TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:43:49 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Spate of Attacks Heighten Kabul Security Concerns http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15758-spate-of-attacks-heighten-kabul-security-concerns alt

A growing number and frequency of militant attacks in the Afghan capital over the past month has sparked anxieties among security officials, legislators and the general public. And with the increased concern has come the all too familiar blame game within the government.

Kabul Police Chief General Zahir Zahir has maintained the lack of proper air support and the termination of nighttime raids have made efforts to prevent attacks and keep militants at bay more difficult for the Afghan security forces in recent weeks.

He also said that militants who were released from prison by the government are mostly the ones behind the recent slue of attacks in Kabul. "A few days back, they launched a rocket attack on the Kabul airport, who was that? Those who were released from Bagram jail," General Zahir said on Tuesday.

The issue of releasing suspected insurgents from custody and their possible return to the battlefield has been a hot-button topic of debate over the past year. President Hamid Karzai, in particular, has received criticism from the international community, many members of the Afghan government and public for pushing for the releases, which many have suggested is part of his larger policy of appeasement toward the Taliban.

"A few days back, they fired rockets from Paghman, who were they? Those who were released from the jails; they pledged not to conduct terror activities, but they didn't honor their commitments and resorted to suicide attacks and explosions," General Zahir said.

The Kabul Police Chief has tried to defend the performance of his security forces in Kabul by arguing that although some attacks take place, far more attempts are thwarted on a daily basis. He argued the security situation would be much worse if it was not for the efforts of the security forces, a conclusion that few would likely dispute.

Nevertheless, Afghan lawmakers have linked the growing insecurity in the capital to the supposed weakness of those leading the security forces. A number of MPs have said that mismanagement in the security arena has been the main factor behind the increased number of attacks.

"There is no poor performance in the method, but there is weakness in the management of the security sectors and political interests are visible," MP Shukria Barakzai said on Tuesday. "We have witnessed the personal interests of the individuals serving in the leadership of the security sector, and it could create a major issue for harmony between the security forces in the future," Barakzai continued.

The one matter the lawmakers did agree with General Zahir and other security officials on, however, was the danger leniency toward suspected militants posed to the security of the capital and the country as a whole.

"We are witnessing the flexible policies and privileges that are offered to the armed opponents, because the Taliban builds morale every day and their released counterparts reintegrate and take part in suicide attacks and battles," Faryab MP Bashir Ahmad Tayyanj said.

The MPs urged the government to pursue a more consistent and coherent policy toward the armed opposition groups, or risk losing group to them at a critical moment for Afghanistan with the NATO coalitions set to withdraw by the end of the year.

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Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:17:36 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15758-spate-of-attacks-heighten-kabul-security-concerns
Over 9,000 Female Police Recruits Trained in Balkh http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15757-over-9000-female-police-recruits-trained-in-balkh alt

More than 9,000 female police recruits have received coaching in the past three years at the police-training center in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province.

The female recruits are from Balkh, Faryab, Baghlan and Jawzjan provinces who were trained in the fields of criminal law, human rights, convicting criminals, knowledge and usage of weapons and how to arrest criminals.

"I am very happy to serve alongside my brothers in the rank of the Afghan National Police (ANP) and I will accomplish my task with honesty," said one of the female police officers in Balkh, Lal Mohammad.

Jamila is one of the female recruits who recently joined the police force. Joy is painted on her face as she expressed her enthusiasm of joining the ANP. She says that this opportunity has brought positive change to her life.

"I have learned many positive things during the training period and I am so happy to serve in the police force," she said happily. "I ask other women to join the police force and serve their country."

Currently, at least 27 female recruits are training at the center. Masooma, one of the recruits who started work for Baghlan police, says despite how negatively society looks at females working in the police force, she is happy with her decision.

"Working in police force is a difficult task, initially I faced opposition from my family members, but I continued to work," she said with proudly.

These policewomen express their pride of serving the country and protecting the rights of the citizens as well as contributing to the security of the nation.

Security officials said that in the northern part of the country currently up to 200 female recruits are serving in the ANP force.

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Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:10:31 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15757-over-9000-female-police-recruits-trained-in-balkh
Historical Monuments in Zabul on Edge of Ruins http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15756-historical-monuments-in-zabul-on-edge-of-ruins alt

In the southern province of Zabul there are at least 17 historical monuments, including six sacred places, that still stand today, but one day may collapse because of lack of protection and restoration.

Members of Zabul provincial council have criticized the responsible organs for not concentrating on the cultural heritages stressing that if necessary measures are not taken to protect the monuments, they will be ruined.

Residents have asked the local government and provincial information and culture directorate to undertake important measures in preserving the artistic remains of the province.

"The responsible organs have not accomplished any work in sustaining the cultural remains [of the province] over the past ten years," Zabul resident Ahmadullah said.

"We ask the local government and Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) to focus on the protection of the cultural heritages," another Zabul resident Saifullah said.

Meanwhile, Zabul provincial information and culture directorate head asked the MoIC to honor the demands of the people with regard to the protection of cultural heritages.

"I certify the concerns of the residents of this province, we are trying to jointly work with donor institutions and the MoIC to maintain the ancient monuments," head of Zabul Information and Culture Department, Abdul Muqim Afghan, said.

Zabul Bala Hisar, Burj-e-Teer-o-Kaman, Tapa Holan Rubat, Tangee Zareen Kulah, Bustan area, Mezani Hill, Topha Hill, Shah Dum area, Paindah Khan Fort, Sangar Jamal Khail, Tapa-e-Sartaj, Bolan Hill, Chehl Gazi Baba Ziarat, and Sheikh Mati and Hassan Mati are among the sacred and historical places of Zabul.

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Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:06:44 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15756-historical-monuments-in-zabul-on-edge-of-ruins
American Weapons Lost in Afghanistan: SIGAR http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15755-american-weapons-lost-in-afghanistan-sigar alt

The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a recent report claimed that some 747,000 weapons provided by the U.S. to equip the Afghan security forces have been lost.

The weapons, which included mostly light and heavy firearms, according to the SIGAR report, were provided for the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Army (ANP). However, U.S. defense officials have reportedly failed to effectively track the weapons, and experts suspect many of them may have fallen in the hands of criminals and militants.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) has said that the weapons that have been provided to the Afghan forces by the U.S. are all logged in a database at the Ministry, which could be the starting place for trying to trace their whereabouts.

"The weapons and the equipment exist in the database of the Ministry of Interior since they were offered and the MoI is responsible for them," MoI spokesman Najibullah Danish said.

Meanwhile, Parliament's Commission on Internal Security and Defense has maintained that the U.S. is responsible for the weapons and equipment it donates. Members of the commission have said Washington armed irresponsible individuals in the initial days of its mission in Afghanistan.

"The fact is that the weapons weren't distributed properly and they were provided directly and personally to the individuals, which means that they weren't distributed through legal means with registration," said Mir Dad Khan Nejrabi, the head of the parliamentary commission.

Military analysts fear many of the weapons that the U.S. has flooded Afghanistan with have fallen into the hands of militants and criminal networks. They believe the issue has further worsened Afghanistan's security situation.

"Recently, the U.S. is responsible for this, because it provided the weapons without proper calculation and registration to irresponsible individuals and the U.S. must be answerable for it now," military expert Atiqullah Amarkhail told TOLOnews.

The SIGAR report says handguns, automatics and some other types of weapons have been provided by the U.S. since 2004. Some 626 million dollars worth of weapons are estimated to have been lost.

More specifically, the SIGAR report says the Pentagon has provided tens of thousands of AK-47s and similar weapons that have likely ended up in the hands of the Taliban and other militant groups.

In the lead up to NATO's withdraw in December SIGAR, along with the governments of coalition's member countries all together, have begun taking serious stock of the mark they will leave behind in Afghanistan. Although the U.S. continues to provide weaponry and equipment to the Afghan forces, the flow of provisions has dramatically decreased.

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Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:03:52 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15755-american-weapons-lost-in-afghanistan-sigar
TOLOnews 6 pm News 29 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15754-tolonews-6-pm-news-29-july-2014 alt

A suicide bomber killed Hashmat Karzai, cousin of President Karzai and member of the Provincial Council, at his home in southern Kandahar on Tuesday, local officials said.

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The attack took place in Karz area of Dand district of the province at about 10 a.m. after a suicide bomber who placed the explosive in his turban blew himself up while greeting Mr. Karzai for Eid at his house, said Dawa Khan Menapal, provincial governor spokesman.

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Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:45:56 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15754-tolonews-6-pm-news-29-july-2014
TAKANI: The Impact of the Election Crisis on Democracy http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15753-takani-the-impact-of-the-election-crisis-on-democracy alt

In this episode of Takani 93, host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discusses the impact of the election crisis on democracy in Afghanistan with the following the guests:

- Dr. Fatema Aziz, MP
- Sultan Salar Azizpoor, writer
- Ajmal Balochzada, civil society activist
- Sediq Patman, political analyst

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}CHTfE3V6gW0{/youtube}

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Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:10:10 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15753-takani-the-impact-of-the-election-crisis-on-democracy
Taliban Insurgents Attack Afghan Forces Outposts in Nangarhar http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15752-taliban-insurgents-attack-afghan-forces-outposts-in-nangarhar alt

Hundreds of Taliban insurgents attacked Afghan forces outposts in eastern Nangarhar province early Tuesday and started clashes with the forces in which six policemen and more than 50 Taliban insurgents were killed, local officials said.

The attack took place at around 4 a.m. in Hesarak district of the province when more than 500 Taliban insurgents attacked the military outpost and began fighting with the forces, said Provincial Governor Spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai.

"The clash began around 4 a.m. and continued until a bit after noon," Abdulzai explained. "More than 50 to 60 Taliban militants were killed and injured, six security personnel were also killed and eight others were wounded in the fight."

The Provincial Police Chief, Fazl Ahmad Shirzad, said, "the clashes are still continuing and more troops have been deployed by air to the area."

He added that the Afghan forces have launched a "clearing operation" in several areas of Hesarak to clear the region of militants.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) also confirmed the attack and said the attack on Hesarak is similar to the ambush that took place in Sangin district of Helmand province where foreign militants backed the insurgents.

However, the deputy spokesman for the MoI did not give an exact number of Taliban insurgents involved in Tuesday's attack, he emphasized that the Afghan security forces are fully capable of dealing with such attacks.

"Whether it is 500 or 5,000 militants that the Afghan security forces must fight against they are skilled in tackling them all," MoI Deputy Spokesman Najibullah Danish said.

It is said that the battle still continues and that residents of the area are also among the injured. But on the contrary, Nangarhar governor spokesman says the fight has ended and that enforcement has been dispatched to Hesarak.

"Currently, the situation has settled down and additional forces have been sent to the area from Jalalabad, including extra weapons," Abdulzai said.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the attack.

The clash in Hesarak is the second district attacked by Taliban in over a month after the Sangin district battle in southern Helmand that occurred a few weeks ago.

Almost a month ago, more than 800 Taliban insurgents attacked Sangin and took control of the area for more than a week. The clash ended when an increase of troops were deployed in efforts to clear the district of militants.

The clash claimed the lives of civilians, Afghan forces and Taliban insurgents.

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Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:43:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15752-taliban-insurgents-attack-afghan-forces-outposts-in-nangarhar
President Karzai's Cousin Killed in Kandahar Suicide Attack http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15751-president-karzais-cousin-killed-in-kandahar-suicide-attack alt

A suicide bomber killed Hashmat Karzai, cousin of President Karzai and member of the Provincial Council, at his home in southern Kandahar on Tuesday, local officials said.

The attack took place in Karz area of Dand district of the province at about 10 a.m. after a suicide bomber who placed the explosive in his turban blew himself up while greeting Mr. Karzai for Eid at his house, said Dawa Khan Menapal, provincial governor spokesman.

"Hashmat Karzai was killed in the attack," Menapal said. "No one else was hurt in the attack. The bomber placed the explosive inside his turban and entered his home for Eid greetings."

The police have started investigations about the attack.

Mr. Karzai was also the head of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's electoral team in Kandahar, who was also a powerful man in Karz inside the district of Dand.

Hashmat Karzai is the sole victim of the today's attack at his house in Kandahar.

He is the second member of Karzai's family after Ahmad Wali Karzai, the half-brother of President Karzai, who was killed in Kandahar three years ago.

On July 2011, Wali Karzai, who was the leading power broker in southern Afghanistan, was shot dead inside his home. He was shot twice by his long-time head of security, Sardar Mohammed, who killed himself immediately after.

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Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:16:27 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15751-president-karzais-cousin-killed-in-kandahar-suicide-attack
Israel Must be Ready for Long Gaza Campaign: Netanyahu http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15750-israel-must-be-ready-for-long-gaza-campaign-netanyahu alt

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday Israelis must be ready for a long military campaign in Gaza, after mortar fire from the enclave killed four people in the Jewish state.

"We must be prepared for a lengthy campaign," Netanyahu said in a speech broadcast live, soon after the news of the shelling of the Eshkol region that also reportedly wounded at least 12 people.

"Israeli citizens cannot live with the threat from rockets and from death tunnels -- death from above and from below," he said.

"We will not end this operation without neutralising the tunnels whose sole purpose is killing our citizens," he said, referring to a sophisticated network of cross-border tunnels used by militants to infiltrate southern Israel.

Israel began a major air campaign in Gaza on July 8 to wipe out rocket fire, expanding it with a ground operation on July 17 with the aim of destroying the tunnels.

Dealing with the tunnels was the "first and essential step in demilitarising the Gaza Strip," which along with disarming militants must be part of "any solution, and the international community must insist on it," Netanyahu said.

The Israeli premier also demanded the international community supervise and monitor construction materials entering the Gaza Strip, which he said were used to construct tunnels.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon also spoke of a lengthy campaign saying it could take "many more days until the quiet is restored."

And military Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reiterated a warning to civilians in Gaza to stay away from Hamas.

"Gaza residents should distance themselves from areas in which Hamas is acting because we will get there and it will be painful," he said, shortly after the army sent messages to residents living near Gaza City to flee their homes.

"A short while ago, phonecalls were made and text messages were sent out to the civilian population of Shejaiya, Zeitun and eastern Jabaliya calling them to evacuate immediately towards central Gaza City," an army statement said, referring to areas north, south and east of Gaza City.

Shortly afterwards it said it had also sent similar messages to the civilian population of Jabaliya, Beit Hanun and Beit Lahiya in the north.

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Tue, 29 Jul 2014 05:11:11 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15750-israel-must-be-ready-for-long-gaza-campaign-netanyahu
Peaceful Eid Kickoff http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15749-security alt

Monday marked the first day of Eid ul-Fitr where Afghans across the nation were able to celebrate peacefully while the security forces were diligently working to provide safety for the festivities.

Senior Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs, Gen. Mohammad Ayoob Salangi, and Chief of the Afghan Police Force, Gen. Mohammad Salim Hasas, and a few other security officials visited Afghan security forces in the provinces of Logar and Paktia on the first day of Eid to thank the men and women for their sacrifices and services.

During the trips Gen. Salangi said that the security forces are available throughout Afghanistan and "are ready to respond immediately to any crisis."

"The Afghan police forces take special measures across the country for the days of Eid," added Gen. Hasas. "They are always ready to provide security for the people."

The Ministry of Interior's special force has been recognized for their recent complex operations on insurgents preventing harm to the society.

"We are assuring the people that the Afghan special unit is ready to provide security for the people on Eid, anywhere in Afghanistan," said Kambiz Yama, Deputy Head of the Special Unit of the Interior Ministry.

Kambiz added that there was no afghan force casualties in the recent operations led by the special force.

The people of Afghanistan have praised the Afghan forces in their security measures, but some circles at the Presidential Place are not pleased with the destruction of the Taliban

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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:58:37 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15749-security
TOLOnews 6 pm News 28 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15748-tolonews-6-pm-news-28-july-2014 altTop news in this bulletin

Speaking after the Eid ul-Fitr prayers at the Presidential Palace, President Hamid Karzai defended his policies regarding the release of Taliban prisoners.

To watch the bulletin, click here:

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Karzai's statements came after recent concerns escalated about the return of freed prisoners to insurgency. Karzai rejected the claims, stating that the concerns were the result of foreign misinformation.

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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:41:39 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15748-tolonews-6-pm-news-28-july-2014
Karzai Defends the Release of Taliban Prisoners http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15747-karzai-defends-the-release-of-taliban-prisoners alt

Speaking after the Eid ul-Fitr prayers at the Presidential Palace, President Hamid Karzai defended his policies regarding the release of Taliban prisoners.

Karzai's statements came after recent concerns escalated about the return of freed prisoners to insurgency. Karzai rejected the claims, stating that the concerns were the result of foreign misinformation.

"The information broadcasted is wrong," he asserted. "It is all foreign propaganda. They are attacking us from both sides. We did not know this in the past 14 years, but we do now."

During his speech, he also expressed his condolences to the victims' families of the western Ghor province incident in which he claims were killed by foreign insurgents who placed the blame on the Taliban.

"We express our condolences to the families of the youth who were killed [by unknown militants] under the name of the Taliban," he said. "We call on the Taliban leaders to not allow foreign insurgents to create insecurity in Afghanistan."

On Saturday, residents and activists from around Ghor gathered in the capital of Ferozkhoh to criticize the release of Taliban militants—who many claim were involved in the killings of 15 civilians in Ghor earlier this week.

Ghor Police Chief Gen. Fahim Qayem on Saturday said that the group of militants that brutally shot the civilians dead was led by Qari Rahmatullah and Mullah Farooq, both of whom were released from the Ghor prison. Ghor police claims that since their release, Farooq and Rahmatullah have formed a band of over 2,000 militants who are disrupting security in the province.

This is while Karzai's policies have been continuously criticized by people in his own government.

Recently, Karzai's First Vice-President, Mohammad Younus Qanuni, criticized the government's policy toward the Taliban, stating that the freed Taliban commanders have returned to their old ways and are contributing to the rise of insecurities in the country.

"I am against the release of those who kill the people of Afghanistan," Qanuni stated. "We knew that when they were released from prison that they would return to the battle fields and commit more crimes."

Moreover, the Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi had previously said at the Parliament that Mullah Omar's deputy had become the Taliban leader after being released from prison.

Additionally, MP Fawzia Kofi criticized the president asserting that his policies are far from what is best for the people of the country.

"The president has a set mental vacuum of facts about Afghanistan; there is much disparity between him and the people," she said.

Karzai has long called the Taliban "brothers" in effort to renounce violence and join the peace process, but received zero positive response from the insurgent group.

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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:05:59 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15747-karzai-defends-the-release-of-taliban-prisoners
Karzai's Taliban Policy Criticized http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15746-karzais-taliban-policy-criticized alt

Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently ordered that security agencies should avoid using heavy weaponry against the Taliban.

The president's order has received harsh criticism from the public as well as a number of civil society organizations. Civil society organizations have asked the president to put an end to such policies, calling them the "policies of appeasement."

"The president's policy will have two dangerous outcomes," head of the Civil Society Union, Azizullah Rafiyee, said. "Firstly, it will discourage the security forces from defending the country and secondly, it will increase the rates of violence in the country."

Civil society institutions blame Karzai for defending the Taliban despite their horrific crimes against innocent civilians.

"We know Taliban's crimes against civilians," civil society activist Mir Ahmad Joyenda said. "There is no logic in the order to avoid the use of heavy weaponry."
In the past, the president had prevented foreign forces from bombing the Taliban.

Afghan citizens have repeatedly criticized the president's policies in regards to Taliban.

"We are asking the president to stop giving such advantages to the Taliban," Kabul resident Matiullah said.

People believe that Karzai is taking such actions to be on good terms with the Taliban since he is leaving the office soon.

"President Karzai wants to win the hearts of the Taliban with such policies now that his term is coming to an end," another Kabul resident, Rahimdad, said.

Experts believe that such policies will deter the local forces and increase Taliban activity in the country.

Despite several attempts, TOLOnews was unsuccessful in getting a response from the Presidential Palace.

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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:30:10 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15746-karzais-taliban-policy-criticized
People Want a Final Result: Karzai http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15745-people-want-a-final-result-karzai- alt

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday—first day of Eid ul-Fitr—at the Presidential Palace said that the Afghan people want a final decision made on the prolonged presidential runoff elections so that the new government can be implemented soon.

He emphasized that the people participated in the runoff with enthusiasm and pride and are awaiting the final outcome of their votes.   

“Millions of Afghans went and voted and now want the lengthened election process to be finalized so a new president and new government can be put into practice,” Karzai said.

He compared security in the past 14 years to the 2014 presidential elections adding that this year’s insecurities has risen and stresses that it is a result of foreign terrorists.  

“After the election, more attacks were launched on Afghanistan,” he added. “Insecurities in the past two months are unprecedented compared to the past 14 years. Every day our security forces report that many foreigners come to Afghanistan and begin attacking the Afghan people."

Experts believe that the prolonged runoff election has led the country to witness an increase of insecurity, economic instability and social crisis.  

The finalization of the runoff elections will solve many of the economic and social challenges that are being faced in the country if the presidential runoff is concluded soon.

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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:02:57 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15745-people-want-a-final-result-karzai-
Obama Tells Israel Gaza Truce Needed as Conflict Rages http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15744-obama-tells-israel-gaza-truce-needed-as-conflict-rages alt

US President Barack Obama called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, after Israel and Hamas ignored calls for a truce and the raging conflict entered its third week Monday.

But after a day of strike and counter-strike, mutual attacks seemed to lull in the first hours of Monday, the beginning of the Muslim Eid festival ending the month-long fast of Ramadan, as world leaders pushed for an elusive ceasefire.

Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday and "made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement" brokered by Egypt.

According to a White House statement, the US president stressed the need to "ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza," while reiterating "serious and growing concern about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives."

Diplomats at the UN said the UN Security Council would hold an emergency session on the situation in Gaza from 0400 GMT Monday.

The 15 members of the panel were expected to adopt a declaration calling for a ceasefire in the war-torn enclave.

A draft of the declaration obtained by AFP shows that the Council was poised to express "strong support" for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed assistance."

Israeli media meanwhile said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet was holding a meeting extending from Sunday evening into Monday to discuss the next steps in Gaza.

Earlier, fighting renewed apace, as Israel pounded Gaza with aerial, naval and artillery bombardments after a night of rocket fire from Hamas.

The two sides had observed a 12-hour humanitarian pause on Saturday, giving Gaza medics a chance to pull bodies from rubble they had not been able to reach under fire.

But Hamas rocket fire prompted Israel to abandon an extension of that truce Sunday, and subsequent Hamas calls for another ceasefire were ignored by both sides, as world leaders pushed for a permanent cessation of hostilities.

Neither side has agreed to the truce demands of the other, in a conflict that has killed more than 1,030 Palestinians, 43 Israeli soldiers and three civilians inside Israel.

A controversial incident on Thursday when a UN school acting as a shelter was shelled, killing 15 people, drew fierce condemnation from Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

The Israeli army confirmed on Sunday it had hit the school, but said it was a "single errant mortar" round, denying that people were killed "as a result of (army) operational activity".

Meanwhile Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry was still working for Israel and Hamas to agree to further halts in the bloodshed ahead of hoped for Egypt-led peace talks, a US official said.

Israel rejected a Kerry-proposed ceasefire earlier in the week, and Hamas has resisted truce efforts by Cairo, which has made an enemy of the Palestinian Islamist group that is allied to the Muslim Brotherhood that Egypt has designated a "terrorist" organisation.

- Crippling blockade -

Israel insists that it will continue its mission to destroy Hamas tunnels used to launch attacks on the Jewish state, and Hamas wants a lifting of the crippling Gaza blockade that has been in place for eight years.

Although Hamas said its militants would halt their fire from 1100 GMT Sunday in response to a request from the United Nations, there was no response from Israel.

At least 50 rockets from Gaza hit Israel after the reported truce went into effect, the army said, with another nine intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system.

A military spokeswoman told AFP that since the July 8 start of its military operation, over 2,000 rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza hit Israel, with another 492 intercepted.

"They are violating their own ceasefire," Netanyahu told the CNN news network.

In a separate interview with CBS, he said Israel would not allow "a ruthless terror organisation... to decide when it's convenient for them to stop for a moment, rearm, and continue firing".

New Israeli attacks on Sunday killed 11 people across the territory, raising the Palestinian toll on day 20 of Israel's devastating military campaign to 1,031.

UN chief Ban urged "both the Israelis and Palestinians to extend, for an additional 24 hours, the humanitarian ceasefire that was in effect and mostly observed until early this morning (Sunday)," a statement from his office said.

In Rome, Pope Francis pleaded for an end to the bloodshed which has killed mostly civilians, around a quarter of them children.

- 'Stop, please stop!' -

"Stop, please stop! I beg you with all my heart," he said in the weekly Angelus prayer.

Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said his group could not coexist with Israel as long as it occupied Palestinian land.

"We are not actually fighting the Jews because they are Jews," he said in remarks broadcast Sunday. "We fight the occupiers."

"I'm ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians and the Arabs and non-Arabs," he said. "However, I do not coexist with the occupiers."

Rights groups say the vast majority, some 80 percent of Palestinians killed, have been civilians.

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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:47:57 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15744-obama-tells-israel-gaza-truce-needed-as-conflict-rages
ELECTION 2014: Audit Deadlock http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15743-election-2014-audit-deadlock alt

The audit process stopped on Saturday for a while, considering the past incidents, there are concerns that the stoppage might occur again. If the audit process stops again, what will be the consequences?

In this episode of Election 2014, host Omid Farooq discusses the topic with the following guests:

Naeem Asghari, Program Manager FEFA
Gulab Mangal, member of Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's campaign team
Qasem Wafayezada, electoral analyst

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}BJOGpVC5D40{/youtube}

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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:34:09 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15743-election-2014-audit-deadlock
FARAKHABAR: 27 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15742-farakhabar-27-july-2014 alt

Killers of 16 civilians in Ghor province were Taliban released by Government from prisons.

Officials in Ghor province have said that the Taliban commanders were in custody for terrorist activities, but after their release, these commanders have formed a group of 2,000 people.

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}C38o8CIoids{/youtube}

Killing of civilians by Taliban has raised strong criticisms from a number of provinces.
Protestors in Kabul were holding signs against the policy of government towards Taliban, asking Taliban to end its pro-Taliban policies.

First Vice President and Minister of Defense showed their disagreement with the release of Taliban earlier as well.

But why is government releasing murderers of people?

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

Jawed Kohistani - Military Affairs Analyst
Ahmad Saeedi – Political Affairs Analyst

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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:10:49 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15742-farakhabar-27-july-2014
TAKANI: Impact of Deadlock During Audit http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15741-takani-impact-of-deadlock-during-audit alt

These deadlocks which are becoming tiring for people are sometime merely excuses, which have been dragging the process. What are the problems in the process, campaigns or institutions, and what is the solution to it?

- Abdul Jabar Shulgari Abdullah Abdullah campaign team
- Asadullah Saadati, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai campaign team
- Najla Ayoubi, Civil Society activist

To watch the whole program, click here:
{youtube}sfkpaufkJiA{/youtube}

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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:35:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15741-takani-impact-of-deadlock-during-audit
TOLOnews 6 pm News 27 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15740-tolonews-6-pm-news-27-july-2014 alt

As the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, Kabul residents take to the streets and shop in preparation for Eid in spite of security concerns.

{youtube}S0XcYi-D99U{/youtube}

The locals have asked security forces that during the celebration of Eid that security be on high alert, specifically examining the movements of vehicles meticulously.

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:58:15 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15740-tolonews-6-pm-news-27-july-2014
Families of Taliban's Victims in Ghor Search for Answers http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15739-families-of-talibans-victims-in-ghor-search-for-answers alt

With the Eid holiday being celebrated across Afghanistan, family members of the 16 Afghans who were massacred by Taliban gunmen alongside a rural road in Ghor province last Friday have been left with unanswered questions and frustration regarding the government policies many believe led to the killings.

Muhammad Akbar, one of the men martyred on Friday, left behind a wife, five children and two elderly parents. Nek Bakht, his wife, said that her husband was not in the government or associated with any political group; he was simply a labor worker who worked from day to night to support his kids. "What can I say now, why did the Taliban kill them?" she asked.

"I want my dad, now I want the government to kill the killers of my father," said Sakina, Muhammad Akbar's seven year old daughter.

Muhammad Akbar's parents have made pleas for help now that their son - the only breadwinner in their family - is gone. "To the President, Ministry of Interior and Defense, National Directorate of Security and international community: help us, we cannot be tortured anymore," said Haji Muhammad, the father of Muhammad Akbar.

Akbar was one of 16 people who were traveling in two vans through Ghor's rural Lal and Sarjungal districts when they were stopped by Taliban militants, separated from the larger group of passengers and then mercilessly executed one-by-one. Women and children were among those killed, and all of the victims were ethnic Hazaras, a minority group long persecuted by the Taliban.

Muhammad Ibrahim lost his daughter, son-in-law, sister and two nephews. He told TOLOnews his daughter, Latifa, and her husband, Nawruz, were planning to spend the first days of their marriage at Band-Amir Lake in Bamyan province.

"It was 5:30 in the morning when I found out that the Taliban killed passengers from three vehicles in Lal and Sarjangal districts," Muhammad Ibrahim said. "When I went to the hospital, I saw the bodies of five family members - how would you feel to see the bodies of five of your own family members at once?"

For many of the family members of the victims, but also members of the general public and civil society, despair over the senseless death of those killed in the Ghor massacre has been accompanied by anger toward the government policies that many believe allowed the incident to occur. Security officials have confirmed that at least two of the men who led the slaughter were Taliban militants that had recently been released from custody by the Afghan government.

Groups of local residents and activists gathered in different parts of the country such as Kabul, Herat, Ghor and Balkh over the weekend to demonstrate in solidarity with the victims and in opposition to the Taliban and the policies they believe have empowered the insurgent group.

"Our message to the government is that if the government pays the slightest value to the rights of citizens of this country and their blood, then it must stop supporting the Taliban," civil society activist Barry Salam said.

The Ghor Governor on Saturday suggested the releasing of the two men identified as having been in the killing was a result of pressure from members of Parliament and others in the government. The Afghan government has come under a lot of fire from Afghans and foreign governments alike over the past couple years for freeing large numbers of suspected insurgents.

"They are not human, I see them as inhuman, not as an enemy," another activist named Najeeb Paikan said about the Taliban.

"If you want to do Jihad, then go to Gaza for Jihad, why turn Ghor or Paktika into Gaza?" asked Sakina Hussaini, a member of the Herat Provincial Council.

President Hamid Karzai has been one of the biggest proponents of the releases over the past year, arguing that many Afghans were arrested by foreign forces without due cause. The matter has contributed to the souring of relations between Kabul and Washington.

The Presidential Palace has reportedly assigned a committee of seven members to review and investigate the Ghor incident. And President Karzai has supposedly ordered the families of the victims to be given 100,000 AFN.

The past couple months have seen a number of devastating attacks on Afghan civilians by the Taliban. Earlier in July, a suicide bombing in Urgoon district of Paktika province left scores of dead and wounded in one of the bloodiest attacks so far in 2014. A similar attack was carried in Khuwaja Ghar district of Takhar province earlier last week even, killing six and wounding over 30 civilians.

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 13:50:37 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15739-families-of-talibans-victims-in-ghor-search-for-answers
UN Says Candidates Support Proposal http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15738-un-says-candidates-support-proposal alt

The United Nations (UN) reported that both presidential candidates signaled their support on Saturday for the UN's proposed invalidation criteria for the vote auditing process.

The UN office in Kabul said that the organization was notified by both candidates and now expects the audit process to move forward without further delay. The UN had previously submitted the proposal to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) without approval from the candidates and the commission said the auditing process would need to be put on hold until they could reach agreement.

"Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai have both told the UN that they support the UN proposal regarding the recounting and invalidation of votes," said Neelab Mubarez, a spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Abdullah Abdullah's campaign team has said that they do not think the UN's proposal is sufficient and sent recommendations on how to improve the proposal. "This proposal is not a comprehensive proposal, and does not cover all angles, we have some suggestions and will send them to the UN," said Fazel Rahman Oyra, a member of Abdullah's camp.

Meanwhile, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's campaign team has said that while they continue to have some concerns regarding the UN proposal, they have accepted it in order to avoid prolonging the election process any further, which they believe would be against Afghanistan's best interests.

"One of our observations was that IEC employees were trained so that if elderly, uneducated people could not choose their favorite candidate, IEC employees could tick mark their favorite candidate," Ashraf Ghani campaign representative Daud Sultanzoy said. "Won't there be similarities between those tick marks?"

The UN proposal suggests that the invalidation of votes take place in public hearings held by the IEC and in the presence of UN representatives, the candidates' observers, international observers and the media. Abdullah has asked the UN to play a central role in the public hearings out of mistrust for the IEC's neutrality.

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 13:32:32 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15738-un-says-candidates-support-proposal
Afghans Prepare for Eid Despite Security Concerns http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15737-afghans-prepare-for-eid-despite-security-concerns alt

As the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, Kabul residents take to the streets and shop in preparation for Eid in spite of security concerns.

The locals have asked security forces that during the celebration of Eid that security be on high alert, specifically examining the movements of vehicles meticulously.

Head of Kabul Security Rings pledges to the public that there will be no shortage of police working during the merriment of Eid adding that the security forces have taken necessary precautions to sustain the safety of Kabul City. Security forces have said that vehicles, in all parts of Kabul, will be thoroughly checked to prevent any sort of security threat.

"Kabul police have started searching vehicles since Saturday evening," said Commander of Kabul City Security Rings, Farhad Safi. "Since Saturday the inspections have continued and luckily, we have not faced any challenges yet."

While praising the performance of the police, Kabul residents stress that the security forces must work more to preserve the improved security.

"The police search is intensively moving forward, but all vehicles, including government vehicles must be searched as well," Muhammad Azad, a resident of Kabul, said.

Despite the security threats, with Eid right around the corner residents are concerned of the spike in prices of food and goods as per Afghan culture the homes are filled with food and gifts to share with friends and family who visit one another on a joyous occasion.

Though Eid brings happiness to the lives of people, the high prices of goods, such as food and clothes, along with security challenges have left many residents apprehensive.

The public has strongly criticized the responsible institutions and lack of government attention behind the increasing prices.

"We came to the bazaar today to buy some things, but when we saw the prices of the items we could not afford to buy what we needed," Kabul resident Fahim said.

"Prices in the market have reached its limit," another Kabul resident Wais Ahmad said. "Wherever we go there is no overseeing of the market prices, not even by the government employees. Shopkeepers are selling items at whatever prices they wish."

As news of Eid spreads, the feeling of uneasiness fills the atmosphere in concerns to security and the spike in the markets.

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 13:15:22 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15737-afghans-prepare-for-eid-despite-security-concerns
Afghan Cricket Team Returns Home from ODI Matches http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/15736-afghan-cricket-team-returns-home-from-odi-matches alt

The Afghan National Cricket Team returned home early Sunday after two wins and two losses in the international matches they played in the southern African nation.

The Afghan cricket team defeated Zimbabwe in their last of four one day international (ODI) matches. Afghanistan won the match with 100 runs.

The ODI was played in the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo. Of the four games played between the two countries, Afghanistan lost the first two, but won the last two.

"We sent the cricket team to play two friendly matches in Zimbabwe to understand the talent they will face and invite them to the team," Chief Executive of Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Noor Mohammad Murad said. "Those who played well would be invited to play for the team in the 2015 World Cup in Australia."

A member of the Afghan cricket team, Asghar Stanikzai, who returned from the ODI matches, said that "Zimbabwe has a permanent membership in the International Cricket Council and we beat them twice, which shows that Afghanistan's cricket has improved."

The ACB officials said the Afghan cricket team will have other friendly matches with the UEA and training in Australia in preparation for the 2015 World Cup.

Although success in cricket is relatively new for Afghanistan, the national team has received widespread support, especially since it qualified for the World Cup last fall.

Fourteen nations will take part in the 2015 World Cup. Afghanistan is expected to face teams from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Britain, Scotland, New Zealand and Australia.

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 11:50:55 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/15736-afghan-cricket-team-returns-home-from-odi-matches
ELECTION 2014: Problems in the Audit Process http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15735-election-2014-problems-in-the-audit-process alt

In this episode of Entekhabat 93, host Omid Farooq discusses issues in the audit process with the following the guests:

• Engineer Asim, a member of Abdullah Abdullah's team
• Sediq Patman, member of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's team
• Shah Hussian Murtazawi, journalist

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}BW70g6TcZA0{/youtube}

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 08:34:42 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15735-election-2014-problems-in-the-audit-process
Teenager Injured by Pakistan Shelling on Kunar http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15734-teenager-injured-by-pakistan-shelling-on-kunar alt

The Pakistani military have started shelling into eastern Kunar province on Saturday injuring a 13-year-old boy, local officials said on Sunday.

Kunar Police Chief, Abdul Habib Sayedkhili, said more than 10 missiles were launched in Dangam district of the province from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., one of which hit a civilian home injuring the teenager.

The missile damaged the home and left the teenager in critical condition.

Dangam district borders Pakistan and has previously been targeted by the Pakistani military.

Sayedkhili asks the Pakistani government to stop the shelling into Afghan soil.

The cross-border shelling from Pakistan and reported occasional Afghan retaliation in the past few years have dramatically increased diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 08:17:32 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15734-teenager-injured-by-pakistan-shelling-on-kunar
Afghan Police Kills Suicide Bombers in Kandahar http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15733-afghan-police-kills-suicide-bombers-in-kandahar alt

At least six suicide bombers, one border policeman and a child were killed after suicide bombers started clashing with police near the guesthouse of southern Kandahar Police Chief in Spin Boldak district of the province early Sunday, local officials said.

Three border policemen were injured in the clash.

The clash took place at about 7:30 a.m. local time after six suicide bombers wanted to target Police Chief Gen. Abdul Razaq's guesthouse, but faced a heavily response from the police, said Ahmad Zia Durani, provincial police chief spokesman.

"One of bombers detonated his explosive near the area while the five others started the clash," Durani said. "The bombers were equipped with heavy and small weapons."

Gen. Razaq was not at his guesthouse when the insurgents attacked.

The officials said the child who is among the death was less than 10 years old.

A Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Spin Boldak district borders Pakistan and is known to be insecure and a frequently targeted area by insurgents.

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 05:45:15 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15733-afghan-police-kills-suicide-bombers-in-kandahar
Israel Extends Ceasefire, Hamas Refuses http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15732-israel-extends-ceasefire-hamas-refuses alt

Israel is extending a lull in its devastating Gaza offensive for another 24 hours but Hamas has resumed rocket fire and says no ceasefire is valid without the withdrawal of Israeli tanks.

Israel's cabinet "approved the UN request regarding a humanitarian ceasefire to run until midnight Sunday" (0700 Monday AEST), an Israeli government official told AFP on condition of anonymity late on Saturday.

However, Hamas responded in a statement that "no humanitarian ceasefire is valid without Israeli tanks withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and without residents being able to return to their homes, and ambulances carrying bodies being able to freely move around in Gaza".

Late on Saturday the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for rocket attacks on southern Israel and Tel Aviv immediately after the expiry of a 12-hour ceasefire both sides had abided by.

The attacks, which set air-raid sirens wailing throughout the country, were confirmed by the Israeli army.

The Iron Dome missile interception defences knocked some rockets out of the sky, and no casualties were reported.

Israeli artillery responded by opening fire in the Rafah area in the southern Gaza Strip, on positions from where the rockets were launched, an army spokeswoman told AFP.

Israel's unilateral decision to continue the ceasefire signalled a pause in its assault on Gaza, which since July 8 has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians.

Over the same period, 42 Israeli soldiers deployed into Gaza have been killed, according to the latest military toll. Three civilians in Israel also died.

The deadly confrontation spurred calls from around the world for both sides to extend the ceasefire to enable negotiations for a longer-term truce.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met European and Middle Eastern foreign ministers in Paris on Saturday to push both sides to extend the temporary cessation of hostilities.

Israel agreed to extend its ceasefire for four hours, and then announced the 24-hour prolongation to late on Sunday.

"We all call on parties to extend the humanitarian ceasefire," France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters in Paris after the meeting with Kerry and counterparts from Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar, as well as an EU representative.

A spokesman for the UN chief said in a statement Ban Ki-moon "urgently appeals once again to all parties to declare a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza".

During Saturday's 12-hour ceasefire, medics digging through the remains of hundreds of Gaza homes uncovered at least 147 bodies.

On the ground, Palestinian ambulances sped into Gaza neighbourhoods that have been too dangerous to enter for days.

Palestinians ventured onto Gaza's streets after the truce began, some eager to check homes they had fled, others to stock up on supplies.

In many places they found devastation: buildings levelled, and entire blocks of homes wiped out by Israeli bombardment.

In northern Beit Hanun, the hospital was badly damaged by shelling, and AFP correspondents saw the charred body of a paramedic.

There were similar scenes in Shejaiya, where stiff bodies lay on the floor of a room in one building, one caked in dried blood, all of them covered in dust.

East of southern Khan Yunis, residents hesitated to enter the Khuzaa neighbourhood, saying Israeli forces remained inside the border area.

And in nearby Bani Suheila, where 20 people were killed in a single Israeli air strike shortly before the truce began, women and children wept as they discovered their homes destroyed.

Hamas and Israel agreed to Saturday's 12-hour "humanitarian window", after Israel's security cabinet on Friday night rejected a US proposal for a seven-day truce during which the two sides would negotiate a longer-term deal.

Speaking at a news conference in Cairo with UN chief Ban after the rejection, Kerry said Israel and Hamas "still had some terminology" to agree to on a ceasefire, but added they had a "fundamental framework" on a truce.

Rights groups say about 80 percent of the casualties have been civilians. UNICEF, the UN agency for children, has said 192 children have been killed during the latest conflict so far.

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 05:39:09 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15732-israel-extends-ceasefire-hamas-refuses
TAKANI: Postponement of Audit Process http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15731-takani-postponement-of-audit-process alt

In this episode of Takani 93, host Zabi Sadaat talks about the postponed audit process with the following the guests:

• Tofaan Waziri, a member of Abdullah Abdullah's team
• Rahmatullah Bejhanpoor, a member of Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team
• Faizullah Jalal, professor at the Kabul University

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}CPm7ncq4pdY{/youtube}

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 05:25:26 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15731-takani-postponement-of-audit-process
FARAKHABAR: 26 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15730-farakhabar-26-july-2014 alt

Independent Election Commission (IEC) Chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani announced on Saturday that the audit process would be suspended until the fourth day of Eid because an agreement has not been reached between the two candidates regarding the criteria to be used for recounting and invalidating votes.

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}sMRRZlfbP0o{/youtube}

Nuristani said that the United Nations (UN) is responsible for resolving the candidates' disputes over the audit criteria proposal and then send it to the IEC.

The UN went ahead and submitted its proposal for criteria to be used during the audit earlier this week after the candidates failed to agree on a mutually acceptable version.

The camps of both Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah have talked about submitting their own suggestions for the UN's proposal separately.

Earlier on Saturday, before the Eid delay was announced, Abdullah's team ordered a halt to the auditing process over what they claimed was the negligence of the IEC in selecting its audit staff, excluding foreign observers and failing to clarify articles 12 and 16 of the invalidation criteria.

Will these election problems end?

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

• Sardar Mohammad Rahimi, member of Abdullah Abdullah's team
• Ahmad Shah Afghanzai, member of Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 04:44:50 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15730-farakhabar-26-july-2014
TOLOnews 6 pm News 26 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15729-tolonews-6-pm-news-26-july-2014 alt

Independent Election Commission (IEC) Chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani announced on Saturday that the audit process would be suspended until the fourth day of Eid because an agreement has not been reached between the two candidates regarding the criteria to be used for recounting and invalidating votes.

To watch the bulletin, click here:

{youtube}_QSCZO-wP6A{/youtube}

Nuristani said that the United Nations (UN) is responsible for resolving the candidates' disputes over the audit criteria proposal and then send it to the IEC. The UN went ahead and submitted its proposal for criteria to be used during the audit earlier this week after the candidates failed to agree on a mutually acceptable version.

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 15:35:24 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15729-tolonews-6-pm-news-26-july-2014
Ghor Victims Killed by Freed Taliban Militants http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15728-ghor-victims-killed-by-freed-taliban-militants alt

Residents and activists from around Ghor province gathered in the capital of Ferozkhoh on Saturday to voice criticism of the government for releasing Taliban militants who they claim were involved in the mass killing of 16 civilians in Ghor earlier this week.

The Ghor Police Chief has said that the group of militants that brutally shot down the civilians was led by Qari Rahmatullah and Mullah Farooq, who were both previously released from the prison of Ghor province. Since they were freed, Ghor police claim the two men have formed a band of over 2,000 militants that are disrupting security in the province.

"Those who have killed our sisters, our brothers and our people, they were released from the Ghor prison, and now they are doing these acts, killing our people," said Police Chief General Fahim Qayem.

The demonstration on Saturday attracted people from all walks of life, but all of them were united in their despair for the victims of the massacre and frustration at the policies they believe allowed it to happen.

"Every dead body had over 100, 70 or sixty bullets, they were torn to pieces," said Muhammad Nader Ehsani, a religious scholar participating in the Ghor demonstration on Saturday. "Are they killing in the name of religion, Taliban, or Quran? Down with them."

"They are trying to disrupt national unity," civil society activist Hassan Hakimi said. "We warn them that we aware, and their violent acts cannot separate us."

The Governor of Ghor, Said Anwar Rahmati, has recognized that members of the Taliban who were previously in custody participated in the attack. He said the militants were released as a result of pressure from a number of Parliament members and the carelessness of the judiciary.

"Yes, unfortunately, these acts are carried out by Qari Rahmatullah, someone who was in prison in Ghor and released due to pressure from some members of Parliament, and poor judgment by judges," Governor Rahmati said.

A number of Taliban commanders who have been released from prison have returned to the battlefield, and outrage over their being freed has fired up with growing frequency over the past year.

President Hamid Karzai himself has been a major proponent of releasing suspected militants from custody, especially those who were arrested with the help of NATO forces. This policy has further aggravated tensions between him and the Western countries that support the Afghan government, and caused major backlash among top Afghan leaders as well.

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 15:22:04 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15728-ghor-victims-killed-by-freed-taliban-militants
White House Urges Pakistan to Keep Haqqani on Heels http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15727-white-house-urges-pakistan-to-keep-haqqani-on-heels alt

The U.S. government has urged Pakistani leaders to protect gains made during counter-insturgent operations along the border region with Afghanistan over the past month and prevent the infamous Haqqani Network from entrenching itself there once again.

The report on communications between Washington and Islamabad acme from White House National Security Council member Jeffrey Eggers on Friday.

In June, the Pakistani military launched a series of operations throughout the Norther Waziristan tribal belt region that borders Afghanistan. The region is known to be a hotbed of insurgents and terrorist groups that have targeted Afghan and NATO forces across the border.

Afghan officials have been skeptical about the operations launched by Islamabad, with some suggesting they are just putting on a show to convince the international community that Pakistan does not harbor groups like the Haqqani Network, which is considered one of the largest and most sophisticated terrorist groups in the world.

"Pakistan cooperates with the Haqqani Network a lot, and Haqqani mostly targets Afghanistan; the Afghan National Security Forces and ISAF being their priorities," Kabul Police Chief Zaher Zaher said on Saturday.

In Afghanistan, the idea of insurgents and terrorists basing themselves out of Pakistan is accepted more or less as fact, which is one of the key reasons for frayed relations between the two neighbors over the years.

"The Haqqani Network is a very dangerous network, who have implemented many operations in Afghanistan over past years, but Pakistan has never done anything to destroy them," said military analyst Jawed Kohistani.

The Afghan government remains highly suspicious of Pakistani intelligence and military leaders, for the most part believing they are still in cahoots with Taliban and Haqqani leaders calling the shots for the war in Afghanistan from safe havens across the border.

Although Pakistan has maintained the operations it has carried out in Northern Waziristan effectively eliminated much of the terrorist threat in the region, experts in Kabul have argued otherwise.

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:13:30 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15727-white-house-urges-pakistan-to-keep-haqqani-on-heels
Audit Process Postponed Until Fourth Day of Eid http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15726-audit-process-postponed-until-fourth-day-of-eid alt

Independent Election Commission (IEC) Chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani announced on Saturday that the audit process would be suspended until the fourth day of Eid because an agreement has not been reached between the two candidates regarding the criteria to be used for recounting and invalidating votes.

Nuristani said that the United Nations (UN) is responsible for resolving the candidates' disputes over the audit criteria proposal and then send it to the IEC. The UN went ahead and submitted its proposal for criteria to be used during the audit earlier this week after the candidates failed to agree on a mutually acceptable version.

The camps of both Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah have talked about submitting their own suggestions for the UN's proposal separately.

Earlier on Saturday, before the Eid delay was announced, Abdullah's team ordered a halt to the auditing process over what they claimed was the negligence of the IEC in selecting its audit staff, excluding foreign observers and failing to clarify articles 12 and 16 of the invalidation criteria.

"The 12th article talks about the similar markings, but we don't know how many similar markings we will find in a bundle of 50, to make us question the ballot box," explained Aman, a member of Abdullah's campaign. "The 16th article states that the ballots of each candidate should be compared to the first round of the elections, which means it is the responsibility of the IEC to provide the ballots from the first round of elections," he added.

For Abdullah, who caused a stir in the election process originally back in June when he accused election officials and President Hamid Karzai of engineering fraud in favor of his opponent, the importance of foreign oversight of the auditing process could not be overstated. However, for Ashraf Ghani's team, moving the process forward quickly seems to be the top priority.

"Whether foreign observers are there or not, we want the process to continue," said Said Sadat Naderi, an audit observer representing Ashraf Ghani.

Nuristani appeared in a press conference right afterward to announce the delay in the auditing process in light of the campaigns disagreements. "The IEC Commissioners decided to stop the process until both candidates have reached an agreement," Nuristani said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) claims that both candidates have agreed to the UN proposal despite their having some concerns. UNAMA submitted the proposal to the IEC and urged the commission to approve it and implement it right away.

"The proposal is acceptable to us, but first both candidates need to accept it, we don't have any problem," Nuristani said.

The current runoff process has seen one delay after another, having dragged out for over a month now and still far from over. Yet many experts see the auditing criteria as a tool for future elections as well, so the painstaking process of approving is possibly a longterm investment.

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:06:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15726-audit-process-postponed-until-fourth-day-of-eid
Mother Raped After Son Runs Away with Girl http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15725-mother-raped-after-son-runs-away-with-girl alt

Last week, an Afghan boy and girl ran away from their homes in the ninth district of Kabul resulting in the girl's father and relatives attacking the boy's home and raping his mother.

Relatives of the rape victim said the incident took place when Wahab, the boy, fled with a girl who resided with her family in Qala-e-Ali Mardan in Kabul.

Kabul Police Chief Gen. Zahir Zahir confirmed the unpleasant incident and said that the police have begun investigating the case to bring the criminals to justice.

"According to what the victim said, the rape resulted in the escape of the boy and girl," Gen. Zahir said. "The perpetrator has escaped, but we are working diligently to bring justice to the case."

But according to the police commander of Kabul's ninth district, he told TOLOnews that nothing occurred in the area.

The mother of Wahab is now in the province of Laghman after the attack.
The Independent Human Rights Commission said they have not officially received any complaints in regards to the case, but have asked that justice be served.

"This is a serious case," said Head of the Media Office for the Independent Human Rights Commission, Rafiullah Bedar. "The girl's family beat and raped the boy's mother, this is a crime."

Domestic violence and forced marriages are some of the main factors that young Afghan boys and girls run away from home.

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 13:49:12 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15725-mother-raped-after-son-runs-away-with-girl
Presidential Candidates Indicate Support UN Proposal http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15724-presidential-candidates-support-un-proposal alt

Both presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai have showed to the United Nations (UN) that they support the Independent Election Commission (IEC) implementing UN's proposition on the recount and invalidation of ballots, according to a statement released on Saturday by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The UN proposed the criteria to the IEC on Thursday July 24 upon an agreement by both candidates.

The statement read, "both candidates indicated to the UN that they had their own respective concerns with the proposal, but were prepared to process with it as a good faith effort based on international best practice to bridge their positions."

According to the UN, both Abdullah and Ghani-Ahmadzai conveyed that the monitoring structure should be finalized in the interest of the nation.

The UN welcomes, as stated, "the statesmanship shown by the candidates in coming to this difficult decision as well as the sincere engagement by their technical teams in preparation of the UN proposal."

The UN now asks the IEC board to recognize this legal step and to push the momentum of the audit process forward so that the next steps of the election process can begin.

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 10:11:49 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15724-presidential-candidates-support-un-proposal
ELECTION 2014: The Election Process http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15723-election-2014-the-election-process alt

In this episode of Entekhabat 93, host Omid Farooq takes a look at the entire election process with the following the guests:

• Sarir Ahmad Barmak, a commissioner of the Independent Election Commission (IEC)

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}-UpfXYq_URY{/youtube}

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 09:48:47 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15723-election-2014-the-election-process
Obama Calls on Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15722-obama-calls-on-abdullah-and-ashraf-ghani alt

U.S. President Barack Obama has called on presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai on Friday thanking "them for their leadership in reaching an agreement to form a national unity government", the White House said in a statement.

The president commended Abdullah and Ghani-Ahmadzai "for putting the interests of Afghanistan first and committing to working together as partners in governance."

Both candidates have pledged to accept the results of the ongoing recount, which Abdullah demanded after rejecting a preliminary tally that showed Ghani-Ahmadzai leading the June 14 runoff.

"Noting that the audit is steadily progressing, the president encouraged both candidates to publically endorse their previously agreed political framework and continue their dialogue on the details of its implementation to ensure the Afghan people have full confidence in the ongoing electoral process and outcome," the statement read.

He also "reiterated that there is no justification for rhetoric that threatens extra-constitutional measures and urged Dr. Abdullah and Dr. Ghani to continue to move forward in the spirit of collegiality to maintain national unity during this historic democratic transition."

The statement added that U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, would remain in close consultation with Ghani-Ahmadzai, Abdullah and outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Both candidates have signaled their intention to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that will allow nearly 10,000 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan post 2014 after the withdrawal of foreign troops.

On Friday, a spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said that a proposal for the vote auditing process has been submitted to election officials despite the fact that the two presidential candidates failed to agree on the criteria to be used.

"We want the IEC to make a decision, time is limited and both candidates could not agree on the criteria," UNAMA spokeswoman Neelab Mubarez said.

According to Mubarez, the proposal, which has been delivered to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), suggests public hearings be held by IEC Commissioners in the presence of UN representatives, observers and media.

The implementation of the proposal has been welcomed by Abdullah's campaign team and said that they expect some of their suggestions to be included in the proposal. The campaign team has advocated a larger role for the UN during the auditing process because of its mistrust of the election commissions.

Meanwhile, Ghani-Ahmadzai's campaign team has acknowledged disagreements over the invalidation of votes, but expressed faith in the IEC.

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 08:02:21 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15722-obama-calls-on-abdullah-and-ashraf-ghani
Unknown Gunmen Kills Afghan Soldiers in Herat http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15721-unknown-gunmen-kills-afghan-soldiers-in-herat alt

Unknown gunmen killed two Afghan National Army soldiers (ANA) early Saturday in western Herat province, local officials said.

The incident took place in Shaydaye area of Herat City after two unknown gunmen on a motorbike started shooting at the ANA soldiers and escaped the area, said Abdul Raouf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial police chief.

"The soldiers were traveling to 207 Zafar military corps when two unknown gunmen operating a motorbike started shooting at the soldiers," he said.

The bodies of the victims have been taken to 207 Zafar military corps, he said.

Investigation is underway, he said.

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

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 07:33:51 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15721-unknown-gunmen-kills-afghan-soldiers-in-herat
Taliban Leader Killed in Kunduz Offensives http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15720-taliban-leader-killed-in-kunduz-offensives alt

A Taliban leader, Qari Mohammad Nabi and three other insurgents were killed in Afghan security forces operation in northern Kunduz province on Friday night, local officials said.

Qari Nabi and other insurgents were killed after the Afghan forces launched military operations in Dasht-e Archi and Imam Sahim districts of the province to clear the area of insurgents, said Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for provincial police chief.

"The operation launched four days ago and is still continuing," Hussaini said. "Four Taliban insurgents including their leader, Qari Nabi was killed in Dasht-e Archi district."

The Afghan forces have cleared two villages in Imam Sahib district of the province, he said.

There were no civilians and Afghan forces causalities in the operations, he added.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the operations.

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 05:01:08 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15720-taliban-leader-killed-in-kunduz-offensives
Israel And Hamas Declare 12-Hour Gaza Truce http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15719-israel-and-hamas-declare-12-hour-gaza-truce alt

The Israeli military and Hamas said on Saturday that they would observe a 12-hour ceasefire from 8:00 am (0500 GMT), but a longer-term truce remained elusive for now.

Hamas said that it and other militant groups in Gaza had reached "national consensus on a humanitarian truce" and Israel later confirmed that it would observe what it called "a humanitarian window in the Gaza Strip".

A statement from the Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza warned people not to approach bombed-out buildings and militant bases for fear of "explosive objects".

Earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking from Cairo, said that efforts to broker a longer halt to the fighting had so far yet to bear fruit.

He arrived in Paris on Saturday where France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was to host a meeting later in the day of counterparts from the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Turkey and the EU.

Violence, however, continued in the early hours of Saturday, the conflict's 19th day, with Israeli air strikes and shelling killing 19 people, among them four children and a paramedic, Gaza medical services said.

Kerry, who has been leading international efforts to reach a truce, said at a press conference in Cairo with UN chief Ban Ki-moon that both Israel and Hamas "still have some terminology" to agree to on a ceasefire, but added they had "fundamental framework" on a truce.

But Israel's Channel 1 TV reported late Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet had "unanimously rejected" the Kerry proposal.

The United States has worked with Egypt on a plan that, diplomats say, would provide a pause in the deadly Israel-Hamas conflict ahead of talks on key issues.

The conflict, which began July 8 when Israel launched an operation to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza and destroy Hamas tunnels, has claimed 884 Palestinian lives, most of them civilians, plus 37 Israeli soldiers, two Israeli civilians and a Thai migrant worker.

In a statement released by his office, Ban called for "an immediate, unconditional humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza and Israel".

"This pause would last through the Eid al-Fitr holiday period," Ban said, referring to the forthcoming Muslim festival, adding that a halt in the fighting could lead to a "longer-term ceasefire plan".

His comments tracked reports from Western and Palestinian officials of efforts to secure an initial week-long humanitarian ceasefire to be followed by negotiations on a longer-term cessation of hostilities.

- Hamas seeks end of Gaza blockade -

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu flew to Qatar on Friday to help efforts after Kerry reached out to Hamas allies Ankara and Doha to push for a ceasefire.

Under the proposal, once a humanitarian lull takes hold, delegations from Israel and Hamas would arrive in Cairo -- which has mediated past conflicts between the two -- for indirect talks that could lead to a lasting deal.

Senior Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq said late Friday on his Facebook page the group was "studying" the idea.

Hamas's Doha-based leader Khaled Meshaal insisted in a Thursday interview with the BBC that any truce must include a guaranteed end to Israel's eight-year blockade of Gaza.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, tensions over the situation in Gaza erupted into protests in several cities.

Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian teenagers Saturday in separate clashes in the north and south of the West Bank.

That followed the deaths of six Palestinians and 150 injured in clashes in the West Bank Friday with Israeli troops and settlers.

- Death toll rises in Gaza -

On Thursday, at least 15 people were killed in the alleged Israeli shelling of a UN school sheltering some of the 100,000 Palestinians who have fled their homes during fighting.

The UN said it had been trying to coordinate with the army to evacuate civilians before the strike, without success, but the army said it had offered a humanitarian window, and that militants firing rockets in the area were responsible for the deaths.

Rights groups say around 80 percent of the casualties so far have been civilians, and the UN agency for children UNICEF said Friday that 192 children had been killed during the conflict.

In Lebanon, another Israeli foe, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, made a rare public appearance in Beirut, preaching "solidarity with the people and the resistance in Gaza".

The Israeli army on Saturday announced the death of two soldiers in Gaza fighting on Friday evening.

It named one as Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland, 21, but did not give further details.

Three civilians have been killed inside Israel, by rocket fire from Gaza, which continued Saturday morning with three shot down by missile defences and one falling on open ground, the army said.

It said militants fired 60 rockets into southern Israel on Friday, with another 15 intercepted.

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 04:49:41 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15719-israel-and-hamas-declare-12-hour-gaza-truce
TAKANI: The Audit Process http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15718-takani-the-audit-process alt

In this episode of Takani 93, host Zabi Sadaat takes a look at the audit process with the following the guests:

• Jabar Shalgarai, a member of Abdullah Abdullah's team
• Nabi Musadi, a member of Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team
• Fahim Naeemi, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) spokesman

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}yKp5vV9J_vU{/youtube}

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 04:05:03 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15718-takani-the-audit-process
UN Proposal Submitted Without Candidate Consensus http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15717-un-proposal-submitted-without-candidate-consensus alt

A spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Friday said that a proposal for the vote auditing process has been submitted to election officials despite the fact that the two presidential candidates failed to agree on the criteria to be used.

"We want the IEC to make a decision, time is limited and both candidates could not agree on the criteria," UNAMA spokesman Neelab Mubarez said.

According to Mubarez, the proposal, which has been delivered to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), suggests public hearings be held by IEC Commissioners in the presence of UN representatives, observers and media.

While welcoming the implementation of the proposal, Abdullah Abdullah's campaign team said that they expect some of their suggestions to be included in the proposal. The campaign team has advocated a larger role for the UN during the auditing process because of its mistrust of the election commissions.

"After a week of discussions over the criteria, the text of the proposal was brought by the Deputy of UN to Dr. Abdullah last night," Abdullah spokesman Said Agha Fazel Sancharaki said on Friday. "Dr. Abdullah shared his considerations, and we want the UN to implement the proposal as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's campaign team has acknowledged disagreements over the invalidation of votes, but expressed faith in the IEC.

"There are differences in views, but the differences are not a major issue, UNAMA has proposed a layout, it is the job of the IEC based on the law, which we respect," Ashraf Ghani spokesman and former presidential candidate Daud Sultanzoy said.

Based on the copy of the UN proposal received by TOLOnews, the following points comprise the recommendations for when to invalidate votes:

1. If ballots boxes are not in the same condition as when they were distributed by the IEC for the runoff.

2. Ballot boxes that do not have ballots, or ballots without a stamp, or if ballots are not marked according to standards, or if ballots are marked identically.

3. Presence of reports of use power and force during ballot counting and loss of election material.

4. Ballot boxes where lists of voters are either missing, is blank, or 33 percent of the ballot papers are not stamped in the ballot box, or not marked according to procedure.

5. Ballot boxes that are broken or the ballots are damaged to the point where chances of theft are seen.

6. Two or more seals of the ballot boxes are broken or chances of theft are seen.

Some election monitors have expressed concerns about the lack of agreement between the candidates over the exact criteria for invalidating votes during the audit.

"If these groups do not agree, the process will last longer and will face challenges and further problems," warned Muhammad Fahim Naeemi, spokesman for the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA). "Both presidential campaigns must agree on it."

With the UN proposal now with the IEC table, it is only a matter of time before it is either finalized or rejected. It is said that if the audit continues without the criteria in place, separating clean and fraudulent votes will be difficult.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:24:54 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15717-un-proposal-submitted-without-candidate-consensus
TOLOnews 6 pm News 25 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15716-tolonews-6-pm-news-25-july-2014 altTop news in this bulletin

A spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Friday said that a proposal for the vote auditing process has been submitted to election officials despite the fact that the two presidential candidates failed to agree on the criteria to be used.

At least 15 Afghan civilians, including three women and a child, were killed when "criminals linked to foreign intelligence" stopped three passenger vans early Friday morning and killed each one-by-one in the remote province of Ghor, locals officials said.

To watch the bulletin, click here:

{youtube}VidIm8lAHkU{/youtube}

 The Afghan National Cricket Team defeated Zimbabwe in their last of four one day international matches they played in the southern African nation this week. Afghanistan won the match with 100 runs.

The ODI was played in the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo. Of the four games played between the two countries, Afghanistan lost the first two, but won the last two. The national team will play its first test match with Zimbabwe on Sunday.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:24:39 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15716-tolonews-6-pm-news-25-july-2014
Magnetic Mines the Latest Tactic of Insurgents http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15715-magnetic-mines-the-latest-tactic-of-insurgents alt

In recent attacks insurgents have resorted to placing magnetic mines on civilian and government vehicles as their latest tactic in targeting their victims.

"Recently the Haqqani network, Taliban and other terrorist organizations mostly use magnetic mines, most of which target military vehicles and put civilian lives at risk," the National Directorate of Security (NDS) Spokesman, Haseeb Sediqi said.

Sediqi said that the majority of these explosives are imported from Pakistan.

"Magnetic mines have two parts, one is the external part known as the sack and the second is the explosive material, which is imported from Pakistan," he explained. "These mines are designed both inside and outside the country."

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) confirmed NDS's assertions, adding that efforts are underway to identify and arrest those parties involved.

"Unfortunately, the factories that design these mines are in Pakistan. The mines are imported to Afghanistan by special terrorist networks," MoI Spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. "Efforts are underway to identify the individuals and groups involved."

Meanwhile, Kabul residents have asked the security institutions to accelerate their efforts in maintaining security. In the past few months, Kabul has witnessed many magnetic mine explosions. So far, at least 15 insurgents who fixed magnetic mines onto vehicles have been arrested.

Security institutions have announced that they are taking special initiatives to identify and arrest the masterminds behind the attacks.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:25:37 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15715-magnetic-mines-the-latest-tactic-of-insurgents
Afghan Cricket Team Defeats Zimbabwe Second Time http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/15714-afghan-cricket-team-defeats-zimbabwe-second-time alt

The Afghan National Cricket Team defeated Zimbabwe in their last of four one day international matches they played in the southern African nation this week. Afghanistan won the match with 100 runs.

The ODI was played in the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo. Of the four games played between the two countries, Afghanistan lost the first two, but won the last two. The national team will play its first test match with Zimbabwe on Sunday.

In the last match, Afghanistan started batting first and set a target of 259 runs to the opponent team. The Zimbabwean team then failed to chase the runs and lost all its players in 38 overs.

Kabul residents showered their team in praise upon learning of the victory.

"I congratulate the people of Afghanistan for the victory and it is only because of the blessing of the holy month of Ramadan that we won two games," Kabul resident Edris told TOLOnews. "Inshallah they will bring the cup to Afghanistan."

The ODI matches were scheduled in preparation for the 2015 World Cup in Australia, which will be Afghanistan's first time participating in the prestigious tournament.

"These competitions will help Afghanistan perform in the 2015 World Cup in Australia, Afghan players will participate in the games with high morale," a resident named Nurul Haq said.

Although success in cricket is relatively new for Afghanistan, the national team has received widespread support, especially since it qualified for the World Cup last fall.

"This is good news, Zimbabwe is a very professional team while Afghanistan has only ten years experience, we are very happy," another Kabul resident named Obaidullah said.

Fourteen nations will take part in the 2015 World Cup. Afghanistan is expected to face teams from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Britain, Scotland, New Zealand and Australia.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:53:26 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/15714-afghan-cricket-team-defeats-zimbabwe-second-time
60 Percent of Ballot Boxes Now in Kabul http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15713-60-percent-of-ballot-boxes-now-in-kabul alt

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Friday announced that 60 percent of the ballot boxes from around the country have arrived to the central IEC headquarters in Kabul, adding that no harm has been done to the boxes.

The boxes were transferred to the capital with the cooperation of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

"The remaining 40 percent of the boxes are either already on the way or ready to be transferred," IEC Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said. "There are no reports of any damages."

The ballots are audited in at least three sites at the IEC headquarters. Reports indicate that only 1,360 ballot boxes have been audited over the past nine days out of roughly 23,000 ballot boxes. IEC has pledged to speed up the process and audit at least 1,000 boxes a day.

"You are well aware that the election commission cooperates with several organs. About 927 observers—including 552 international observers and 331 national observers—are already present in the commission," Noor added. "We have a total of 1,810 observers."

Since the beginning of the comprehensive audit nine days ago, the procedure had faced quite a few challenges along the way because of the lack of clear-cut criteria. But it is said that the process is now running smoothly since the United Nations (UN) proposal presented to both parties on Thursday.

"The process is moving forward in a satisfactory manner," a member of Abdullah Abdullah's camp, Abdul Sattar Murad, said. "There are not many international observers, but the observers from the two camps have helped the process move forward."

Ghani-Ahmadzai's team has also expressed optimism about the process.

"We are confident that the two camps can progress in harmony," a member of Ghani-Ahmadzai's camp, Haleem Fedayee, said.

It is said that the IEC will increase its working teams to 100 in order to pick up momentum in the audit process. IEC teams will go on holiday for the first two days of Eid, but will resume on the third day of Eid.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:36:24 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15713-60-percent-of-ballot-boxes-now-in-kabul
Dry Fruit Prices Double http://www.tolonews.com/en/business/15712-dry-fruit-prices-double-in-the-market alt

The dry fruit market in Kabul has increased by 50 percent in the last month limiting the consumers that can afford the delights.

Residents of Kabul demand that the government oversee the bazaar as sellers nowadays market their goods at prices they desire.

"These shopkeepers buy dry fruit for a cheap value from the farmers, but sell it at a very high price," Hazartullah, resident of Kabul, said. "There is no authority to ask them what they are doing."

Currently after the increase, on average, the price of a kilogram of pistachio is 750 AFS, a kilogram of almonds is 700 AFS, a kilogram of raisins is 500 AFS and a kilogram of peas is 150 AFS.

Meanwhile, on the opposite spectrum a number of vendors speak of the decrease of buyers affecting their businesses.

"Purchases have decreased by 70 percent," Muhammad Yama, a merchant in Kabul, said. "People who used to buy two to three kilograms are now only paying for one kilogram."

Meanwhile, Head of the Raisin, Dry Fruit and Vegetables Export Development, Said Azim Mustafa Hashemi, accuse dry-fruit sellers of selling at high prices and blames the government for the spike in prices.

"There is an abundance of dry fruit so there is no reason for the high prices, but retailers are selling them at higher rates as they wish and the government needs to prevent this," Hashemi said.

The majority of dry fruits are produced and processed within Afghanistan. With limited export abroad, the reason behind high prices is said to be lack of government control.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:30:17 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/business/15712-dry-fruit-prices-double-in-the-market
Massoud Rejects Coalition Government http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15711-massoud-rejects-coalition-government alt

A key ally of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai, Ahmad Zia Massoud, on Friday rejected the foundation of a coalition government.

Speaking at an event in Kabul, he said that the national unity government does not mean a coalition government, adding that the creation of such system will hinder the progress of the country.

He clarified that the formation of a national unity government "does not mean ‎a share of power."

"My plea to the opposing team is that they must not insist on the creation of a coalition government as it is not well for the country," said Massoud. "We do not believe in the creation of a coalition government.

Spokesman for Ghani-Ahmadzai's campaign, Faizullah Zaki, said that Massoud's comments are not reflective of Ghani-Ahmadzai and his team.

"Mr. Ahmad Zia Massoud is a respected member of our campaign team, but his remarks today were his personal opinion," said Zaki. "We are still standing by our commitments."

His comment comes a day after the United Nations (UN) presented its proposal to the Afghan election body on Thursday on the criteria for the recount and invalidation of ballots.

The proposal has not been publicized, but was formed because representatives of both presidential candidates were unsuccessful in reaching an agreement on how to invalidate fraudulent votes.

Abdullah's team demanded that all boxes with 15 percent of "similar-markings" and ballots with sequential serial numbers should be invalidated, while Ghani-Ahmadzai's team argued that a sample of fraud should not affect the entire box.

On July 12, the election stalemate came to an end with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry mediating a 48-hour negotiation between the two candidates and brokering a deal to audit all 8.1 million votes cast on the June 14 presidential runoff.

Since the brokered agreement, the auditing process has been stopped twice because of disagreements on the criterion of the inspection procedure.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:49:32 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15711-massoud-rejects-coalition-government
UN Proposal On Vote Invalidation Under Discussion: IEC http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15710-un-proposal-on-vote-invalidation-under-discussion-iec- alt

The Afghan election body on Friday convened a meeting with top United Nations (UN) election experts to discuss the UN-proposed criteria on how to invalidate votes during the overall recount, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said.

IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor told reporters on Friday that the UN has to take responsibility for any consequences its proposal might have as the two candidates have failed to agree upon a joint criterion to throw out fraudulent votes.

Abdullah's team demanded that all boxes with 15 percent of "similar-markings" and ballots with sequential serial numbers must be invalidated, while Ghani-Ahmadzai's team argued that a sample of fraud should not affect the entire box.

The details of the UN proposal have not been revealed yet.

"Not a single vote has been invalidated after a week of auditing because there is no invalidation procedure in place yet," said Noor.

The audit process has continued for over a week at the IEC headquarters where the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has transferred 60 percent of roughly 23,000 ballot boxes.

The comprehensive procedure is conducted by 60 groups of IEC auditors that are being overlooked by agents of both candidates and independent observers in three large warehouses at the IEC headquarters.

The audit will be paused during the first two days of Eid and would resume on the third day of Eid.

The IEC spokesman called on observers of the candidates to be present on the third day of Eid as their presence is compulsory for the audit to take place.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:43:49 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15710-un-proposal-on-vote-invalidation-under-discussion-iec-
29 Insurgents Killed in ANSF Operations http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15709-29-insurgents-killed-in-ansf-operations alt

At least 29 Taliban militants were killed in the past 24 hours during a nationwide operation led by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in a statement on Thursday.

Eight insurgents were injured and nine others were arrested.

"Within the past 24 hours, the Afghan army, police and intelligence agency carried out several operations in Nangarhar, Herat, Maidan Wardak and Helmand provinces to rid them of insurgents," the statement read.

The operation was launched in the provinces to clear the area of insurgents. During the operation, ANSF seized several weapons during the raids, the statement read.

The statement did not provide details about the number of ANSF casualties.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the operations.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:47:46 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15709-29-insurgents-killed-in-ansf-operations
TAKANI: The Slow Election Process http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15708-takani-the-slow-election-process alt

In this episode of Takani 93, host Shapoor Bakhtyar takes a look at the election process with the following the guests:

• Mohammad Natiqi, a member of Abdullah Abdullah's team
• Sediq Patman, a member of Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team
• Mohammad Akram Arifi, professor at Kabul University
• Jandad Spinghar, head of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FFEFA)

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}R9vfdSmxs08{/youtube}

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:40:55 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15708-takani-the-slow-election-process
15 Afghan Civilians Killed in Ghor http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15707-15-afghan-civilians-killed-in-ghor alt

At least 15 Afghan civilians, including three women and a child, were killed when "criminals linked to foreign intelligence" stopped three passenger vans early Friday morning and killed each one-by-one in the remote province of Ghor, locals officials said.

The 15 killed were separated by the armed men after their national ID cards were checked, Provincial Governor Sayed Anwar Rahmati told TOLOnews.

An adviser to the provincial governor was also among those killed, said Rahmati.

Local officials said the victims of the shootout belonged to the Hazara ethnic minority.

"Four of them were members of one family," said Governor Rahmati. "A groom and his bride and the groom's mother and sister were brutally killed."

The three vans – two heading to the capital of Kabul and one on its way from Kabul to Cheghcheran – were randomly stopped at one point in the isolated Lal and Sarjungal district.

Ghor Police Chief Gen. Fahim Qayem said an investigation has begun to find out why selected passengers were killed.

However, the suspected Taliban insurgents, blamed for most of the civilian causalities, have not yet commented about the incident.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed his condolences to the victims families in a statement released by the Presidential Palace. 

Karzai illustrated with strong words the condemnation of the inhuman killings of the innocent lives, calling it an unforgivable act against humanity and religious values. 

Two weeks ago, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed its concerns about a 24 percent increase of civilian casualties in 2014 in Afghanistan.

Ghor governor called on the central government to deploy additional security forces to his province amid an increase in insecurity there.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:53:16 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15707-15-afghan-civilians-killed-in-ghor
15 Dead as Israeli Shell Hits School Sheltering Gazans http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15706-15-dead-as-israeli-shell-hits-school-sheltering-gazans alt

Fifteen Palestinians were killed yesterday when an Israeli shell slammed into a UN shelter where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge.

And fresh Israeli fire early today pushed the overall Palestinian death toll in Gaza to at least 800 despite world efforts to broker a ceasefire.

Yesterday's strike hit a UN school sheltering some of the 100,000 Palestinians driven from their homes in search of a safe haven after weeks of deadly fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants.

The shell crashed down in the middle of the courtyard where people had set up camp, leaving the ground covered in bloodstains.

Gaza's emergency services said at least 15 people had been killed and more than 200 wounded.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said: "Many have been killed — including women and children, as well as UN staff."

He said he was "appalled" by the news and "strongly condemned" the attack which he said "underscores the imperative for the killing to stop — and to stop now".

Washington said it was "deeply saddened and concerned about the tragic incident", without explicitly blaming its ally Israel for the shelling.

"We again urge all parties to redouble their efforts to protect civilians," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Cairo, where Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to negotiate a ceasefire.

Early Friday morning a shell hit a home in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis, killing at least one person and sending the Palestinian death toll from 18 days of fighting to 800.

Truce efforts 'very complicated'

Kerry reached out to Hamas allies Turkey and Qatar yesterday as he sought to further regional efforts to broker an end to the bloodshed.

The US top diplomat is seeking to garner support for an Egyptian-drafted proposal but State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf acknowledged the talks were "very complicated".

A US official travelling with Kerry said: "Right now gaps remain between the parties, so his focus is on finding a formula that both sides can accept."
Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal so far.

Its exiled leader Khaled Meshaal told the BBC in an interview yesterday that a truce must include a guaranteed end to Israel's eight-year blockade on the Gaza Strip.

"We want a ceasefire as soon as possible, that's parallel with the lifting of the siege of Gaza," he said.

"We want an airport, a (sea)port; we want to open up to the world. We dont want to be controlled by a border crossing that makes Gaza the biggest prison in the world."

The Egyptian plan calls for a ceasefire first and talks afterwards on a long-term solution to Gaza's problems.

Speaking after a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Hamas should agree to the Egyptian ceasefire plan.

"After that, we will discuss what would happen in the future," he said.

There was no let-up to the violence in Gaza, however. Early Friday morning a shell hit a home in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis, killing at least one person and sending the Palestinian death toll from 18 days of fighting to 800.

Most of Thursday's 98 victims were killed in and around Khuzaa, a flashpoint area east of Khan Yunis which has been the site of intensive fighting since Tuesday.

But the biggest single strike was at the school in the north, where the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said it had been trying to coordinate with the army over the evacuation of civilians, without success.

An AFP correspondent saw nine bodies, including that of a year-old baby and his mother at a nearby mortuary.

"We've spent much of the day trying to negotiate or to coordinate a window so that civilians, including our staff, could leave," spokesman Chris Gunness said.

"That was never granted... and the consequences of that appear to be tragic."

Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner suggested militants firing rockets near the school could have caused the deaths.

He also took issue with the claim that Israel had rejected a humanitarian truce around the school, saying it had implemented a four-hour window for evacuations.

Concern over civilian toll

The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has said more than 80 per cent of the casualties so far have been civilians, and a quarter of them children, triggering growing international alarm over the civilian body count.

"As this campaign goes on and the civilian casualties in Gaza mount, Western public opinion is becoming more and more concerned and less and less sympathetic to Israel," warned British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos expressed deep concern about the mounting civilian casualties, saying it was "almost impossible" for Palestinians to shelter from Israeli air strikes in the densely-populated territory.

Meanwhile, US airlines yesterday lifted a two-day suspension of flights to Israel, but not all international airlines followed suit, with Germany's Lufthansa and Air France keeping their Tel Aviv flights grounded.

The ban was put in place on Tuesday after a rocket hit a house very close to the runways.

So far, 32 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have died in the fighting.

In the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians protesting the Gaza toll clashed with Israeli forces outside Jerusalem.

One demonstrator was killed and over 150 injured by Israeli fire, five critically, Palestinian medical staff said.

Far-right hawk Reuven Rivlin was sworn in as Israel's 10th president on Thursday, replacing elder statesman Shimon Peres.

With the nation in mourning, the inauguration ceremony was scaled down, but Rivlin said it sent a "very clear message to our enemies: you have not overcome us and you will not do so".

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:20:24 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15706-15-dead-as-israeli-shell-hits-school-sheltering-gazans
TOLOnews 6 pm News 24 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15705-tolonews-6-pm-news-24-july-2014 alt 

The auditing process, which was halted temporarily on Wednesday so that presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai can discuss upon a criterion behind invalidating votes, resumed Thursday morning.

{youtube}jwKmnndaTyE{/youtube}

A firm consensus has not been reached in the criteria for voiding votes, but both candidates have asked that the United Nations (UN) assist in the process to avoid lengthening the election activity.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:47:14 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15705-tolonews-6-pm-news-24-july-2014
Law Giving More Privileges to MPs Approved http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15704-law-giving-more-privileges-to-mps-approved alt

Parliament's joint commission, which resolves disagreements between the Lower House and the Senate, approved a law that will increase the privileges given to MPs.

A number of MPs on Thursday reported that the law was approved after two articles, pertaining to a 25 percent retirement salary and the assignment of two security guards to each MP, were removed from the law.

The law will give the MPs certain privileges such as health insurance, a place to live, political identity cards for them and their families, and extra travel packages from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) during tours and official visits.

The law has received much criticism from the public and the civil societies who have demanded that the president does not approve the law.

"How can the MPs have such demands from a country which completes more than 95 percent of its budgets from foreign aids and has no material resources to support its budget?" Chief of the Civil Society Association, Mohammad Aziz Raraee, asserted on Thursday. "There is no logic in this."

Moreover, member of Senate Gul Ahmad Azami said that the approval of the law under the country's current circumstances is treason.

"Seeking such privileges is an act of oppression against the nation," he said. "In the future, people must be cautious in choosing honest people for the parliament."

Meanwhile, some MPs, too, have admitted that they have failed to accomplish major tasks during their four years of service, stating that the demands are not justifiable.

"Nothing major has been achieved during round 16 of the four legislative years. I, a Member of Parliament, have not seen anything good done for the country," Balkh MP Abbas Ibrahimzada said. "I think that many of these MPs will fail to get people's votes in the future so they want to guarantee their lives with these privileges."

Additionally, Kabul residents have asked the president not to approve the law.

"For God's sake, people do not even have food on their tables and the lawmakers are thinking of the future of their sons and grandsons," Kabul resident Mohammad Rafee Barakzai said. "It is shameful."

"We have not voted for these lawmakers so they could think about their own good," another resident Geeti said. "We have voted so they could serve the people."

The four chapter and 20 article law was approved by the Lower House a month ago but was rejected by the Senate. However, in the end, the joint commission approved the law with the condition that two of the articles be removed.

If the president does not approve the law, the parliament has the authority to approve it with majority two thirds vote.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:26:01 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15704-law-giving-more-privileges-to-mps-approved
UN Proposes Criteria after Candidates Fail to Reach Agreement http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15703-un-proposes-criteria-after-candidates-fail-to-reach-agreement alt

The United Nations (UN) presented its proposal to the Afghan election body on Thursday for a regulatory decision covering criteria for ordering the recount of ballot boxes and the invalidation of ballots, as declared in the statement.

The proposal, which its details have not been made public, comes after representatives of presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai failed to reach an agreement on how to invalidate fraudulent votes.

The list of criteria was handed over to the Chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani by the Director of the UN's Electoral Assistance Division, Craig Jenness on Thursday afternoon.

"The current UN proposal regarding recounts and invalidations attempts to strike the proper balance between these two considerations and follows the Afghan Constitution and legal framework," the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stated in the press statement. "It was developed after extensive consultations with both Presidential campaigns."

The statement continued reading, "the UN was ultimately not able to obtain agreement of both or either candidate to a common text that was agreeable to the other candidate. It has therefore proposed a text which addresses the legitimate points raised during the consultations while meeting the best international standards and factoring in the unique context of Afghanistan."

Abdullah's team demanded that all boxes with 15 percent of "similar-markings" and ballots with sequential serial numbers need to be invalidated, while Ghani-Ahmadzai's team argued that a sample of fraud should not affect the entire box.

Head of Afghanistan Democracy Watch Zekria Barekzai urges that the commission and the campaign teams approve the criteria of the cancellation of votes soon; otherwise the electoral process will fall into another crisis.

"Our request to the commission and both campaign teams is to approve the cancellation of votes criteria as soon as possible, so that the audit process can continue on a foundation, otherwise, if it continues as it is now, Afghanistan will face another deadlock" stresses Barekzai.

The UN has asked the IEC Board to rapidly meet and "adopt the necessary regulatory decisions based on this proposal" so that the next stage of the audit can commence.

An audit has been ongoing for the past month where the IEC audit teams have been recording information, even to the extent of the physical condition of each box, in the presence of the candidates' agents and independent observers.

No decisions as to the inclusion or exclusion of votes are made during this stage of information gathering, which has been ongoing since July 17.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:23:46 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15703-un-proposes-criteria-after-candidates-fail-to-reach-agreement
Court Issues Death Penalty for the Attack on AP Journalists http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15702-court-issues-death-penalty-for-the-attack-on-ap-journalists alt

A primary court in Kabul has issued the death penalty to Naqibullah, the Afghan police officer who had deliberately opened fire on Associated Press (AP) journalists Anja Niedringhaus and Kathy Gannon on April 4, 2014 in Khost province, just a day before the first round of the Afghan presidential elections.

The attack happened when Gannon and Niedringhaus were traveling to Khost a day before the elections to cover news on the distribution of the essential election materials. The attack claimed the life of Pulitzer Prize winning German photographer Niedringhaus and critically injuring Canadian reporter Gannon.

The reason behind the shooting still remains a mystery.

Reports indicate that Naqibullah's lawyers disputed with the judges claiming that he was mentally unstable and not normal. However, the judges were not convinced after asking Naqibullah his name, age and correct date, according to an AP report.

Naqibullah's lawyers may appeal in the next 15 days.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) stated that such verdicts could decrease the scale of crimes as well as diminish the "green on blue" attacks—referred to Afghan soldiers' attacks on foreigners.

"The Afghan National Police's (ANP) responsibility was to investigate the case of Naqibullah. The judicial organs are responsible for the arrest and handover," MoI Spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. "The case is important to MoI; we respect any decisions made by the legal organs in accordance with the law."
Green on blue attacks has raised concerns among foreign journalists working in Afghanistan.

A month before the Khost attack, unknown armed individuals had gunned down a Swedish journalist in Wazir Akbar Khan, Kabul.

Despite many attempts, TOLOnews was unsuccessful in getting the Kabul Primary Court to comment on the issue.

The two women were experienced conflict zone journalists. Niedringhaus, an award-winning photographer covered areas such as Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. Gannon, a senior correspondent for AP, spent 20 years reporting on Pakistan and Afghanistan. The two are said to have worked together since the U.S. occupied Afghanistan in 2001.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:11:41 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15702-court-issues-death-penalty-for-the-attack-on-ap-journalists
Crime Rate Up by 30 Percent http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15701-crime-rate-up-by-30-percent alt

Crime rate has increased up to 30 percent—with a concentration in Kabul, Nangarhar, Herat, and Balkh—over the first four months of this year compared to last year, the Ministry of Interior's (MoI) Criminal Investigation Department (CID) reported.

The news comes as the CID recently reported of the arrest of a five-member abductor group who had kidnapped and stifled an 18-month-old infant.

"When the baby's family could not pay the ransom, the kidnappers suffocated the baby with their bare hands," Head of CID Syed Abdul Ghafar Syed Zada said. "It is one of the most tragic incidents in the history of crime."

The group of kidnappers consisted of two women and three men. They have confessed to their crimes, saying that they sought revenge since the baby's family had killed one of their family members.

"After we kidnapped the baby, my friends told me that if we do not kill the baby, they will kill me and my family," one of the criminals Shamsul Rahman said. "They forced me to do it."

Syed Zada has asked the legal and judicial organs to react seriously to the case.

"We demand that the legal and judicial organs give tough punishment to such individuals," he exclaimed. "One day this could happen to their children. Today they are targeting others, tomorrow others will target them."

Over the last week, 224 criminal cases have been registered across the country.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:55:25 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15701-crime-rate-up-by-30-percent
Unknown Gunmen Kill Two Foreigners in Herat http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15699-unknown-gunmen-kill-two-foreigners-in-herat alt

Two foreign females were killed in Herat by unknown gunmen on Thursday according to Herat officials.

The women were citizens of Finland who were working for the International Assistance Mission in Afghanistan specifically with mental health patients in Herat.

The two women were in a taxi on their way to the bazaar when they were shot to death by unknown gunmen operating a motorcycle.

The victims were the ages 52 and 54.

Official reports indicate that the taxi driver and the women's guide were arrested.

Reports indicate that the number of shootings by unknown gunmen in Herat over the past six months has surpassed the death of 80 people.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:00:27 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15699-unknown-gunmen-kill-two-foreigners-in-herat
Auditing Process Resumes http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15698-auditing-process-resumes alt

The auditing process, which was halted temporarily on Wednesday so that presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai can discuss upon a criterion behind invalidating votes, resumed Thursday morning.

A firm consensus has not been reached in the criteria for voiding votes, but both candidates have asked that the United Nations (UN) assist in the process to avoid lengthening the election activity.

In addition to the lack of unanimity, another issue that created a drawback in the auditing process was the presence of a foreign observer from Abdullah's camp who did not have proper documentation to be present during the inspection.

While the process has been moving forward at a snail-like pace, both electoral teams are optimistic of the outcome expressing that the slow progress is not important, but rather the transparency of the procedure is much greater.

"I believe our concerns are not the auditing process, but the transparency of the procedure," said Fazl Ahmad Manawi, a member of Abdullah's team. "Transparency is more important than the speed of the process."

A member of Ghani-Ahmadzai's team, Halim Fedaye, said that "the work is moving forward in a satisfactory manner." He adds that they have asked their "colleagues to take in consideration the rules and regulations of the procedure and follow thru with it."

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor on Thursday morning said that ballot boxes from 19 provinces have arrived in Kabul. That is a total of 13,619 ballot boxes out of the total 22,778, which makes for 60 percent votes nationwide, that the IEC has received so far.

He added that since the start of the audit procedure a total of 1,027 ballot boxes have been inspected.

"So far we have 160 people, both national and international observers, working in the audit process that complete their duties in two shifts; first half of the day 80 people come and then the second half of the day the other 80 arrive," as Noor explained the auditing protocol. "Starting tomorrow we will have a total 200 people auditing the process, which will be split into two groups of 100."

With the holy month of Ramadan coming to an end, Noor said that the IEC will increase the number of working teams to enhance the auditing movement.

On Wednesday, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

It is said that the process was halted over disagreements about the presence of Abdullah's foreign observers.

Ghani-Ahmadzai's team claimed that some of Abdullah's foreign observers did not have monitoring cards and were giving incorrect information to the UN until the security forces drove them out of the IEC compound.

Abdullah's team has rejected the allegations.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:05:08 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15698-auditing-process-resumes
Suicide Attack Kills 9 Civilians in Takhar http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15697-blast-kills-5-civilians-in-takhar alt

At least nine people were killed and more than 28 others wounded in a suicide attack in Khojaghar district of Takhar province on Thursday morning, according to the provincial head of public health. 

The incident took place at around 10:30 a.m. in the city of Khojaghar district according to Provincial Spokesman Sunatullah Temor.

He added that the explosives were concealed on a motorcycle.

According to the local officials, most of the victims were civilians who have been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Takhar public health head Hafizullah Safi says that there are nine civilians, including women and children, killed and 28 others wounded. He added that the target was the ALP, but the blast took place before the attacker reached the police.

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

In a separate suicide attack early Thursday morning in Nangarhar province two Afghan Local Police (ALP) were killed and another injured.

Among the killed was Police Commander Malik Nawab.

Provincial Spokesman Ahmadzia Abdulzai said the incident took place around 8:30 a.m. when a suicide bomber detonated himself near a local police check post in Khogyani district.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital.

Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility for the Nangarhar attack.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:32:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15697-blast-kills-5-civilians-in-takhar
FARAKHABAR: 23 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15696-farakhabar-23-july-2014 alt

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}LtLHq6NiTs4{/youtube}

The process was first halted on Saturday of the same week.

According to presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah's observing team, the United Nations (UN) and both campaign teams held joint meetings to resolve the disputes. The process is expected to begin again tomorrow.

Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team member Daoud Sultanzoy added that the UN is to assign specific tasks to each observer.It is said that the process was halted over disagreements about the presence of Abdullah's foreign observers.

Ghani-Ahmadzai's team claimed that some of Abdullah's foreign observers did not have monitoring cards and were giving incorrect information to the UN until the security forces drove them out of the IEC compound.

Abdullah's team has rejected the allegations.

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

Waqif Hakimi, Dr Abdullah Abdullah's campaign team member

Abas Noyan, Dr. Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's campaign member

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:58:47 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15696-farakhabar-23-july-2014
TAKANI: Auditing Process Halted http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15695-takani-auditing-process-halted alt

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}UmYSaFqxfFk{/youtube}

The process was first halted on Saturday of the same week.

According to presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah's observing team, the United Nations (UN) and both campaign teams held joint meetings to resolve the disputes.

The process is expected to begin again tomorrow.

Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team member Daoud Sultanzoy added that the UN is to assign specific tasks to each observer.

Host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discusses the topic with following guests:

Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's campaign team member

Rahil Formuli, Dr Abdullah Abdullah's campaign team member

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:39:23 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15695-takani-auditing-process-halted
Hamas Rejects Gaza Truce Unless Blockade Lifted http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15694-hamas-rejects-gaza-truce-unless-blockade-lifted alt

Hamas Wednesday rejected a ceasefire to end 16 days of deadly fighting with Israel unless the blockade on the Gaza Strip is lifted, its chief Khaled Meshaal said in Doha.

"We reject today... and will reject in the future" a ceasefire before negotiations on Hamas's demands, which include lifting years of blockade against the Palestinian enclave, Meshaal told reporters.

Lifting the eight-year blockade is a main demand of Hamas which also wants the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and Israel to free prisoners.

As international calls for an end to the fighting in Gaza mount, Meshaal insisted that the Islamist Hamas "welcomes all efforts to end the aggression" and "does not object" to mediation by any party, including Egypt.

"We will not accept any initiative that does not lift the blockade on our people and that does not respect their sacrifices," he said.

Egypt, whose President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has sought to isolate the militant Palestinian movement in the neighbouring Gaza, had tried to broker truce between Israel and Hamas.

Hamas had rejected the ceasefire proposal which it said was favourable to Israel.

It argues that Egypt's proposal, which is backed by the United States, United Nations and Arab League, would allow Israel to dictate if and when to ease its blockade on Gaza.

"Let us agree on achieving our demands and we will then agree on the zero-hour for a ceasefire," Meshaal said.

He appealed to the international community and NGOs to "come to the aid of Gaza and not wait until after the war ends."

"I call today for opening border crossings to allow the entry of aid convoys" to Gaza Strip which needs "fuel, food and electricity," he said."We are more concerned (than any other party) about a humanitarian truce, like last Thursday... for evacuating casualties and assisting the population," he said."We are not closing the door to a humanitarian truce... that would not manuever around demands of the resistance," he added.

Meshaal insisted that his movement wants the "aggression to stop tomorrow, today, or even this minute. But lift the blockade with guarantees and not as a promise for future negotiations," he said, adding that "we will not shut the door in the face of any humanitarian ceasefire backed by a real aid programme."

Charity Oxfam said Wednesday that thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes but have nowhere safe to shelter from Israeli airstrikes and warned that supplies of water and food are dangerously low.

The 16-day conflict has so far killed 695 Gazans, 34 Israelis and a Thai worker.

"We do not want a war and we do not want it to continue, but we will not bow in front of it," said Meshaal.

"Nobody could disarm the resistance," he said, setting two conditions to demilitarise Gaza, an Israeli demand: "The end of occupation and the disarmament of Israel."

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:24:38 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15694-hamas-rejects-gaza-truce-unless-blockade-lifted
TOLOnews 6 pm News 23 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15693-tolonews-6-pm-news-23-july-2014 alt

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

The process was first halted on Saturday of the same week.

"The process stopped as a result of disputes between the presidential campaigns teams," IEC Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said.

{youtube}o1FuERjZU9Q{/youtube}

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:28:21 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15693-tolonews-6-pm-news-23-july-2014
Conference Promotes National Unity Government http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15692-conference-promotes-national-unity-government alt

A conference titled "National Agenda" convened on Wednesday in Kabul, where participants focused on the importance of the formation of the "national unity government" called for by the agreement made between the two presidential candidates last week.

The gathering asked the two candidates, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah to reach an agreement over the principles and legal framework for the formation of a national unity government. The participants also said that the candidates must accept that it will require concessions from both sides.

"If you {candidates} agree on the principle and framework of national unity government without considering who is the president, confidently, this model could decrease the electoral tensions and it lead to the success of the process," National Agenda founder Wali Massoud said. "It is a good opportunity to Afghan politicians, God for bid, if the opportunity is missed, then we do not know what direction the crisis will move in."

In attendance at the conference, a number political analysts argued the national unity government plan would be the only way to ensure a smooth transition and bridge the divide between the candidates and their supporters.

"National unity government doesn't mean coalition government or seat adjustment between the two sides, the national government is a way out of the crisis," Hamid Mubarez said.

The candidates had representatives at the conference as well. Abdullah's spokesman said his team is committed to forming a national unity government even if they win the election. He also said negotiations over the agreement are ongoing, but will be completed before results are announced.

"With consideration of text of the agreement, all issues pertaining to national unity government have been discussed generally, so the two teams need to conduct negotiations on that before the election results, details of the agreement must be endorsed by the two sides," said Alimi Balkhi, a member of Abdullah's camp.

Meanwhile, Ashraf Ghani's camp questioned the motivations behind foreign involvement in the election process.

"After this, there shouldn't be a need for Iran, Pakistan and the U.S. to come and intervene, we aren't sold to America so they can come and say that this is right and this not," Ghani camp representative Safia Sediqi said. "They supported us, but should have supported us rightly. There is the possibility that ongoing conflicts are also the work of the foreigners, who do not want to see a better government in Afghanistan and see people breathe in peace."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry came to Kabul last week to meet with the two candidates and try to resolve the disputes that risked derailing the election process.

Kerry's meetings resulted in an agreement that called for the establishment of a chief executive post with the authorities of the prime minister on the basis of presidential decree; the establishment of an opposition seat on the order of the president; the designation of chief executive and leader of the opposition by the losing candidate; equal power sharing between winning candidate and opposition leader; the holding of constitution amendment Loya Jirga within two years of the election; and the implementation of reforms in election management bodies.

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:12:56 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15692-conference-promotes-national-unity-government
Opportunities Lost With Election Delays http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15691-opportunities-lost-with-election-delays alt

This year's election has dragged-out longer than any other similar process in the world. But beyond keeping the public in the lurch, political experts have argued that the delays in the election have led to a number of lost opportunities for the next president.

Based on the original runoff timeline published by the Independent Election Commission (IEC), the final results of the second round were scheduled to be announced by July 22. However, after delays caused by Abdullah Abdullah's disputed claims about fraud in the runoff, along with inefficiencies at the election commissions, the vote audit remains underway and a final result is not expected for some time.

According to some analysts, the delays mean the new president will take office at a disadvantage, having missed the opportunity to represent the country at a few key international gatherings.

"The long lasting elections have taken many opportunities from the future president, such as the NATO Summit in the UK beginning of September, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) conference in mid September, London conference--a follow up of the Tokyo conference-- in October and many other conferences where the president of Afghanistan could have participated and honored commitments made to the people, which is still in President Karzai's hands," Herat MP Nahid Farid said.

According to the leader of the Civil Society Association, Azizullah Rafiyee, the new president - whether Abdullah Abdullah or Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai he did not specify - would have brought greater "strength" to the table than Karzai can.

"The opportunities were a good start for the future of Afghanistan, but unfortunately, the opportunity was lost and the strength that the new president would have brought to the conference, President Karzai will not have," Rafiyee said.

The election process has reportedly caused some government and ministry work to come to a halt, further exacerbating the challenge of this year's transition. However, perhaps more important to the future administration in Kabul, some fear the never-ending election will undermine the public's trust.

"When a process lasts for a year, people's trust and hope are harmed," said Saifuddin Saihoon, a Kabul University Professor.

For many, the uncertainty of how or when the election process will conclude fuels the problem. "A longer lasting election process will have unwanted consequences for Afghanistan; still it is not clear whether it will take another year or two," Senator Daud Asas said.

With Afghanistan still heavily dependent on foreign aid and support when its comes to economics and security, the prolonged election process could have negative effects on important international relations as well.

"The conflicts has reached its peak, so has insecurity; countries who were here to help Afghanistan might lose hope and Afghanistan might return to 13 years ago," Asas added.

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:06:05 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15691-opportunities-lost-with-election-delays
Terrorists Still Thrive in Pakistan: NDS http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15690-terrorists-still-thrive-in-pakistan-nds alt

Afghan intelligence officials have maintained that the recent offensive of the Pakistani military to combat insurgents and terrorist groups in the border regions near Afghanistan has failed to disrupt militant activities and served as nothing more than a publicity ploy for Islamabad.

The Pakistani began operations in Northern Waziristan last month that it touted as a striking major blows to terrorist groups in the area that had been launching attacks around Pakistan, but also across the border in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials have made commitments to the international community, especially to Afghanistan and the United States, to uproot all terrorist groups from its soil.

However, according to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Pakistani military operations were far less effectual than Islamabad suggested.

"Reports indicate that many terrorist training centers were moved to Peshawar and even Islamabad, the real terrorist cell of Haqqani Network was transported through 150 vehicles with some ammunition from Miranshah to Tal and Spin Tal of Kurram Agency," NDS spokesman Hassib Sediqi said.

The Haqqani Network is one of the most active terrorist groups in the region, and particularly in Afghanistan. The group is thought to have been responsible for the recent attacks in Urgoon and at the Kabul International Airport.

Last week, while speaking at the Congress, U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan also questioned whether the Pakistani operations were sufficient. For years, Afghan officials have asked Washington to put pressure on Pakistan to crackdown on militants within its borders and try to help move peace talks with the Taliban forward.

"The international community must know that Pakistan has not brought any changes to its policy against terrorism, and is acting against the will of the international community," Sediqi said. "We do not see any honesty in the words and actions of Pakistan - Pakistan is the cause of all insecurities in the region."

Tensions between Islamabad and Kabul have simmered for years, occasionally reaching a full boil, often over issues related to Pakistan's handling of insurgents and terrorists within its borders. Afghan officials have long accused the government in Islamabad of protecting and supporting militants in secret while disingenuously denouncing them in public.

"Afghanistan has the right to complain to the United Nation, so that all the cells that threaten Afghanistan are destroyed, and all the insecurities are prevented," political analyst Khalil Roman said.

But, assuming Afghan suspicions are right, and Pakistan remains a state-sponsor of terrorism, the question remains: why? Leaders in Kabul and international experts have maintained Islamabad uses the militants as a way of influencing the affairs of its neighboring countries.

That is why MP Muhammad Abda, like others, believes security problems between Afghanistan and Pakistan will not be put to rest until other issues between the two countries are. "The terrorism problem will not be solved between Afghanistan and Pakistan until other problems are solved."

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:00:08 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15690-terrorists-still-thrive-in-pakistan-nds
Auditing Process Halted For a Second Time http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15689-auditing-process-halted-for-a-second-time alt

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

The process was first halted on Saturday of the same week.

"The process stopped as a result of disputes between the presidential campaigns teams," IEC Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said.

According to presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah's observing team, the United Nations (UN) and both campaign teams held joint meetings to resolve the disputes. The process is expected to begin again tomorrow.

"There were some disputes so the UN decided to stop the audit and resolve the problems first," Abdullah's team member, Wahid Omar, said.

Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team member Daoud Sultanzoy added that the UN is to assign specific tasks to each observer.

"Every observer has his own role," Sultanzoy said. "The UN halted the process to determine the roles of each observer."

It is said that the process was halted over disagreements about the presence of Abdullah's foreign observers.

Ghani-Ahmadzai's team claimed that some of Abdullah's foreign observers did not have monitoring cards and were giving incorrect information to the UN until the security forces drove them out of the IEC compound.

Abdullah's team has rejected the allegations.

The UN has announced that the disagreements have already been resolved, stating that the process will resume tomorrow.

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:51:50 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15689-auditing-process-halted-for-a-second-time
ISAF Transfers Ballot Boxes from 15 Provinces http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15688-isaf-transfers-ballot-boxes-from-15-provinces alt

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has transferred ballot boxes from a total of 15 provinces nationwide to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) central office in Kabul to undergo auditing, IEC officials said on Wednesday.

IEC officials add that ISAF is still operating countrywide in the movement of the ballot boxes from the provinces. Currently, boxes are being transported to Kabul from four additional provinces.

"Till now a total of 12,233 ballot boxes have arrived to the IEC's office," said IEC Spokesperson Noor Mohammad Noor. "These boxes belong to 15 provinces. The remaining boxes are arriving as well."

In a statement ISAF stated that the election commission and the presidential candidates' observers are strictly overseeing the process of the transfers.

"The most important thing to remember is that election materials are moved under strict chain of custody requirements, which includes eyes-on by IEC escorts at all times during the movement," the statement read.

After an agreement was made between the two presidential candidates upon the arrival and mediation of the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, ISAF is committed in assisting Afghanistan in the prolonged elections.

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:38:07 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15688-isaf-transfers-ballot-boxes-from-15-provinces
Vote Invalidation Criteria to Be Finalized http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15687-vote-invalidation-criteria-to-be-finalized alt

Disagreements over aspects of the criteria in regards to vote invalidation will be resolved Wednesday said and presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's campaign spokesman, Tahir Zuhair, on Wednesday.

"The auditing conducted in the past few days is conclusive; everything has been conducted within the legal frameworks at place," Zuhair said. "The two electoral camps will finalize the vote invalidation criteria today."

Ghani-Ahmadzai and opponent Abdullah Abdullah's teams have held several rounds of discussions but did not reach a conclusive agreement on the criteria for the auditing process.

Reports indicate that majority of the disagreements are surrounded by the following controversial conditions:

1) Votes should be invalidated if the number of votes in a center is not consistent with the number of voters registered.

2) Votes should be invalidated if the registered numbers are repetitive.

Abdullah's camp has stressed that it is important to finalize the criteria so that the auditing process continues to move forward.

"There is no choice except to finalize the criteria," Fazel Ahmad Manavi, who is in charge of the technical negotiations in Abdullah's camp, said. "There are some disputed points, but I am confident that we will reach an agreement and the document will be finalized."

The recent negotiations between the technical teams of the two candidates come 11 days after the candidates reached an agreement on the overall auditing process. If the issue is not resolved, the current disagreements could potentially lead to questioning the legitimacy of the entire auditing process.

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:28:02 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15687-vote-invalidation-criteria-to-be-finalized
Afghan Cricket Team Beats Zimbabwe at Third ODI http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/15686-afghan-cricket-team-beats-zimbabwe-at-third-odi alt

The Afghan National Cricket Team won its third One-Day International match in Zimbabwe on Tuesday. The team is set to play a total of four ODI's and two Four-Day Internationals against Zimbabwe.

The host team began the game in its 50 overs, losing eight wickets and reaching 261 runs. Afghan players then chased down the competition with two balls to spare as they rattled up 264-8, helped by a half century from opener Javed Ahmadi.

On the Afghan side, Javed Ahmadi (56) and Usman Ghani (43) added 83 for the first wicket, while Samiullah Shenwari (41) and Captain Mohammad Nabi (42) kept the visitors in touch.

Dr. Noor Mohammad Murad, the head of the Afghan Cricket Board, spoke about the games organized in Zimbabwe and stressed the importance of ODI matches for Afghanistan.

He also congratulated the Afghan Nation for the achievements of its cricket team, but added that Zimbabwe has a longer history with cricket than Afghanistan.

He said victory against such a team was a major achievement for the Afghan side, and good preparation for the World Cup in 2015, which will be Afghanistan first time in the tournament.

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:39:34 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/15686-afghan-cricket-team-beats-zimbabwe-at-third-odi
TAKANI: National Unity Government http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15685-takani-national-unity-government alt

To what extent will the government of national unity be approved by the people and what is the understanding of this governance model?

Host Zabiullah Sadaat discusses the topic with following guests:

Bismillah Afghan, senator

Lailuma Ahmadi, Dr Abdullah Abdullah's campaign team member

Siddiq Patman, Dr Ashraf Ghani's campaign team member

Ghazi Nawaz Tanai, the head of the Afghan Tribal Solidarity (ATS)

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}bvIjQib1pU8{/youtube}

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:04:00 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15685-takani-national-unity-government
ELECTION 2014: Review of Ambiguous audits and Inspection Processes of Runoff http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15684-election-2014-review-of-ambiguous-audits-and-inspection-processes-of-runoff alt

In this episode of Entekhabat 93, host Muslim Shirzad discusses the ambiguous audit and the inspection processes of runoff with the following the guests:

Guests:

Fazl Ahmad Manawi, Dr Abdullah Abdullah campaign team member

Daoud Sultanzoy, Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai campaign team member

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}DiKP6xdpg5w{/youtube}

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 06:55:20 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15684-election-2014-review-of-ambiguous-audits-and-inspection-processes-of-runoff
Suicide Attack in Northern Kunduz http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15682-suicide-attack-in-northern-kunduz alt

A suicide bomber denotated his explosives in Chahar Dara district of Kunduz province early Wednesday morning claiming a life and wounding two others.

According to northern Kunduz province local officials, Chahar Dara district police chief, Ghulam Mohiuddin, was heading for work with his three bodyguards when the suicide attacker detonated his explosives injuring Mohiuddin and two of his three bodyguards.

Provincial police spokesperson Syed Sarwar Hussaini says that the incident took place at about 6:50 a.m. local time.

According to Hussaini, two of his bodyguards were wounded and one other killed following the blast.

The victims have been taken to a nearby hospital.

There was no civilian casualties in this blast.

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

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 05:03:10 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15682-suicide-attack-in-northern-kunduz
FARAKHABAR: 22 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15683-farakhabar-22-july-2014 alt

Afghan National Security Advisor Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta on Tuesday warned of potential danger in relying too much on the election commissions or allowing one of the political teams to be excluded from the structure of the next government.

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}PRSw5bev3xw{/youtube}

Spanta, one of Afghanistan's top security officials, stressed that the transcript of the political settlement made between Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah remains in the U.S. Embassy, and that a legal agreement needs to be established to bolster its terms.

Spanta's comments came at a policy discussion organized in Kabul on Tuesday by the Afghanistan Center of Strategic Studies regarding the formation of the national unity government. He highlighted the public's mistrust of the election commissions and emphasized the importance of seeing through the agreement made between the candidates, and solidifying it in legal form.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Kabul last week in order to meet with the candidates and negotiate an end to the stalemate between them that had driven the country to the edge of crisis. The terms they negotiated included the comprehensive auditing of election results and formation of a national unity government following the release of the results.A number of legal experts have, over the past week, weighed in on the agreement between the candidates and highlighted the importance of legal frameworks in resolving the election disputes.

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

Mujib Rahman Rahimi, Dr Abdullah Abdullah's Campaign team member

Tahir Zahir, Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's campaign team member

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:47:08 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15683-farakhabar-22-july-2014
Foreign Forces Kill 4 Taliban in Nangarhar http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15681-foreign-forces-kill-4-taliban-in-nangarhar- alt

According to the eastern Nangarhar province security officials at least four Taliban insurgents were killed, three wounded and two others arrested by foreign forces on Tuesday.

Nangarhar police spokesman Hazrat Hussain Mashrqiwal says that the insurgents were killed in a foreign force led operation in Haska Mina (Dih Bala) district of Nangarhar province.

"The operation was conducted by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) special forces at about 5 p.m. local time and among the dead were Pakistani and Afghan Taliban," Mashriqiwal said.

There were neither civilian nor foreign casualties during the operation.

According to Mashriqiwal, the operation was conducted solely by foreign forces, he says there were no Afghan forces during the operation.

The Taliban has yet to comment.

Haska Mina (Dih Bala) is a district in southern Nangarhar province, ‎ bordering Pakistan.

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:45:26 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15681-foreign-forces-kill-4-taliban-in-nangarhar-
Israel Says No Need to Cancel Flights After Rocket Fire http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15680-israel-says-no-need-to-cancel-flights-after-rocket-fire alt

Israel said there was no reason to cancel flights after a rocket fired from Gaza crashed just kilometres (miles) from its main airport Tuesday, prompting some airlines to suspend services.

The Federal Aviation Authority banned US airlines from flying to or from the Jewish state, which is locked in a bloody conflict with Gaza militants, and major European and Canadian carriers cancelled flights shortly after.

Israeli "Transport Minister Yisrael Katz this evening called American companies to explain to them that the take-off and landing at (Tel Aviv's) Ben Gurion airport presented no security problem for the aircraft and the passengers," a Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said.

"There is no reason for American companies to cancel their flights and yield to terrorism," Katz was quoted as saying.

A house was damaged on Tuesday morning "by a rocket strike in the area of Kiryat Ono Yehoud, which is several kilometres north of the airport," Israeli police said.

The projectile was fired from the Gaza Strip, where Israel has been carrying out an offensive against Islamist movement Hamas since July 8.

Israel's national carrier El Al said in a statement that it was continuing "its flight from and to Israel".

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:32:43 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15680-israel-says-no-need-to-cancel-flights-after-rocket-fire
TOLOnews 6 pm News 22 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15679-tolonews-6-pm-news-22-july-2014 alt

Officials of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) have said that the audit process will face challenges if the presidential candidates do not agree on the standard auditing procedures, which entails a checklist on what needs to be inspected.

To watch the bulletin, click here:

{youtube}VVrrbUyQWX0{/youtube}

The Deputy head of the IEC, Abdul Rahman Hotaki, urged the presidential candidates to finalize the technicalities of the audit as soon as possible otherwise the audit process will encounter disputes.

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:39:48 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15679-tolonews-6-pm-news-22-july-2014
No Option But National Unity Government: Spanta http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15678-no-option-but-national-unity-government-spanta alt

Afghan National Security Advisor Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta on Tuesday warned of potential danger in relying too much on the election commissions or allowing one of the political teams to be excluded from the structure of the next government.

Spanta, one of Afghanistan's top security officials, stressed that the transcript of the political settlement made between Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah remains in the U.S. Embassy, and that a legal agreement needs to be established to bolster its terms.

"National unity government doesn't mean that someone is selected by the existing institutions and later on does whatever he wants, it means that two major political process emerged today whether we like them or not," Spanta said. "These two political forces must sit on the basis of their national responsibilities and form the national unity government, but by bringing reforms."

Spanta's comments came at a policy discussion organized in Kabul on Tuesday by the Afghanistan Center of Strategic Studies regarding the formation of the national unity government. He highlighted the public's mistrust of the election commissions and emphasized the importance of seeing through the agreement made between the candidates, and solidifying it in legal form.

"For further expansion of partnership, before getting the certification of the election commission, I think it would be good if the candidates reach an agreement, and a copy of the agreement regarding the framework of such an agreement exists in the U.S. embassy," Spanta added.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Kabul last week in order to meet with the candidates and negotiate an end to the stalemate between them that had driven the country to the edge of crisis. The terms they negotiated included the comprehensive auditing of election results and formation of a national unity government following the release of the results.

On Tuesday, Spanta emphasized the importance of honoring the agreement to structure an inclusive national unity government. He cautioned that any attempt to push one of the electoral camps from the national unity government would have damaging consequences. Spanta said that he respects the existing Afghan Constitution, but supports the amendments that have been proposed to create a Prime Minister position.

"Any approach for increasing a particular ethnicity or decreasing another or any attempt for pushing out one of the groups from the structure of the national unity government would be dangerous and would not help the country out of stalemate," Spanta said.

A number of legal experts have, over the past week, weighed in on the agreement between the candidates and highlighted the importance of legal frameworks in resolving the election disputes.

"Political negotiations yield positive outcomes at a time that there is a legal framework," said Mohammad Amin Ahmadi, a member of the commission overseeing implementation of the constitution.

Meanwhile, Spanta spoke briefly about his possible role in the future government. "The political community should remember that we are a part of the power and we will be in the opposition or part of the partnership in the future."

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:39:44 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15678-no-option-but-national-unity-government-spanta
U.S. Mediation Came at Request of President, Candidates: Dobbins http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15677-us-mediation-came-at-request-of-president-candidates-dobbins alt

Although the "national unity government" terminology used in the agreement between Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah has been subject to some debate in recent days, the U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbins, on Tuesday stressed that the candidates are on the same page and have agreed to the terms.

Dobbins spoke at a press conference on Tuesday and said that both candidates have agreed as part of their negotiations with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the winner of the election will serve as the president and the other candidate as a chief executive.

"I think to certain degree this is up to the two candidates themselves to define, but the concept is that there will be a president, there will be a chief executive officer who will be nominated by the loser, if you will, and appointed by the president, obviously they have to agree on that, there will be discussions between them about the distribution of portfolios," Dobbins said.

Since the settlement agreement between the candidates was made, staving off a crisis that many feared would ruin any chances of a peaceful transition of power this year, President Hamid Karzai has been said to be upset over the intervention of the U.S. in the election process. However, on Tuesday, Dobbins said that the mediation was conducted upon the request of the president and the two presidential candidates.

"I don't think what we are doing now is interfering, we are here at the invitation of both candidates and the president of the country," Dobbins said. "I think that the public reaction to an agreement that was reached last week was one of relief, I think that there is widespread support for the process."

Dobbins called on the candidates to remain committed to the promises they made in the agreement, including the national unity government formation as well as accepting the results from a comprehensive vote audit.

"Both candidates have explicitly and unqualifiedly agreed to accept the results of the audit and we anticipate that they will do so, they have repeated to me and they have repeated to Secretary Kerry that they would respect the results of this audit and we fully expect them to do so," Dobbins said.

Dobbins expressed satisfaction with the vote auditing process so far, but indicated he hoped that the process would move forward according to the election schedule so that the transfer of power from Karzai to the next president can happen in a timely manner.

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:30:14 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15677-us-mediation-came-at-request-of-president-candidates-dobbins
IEC to Halt Audit Process if Candidates Do Not Reach Agreement http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15676-iec-to-halt-audit-process-if-candidates-do-not-reach-agreement alt

Officials of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) have said that the audit process will face challenges if the presidential candidates do not agree on the standard auditing procedures, which entails a checklist on what needs to be inspected.

The Deputy head of the IEC, Abdul Rahman Hotaki, urged the presidential candidates to finalize the technicalities of the audit as soon as possible otherwise the audit process will encounter disputes.

"Yesterday, we sent letters to both teams to agree on the procedure, otherwise the commission will decide based on its former procedure, or we will be forced to stop the audit process," Hotaki said.

Abdullah Abdullah's observers said that the absence of the finalized audit checklist has faced them with challenges, adding that they do not have an issue on their side claiming that rival Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team is who is stalling the process.

"We accepted the procedure with its details and are waiting for our rival team to sign it, unfortunately, our opponent has not yet signed it," said Mujiburrahman Rahimi, Abdullah's camp spokesman.

Former presidential candidate in the first round of elections, Daoud Sultanzoy, now a member of Ghani-Ahmadzai's teams, says that an agreement on the auditing method will be finalized end of Tuesday, stressing that the invalidation of votes must be in accordance to the audit process.

"Both candidates will agree on the matter today," Sultanzoy said. "But if votes are invalidated it should be based on IEC's procedure to ensure that discrimination is not allowed."

Mohammad Naeem Asghari, a program manager at the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) said that, "the election is a national process and a global phenomenon as well. So holding a free and fair election needs to be according to the international standards, not according to the deference demands of a particular person and groups."

The officials of the commission also reported that increases of technical groups are needed to speed up the auditing process.

The commission added that since the start of the audits a total of, roughly, 700 ballots boxes have been audited by Tuesday afternoon illustrating that the plan to audit 1,000 boxes a day has failed. The IEC made a statement saying that at this rate the audit procedure will take several months.

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:03:18 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15676-iec-to-halt-audit-process-if-candidates-do-not-reach-agreement
MPs Demand Details of Candidate Agreements http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15675-mps-demand-details-of-candidate-agreements alt

Legislators on Tuesday demanded that the presidential candidates provide the details of their agreements on topics such as the "national unity government" and the role of MPs in the next government.

MPs said that the candidates should avoid forging barriers during the auditing process, stressing that the process needs to move forward without any hurdles to avoid lengthening the election procedure.

First Deputy Speaker for Senate, Sediq Ahmad Osmani, stated that any agreement between the candidates must be conducted within the framework of the constitution.

"We support any sort of agreement between the candidates as long as they are in line with the laws and the constitution," Osmani said. "The House of Representatives will not endorse any agreements that would violate the laws."

Legislators asked the candidates to cooperate with the audit process and facilitate to its advance.

"The 100 percent vote auditing continues under the supervision of domestic and international observers; we are not certain why the candidates keep raising criticisms," MP Fatima Aziz said. "We ask that the candidates cooperate with the audit process and end the uncertainties."

MPs assert that it is necessary to put an end to the prolonged election process.

"We demand that the candidates support the vote auditing process so that the next president is announced soon," Herat MP Khalil Ahmad Shahidzada said.

In addition, the MPs have left for a 45 day summer holiday after the 7th session of the 16th working parliamentary tenure ended on Tuesday. According to the administrative board of the lower house, the parliament approved 28 laws in the last session.

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:27:07 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15675-mps-demand-details-of-candidate-agreements
ELECTION 2014: Political Agreement for New Government http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15674-election-2014-political-agreement-for-new-government alt

In this episode of Entekhabat 93, host Omid Farooq discusses about the political agreement between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai with the following the guests:

• Asadullah Sadati, MP
• Sayed Hussian Halami Balkhi, MP
• Abdul Bary Salaam, a civil society activist

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}c8QtoSjlk4Y{/youtube}

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:00:28 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15674-election-2014-political-agreement-for-new-government
Taliban Shadow Governor Killed in Badakhshan Clash http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15673-taliban-shadow-governor-killed-in-badakhshan-clash alt

Taliban shadow governor, Qari Fakhruddin, and nine other insurgents were killed on Monday in a clash with Afghan security forces in north-eastern Badakhshan province, local officials said on Tuesday.

Five other insurgents were injured in the attack.

The clash took place in Jurm district of the province after the Taliban insurgents began battling with the Afghan forces in which Qari Fakhurddin, who was appointed as the shadow governor, and nine other insurgents were killed, said Ghulaam Haidar Haidari head of the 209th Shaheen Military Corps in the north zone.

He said the Afghan forces have seized the body of Qari Fakhurddin along with weapons.

The Afghan forces have launched a military operation in Jurm district in the past 20 days to clear the area of insurgents, he added.

However, he did not provide details about the casualties of the Afghan forces during the operation.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the operation.

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 07:19:37 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15673-taliban-shadow-governor-killed-in-badakhshan-clash
Israel Pummels Gaza as World Pushes for Truce http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15672-israel-pummels-gaza-as-world-pushes-for-truce alt

Israel pummelled Gaza for a 14th day on Monday, hiking the Palestinian death toll to more than 570, as Cairo took centre stage in world efforts to broker a ceasefire.

With air strikes and shelling raining down across the besieged coastal enclave, Israel's army said seven of its soldiers had been killed, bringing the Israeli toll to 25 troops and two civilians in the bloodiest Gaza conflict since 2009.

Washington urged Israel to take "greater steps" to prevent innocent casualties, and UN chief Ban Ki-moon appealed for the violence to "stop now" as it emerged most of the dead were civilians.

But Hamas has so far rejected truce calls, insisting Monday on a lifting of Israel's siege of Gaza and the release of prisoners to cease its rocket fire.

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi urged Hamas to accept an Egyptian proposal to end the fighting it had rejected last week.

Speaking in Cairo where he had arrived to advance a truce, US Secretary of State John Kerry pledged $47 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza as he called for an end to the violence.

"We are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel's appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself," he told reporters as he met with the UN chief.

Both Kerry and Ban urged Hamas, the dominant force in the Gaza Strip, to accept the Egyptian-proposed ceasefire.

Monday's attacks across Gaza killed at least 56 people including 16 children, bringing the overall death toll since Israel launched its operation on July 8 to 573 Palestinians, according to figures provided by Gaza emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

In the costliest single Israeli bombardment, an air strike hit a residential tower block in central Gaza City, killing 11 people, including five children.

It came after Israeli tank shells struck a hospital in Deir al-Balah, killing four people, including doctors, officials said, indicating at least 70 people were wounded.

Rights group Amnesty International warned Monday that the shelling of the hospital as well as the "continuing bombardment of civilian homes" in Gaza "add to the list of possible war crimes that demand an urgent independent international investigation."

Amnesty said the Israeli attacks on civilian areas in Gaza "as well as the continuing indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, demand urgent international action to prevent further violations."

Israel says its campaign aims to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza, and the ground phase of the operation to destroy tunnels burrowed into Israel by Hamas, the main power in the coastal strip.

Israeli rights group B'Tselem said that initial findings indicated that 25 members of the same family were killed Sunday night northeast of Khan Yunis by Israeli fire seeking a senior Hamas member.

"Information B'Tselem has at this stage indicates that no warning was issued and no warning missile was fired prior to the attack," the group said.

- 100,000 displaced -

Since the Israeli operation began on July 8, huge numbers of Gazans have fled their homes, with the UN saying more than 100,000 people have sought shelter in 69 schools run by its Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA).

Meanwhile, Israeli forces killed more than 10 Gaza militants who had infiltrated southern Israel, the army said, later announcing it had lost four soldiers in that battle.

The troops lost in that clash were among seven killed in 24 hours, said the Israeli army, adding 30 soldiers were wounded over the same period.

That brought its toll to 25 soldiers killed since the start of the operation, including 13 on Sunday, the bloodiest single day for the Israeli military since the Lebanon war of 2006.

Two Israeli civilians, both hit by rocket fire, have been killed during the 14-day campaign.

- 'Mad war' -

Hamas on Monday reiterated its insistence on a lifting of Israel's blockade of Gaza and the release of prisoners to halt its rocket fire.

"The conditions for a ceasefire are... a full lifting of the blockade and then the release of those recently detained in the West Bank," its leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, said on television.

"We cannot go backwards, to a slow death," he said, referring to the Israeli blockade in force since 2006.

"The conditions of the Palestinian resistance constitute the minimum required for a truce. The resistance and the sons of our people who have made such sacrifices in this mad war cannot accept anything less."

Meanwhile, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas held talks in Doha, pledging to work together for a ceasefire and to lift the blockade on Gaza.

But there has been no let-up since the operation began with 116 rockets hitting Israel on Monday, one striking the greater Tel Aviv area, and another 17 shot down, the army said.

Violence also broke out in the West Bank, where an Israeli shot dead a Palestinian who had been throwing stones at his car, Palestinian security sources said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said the military was investigating the death, which she said took place during "a violent riot".

Israeli police said Palestinians had rioted in east Jerusalem neighbourhoods Monday night, with no casualties.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, an Israeli was seriously wounded after a Palestinian opened fire at him from a travelling car, the army said.

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 05:28:13 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/15672-israel-pummels-gaza-as-world-pushes-for-truce
TAKANI: The Election Process http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15671-takani-the-election-process alt

In this episode of Takani 93, host Shapoor Bakhtyar takes a look at the election process with the following the guests:

• Atiqullah Amarkhil, military analyst
• Jawid Kohistani, political analyst
• Abdul Jabar Qahraman, MP

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}uMl52qWRkIQ{/youtube}

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 05:09:17 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/takani-/15671-takani-the-election-process
FARAKHABAR: 21 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15670-farakhabar-21-july-2014 alt

Head of the Herat Education Department, Basir Ahmad Tahiri, announced that all school doors have been closed for girls in Shindand district of Herat province, depriving nearly 40,000 girls from education because of Taliban threats.

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}nGbQkzIIEl4{/youtube}

It comes after the Taliban shoot on girls and warned to don't go to schools. In the past a month the violence increased in Shindand.

Herat Governor Syed Fazullah Wahidi says the main factor behind the growing insecurity of the province is that security personnel lack good coordination between the security organs at a provincial and national level.

In the past days, several police officials have been dismissed after the violence increased in the province.

But how have the Taliban threats closed all the school doors in Shindand?

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

• Mohammad Asif Nang, Deputy Education Minister for Technical Education
• Munawar Shah Bahaderi, MP

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 04:50:46 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15670-farakhabar-21-july-2014
Suicide Attack Kills Four Foreign Security Guards in Kabul http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15669-suicide-attack-kills-four-foreign-security-guards-in-kabul alt

A Taliban suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden motorcycle inside an anti-narcotics camp in a town called Qasaba in Kabul killing four foreign security guards and injuring six Afghan guards on Tuesday morning.

The nationalities of the fatalities were three Nepalese, one of which was a female and one Peruvian male.

According to Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior (MoI), the suicide attacker entered the camp while riding on a motorcycle.

"When he entered he detonated his explosives in front of the third gate of the camp where foreign contractors and the department of counter narcotics exist," he explained. "The attack resulted in the deaths of three Nepalese security guards and one Peruvian and injuring six other Afghan guards."

On condition of anonymity a security official said that the suicide bomber was an Afghan security guard working alongside foreign contractors.

"The suicide bomber was an Afghan security guard working alongside foreigners at the anti-narcotics office for many years," said the security official.

This was the second attack in five days in the township of Qasaba in Kabul.

In last few weeks, security situations have worsened in the capital city. Suicide attacks, plantation of magnetic bombs and rocket attacks have overshadowed the calm city. Citizens of Kabul ask the intelligence services and security forces be on high alert and provide an explanation as to how these suicide bombers manage to enter the capital of the country.

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 03:38:13 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15669-suicide-attack-kills-four-foreign-security-guards-in-kabul
TOLOnews 6 pm News 21 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15668-tolonews-6-pm-news-21-july-2014 alt

The teams of the two presidential hopefuls on Monday took time to assure the public that the crisis-avoiding agreements made last week with help from the United Nations and U.S. would never be abandoned.

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah each agreed to a comprehensive vote audit as well as the formation of a "national unity government" once the election is over. The accord between the two men came after weeks of rising tensions between their supporters over alleged fraud in the election. Although there have been some delays in the auditing process and differences of interpretation over what exactly a "national unity government" means, the candidates have emphasized their resolve to cooperate.

{youtube}EgSvMZnFyKM{/youtube}

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:33:03 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/15668-tolonews-6-pm-news-21-july-2014
Election Teams Assure Strength of Agreement Between Candidates http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15667-election-teams-assure-strength-of-agreement-between-candidates alt

The teams of the two presidential hopefuls on Monday took time to assure the public that the crisis-avoiding agreements made last week with help from the United Nations and U.S. would never be abandoned.

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah each agreed to a comprehensive vote audit as well as the formation of a "national unity government" once the election is over. The accord between the two men came after weeks of rising tensions between their supporters over alleged fraud in the election. Although there have been some delays in the auditing process and differences of interpretation over what exactly a "national unity government" means, the candidates have emphasized their resolve to cooperate.

Ashraf Ghani's Deputy Spokesman Tahir Zuhair said disagreements over the vote auditing would never impact the political agreements between the candidates.

"The agreement that was made between the candidates through the mediation of the U.S. Secretary of State and in the presence of the UN envoy is irreversible and it is 100 percent sure," Zuhair said. "The 100 percent vote auditing process has started and the formation of the national unity government will happen after the vote auditing, agreement has been made over these two points."

Abdullah's camp has indicated the agreement is seen by them as a necessary strategic one, with its support of the international community. They have asserted that the structure of the next government will be formed on the basis of the same agreement.

"Our perspective on the agreement is a strategic and long term perspective, however, the priority is the outcomes of the elections and we don't want the process to lose integrity," Abdullah spokesman Syed Fazil Aqa Sancharaki said. "Whatever the election results may be, the political agreement is in place and the political structure would be shaped on the basis of this agreement, disagreements and misinterpretations will not affect the future of the agreements."

Election monitoring groups have acknowledged some differences of opinion over the cooperation between the candidates and the next steps in the process, but also maintained that such problems are to be expected and that there are enough guarantees in place to ensure the agreement is honored.

"Coming out of the crisis was very important for both candidates and the political agreement was quite significant in tackling and seeking settlement to the crisis," said Nadir Naderi, the head of the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan. "Both teams want to present a responsible leader, for these reasons, there are guarantees that could ensure implementation of the agreements."

Both teams have confirmed that negotiations over the implementation of the agreements have been finalized. But details of their accord have yet to be disclosed. If the agreement is indeed finalized, the choice not to make its contents public raises questions.

However, Abdullah's team has said that on the basis of the agreement with Ashraf Ghani, a Loya Jirga will be organized to change the presidential system into a parliamentary system at some point down the line, which will allow for great power-sharing in the next government.

A parliamentary system of government comprises a President and a Prime Minister, rather than just a President as is the case now.

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:09:34 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15667-election-teams-assure-strength-of-agreement-between-candidates
Number 39 Hurts Traffic Police Revenues http://www.tolonews.com/en/business/15666-number-39-hurts-traffic-police-revenues alt

Afghan car owners avoid purchasing cars with the number 39 on the license plate because of the rumor and myth attached to it, stemming from misinformation spread about criminal activity. According to officials from the General Directorate of Traffic this week, Afghans' misguided avoidance of the number has led revenues of the traffic police to drop by a whopping 50 percent.

The Traffic Directorate said that car owners and buyers have been unduly influenced by organized crime groups and refuse to accept license plates with the number 39 on them. The number is widely thought to be associated with prostitution and other illegal activities that people would be ashamed of being connected to.

However, officials have discouraged people from taking the rumors about the number seriously. "We cannot delete number plates that include 39, we are asking people to forget these meaningless statements and accept the numbers," Traffic Directorate Chief Assadullah said. "None of the world's countries have a traffic system like Afghanistan."

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has also said that the number 39 will not be cut from the licensing system and it will be distributed to car owners according to the laws.

"There are mafias who benefit from such numbers; they purchase cars at low rates, then sell with high rate," MoI spokesman Sediq Sediqi said. "These mafias groups have confused the minds of the government and the people. We are fighting against such groups and will distribute these number plates."

Despite the prevalence of stigma against the number, some Kabul residents seem to agree with officials that avoidance of it is baseless.

"This is a false idea," a Kabul resident named Ajmal told TOLOnews. "I do not know who spreads such false rumors."

Reportedly, since car owners have begun refusing number plates with 39, the revenue of the government has decreased by about 1 billion Afghani.

The process of distributing number plates has been stopped by the General Directorate of Traffic because the directorate has 42 plates with 39 figures.

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:07:10 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/business/15666-number-39-hurts-traffic-police-revenues
600 Boxes Audited in Five Days http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15665-600-boxes-audited-in-five-days alt

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced prior to the start of auditing that the commission was determined to investigate 1,000 ballot boxes a day, but in the past five days of inspection a total of 600 boxes have been audited.

The IEC has failed to fulfill their systematic plan of auditing 1,000 boxes a day; they are behind by 4,400.

The monitors for the presidential candidates have expressed their concerns over the slow and inefficient process stating that at this rate it will take months for investigations to be over.

A member of Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's monitoring team, Mohammad Gulab Mangal, said that the process must be faster by "enhancing the team to speed up the process, otherwise the audit will take several months."

Sharing similar concerns to the speed of the process, a member of Abdullah Abdullah's observation team, Amirullah Aman, said that the "IEC has invited its provincial staff who are not familiar with the auditing process, which have slowed down the process."

On the opposite spectrum of reasons behind the time-consuming procedure, official from the IEC say the candidates' monitoring teams are not trained nor understand the details and protocol of the audits.

"A number of the candidates' observers do not understand the technicalities of the audits and neither are they trained this is what is causing the snail-like auditing," IEC Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said.

"Besides this, there is not enough international observers in Kabul, so if we have to enhance our team."

Noor added that in the past five days of audits there have been suspicious boxes, mostly from Kabul, that will be closely investigated to decide the fate of the ballots in those boxes.

A member of Abdullah's team asserted that only the United Nation (UN) is allowed and responsible to invalidate ballots, not the IEC.

Before the start of the audit process, the election commission had announced that they will form 100 groups that will inspect a total of 1,000 boxes a day. In retrospect, only 600 ballot boxes have been audited in the past five days.

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:47:13 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15665-600-boxes-audited-in-five-days
Insecurities in Shindand Result in Closing of Girls Schools http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15664-insecurities-in-shindand-result-in-closing-of-girls-schools alt

Head of the Herat Education Department, Basir Ahmad Tahiri, announced that all school doors have been closed for girls in Shindand district of Herat province, depriving nearly 40,000 girls from education because of Taliban threats.

In the past 13 years, schools catered for girls were never closed. The education sector in Herat developed successfully over the years.

Tahiri called on the provincial government to ensure the security of the girls and the schools.

"We have received pamphlets addressed to our school in which the Taliban have asked the girls not to go schools or they would burn our schools and commit suicide attacks," Tahiri explained.

Herat Governor Syed Fazullah Wahidi says the main factor behind the growing insecurity of the province is that security personnel lack good coordination between the security organs at a provincial and national level.

Herat Police Chief Gen. Samiullah Qatra says that the activities of the intelligence services of neighboring countries and the presence of insurgents have worsened the security in the area. Qatra added that some extra police units have been dispatched to the district to maintain law and order.

"Establishment of security belts and reinforcement of check-points have brought the district's security situation under control," Qatra said.

This is while a number of Herat MPs have raised apprehensions over the government's response to security concerns in Shindand.

"Regrettably, the government is not aware of the situations in the district and has showed an apathetical approach," MP Munawar Shah Bahaduri said. "The district could collapse."

Head of the Parliamentary Commission for Internal Security, Mir Dad Khan Nejrabi, has also raised concerns over the government's method to security.

"The government and the international forces need to focus on the issues regarding nighttime military operations, the release of prisoners and civilian causalities," Nejrabi said.

It is the first time since the fall of the Taliban that serious threats are posed to girls' education in the province of Herat.

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:51:48 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15664-insecurities-in-shindand-result-in-closing-of-girls-schools
Observers Distressed About Auditing Procedures http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15663-observers-distressed-about-auditing-procedures alt

The election observer institutions on Monday raised concerns over brawls between the candidates about the finalization of the vote auditing checklist, which defines the process that will certify the method of invalidating ballots.

The monitoring bodies asserted that the auditing method could be pushed to a stalemate if candidates do not agree on the inspection procedures soon.

"If there are no legal frameworks and procedures, there is a possibility that the process will face challenges," head of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), Mohammad Naeem Ayoubzada, said.

Furthermore, Chairman of Afghanistan Election Watch, Jandad Spinghar, asserted that it is important for the candidates to rely on international standards.

"Both sides have agreed on a set of standards. There are ways to implement these principles on the basis of global standards," Spinghar said. "Neither candidate should refuse to execute the said standards."

It is not yet clear which campaign team has raised concerns over the auditing process. But reports indicate that negotiations are underway between presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah and opponent Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's camps regarding Abdullah's recommendations to the United Nations (UN).

"I think that our opponent has not approved the recommendations yet. The issue is between the UN and Ghani-Ahmadzai's camp," said Fazel Ahmad Manavi, who is in charge of the technical negotiations in Abdullah's camp. "The recommendations should be approved soon as our demands are completely in line with international standards."

Ghani-Ahmadzai's team has stated that negotiations to resolve the issue are underway with all the involved parties.

"Negotiations are not just between the two teams but also with the UN and other involved institutions," Ghani-Ahmadzai's camp spokesman Tahir Zuhair said. "The procedures must be acceptable to all parties."

Meanwhile, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the two camps will reach an agreement soon.

"The disagreements are not serious and will not undermine the agreements," UNAMA Spokeswoman Neelab Mubarez said. "The candidates have reached a consensus; we ask them to keep up the same spirit and put an end to the prolonged process."

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has also expressed optimism about resolving the recent disagreements.

"We are optimistic about the outcomes of the talks," IEC Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said. "We have made many good pacts thus far and we hope that the procedure is finalized soon."

The candidates have yet to reach an agreement and conclude the specific technicalities in the audit process. Finalization of the procedure is considered a crucial step in pushing the election process forward.

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:48:26 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/15663-observers-distressed-about-auditing-procedures
Dobbins Meets Karzai in Kabul http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15662-dobbins-meets-karzai-in-kabul alt

The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James F. Dobbins has arrived in Kabul on Sunday and met President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace, according to a statement released by the Presidential Palace.

The statement read that Mr. Dobbins has talked in regards to the audit process with both presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai.

However, the statement did not provide more details about Karzai and Dobbins meeting.

This comes as, on Sunday the vote auditing process for the June 14 presidential runoff election halted due to disputes between Abdullah and Ghani-Ahmadzai teams, but resumed after 23 hours.

Officials of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the audit was expected to continue until 6 p.m., but was halted at 3 p.m. on Saturday when the two candidates' representatives disagreed about the status of non-standard signs like signatures on ballot papers.

Observers have weighed into the dispute between the candidates, arguing the signatures are insufficient in judging the validity of a vote.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has taken the responsibility of transporting ballot boxes from all the provinces to Kabul.

ISAF has transferred 1,515 boxes from Heart to Kabul on Saturday. The movement of ballot boxes from the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand are underway.

Millions of Afghans risked their lives and voted in the presidential runoff elections determined to decide the future of their country democratically. For the next five years the future of Afghanistan is weighed on the outcome of the ballots.

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:37:29 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15662-dobbins-meets-karzai-in-kabul
Suicide Car Bomber Targets Afghan Police in Helmand http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15661-suicide-car-bomber-targets-afghan-police-in-helmand alt

A suicide car bomber targeted Afghan police vehicles in southern Helmand province on Monday afternoon killing two including a policeman, local officials said.

Fifteen other including eight policemen were injured in the attack.

The attack took place about 12 p.m. local time after a suicide bomber detonated his explosive near a police vehicle, said Omar Zwak, a spokesman for provincial governor.

The victims have been taken to a nearby hospital, he said.

The officials of the hospital have confirmed and said 21 victims have been taken to the hospital.

Investigation is underway.

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

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:13:58 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15661-suicide-car-bomber-targets-afghan-police-in-helmand
ELECTION 2014: Audit Resumes After 23-Hour Halt http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15660-election-2014-audit-resumes-after-23-hour-halt alt

The vote auditing process for this year's runoff election came to a grinding halt due to disputes between the two candidate teams, but resumed after 23 hours on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}UuChr3LpPjk{/youtube}

In this episode of Entekhabat 93, host Muslim Shirzad discusses the topic with the following the guests:

• Amin Habibi, International Relations Analyst
• Sardar Mohammad Rahimi, lecturer at the Kabul University
• Ghafoor Lewal, Director of Afghanistan's Regional Studies Centre
• Faizullah Zaki, member of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's team

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 07:48:50 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/15660-election-2014-audit-resumes-after-23-hour-halt
FARAKHABAR: 20 July 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15659-farakhabar-20-july-2014 alt

The vote auditing process for this year's runoff election came to a grinding halt due to disputes between the two candidate teams, but resumed after 23 hours on Sunday at 3 p.m.

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}xTIKPoMHXVY{/youtube}

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the audit was expected to continue until 6 p.m., but that it was halted at 3 p.m on Saturday when the two candidates' representatives disagreed about the status of non-standard signs like signatures on ballot papers.

"Based on the decisions of the commission, the audit was expected to continue until 6 p.m. yesterday, but the process halted because of some disputes between the candidates' teams," IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said on Sunday.

Observers have weighed into the dispute between the candidates, arguing the signatures are insufficient in judging the validity of a vote.

But why was the auditing process halted for more than 23 hours?

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

• Waqif Hakimi, member of Abdullah Abdullah's team
• Asadullah Sadati, member of Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 05:50:04 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/15659-farakhabar-20-july-2014
20 Insurgents Killed in ANSF Operations http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15658-20-insurgents-killed-in-ansf-operations alt

At least 20 Taliban militants were killed in the past 24 hours during a nationwide operation led by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in a statement on Monday.

One insurgent injured and six other were arrested.

"Within the past 24 hours, the Afghan army, police and intelligence agency carried out several operations in Uruzgan, Herat, Helmand, Faryab, Baghlan, Ghazni, Kandahar and Wardak provinces to rid them of insurgents," the statement read.

According to the statement, ANSF did not only seize enemy weapons, but also defused five mines in southern Kandahar and Paktia provinces.

"The mines were recently placed by the insurgents in the areas for terrorism act," the statement said.

The statement did not provide details about the number of ANSF casualties.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the operations.

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 05:23:16 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15658-20-insurgents-killed-in-ansf-operations