TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Tue, 28 Apr 2015 15:55:58 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) TOLOnews 6pm News 28 April 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/19284-tolonews-6pm-news-28-april-2015 Top news in this bulletin:

After the creation of the National Unity Government (NUG), critics believed India might have been pushed to the margins in Afghanistan's foreign policy stance.However, President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday dispelled such fears when he delivered a strong message of intent of long term cooperation between Afghanistan and India.

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 Local officials and independent analysts have said some 5,000 foreign insurgents, including much of their leadership, are currently residing in northern Afghanistan. The militants, moved recently from Kunar and Nuristan provinces, have been blamed for the spike in violence seen in a number of provinces in recent weeks.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 15:28:14 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/19284-tolonews-6pm-news-28-april-2015
Families of 31 Hostages Claim Two Passengers Killed http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19281-families-of-31-hostages-claim-two-passengers-killed

The families of 31 hostages claim to have heard Tuesday that two of the hostages have been killed in southern Zabul province.

The families of 31 bus passengers kidnapped in February on the Kabul-Kandahar highway told TOLOnews that they had been informed by the elders and residents of Zabul province and Jaghori district of Ghazni that two of the hostages had been killed.

The families, who set up protest camps in Zarnigar Park in Kabul about three weeks ago, stated that they had no further information on the identity of the two hostages or on whether they were killed by the kidnappers or by security forces during a rescue operation.

Government officials have also not confirmed nor denied these reports.

"We found out that two of the hostages have been killed," said Ali Ahmad, whose brother is among the 31 abductees.

The protesting families warned that they would not cope with the death of their loved ones.

"If we find our passengers dead after two months, it will be very dangerous and we will not remain calm," Nematullah, whose father is among the 31 hostages, warned.

The thirty-one passengers were travelling along Kabul-Kandahar highway when kidnapped on February 24 by armed masked men who stopped their vehicle in Shah Joy district in southern Zabul.

The driver and eyewitnesses told TOLOnews that the unknown kidnappers drove the passengers away to Khak Afghan district – where security forces have now launched operations to rescue them.

"I don't know where my sons are," said a mother whose two sons are among the kidnapped passengers.

The families have accused government of doing nothing to secure the release of their loved ones – something rejected by President Ashraf Ghani who said during his Iran trip that so far $6 million USD has been spent on tracking the hostages.

The protesting families complain that Ghani is not keeping his promise he made to the families at a meeting about four weeks ago at the Presidential Palace.

"At the meeting of council of ministers, President Ghani ordered the NDS chief Rahmatullah Nabil to keep delivering progress reports to the families of the hostages after every three days, but now 25 days have passed but there isn't any report," said Zahir, who is waiting for his brother.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 15:05:40 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19281-families-of-31-hostages-claim-two-passengers-killed
Influx of Foreign Militants Blamed for Uptick in Violence http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19280-influx-of-foreign-militants-blamed-for-uptick-in-violence

Local officials and independent analysts have said some 5,000 foreign insurgents, including much of their leadership, are currently residing in northern Afghanistan. The militants, moved recently from Kunar and Nuristan provinces, have been blamed for the spike in violence seen in a number of provinces in recent weeks.

Local officials reported the presence of leadership elements for foreign insurgents from Uzbekistan, Chechnya, the Arabian Peninsula, Turkmenistan and China's Uighur community.

While security officials from the ministries of defense and interior confirmed that foreign fighters are largely behind much of the recent turbulence in traditionally less restive parts of the country, they said there remains no conclusive intelligence regarding their numbers.

Nevertheless, Jawed Kohistani, a political analyst who spoke with TOLOnews, spoke freely about the estimated size and suspected origin of the foreign militants. "Approximately, there are between 4,000 to 5,000 foreign fighters who live with their families in the border areas, from Durand to the North," Kohistani said on Tuesday. "Most of these families, which are supported by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, are familiar with warfare," he added.

Based on reports by local officials, Faryab, Sar-e Pul, Kunduz, Badakhshan, parts of Takhar, Maidan Wardak and Jowzjan are the northern and north eastern provinces where the largest foreign fighter contingents are said to be based with their families. The insurgent influx has been attributed to a militant pipeline from Northern Waziristan to Kunar and Nuristan provinces, and into Afghanistan's north through the borders of Zabul and Ghazni.

Still, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) resisted sharing details when asked about the possible location and origin of the foreign fighters. "We found out from people that foreign fighters are present in northern provinces, but investigative work is ongoing regarding the location and how the foreign fighters came to these areas," ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqqi said.

The surge in militant activity in recent months has not been isolated to the north, with fighting raging between the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and anti-government militants in Helmand, Ghazni, Zabul, Maidan Wardak in the south and Farah and Badghis in the west. Security officials have reported clashing primarily with foreign fighters and not Afghan Taliban.

According to some local reports, the families of the foreign insurgents have been involved in the fighting, propaganda and explosives preparation.

While the governor of Ghazni has gone so far as to claim 150,000 insurgents have moved from Pakistan with their families to a few districts of this province, specifically Nawa and Nahwar, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has denied the reported figures and refrained from presenting alternative intelligence.

"No one can deny that the battles are against foreign insurgents, but it is not the number that has been said," MoD deputy spokesman Dawlat Waziri told TOLOnews.

One rationale analysts provided for the mass militant migration was the Pakistani military's offensive in North Waziristan and other places along the tribal belt in 2014.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:45:17 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19280-influx-of-foreign-militants-blamed-for-uptick-in-violence
Ghani Pledges Long Term Cooperation With Delhi http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19279-ghani-pledges-long-term-cooperation-with-delhi

After the creation of the National Unity Government (NUG), critics believed India might have been pushed to the margins in Afghanistan's foreign policy stance.

However, President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday dispelled such fears when he delivered a strong message of intent of long term cooperation between Afghanistan and India.

Ghani, who arrived on a three-day state visit Monday night, met with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. Together, the two leaders put flowers on the grave of Mahatma Gandhi, and then went into talks for over two hours with Indian politicians and officials.

In a joint press conference with Modi after the talks, Ghani said that Afghanistan has opened a new page of relations with India and is optimistic about India's efforts with Afghanistan's security.

Modi said that Afghanistan will never be forgotten and that security would only help the country. Military aid, efforts of bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan and the creation of a trade route through to Chabahar port were among the topics mentioned by Modi.

Ghani's trip to India comes at a time when India's concerns mount over its role in the region. Analysts have said that India is ready to equip Afghanistan Security Forces if asked and to help train members in India if needed.

"People of Afghanistan are looking for a peaceful future full of prosperity and they are winning against major challenges. The relations between India and Afghanistan is not only relations between two countries and two governments, but it's about the connection between the hearts of people. We value the values of Afghan people and their good intentions. All the people of India want a stable, peaceful and developed Afghanistan," says Narendra Modi.

"A peaceful and developed Afghanistan is important for the security of the region. We started a new season in our relations 14 years ago. We will continue this route, and of course now with its new president and CEO Abdullah Abdullah. Our commitment is ... a solid commitment," added Modi.

"I announce my support for President Ghani's views on peace and stability in Afghanistan. We have a joint interest in the Afghan-led peace process. This process must be within the framework of Afghanistan's constitution and must be far from the shadow of violence. The social and economic achievements of the past 13 years must not be sacrificed, the rights of all members of society, especially women must be taken into consideration," he said.

"The condition of this process will depend on the strict support from the neighbors of Afghanistan, who have connections with terrorist groups. We consider terror and extremism in Afghanistan, a threat to ourselves as well," says Modi.

"We believe that direct access for Afghanistan to the markets in India and other countries in Central Asia will turn Afghanistan into a central point for connecting Asia and Central Asia. We are ready for Afghan trucks to directly come to India and we welcome them. We are also ready to sign the trade agreement with Afghanistan and Pakistan," added Modi.

"In order to improve the capacity of Afghanistan's security forces, we are pleased to announce our recent donation of three Cheetal choppers to Afghanistan. But it is important for the international community to cooperate with Afghanistan. Indian will always be on your side, shoulder to shoulder," added Modi.

Addressing the media, Ghani said: "Our views today are based on the reality that Afghanistan is the point of connecting Central Asia with the South Asia.

Resources and energy from Central Asia will be imported to South Asia, which will need gas pipes, railways and roads. So we welcome your emphasis on India signing the trade agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan and other countries."

"The creation of a National Unity Government shows the hope of Afghan people for unity. Mr. Prime Minister, our main goal is peace. Because there is the shadow of terror over our children, women and youth, they are not like other people of the world," says Ghani.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:28:40 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19279-ghani-pledges-long-term-cooperation-with-delhi
ANA Troops Bring Kunduz Battle Under Control http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19278-ana-troops-bring-kunduz-battle-under-control

Reinforcement troops sent in to assist local Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers in Kunduz province on Tuesday have managed to bring the situation largely under control.

Reporting from the frontline, TOLOnews journalist Karim Amini said that overall fighting has subsided and that insurgents are retreating.

He said in the past five days over 100 insurgents have been killed and more than 100 injured. Among the dead is Taliban commander Mullah Mustafa, who led this battle.

Officials on the frontline said that fighting has stopped in Gor Tepa – the scene of the flare up. In addition, security forces are winning the battle, said officials.

Over 2,000 additional troops were deployed to the area on Monday and after a day-long delay launched an offensive operation to help troops.

Ground forces were also assisted by a number of helicopters in Tuesday's offensive.

President Ashraf Ghani on Monday delayed his trip to India for nearly three hours and met with top security officials and the Resolute Support Mission US Gen. John Campbell over the issue of Kunduz amid rising concern that the province could fall into the hands of the Taliban if decisive action was not taken.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:53:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19278-ana-troops-bring-kunduz-battle-under-control
Kabul Iron Plants Face Closure Due to Ongoing Power Outages http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19277-kabul-iron-plants-face-closure-due-to-ongoing-power-outages

The Afghanistan Industrialists Union on Tuesday reported that at least 15 iron melting factories in Kabul have closed down due to power shortages and the smuggling of raw materials to neighboring countries.

According to officials, several iron melting and iron processing companies are currently running at a loss. Factory owners have voiced concerns over the possible loss of their investments in the wake of ongoing problems.

The industrialists claim that over the past year, only 10 factories out of 25 are still open. Fifteen have closed their doors.

"The fundamental issue is that these factories are now on the verge of financial ruin while others have closed down. Although raw materials are available in the country, the reason is that these materials are cheaply smuggled via our southern borders to neighboring countries," head of Afghanistan Industrialists Union Abdul Karim Arifi said.

"Factories are on the verge of collapse. Between $1 million USD and $5 million USD has been invested in iron melting factories. These are public assets which now face losing everything," a factory owner Khan Wazir said.

According to factory owners, Pakistan and Iran – with their dumping policies - have monopolized the iron industry in Afghanistan and local industries do not have the capacity to compete with them. Afganistan requires nearly three million tones of processed iron a year but only 100,000 tons of iron is processed domestically.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:15:22 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19277-kabul-iron-plants-face-closure-due-to-ongoing-power-outages
KANKASH: Concerns Mount Over Kunduz Crisis http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/kankash/19276-kankash-concerns-mount-over-kunduz-crisis

Concerns over the possible collapse of Kunduz province into the hands of the armed opponents is fast gathering pace as insurgents have carried out large+scale attacks on a number of areas over the past few days.

In this episode of Kankash, host Fawad Aman discusses the topic with the following guests,

Dawood Kalakani, MP
Mohammad Afzal Shamil, senator
Mohammad Karim Amini, Tolonews reporter

To watch the program, click here:

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:53:21 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/kankash/19276-kankash-concerns-mount-over-kunduz-crisis
TAWDE KHABARE: Ghani Visits India http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/19275-tawde-khabare-ghani-visits-india

President Ashraf Ghani left on an official three-day state visit to India late Monday where he is expected to meet with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Congress President Sonia Gandhi among other senior officials.

Included on his agenda will be discussions on matters of security, economic ties and regional issues.

Meanwhile, members of parliament and analysts have hailed the president's trip to India as a good opportunity to expand Kabul-New Delhi relations and to remove any concerns regarding the Kabul-Islamabad relations.

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discuss the topic with the following guests:

• Massoud Torishtwal, professor at the University
• Gharzai Khowakhzhe, military analyst
• Faiz Mohammad Zaland, professor at the University

To watch the whole program, click here:

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:42:28 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/19275-tawde-khabare-ghani-visits-india
Afghanistan and India Bound by a Million Ties: Ghani http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19274-afghanistan-and-india-bound-by-a-million-ties-ghani

Highlighting the importance of relations between Afghanistan and India, President Ashraf Ghani, who is in India on a three-day state visit, said that the two countries were bound by a million ties.

"We are the only countries that need no introduction," Ghani said Tuesday at a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The ties between Afghanistan and India are engraved in our landscapes, from the haunting, empty frames where the giant Buddhas of Bamyan once stood to the remnants of Hindu temples that stud the Afghan countryside, to Sufi shrines and minarets forming the cultural heritage of India," Ghani said.

Ghani emphasized that Kabul and New Delhi could build their future based on their historic relations.

Modi, who came to power last May, also touched on the historic relations between the two countries.

"The relationship between India and Afghanistan is not just between two countries or governments. It is a timeless link of human hearts," Modi noted.

Pointing to his country's contribution to Afghanistan's reconstruction over the past decade, Modi assured Ghani to continue assistance to rebuilding the war-ravaged country.

"The partnership has blossomed despite barriers of geography and hurdles of politics. We will continue this journey in partnership with President Ghani and his National Unity Government with Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah."

Renewing his country's commitment to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, Modi urged that his country would support Afghans in seeking "a future of peace and prosperity".

"I conveyed our support for President Ghani's vision for peace and stability in Afghanistan," said Modi.

Pointing to Pakistan's cooperation in ending violence in Afghanistan and the region, Modi said: "Its success requires a positive and constructive approach from neighbors, including an end to support for violence."

Assuring economic cooperation, Modi said Afghan trucks would be allowed to use the Attari border.

Modi showed a strong interest in the Chabahar port project - which was reported to be at the top of Ghani's agenda during his India trip.

"I also reaffirmed my commitment to take the Chahbahar Port project in Iran forward," Modi said.

Meanwhile, on Monday night, soon after his arrival, Ghani met with Afghan students in India.

He assured the students that government would resolve their issues regarding payments, passports and visas.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:07:52 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19274-afghanistan-and-india-bound-by-a-million-ties-ghani
Badakhshan Officials Confirm 52 Dead in Landslide http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19273-badakhshan-officials-confirm-52-dead-in-landslide

At least 52 people have lost their lives as a result of a landslide in north-eastern Badakhshan province, local officials said Tuesday.

President Ashraf Ghani, who is in India for a three-day state visit, has asked the relevant authorities to accelerate the assistance process to the affected area, the Presidential Palace said in a statement Tuesday evening.

The incident took place at about 12:30am local time in Jero Bala village of Khowahan district after a landside engulfed nearly 100 houses in the area.

District Governor Ghofran Zaki said the exact number of people trapped there was still unknown.

The incident has also left scores of families homeless, he added.

"52 people including 25 women, 22 children and five men died in the incident," Zaki said.

Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the Provincial Police Chief has said that they will send the police force in to the area to help with a rescue mission.

"There are no telecommunication services in the area, but we have sent in troops to help the people," he said.

But the residents complained of lack of assistance to the affected families. They warned of further possible landslides in the area.

"There has been no assistance yet to the affected families," female MP from Badakhshan Fawzia Kofi said.

But National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) officials said a rescue team has been sent to the area.

Three days ago another landslide occurred in the area which resulted in over 120 families being displaced, said officials.

The village is in a remote area and access to this village has been closed. Officials said poor weather conditions were also hampering rescue operations.

This comes almost a year after over 2,000 people were killed in a landslide in Argo district of the province. Hundreds of homes were destroyed.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 10:42:13 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19273-badakhshan-officials-confirm-52-dead-in-landslide
Ghani Receives Official Indian Welcome http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19272-ghani-receives-official-indian-welcome

President Ashraf Ghani, who is in India on a three-day official visit, was afforded an official ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president's residency, early Tuesday before holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

According to India's media, Ghani will meet with Modi at Hyderabad House during the course of the day.

India's media reports that in Ghani and Modi's first structured bilateral meeting they are expected to map out a plan for future relations and share views on key issues on security – primarily that relating to the Taliban.

The Ghani-Modi meeting is expected to provide India with the opportunity to reinforce its commitment to Afghanistan – a country it has supported extensively over the years in terms of providing aid. To date it has invested over $2 billion USD in Afghanistan – making it the country's fifth largest donor.

Later Tuesday, Ghani is expected to meet with various senior officials including several ministers – among them Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and Health Minister JP Nadda. He will also meet with Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.

Before attending a state banquet Tuesday night, Ghani will meet with President Pranab Mukherjee.

Wednesday will meanwhile be a day of talks with business leaders.

Speaking to a local Indian TV channel early Tuesday, Ghani said: "Afghanistan is going to be a platform for regional and global cooperation, not a battlefield for proxy wars."

He went on to say that Afghanistan needs to "lift our sights and change our game [plan]. Cooperation between states is key to the region to create regional stability."

He went on to say that Afghanistan matches words with action. "When we say we act against terror, we should act. We do not just confine ourselves to rhetoric."

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 07:30:34 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19272-ghani-receives-official-indian-welcome
Reinforcements Sent In to Assist Trapped Troops Who Begged For Help http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19271-reinforcements-sent-in-to-assist-trapped-troops-who-begged-for-help

Reinforcement troops are finally being sent in Tuesday to provide back up to about 450 Afghan National Army soldiers who have been trapped in a military base in Imam Sahib in Kunduz after Taliban insurgents surrounded them on Monday.

Reporting from the frontline, TOLOnews journalist Karim Amini said he received a call from desperate soldiers at about midnight Monday who said unless reinforcements were sent in and soldiers on the ground were supplied with more ammunition they would be forced to retreat – the base then falling in to the hands of the Taliban.

District governor Imamuddin Quraishi confirmed this early Tuesday morning and said soldiers on the ground had called for immediate backup.

By 11:00 Tuesday morning a decision was finally taken by officials on the ground to move in extra troops – who would be backed up by two helicopters.

More helicopters and troops are also apparently on their way to the area.

This comes after almost a delay of 24 hours after officials sent in reinforcements to the area but failed to launch an anti-insurgent operation.

When questioned about this delay early Tuesday, provincial governor Mohammad Omar Safi said senior military officials were still working on a tactical plan.

As a result, the Kunduz battle is now in its fourth day and concerns continue to mount over this lack of action. Many analysts fear the province is close to collapsing into the hands of the Taliban.

On Monday, Safi expressed his views regarding the battle. "So far 20 militants, the majority of them foreigners, have been killed including three Uzbek women and Turkish nationals, Chechens and Kyrgyz nationals," Safi said.

In a question regarding the ANSF casualties Safi said that so far at least 17 security personnel have been killed and wounded in the battle.

President Ashraf Ghani on Monday delayed his trip to India for nearly three hours and met with top security officials and the Resolute Support Mission US Gen. John Campbell over the issue of Kunduz.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:43:35 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19271-reinforcements-sent-in-to-assist-trapped-troops-who-begged-for-help
Taliban Commander Killed in Kunduz Battle http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19270-taliban-commander-killed-in-kunduz-battle

Mullah Mustafa, a senior Taliban commander was among 28 insurgents killed by Afghan security forces in Imam Sahib District of Kunduz late Monday night, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Mullah Mustafa was one of the main organizers of the recent terrorist attacks and insecurity in Kunduz," the statement said.

This comes as clashes continue unabated in Ali Abad, Chardara and Imam Sahib districts of the province. A military operation was due to launch on Monday after about 2,000 reinforcements were deployed to the area. However, a day later, this operation has still not launched.

When questioned about this delay, provincial governor Mohammad Omar Safi said senior military officials were still working on a tactical plan.

As a result, the Kunduz battle is now in its fourth day and concerns continue to mount over this lack of action. Many analysts fear the province is close to collapsing into the hands of the Taliban.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:21:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19270-taliban-commander-killed-in-kunduz-battle
Farakhabar: The Month of Sawr http://www.tolonews.com/en/fara-khabar/19269-farakhabar-the-month-of-sawr

The 7th and 8th Sawr are two important events of historical value that are now entrenched in our calendar.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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But critics still battle it out with each other.

What are the similarities in 7th and 8th Sawr events?

And what have the people of Afghanistan really learned about these two important events?

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

• Waqif Hakimi, spokesman of Jamiat-e-Islami Party
• Selai Ghafar, spokeswoman for Afghanistan Solidarity Party

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:10:49 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/fara-khabar/19269-farakhabar-the-month-of-sawr
Nepalis Spend Third Night in Open As Quake Toll Passes 4,310 http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/19268-nepalis-spend-third-night-in-open-as-quake-toll-passes-4310

Hundreds of thousands of Nepalis spent another night in the open Monday after a massive quake which killed more than 4,310, as officials warned the final toll could rise sharply once rescuers reach cut-off areas.

With fears rising of food and water shortages, Nepalis were rushing to stores and petrol stations to stock up on essential supplies in the capital Kathmandu, left devastated by Saturday's 7.8-magnitude quake.

Officials say more than 4,310 people are now known to have died, including 4,300 in Nepal -- making it the quake-prone Himalayan nation's deadliest disaster in more than 80 years.

More than 90 people have been killed in neighbouring India and China while a further 7,500 people were injured in Nepal.

But senior disaster management official Rameshwor Dangal said the toll in Nepal could jump once rescuers discovered the full extent of devastation in villages outside Kathmandu.

"Rescue operations are underway, and in many places where buildings have collapsed there might be people trapped," Dangal, the home ministry's national disaster management chief, told AFP.

"We are also in the process of getting information from villages, and these will add to the death toll."

Families who work in Kathmandu were packing onto buses, some even sitting on the roofs, leaving the city, many for their home villages to determine the damage there.

Mothers clutching children and men hauling bags were seen bargaining with drivers of the many buses clogging the roads out of the capital.

The exodus came as international rescue teams with sniffer dogs raced to find survivors buried in rubble, and teams equipped with heavy cutting gear and relief supplies landed at the nation's only international airport.

Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN's World Food Programme, told AFP the agency would launch a "large, massive operation" with the first plane carrying rations set to arrive on Tuesday.

Pledging $10 million in relief to help the victims, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he had been shocked by the "gut-wrenching" images of the death and destruction.

Speaking at the same press conference, Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said that Tokyo was sending some $8 million in aid to Nepal.

- Hunkered in tent camps -

Across the capital, Nepalis were hunkered down for the night in makeshift tents in parks and other open spaces, many having lost their houses and others too terrified to return home after several powerful aftershocks.

"This is a nightmare. Why don't these aftershocks stop?" asked 70-year-old Sanu Ranjitkar, clutching her dog and with an oxygen mask strapped to her face as she sat under a tarpaulin.

With just plastic sheets to protect them from the elements, many were desperate for aid and information on what to do next.

"There is just too much fear and confusion," said Bijay Sreshtha, who fled to a park with his three children, wife and mother when the quake hit.

Fears were rising of a disease outbreak in the multitude of camps that have sprung up around the city.

"Right now, it is important to prevent another disaster by taking precautions against an outbreak of diseases among the survivors," army official Arun Neupane told reporters.

Long queues formed outside petrol stations while supermarkets were seeing a run on staples such as rice and cooking oil.

A government official said tonnes of clean water and other essential supplies were needed for survivors as well as stepped-up search and rescue efforts outside the capital.

"We need more helicopters for our rescue operations in rural areas," home ministry spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal told AFP.

"We also need supplies of essential goods such as food and clean water to provide relief for survivors."

- Rescue on Everest -

The quake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest which buried part of base camp in a cascade of snow and rock, killing at least 18 people Saturday on the world's highest mountain.

The US State Department confirmed Monday that two of its citizens were among those killed on the mountain, adding that they were aware of reports that two further Americans had died.

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed that an Australian woman also perished on Everest.

Rescue helicopters on Monday airlifted climbers from higher altitudes on the mountain where they were stranded above crevasses and icefalls, after evacuating scores of seriously injured from base camp the day before.

Hundreds of mountaineers had gathered at Everest at the start of the annual climbing season, and the real scale of the disaster there has been difficult to evaluate so far.

Reconstruction efforts in impoverished Nepal could cost more than $5 billion, or around 20 percent of the country's GDP, according to Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist at business research firm IHS.

Nearly a million children living in affected areas are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF said.

Nepal's army said crews trying to rescue those trapped in the rubble of high-rise buildings in the historic centre of Kathmandu were being hampered by a lack of specialised equipment.

"We need more equipment that can detect sounds and help track survivors," Colonel Naresh Subba told reporters.

- 'She was my everything' -

In Kathmandu's Balaju neighbourhood, one father endured the agony of watching police pull the body of his daughter from the rubble of their home after using a combination of hammers and bare hands.

"She was my everything," said Dayaram Mohat as he collapsed in grief on hearing the news of his 14-year-old daughter Prasamsah's death.

The Nepalese rescuers were being joined by hundreds of foreign aid workers from countries including China, India and the United States.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed, with morgues overflowing and medics working flat out to cope with an endless stream of victims suffering trauma or multiple fractures.

The quake's epicentre was around 45 miles (73 kilometres) east of the town of Pokhara, the country's centre for adventure sports. An AFP correspondent reported the town had been largely unaffected and tourists were continuing their holidays.

Nepal and the rest of the Himalayas, where the Indian and Eurasia tectonic plates collide, are particularly prone to earthquakes.

A 6.8 magnitude quake hit eastern Nepal in August 1988 killing 721 people, and a magnitude 8.1 quake killed 10,700 people in Nepal and India in 1934.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 02:56:13 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/19268-nepalis-spend-third-night-in-open-as-quake-toll-passes-4310
TOLOnews 6pm News 27 April 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/19267-tolonews-6pm-news-27-april-2015 Top news in this Bulletin:

President Ashraf Ghani left on an official three-day state visit to India late Monday where he is expected to meet with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Congress President Sonia Gandhi among other senior officials.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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The promised large-scale military offensive by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) against insurgents in Kunduz has been delayed, reports TOLOnews correspondent Karim Amini from the battlefield. Officials failed to give reasons as to why the offensive has not started, while the provincial governor also refused to comment on the issue.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:50:03 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/19267-tolonews-6pm-news-27-april-2015
Farkhunda Murder Prosecution Begins Without Any Charges Against Top Officials http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19266-farkhunda-murder-prosecution-begins-without-any-charges-against-top-officials

The Attorney General's office filed for prosecution of the Farkhunda murder case on Monday. However, Chief of Kabul's Primary Court Saifullah Mujadidi has claimed that the Attorney General struck a deal that would omit the names of high ranking officials originally thought to bear some culpability for the incident.

"Today, the Farkhunda case was referred to the court for legal processing," Attorney General spokesman Basir Azizi announced on Monday.

According to Safiullah Mujadidi, the head of the Kabul Primary Court, the trial is expected to begin early next week. He was open about the charges filed by the Attorney General's office, which he said conspicuously omitted names of top police officials who have come under fire for their handling of Farkhunda's murder.
"The attorney has considered some comprises regarding the case in so far as the names of those serving in top police posts have not been included," Mujadidi told TOLOnews.

According court documents, 49 individuals, including 19 police officers, have been arrested in relation to the case. The three main culprits identified by cell phone footage of the murder have yet to be arrested.

Meanwhile, calls for the dismissal of Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi for what many see as a failure of leadership in dealing with the murder continue to be made by MPs and women's rights activists. "The police chief who was enjoying a sauna on the day of the incident should be dismissed, we don't want him," Farkhunda Justice Committee member Diana Saqib said on Monday.

The Kabul Police have been heavily criticized for failing to take any action to stop the brutal mob attack on Farkhunda that occurred over 40 days ago. After being falsely accused of burning the Quran, Farkhunda was savagely beaten to death, set on fire and then thrown in the Kabul River, all in broad daylight and in a central part of the capital. In addition, police officials have been accused of trying to cover up the truth of the attack, after it was exposed that police claims that Farkhunda suffered from psychological issues were falsified.

"We wont remain silent unless the perpetrators are brought to justice," women's right activist Munira Yousafi said while attending a demonstration event in Kabul demanding justice for Farkhunda.

Farkhunda's murder made headlines around the world, prompting outrage and condemnations from leaders across Afghanistan as well as the international community. The incident, in some ways, was an embarrassment for those in Afghanistan who have tried to champion the social progress that has been made in the country since the fall of the Taliban regime. It has led to questions about both the continued prevalence of violence against women around the country, as well as the justice system's tendency to punish street-level offenders while steering clear of influential officials.

"We want an open trial of the perpetrators and transparency," an activist named Wida Saghari attending the demonstration on Monday told TOLOnews.
Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi has defended himself, and vowed that if was at all at fault for the murder he would accept punishment. "If I was found guilty of committing negligence in my job, I would handcuff my own hands," he said on Monday. "I have feelings and I have commitment."

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:34:02 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19266-farkhunda-murder-prosecution-begins-without-any-charges-against-top-officials
Fuel Imports Continue to Forego Customs Tariff Under Old Agreement http://www.tolonews.com/en/business/19265-fuel-imports-continue-to-forego-customs-tariff-under-old-agreement

Based on an agreement signed between the Afghan ministries of finance, commerce and industries, foreign affairs and the NATO coalition, fuel imported for foreign forces was not charged a customs duty. However, with the NATO combat mission now over, and the number of foreign troops down to 13,000 from a peak of 150,000, questions have been raised over why the same amount of fuel is allowed to be imported without paying customs fees.

According to official documents from 2014, a total of 850,000 tons of fuel was imported for foreign forces that year. In the first four months of 2015, the same documents show up to 200,000 tons of fuel was imported for foreign troops, indicating no decline from the previous year.

Nevertheless, officials from the ministries of finance and commerce and industries have maintained that imports of fuel for foreign forces have in fact declined. Yet they refused to provide any specific numbers.

"Imports of fuel materials has significantly declined after the number of foreign forces declined," Ministry of Finance spokesman Abdul Qadir Jailani said on Monday. "No kind of robbery has taken place with the imports of fuels materials for foreign forces," he added.

According to Jailani, the only vehicles allowed to bring imported fuel in without paying a customs duty are those registered with the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Yet, again, no specific figures could be provided regarding the rate or volume of the fuel imports.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Commerce and Industries spokesman Musafir Qoqandi said the Finance Ministry is the authority responsible for monitoring the imports. "Imports of fuel to foreign forces have declined, but there is no exact figure about the scale of the fuel imported," Qoqandi said. "It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance to monitor the imports of fuel for foreign forces."

The Oil Importers Association has disputed the official claims, arguing that fuel is still imported without being charged a customs duty on the same scale as previous years. "Unfortunately, the lack of government monitoring on the contracts and customs revenues have paved the way for profiteers to take advantage of the opportunity," association head Azarakhsh Hafizi told TOLOnews. "We shared the issue with the government several times, but if the government doesn't take the necessary steps to prevent the corruption, the corruption will grow."

The Afghan government continues to face budgeting issues in large part because of its inability to effectively collect revenue. Corruption in customs offices around the country has been pointed to as a major reason behind revenue deficiencies, yet without adequate oversight, it can be no wonder why such corruption is able to proliferate.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:27:54 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/business/19265-fuel-imports-continue-to-forego-customs-tariff-under-old-agreement
New Governors Appointed for Herat and Kandahar http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19264-new-governors-appointed-for-herat-and-kandahar

The Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) announced on Monday that Mohammad Asif Rahimi has been appointed governor of Herat province and Homayoun Azizi as governor of Kandahar province.

The new appointments, which were recommended by the IDLG and then approved by President Ashraf Ghani, come at a crucial time. Around the country, worsening security and economic conditions have given way to heavy criticisms of the National Unity Government (NUG), which many blame for the deteriorating situation on account of its failure to replace acting officials with new appointments more promptly.

Asif Rahimi will take over leadership of Herat at a time when the province is seeing high rates of militant activity as well as administrative corruption. He was educated in civil engineering at Kabul University and in public administration and management at Nebraska University in the United States.

Rahimi also previously served as the Deputy Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Urban Development and then as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.

The newly appointed governor of Kandahar province received his education in medicine while in France. He previously served as head of the Provincial Council and State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.

While the two appointments, which are for two of Afghanistan's largest provinces, come at an important time, still the majority of provinces remain under the leadership of officials originally appointed by former president Hamid Karzai. Many of these officials, both acting governors and district chiefs, have been accused of corruption and collusion with militant groups in recent months.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:12:03 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19264-new-governors-appointed-for-herat-and-kandahar
ANSF Anti-Insurgent Operation in Kunduz Delayed http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19263-ansf-anti-insurgent-operation-in-kunduz-delayed

The promised large-scale military offensive by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) against insurgents in Kunduz has been delayed, reports TOLOnews correspondent Karim Amini from the battlefield.

Officials failed to give reasons as to why the offensive has not started, while the provincial governor also refused to comment on the issue.

Security officials in the area have however confirmed that the battle is intensifying and that Taliban fighters launched a fresh offensive on Imam Sahib district and that they have taken control of several areas.

Heavy fighting between security force members and the Taliban has raged for more than three days. However, reinforcement troops were sent in on Monday.

Meanwhile, commanders of the Afghan local police have said that they retreated from the frontline after necessary equipment failed to reach them.

According to TOLOnews reporter, widespread battles continued across Kunduz Monday and militants have succeeding in capturing control of some regions – especially in the Imam Sahib district.

"We were under siege for four days and contacted the officials through various means, however no one bothered to think about us," a commander of the Afghan local police told TOLOnews.

The Governor of Kunduz province Omar Safi expressed his views regarding the battle. "So far 20 militants, majority of them foreigners, have been killed including three Uzbek women and Turkish nationals, Chechens and Kyrgyz nationals," Safi said.

In a question regarding the ANSF casualties Safi said that so far at least 17 security personnel have been killed and wounded in the battle.

President Ashraf Ghani's advisor for good governance Ahmadzia Massoud who is also in Kunduz is optimistic that Kunduz province will not collapse into the hands of the Taliban.

"Kunduz will never collapse, the faithful people of Kunduz have defended their motherland over the course of time and government has also launched counterattacks," Massoud said.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:03:29 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19263-ansf-anti-insurgent-operation-in-kunduz-delayed
MPs Allege Acting Governors, District Chiefs Involved in Security Threats http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19262-mps-allege-acting-governors-district-chiefs-involved-in-security-threats

Lawmakers in Parliament on Monday voiced concerns over the alleged collusion of acting governors and district chiefs with militants in various parts of the country, warning that if the government doesn't act on the issue soon, security conditions could further deteriorate.

As attacks and insurgent offensives rage around Afghanistan, anxieties about the present situation were accompanied by harsh criticisms of National Unity Government (NUG) leaders, who were portrayed as being wrapped-up in self-serving politics while neglecting important issues like security.

According to the Administrative Board of the Lower House, President Ashraf Ghani had previously promised MPs that he would address the country's emerging security threats. Nevertheless, chief among the factors attributed for mounting insecurity around the country is the lack of new leadership at the provincial and district levels, a result of the NUG's inability to complete the appointment process promptly.

"I swear upon God that the acting governors and district chiefs are involved in insecurities and I have enough documents to prove it," Balkh MP Abdul Rahman Rahmani said on Monday. "These acting governors and district chiefs deliberately support insecurity in their respective provinces to make the situation look fragile in order to continue their jobs," he added.

Khost MP Kamal Nasir Usoli echoed comments previously made by others in Parliament, as well as independent commentators, maintaining that acting officials on the provincial level have elected to try and reap as much money from their authority as they can before it is taken away. "The acting chiefs are also involved in corruption, because their posts are temporary, therefore, they are trying to use corruption to fill their pockets," Usoli said.

The Second Deputy of House of Representatives, Mohammad Nazir Ahmadzai, expressed frustration with Ghani's lack of action on the provincial governance crisis despite the fact that he had vowed to address the issue. "The president promised to put an end to the jobs of acting chiefs as soon as possible," Ahmadzai said.

Pressure to deal with deteriorating security situation has built up on the NUG ever since an Afghan National Army (ANA) outpost in Badakhshan province was ambushed last month due to negligence and possible corruption among local officials. That incident was shortly followed by a deadly Daesh-claimed suicide bombing in Nangarhar province that left well over 100 civilians wounded.

The Presidential Palace sent out a press release on Monday calling on the country's religious scholars, civil society institutions and general public to announce full support for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). But it was clear on Monday that, for representatives in Parliament, much more than words will be needed to quell anxieties.

"Faryab has slipped into an ocean of security threats, and government employees are unable to go to their offices and the same is true for school students," Faryab MP Naqibullah Fayeq said.

"Honorable president, I swear upon God that a few moments back a wounded soldier called me to say that his intestine was coming out of his body and he asked me to reach out to support him," Kunduz MP Shukria Palkan told the chamber. "He said that many soldiers were wounded and killed and the remaining numbers were hiding in wheat fields, but that the enemy was mobilizing to capture them," she added.

A brief dispute between Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi and some MPs ensued after Ibrahimi criticized Palkan for her description of the soldier's suffering.

"Stay seated Ms Paikan and don't exaggerate," Ibrahimi said. "By sharing such comments you want to show that you are feeling pain for the people of Kunduz, but we have summoned the security officials on Saturday to inquire about the growing waves of security threats," he added.

A number of MPs came to Palkan's defense. "Honorable speaker! Your behavior toward our sister Shukria Paikan is uncivilized, as you are serving as a chairman and should recognize your position," MP Ramazan Bashardost said.

"I completely agree with Mr. Bashardost, you are chairman of the house and also you both belong to the same province and shouldn't come with your regional issues," MP Farkhunda Zahra Naderi said.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:40:28 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19262-mps-allege-acting-governors-district-chiefs-involved-in-security-threats
Ex-Commander Warns Of Kunduz Collapse If Crisis Not Managed Properly http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19261-ex-commander-warns-of-kunduz-collapse-if-crisis-not-managed-properly-

A former military commander has warned that if the Kunduz crisis is not managed properly – along with that of other northern provinces – these provinces could fall into the control of the Taliban.

Former army general Zalmai Weesa, who was previously the commander of 209 Shaheen battalion, blames the current surge of violence on Pakistan and says that if the National Unity Government does not take decisive steps to stamp out the insurgents the country will face serious problems.

Weesa, who retired four months ago, lead forces in nine northern and north eastern provinces for five years. His philosophy is that the fight against insurgents needs to be managed better.

"It's not only Kunduz that can fall - but everywhere else where the armed forces are not professional - and most importantly – where they don't have the support of local people," Weesa said.
He says it is still unclear on who is responsible for the recent upsurge in violence in the north but says the matter is not being investigated closely enough by government.

"Since the creation of Pakistan, their aim has been to not let us live in peace. We must never be deceived by what Pakistan says. We must always be prepared, and stand up to those who want to spread terror," said Weesa.

Security forces have been embroiled in ongoing clashes with the Taliban for three days. On Monday, over 2,000 reinforcement troops were sent in to the area to bring it under control.

"All the troops that were needed in Kunduz, have been acquired from battalion 111, and have started an expanded operation," says Dawlat Waziri, Deputy Spokesman for the MoD.

Sources who have spoken on condition of anonymity have said that during the battle in Badakhshan, many troops were sent from Kunduz – leaving the area vulnerable to attack. People have criticized this move and claim it is such actions on the part of government that point towards poor management.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:13:29 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19261-ex-commander-warns-of-kunduz-collapse-if-crisis-not-managed-properly-
Ghani To Meet With Indian President and PM During 3-Day State Visit http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19260-ghani-to-meet-with-indian-president-and-pm-during-3-day-state-visit

President Ashraf Ghani left on an official three-day state visit to India late Monday where he is expected to meet with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Congress President Sonia Gandhi among other senior officials.

Included on his agenda will be discussions on matters of security, economic ties and regional issues.

Meanwhile, members of parliament and analysts have hailed the president's trip to India as a good opportunity to expand Kabul-New Delhi relations and to remove any concerns regarding the Kabul-Islamabad relations.

During the first seven months in office, Ghani has been to Iran, Pakistan and China but this is his first visit to India.

Some analysts however, believe that Afghanistan relations with Pakistan, which is supposed to bring the Taliban to the peace talks tables, has cast a shadow over Kabul-New Delhi relations. But a number of MPs have called this trip an important one that will help balance Afghanistan's foreign policy.

"Indians have their own understanding of President Ghani ... that he puts too much effort into Pakistan, which has cast a shadow over their (Kabul-New Delhi) relations. I don't think even one trip is enough. The government of Afghanistan must have a clear foreign policy on the countries in the region," says Baktash Siawash, MP from Kabul.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that close relations between Kabul and Islamabad has had no impact on Kabul-New Delhi relations and that the president's trip to India will result in further expansion of political and trade relations between the two countries.

"We have always had good relations with India, which has been stable during all our ups and downs. There is no reason for Afghanistan's relations with any other country to weaken the relation between India and Afghanistan. Our relationship with India is so close that we cannot compare it with any other relation that we have with other countries," says Faramarz Tamana, Director of Strategic Studies Center, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ghani's first trip to India is seen as crucial as it aims to expand trade and economic relations between the two countries and to specifically encourage investment in Afghanistan and to secure the continuation of aid to Afghanistan.

"With India's good technology, Afghanistan can use its help for the development of its economy and industries. In the meantime, Afghanistan can also serve as a transit route for connecting India to Central and Western Asia," says Azrakhsh Hafezi, Director of Global Relations at the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

In the past 14 years, after the United States, Britain, Japan and Germany, Indian has been the fifth major donor to Afghanistan and has donated over $2 billion USD towards reconstruction projects.

First deputy of CEO, Muhammad Khan; Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, National Security Advisor Muhammad Haneef Atmar, Minister of Finance Ikleel Hakimi, Minister of Mines and Petroleum Daud Shah Sabah, Minister of Public Health Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, Minister of Commerce and Industries Muhammad Homayoon Rasa, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Asad Zamir, Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled Nasreen Oryakhail, Afghanistan Chief of Army Staff Sher Muhammad Karimi, Office of Administrative Affairs & Council of Ministers Secretariat Director Abdul Salam Rahimi and Presidential spokesman Ajmal Abedi and a number of Afghan traders and media representatives are accompanying the president in this trip.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:56:45 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19260-ghani-to-meet-with-indian-president-and-pm-during-3-day-state-visit
AFF Signs MoU with Alakozai Group of Companies http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/19259-aff-signs-mou-with-alakozai-group-of-companies

The Alakozai Group of Companies on Monday pledged support to the Afghan Football Federation over the next 15 years.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two parties at a press conference where it was stated that Alakozai will sponsor the team to the amount of $850 000 USD every year. This money will go towards improving the national teams and for the purpose of meeting their expenses, said Keramuddin Keram, Chairman of Afghanistan Football Federation.

"We will spend this money on our men and women teams, their air tickets, hotel expenses, food and hosting of teams that will be playing here. This is a long-term contract and if needed, the monthly amount can be changed as well," said Keram.

"Football has an important role in bringing together nations, ethnicities and making national unity stronger. The football achievements of our country has enabled us to support our team members and hopefully they will achieve more in future. We will try to sign a MoU with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in the future as well," says Nooryalai Rahmani, Marketing Manager Alakozai Group of Companies.

Afghanistan football federation has said that with the signing of this MoU, the budget challenges for hosting 2018 world cup qualifiers has been eliminated.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:06:04 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/19259-aff-signs-mou-with-alakozai-group-of-companies
Ghani Leaves For India After Meeting With RS Commander http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19258-ghani-leaves-for-india-after-meeting-with-rs-commander-

President Ashraf Ghani has left for a three-day state visit to India after postponing his departure for a few hours due to the Kunduz crisis. 

Before leaving Afghanistan, Ghani met with Resolute Support Mission US Gen. John Campbell and with Afghan security officials over the issue. 

The deteriorating security issue in the province is of major concern to Ghani who was due to leave for India Monday at 13:00 local time. By early afternoon, sources said that due to Kunduz he had delayed his departure. He finally left late Monday afternoon. 

Earlier, local officials said they had seen members of Ghani's security unit in the province on Monday. The Presidential Palace has not however confirmed this. 

Kunduz has been the scene of bloody clashes between Taliban and Afghan security forces over the past three days.

More than 2,000 reinforcement troops have been deployed to the province in the past 24 hours.

Clashes continued Monday in three parts of northern Kunduz province, the Provincial Governor Mohammad Omar Safi said.

Fighting is underway in Aliabad, Imam Sahib districts and Gor Tepa area in eight districts of the city.

So far 40 insurgents have been killed and more than 20 injured, Safi said.

Six foreign militants were among those killed. Four were allegedly from Tajikistan and two were Chechens, according to officials.

Officials said that so far 12 Afghan security forces were killed and injured in the attack, but no further details about the casualties were provided.

Ghani meanwhile left late Wednesday for his three-day state visit to India. He is expected to meet with India's President Pranab Mukherjee; Prime Minister Narendra Modi; the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Ministers of Defense, Interior and other officials, a statement issued by the president's office stated.

Ghani is accompanied by Mohammad Khan, Chief Excutive’s First Deputy; Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani; National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar; Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi; Mines and Petroleum Minister Dawood Shah Saba; National Army Chief of Staff Shier Mohammad Karimi and other governmental officials.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 09:17:37 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19258-ghani-leaves-for-india-after-meeting-with-rs-commander-
32 Taliban Insurgents Killed in Nationwide ANSF Operations http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19257-32-taliban-insurgents-killed-in-nationwide-ansf-operations

At least 32 insurgents have been killed in a series of coordinated operations over the past 24 hours by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in a statement on Monday.

In addition, 16 insurgents were injured.

The operations were conducted in Kunar, Nangarhar, Takhar, Kunduz, Badakhshan, Faryab, Jowzjan, Kandahar, Zabul, Logar, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Farah and Helmand provinces, the statement said.

"During the same 24 hour period, Afghan National Police discovered and defused 10 different types of IEDs ... in Panjwaei District of southern Kandahar province," it said.

The MoI, however, did not comment on whether any security force members were injured during the operations.

The military operations launched against insurgents have resulted in increased militant attacks across the country especially in northern provinces with insurgents frequently targeting the security forces.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 07:07:13 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19257-32-taliban-insurgents-killed-in-nationwide-ansf-operations
TAWDE KHABARE: MPs and Senators Criticize Govt. Over Increasing Insecurity http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/19256-tawde-khabare-mps-and-senators-criticize-govt-over-increasing-insecurity

The MPs and Senators have criticized the National Unity Government over issue of increasing insecurity and warn of the worsening situation especially in the northern parts of Afghanistan.

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}bNJy2IF7zOg{/youtube}

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discusses the topic with the following guests:

• Zabihullah Zemarai, member of the Provincial Council of Nangarhar
• Ghulaam Rabbani Rabbani, member of the Provincial Council of Kunduz
• Abdul Rahim Ayoubi, MP
• Ahmad Shah Ramazan, MP

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 06:45:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/19256-tawde-khabare-mps-and-senators-criticize-govt-over-increasing-insecurity
FARAKHABAR: Concerns Mount Over Insecurity in North of Afghanistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/fara-khabar/19255-farakhabar-concerns-mount-over-insecurity-in-north-of-afghanistan

MPs have warned government that northern Afghanistan will become another Waziristan if the government does not take action.

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}ccvdgAbXvts{/youtube}

On Saturday, Taliban insurgents attacked Gor Tepa area in Kunduz city, Qala-e-Zal and Imam Sahib districts of the province. Heavy fighting with security forces ensued.

In addition, insecurity has also increased in Badakhshan, Takhar, Sar-e-Pul, Faryab, Samangan, Badghis, Ghazni, Helmand, Nangarhar and Zabul provinces.

But what is really happening and what is government's plan in dealing with this?

In this episode of FaraKhabar, host Yama Siawash discusses the topic with the following guests:

• Abdul Wodoud Payman, MP from Kunduz
• Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 05:58:08 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/fara-khabar/19255-farakhabar-concerns-mount-over-insecurity-in-north-of-afghanistan
Clashes Continue in Kunduz As More Troops Deployed http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19254-clashes-continue-in-kunduz-as-more-troops-deployed

Clashes continued Monday in three parts of northern Kunduz province as more security forces were deployed to fight insurgents, the Provincial Governor Mohammad Omar Safi said on Monday.

Fighting is underway in Aliabad, Imam Sahib districts and Gor Tepa area in eight districts of the city. So far 40 insurgents have been killed and more than 20 injured, Safi said.

The six foreign militants who were killed in the attack come from the northwestern Faryab province, four of them were from Tajikistan and two were Chechens, according to officials.

"The government and the residents of Kunduz won't let insurgents take control of this province. The security forces have high morals and we have our equipment," he said.

The operation comes after Taliban insurgents attacked Imam Sahib, Qala-e-Zal districts and Gor Tepa on Saturday night and clashed with security forces.

However the battle in Qala-e-Zal has ended and the situation there is under control, according to officials.

Officials said that so far 12 Afghan security forces were killed and injured in the attack, but no further details about the casualties were provided.

There are reports that the Taliban insurgents have stolen a number of security force vehicles but officials have not confirmed this.

More than 1,800 families have been displaced following the attacks and moved to Kunduz city and other parts of the northern of Afghanistan, officials added.

Officials of the provincial council of Kunduz have also said that there are civilian casualties but details have not been disclosed.

It's expected that on Monday top security officials will visit the province and launch a large-scale military operation.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 05:00:30 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/19254-clashes-continue-in-kunduz-as-more-troops-deployed
Nepal Quake Rescue Effort Ramps Up As Toll Hits 3,600 http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/19253-nepal-quake-rescue-effort-ramps-up-as-toll-hits-3600

International rescue teams and relief supplies began arriving in Nepal's devastated capital Monday to help terrified and homeless survivors of a quake that has killed more than 3,600 people in the impoverished nation.

Equipped with heavy cutting gear and accompanied by sniffer dogs, rescue teams were landing round-the-clock at the country's only international airport on the outskirts of Kathmandu, the normally vibrant capital which has been devastated by Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake.

Officials say more than 3,300 people are now known to have died, including 3,218 in Nepal -- making it the quake-prone Himalayan nation's deadliest disaster in more than 80 years.

Around 90 people have been killed in neighbouring countries, including at least 67 in India and 20 in China.

The earthquake also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest which buried part of base camp and killed at least 18 people.

Aftershocks triggered fresh avalanches there on Sunday even as helicopters evacuated some of those worst injured the day before.

Hundreds of foreign mountaineers had gathered at the world's highest mountain at the start of the annual climbing season, and the real scale of the disaster there has been impossible to evaluate with communications all but cut off.

- 'Why do we suffer?' -

With much of Kathmandu lying in ruins, tens of thousands of residents spent the night slept out on the streets, in makeshift tents fashioned from plastic sheeting that did little to protect them from heavy overnight rains.

With the ground still regular shaking from nerve-shredding aftershocks, many endured a sleepless and miserable night.

"We don't have a choice, our house is shaky. The rain is seeping in but what can we do?," said 34-year-old shopkeeper Rabi Shrestha as he camped out on the roadside.

"I don't know why the gods want us to suffer like this."

The situation has been exacerbated by power cuts and the country's cell phone network is at breaking point.

The Nepalese government said it was stepping up efforts to help remote areas closer to the epicentre of the quake.

"Our focus is on rescue," home ministry spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal told AFP. "In far-flung areas, a larger helicopter will be stationed in the regional headquarters and smaller ones will shuttle with survivors."

Announcing the latest death toll in Nepal, a top disaster official said that emergency crews would also step up their efforts to rescue those trapped in high-rise buildings which pancaked on Saturday.

"Our efforts today will also be focused on finding survivors in areas where big buildings have collapsed," Rameshwor Dangal, who heads the home ministry's national disaster management division, told AFP.

The historic nine-storey Dharahara tower, a major tourist attraction, was among the buildings brought down in Kathmandu Saturday.

Police said around 150 people were thought to have been in the tower at the time of the disaster, based on ticket sales.

"At least 30 dead bodies have been pulled out. We don't have a number on the rescued but over 20 injured were helped out," local police official Bishwa Raj Pokharel told AFP.

"We haven't finished our work there, rescue work is still continuing. Right now, we are not in a position to estimate how many might be trapped."

- Food and blankets -

The Nepalese rescuers were being joined by hundreds of foreign aid workers from countries such as China, India and the United States.

Around 70 US aid workers, along with rescue dogs, headed to Nepal aboard a military transport plane which flew from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

The European Commission released three million euros ($3.25 million) in emergency aid for Nepal which will help fund clean water, medicine, emergency shelter and telecommunications in the worst-affected areas.

India meanwhile flew in 13 military transport planes loaded with tonnes of food, blankets and other aid.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed by the disaster, with morgues overflowing and medics having to work through the night to cope with an endless stream of victims suffering trauma or multiple fractures.

Some surgeons have been operating from makeshift theatres set up in parking lots with the aftershocks making patients too scared to stay inside.

At the city's oldest Bir Hospital, around a dozen dead bodies had to be placed on the floor, while stricken relatives stood vigil, trying to swat away the flies.

Nepal and the rest of the Himalayas, where the Indian and Eurasia tectonic plates collide, are particularly prone to earthquakes.

An 6.8 magnitude quake hit eastern Nepal in August 1988 killing 721 people, and a magnitude 8.1 quake killed 10,700 people in Nepal and India in 1934.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 03:50:41 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/19253-nepal-quake-rescue-effort-ramps-up-as-toll-hits-3600