial-assassinations-prompts-fears-calls-for-action

Successive assassinations of Afghan judicial officials over the past few weeks have fed fears about deteriorating security and the Kabul government's inability to protect even high-ranking public servants based in the capital.

On Monday, a group of unknown armed men shot dead a judge of the Kabul Primary Court while he was driving to his office. In late December, unidentified armed men also shot and killed the head of the Supreme Court Secretariat near his house in Kabul.

The Association of Afghan Lawyers, along with other members of the legal community, have expressed major concerns about the safety of judicial and legal authorities, suggesting that security threats would undermine the integrity of their work. "If a judge doesn't feel safe, it will be difficult for him to conduct a transparent legal session," Afghanistan Lawyers Association Deputy Abdul Subhan Misbah said on Tuesday.

Ezzatullah, 36, was a rising judge and the father of eight children before he was mercilessly murdered on his way to work Monday. His family has called on government to arrest the perpetrators and ensure justice is served. "They killed my father and now I ask the government to arrest the killers and hand them over to justice," a son of the slain judge named Bashir Ahmad said.

Kabul Police officials have claimed that man suspected of playing a role in the killing has been detained and questioned. Reportedly, the man already confessed to the crime. It remains unclear if the man, along with any potential accomplices, acted out of support for anti-government insurgents or for another reason, though police officials referred to him as a "terrorist."

"The terrorist has been arrested and is in the Kabul Police Department," Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said. "He was carrying a gun with a silencer."

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Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:08:52 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17987-wave-of-judicial-assassinations-prompts-fears-calls-for-action
13 Suspects Detained over Alleged Link with IS Militants http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17986-13-suspects-detained-over-alleged-link-with-is-militants

At least 13 suspected militants have been arrested over having alleged connections with the Islamic State (IS) fighters in central Parwan province, said a provincial security source on condition of anonymity.

The suspects were detained Monday night in Bagram district when a special team of security forces were sent from the capital Kabul to conduct the raid, the source said, adding the detainees have been shifted to Kabul.

"The intelligence reports and information shared with the security forces indicate that these people wanted to affiliate with the terrorist groups who are trying to operate under different names in our country," the Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said, referring to the rumors about the emergence of IS fighters who have seized some large cities in Syria and Iraq.

The rumors about the existence of IS militants in Afghanistan were increased after some local officials of southern Helmand and Nimruz provinces acknowledged sightings of the newly-emerged militants.

Earlier, the MoI officials rejected the presence of IS fighters who have recently topped the headlines in the west, saying they were the same Taliban and Haqqani groups who have now changed their physical appearance to gain more points.

According to military experts and analysts, these new militants were the combination of Pakistani, Afghan and Central Asian insurgents that needed the attention of the government.

"One thing that is more concerning about Daesh [IS] is that they recruit from all sects unlike the Taliban," military analyst Javed Kohistani said, adding those who have not even received religious education are also recruited in the group.

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Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:38:50 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17986-13-suspects-detained-over-alleged-link-with-is-militants
Profile: Afghan National Police Officer Mohammad Ali http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17985-profile-afghan-national-police-officer-mohammad-ali

Mohammad Ali is an officer in the Afghan National Police and a member of an elite rapid response force. In an interview with TOLOnews, he spoke about what led him to join the police force and what motivates him to sacrifice his life for his country.

Only 36 years old, Mohammad Ali has participated in more than 20 different counterinsurgency operations, including as a member of the rapid response teams that responded to high-profile terrorist attacks in Abdul Haq Square, Darul Aman road and the Kabul Inter Continental Hotel. He says he has wanted to serve his country since he was a schoolboy.

"From my school days, it was my desire to be a soldier and I had motivations to serve the country and the system and defend my country with patriotism," Mohammad Ali told TOLOnews. "I am always prepared to take part in the operations to serve my country; even if I am tired, I am ready."

During the operation against Taliban and Haqqani Network terrorists who attacked the Inter-Continental Hotel back in 2011, Mohammad Ali suffered an injury yet continued to fight in the battle undeterred. His evident bravery is balanced by a humble sense of need to continue to learn and improve his capacities as a policeman.

"At any time, operations have their difficulties," Ali readily admits. "For me, the battle field is like a class - if you participate in the operation with an open mind and interest you will be successful."

While Ali says he enjoys shooting guns and learning about weaponry, the pride he gets in wearing his uniform with the Afghan flag on it is what he identifies as the greatest part of his job. On the other hand, though, he describes the moments in which he has lost friends and colleagues in the field of battle as the toughest times of his life.

Ali's commander, Mirwais Taraki, maintains his men are some of the most well-trained in all the Afghan security forces. "If the soldiers eliminate the enemies rapidly, it means they have major war skills that were taught to them by the personnel of the police rapid force," he told TOLOnews.

The ANP's rapid response force specialize in swift action in sites and areas targeted by terrorists, and are charged with reestablishing law and order to some of the most restive places in Afghanistan.

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Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:30:36 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17985-profile-afghan-national-police-officer-mohammad-ali
70 Taliban Insurgents Killed in Kunduz Operation http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17984-70-taliban-insurgents-killed-in-kunduz-operation

In the past five days, at least 70 Taliban insurgents were killed in an Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) clearing operation in northern Kunduz province, local officials said.

Sixty-five other insurgents were injured during the operations.

The operation was launched in Imam Sahib district of the province where more than 30 villages have been cleared of insurgents, spokesman for the Provincial Police Chief Sarwar Hussaini said.

"The operation is currently underway in the district to clear the area of insurgents," Hussaini said. "During the raids 10 ANSF forces have been injured."

He added that a military operation has also been launched in Khaja Ghar district of northern Takhar province, which borders with Imam Sahib district of Kunduz.

However, the Taliban have not yet commented on the operation.

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Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:47:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17984-70-taliban-insurgents-killed-in-kunduz-operation
Largest Nonprofit Contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq Suspended http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17983-largest-nonprofit-contractor-in-afghanistan-and-iraq-suspended

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on Monday the suspension of one of its largest nonprofit contractors, International Relief and Development (IRD), after the agency's investigations found misconduct and mismanagement of taxpayer money.

IRD known for its humanitarian projects in the world's most dangerous places has been under investigation by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) and the FBI for allegedly mischarging millions of dollars in overhead costs, according to a report written by The Washington Post.

"The Agency's review revealed serious misconduct in IRD's performance, management, internal controls and present responsibility," USAID said in a statement. "USAID has a zero tolerance policy for mismanagement of American taxpayer funds and will take every measure at our disposal to recover these funds."

The Washington Post reported that "since 2007, USAID has awarded more than $2.4 billion in contracts and cooperative agreements to IRD," adding "several of those projects have been the subjects of investigations following allegations of waste and fraud."

One of the criticisms raised toward IRD was "providing lavish salaries and millions in bonuses to its employees, including the husband-and-wife team who ran the organization, as well as their family members."

However, the nonprofit is permitted to complete ongoing projects, but new federal contracts have been blocked after the suspension took effect immediately.

IRD President Roger Ervin, who took charge of the nonprofit just six week ago, hopes to continue work with USAID after bringing changes to the organization.

"I take this as an opportunity to make some changes, and many of them are already underway," Ervin said. "I think we can show in short order that we can demonstrate that we are a good service provider for USAID, and I think we can address this pretty quickly."

IRD was founded in 1998 by an ordained minister, Arthur B. Keys, and his wife Jasna Basaric-Keys who have been reported in the Washington Post to have earned more than $5.9 million in compensation between 2008 and 2012 and that their daughter and Basaric-Keys's brother had also received more than $1.3 million as well.

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Tue, 27 Jan 2015 10:42:04 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17983-largest-nonprofit-contractor-in-afghanistan-and-iraq-suspended