TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Wed, 26 Nov 2014 04:55:44 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Islamic State Militants Stone Two 'Gay Men' to Death in Syria http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17249-islamic-state-militants-stone-two-gay-men-to-death-in-syria

The Islamic State group stoned two men to death in Syria Tuesday after claiming they were gay, a monitor said, in the jihadist organisation's first executions for alleged homosexuality.

"The IS today stoned to death a man that it said was gay," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that the victim was around 20 years old.

He was killed in Mayadeen in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, near the border with Iraq.

The Britain-based Observatory said IS claimed it found videos on his mobile phone showing him "practising indecent acts with males".

In a separate incident on Tuesday, an 18-year-old was also stoned to death in Deir Ezzor city after the group said he was gay, the Observatory said.

Activists on social media said that the dead men were opponents of IS and that the group had used the allegation as a pretext to kill them.

The United Nations said this month the IS had carried out several executions by stoning of women in Syria it accused of adultery.

The jihadists proclaimed a "caliphate" in June after seizing swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Activists say IS carries out regular public executions -- often beheadings -- in areas it controls.

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 03:43:48 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17249-islamic-state-militants-stone-two-gay-men-to-death-in-syria
TOLOnews 6pm News 25 November 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17248-tolonews-6pm-news-25-november-2014 Top news in this bulletin

Spokesman to the chief executive of the National Unity Government on Tuesday dismissed reports about the seven ministers to be introduced to the House of Representatives, stating that the president and chief executive have not reached an agreement.

To watch the whole news bulletin, Click Here:

{youtube}zeWrB9IZmUM{/youtube}

In an operation conducted on Tuesday, the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) rescued at least five Afghan police officers who were taken hostage by the Taliban in Wardoj district of northern Badakhshan province a month ago.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:58:39 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17248-tolonews-6pm-news-25-november-2014
Private Sector Delivers 11 Recommendations to Government for Economic Growth http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17247-private-sector-delivers-11-recommendations-to-government-for-economic-growth

Afghan private sector leaders have collaborated in recommending 11 steps for economic growth to the national unity government ahead of the London Summit, which is expected to be a crucial opportunity to secure the financing and technical support from the international community needed for further economic development in Afghanistan.

The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) have advocated for Afghan officials to go to the London Summit with an inclusive agenda, one that would likely integrate the recommendations made by the private sector leaders.

"This is the first conference in which the new government will take part, and the private sector in joint cooperation with the government of Afghanistan will try to get foreign investors to come forward and invest in Afghanistan," ACCI chairman Atiqullah Nusrat said.

Those who made the recommendations are expected to attend the summit - scheduled to begin in nine days - along with top government officials such as President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

The private sector originally recommended 18 points to the government, but only 11 of them were accepted. They include:

  • Support for the agriculture sector
  • Encouragement and support for major investments in Afghanistan
  • Standardization of custom payments and introduction electronic systems in ports
  • Easing of access to loans and reassessment of banking laws
  • Provision of essential facilities in industrial parks
  • Establishment of a single institution for attracting investments and facilitating it with modern technologies
  • Establishment of infrastructural facilities for exploitation of mineral reserves
  • Settlement of the issues confronting Afghanistan's transit sector
  • Investment in power generating projects
  • Expansion and development of Afghanistan's railway sector and it's connectivity to neighboring countries
  • Participation in mega transit projects with central Asian nations, such as the TAPI project


Meanwhile, political commentators have emphasized the need for deliberate use and close oversight of the aid and investments secured in London next week.

"Suppose some money is pledged at the London Summit for next four or five years, the important issue is what programs we have to take advantage of the aid; we need to undertake more powerful programs and clearer policy to make an effective use of the aid," economic analyst Haseen Mawhed said. "No country in the world so far has stabilized their economy through foreign economic aid."

The scope of the London Summit will cover international commitments to Afghanistan from 2015 through 2024.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:40:35 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17247-private-sector-delivers-11-recommendations-to-government-for-economic-growth
Kabul Bank Defendants Demand Superior Court Review http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17246-kabul-bank-defendants-demand-superior-court-review

Key defendants in the Kabul Bank corruption case have rejected the appellate court's ruling against them and have called for a superior court to step in, the Attorney General's office said on Tuesday.

Officials said the only individuals who have appeared to settle their debt to the bank include Hussain Fahim, Mahmoud Karzai and Ghafar Dawi. All assets of the defendants will remain frozen until they payback the money they took.

The appellate court's ruling, which increased the prison terms of a number of defendants and demanded the freezing of all assets until all the money stolen is recuperated, was expected to be implemented by the Attorney General's office. However, the government's top lawyer has indicated the case might be sent back to court. According to the Attorney General's office, Afghan law requires that three courts must issue verdicts on the case.

"Kabul defendants didn't accept the appellate court verdict and asked for a superior court to review it and the attorney general has also asked for a superior court," Attorney General Basir Azizi said. "Among the defandants, Hussain Fahim, Mahmoud Karzai and Ghafor Dawi have appeared before the Attorney to settle the issue of their debts."

The Attorney General's office added that the former Chairman of the New Kabul Bank, Masood Musa Ghazi, Muhibullah Safai and a number of other suspects in the case continue to evade the process by remaining abroad.

Based on the appellate court decision, all shareholders and borrowers found guilty in the case should remain in custody until a final decision of the court is issued.

Although recuperation of the money embezzled from the bank is a top priority of the government, economic analysts have said the importance of the case is more in its political symbolism and it's ability to demonstrate the legitimacy of the new administration's commitment to combating corruption. They say the economic value of the case is minimal.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:39:13 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17246-kabul-bank-defendants-demand-superior-court-review
Abuse Victim Found in Kunduz http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17245-abuse-victim-found-in-kunduz

A girl, approximately 10 years old, was found in northern Kunduz province with speculations that she might have been kidnapped and sexually abused following torture signs on her body, according to the Women for Afghan Women (WAW) officials.

The girl, who is now unable to speak, is currently sheltered in one of the safe houses of Kabul, which is being funded by WAW, the officials added.

The child who was found about eight months ago is named Morsal in the safe house. She is said to be severely traumatized.

"She screams while sleeping and calls her mother," according to the safe house workers. "Mom is the only word that comes out of her mouth."

They added that Morsal's parents have not yet been found.

"When she was sent to us from the ministry of social affairs, there were many signs of torture on her body," said Benafsha, regional head of WAW.

Despite many efforts, the safe house officials said they have been unable so far to find her family.

First this child was entrusted to a family in Kunduz, Benafsha said, adding that after eight months, the family returned Morsal back to them.

According to a recent statement by the ministry of women's affairs, over the past seven months more than 2,000 cases of violence and sexual abuse against women and girls were registered at the ministry.

Marking the international day for the elimination of violence against women, the Deputy Minister for MoWA, Muzhgan Mustafawi, mentioned this year five children, below the ages of ten, suffered sexual abuse.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:37:23 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17245-abuse-victim-found-in-kunduz
President, CEO Still Divided on Formation of Cabinet http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17244-president-ceo-still-divided-on-formation-of-cabinet

Spokesman to the chief executive of the National Unity Government on Tuesday dismissed reports about the seven ministers to be introduced to the House of Representatives, stating that the president and chief executive have not reached an agreement.

Mujiburrahman Rahimi, spokesman to Abdullah Abdullah, while clearing the air said that the reports were all baseless.

"Reports broadcasted by some news agencies and radio are not correct," Rahimi said. "Such an agreement has not been made. The introduction of names and ministries are all baseless reports."

Meanwhile, Afghan lawmakers, pointing to the law, urge the government to find a solution quickly as each day that passes laws are being violated.

"The promises that were made by President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah during the election campaigns have not been fulfilled," Balkh MP Ahmad Shah Ramazan said. "Today, there is a state of uncertainty in the ministries. Even if ministers issue an order his assistant does not sign off."

Sources close to the president and chief executive, on condition of anonymity, have said that the two sides maintain disagreements on several key ministries including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, and the National Directorate of Security. And according to the sources, Abdullah has asked to keep the ministries of defense and foreign affairs, but the president has not accepted the demands.

Two months have passed since the formation of the National Unity Government and the president and chief executive have yet to reach a final agreement in the development of the new cabinet.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:23:40 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17244-president-ceo-still-divided-on-formation-of-cabinet
Significant Rise in Violence Against Women Cases: MoWA http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17243-significant-rise-in-violence-against-women-cases-mowa

Over the past seven months, more than 2,000 cases of violence and sexual abuse against women and girls were registered at the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MoWA), officials said on Tuesday, marking the international day for the elimination of violence against women.

Deputy Minister for MoWA, Muzhgan Mustafawi, expressed deep concerns over the rapid rise in sexual abuse against women and children. She mentioned this year five children, below the ages of ten, suffered sexual abuse.

During the past seven months, 2,224 cases of violence against women and children were recorded with majority documented in Kabul, Herat, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh and Faryab province.

Mustafawi told reporters that the major parts of these cases have taken place in remote areas due to so-called social values and absurd customs.

According to the ministry's statistics, 5,406 cases were registered in 2013, while 4,505 cases were registered in 2012 illustrating a 16 percent increase in violence against women in over a year.

"We are really concerned about the situation because in the recent years these cases have increased tragically," Muzhgan said, adding that the children below 10 years of age have faced the most cases of sexual abuse.

"We want the national unity government to take solid steps in eliminating violence against women," said Rehana Azad, member of the Parliamentary commission on women's affairs. "Most of these efforts have been symbolic so far."

Since the fall of the Taliban regime in 200, the Afghan women have played a vital role in various social spheres with significant presence in the government and non-government institutions. But their rights seem to have not been guaranteed yet, as the women's rights advocates accuse the government of not doing enough to adopt the law on elimination of violence against women.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:56:59 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17243-significant-rise-in-violence-against-women-cases-mowa
NDS Rescues Five Afghan Policemen http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17242-nds-rescues-five-afghan-policemen

In an operation conducted on Tuesday, the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) rescued at least five Afghan police officers who were taken hostage by the Taliban in Wardoj district of northern Badakhshan province a month ago.

NDS officials have claimed that the Taliban had asked for the release of some collaborators from prison in exchange for the five police personnel. They also warned that they will behead the five hostages if the demands were not met.

However, the NDS officials maintained that no Taliban inmates were released from the prison in exchange.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:28:11 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17242-nds-rescues-five-afghan-policemen
Senate Praises Afghan U-19 Cricket Team http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17241-senate-praises-afghan-u-19-cricket-team-

The Upper House of the Parliament, known as Meshrano Jirga, has praised the Afghan Under-19 cricket team over their recent achievements and victorious win in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) premier league.

Senate Speaker, Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, presented an appreciation certificate to the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) officials.

About two weeks ago, the Afghan U-19 Cricket Team brought home the championship trophy from the ACC Premier League.

ACB Chairman Shahzada Massoud also praised the performance of the U-19 guys, hoping that the team will also have great achievements in the 2016 World Cup.

"We are praising our talents as they are our peace ambassadors," Massoud said. "I believe that our team will once again bring home such an honor in the 2016 World Cup."

By winning the ACC Premier League, the U-19 team made its way to the 2016 Cricket World Cup and achieved the seventh position in the International Cricket Council (ICC) world rankings.

The Afghan U-19 defeated Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Nepal and Kuwait during the ACC Premier League matches.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:18:07 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17241-senate-praises-afghan-u-19-cricket-team-
Pentagon Chief Hagel Out As IS War Heats Up http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/17240-pentagon-chief-hagel-out-as-is-war-heats-up

President Barack Obama announced the departure of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday, with the White House under fire over perceived fumbling in its response to the Islamic State threat.

The former Republican senator, who has been in the job for less than two years, was chosen to oversee a shift to a peacetime military with smaller defense budgets, but found the United States at war again.

Rapid advances by Islamic State jihadists in Syria and Iraq forced the Pentagon chief into managing a complex campaign, and Obama concluded Hagel was not the man for the task.

The 68-year-old Vietnam war veteran joined Obama at the White House to confirm his departure.

"When I asked Chuck to serve as secretary of defense we were entering a significant period of transition: the drawdown in Afghanistan, the need to prepare our forces for future missions and tough fiscal choices to keep our military strong and ready," Obama said.

"Last month, Chuck came to me to discuss the final quarter of my presidency and determined that, having guided the department through this transition, it was an appropriate time for him to complete his service."

Hagel thanked Obama for his "friendship," saying he believed he had put the military and the nation on a "stronger course toward stability."

On jihadist websites and Twitter accounts, Islamic State supporters celebrated "victory" against Hagel, claiming he had been forced out by their successes against US allies on the battlefield.

Both Obama and Hagel presented the decision as mutually agreed, but administration officials privately suggested he had been pushed out, while Obama's critics said Hagel had been frustrated by White House meddling.

Some commentators said Hagel had run afoul of Obama's aides by siding with military commanders in internal policy debates, but officials denied the claim.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Obama and Hagel agreed it was time for "new leadership."

"It doesn't mean that Secretary Hagel hasn't done an excellent job of managing these crises as they've cropped up, but it does mean that as we consider the next remaining two years of the president's time in office that another secretary might be better suited to meet those challenges," Earnest said.

- Possible successors -

The White House did not say who would replace Hagel at the Pentagon, but in Washington three candidates are deemed to be in the running.

The former number three-ranking official at the Pentagon, Michele Flournoy -- who would be the first woman to hold the top post -- is touted as the most likely choice, followed by former deputy secretary Ashton Carter.

Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island -- a former army airborne officer -- has also been cited as a plausible contender, but his spokesman told reporters that he was not interested in the job.

Confirmation hearings for the nominee will give Republican senators a platform to slam the Obama administration's campaign against the Islamic State group, in the wake of elections that saw Obama's fellow Democrats in Congress suffer a major defeat.

Some hawks are demanding bolder action, including the deployment of US ground units to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces in their battle against the jihadists.

As a senator, Hagel voted in favor of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, but later became a critic of the drawn-out conflict that ensued.

Hagel's combat experience as a non-commissioned officer who was wounded in Vietnam was seen as a strength as he took on the job.

But his public appearances have often appeared underwhelming as the administration struggles to adapt to new threats.

-- 'At odds' with White House --

Although administration officials indicated Hagel had been pressured to resign, a senior national security staff member in Congress told AFP that was not the case.

"Hagel quit," the aide said. "Hagel found himself at odds with the administration."

Hagel's experience was similar to that of his predecessors, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, who both complained after they left office of interference by White House political appointees, some lawmakers said.

Hagel had been "very, very frustrated," said Senator John McCain, an outspoken critic of Obama's foreign policy.

"Already the White House are leaking, 'Well he wasn't up to the job.' Believe me, he was up to the job," he said.

McCain said the administration had "no strategy" to fight the IS extremists and that Hagel had never been allowed into an inner circle making decisions.

Hagel had disagreed with the administration's approach to Syria, writing a two-page memo arguing for a more assertive stance towards President Bashar al-Assad, his aides recently disclosed.

Apart from the air war against the IS group, the White House has also come under criticism for its plans in Afghanistan, with some Republicans saying US troops should stay in the country longer, beyond the end of Obama's term in two years.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 09:58:07 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/17240-pentagon-chief-hagel-out-as-is-war-heats-up
First 100 Days: Abdullah Visits Victims Families in Paktika http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17239-first-100-days-abdullah-visits-victims-families-in-paktika

In this episode of the program, host Omid Farooq discusses Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah's visit to the families of the victims of the Paktika attack with the following guests:

• Karim Amini, TOLOnews reporter
• Haroon Mir, political analyst
• Sarajulhaq Saraj, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• Fardin Hashemi, University professor

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}QiaeqnLpG30{/youtube}

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 06:17:27 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17239-first-100-days-abdullah-visits-victims-families-in-paktika
TAWDE KHABARE: Special Program on Paktika Suicide Attack http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17238-tawde-khabare-special-program-on-paktika-suicide-attack

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtiar in a special program discusses the suicide attack in Yahya Khail district of Paktika province with the following guests:

• Nadir Katawazi, MP
• Mohibullah Samim, Governor of Paktika
• Jawid Kohistani, military analyst
• Dawlat Waziri, deputy spokesman for MoD

To watch the whole program, click here:

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 06:06:29 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17238-tawde-khabare-special-program-on-paktika-suicide-attack
FARAKHABAR: 24 November 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17237-farakhabar-24-november-2014

The National Directorate of Security (NDS)—the Afghan intelligence agency—blames the Haqqani militant network for the deadly suicide bombing in eastern Paktika province in which over 100 people were killed and wounded.

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}7BJdju9viSU{/youtube}

At least 61 people were killed and more than 50 others were injured Sunday afternoon after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives among the spectators of a volleyball match in Yahyakhail district of eastern Paktika province.

54 injured were evacuated to the Sardar Dawood Khan Military Hospital of Kabul. 17 of the injured were between 7 to 14 years of age, according to the hospital officials.
Why is the government not taking series action on the issue of insecurity?
In this episode of Farakhabar, host Yama Siawish discusses the topic with the following guests:

• Ahmad Seedi, political analyst
• Nazifa Zaki, MP

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 05:50:38 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17237-farakhabar-24-november-2014
Ghani Heads to Nepal for SAARC Summit http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17236-ghani-heads-to-nepal-for-saarc-summit

President Ashraf Ghani left Kabul early Tuesday for Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, to attend the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit, according to the statement of the Presidential Office.

Ghani will be meeting Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in Nepal.

The Indian Prime Minister is said to speak with Ghani on the sidelines of SAARC, the statement added.

This is the third time that Nepal is hosting the SAARC. The last was in 1997 and 2002.

It is expected that the Foreign Ministers of the SAARC will be holding a meeting on Tuesday,and on Wednesday the leaders are said to meet.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 04:32:44 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17236-ghani-heads-to-nepal-for-saarc-summit
UPDATE: Seven ANA Personnel Injured in Kabul Blast http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17235-update-seven-ana-personnel-injured-in-kabul-blast

Seven Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel were injured in a roadside mine blast in Kabul early Tuesday morning, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement.

The remote controlled mine targeted a vehicle of military personnel passing thru from Khowaja Noor of the sixth district of Kabul, the statement added.

The police have cordoned off the area and have started search operations in this regard.

So far, no group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast.

The blast comes a day after two International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members were killed in an explosion in eastern Kabul, according to an ISAF statement.

The incident took place in Qabilby area of Kabul where the militants targeted the convoy of the foreign troops.

In the past a month, the insurgents have increased their attacks in Kabul City frequently targeting Afghan forces, foreign troops and Afghan officials.

To watch the footage, click here:

{youtube}4q7Cx3gP0fM{/youtube}

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 03:29:51 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17235-update-seven-ana-personnel-injured-in-kabul-blast
TOLOnews 6pm News 24 November 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17234-tolonews-6pm-news-24-november-2014 Top news in this bulletin:

An Afghan mother claims to have killed 25 Taliban militants and injured several others after she found her son, who was a police, dead in a fierce gun battle with the insurgents at his check post in western Farah province.

To watch the whole news bulletin, Click Here:

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"The fighting was intensified when we reached the battlefield along with light and heavy weapons," said Seema, Gul's daughter-in-law. "We were committed to fight until the last bullet."

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:53:35 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17234-tolonews-6pm-news-24-november-2014
Former Finance Minister Exclusive Interview on Economic Growth http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17233-former-finance-minister-exclusive-interview-on-economic-growth

Former Finance Minister and professor of Economic and Financial Sciences at the University of Bonn in Germany, Dr. Haidar Dawar reveals the path that the Afghan government can take in supporting domestic production to reduce imports in Afghanistan.

Dr. Dawar said the government by taking necessary steps can support small industries toward domestic production.

In an interview with TOLOnews he spoke of the current economic situations faced by Afghanistan and the solutions to the current problems.

TOLOnews: Thank you Professor. In your opinion, what state is the economy of Afghanistan?

Professor: Thank you to TOLOnews for sharing my opinion on the fate of Afghanistan's economy. To be honest, Afghanistan's situation is unfortunate. It does not have a national institution to develop the national economy and it does not have a manufacturing infrastructure, which can help to develop a sustainable nation economy by creating jobs for the citizens, strengthen and reform tax systems and increase the value of the AFS. Look at our neighboring countries; they are taking control of our internal market with their imported goods. This is destroying our chances of production. The Afghan government is not taking any action in this regard rather they're happy with earning a few million from customs. This is weakening the country.

TOLOnews: From the view of capacity, what country would you compare Afghanistan to in aspects of a successful return after war?

Professor: Except Afghanistan, there hasn't been any country in the world that has not been successful in reconstruction and economic development. Despite the influx of billions of dollars and the support of 40 foreign countries Afghanistan has failed to implement long-term economic plans. If Afghanistan utilized the international aid wisely, then the country would not have been in today's economic deadlock.

TOLOnews: Is the open market system suitable for Afghanistan's current situations? Will it help Afghanistan to progress?

Professor: The market in Afghanistan is uncontrollable. The government can't even control it. They are just watching everything unveil. There is no defined market in Afghanistan; anyone can import goods, smugglers are free to do whatever and the government is financially and managerially weak. To fix this we must develop a mixed system between the market and the government because neither can lead the economy alone.

TOLOnews: What could the government have done in the past 13 years for economical growth that was not done?

Prof. Dawar: The government of Afghanistan failed during the past 13 years to utilize the international aid at least in a manner that could have created job opportunities and boosted the state financial power. The anarchy in the private economy has reached its peak, and as a result, only minority of rich and powerful people have benefited from it.

TOLOnews: What opportunities for economic growth are currently available in Afghanistan?

Prof. Dawar: For now, we can hope that the unity government, which came into being as a result of the patience of Afghans and following an agreement between the two candidates, will fulfill the demands of citizens and help Afghanistan get rid of insolvency.

TOLOnews: What are the major obstacles currently facing the country's economic growth?

Prof. Dawar: Before I answer, let me explain from the economics point of view the difference between two terms "economic development" and "economic growth." In Afghanistan, we can only talk about uncontrollable development, there is only development not growth. Development is meant by a phenomenon that only shows the quantity not the quality, i.e. when agricultural production increases, only the landowner benefits from it not the farmers, or in case of population development, the population increases but the revenue remains as is or sometimes it declines. Hence, short-term development illustrates quantity not the quality. But unlike, the growth shows the quality and reform such as administrative reform, rise in knowledge, equitable distribution of income, wealth and estate. It means that development and growth are parallel. But if development is not sustainable or a large part of the population is not benefitting from it, then such type of development is contrary to the growth of an economic society, hence what we are already witnessing in Afghanistan.

TOLOnews: What ways can Afghanistan follow to reach economic self-sufficiency?

Prof. Dawar: Self-reliant economy meets vital importance to countries that are landlocked and have no sea ways, and especially countries like Afghanistan that borders with industrial neighbors. Means that in the development stage, all necessities and daily used items should be produced inside the country so that in case if the neighbors block their borders, Afghanistan must not be pressurized economically and politically. The current situation in Afghanistan is so heartbreaking that the neighboring countries have completely monopolized our markets with their cheap and decorative goods. Anyhow if Afghanistan does not take serious steps towards the revival of domestic production, the country's economic life is at risk.

TOLOnews: What is Afghanistan's position from the international trade point of view and what are the opportunities and requirements in this respect?

Prof. Dawar: Unfortunately based on the international trade, Afghanistan's role in its current situation is insignificant. Hope that Afghanistan with its natural resources, mines, fertile land and human skills that it owns will be able to take a significant part in the international trade by utilizing its rich and untouched resources in a professional manner. It is worthy of notice that Afghanistan's export of traditional items such as carpet and Qara-Qul skin play important roles in today's fashion and decoration, but unfortunately its sales have no boom in the global markets. Alongside these items, a good global market also requires for manufactured goods, agricultural products, mines and tourism.

TOLOnews: What would be the advantage of Afghanistan's trade in the international trade?

Prof. Dawar: If Afghanistan's exports increase in terms of quality and quantity, to say clearer, if Afghanistan's export items get variety, Afghanistan's goods will have a good global market. Its currency value will increase, the balance of trade and payments will be improved and state revenue from taxes will also get variety, which means instead of only customs revenue, the government will also get tax from personal income, businesses, shares and estates.

TOLOnews: Is Afghanistan, following its political landscape, a suitable place for international investment?

Prof. Dawar: The people of Afghanistan are optimistic that the ruling government will take fundamental steps for economic welfare and improved social and political situation. The most important economic objective of the government is to establish a manufacturing and export institution. When production and exports rise, they are considered the infrastructure of the national economy, which forms the infrastructure of exports and production and also the tax and banking systems. To reach this goal, it is required to stop import of consuming and luxurious goods, but doesn't ban the import of vital items used daily by the people until the country reaches self-sufficiency in domestic production and becomes able to compete similar foreign goods. Such supportive policies and reliance on domestic production will result in the rise of level of employment, reform, tax system, the rise in the value of money and reduction in Afghanistan's reliance on foreigners. Experience has shown that industrial countries to achieve economic growth has followed the same policies, an example is the British Industrial Revolution. England, at the time, attacked Europe with floods of its products, especially Germany, when it came to know that all of its markets had been seized by the British products, it implemented policies at the country's customs to prevent import of British products. The other example is from Afghanistan when Gulbahar textile company faced sales of its products following import and smuggling of fabrics from foreign countries, the government back then based on my suggestion banned the import of cotton-made fabrics and this way Gulbahar textile company enhanced its production and began selling its products across the country.

TOLOnews: Last question, what do you expect from Afghanistan's government in respect to economic growth?

Prof. Dawar: My and Afghans' expectation from the new government is to create employment opportunities through economic development and growth. And also we hope an honest and hard-working government comes into being with a qualified cabinet so that the economy is boosted and jobs are also created. If a sympathetic government comes into being, the people will get more interested in the government. National unity is created and the enemies of national unity won't be able to disappoint the people with the government.

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:55:44 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17233-former-finance-minister-exclusive-interview-on-economic-growth
Value of Afghani Drops, Officials Play Blame Game http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17232-value-of-afghani-drops-officials-play-blame-game

The value of the Afghani currency has reached it's lowest point in the past 13 years, falling to 58 Afghanis and 20 cents to the dollar. Officials and experts have pointed to varying causes for the depreciation.

Officials at the Money Exchangers Union of Shahzada Currency Market in Kabul have said that the depreciation is a result of the central bank's inability to stabilize the currency market. They have also said the delay in the formation of the new cabinet and lack of public trust in the new government have led to people stashing their U.S. dollars away.

"The exact reason is ambiguity regarding the announcement of the new cabinet, which has not been announced, and other factors like elections," said Haji Khan Muhammad Baz, Chairman of the Money Exchangers Union.

Officials at the Central Bank have also blamed the delay in formation of the cabinet as well as decreased government revenues as the causes of the Afghani's drop in value.

"The main reason is that the government and Ministry of Finance have not been able to gather their revenues like the previous years and Afghanis have lost their value against dollars," said Khan Afzal Hadawal, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank.

Experts say U.S. dollars have become the main currency for business transactions in Afghanistan. Increases and decreases in the value of the dollar against the value of Afghanis directly impacts investment, economic activities and consumer markets.

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:33:11 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17232-value-of-afghani-drops-officials-play-blame-game
Foreign, Finance Ministries Prepare Agenda for London Summit http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17231-foreign-finance-ministries-prepare-agenda-for-london-summit

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Monday said it would be coordinating with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in crafting the agenda for the upcoming London Summit, adding that good governance, security and expansion of Afghanistan's ties with the international community would be among the main focuses.

The summit is scheduled to start on December 3 and has been called a critical opportunity for the new national unity government to attract further investment and support from the international community.

"Since formation of the national unity government, our achievements have been good in various spheres - good governance, human rights and other issues,"
MoFA deputy spokesman Sirajul Haq Siraj said. "On November 27th, we will have a meeting in the ministry of foreign affairs with ambassadors from donor, funding and supporting countries..."

MoF officials declined to comment on preparations for the summit on Monday.

Meanwhile, economists have said the London Summit will be essential for revitalizing trust between Afghanistan and its international partners after the damage cause by the Hamid Karzai administration in its final months.

"I hope that the government, by offering new programs, attracts more economic aid or proves the use of previous aid and shows that the money will not be useless and that the aid will be put to the right direction," economic analyst Syed Massoud said.

President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah will represent Afghanistan at the summit.

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:25:19 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17231-foreign-finance-ministries-prepare-agenda-for-london-summit
Afghan Mother Kills 25 Taliban http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17230-afghan-mother-kills-25-taliban

An Afghan mother claims to have killed 25 Taliban militants and injured several others after she found her son, who was a police, dead in a fierce gun battle with the insurgents at his check post in western Farah province.

"Reza Gul" the Afghan mother who rushed to take revenge of her son's death stood behind an armament and claimed the lives of 25 insurgents.

Woken up by the gunfire, Reza Gul told TOLOnews that she had no other option but to pick up a weapon after she found her son, who was the in charge of an outpost, dead in front of her eyes.

"It was around 5 a.m. when my son's check post came under the attack of Taliban," Gul said. "When the fighting intensified, I couldn't stop myself and picked up a weapon, went to the check post and began shooting back."

Few minutes later, Gul was not alone when she found her husband, daughter, youngest son and daughter-in-law holding weapons and accompanying her in the fight against the insurgents.

"The fighting was intensified when we reached the battlefield along with light and heavy weapons," said Seema, Gul's daughter-in-law. "We were committed to fight until the last bullet."
The fighting lasted several hours with 25 insurgents dead and many others wounded, she added.

"We started a kind of family war against the Taliban," Fatima, daughter of Gul said, adding that she was personally preparing bullets for her father and mother to fight off the enemies.
Gul's husband Abdul Satar stated they were ready to sacrifice the entire family, but not allow the Taliban to get closer to the check post.

"My young son who was a police officer was killed in front of my eyes," Abdul Satar said. "I pulled aside his dead body and started fighting to defend my soil to prove that this is the soil of Malalay, the hero. I was committed to give up my life, but not my son's check post."

Sardar, the youngest member of the family, also participated in the battle by preparing bullets for his father.

"Taliban are foreigners, they are servants of Pakistan, if they attack 100 other times, I will continue to defend my country and will shed their blood to not let them dare to enter my village" the little fighter added.

"We are proud of the bravery of this family and this is a saga that will be remembered for long by police and residents of Farah province," said General Abdul Razaq Yaqubi, the Police Chief.

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:01:36 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17230-afghan-mother-kills-25-taliban
MOBY Group, Afghan Cricket Board Sign Cooperation Agreement http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/17229-moby-group-afghan-cricket-board-sign-cooperation-agreement

The Afghan Cricket Board has signed an agreement with Moby Group to start broadcasting national team cricket matches around the country, and more broadly, in hopes of encouraging more matches against top international competitors for the Afghan side.

The agreement extends for five years, and will ensure all national team cricket matches are shown nationwide on TOLO TV, TOLOnews and Lemar TV as well as broadcasted on Arman and Arakozia Radio stations.

Although cricket does not have a lot of history in Afghanistan, Moby Group Chief Executive in Afghanistan, Shafiq Gawhari, said he hopes the deal will help the sport take off.

"Within two or three years, we want to organize international cricket competitions between Afghanistan and powerful countries in the field of cricket and reflect it inside and outside the country through our social media outlets and we want Afghans to own it," Mr. Gawhari said. "We want to undertake better programs to telecast matches of the Cricket World Cup through our own channels."

The Cricket Board, meanwhile, has heralded signing of the agreement as a crucial step in further developing cricket in Afghanistan.

"We hope that with this deal, Afghanistan will also get a reputation in broadcasting better cricket like Australia, Pakistan and England and so other countries also watch these matches through the Moby Group channels," Cricket Board member Noor Mohammad Murad said.

In recent years, the national football team has become a hugely popular symbol of progress and pride for Afghans around the country. Moby has been the main broadcaster of football in the country, including exclusive rights to the Roshan Afghan Premier League (APL), the country's first national football league. But with the Afghan cricket team's qualification for its first World Cup birth, leaders in the sport hope that it will see a similar expansion.

"Tolo is a powerful and favorite channel for the people and it has played a vital role in introducing and developing sports in Afghanistan," cricket board head Shahzada Masoud said.

The Afghan cricket team currently ranks 11th out of 130 competing countries worldwide.

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:47:02 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/17229-moby-group-afghan-cricket-board-sign-cooperation-agreement
Haqqani Network Behind Paktika Bombing that Killed 61: NDS http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17228-haqqani-network-behind-paktika-bombing-that-killed-61-nds

The National Directorate of Security (NDS)—the Afghan intelligence agency—blames the Haqqani militant network for the deadly suicide bombing in eastern Paktika province in which over 100 people were killed and wounded.

At least 61 people were killed and more than 50 others were injured Sunday afternoon after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives among the spectators of a volleyball match in Yahyakhail district of eastern Paktika province.

54 injured were evacuated to the Sardar Dawood Khan Military Hospital of Kabul. 17 of the injured were between 7 to 14 years of age, according to the hospital officials.

The NDS spokesman, Hasib Sediqi, told reporters on Monday that Qari Omari and Mullah Rahimullah who were the inhabitants of Yahyakhail district of Paktika had plotted the attack.

He added the plotters of the attack took the instruction from Abdullah Bilal, the so-called governor of Haqqani network for Paktika.

"Qari Omari and Mullah Rahimullah known as Mullah Kabir had plotted the attack," Sediqi said. "The name of the suicide bomber was Ismail."

He also reported that over the past two months, NDS nullified 11 similar possible attacks throughout the country.

"Qari Omari and Mullah Rahimullah are working under the command of so-called governor Abdullah Bilal who is the biggest murderer of residents of Paktika," according to NDS spokesman.

Visiting the injured people in Sardar Dawood Khan Hospital, President Ashraf Ghani, CEO Abdullah and many other high-rank government officials condemned the attack in harsh words.

"I will take revenge of this attack," said the first Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum while visiting the injured people.

"They [Taliban] are the murderers of Afghans, they are traitors and enemies of Afghanistan," Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah stated in the meeting of Council of Ministers.

The United States of America, the United Nations, UK, Canada, Pakistan and other countries also condemned the Paktika bombing and expressed sympathies to the victims' families.

This was the second deadly suicide bombing during the last four months in Paktika. About four months in Orgon district of the province, at least 89 people were killed as a result of a car bombing in a crowded market.

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:39:03 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17228-haqqani-network-behind-paktika-bombing-that-killed-61-nds
OXFAM Stresses on Broader Women Role in Government http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17227-oxfam-stresses-on-broader-women-role-in-government

OXFAM in Afghanistan at a special women empowerment peace talk in Kabul on Monday stressed that the role of women in the government must be broadened.

Specifically focusing on the presence of women in the political process and decision making scene, OXFAM—an international association of 17 organizations working with partners and local communities in more than 90 countries "toward a world without poverty"—fears that the achievements of the past 13 years in the country will be lost.

According to OXFAM officials, government representatives and armed opponents have conducted at least 23 secret negotiations over the recent years without the participation of women.

"We expect the international community not to forget the women after the drawdown of foreign troops from the country," OXFAM member Hakim Zaki said. "The new government seeks to bring a number of reforms and one of the vital topics that the new government wants to undertake is to initiate talks with armed opponents."

Female contribution in the formation of the new cabinet is another issue that OXFAM has raised. They have urged the National Unity Government and the international community to allocate 30 international aids to the betterment in the lives of women and consider reserving 30 seats for women in the new government.

"We hope the government comes with new dynamism for implementing its commitments it had sought for Afghan women empowerment," Wazhma Forogh, head of the Institute for Security and Peace, said.

The organization, OXFAM, focuses on bringing aid to Afghanistan to better the lives of the people. It has asked the world community in the wake of the London Conference on Afghanistan to relate 30 percent of its aids for improving the lives of women.

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:26:20 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17227-oxfam-stresses-on-broader-women-role-in-government
Blast in Kunduz Kills Six http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17226-blast-in-kunduz-kills-six

At least six people including two women were killed and six other civilians were injured as a result of a blast in northern Kunduz province, officials said.

The provincial authorities have confirmed the explosion that took place Monday afternoon near a civilian hospital in Dasht-e-Archi district.

The sources added the explosives were placed inside a motorcycle and were detonated near a police vehicle.

No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

This comes as two foreign service members, according to a statement released by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), were also killed in an explosion in eastern Kabul.

The increased spate of violence and bombings in the capital, Kabul, and provinces have questioned the performance of the security agencies and also the newly-established government of the national unity.

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:28:32 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17226-blast-in-kunduz-kills-six
Two ISAF Members Killed in Eastern Kabul http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17225-two-isaf-members-killed-in-eastern-kabul

Two International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members were killed in an explosion in eastern Kabul early Monday morning, according to an ISAF statement.

The incident took place in Qabilby area of Kabul City where the militants targeted the vehicles of the foreign troops.

"Two International Security Assistance Force service members died as a result of an enemy attack in eastern Afghanistan," the ISAF news release announced.

The statement did not disclose the nationality of the two service members.

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

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:19:04 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17225-two-isaf-members-killed-in-eastern-kabul
First 100 Days: Latest Details About the NUG Works And Paktika Attack http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17224-first-100-days-latest-details-about-the-nug-works-and-paktika-attack

In this episode of the program, host Omid Farooq discusses the latest details about the works of the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Paktika suicide attack in which 50 civilians were killed and 60 others were injured, with the following guests:

• Azim Arash, TOLOnews reporter
• Amanullah Payman, MP
• Shekiba Hashemi, MP
• Abdul Hamid Mubarez, analyst
• Asabdullah Sadati, MP

To watch the program, click here:

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:53:10 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17224-first-100-days-latest-details-about-the-nug-works-and-paktika-attack
FARAKHABAR: 23 November 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17223-farakhabar-23-november-2014

The Lower House of Parliament, known as the Wolesi Jirga, with majority vote, approved the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States and the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with NATO on Sunday.

To watch the program, click here:

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After debates on the agreements during the session, House Speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi asked the MPs to raise their cards, green in favor of the pacts and red in opposition.

As a result, 149 representatives favored the accords, five others raised red cards opposing the agreements and two other lawmakers raised white cards.

But what changes will come in Afghanistan's security after the approval of the BSA and SOFA?

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

• Abdul Qayoum Sajadi, MP
• Haroon Mir, political analyst

 

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 05:05:59 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17223-farakhabar-23-november-2014
TAWDE KHABARE: Obama Extends US Combat Role in Afghanistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17222-tawde-khabare-obama-extends-us-combat-role-in-afghanistan

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtiar discusses the extension of the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan for another year with the following guests:

• Tahir Hashimi, University professor
• Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, former Deputy head of the Ministry of Interior
• Gharzai Khakhogi, military analyst
• Sadiq Zada Neli, MP

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}idNChfa_bWQ{/youtube}

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 03:52:39 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17222-tawde-khabare-obama-extends-us-combat-role-in-afghanistan
Paktika Death Toll Rises to 50 http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17221-paktika-death-toll-rises-to-50

At least 50 civilians were killed and more than 60 others were injured in a suicide attack in southern Paktika province on Sunday, local officials said.

The attack took place about at 5 p.m. when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive on a volleyball ground in Yahya Khel district of the province, a spokesman for the Paktika Governor, Mukhlis Afghan, said.

The explosion took place during a volleyball match and officials of the Paktika hospital have said that majority of victims were children.

The police have started investigations about the attack.

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani in a statement on Sunday condemned the attack, ordering the concerned authorities to provide best medical treatment for the wounded in the province bordering Pakistan.

No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Mon, 24 Nov 2014 03:20:45 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17221-paktika-death-toll-rises-to-50
TOLOnews 6 pm News 23 November 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17220-tolonews-6-pm-news-23-november-2014

The Lower House of Parliament, known as the Wolesi Jirga, with majority vote, approved the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States and the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with NATO on Sunday.

{youtube}9-vXf9K0l0U{/youtube}

After debates on the agreements during the session, House Speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi asked the MPs to raise their cards, green in favor of the pacts and red in opposition.

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Sun, 23 Nov 2014 16:14:15 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17220-tolonews-6-pm-news-23-november-2014