TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:33:12 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Blast in Nangarhar Mosque Wounds 34 Civilians http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17279-blast-in-nangarhar-mosque-wounds-34-civilians

During Friday prayers in Khogyani district of eastern Nangarhar province explosives detonated inside a mosque injuring 34 civilians, according to local officials.

Security officials said that the explosives were placed inside the mosque, leaving six of the 34 injured in critical condition.

This is not the first time that a mosque was the sight of a bombing. Months ago in the province of Logar, provincial Governor Arsala Jamla was killed in a mosque where the explosive was hidden inside the Holy Quran.

The Taliban in a statement denied responsibility for the attack on the mosque in Nangarhar.

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Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:11:58 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17279-blast-in-nangarhar-mosque-wounds-34-civilians
Cabinet to be Announced in Matter of Days: Abdullah http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17277-cabinet-to-be-announced-in-matter-of-days-abdullah

The Chief Executive of the National Unity Government (NUG) on Thursday evening said the cabinet has not been finalized, but assured that the majority of the cabinet will be introduced in a matter of days.

Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive, said that if the all 25 ministries are not finalized, the government will go ahead and announce the majority that has been concluded.

"The cabinet has not yet been completed," he said. "If the entire cabinet is not formed, we will still introduce the majority that has been finalized."

Sources close to President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah stated that both officials have agreed on 17 ministries and talks on three other ministries are underway, hinting that 20 ministries may be concluded in advance of the London Conference.

Political analyst Mohammad Natiqi and Afghan Member of Parliament Fatima Aziz both shared similar concerns of the formation of the cabinet prior to the conference explaining that if the cabinets are not introduced, acting ministers and officials will attend the conference increasing the risk of jeopardizing international aid and commitment.

If the National Unity Government does not introduce the new cabinet in time, the current 25 acting ministers, 34 acting governors and 63 acting political figures will be representing the newly formed unity government.

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Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:59:57 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17277-cabinet-to-be-announced-in-matter-of-days-abdullah
On Turkey Trip, Pope to Reach Out to Islamic World http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17276-on-turkey-trip-pope-to-reach-out-to-islamic-world

Pope Francis heads to Turkey on Friday with a brief to use his populist touch to rebuild bridges with the Islamic world that were damaged by his predecessor Benedict XVI.

It will be the first papal visit to Turkey since the now-retired Benedict went there in 2006 against a backdrop of anger in much of the Muslim world over comments which appeared to link the Prophet Mohamed to violence.

The frenzied atmosphere which dominated the run-up to that trip was followed by Benedict appearing to pray silently alongside the Grand Mufti of Istanbul in the city's celebrated Blue Mosque in what was seen as a gesture of reconciliation.

The pope's spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said Francis may make a similar gesture of respect.

"Obviously one can't speak of a formal prayer on the part of a Christian in the Mosque," Lombardi said.

"The holy father will show his respect and spiritual contemplation but it will be without expressing outwardly with words or anything else that he is of another religion. That seems to be to be only normal good sense."

The three-day trip to the 99 percent Muslim but officially secular state is also intended to bolster relations between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, whose spiritual leader is Bartholomew, the Patriarch of Constantinople (Istanbul), at a time when the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has created the potential for tensions between the branches of Christianity.

- No meeting with refugees -

The pontiff will meet with members of Turkey's tiny Catholic community but no time has been specifically allocated for him to meet Christian refugees who have fled Islamic militancy in Iraq and Syria.

Given the pope's well-established interest in the fate of refugees around the world, this state of affairs has raised eyebrows and suspicions that Turkey did not want any events which might highlight the persecution of Christians in the region, an issue of growing concern for the Church.

Such concerns have been played down by the Vatican with the papal spokesman arguing that any Catholics wishing to meet the pope were likely to be at a reception he is due to hold on Sunday at the residence of his representative in Istanbul.

On the religious front, the pope will attend services marking St Andrew's day on Sunday. Andrew, an apostle of Jesus Christ, is regarded as the founder of the Eastern church.

- Ultra-tight security -

As for Benedict's visit exactly eight years ago, security is expected to be extremely tight. There has been no suggestion of the 77-year-old Argentinan pope doing any walkabouts and his pope-mobile has been left behind in Rome.

The first leg of the trip is to be in the Turkish capital, Ankara. He arrives there on Friday lunchtime and heads straight for a courtesy visit to the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk before being received by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his controversially extravagant new palace.

The main business of the trip will take place in Istanbul from Saturday, when Francis will visit Hagia Sofia, an architectural wonder that was once the jewel in the crown of the Orthodox church, later became a mosque and is now a museum.

He will then visit the Blue Mosque and conclude his day with a mass at Istanbul's small Catholic cathedral and an ecumenical prayer with the Patriarch Bartholomew.

On Sunday, he will attend but not take part in a Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal church of St George. The two spiritual leaders are to release a joint declaration before the pope retires to his representative's residence for the meeting with local Catholics prior to flying back to Rome.

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Fri, 28 Nov 2014 07:55:31 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17276-on-turkey-trip-pope-to-reach-out-to-islamic-world
First 100 Days: Suicide Bombing in Kabul http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17275-first-100-days-suicide-bombing-in-kabul-

Suicide bombings on 15th street of Wazir Akbar Khan resulted in injury of a Nepalese citizen.

Host, Omid Farooq discusses the issue with the following guests:

Saif-u-din Saihoon, University Professor

Baqi Samandar, Civil society activist

Ghulam Hussain Naseri, MP

To watch the entire show, click here:

{youtube}tre5GJonyqI{/youtube}

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Fri, 28 Nov 2014 06:18:37 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17275-first-100-days-suicide-bombing-in-kabul-
One Foreign National Injured in IRD Attack in Kabul http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17274-one-foreign-national-injured-in-ird-attack-in-kabul

Insurgents attacked the International Relief and Development (IRD) compound located in Kabul's most secure area known as Wazir Akbar Khan's diplomatic enclave, injuring one foreign national on Thursday evening. 

Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Gen. Ayoub Salangi said that the IRD compound has been cleared with a Nepalese national injured, who was the security guard for the NGO. 

"Two insurgents were shot dead," Gen. Salangi said, adding that the insurgent's method to entering was detonating an explosive-laden car.

He added that the clearing operation is underway to confirm that the area has been cleared of insurgents.  

According to TOLOnews reporter, the insurgents targeted IRD who have entered the international NGO's compound located on lane six, street 15 in Wazir Akbar Khan at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The explosions in Wazir Akbar Khan followed an attack earlier in the day on a British Embassy vehicle that claimed the lives of five people including one British national.

IRD has worked in Afghanistan since 2004 working in the areas of relief and stabilization, capacity building, democracy and governance, infrastructure, and agricultural development.

Taliban spokesman in a statement claimed responsibility for both attacks in Kabul.

Since the signing of both security agreements with Washington and NATO—Bilateral Security Agreement and Status of Forces Agreement—major cities of Afghanistan have witnessed an increase of attacks.

To watch exclusive video, click here:

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:30:19 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17274-one-foreign-national-injured-in-ird-attack-in-kabul
TOLOnews 6pm News 27 November 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17273-tolonews-6pm-news-27-november-2014 Top News in This Bulletin:

Representatives of the Afghan government and ambassadors of donor countries discussed and reaffirmed the international community's commitments in supporting Afghanistan's economy, human rights initiatives and security at a joint meeting in Kabul on Friday.

To watch the whole news bulletin, Click Here:

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According to Afghan officials, a day before the London conference, a trilateral meeting will be held between the Afghan civil society institutions, representatives of donor nations and the Afghan business community in aims to further intensify the regional economic cooperation.

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:35:35 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17273-tolonews-6pm-news-27-november-2014
British Official Says Corruption Inhibiting Revenue Collection http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17272-british-official-says-corruption-inhibiting-revenue-collection-

The failure to channel customs revenues into the public budget, according to Mark Mallalieu, the head of the international development department at the British Embassy, is one of the most harmful consequences of corruption in Afghanistan.

The New York Times recently quoted a the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction saying that Afghanistan loses half of its customs income - totaling some 500 million USD - annually due to corruption.

"I think one of the most important sources which needs to be addresses is in relations to customs revenue," Mr. Mallalieu said regarding needed anti-corruption efforts. "There are large sums of money and if the new government is able to catch the customs revenue that is due to it, that will go a very long way to enabling the government to finance the sort of budget that they want, in order to pursue their reform program," he added.

Coming just ahead of the London Summit scheduled for next week, the revelations could undermine the Afghan government's attempts to court further aid from the international community. Many donors and investors have expressed reservations about putting money in Afghanistan because of the rampant corruption.

Mallalieu has said British aid to Afghanistan will be contingent on the new government curtailing corruption. "Assistance from any country has some form of conditionality, but the way which different countries apply conditionality varies enormously," he said. "So for the UK, the main things that we focus on are commitments to poverty reduction, a commitment to tackling corruption and a commitment to human rights and at some point after the London conference, I think soon afterward, we will sign a new partnership agreement with the new government of Afghanistan, which will set out the principles under which the British aid is applied."

The new national unity government has taken immediate steps against corruption, including the re-opening of the notorious Kabul Bank case, but many critics have said the steps have been largely cosmetic and geared toward public opinion rather than actual reform.

Nevertheless, the new government has expressed a concerted commitment to combating corruption, and foreign allies such as Britain have applauded the initiative.

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:31:47 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17272-british-official-says-corruption-inhibiting-revenue-collection-
JCMB Reaffirms International Support for Afghanistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17271-jcmb-reaffirms-international-support-for-afghanistan

Representatives of the Afghan government and ambassadors of donor countries discussed and reaffirmed the international community's commitments in supporting Afghanistan's economy, human rights initiatives and security at a joint meeting in Kabul on Friday.

Just a week before the London Conference on Afghanistan, officials at the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) meeting—an Afghan-international group in charge of overseeing the 'Afghanistan Compact' set out to maintain engagement in the country—reiterated that as the drawdown of foreign forces concludes, the international community will stand firm with the Afghan nation.

"I want to acknowledge the government's aim to refresh the form of aid and its partnership with the UN as well as with international community," United Nation Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and UNAMA Chief, Nicholas Haysom, said. "I see this as a real opportunity for us to work together to advance a sustainable reform and develop an agenda. We will remain as always ready to partner with government on key humanitarian needs and other government priorities."

Following the Tokyo Summit, Afghan government officials are optimistic that the conference with their international counterparts will bring about the renewal of continued assistance and aid to Afghanistan.

"Regarding our expectations from the London Conference, we hope it will be as successful as the Tokyo Summit," Economic Advisor to the Afghan president, Omar Zakhilwal, said. "We hope to return from the London Conference with strong ties with the international community."

British Ambassador to Kabul Richard Stagg said that the London Conference will open a new chapter of relations between Afghanistan and the international community, adding that the conference will support Afghanistan in becoming self-reliant.

"Our shared goal is that Afghanistan becomes increasingly self-reliant and able to stand on its own feet," Ambassador Stagg said. "The conference in London will focus on issues which are critical to Afghanistan's long term development. A better climate for private sector investment and for growth, improving regional economic cooperation and advancing the role of civil societies and protecting human rights particularly the rights of women and girls."

According to Afghan officials, a day before the London conference, a trilateral meeting will be held between the Afghan civil society institutions, representatives of donor nations and the Afghan business community in aims to further intensify the regional economic cooperation.

The upcoming London Conference on Afghanistan is scheduled for December 4, 2014.

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:19:01 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17271-jcmb-reaffirms-international-support-for-afghanistan
Analysts Criticize Previous Government's Economic Legacy http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17270-analysts-criticize-previous-governments-economic-legacy

The economic legacy of former President Hamid Karzai and his government has become the subject of frequent criticism among Afghan economic analysts, who maintain that over the past thirteen years, the nation's leaders failed to formulate a comprehensive economic strategy, implement critical tax reforms and effectively manage the country's customs system.

The volume of criticism has risen in sync with Afghanistan's economic decline over the past year, with the government almost unable to pay its employees at the end of the summer due to budgetary mismanagement and inadequate public revenue collections.

However, the current economic woes being felt around the country, whether unemployment, inflation or declining direct investment, have prompted broader frustrations with the legacy of the former government. Many analysts have said the Karzai government failed to take full advantage of the potential for development in Afghanistan had over the past decade.

Despite hiring hundreds of economic advisors and sectoral ministers, experts say the last government failed to forge an inclusive economic policy and relied on hasty decision-making.

"Based on the economic and investment laws implemented in 2004, the government pardoned the investors from tax, but later on, the government on the basis of a presidential order removed the concessions and all investors were supposed to pay the tax, these things were all part of the government's immature decisions that indicate that there was no harmony," economic analyst Mohammad Qurban Haqjo said.

The new government has been forced to inject millions of dollars into the local market to keep the value of the Afghani currency from plummeting in result of the current recession.

"The economic policies of the previous government didn't reflect the demands of the people...and Afghanistan still remains a consuming market due to the government's hasty decisions and there hasn't been visible economic development in the country," said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, the head of Afghanistan's Industrialist Union.

Officials from the Afghan Ministry of Economy have, since the departure of President Karzai, been more open in their criticism of the past government's policies, which some have called incoherent.

The international community raised nearly 100 billion USD for Afghanistan over the past thirteen years, much of which was allocated for economic development, yet proof of longterm development is hard to come by.

In the early days of the Karzai administration, economic growth was around ten percent and trade balance deficit around 87 percent, but currently, the rate of economic growth has decreased to 6.3 percent and the trade balance deficit has increased to 94 percent.

With the election of Ashraf Ghani as president, however, economists have expressed hope in a new strategy for development. Ghani previously served as a top economist at the World Bank, specializing in developing economies and failed states.

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:13:36 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17270-analysts-criticize-previous-governments-economic-legacy
Senate Approves BSA and SOFA http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17269-senate-approves-bsa-and-sofa

The Afghan Senate approved the Bilateral Security Agreement and Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) on Friday.

After hours of discussions behind closed doors, 65 Senators approved of the security accords while five others objected.

"Two Senators left, five Senators objected and 65 others agreed to the agreements," Chairman of the Senate Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said.

During the session, disagreements among Senators dragged in National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar to clarify and elaborate on the contexts of the accords.

"Senators at the International Affairs Commission and the general session had questions regarding the Kabul, Washington and NATO agreement, which was answered," Atmar explained.

Majority of Senators welcomed the security pacts stating that the accords are essential to the country.

"Signing and approval of the agreements are in favor of Afghanistan, what is why I voted for it," Senator Ali Akbar Jamshedi said.

On Saturday, the House of Representatives approved both security agreements with 149 approvals.

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:08:01 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17269-senate-approves-bsa-and-sofa
Kabul Suicide Attack Kills Five http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17267-kabul-suicide-attack-kills-five-

A suicide bomber targeted a British Embassy vehicle in police district nine of Kabul City killing five and injuring 37 others around 10:30 a.m. local time on Thursday, according to officials. 

Kabul Police Headquarter released a statement stating that the blast took place in Qala-e Wazir area of district nine in Kabul. 

The statement elaborated that five people were killed including a British native and 37 others injured including four children.

Spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Sediq Sediqqi, reiterated what the Kabul Police Headquarter released, but with a lower number of injured civilians. 

"Five people including one of our international partner were killed and around 33 including children were wounded," Sediqqi said.

Although, according to a local resident bodies were removed from the British Embassy's vehicle. 

"We took four dead bodies out of the British vehicle and pulled another out who was wounded," Sayed Gul Ahmad, local resident on the scene, said. 

TOLOnews reporter reported from the area stating that security forces have surrounded the area as ambulances arrive to the scene.

Eye witnesses say that the blast caused large damages to vehicles nearby and have killed and wounded dozens.

"My brother-in-law was driving as we were on the way to an engagement party in Nangarhar province, when suddenly we measured up to the suicide blast," wounded victim Khan Zada said. "I don't know how many of my family members are killed or wounded."

A source, on condition of anonymity, said that the vehicle targeted by the suicide bomber belonged to the British Embassy and that one foreigner inside the car was killed and another wounded, but the identities have not been disclosed yet.

Many victims of the bombing were civilians.

Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

To watch the footage, click here:

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 06:33:55 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17267-kabul-suicide-attack-kills-five-
Ghani, Abdullah Agree on Half of Cabinet Ahead of London Summit http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17266-ghani-abdullah-agree-on-half-of-cabinet-ahead-of-london-summit

Sources close to President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah have said that the leadership for 17 ministries has been decided upon after the two men settled on a deal to split the choices between them. Dialogue over the remaining nine ministries are said to be ongoing.

The announcement comes amid mounting pressure on the new national unity government to form its cabinet, after months have passed with the former government's leaders still in acting roles at the national ministries. Commentators have urged Ghani and Abdullah to reach an agreement before the London Summit scheduled for next week.

According to TOLOnews' source, among the 17 ministries that have been decided on, nine were given to Ghani and eight to Abdullah. Ghani agreed to give authority to select the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs to Abdullah, while the Finance Minister and Interior Minister will be up to the president. Reportedly there have been no changes brought to the leadership of the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

According to Mia Gul Waseeq, the head of the Political and Social Affairs Department at the Presidential Palace, some of the individuals the two leaders agreed on would participate in the upcoming London Summit. The summit is expected to be an important opportunity for the Afghan government to secure continued aid from the international community

"I can confirm that his excellencies have agreed on at least 16 or 17 ministries and it will be announced before the London Summit," Waseeq said on Thursday.

The news was echoed among sources close to the negotiations. "I can't give more details right now, but significant progress has been made regarding the establishment of the new cabinet," said Mujiburrahman Rahimi, a spokesman for Abdullah.

Although news of the compromise might be cause for renewed optimism, some commentators have shown more reserve in their expectations.

"If leaders of the national unity government failed to announce the cabinet before the London Summit, then it would indicate their incompetence," political expert Mir Ahmad Joyenda said. "Participation of acting ministers in the London Summit affects the aid of the international community to Afghanistan."

"If the new cabinet is not formed before the London Summit, it would be harmful to the people of Afghanistan," Senator Hedayollah Rahayee said.

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 05:41:14 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17266-ghani-abdullah-agree-on-half-of-cabinet-ahead-of-london-summit
EU Calls for 5,000 Doctors to Fight Ebola: Source http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17265-eu-calls-for-5000-doctors-to-fight-ebola-source

The European Commission called for 5,000 doctors to be sent from EU states to combat west Africa's Ebola epidemic, a European source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

"The situation is too serious and it needs an immediate response," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP, adding that senior EU officials were in contact with national governments to mobilise the response.

"Thousands of other medical caregivers were also being called for," the source said.

In a tweet, EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said he had so far reached 14 EU ministers, urging them to send more medical staff to Ebola-hit countries.

"Positive responses," he added, without providing more details.

The source said the EU's Ebola coordinator, Christos Stylianides, was also reaching out to ministers, with more funds and logistic materials on the list of demands.

European officials were casting a wide net, asking for medical staff directly from national authorities as well as volunteers operating through charities.

Asked to confirm the demand for doctors, Commission spokesman Enrico Brivio said that while needs were urgent, "it wasn't for the Commission to recommend the number of Europeans engaged in the Ebola response."

Earlier this month, Andriukaitis and Stylianides took part in a joint trip to the three worst hit West African countries: Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Upon their return, the officials made an immediate call for epidemiologists to do more to diagnose and track the disease's progression.

The EU as a whole has so far mobilised more than one billion euros ($1.3 billion) for the fight against Ebola, including 373 million euros from the Commission, the EU's executive arm in Brussels.

Ebola has killed nearly 5,500 people and infected 15,351, mainly in west Africa, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 03:50:38 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17265-eu-calls-for-5000-doctors-to-fight-ebola-source
FARAKHABAR: 26 November 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17264-farakhabar-26-november-2014

At a gathering at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on Wednesday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani assured officials from Afghanistan's neighboring countries that he would not allow Afghan territory to be used as a springboard for attacks on other countries nor a battleground for proxy war.

"We will not allow our territory to be used against any of our neighbors, but we will also not permit anybody to conduct proxy wars on our soil either," Ghani said.

President Ghani reminded participants of the summit that while he spoke, insurgency wages on in Afghanistan. He pointed to the recent attack in Paktika province as evidence of the dire state of security in the country.

Has the country really become a battleground between India and Pakistan?

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

Sayed Ishaq Gilani, former MP

Fahim Dashti, Journalist

To watch the program, click here:

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 03:19:47 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17264-farakhabar-26-november-2014
First 100 Days: Kabul Bank Case and Introduction of Ministers http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17263-first-100-days-kabul-bank-case-and-introduction-of-ministers

In this episode of the program, host Omid Farooq discusses about the Kabul Bank case and the introduction of the new cabinet ahead of the London

Conference and about President Ashraf Ghani's recent remarks at the SAARC about the proxy war, with the following guests:

Hamid Saboory, university professor

Abdul Bari Salam, civil society spokesman in London summit

Mohammad Amin Farhang, former Commerce Minister

Fawzia Kofi, MP

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}xUT9HcZEEYo{/youtube}

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Thu, 27 Nov 2014 03:17:21 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17263-first-100-days-kabul-bank-case-and-introduction-of-ministers
Civil Society Prepares Position Paper for London Conference http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17261-civil-society-prepares-position-paper-for-london-conference

Over 1,000 civil society groups have prepared a position paper and dispatched it to the government where they have stated their demands from the London Conference.

The civil society groups presented their position paper in an event on Wednesday attended by British Ambassador to Kabul, Richard Stagg, and President Ashraf Ghani's Economic Advisor, Omar Zakhilwal.

The position paper suggested to the international community to link their support to the government's efforts in order to protect the gains made in the past decade.

Furthermore, the civil society groups called on the international community to hold the Afghan government accountable in bringing solid reforms in the electoral system before the holding of the parliamentary elections.

Enduring peace, implementation of human rights, and elimination of violence against women were among the main demands of the civil society organizations mentioned in the paper.

During the event Ambassador Stagg mentioned that the London Conference on Afghanistan is a great opportunity for the National Unity Government to announce its commitments on reform and good governance in the country.

Stagg also added that his country's pledges to aid Afghanistan with over $600 million for another year.

In return to these assistances, Stagg said that the world demands reform in the system and good governance from the Afghan government.

"It's a chance for Afghanistan to turn something of a corner in London and to commit itself to a convincing and far reaching program of reform, which will allow your country to achieve some of the things which you hoped would happen 10 years ago which have not happened," he said.

Stressing the need for continued support from world countries, Zakhilwal said good governance and reform in the system are among the top priorities of the unity government.

"At the Tokyo Summit, the world pledged an annual aid of $4 billion for Afghanistan's development," Zakhilwal said. "But at the London Conference, we will ask the donors to extend the aid to 10 years."

The London Conference on Afghanistan is scheduled on December 4, 2014.

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:00:00 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17261-civil-society-prepares-position-paper-for-london-conference
Ghani Speaks Out Against Proxy Warfare at South Asia Summit http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17259-ghani-speaks-out-against-proxy-warfare-at-south-asia-summit

At a gathering of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on Wednesday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani assured officials from Afghanistan's neighboring countries that he would not allow Afghan territory to be used as a springboard for attacks on other countries nor a battleground for proxy war.

"We will not allow our territory to be used against any of our neighbors, but we will also not permit anybody to conduct proxy wars on our soil either," Ghani said. President Ghani reminded participants of the summit that while he spoke, insurgency wages on in Afghanistan. He pointed to the recent attack in Paktika province as evidence of the dire state of security in the country.

Indian's Prime Minister Narendra Modi echoed Ghani's comments with calls for cooperation to combat terrorism in the region. "We feel the endless pain of loss of lives, let's work together to fulfill the pledges we have taken to combat terrorism," he said. "For India, our vision for the region rests on five pillars: trade, investment, assistance and cooperation..."

Meanwhile, the Pakistani delegation made familiar promises to work honestly and cooperatively to bring peace to the region. "My vision for our region is a dispute free South Asia, where instead of fighting each other we jointly fight poverty, illiteracy, disease, malnutrition and unemployment; we invest in your youth to unleash their creativity, talent and enterprise, we need a bone of trust so that we can solve our problems," Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said.

The SAARC summit was hosted in Nepal, the third time the small mountainous country has organized the event. Eight countries participated.

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:25:11 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17259-ghani-speaks-out-against-proxy-warfare-at-south-asia-summit
MoF Calls for Approval of Budget http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17257-mof-calls-for-approval-of-budget

Exactly 25 days remain for the House of Representatives and Senate to assess the budget and approve of it before the end of the fiscal year.

According to the Senate, the House of Representatives received the budget draft in Pashto only, which led the delay in the assessment and approval of the draft.

"On the basis of the law, the house should have received the draft in both languages—Dari and Pashto," Deputy Head of the Economy and Budget Committee in Senate, Rafiullah Haidari, said. "This is not the first time this has happened. It has been a problem for several years. The budget text is always sent in one language, which has always created problems."

Another Senate committee member Noor Mohammad Kafil said that just five days ago they had asked the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to resend the text, but this time in both languages.

"We received the budget draft in Dari five days ago," Kafil said. "We asked the MoF to send us the text in both languages, but they did not."

Meanwhile, spokesman for the MoF Abdul Qadir Jailani has called on the national assembly to approve the budget quickly.

"Our demand is that the budget is approved soon so that we are able to implement the budget in due time," he said.

Based on the MoF statement, 322 billion AFS will be provided from international aids and another 132 billion AFS from domestic sources.

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:50:44 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17257-mof-calls-for-approval-of-budget
TOLOnews 6pm News 26 November 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17256-tolonews-6pm-news-26-november-2014 Top news in this bulletin:

The two-month job of the caretaker ministers, based on Afghanistan's Constitution, ended on Wednesday, the House of Representatives said demanding President Ghani to introduce the new cabinet members as soon as possible.

To watch the whole news bulletin, Click Here:

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Ghani vowed to form the new cabinet within 45 days of the start of his administration, but the deadline set has long surpassed and signs of the formation of the new cabinet are yet to be seen.

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:29:42 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17256-tolonews-6pm-news-26-november-2014
Attorney General Says Supreme Court Will Rule on Kabul Bank Case http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17255-attorney-general-says-supreme-court-will-rule-on-kabul-bank-case

The Attorney General's office said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court will hear the case of the Kabul Bank conspirators and issue its own ruling. The announcement comes just weeks after an appellate court issued a verdict extending the prison terms of a number of the top conspirators and ordered the freezing of assets belonging to all suspects until the money stolen from the bank is recuperated.

The cases of Sher Khan Farnood and Khalillullah Ferozi and nine other defendants who requested adjudication by the Supreme Court are expected to be placed on the docket by next week.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah responded to the announcement, warning that all the conspirators must be convicted or complete justice will not be served.

Attorney General spokesman Basir Azizi said that those who appear in court will be tried, but that those who remain outside the country's jurisdiction, evading the legal process, will not be ruled on. "The Kabul Bank case would be referred to the Supreme Court for a final decision, but a decision on the cases of the defendants who are on the run will be made after they appear in court," Azizi said.

Based on the earlier ruling of the appellate court, Mohammad Tahir Zahir, Ghulam Dawoud Nasib, Sufi Nisar Ahmad, Shukrullah Shukran, Hayatollah Kokcha, Hairatan Oil Field, Pamir Aviation Company, Abdul Ghafar Dawi, Gulbahar Habibi, Akhter Gul, Malik Jan, Mohammad Tahir, Gulbahar Tower, Shaheen Money Exchange Company, Ariana Company, Mahmoud Karzai, Hussain Fahim, Zahir Group, Gas Group were guilty of taking loans from the bank without repaying. Their assets were ordered to be frozen until all of the money is recuperated.

In it's opinion, the appellate court also recognized Shukrullah Shukran, Hajji Shireen Khan, Ahmad Tamim, Mato Paiji, Abdullah, Dr. Feraidoon Noorzad, Johnson, Hassan Akbar, George, Ziaul Hassan, Ahmad Jawed, Noor Khan, Najibullah, Noorullah, Fahim Turab and Shaheen Money Exchange Company in Dubai as co-conspirators of Sher Khan Farnood and Khalilullah Ferozi and called for their investigation.

"We certify the ruling of the appellate court, assets of some individuals have been blocked and efforts continue for others who are among the debtors, therefore, these individuals should go to the receivership and settle their accounts," Azizi added.

Mahmoud Karzai, the brother of former President Hamid Karzai, has rejected the ruling against himself and petitioned the Attorney General's office. "On the basis of the law, if a court already assessed an issue, the other court can't issue a verdict to decide on the topic," Karzai said, referring to the legal actions first taken against him and the other suspects back in 2010 when news of the bank scandal first broke.
In a phone interview with TOLOnews, Hussain Fahim maintained the charges against him were civil ones and therefore should be judged in a civil court, not a criminal one.

Calls for justice against the conspirators in the case have continued unabated despite the appellate court's ruling. Many have urged that politics not play a role in the legal proceedings. "There shouldn't be political calculations while assessing the Kabul Bank case or attempts to damage a particular party," Abdullah's spokesman Mujiburrahman Rahimi said.

In addition, Abdullah's second vice, Mohammad Mohaqeq, emphasized showing the Afghan people that justice would be served and that even the most powerful cannot get away with stealing money from the government. "An act of oppression has been conducted against the people of Afghanistan by a particular side and the government must assess the case transparently, comprehensively and without entering in to political issues," Mohaqeq said.

Two defendants in the embezzlement case were released on bail by the Ministry of Finance when President Ashraf Ghani first announced that the case would be re-opened. They were able to flee abroad to avoid prosecution, and the Attorney General has said the Finance Ministry is responsible for ensuring their return.

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:16:57 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17255-attorney-general-says-supreme-court-will-rule-on-kabul-bank-case
Acting Ministers Have No More Legitimacy: Wolesi Jirga http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17254-acting-ministers-have-no-more-legitimacy-wolesi-jirga

The two-month job of the caretaking ministers, based on Afghanistan's Constitution, ended on Wednesday. The House of Representatives demand President Ashraf Ghani to introduce the new cabinet members as soon as possible.

Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, the Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, Lower House of the Parliament, announced that from Wednesday onwards all the acting ministers have no legitimacy.

"The two-month job of the acting ministers ended today," Ibrahimi told the assembly. "Based on the Constitution, the current cabinet has no legitimacy."

According to unconfirmed reports, Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah are divided on several issues including the appointments of cabinet members and other key slots.

Some recent remarks of top government officials give strength to the speculations made about the division between the president and chief executive.

In an interview with BBC, First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum was reported as saying that the equal power sharing is a wrong concept and is unenforceable.

"You judge. A fifty-fifty government means two presidents and two governments," Dostum told BBC.

In response to the remarks of Dostum, Abdullah said that "many people are unaware about the unity government and the cabinet."

Abdullah's Second Deputy Muhammad Mohaqiq also reacted to Dostum's remarks stating that the agreement of the national unity government is irreversible. He added that the cabinet belongs to both the president and chief executive, emphasizing that unnecessary comments will put strain on the situation.

"The decision on the cabinet belongs to the president and chief executive," Mohaqiq said. "Both need to form the cabinet based on the agreement because people are waiting."

Ghani vowed to form the new cabinet within 45 days of the start of his administration, but the deadline set has long surpassed and signs of the formation of the new cabinet are yet to be seen.

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:14:55 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17254-acting-ministers-have-no-more-legitimacy-wolesi-jirga
Pentagon Decides to Keep More Troops in Afghanistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17253-pentagon-decides-to-keep-more-troops-in-afghanistan

The Pentagon has planned to include an additional 1,000 troops to the batch of 9,800 American Soldiers staying in Afghanistan after 2014, according to reliable U.S. sources.

Washington has called on its allies to keep more troops in Afghanistan post 2014, the year set for the withdrawal of complete NATO troops from Afghanistan, the source added.

The reason behind Pentagon's decision to keep more troops is said to be the United States' commitment to fight insurgency in an effective way and to protect security gains made over the past 13 years.

This comes as U.S. President Barack Obama announced earlier this year that only 9,800 American troops would stay in Afghanistan after 2014.

But according to a recent report by the New York Times, the Obama has secretly decided to extend the combat role of American troops in Afghanistan, sanctioning the American troops to play a direct role in fighting in the war.

Despite many efforts, TOLOnews reporter was unable to get a comment from government officials over the recent decisions of the U.S.

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:08:50 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17253-pentagon-decides-to-keep-more-troops-in-afghanistan
FARAKHABAR: 25 November 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17252-farakhabar-25-november-2014

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

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

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

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

Azizullah Lodin, former head of Afghanistan's High Office of Oversight and Anti Corruption

Basir Azizi, attorney general spokesman

To watch the program, click here:

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 06:47:31 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17252-farakhabar-25-november-2014
First 100 Days: SAARC Summit http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17251-first-100-days-saarc-summit

In this episode of the program, host Omid Farooq discusses the achievement of the national ‎economy and the SAARC Summit with the following guests:

• Sharif Amiry, Journalist form Nepal

• Qurban Haqjo, economic analyst

• Sayed Massoud, university lecturer

• Abas Noyan, political analyst

• Qasim Urfani, university lecturer

To watch the program, click here:

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 06:42:52 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17251-first-100-days-saarc-summit
TAWDE KHABARE: 25th Nov International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17250-tawde-khabare-25th-nov-international-day-for-the-elimination-of-violence-against-women

Violence against women in proportion to two years ago has not only increased but were also more inhumane and intense.

The last incidents of sexual assault on children less than ten years, which recently took place was in one of the northern provinces of Afghanistan.

Besides these issues, and considering the enormous international attention and expenses, it is said that the achievements of the past decade was fragile and that the new government has to take practical programs to eliminate.

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Zabiullah Sadaat discusses the topic with the following guests:

• Horia Mosadiq, researcher at Amnesty International

• Muzhgan Mustafawi, Deputy Minister for Women Affairs

• Bilqis Roshan, Senator

• Najiba Ayoubi, journalist and civil society activist

• Mawlawi Hidayat, religious scholar

To watch the program, click here:

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Wed, 26 Nov 2014 06:14:51 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17250-tawde-khabare-25th-nov-international-day-for-the-elimination-of-violence-against-women
Islamic State Militants Stone Two 'Gay Men' to Death in Syria http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17249-islamic-state-militants-stone-two-gay-men-to-death-in-syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To watch the whole news bulletin, Click Here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to Benafsha, Morsal was first entrusted to a family in Kunduz and after eight months the family returned Morsal back to the shelter.

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

Marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Deputy Minister for MoWA, Muzhgan Mustafawi, mentioned that this year alone five children, below the ages of 10, suffered sexual abuse.

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Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:37:23 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17245-abuse-victim-found-in-kunduz