RSS Feed Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:53:32 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev ( GOFTMAN: Concerns Over Limited Access To Services For Children Addressed goftman-29-april-16

In this episode of Goftman, host Haris Jamalzada discusses the issue of limited access for children to various services including training and healthcare.


• Zubaida Akbar, a senior communications officer with Save the Children in Afghanistan
• Humaira Saqib, founder of the Afghan Women News Agency
• Wasil Noor Mohmand, Deputy Minister of Labour, Social Affairs
• Bahir Weyar, an advisor to International Child Protection Agency

Click here to watch the whole program:


Fri, 29 Apr 2016 16:17:07 GMT
TOLOnews 6pm News 29 April 2016 wahid-29-april-16Top news in this Bulletin:

In a new development, the Afghan presidential palace said Friday that steps have been taken to finalize execution orders of militants convicted for their involvement in acts of terrorism.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:


The Australian government has officially called on the Afghan authorities to step up efforts and cooperate in finding an Australian woman who was kidnapped in the eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday.

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 16:05:31 GMT
Afghan Forces Retake Taliban-Held Chahar Dara District In Kunduz kunduz-29-april-16

Afghan government forces have entered the Chahar dara district of the volatile province of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan and have retaken the district after fully expelling Taliban fighters from the strategic town.

On Friday, senior Afghan National Army (ANA) officials reported that pro-government forces managed to elicit a heavy death toll to the Taliban during the military campaign with several key Taliban commanders gunned down by security forces.

They said that Afghan troops also confiscated a large cache of ammunition and weapons from the militants.

Meanwhile, Kunduz police announced that several top Taliban commanders were eliminated during the battles.

Strategically located in the gateway of the north, the district used to be the group's main military stronghold. Last year Taliban launched an offensive on Kunduz city from the same district that led to the dramatic fall of the city to the resurgent movement.
But the fall of Kunduz sparked strong reaction with many people blaming poor leadership of the war for the crisis.

Military experts however believe that the latest recapture of the town is a milestone toward curbing the advance of Taliban insurgency in the area that has been witness to heavy clashes since last year.

"The operation was launched after conducting a precise and accurate planning. House to house searches and clearance operations were conducted during the military campaign in Kharoti, Zahir Kamar, Hajji Amanullah and Zadaran villages onward to areas of Omarkhail village. The operation was conducted perfectly and on the basis of planning," general Amanullah Mobin, the commander of an ANA commando unit in the northeast said.

At least 100 Taliban fighters were killed and wounded during the operation including several key Taliban commanders.

"Several Taliban military commanders including Shah Wali known as Zadran were killed in the operation," Kunduz police chief Mohammad Qaseem Jangal Bagh said.

"Taliban's Omari operation has been defeated, therefore they announced Azam operation and brought them to their knees," commander of 20th Pamir Army Unit, Muhaiuddin Ghori said.

Meanwhile, residents in Chahar Dara have asked the Afghan security institutions to take necessary measures for the protection of the district from the Taliban so that the district is no longer a place for militants.

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 15:16:22 GMT
Govt Finalizes Plan for Execution of Militants on Death Row

In a new development, the Afghan presidential palace said Friday that steps have been taken to finalize execution orders of militants convicted for their involvement in acts of terrorism.

The list of militants on death row has been submitted to the president for final proceedings, the presidential palace said in a statement on Friday.

Afghan government officials have so far refrained from commenting on the numbers and background of the terrorists.

But political commentators and families of those killed during the Afghan insurgency increased their calls this week to President Ashraf Ghani to end the policy of impunity towards terrorists and carry out executions.

They said that the government must implement the law and court orders including that relating to Anas Haqqani, brother of the leader of the Haqqani network, which is blamed for plotting suicide attacks in Afghanistan.

While pressure on the Afghan National Unity Government (NUG) gathers fresh momentum, families affected by insurgent attacks have criticized NUG leaders of not implementing the laws on the terrorists, arguing that they voted for these politicians in the elections to bring about basic changes in the country, however, the leaders are reluctant to deal with terrorists from a harsher standpoint.

They expressed deep concerns over the release of top militant fighters from prisons guilty of plotting acts of terrorism against the Afghans.

Faisal, 16, was an Afghan teenager who lost his life in a deadly attack last year in Shah Shaheed area of the Afghan capital, an attack that elicited strong criticism among public for government's policy on terrorism.

"Not even a single government authority visited us to inquire about our misery after the attack," said Zabiullah, the father of the slain boy.

Instead government released high level Taliban inmates from jails and this policy added to our pains, said Zabiullah.

Zabiullah who was also injured in the attack called on the Afghan government to show no mercy on terrorists, stressing that such a policy will defame political leaders in years to come.

"How long do we have to show mercy, for Allah's sake, stop giving impunity to the criminals. They (terrorists) have killed and wounded large numbers of our people, but so far no criminal has been executed. I will feel easy when I see that the criminals are hanged in public including Anas Haqqani. We cast ballots to bring change to the lives of our people and to improve the security, but no one is bothering to think about the people," he said.

However, exact numbers of terrorists on death row have not been released but a government spokesman Friday said that the Afghan government is resolute in sticking to the law where terrorists are concerned.

"The list is in the final stage, it will be put on the desk of the president for final approval. However, exact numbers of these individuals will be announced later," a deputy presidential spokesman, Dawa Khan Meenapal said.

Last week's deadly truck bomb attack in Kabul drew strong reactions from Afghans with many calling for government to implement the law on criminals.

Among those who responded to the NUG's new shift on terrorism was Rahmatollah Nabil, former director of Afghan directorate of security, NDS, who in a Facebook page post said that if the government is committed to punishing terrorists, then it must take action and execute Haqqani network's number two, Anas Haqqani.

Another NDS ex-director Amrullah Saleh cast doubt over government's shift on terrorists, arguing that the government so far has not concluded charges against Anas Haqqani and his case is yet to be referred to the courts.

In addition, some Afghan members of the national assembly have also asked government to deliver on their promises on terrorism.

"It is quite significant that the presidential orders are implemented. You know that the president's remarks on execution of dangerous inmates drew extraordinary appreciation. This shows that we must keep the support of our 30 million people, but not think of the words of a few people," senator Mohammad Asif Sediqqi said.

Meanwhile, a number of Kabul residents have also rallied for the implementation of the law.

"There is signs of implementing the promises. In recent days our people have heard a lot of promises as they heard it during election campaigns, but this time we hope that these promises are fulfilled," Kabul resident Sayed Naqib Jaffarian said.

Over the past decade, the Afghan government released many Taliban fighters from jails with the majority of them simply returning to the battle field.

To watch the report, click here:


Fri, 29 Apr 2016 15:05:43 GMT
Canberra Urges Afghan Govt To Find Australian Hostage kidnap-29-april-16

The Australian government has officially called on the Afghan authorities to step up efforts and cooperate in finding an Australian woman who was kidnapped in the eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday.

On Friday, the Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop said that although the details of the report have yet to be confirmed, the government is closely monitoring the situation.

She called on the Afghan government to accelerate efforts and make sure they secure the safe release of the hostage.

The statement comes a day after a group of armed men wearing military uniforms stormed the DACAAR compound, a charity organization working for women empowerment in the country, and took the Australian woman with them.

The Australian woman has been associated with the organization for twenty years.

Meanwhile, the family of the hostage has appealed for the safe release of her.

While calls are growing for her release, local officials in Nangarhar have said that so far the Afghan security forces have arrested several individuals allegedly involved in the kidnapping of the Australian.

"The details of the report have to be confirmed by the Afghan authorities, but they certainly believe that she has been kidnapped. We are trying to confirm all of the details, but we are in communication with her family," Bishop told reporters on Friday.

Bishop made it clear that the Australian government does not believe in paying ransom in exchange for a hostage's release.

"The Australian government does not as a matter of policy pay ransom to kidnappers," she said.

While the fate of the Australian hostage remains unclear, the woman's father on Friday appealed for the safe release of his daughter.

"Foreign affairs ministry phoned me and told me and said they would keep in touch. They knew no more than I did all the news was that she was kidnapped ... we don't yet know what the demand would be. But I presume you don't harm a hostage, because to did that is not good at all," the father of the hostage, Brian Wilson said.

"Several individuals so far have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping, efforts are underway to the arrest the main masterminds," Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for Nangarhar governor said.

To watch the report, click here:


Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:48:57 GMT
Teenage Hostage Killed, Family Seeks Justice abaseen-29-april-16

The family of a teenage boy kidnapped in Kabul a few months ago have called for justice after their son was killed by his captors.

Abaseen, who had been his parents' only son, was snatched from Kart-e-Naw in the city earlier this year.

On Friday, during a prayer ceremony in his name, his family called for justice.

"The kidnappers first cut his finger off and sent it to us. Nothing like this is seen anywhere in the world," said Abaseen's father.

Meanwhile the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement that five people have been arrested in connection with the boy's kidnapping and murder.

The arrested people confessed to Abaseen's murder during preliminary investigations, the NDS said in a statement.

Friends and relatives at Abaseen's prayer ceremony on Friday called on government to put an end to kidnappings.

"Unfortunately kidnappings have increased in the capital but kidnappers' punishment has been determined by the law and government must prosecute them," said one of the participants.

Reports indicate that kidnappings have increased in Kabul over the past few months but police have not released exact numbers.

To watch the report, click here:


Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:42:05 GMT
Ghani Calls On Leaders To Foster Unity ghani-provincial-29-april-16

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday, in video conference with provincial council heads, said that Afghanistan now has a clear definition of the enemy and that government leaders need to ensure insurgents do not divide the country.

He also told those present that a meeting will be held with provincial council heads in Kabul soon. He said among the issues that will be discussed will be that of security, economy, reconstruction, education and health.

"It was decided that a meeting in the presence of the president and heads of provincial councils will be held in Kabul and in the meeting they will discuss security within provinces and other local issues," said the president's deputy spokesman, Dawa Khan Menapal.

Meanwhile a number of provincial council heads said government needs to address issues of residents of some provinces.

"The president first must clean up around himself then clean up the cabinet - and governors who have committed crimes and treachery and who take bribes. First he should reform those things then people can trust the government," said Afzal Hadid, Balkh provincial council head.

"The president asked that we support security forces and this is the provincial council's priority," said Attaullah Haqbayan, the Zabul provincial council head.

In the other hand, a number of provincial council heads expressed their dissatisfaction over the government.

"We are not aware what the president said and we did not benefit from the conversation, therefore it is very harmful for Baghlan provincial council," said Mohammad Zarif, a Baghlan provincial council member.

According to critics, the National Unity Government has not done a good job so far in bringing positive changes to people's lives.

To watch the report, click here:


Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:34:41 GMT
Activists Rally For Peace In Colorful Costumes activists-29-april-16

A number of civil society activists on Friday conducted a rally in Kabul - dressed in colorful costumes.

The activists said the aim of their rally was to bring some cheer and a message of peace to Kabul as the constant violence was a terrible drain for people.

During the rally the activists called on insurgents to end their violence and join the peace process.

To watch the video package, click below:


Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:28:12 GMT
Baghlan Religious Scholars Slam Terrorist Attacks, Support Troops baghlan-residents-29-april-16

Lending huge support to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force (ANDSF), Baghlan religious scholars said at a gathering on Friday that any type of terrorist attack is against the teachings of Islam and that those who kill civilians are not Muslims.

"Those who kill innocent people are not Muslims. They [militants] create insecurity in Afghanistan while taking orders from abroad. Religious scholars should support the security forces," said Baghlan Hajj and

Religious Affairs Director Mawlawi Abdul Rasheed Mazhari.

"Afghan security forces are defending the son and honor of this soil. All the participants of this gathering are supporting the ANDSF and also we want terrorists eliminated," said religious scholars Mawlawi Mohammad Kazim.

Meanwhile, some Baghlan residents termed religious scholars' role as effective in ensuring and boosting security in the country.

"The role of religious scholars is crucial in bringing peace and security to the country. We ask them [religious scholars] to support the security forces," said Zia-ul-Haq, a Baghlan resident.

Participants at the gathering said they support ANDSF with one voice and that they call on them to give a tit-for-tat response for every attack by terrorists.

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 11:05:00 GMT
Tajikistan Claims Afghanistan Land: Takhar Officials takikstantoday

Local officials from Takhar province said on Friday that Tajiksitan has claimed dozens of hectares of land along the Amu River which connects the two countries. 

Head of Borders and Tribal Affairs Provincial Department, Jan Mohammad Nabi Zada, said the problem cropped up due to the lack of a retainer walls along the river Afghanistan. 

“Residents of Takhar’s bordering districts take their cattle for grazing or go there to collect wood but they are now fired on by Tajikistan border forces and in some cases they are killed or wounded. In fact, they [Takhar residents] walk on their own soil but Tajikistan claims the ownership of that soil,” he said.

He added that a lack of retainer walls on the Afghanistan side, along the river, has added to the problem of residents in the areas – most of whom farm. 

“A large area of land has been washed away by Amu River from Afghanistan side due to lack of retainer walls. Tajikistan has retainer walls; therefore, the water comes towards Afghan soil. This has damaged lots of agricultural land and gardens related to Afghans,” he stated. 

Meanwhile, Salim Akbar, head of Taluqan River Zone, said they are trying to build the retainer wall in order to prevent further damage to agricultural land belonging to Takhar farmers. 

“Work on the protection walls was stopped due to insecurity. We are waiting for a secure situation and once the area is secure we will resume our work,” he added.

Tajikistan shares a border with Chah Ab, Darqad, Yangi Qala and Dasht Qala districts in Takhar province which often facees this problem due to the lack of protection walls in the area. 

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:53:43 GMT
TOLOnews 10pm News 28 April 2016 massoudlaim10pmnewsTop news in this Bulletin:

Former Jihadi commander Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf has said that certain circles in the country are trying to disgrace the Jihad of the people of Afghanistan and are plotting to defame the Mujahedeen.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:


The Afghan government on Thursday raised questions over the recent trip by a Taliban delegation, from Qatar, to Pakistan.

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 09:42:02 GMT
TAWDE KHABARE: Kabul, Moscow Agree To Fight Terrorism twwdekhabaretodayyy

Acting Defense Minister of Afghanistan, Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, and his Russian counterpart agreed in Moscow to jointly fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shahpoor Bakhtiar discusses the topic with the following guests:

• Khalid Pashtun, MP

• Zia Boomi, writer and analyst in political affairs

• Faizullah Jalal, lecturer at Kabul University

Click below to watch full episode:


Fri, 29 Apr 2016 09:25:22 GMT
Ghazni Calls For Special Unit To Safeguard Historical Sites ghazniculturalsites

The Information and Culture Directorate and a number of cultural activists in Ghazni on Friday urged government to establish a special unit of security forces to safeguard historical sites in the province.

Acting Director of Information and Culture in Ghazni, Bismillah Sharifi, said illegal excavation at historical sites continues in parts of Ghazni; therefore, this province is in dire need of the special unit to save the monuments.

"The existence of the 012 Unit [a recently established unit in some provinces to safeguard historical heritages] is a must for Ghazni. We have several times called for such a team in the province," he said.

Some cultural activists in Ghazni also said the unit was a must for keeping the cultural and historical sites safe in the province.

"The personnel of the unit should be sent to Ghazni as well in order to keep the heritages safe. The illegal excavation will continue if the unit does not start its work here in Ghazni," said writer and cultural activist Asadullah Jalalzai.

Meanwhile, Ghazi police chief Aminullah Amarkhail talked about the Interior Ministry's commitment to founding a security force unit for the protection of these sites .

He added: "We have sent the draft of establishing a unit to the Interior Ministry and it has promised us to form it as well as keep the historical sites in Ghazni safe."

The 012 Unit has started work in some provinces in recent months, which has the responsibility of keeping historical sites safe.

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 08:29:38 GMT
MEHWAR: Lack of Citizens' Trust Over NUG Leaders Reviewed mehwarsiminbarikzai

In this episode of Mehwar, host Massoud Malik discusses lack of citizens' trust over promises and remarks made by the National Unity Government (NUG) leaders.

With him in the studio is MP Simin Barikzai.

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Fri, 29 Apr 2016 07:55:50 GMT
MEHWAR: Newly Established Council's Warning To Govt Reviewed mwhwarkalakani

Members from the newly established Council for the Protection and Stability of Afghanistan this week warned government against what they called inattention to some issues and said the system will be brought down if their concerns are not addressed.

In this episode of Mehwar, host Massoud Malik discusses the topic with a member of the council, Daud Kalakani.

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Fri, 29 Apr 2016 07:51:29 GMT
MEHWAR: People's Concern Over Release Of Bagram Prisoners Discussed mehwar1forthe

In this episode of Mehwar, host Massoud Malik discusses the increase in people's concerns over likely release of prisoners from Bagram Prison.

With him in the studio is MP Masuma Khawari.

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Fri, 29 Apr 2016 07:42:44 GMT
FARAKHABAR: Sayyaf's Remarks At Mujahideen's Victory Day Discussed farrakhabarapril29friday

Former jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, in a ceremony marking the 24th victory day of Mujahideen, criticized government for a lack of attention to Mujahideen and other relevant issues. He said Mujahideen are the pride of the nation and that there are a number of plots to affect their image among the countrymen.

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

Shah Hussain Murtazawi, President Ashraf Ghani's deputy spokesman

Massoud Trishtwal, spokesman for the Council for the Protection and Stability of Afghanistan.

Click below to watch full episode:


Fri, 29 Apr 2016 07:33:51 GMT
CICA Members Issue Declaration To Ensure Peace, Stability Through Dialogue worldapchinatoday

Foreign Ministers of the member states of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) have reached a final declaration, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday.

Top diplomats of CICA member states discussed issues regarding peace and development in the region and reached a declaration on ensuring peace, stability, security and sustainable development through dialogue, Wang told a press conference following the meeting.

The meeting, held in Beijing on Thursday, called for all sides to settle disputes in the region through peaceful solutions.

The participants have also adopted action plans on fighting against drug trafficking in Asia and implementing confidence-building measures in the development of small and medium entrepreneurship across the region.

"The CICA is currently the largest security conference in the region in terms of member states and coverage area. It provides a new channel for all sides to further their understanding and build mutual trust, reach common ground and boost development," Wang said in his summary speech at the meeting.

"China will continue with its principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness that President Xi Jinping has brought forth in our regional diplomacy, furthering trust and deepening cooperation with all parties, and push forward CICA's effect on Asia's security and development," he added.

The CICA is an inter-governmental forum for developing cooperation and promoting peace and security within Asia. The idea of convening the CICA was first proposed by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in October 1992, at the 47th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 05:46:56 GMT
TOLOnews 6pm News 28 April 2016 wahid-ahmadi-28-april-16Top news in this Bulletin:

Former Jihadi commander Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf has said that certain circles in the country are trying to disgrace the Jihad of the people of Afghanistan and are plotting to defame the Mujahedeen.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:


The Afghan government on Thursday raised questions over the recent trip by a Taliban delegation, from Qatar, to Pakistan.

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 16:35:32 GMT
Rise In Malaria A Concern In Eastern Afghanistan Malaria-28-april-16

People in eastern Afghanistan have expressed their concerns over the rise in Malaria in eastern parts of the country.

Habibullah Arwal, head of the health services union in eastern Afghanistan warned that the disease will cause tremendous problems for people if not curbed.

"Cases of Malaria will increase during the next few months, not only in eastern provinces, but also in southern and southeastern provinces and even in the west, Kandahar and Farah provinces and the provinces that are green," he said.

Residents of eastern Afghanistan said the lack of attention to hygiene by people in cities was the mean reason for the increase in malaria.

"Due to a weak economy, people cannot have a hygienic life, to buy anti-mosquito nets, to have fans or to use medicine to prevent malaria," said Awalurahman, a resident of Nangarhar province.

Malaria is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can even lead to death, if not treated in time.

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 16:06:11 GMT
Noor Cautiously Welcomes Ghani's Military-Oriented Stance atta-28-april-16

On Thursday, Atta Mohammad Noor, the acting governor of Balkh province, cautiously welcomed President Ashraf Ghani's recent remarks on a military oriented stance on insurgents but said that the Afghan people hope that these policy shifts are not just symbolic and temporary.

In a historic a key note address to a joint session of Afghan national assembly earlier this week, Ghani set aside the peace and reconciliation process with specific Taliban factions whom he believes are waging war against the nation on the orders of foreigners and pledged to deal with such groups from a military standpoint, something the Afghan public widely welcomed.

Though Ghani's prospects of more robust military action against the militants drew widespread reaction in the country, many hope that the government will deliver on the promises to curb insurgency.

With calls growing for the implementation of Ghani's remarks on the Taliban which came in the wake of last week's deadly attack in Kabul that killed 64, pressure is mounting for the president to address the promises and review policy options that the Afghan government in the past found unpalatable.

Addressing a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of victory of Mujahedeen against pro-Moscow government of Najibullah, the Balkh governor cautiously welcomed Ghani's Taliban remarks. But expressed hope that they will not be only symbolic.

"The president's speech to the national assembly was optimistic, but there is hope that these statements are put into practice now," Noor said.

In his speech to a joint session of the Afghan parliament on Monday, Ghani termed Daesh militants, al-Qaeda, Haqqani network and some Taliban factions as enemies of Afghanistan and the people, pledging severe military action against them.

Ghani's remarks elicited a wide reaction among the Afghan people with the majority of them saying they are now waiting to see whether these commitments are met by the government.

While many in the country slam the two major events in the history of Afghanistan – April 26, 1978, the communists day and April 27, 1992, the victory day of mujahideen against Dr. Najibullah's government, Noor however, confirmed the mistakes committed by the Mujahedeen after victory in terms of governance, but said that we should not disgrace the two historic events—the 7th and 8th Sawr.

"We cannot justify those who were sitting on Sar Asyab of Kabul and were hitting the city with rockets," Noor said.

"Certain groups who later integrated with the Mujahedeen plundered Kabul and we cannot justify their actions, however, we do not know whether they belonged to former army, militia groups," he added.

The gathering was also addressed by Fatana Gillani, the chairperson of Afghan Women's Association in which she expressed deep concerns over the efforts of some particular groups that intend to create division among the people and worsen the security situation.

"I call on all Afghans to unite as they were united during Jihad," she said.

Meanwhile, a number of residents in Balkh have said that Afghans must unite so that the chaotic events of 7th and 8th Sawr are not repeated again in the country.

"The people of Afghanistan did not live in peace after the 8th Sawr, some people exploited the name of Mujahedeen and pushed the people of Afghanistan into destructions and bloodshed," Balkh resident Abdul Basir said.

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:58:09 GMT
Kabul Questions Taliban Trip To Pakistan taliban-28-april-16

The Afghan government on Thursday raised questions over the recent trip by a Taliban delegation, from Qatar, to Pakistan.

A Taliban delegation reportedly arrived in Pakistan this week to allegedly address problems faced by Afghan refugees.

This comes close on the heels of President Ashraf Ghani's speech earlier this week where he said peace talks between some factions of the Taliban were off the table.

"The Taliban delegation's trip to Pakistan from our prospective is totally questionable. A terrorist group does not have the right to travel to countries. We expect Pakistan to have government-to-government relations with Afghanistan," said Shahussain Murtazawi, the deputy spokesman for Ghani.

Kabul meanwhile urged Islamabad to honor its pledge and suppress the militants who are engaged in violence in Afghanistan.

"Action should be taken against the militants who are involved in terrorist activities from Pakistan's soil in Afghanistan. This is the demand that our allies have as well," said Tawab Ghorzang, spokesman for the National Security Council (NSC).

The National Unity Government (NUG) meanwhile threatened to take revenge on the Taliban and other militants.

"Afghan security forces' aim is to defend Afghanistan, defend our values and defend the people of Afghanistan.... We will take revenge of the blood of our people on terrorists," said Jawed Faisal, the deputy spokesman for Chief Executive Office Abdullah Abdullah.

It seems that following Ghani's order, Afghan security forces have expanded their military operations to suppress militants.

"Besides ground achievements, we had good achievements in our night raids. Whenever the enemies have risen up, we have either eliminated them, or have arrested them," said Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense (MoD).

"We haven't seen [results] in the battleground so far. However, we can say that they (security forces) are devising plans and should act in accordance with the newly devised plans," said Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, the former Deputy Minister of Interior.

Currently, security forces are conducting 15 large-scale operations in 11 provinces.

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:03:54 GMT
Trust In NUG Wanes Among The Public people-28-april-16

A growing number of people have said the National Unity Government's (NUG) popularity is fading and that recent remarks made by leaders were hollow and that it was unlikely they would follow through on promises.

They also said it was due to this fading popularity that the leaders had made certain promises recently.

Many people this week said that until the NUG leaders fulfill their promises, their credibility amongst the people will be in tatters.

"A child cries and his parents bring him sweets, the same way the National Unity Government plays with people," said Ahsanullah, a Parwan resident.

"We do not trust the NUG leaders' remarks because every day they say they will bring peace but yet there is no news of peace, it is all a lie. From one side Pakistan cheats them and from the other side America," said Mullah Mohammad, a Kabul resident.

"Now in the context of the fundamental remarks made recently by the president, he said he will act and will respond and stand strictly against those groups not joining peace process," said Shah Hussain Murtazawi, the president's deputy spokesman.

Meanwhile people believe that the ongoing situation in the country will be dangerous for the NUG leaders. Many experts have said that in over a year and a half, the NUG leaders have failed to even form a complete cabinet and that they continue the practice of using caretakers to govern provinces and districts.

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:55:01 GMT
Sayyaf Defends ANSF, But Labels Taliban And Daesh Criminals sayyaf-28-april-16

Former Jihadi commander Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf has said that certain circles in the country are trying to disgrace the Jihad of the people of Afghanistan and are plotting to defame the Mujahedeen.

Sayyaf, who also serves as a key member of a coalition of former Jihadi commanders known as the Council For The Protection and Stability of Afghanistan, warned against rhetoric and conspiracies targeting the Afghan Mujahedeen, saying that the government must act swiftly and foil such schemes.

He warned that if government does not take action, it will soon collapse.

Speaking at a gathering in Kabul in the wake of the 24th Anniversary of the victory of Afghan Mujahedeen factions that toppled the Soviet-backed regime of Dr. Najibullah, Sayyaf stated the Mujahedeen were role models of national pride and dignity, but warned against forging plots to disgrace their contribution for the freedom of the country.

The gathering was also attended by a number of prominent Afghan Jihadi figures.

In reference to the upsurge in violence and conflict in the country, Sayyaf said the country and people these days are going through difficult times amid plots which are designed by the enemies to divide the country.

In addition, Sayyaf accused the government leadership, particularly the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, of not doing enough for the Mujahedeen in the country. However, he reaffirmed pledges to support the National Unity Government.

"If they (government leaders) underestimated the challenges then the nation will take a decision which will be break their throne like dried leafs in a breeze. In that case, no one will be able to heal the situation and live in peace. Still it is the right time to take action. So government must act and complete their responsibilities," Sayyaf said.

The controversial Jihadi figure reiterated his support to the Afghan security forces, but labeled the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Daesh associates as criminals.

"I advise the Taliban, enemies, Daesh and opponents not to defame the principles of Islam. Whatever you (militants) are doing are in complete contradiction to Jihad. I hope you (militants) come to the right path soon. For Allah's sake, do not label your crimes as Jihad. You (militant groups) can not justify the killing of children, women and the civilians as fighting Jihad," he said.

In his speech, Sayyaf also hailed the sacrifices of the ANSF for defending the country against militants.

Sayyaf, while addressing the Afghan security forces, said that the ANSF should not look at what government leaders are doing on the political fronts as they serve the nation.

"You (Afghan armed forces) should not look at what is going on between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah or in between the Council For The Protection And Stability of Afghanistan. Our forces are here to defend Afghan soil. But not to side with Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah. Because Ashraf Ghani was not living here when Afghanistan was free," Sayyaf said.

Sayyaf criticized the government for sidelining the Mujahedeen.

"Our intention is not to dismantle the gains we made. We are not in support of pushing the nation into new turmoil. We feel the thirst of our nation for unity. Elements that attack the Mujahedeen and label them as criminals, violators and usurpers are holding their passports in their pockets and flee when there is a crisis and they will leave the nation alone inside smoke, blood and fire," Sayyaf said.

While Sayyaf announced support to a strong government in Kabul, he also pushed government leaders to consult the Mujahedeen on issues of national interests.

"We do not want the system to fall down, we have given the necessary suggestions to government and do not support the country to be without a government even for a single day as enemies plot to divide the country," he said.

Sayyaf said that government leaders must step up efforts to foil plots against the country in order to save the country from entering a new crisis.

He said that the Council for Protection and Stability in Afghanistan does intend to come to power, however, its suggestion to government is aimed to improve conditions in the country.

"When a doctor gives his first prescription and it does not work, then he starts thinking of an alternative. We provided prescriptions to government and repeat it again and again. But our suggestions were not taken into consideration to improve the system and security. But no one bothered to listen to us. It is our national and religious obligations to think of alternatives if the ongoing situation continues," Sayyaf concluded.

To watch the whole speech, click here"


Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:28:31 GMT
Past And Current Govt Blasted For Releasing Prisoners prisoners-28-april-16

Although some officials of the National Unity Government (NUG) termed the release of Taliban prisoners as a 'historical mistake', a number of political analysts believe the NUG, like its predecessor, has committed the same mistake on a number of occasions.

They said Thursday that President Ashraf Ghani, when he headed the Transition Coordination Commission, tried to secure the release of Bagram prisoners, who were accused of terrorist activities.

"Both governments tried to release Taliban prisoners. [Former president] Hamid Karzai and [President] Ashraf Ghani should be held accountable for this," said Faizullah Jalal, a political analyst.

Even though the internal security commission of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) hasn't received the exact number of Taliban members released so far, the chairman of the commission Mirdad Nijrabi however said that the release of the Taliban prisoners has resulted in an increase in violence in the country.

"As far as we know, a large number of Taliban were released from Afghan prisons. The government should punish those who have committed violence. But I want to say it again, after that the former government and the NUG were strongly criticized, and six months ago the president issued an order that even those who have completed their term in prison should be kept under custody by security organizations, so that they will not join the Taliban ranks again," Nijrabi said.

Political analysts said that Ghani even said during his presidential campaign that he had tried to secure the release of prisoners.

Shahussain Murtazawi, the deputy spokesman for Ghani, said: "I am the deputy spokesman for the president, [I was] not in charge of his campaign during elections."

"I speak about current situations and want to mention that the president didn't have judicial authority then. However, during Karzai's period they had judicial officials and no doubt we have inherited a large number of the problems from the former government," he added.

The Chief Executive's Office said that one of the prisoners released from prison carried out the recent attack on the secret service unit in Kabul – which resulted in the death of 64 people.

"Those who have released criminals from prisons will be held accountable by the government. Last week's deadly attack on the secret service unit [in Kabul] was also carried out by someone who had been released from prison, someone who was previously imprisoned for anti-government activities," said Jawed Faisal, the deputy spokesman for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Political analysts believe that the government's interference in the judicial system and the presence of widespread corruption might have resulted in the release of Taliban prisoners.

The government meanwhile confirmed that the president has been sent a list of imprisoned militants, who have been sentenced to death.

This comes amid a growing request by people, through social media, for the president to sign off on execution orders.

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:23:02 GMT
Photo Exhibit Pays Tribute To Victims Of War photos-28-april-16

The Social Association of Afghan Justice Seekers (SAAJS) on Thursday launched an exhibition of 4,000 photographs – of victims of three decades of violence - as well as victims of recent terror attacks.

The exhibition went on display at Shahr-e-Now park in Kabul city.

Members of the association said that many of the perpetrators of the violence were part of the former government and are part of the incumbent government.

They said that amnesty for these perpetrators was seen as treachery for the families of the victims.

The association lashed out at the previous and incumbent government for their failure to prosecute those responsible for the mass killings, acts of torture and terrorists activities.

By putting the photos on display, they said that the aim of the exhibition was to keep memories of the victims alive.

A number of visitors to the exhibition said that they had lost family members or relatives over the past three decades to the war or to terrorist attacks by the Taliban or other insurgent groups.

"We are not happy with the past governments and none of them tried to listen to people's demand and bring the criminals (of war) to justice," said Abdul Malik, a resident of Kabul city.

Khalilullah, a student, who visited the exhibition said that people hope the National Unity Government (NUG) will honor its promises and will get justice for families of the victims.

"I urge [leaders of] government, that has been established under the name of national unity, to put their differences aside and pay attention to [situation] of the people and families of these victims," he said.

People from all walks of life visited the exhibition – many looking for pictures of their loved ones.

Alam Jan said that he was a lecturer at the Afghanistan Air Force University during the war between Mujahideen and the then government. He said that he remembers how many people lost their lives in that war. He blamed neighboring countries for fanning wars in Afghanistan.

"I came from Kunduz a few days ago and our people are being killed on a daily basis and the government is doing nothing. Our youth has fled to foreign countries. Had there been security and rule of law, our people would remain in their country," said Zahoor, a resident of Kabul city.

SAAJS believes that government does not have the will to bring murderers of the people to book. Weeda Ahmad, head of the SAAJS, said that people lost faith in the previous government and now the NUG. "Our people know why criminals are not being brought to justice, because their people and they themselves are holding high positions in the government and unfortunately our judicial organization are corrupt," she added.

The latest photos on exhibition are of those killed in last week's attack on the secret service unit in Kabul

Afghanistan is also one of the countries where a large number of mass graves have over the years been discovered.

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:16:56 GMT
Unknown Gunmen Kill Herat Attorney herat-attorney-28-april-16

An attorney from Herat was killed Thursday afternoon by unknown gunmen, officials confirmed.

In addition, his two sons were wounded in the incident which took place close to his house in Ghor Darwaz area.

According to officials, two unknown gunmen riding a motorbike opened fire on Samiuddin Raheen, the Herat attorney, while driving past him. They then fled the area.

Provincial hospital officials said that Raheen died before reaching the hospital.

Police have started their investigation into the incident.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 13:33:03 GMT
Foreign Woman Kidnapped In Nangarhar

Nangarhar local officials said on Thursday a foreign woman was kidnapped by unknown gunmen at about 5am local time on Thursday in Jalalabad.

According to officials the kidnapping took place when unknown gunmen entered DACAAR, a consortium of Danish NGOs, and kidnapped the woman.

"The woman without coordination with security institutions traveled from Kabul to Nangarhar and we were not aware of this. She was kidnapped by unknown gunmen early today but it is not clear who kidnapped her or where she was taken," said Attaullah Khogyani, the provincial governor's spokesman.

Meanwhile provincial civil society activists have appealed to security institutions to do everything possible to secure the release of the woman.

"There are reports that kidnappers were in military uniform. There are many check posts in Jalalabad city and the question is how did the abductors get past those check posts? We want responsible institutions to put serious efforts into securing the release of the foreign woman," said Abdul Rahman Mawen, a civil society activist.

The woman had reportedly gone to Jalalabad to check on a project in Nangarhar. Officials say she left Kabul for Jalalabad on Wednesday.

Provincial police said that they are trying everything possible to find the woman.

Neither her nationality nor her identity has been released to the media.

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 12:29:02 GMT
Olson Asks Congress To Approve $2bn For Pakistan, Afghanistan Richard-Olson

Richard Olson, Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, on Wednesday requested U.S Congress to approve almost $2 billion USD in its budget for continued assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In his testimony to Congress, Olson said: "This request strikes the appropriate balance between long-term development and strategic military-to-military cooperation, both of which are in our national security interest, and is at a level that we can responsibly implement."

The requested amount is $1.25 billion USD for Afghanistan and $742 million USD for Pakistan.

For Pakistan, the $742.2 million USD request includes $472.4 million USD in civilian assistance and $269.8 million USD in security assistance.

The request is considerably lower - over 60 percent lower - than the peak funding for Pakistan in 2010.

The $1.25 billion USD request for Afghanistan is seventeen percent below the 2016 request.

"We deem this level as necessary to maintain and expand the development gains made over the last 14 years and to honour our public commitments for assistance to Afghanistan through 2017. However, the reduction also reflects our policy of responsibly shifting to more sustainable levels, as Afghan capacity increases," Olson said.

However, in his opening remarks before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Olson said that Pakistan was at strategic crossroads, and it had to make a choice to combat all terrorist groups indiscriminately.

"Pakistan is strategically vital, due to its role in issues that matter to us, as well as its location at the crossroads of Afghanistan, India, China, and Iran. Pakistan is clearly a challenging partner; that said, it is incumbent on us to redouble our efforts to steer this relationship so that it advances regional objectives important to us," Olson said.

He further added: "We expect Pakistan to live up to its commitments made in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), and to take deliberate and meaningful action against any and all militant groups that seek to destabilise Afghanistan, including the Haqqani Network," Olson said.

Olson insisted that "effective engagement with Pakistan, grounded in our important national interests, is critical to promoting the consolidation of democratic institutions and economic stability while supporting the government's counter-terrorism capabilities. In that context, we have repeatedly and frankly underscored with the most senior levels of the Pakistani leadership the need to target the Haqqani Network as part of their wider counter-terrorism operations, in keeping with their commitment not to discriminate between terrorist organisations."

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 06:25:16 GMT
Aleppo Residents Claim Syria Ceasefire Is Dead Syria-27-April-2016

As world powers backing peace talks continue to insist Syria's ceasefire is holding, residents of battered second city Aleppo can only express stunned disbelief.

"I don't know what truce they're talking about. There's no truce here," Abu Mohammed, a father-of-four living in the rebel-held east of the city, told AFP.

"The shelling and rocket fire don't stop, it's as if we were in a world war," the 40-year-old shop owner said.

Two months after Moscow and Washington brokered the historic ceasefire in a bid to finally resolve Syria's five-year conflict, it has effectively collapsed in large parts of the country.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said that by Wednesday the ceasefire was being fully respected in only about 20 percent of the area it covers.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said significant breaches have taken place around Damascus, in Homs and Latakia provinces and, most importantly, in and around Aleppo.

The northern city, once Syria's economic hub, has been divided between the rebel-controlled east and regime-held west since 2012.

Following a lull in fighting after the ceasefire took effect on February 27, violence has intensified in recent days, with at least 100 civilians killed in air strikes, shelling and rocket fire since Friday.

"Those killed are civilians, mostly women and children, so where is this truce?" asked Mohammed Kaheel, the head of forensic medicine in east Aleppo.

In the government-controlled west, residents are just as livid after coming under heavy rebel fire in recent days.

"Truce! Now there's an infuriating word Aleppo residents can't stand," 27-year-old taxi driver Saad Aliya said.

"I don't think a single one of the fighters in Aleppo wants a truce. They're all killers and they're all killing us!"

"If this is a truce, then -- we beg you -- bring back the war."

The ceasefire was followed by the announcement of another round of UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and Syria's opposition.

But the talks, due to end on Wednesday, failed to get off the ground, with Syria's main opposition group leaving last week in protest at escalating fighting and restrictions on humanitarian access.

Still, no one has been willing to pronounce the ceasefire officially over.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Tuesday expressed "grave concern" over the fighting in Aleppo but said in other areas the truce was "largely holding".

"We're not ready to declare this thing dead," Toner said.

In Moscow, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also insisted on Wednesday that it was still in effect.

"The ceasefire is holding but is seriously challenged practically on a daily basis," she said.

Even Syria's main opposition group for the Geneva talks, the High Negotiations Committee, has so far refrained from burying the ceasefire, though its chief Riad Hijab on Wednesday condemned "severe violations of the truce by the regime".

Experts say world powers are anxious to keep the ceasefire alive, and with it any hope of bringing an end to a conflict that has left 270,000 dead and forced millions from their homes.

Washington has used its influence with the Syrian opposition and Moscow its alliance with Assad to convince both sides to attend the talks.

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 06:10:26 GMT