TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Sat, 01 Aug 2015 09:37:05 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Military Operation Launched in Nangarhar to Clear Insurgents: Officials http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20696-military-operation-launched-in-nangarhar-to-clear-insurgents-officials ANA-01-August-2015

A large-scale military operation was launched in three districts of eastern Nangarhar province early Saturday, local officials said.

The operation was launched in Hesarak, Sherzad and Khoghyani districts of the province which border with Pakistan. The operation was launched to clear insurgents and will continue for a month, a spokesman for the Delab 201 Military Corps in eastern Afghanistan, Noman Atifi said.

"The operation is for a month and was launched under the name of "Musalas-e-Ahaneen" to clear the insurgents," Atifi said.

"The commandos and special police forces have also arrived in the province to support the military forces in the clearing operation."

Mohammad Zaman Waziri, the head of the Delab 201 Military Corps is leading the operation and the air force will also support the ground forces in the operations, he said.

The operation launched in order to clear the insurgents for the good governance in the province, he added.

Sherzad and Hesarak are the most insecure districts in which the Taliban insurgents have activities and often target local security forces and threaten government employees, said officials.

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Sat, 01 Aug 2015 08:01:59 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20696-military-operation-launched-in-nangarhar-to-clear-insurgents-officials
Four Local Police Killed in Uruzgan Clashes http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20695-four-local-police-killed-in-uruzgan-clashes afghan-police-19-march-15

Four policemen have been killed during a four-day clash between Taliban insurgents and Afghan Local Police members in south-eastern Uruzgan province, local officials said on Saturday.

In addition, six other local policemen were injured.

The clashes took place in Khas district of the province after Taliban insurgents attacked several villages, a spokesman for Uruzgan Police Chief, Dost Mohammad Nayab said.

"The clashes still continue in the district," he said.

However, the Taliban have not yet commented on the situation.

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Sat, 01 Aug 2015 07:39:56 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20695-four-local-police-killed-in-uruzgan-clashes
Mullah Omar's Death Might Be Bad News for Afghanistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/opinion/20694-mullah-omars-death-might-be-bad-news-for-afghanistan Mullah Omar

Mullah Omar is dead, once again. This is probably the third time in the last five years that news of the Taliban supremo's death surfaced in the media. Taliban in Quetta moved with remarkable speed to announce that they had appointed a successor, before most members of the movement had even absorbed the news of Omar's death.

Senior members of the movement, including Hassan Rahmani and Mohammad Rasool have gone public in denouncing the elevation of Mansour to the position of Ameer. It is now out in the open. There is a power struggle in the Taliban.

However, no one, including his close comrades, had seen Omar after the collapse of the notorious Taliban regime in December 2001.

This news comes at a time when the second round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban were about to begin. They have promptly been postponed since then.

On the other hand, the insurgency in Afghanistan has entered a critical and violent phase, especially with the Taliban losing ground to fighters loyal to Daesh.

The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have never been under such military pressure in the last 14 years. The southern and northern provinces are under serious threat from Daesh-led terrorist groups, which are waving their black flags in the areas that lie beyond the government's writ.

Given this context, what will be the impact of Mullah Omar's death?

Impact on peace talks

The Taliban had always been reluctant to talk to the regime in Kabul, calling it a western puppet created by the US to undermine Islamic values. But after the end of the international military mission in December 2014, the buzz about a negotiation gained momentum.

A major question for Kabul was whom it should talk to. There have been many Taliban groups fighting in various parts of Afghanistan having no coordination with each other. But even then, all the groups broadly accepted Mullah Omar's leadership.

His name at least had a symbolic importance which helped keep the Taliban united. He wasn't just a mere commander leading a campaign against Kabul, but the Amir-ul-Momineen (leader of the faithful).

What will be the political and military impact on the Taliban of the loss of Omar? Will they be able to participate in the peace talks with the necessary legitimacy? Will the Qatar group side with the newly proclaimed Ameer or will it too be split among the rival claimants? What is in the deal between the Haqqani group and the Kandaharis which has seen Seraj Haqqani declared deputy of the movement? Is this a pro-negotiations deal or an anti-negotiations deal?

On its part, will Kabul be confident enough to continue with result-oriented negotiations? And if, after the talks, the National Unity Government of Afghanistan has to share power, which faction of the Taliban will be part of it?

It is because of these questions that many feel the news of Omar's death will have a negative impact on the peace talks. Some in the Afghan regime even say that it could be a trick to sabotage the negotiations.

Will Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, newly proclaimed Ameer, be able to stamp his authority on the movement or will he face an open revolt?

Kabul will soon have to decide whether it is worth spending time and money on the dialogue or if it is better off focusing its energies on the battlefield.

Impact on the battlefield

Districts in the north are falling to the insurgents one after the other. Although, the ANSF has been able to recover some ground, the overall scenario shows that the Ashraf Ghani administration may be vulnerable.

Mullah Omar's death may end up creating space for the Daesh. Many Taliban militants may get absorbed into it.

The defection of 200 soldiers from Afghan National Police in north-eastern Badakhshan this week is an alarming sign. It shows that even soldiers are beginning to lose faith in Kabul. Analysts and even some politicians believe that the unexpected growth of Daesh in northern Afghanistan is a bigger threat than Taliban. Far from a localised phenomenon, it seems to be a project to destabilise the whole region from Middle East to Central Asia and even beyond.

The fighters in the north have ambitions of crossing the border into the Central Asian republics. In northern Afghanistan, Taliban is subordinate to Daesh. Omar's demise will provide a further boost to Daesh in Afghanistan. Many Taliban militants might even get absorbed into Daesh.

In Ghazni and Zabul provinces one hardly sees the Taliban's white flag. It has already been replaced by the black flags of Daesh, even before the news of Omar's death.
A number of experts believe that Taliban and Daesh can't go together because of structural and geographical differences. Some also said that Afghans will never accept the supremacy of foreigners. However, this seems an outdated belief rather than a fact on the ground.

Conclusion

The news of Mullah Omar's death isn't necessarily positive for Afghans. Jihadi politics will determine whether the eventual outcome is positive or negative. If Taliban fighters especially in the north, defect to Daesh and intensify their jihad, this will further undermine Afghanistan's security. If the faction which seems to have grabbed power in the Taliban movement pursues an even more hard line policy, opposing meaningful peace talks, that too will be a bad outcome for Afghanistan. But perhaps the worst outcome for Afghanistan would be if the break down in Taliban unity meant that one part of the movement kept the Afghan government busy in peace talks, while other Taliban factions try to outdo each other in intensifying the conflict. Tough times are ahead for Afghanistan and the Unity Government needs to strengthen the understanding between its component parts to be ready to face the violence and tricky politics we can expect from the heirs to Mullah Omar.

In a nutshell:

The death

• This is the third time in five years that there has been news of Mullah Omar's death
• This time the Taliban have confirmed the news. Some of them have declared Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as the successor to Mullah Omar, precipitating a leadership crisis and intense factional politics in the movement.
• The acceptance of Mullah Omar's death will have a significant impact on Afghanistan and the region as a whole

The timing

• This comes at a time when the Afghanistan government is in the process of negotiating with the Taliban
• Daesh is also on the rise in Afghanistan

The impact

• Mullah Omar was a unifying factor for Taliban. If he is dead, the group could break into factions, competing to prove which is more hard line
• Daesh could also end up absorbing Taliban militants
• Negotiations will become even more difficult with multiple factions to deal with and perhaps the main Taliban faction opposed to real negotiations

Dr. Hussain Yasa is the Chief Editor of the English daily Outlook Afghanistan, published from Kabul. He can be reached at dr.yasa1967@gmail.com

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Sat, 01 Aug 2015 06:40:44 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/opinion/20694-mullah-omars-death-might-be-bad-news-for-afghanistan
Insurgents Torch Five Mosques in Baghlan http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20693-insurgents-torch-five-mosques-in-baghlan afghan-police-helmand

Insurgents this week caused extensive damage to five mosques in northern Baghlan province after setting them alight, local officials said on Saturday.

Abdul Rasheed Nadem, head of Baghlan's Haj and Religious Affairs Department said that the incident happened two days ago in Dand-e-Ghori village in Pul-e-Khumri the capital of the province.

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

But the residents of Dand-e-Ghori said that Daesh is active in the area.

The police have meanwhile launched an investigation into the incident, said officials.

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Sat, 01 Aug 2015 05:42:14 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20693-insurgents-torch-five-mosques-in-baghlan
Al-Qaeda in Syria Attacks US-Trained Rebel Base http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20692-al-qaeda-in-syria-attacks-us-trained-rebel-base Al-Qaeda-in-Syria-Attacks-US-Trained-Rebel-Base

Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate launched a fierce assault on the headquarters of a US-trained rebel group Friday, while claiming responsibility for capturing members of the "moderate" force earlier this week.

Al-Nusra Front unleashed its offensive on the base of the Division 30 unit in northern Aleppo province, a monitor said, sparking clashes and air raids by a US-led coalition that killed at least 18 of the jihadists.

Seven rebels died defending the base, which Al-Nusra failed to capture, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In a statement on Facebook, Division 30 said five of its members had been killed and 18 wounded in the fight for the base.

It called on rebels to come to its aid in defending the base, and demanded that Al-Nusra stop "spilling the blood of Muslims."

Al-Nusra accused Washington of recruiting "forces from what it calls 'the moderate opposition'... to undergo a training and rehabilitation programme run by the Central Intelligence Agency.

"A few days ago, one of these groups called Division 30 entered Syria... so Al-Nusra arrested several soldiers of this division," the group announced.

It did not specify how many rebels had been captured, or where or when the incident took place.

The Observatory had reported that Al-Nusra captured eight rebels from Division 30 in a village in the northern province of Aleppo late Wednesday.

Combined with the seven rebels killed on Friday, this would mean at least 13 of the 54 original Division 30 members who entered Syria in mid-July have been neutralised.

On Thursday, a US defence department spokeswoman denied the rebels' reported capture.

Al-Nusra accused Division 30 of being "agents of American interests and projects in the area, to fight the 'terrorist organisations,' as they (the US and its rebel allies) described it."

The jihadist group said Division 30 had coordinated with aircraft from the US-led coalition attacking jihadists in Syria to strike Al-Nusra positions.

"We warn the soldiers of this division not to proceed with the American plan... Their return to the truth and the right way will be more beneficial," the statement said.
Al-Nusra has previously attacked US-backed groups in northern Syria, including the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and the Hazm Movement, leading to the dissolution of both factions.

Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Centre think-tank, said the capture of its fighters could deal "a mortal blow" to the reputation of the US's train-and-equip programme in Syria.

"The simple reality here is that any explicitly US-trained rebels effectively have a target set on their backs," he said.

- Daesh bridges destroyed -

Syria's conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests, but has devolved into a multi-front civil war among rebels, regime forces, Kurdish fighters and jihadist groups.

The war, in which various fighting groups have carved out what are fluid areas of control, has killed at least 230,000 people.

Al-Nusra's jihadist rival, the Daesh group, has seized territory in Syria's north and centre, as well as along the country's border with Iraq.

Since July 2014, Daesh has used the border town of Albu Kamal in the eastern Deir Ezzor province to link the Syrian and Iraqi parts of its so-called "caliphate."

On Friday, the US-led coalition destroyed two bridges linking Albu Kamal to the Iraqi border, which the Observatory called "strategically important for Daesh's movements".

The two bridges leading out of Albu Kamal -- one to the east, and one to the southeast -- were Daesh's "main routes to the Iraqi border," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

"Using these bridges, it would take Daesh only a few minutes to reach the Iraqi border from Albu Kamal," Abdel Rahman said.

"The strikes do not cut off Daesh's route to Iraq, but they make Daesh movements there more difficult, because it will take them longer and they will be in view (of the coalition) for a longer period of time," he added.

The Pentagon confirmed strikes in the area, and a senior US officer said they will have a "profound impact" on Daesh abilities to carry out operations in the neighbouring and strategically important Iraqi province of Anbar.

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Sat, 01 Aug 2015 03:56:50 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20692-al-qaeda-in-syria-attacks-us-trained-rebel-base
TAWDE KHABARE: ANSF Recapture Helmand's Nawzad District http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/20691-tawde-khabare-ansf-recapture-helmands-nawzad-district Tawde-Khabare-31-July-2015

Nawzad district in Helmand province was on Friday recaptured by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) during an operation led by Kandahar Police Chief Gen. Abdul Raziq.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) confirmed the recapture of Nawzad district and said that according to initial reports 50 Taliban were killed.

"ANSF retook Nawzad district this morning, clearance operations are still going on and 50 Taliban are dead according to initial reports," said Sediq Sediqqi MoI spokesman.

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

• Karim Atal, Head of Provincial Council of Helmand
• Mufti Ahmad Farzan, political analyst
• Zarif Naseri, military analyst

 

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Sat, 01 Aug 2015 03:36:23 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/20691-tawde-khabare-ansf-recapture-helmands-nawzad-district
TOLOnews 6pm News 31 July 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/20690-tolonews-6pm-news-31-july-2015 Top news in this Bulletin:

The newly-elected Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was a Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) appointment, a senior member of Taliban's Quetta Shura [Council] told TOLOnews. "Mullah Mansour has been appointed by ISI as the successor of Mullah Omar and we do not accept this decision," the source said on condition of anonymity.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Daniel F. Feldman, on Friday expressed optimism about possible development at the next round of peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban – which has been postponed at the request of the Taliban.

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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:07:55 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/20690-tolonews-6pm-news-31-july-2015
US Special Envoy Optimistic About Second Round of Peace Talks http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20689-us-special-envoy-optimistic-about-second-round-of-peace-talks US-EMBASSY-31-JULY-WEBSITE

The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Daniel F. Feldman, on Friday expressed optimism about possible development at the next round of peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban – which has been postponed at the request of the Taliban.

The outgoing envoy hoped the second round of talks which he said would be held without preconditions could put an end to Afghanistan war.

"The Afghan government wants us to support or be an observer in these talks as we were for July 7 ... without preconditions that who would be there," Feldman told reporters. "Our only redlines for an end stage are the same through that the Taliban split from al-Qaeda, that it renounce violence and that it embrace the Afghan Constitution including the rights of women but there are no preconditions to begin a conversation."

These statements came a day after Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the much-awaited second round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban had been postponed at the request of Afghan Taliban leadership.

The talks were due to take place today (Friday) after the first round took place on July 7 in Pakistan's resort town of Murree.

In a statement issued by the ministry, Pakistan said: "In view of the reports regarding the death of Mullah Omar and the resulting uncertainty, and at the request of the Afghan Taliban leadership, the second round of the Afghan peace talks, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan on 31 July 2015, is being postponed."

The statement went on to say that "Pakistan and other friendly countries of Afghanistan hope that the Taliban leadership will stay engaged in the process of peace talks in order to promote a lasting peace in Afghanistan."

However, the first round of the talks, which was the first ever direct meeting with the Taliban, was called productive by the Afghan delegation that met with the Taliban and Haqqani members.

Kabul's delegation to the first round of talks, included Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) political deputy; Haji Di Mohammad HPC member; Farhadullah another HPC member; Faizullah Zaki, the head of the First Vice President's Office; Asadullah Sadati, representing the Second Vice President's Office; Eng. Muhammad Asem, representative to the Chief Executive; and Mohammad Natiqi, representing the Second Deputy Chief Executive, were all present at the meeting.

Mullah Yahya, a member of Haqqani network, Latif Mansoor from Taliban's Quetta Shura and Abbas Akhund, representing Taliban's Qatar group, were the key negotiators for the Taliban, an Afghan delegation member told TOLOnews on condition of anonymity.

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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:42:00 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20689-us-special-envoy-optimistic-about-second-round-of-peace-talks
Chabahar Port Agreement Nears Final Stage http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20688-chabahar-port-agreement-nears-final-stage chabahar-port-31-15

As the governments of Afghanistan, India and Iran finalize negotiations over the Chabahar Port trade agreement, focus has shifted toward plans for the development of the key infrastructure related to the project, which is expected to help connect Afghan goods to global markets.

First and foremost, the Indian government is now expected to make a number of investments in construction at the port itself, which is located on the Iranian coast.

Meanwhile, according to the Iranian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mohammad Reza Bahrami, Iran will begin building a railway to connect the Chabahar Port to Zahidan province in Iran.

"Our objective is to build more capacities in Afghanistan," Ambassador Bahrami said on Friday. "We firmly believe that the access of our Afghan friends to Chabahar Port will help them export their commercial products to regional and world markets and this could favor both countries," he added.

One of the key advantages of the new port will be that it will offer an alternative to Pakistan's Karachi port, which has long been the only option for exporting for Afghan traders. High tariffs and shakedowns from local officials have been a persistent problem for many in the Afghan business community trying to pass their goods through Pakistan.

"We have a strong need for access to the Chabahar Port; this will enable our investors to get access to world markets," economic analyst Ibrahim Shams told TOLOnews. "Afghanistan has large amounts of natural resources and mines which need to be discovered and extracted and transferred. Chabahar Port can help Afghanistan's industrial and commerce development process."

Beyond the purely economic benefits of the port, analysts have said that the project will also help enhance broader diplomatic ties between Afghanistan, India and Iran.

It is also said that a number of other countries are also willing to join the Chabahar trade agreement. According to the Iranian Ambassador, Oman intends to access Central Asian markets via the Chabahar Port and Afghanistan.

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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:20:08 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20688-chabahar-port-agreement-nears-final-stage
Helmand's Historic Bost Fort Left to Deteriorate http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20687-helmands-historic-bost-fort-left-to-deteriorate

An 11th century arch located in southern Helmand province marks the principal approach to the ancient fortress citadel of Bost, now known as Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. Over the centuries, the city survived multiple invasions by the Ghorids, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, but, today, its historic structures face ruin because of neglect.

According to the local residents, over the past 800 years, no renovation or rehabilitation work has been conducted on the fort. Now, the only clear indicator of its historical significance is a sign naming it a heritage site, an ironic title given the lack of care it has been afforded.

The Bost Fort is considered one of Afghanistan's greatest cultural heritage sites, and it was built in the pre-Islamic era. The Fort lies in the suburbs of modern day Lashkar Gah city, alongside the Harirod river atop a muddy hill. The fort once served as vacation destination for Sultan Masood Ghaznavi.

"The fort is an ancient site, we regularly visit the site, but day-by-day the fort moves toward destruction," one visitor told TOLOnews.

According to one of the watchman at the ancient fort, a small renovation job was conducted during the Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan government, but it was incomplete. Other efforts to rehabilitate the site, such as those under King Mohammad Zahir, have been ad hoc and unsustainable.

"The Bost Fort is three thousand years old. It was built before the Christ," a watchman named Amir Mohammad said. "But day-by-day the fort goes toward disaster and the government doesn't concentrate on it."

Responding to questions about the fort, head of Helmand's Information and Culture Department, Ali Shah Mazloomyar, said security threats are the main obstacle to restoration. "We haver consulted UNESCO, Feroz Koh, French Cultural Center and several embassies about rehabilitating the fort, but the relevant bodies say that security threats are the main challenge in the way of renovating the fort."

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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:12:06 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20687-helmands-historic-bost-fort-left-to-deteriorate
Activists Gather to Name Kabul 'City of Peace' http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20686-activists-gather-to-name-kabul-city-of-peace

A group of Afghan cultural figures and activists gathered in Kabul on Friday to award the city the title of "City of Peace," in an effort to encourage the continued pursuit of peace and harmony after fourteen years of war and division.

The event came amidst an admixture of hope and concern regarding the fledgling peace negotiations process between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders. Although the first round of talks earlier in July was a source of optimism, the recent death of the Taliban's supreme leader Mullah Omar and the subsequent postponement of a second round of talks have raised questions about the future of the process.

Participants of the gathering on Friday called on the Afghan government and its armed opponents to pursue sustainable efforts and firm steps toward restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan. They emphasized that the Afghan people have faced the brunt of violence and tragedy in the war, and that Afghans deserve a brighter future.

"We established this foundation to shift people's attention toward their city and toward peace," Khidmatguzaran-e-Kabul Foundation head Mohammad Amin Farhang said. "It is the responsibility of every citizen to raise his voice for peace."

"My brothers and sisters let's stand against those who by waging war in the country have made millions of dollars and prevent the killing of the people by them," civil society activist Mahbooba Seraj said.

The gathering was attended by the people from various walks of life, including many everyday residents of the capital - men, women and children.

"The process that has been started under the name of peace shouldn't be dealt with as it was in the past, and this time, the national unity government and the Taliban must seriously negotiate for peace," one Kabul resident named Shekiba told TOLOnews.

Many were hopeful that their new spirit of peace and the belief that it may be within reach will spread throughout the country. "This initiative that we have started today in Kabul will be extended nationwide," a participant named Rodit Ringh said. "Everyone has raised their voice for peace."

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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:59:25 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20686-activists-gather-to-name-kabul-city-of-peace
Officials, Analysts Say Mullah Omar's Death Won't Derail Peace Talks http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20685-officials-analysts-say-mullah-omars-death-wont-derail-peace-talks

Members of the Afghan government's delegation for peace negotiations with the Taliban on Friday reassured that the death of Mullah Omar would not negatively impact the talks, a hopeful outlook that has been echoed by independent analysts.

Mohammad Natiqi, a member of the first government delegation sent to Islamabad to meet with Taliban leaders earlier this month, emphasized that the new leadership of the Taliban, especially Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was reportedly appointed Mullah Omar's successor, is willing and ready for peace talks.

"I believe the death of Mullah Omar will not affect the peace talks, because the delegation we had for the first round of peace talks was appointed by Mullah Akhtar and Mullah Akhtar was leading the delegation," Natiqi said on Friday. "I think Mullah Akhtar is willing to continue peace talks."

On Thursday, the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) announced that the second round of talks originally scheduled to take place on Friday would be postponed at the request of the Taliban. Although the statement did not go into detail, it came right after news of Mullah Omar's death was confirmed by Taliban spokesman, indicating a likely connection between the sudden shake up in leadership and the postponement.
Earlier this week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and officials from the National Directorate of Security claimed that the reclusive former Taliban chief had in fact died two years ago, in 2013, at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. While, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the death of Omar, he suggested it occurred more recently.

Looking ahead, while government peace delegation members remain optimistic about the future of talks, the High Peace Council has said it unclear when and where the second round will take place. "After the Taliban determine their new leader, it will be made clear when and where the second round of peace talks will be held," HPC member Qazi Mohammad Amin Waqad said.

Nevertheless, interviews with former Taliban commanders and experts on the group have lent credence to to the claims of negotiators regarding the likelihood of continued talks. "I think there are lots of people among the Taliban who are in favor of peace talks and the death of Mullah Omar won't affect peace talks," former Taliban commander Syed Akbar Agha told TOLOnews.

According to Pakistani political analyst, Kahlid Rehman, Islamabad and all the key stakeholders within Pakistan are still on board with the peace process regardless of the death of Mullah Omar. "Pakistan's government, the Pakistani armed forces, Pakistani political parties, Pakistani public opinion and Pakistani opinion makers all are on the same page, and every one of them is interested in negotiations taking place and finally leading toward stability in Afghanistan," Pakistan Institute of Policy Studies Director General Khalid Rehman said. "So, on the part of the government of Pakistan, I don't think there is any chance of withdrawing from the process at this stage."

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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:46:21 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20685-officials-analysts-say-mullah-omars-death-wont-derail-peace-talks
Mullah Mansour an ISI Appointment: Taliban Quetta Shura http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20684-mullah-mansour-an-isi-appointment-taliban-quetta-shura

The newly-elected Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour is a Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) appointment, a senior member of Taliban's Quetta Shura [Council] told TOLOnews.

"Mullah Mansour has been appointed by ISI as the successor of Mullah Omar and we do not accept this decision," the source said on condition of anonymity

Late Friday night, members of Quetta Council were still locked in a meeting regarding the issue, the source said.

"The late Mullah Omar had selected someone else as his possible successor," he continued, but did not give details.

Another high-ranking member also contacted TOLOnews during the course of the night and said the majority of Quetta Council members were opposed to Mansour's appointment. He said consensus was that Mansour was appointed to the position by Pakistan's ISI.

According to him there was some discordance among the members but most were opposed to the move by the ISI and they were upset at not having been consulted on the issue.

When asked by TOLOnews whether the council could bring changes, the source said the members would debate this but said he - in a personal capacity - would not follow Mullah Mansour.

This latest development comes a day after the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed in a statement the appointment of Mansour as the new Taliban chief.

Earlier in the day, reports suggested that certain senior members of the Taliban opposed the appointment of Mullah Mansour as the successor of Mullah Omar.

Mansour was elected, according to a Taliban statement issued to the media on Thursday, as the new leader of the Taliban after the Afghan government and the Taliban confirmed the reclusive Mullah Omar died in 2013 in Pakistan's port city of Karachi.

According to the reports, Abdul Qayoum Zakir, Taliban's military head; Mullah Habibullah, a member of Taliban Quetta Shura; and Sayed Tayib Agha, head of Taliban's political office in Qatar are among the senior Taliban members that are opposed to the appointment of Mansour – who was Mullah Omar's deputy.

Some Pakistani media reports suggest that Omar's son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoub, was himself hoping to succeed his father – a move that was reportedly opposed by some members of the council.

While confirming the death of Mullah Omar, Mujahid said the late leader died of an illness which he said the leader had been suffering "for some time."

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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:34:19 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20684-mullah-mansour-an-isi-appointment-taliban-quetta-shura
Senior Taliban Members Oppose Mansour as Omar’s Successor http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20683-senior-taliban-members-oppose-mansour-as-omars-successor-

Certain senior members of the Taliban have reportedly opposed appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as the successor of Taliban's late Supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Mansour was elected, according to a Taliban statement to the media on Thursday, as the new leader of the Taliban after the Afghan government and as well as the Taliban confirmed the reclusive Mullah Omar died in 2013 in Pakistan's port city of Karachi.

According to the reports, Abdul Qayoum Zakir, Taliban's military head; Mullah Habibullah, a member of Taliban Quetta Shura; and Sayed Tayib Agha, head of Taliban's political office in Qatar are among the senior Taliban members that disagree the appointment of Mansour – who was Mullah Omar's deputy.

Meanwhile, the analysts believe the mysterious death of one-eyed Taliban leader could further divide the group.

Earlier, some Pakistani media reports suggested that Omar's son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoub, was himself hoping to succeed his father – a move that was reportedly opposed by some members of the group.

"The disagreement [between Taliban members] is very dangerous for peace in Afghanistan," an Afghan lawmaker Ahmad Behzad told TOLOnews.

But some others believe Pakistan is attempting to divide the Taliban to have its more influence in the group.

"Pakistan wanted a coup on the leadership of the Taliban, but the appointment of Mullah Mansour dismantled the plan," said Nazar Mohammad Motmain, an author and political analyst.
Meanwhile, members of a banned Islamist militant group offered funeral prayers for Mullah Omar in Pakistan's Lahore city.

The prayer was led by Hafiz Saeed, the leader of Islamist Charity Jamaat ud Dawah (JuD), linked to outlawed militant group Lashkar-E-Taiba (LeT).

While confirming the death of Mullah Omar, Taliban's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Thursday that the late leader died of an illness which he said the leader had been suffering "for some time."
Omar, who was Afghanistan's 11th head of state from 1996 to late 2001, was believed to have been living in Quetta and Karachi cities in Pakistan.

Hi regime - which was overthrown by U.S.-led NATO invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 - was recognized by only three nations: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:58:48 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20683-senior-taliban-members-oppose-mansour-as-omars-successor-
Nawzad District in Helmand Recaptured By ANSF http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20682-nawzad-district-in-helmand-recaptured-by-ansf

Nawzad district in Helmand province was on Friday recaptured by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) during an operation led by Kandahar Police Chief Gen. Abdul Raziq.

Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) confirmed the recapture of Nawzad district and said that according to initial reports 50 Taliban were killed.

"ANSF retook Nawzad district this morning, clearance operations are still going on and 50 Taliban are dead according to initial reports," said Sediq Sediqqi MoI spokesman.

At least two Afghan security force members were killed and 31 others wounded during the recapture operation, Sediqqi added.

Nawzad district of Helmand province collapsed into the hands of the Taliban on Wednesday.

According to local officials in Nawzad district, intense fighting has been reported over the past two days between Afghan forces and Taliban fighters. Eventually on Wednesday afternoon the district collapsed to the Taliban.

No civilian casualties were reported.

Taliban are yet to comment about the operation.

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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 06:56:04 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20682-nawzad-district-in-helmand-recaptured-by-ansf
TAWDE KHABARE: The Mysterious Death of Mullah Omar http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/20681-tawde-khabare-the-mysterious-death-of-mullah-omar

The mysterious death of Mullah Omar, many believe, could further divide the group. According to the analysts, the starting life of Mullah Omar - who never publically appeared as a leader and whose mysterious death and unseen burial raised questions – was not the beginning of Afghanistan's challenges and at the same time, his death could also not put an end to Afghanistan's problems.

Mulla Momar's successor is not clear yet, however some media reports stated Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour has been appointed as the new leader.

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

Fazlmanllah Mumtaz, political analyst
Maulana Farid, political analyst
Matiullah Kharoti, political analyst

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}1CYNxFWZElM{/youtube}

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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 04:40:19 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/20681-tawde-khabare-the-mysterious-death-of-mullah-omar
Gen. Campbell Meets Sayyaf Over Afghanistan's Situation http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20680-gen-campbell-meets-sayyaf-over-afghanistans-situation sayyaf 30julay

The Resolute Support Mission (RSM) commander, General John Campbell, has reportedly met with a former Jihadi commander, Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf, over the security situation of Afghanistan.

Gen. Campbell is seen meeting with Sayyaf in pictures posted on a Facebook page attributed to Sayyaf, the former warlord.

In addition, a source - who attended the meeting - told TOLOnews on condition of anonymity that Gen. Campbell asked Sayyaf at the meeting to increase his cooperation with the National Unity Government (NUG).

According to the source, the foreign troops' commander believes Afghanistan's current situation is unsatisfactory; therefore, he wants influential figures to cooperate with the NUG – which took power last year in September.

Sources close to Sayyaf confirmed the meeting. But RSM has not yet commented in this respect.

Meanwhile, reports stated that former President Hamid Karzai – who was recently accused of trying to derail the government – also met with Sayyaf during Eid Days.

Sayyaf was a former Jihadi commander who was well known for fighting the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:33:07 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20680-gen-campbell-meets-sayyaf-over-afghanistans-situation
TOLOnews 6pm News 30 July 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/20679-tolonews-6pm-news-30-july-2015 nataq-30-julyTop news in this Bulletin:

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday afternoon that the much-awaited second round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban has been postponed. The talks were due to take place tomorrow, Friday. In a statement issued by the ministry, Pakistan said: "In view of the reports regarding the death of Mulla Omar and the resulting uncertainty, and at the request of the Afghan Taliban leadership, the second round of the Afghan peace talks, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan on 31 July 2015, is being postponed."

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

{youtube}dvPLQX4hVA8{/youtube}

The Ministry of Defense's Operations Director General Afzal Aman said on Thursday that due to the dedication of the ministry and troops they have prevented the collapse of 41 districts in Afghanistan in the past four months. Aman, who had been speaking at a press conference in Kabul, said that Taliban insurgents had shown themselves in all parts of the country in the past few months but that they had faced defeat.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:07:04 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/20679-tolonews-6pm-news-30-july-2015
Questions Raised Over Taliban's Future http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20678-questions-raised-over-talibans-future mola 30july

The confirmation of the death of the Taliban's supreme leader Mullah Omar has raised numerous questions on the future of the group – especially on the back of media reports that his former right-hand man Mullah Akhtar Mansoor has been appointed successor.

On Wednesday, Afghan officials confirmed that Mullah Omar died two years ago in a Karachi hospital. However, some Afghan political commentators on Thursday said that Omar was designated as supreme leader by a grand council of religious scholars in Kandahar province in the early 1990s. But according to them there is no such council in Pakistan authorized to appoint Omar's successor.

Analysts also however stress that the demise of Omar can undermine the legitimacy of the Taliban war in Afghanistan among the group's members.

"When Mullah Omar was dominating in some parts of Afghanistan, he called a grand council of religious scholars from across Afghanistan where he was awarded the title of supreme leader in Kandahar province. But now such a platform doesn't exist in Pakistan, with this, the credibility and legitimacy of the so-called Islamic Emirate of Taliban is lost and this can divide the Taliban into various groups," military expert Jawed Kohistani said.

"The answer to the question on whether division among the Taliban would be in the interests of Afghanistan - or not - depends on the strategy of Pakistan in this respect. It means that the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar marks the death of the Pakistani strategy to continue using militancy as a tool," said Davud Muradian, head of Institute of Strategic Studies of Afghanistan on Thursday.

Some analysts however believe that the emergence of some new militant groups such as Daesh and the death of Mullah Omar can pave the way for some Taliban factions to be separated from the Quetta Council.

"The new generation of militants will end their allegiance with Taliban's traditional leaders. They will prefer to continue the war and get some achievements," political analyst Mohammad Natiqi said.

Analysts say that even before the death of Mullah Omar, disagreements were reported among various Taliban commanders who questioned Mullah Omar's silence. Analysts said that the issue has also raised concerns over the serious tensions between Mullah Akhtar Mansoor and Mullah Abdul Qayoum, another senior Taliban commander.

In recent weeks, rumors have however circulated that one of Omar's sons could succeed him.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:41:22 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20678-questions-raised-over-talibans-future
Kabulis Shocked By Gas Price Hike http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20677-kabulis-shocked-by-gas-price-hike gas 30july

Kabul residents were frustrated by a surprise hike in liquid gas prices around the capital on Thursday. The new rate, which represents an increase of 20 Afs per Kg of gasoline, is thought to be beyond the means of average Kabulis.

Responding to the price hike, officials from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) have attempted to downplay its significance, saying the jump has precedent. The ministry has attributed the sudden price increase to broader trends in Afghanistan's gas market, which they say has seen decreased imports as of late.

According to Kabul residents, however, this is the first time that LPG prices have increased so drastically during the summer season. During winter months, price hikes are expected because of the higher demand in the market as well as the practical difficulties of transporting gas supplies through the country's many snow covered mountain passes. But that is not usually the case during warmer months.

"A few days back prices were around 33 Afs, but today we buy it at 50 Afs," one resident of the capital named Abdrul Rahmad said on Thursday. "We request the traders to consider the problems of the people," he added.
Some have been quick to blame the government for the price hike, suggesting it is tied to inadequate oversight and consumer protections.

Nevertheless, MoCI officials have said that the ministry is working to control the prices and curb the potential of future hikes. "Until now, the prices haven't reached a level to claim that there have been abuses," ministry spokesman Musafir Qoqandi told TOLOnews. "If there is abuse, legal action will be taken against anyone involved."

Experts have speculated that the broader market trend in Afghanistan could stem from the declining value of LPG in global markets. Reportedly many Afghan businessmen have financial loses tied to the shifting LPG market, and have resorted to practices that are potentially detrimental for the broader consumer market in order to recuperate.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:39:52 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20677-kabulis-shocked-by-gas-price-hike
ERC Meets With Experts, Stakeholders For Guidance on Reform http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20676-erc-meets-with-experts-stakeholders-for-guidance-on-reform ELECTION 30JULY

The newly established Electoral Reform Commission (ERC) kicked off its reform agenda this week by engaging members of the international community, women rights advocacy groups and other civil society institutions in hopes of culling feedback on the most pressing issues facing Afghanistan's electoral system.

Since its formation last week, the ERC has hit the ground running, seeking to make up for time lost after months of delays caused by disagreements between top national unity governmental leaders over the composition of the commission. The scheduling of Parliamentary elections is largely dependent on how and when the ERC gets reform implemented.

"The commission (ERC) is determined to take advantage of all ideas and perspectives that seem to be in the interests of Afghanistan," ERC chairman Shah Sultan Akifi said of the stakeholder meetings held this week.

Referring to the international election experts engaged by the ERC, Akifi said they have been asked to submit written recommendations. "To be honest, we need their ideas, and we do not believe that the ideas offered by foreign experts is interference - we believe that it is for the betterment of Afghanistan," he said.

Specifically, the ERC has said it hopes international experts, many of who are associated with organizations and governments that have threatened to cut off their funding of the Afghan electoral system if reforms are not pursued, will shed light on how Afghanistan can learn from other electoral regimes around the world, especially regarding electronic voting systems.

"What we expect from international experts is help understanding, in line with the electoral experiences of other countries around the world, which method is more reliable and practical in Afghanistan," ERC member Assadullah Saadati explained on Thursday. "We want them to provide us the necessary suggestions and hear their opinion on how it is possible for the ERC to incorporate electronic voting in Afghanistan to its work agenda in the long term," he added.

Thursday's meetings included a gathering with members of Afghan civil society and women's rights groups. The meeting involved discussion of a number of issues, such as providing greater awareness about the voting process to Afghan women, increasing women's participation in elections, and preventing the intimidation and defrauding of female votes.

"Electronic voting should be introduced for parliamentary elections to avoid the misuse of women's votes and to prevent riggers from filling the ballot boxes with names of women voters," civil society activist Suraya Parlika suggested.

Beyond procedural and technology-based reforms, those gathered on Thursday also pushed for personnel changes at the level of the electoral commissions, which have suffered major public image issues since the tumultuous 2014 presidential race. "We never supported members of the election commission being associated with a party," MP Raihana Azad said. "Sovereign and neutral people must be appointed to the election management bodies."

Talking about the various stakeholder meetings that have been held this week, ERC member Faizulah Zaki reiterated that the commission's top priority in the near term is starting to rebuild public trust in elections. "A variety of ideas were gathered, but the important issue is to see how we can rebuild trust among the people of Afghanistan toward elections, and, by implementing comprehensive and basic reforms, pave the way for holding free and transparent elections in order to resolve the uncertainties," he said.

The ERC plans to complete its consultations by the end of the week. It has set a deadline of one month for submitting its first round of recommendations to the government.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:38:52 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20676-erc-meets-with-experts-stakeholders-for-guidance-on-reform
TOLOnews.com Recognized for Its Facebook Page Popularity http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20675-tolonewscom-recognized-for-its-facebook-page-popularity NAI-30-july-15

TOLOnews.com's Facebook page was on Thursday recognized as Afghanistan's leading social media service – as it has the highest number of followers of any Afghan page.

NAI – a non-government agency supporting open media in Afghanistan – honored TOLOnews.com with a certificate of appreciation to mark its recent milestone in reaching one million "Likes" earlier this year.

One of TOLOnews' web editors, Faridullah Hussainkhail, was presented with the certificate on behalf of the department during an event to mark Social Media Week – which was held under the theme - "Difference of opinions in social media does not meant enmity".

The purpose of observing the event was in acknowledgment of social media and the promoting of the culture of using social networks in a good manner, said NAI officials.

"Social media must be introduced to the people of Afghanistan and we must make a specific culture in this regard," NAI director Mujeeb Khelwatgar said.

This came only days after the officials at the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) announced plans to include a new chapter on social media in the mass media law.

NAI officials however said all media outlets would be consulted on including social media into media law.

"Today more than one million one hundred thousand people have liked TOLOnews' Facebook page, which is awesome, not only in Afghanistan but in the region," Khelwatgar added.

Social media has been observed since 2011 to promote the proper use of fast-growing social networks.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:37:29 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20675-tolonewscom-recognized-for-its-facebook-page-popularity
MoD Prevents Collapse of 41 Districts in Past Four Months http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20674-mod-prevents-collapse-of-41-districts-in-past-four-months

The Ministry of Defense's Operations Director General Afzal Aman said on Thursday that due to the dedication of the ministry and troops they have prevented the collapse of 41 districts in Afghanistan in the past four months.

Aman, who had been speaking at a press conference in Kabul, said that Taliban insurgents had shown themselves in all parts of the country in the past few months but that they had faced defeat.

The director general said that the collapse of many districts to the Taliban was a tactical retreat and that military advancement, clear operations and other issues are what's important.

Aman said that only district governor buildings in Dasht-e-Arche district of Kunduz, Almar in Faryab, Kohistanat in Sare-Pul and Nawzad in Helmand provinces collapsed to the Taliban. However, this did not mean the entire district collapsed to the Taliban.

He also spoke of planned programs for the next year regarding armed opposition groups and he emphasized that the ANA forces have conducted offensive operations against the insurgents and even foiled insurgent plans for the construction of military facilities in a number of provinces.

During the past four months operations by Afghan forces across the country has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of insurgents. In addition, over 700 were captured by government forces.

"During the past four months the ANA forces - with the cooperation of people - have rebuffed hundreds of insurgent attacks. We have rescued 41 districts from collapse which was the main target of the enemy, and as you are all aware that security forces had a bloody battle with enemies of Afghanistan in Badakhshan, Kunduz, Sare-Pul, Baghlan, Faryab, Ghor, Badghis, and several battles in Helmand and Kandahar provinces," MoD Operations Director General Afzal Aman told reporters.

"We have conducted more than 565 planned operations, clearing operations, special operations, commando operations and independent night operations," Aman told reporters.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:39:46 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20674-mod-prevents-collapse-of-41-districts-in-past-four-months
Peace Talks Postponed at Taliban's Request: Pakistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20673-peace-talks-postponed-at-talibans-request-pakistan

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday afternoon that the much-awaited second round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban has been postponed. The talks were due to take place tomorrow, Friday.

In a statement issued by the ministry, Pakistan said: "In view of the reports regarding the death of Mulla Omar and the resulting uncertainty, and at the request of the Afghan Taliban leadership, the second round of the Afghan peace talks, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan on 31 July 2015, is being postponed."

The statement went on to say that "Pakistan and other friendly countries of Afghanistan hope that the Taliban leadership will stay engaged in the process of peace talks in order to promote a lasting peace in Afghanistan."

"It is further hoped that those forces, which due to their malafide intent wanted to undermine the peace talks, will not succeed in their designs," read the statement.

This announcement comes only hours after Pakistan media reports stated that Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour - Mullah Omar's close aide – has been appointed as the new Taliban leader.

The new Taliban chief, Mansour, previously served as the second-in-command of the movement.

According to Pakistan media, the Afghan Taliban Shura (Executives Council) appointed Mansour after the Afghan government confirmed Wednesday that Omar had died two years ago in a Karachi hospital.

Meanwhile, former chief and the movement's founder, Mullah Omar led the militant group to victory over competing Afghan militias in the 1990's after the withdrawal of Soviet troops.

The Taliban government was ousted after the US-led forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghanistan's intelligence agency officials claimed that the reclusive former Taliban chief died two years ago at a hospital in Pakistan.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:11:48 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20673-peace-talks-postponed-at-talibans-request-pakistan
GOFTMAN: Discussing the Issue of a Public Uprising http://www.tolonews.com/en/programmes/goftman/20672-goftman-discussing-the-issue-of-a-public-uprising

In this episode of GOFTMAN host Haris Jamalzad discusses the recent call for a public uprising to get local police and the people to stand up to insurgents. In addition the program looks at the concerns raised over such a move. Guests include:

Siddiq Siddiqi, spokesman for the MoI
Fahim Dashti, political analyst
Mohammad Azim Muhssini, MP
Shah Hussain Murtazawi, journalist

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}WHSqh5D5dpE{/youtube}

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:57:07 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/programmes/goftman/20672-goftman-discussing-the-issue-of-a-public-uprising
FARAKHABAR: Afghan Officials Confirm Death of Mullah Omar http://www.tolonews.com/en/fara-khabar/20671-farakhabar-afghan-officials-confirm-death-of-mullah-omar

President Ashraf Ghani's office on Wednesday confirmed the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar is dead.

Apparently the confirmation came from Pakistan.

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

Dawood Kalakani, MP
Ahmad Sayedi, political analyst

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}ykfet8JEM4M{/youtube}

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:50:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/fara-khabar/20671-farakhabar-afghan-officials-confirm-death-of-mullah-omar
TAWDE KHABARE: Mullah Omar Dead http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/20670-tawde-khabare-mullah-omar-dead

Sources in the government said that Mullah Omar, the Taliban, leader died in April 2013 in Pakistan.

The confirmation of his death was reportedly provided by Pakistan government to Afghan government.

Taliban has yet to issue a statement.

The news comes on the eve of the second round of peace talks due to be held in Pakistan.

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtiar discusses the issue with the following guests:

Obaidullah Barakzai, MP

Mohammad Younos Fakor, political analyst

Fiz Mohammad Zaland, university lecturer

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}AK2frUWaXJU{/youtube}

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:59:48 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/20670-tawde-khabare-mullah-omar-dead
Nangarhar Drone Strike Kills 20 Suspected Daesh Militants http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20669-nangarhar-drone-strike-kills-20-suspected-daesh-militants

More than 20 suspected Daesh militants were killed in two separate foreign troops drone strikes in eastern Nangarhar province on Wednesday evening, local officials said on Thursday.

The incident took place in Haroon Baba area of Haska Mina district of the province after two separate drones targeted them while they were travelling to another part of the district, a spokesman for Nangarhar Governor Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said.

There were no civilian casualties in the strike, said Abdulzai.

However, he did not provide details about the identity of the insurgents.

Haska Mina district is a known insecure area in which insurgents have activities and frequently attack the local security forces.

Foreign troop drone strikes have increased markedly in the eastern parts of the country recently. Just last week at least five insurgents were killed in a foreign troops drone strike in the same province.

The incident took place in Lalpoor district when a foreign troops drone targeted them, a spokesman for Nangarhar Police Chief, Hazrat Hussian Mashriqiwal said.

Lalpoor district is a known insecure area in which insurgents have activities and frequently attack the local security forces.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 07:58:04 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20669-nangarhar-drone-strike-kills-20-suspected-daesh-militants
10 Kunduz Villages Cleared of Taliban http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20668-10-kunduz-villages-cleared-of-taliban-

At least 10 villages in the Aqtash area of Khanabad district in Kunduz province have been cleared of Taliban, officials said Thursday.

Kunduz police chief Abdul Saboor Nasrati, said that troops on Wednesday started clearing out the insurgents in Basos and Kuhna Qala in Aqtash. He said in total ten villages had been cleared of Taliban.

During the clearing operation 10 Taliban were killed and five others were wounded, Nasrati said.

The clearing operation is still on going, Nasrati added.

This comes after Taliban insurgents reportedly seized control of as many as 80 villages on Monday night in northern Kunduz province, officials said.

Afghan security officials believe however that the war increased in the north and east of the country after insurgent groups came over the border from Waziristan in Pakistan.

Concerns have however been raised over why Afghanistan did nothing to prevent the problem after Pakistan military forces launched an operation to clear insurgents from Waziristan.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 06:05:09 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20668-10-kunduz-villages-cleared-of-taliban-
Mullah Omar Death Reports Credible: White House http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20667-mullah-omar-death-reports-credible-white-house- white-house-washigton

White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said on Wednesday that despite them not being able to confirm the death of the Taliban's supreme leader Mullah Omar, his administration believes the reports are "credible".

According to Schultz, United States intelligence agencies are investigating the claims and looking for details.

However, Afghan officials on Wednesday confirmed Mullah Omar's death and said he died in 2013 in a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.

"The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, based on credible information, confirms that Mullah Mohammad Omar, leader of the Taliban died in April 2013 in Pakistan," President Ashraf Ghani's office said in a statement.

The Taliban have not yet commented on the reports but are expected to send a statement soon to the media.

Meanwhile, former head of counter-terrorism for Britain's MI6, Richard Barrett, said that news of the death of Mullah Omar will increase the possibility of divisions within the Taliban.

According to Barrett, Taliban leader Mullah Omar kept the group united and that in his absence there were fears of a split – especially among the higher ranking leaders, he said.

Mullah Omar, who was Afghanistan's 11th head of state from 1996 to late 2001, was believed to have been living in Quetta and Karachi cities in Pakistan.

Based on Pakistani media reports, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, a close aide of Mullah Omar, is planning to take over as leader.

Abdul Qayoum Zakir, Taliban's military commander, is however reported to be opposing Mansour's move.

Meanwhile, some Pakistani media reports suggest that Omar's son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoub, is himself hoping to succeed his father – a decision that many other senior leaders of Taliban have reportedly opposed. Yaqoub is said to have graduated from a Madrasa in the port city of Karachi.

Mullah Omar has been wanted by the United States Department of State's Rewards for Justice program since October 2001 for sheltering Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda militants in the years prior to the September 11 attacks.

He is believed to have directed the Taliban insurgency against Afghanistan from Pakistan in the past 14 years.

In addition, Afghan former Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali, on Wednesday called Pakistan the main factor for peace talks not Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Speaking to the reporter in US Jalali, said that Mullah Omar's presence was not a factor for talks, but the main factor is Pakistan that has brought changes in its approach.

Mr. Jalali said that the United States can play a prominence role in the Afghan peace process.

Meanwhile former United States ambassador in Afghanistan Zalmai Khalilzad, believes that man who can successor Mullah Mohammad Omar and can reach a peace agreement with Afghan government and get Taliban's leadership is not exist.

According to Khalilzad, with the death of Mullah Omar there is possibility of three incidents: first increase of violence and extremist, second Taliban's division and the third appointment of moderate Taliban leader.

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Thu, 30 Jul 2015 05:46:40 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20667-mullah-omar-death-reports-credible-white-house-