TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Sun, 21 Dec 2014 08:19:04 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) 7 ALP Killed in Clash with Taliban in Jowzjan http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17550-7-alp-killed-in-clash-with-taliban-in-jowzjan

Seven Afghan Local Police (ALP) and five Taliban insurgents were killed in clashes in northern Jowzjan province on Saturday night, local officials said on Sunday.

Five other ALP and five insurgents were injured in the clash.

Ahmad Farid Azizi, a spokesman for Jowzjan police said that the clash took place in Quash Tapa district of the province after a number of Taliban insurgents attacked an ALP outpost and began clashing.

"The clash took place for more than four hours after a number of Taliban insurgents attacked a police outpost," Azizi said.

However, the Taliban have not yet commented about the attack.

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 08:13:17 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17550-7-alp-killed-in-clash-with-taliban-in-jowzjan
ISI’s Strategic Depth Has Failed The Nation of Pakistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/opinion/17549-isis-strategic-depth-has-failed-the-nation-of-pakistan

As an Afghan, the barbaric slaughter of school children in Peshawar was a reminder of the every day carnage of innocent Afghans by the same extremist groups who have continued killing their own Muslims brothers and sisters for decades now. As I was reading the news and following the unfolding of the events on social media, I was confronted with many reports and opinions that inspired me to share my thoughts with my Afghan fellows and the youth in Pakistan.

I grew up in violence and conflict in the 1980s Afghanistan, although the world condemned the government in power because of the support it had from the Soviet Union, the news of innocent lives lost would hardly reach the countries on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The Mujahideenwerethe holy warriors and the West lauded their actions of terror as acts of freedom fighters. Hillary Clinton acknowledged the factthatgroups such as the Haqqani were financed by the US during the Cold War in Pakistan . Despite claiming responsibility for killing innocent Afghans, the Haqqanis and their likes are walking freely on Pakistani territory.

What disturbs me about the coverage of media on Peshawar's attack is that the extremist groups responsible for terror attacks are labeled on the basis of nationality. The continued distinction of the terror groups by the Pakistani authorities is the indication that their fear towards India still dictates their policy of strategic depth in Afghanistan. If the Pakistan government and ISI want to end the menace of terrorism in the region, they have no choice but to change their mindsets as well astheir current narrative on terror groups such as the Taliban. There is no such thing as a good or bad Taliban, Afghan or Pakistani or young and old Taliban and none of these groups have leverageover each other. We all have fallen pray to the violent acts of terror.

Ambassador Husain Haqqani very accurately points out in his article today, "The savage attack in Peshawar demonstrates the futility of attacking one group of jihadis while leaving others in place." Therefore, ISI's strategic depth has failed. My father, the former Afghan President Najibullah, twenty years ago, in one of his speeches had explicitly said that the fire Pakistan had ignited in Afghanistan would eventually engulf the region and the world. In the short term, with the five years of Taliban rule, perhaps ISI thought of itself as a winner but in the long run not only ISI but all of us have lost. We have lost because our future generations have to live in fear and become victims of hatred and violence be it in Afghanistan, Pakistan or India.

It is important that the Pakistani leadership, in this historical and delicate moment, take decisions not on the basis of fear but for the future of the region. They have to stop hosting and sponsoring the Taliban and other terror groups. A school going child in Kabul, Paktika, Helmand, Kunar is no different to the school children in Peshawar, Quetta or Karachi. They have one aspiration, i.e. to learn and they should be given an equal chance to do so.

To the citizens and Pakistani youth I would like to say that you are not alone, there are many Afghans such as myself who share your pain, fears and sorrow. I lost my 1st grade teacher who was eight months pregnant and her 12 years old son in a market bombing in 1982 when I was five years old. I lost a dear classmate in a cluster bomb because he thought it was a toy, he was only 11 years old in 1988. I would have nightmares, as a child that what happened to Shah Rukh would happen to me. I have lost family members whose deaths remain a mystery like the ones of assassinated Pakistani leaders. Even today, three decades later, in 2014 The Taliban have killed many young innocent children and teenagers in Paktika, Istiqlal School, and Helmand. Therefore, I can say that Afghans such as myself can only understand the pain of the families and friends who have lost their loved ones in Peshawar. If there is any nation that understands your sorrow, pain, anger and fear that would be Afghanistan because decades since the start of strategic depth, Afghanistan's new generations are still killed in vain by acts of terror.

In this moment of trauma and pain, I just hope that you take a moment to also look deeper and understand why this is happening to you. I hope that you realise that the failed policies of ISI and the Pakistani authorities have equally wounded us. I dream of the day that your recognition of a desperate need for a shift in the regional policies of your country can eventually lead to a change of your policy makers mindset. In the hope that it may extinguish the fire my father had spoken about so our next generations can live in peace. From experience, I know that your hearts will carry this heavy weight of loss for years to come but I know with time you will heal. May their souls rest in peace along all those who have been the victims of terror around the world.

Heela Najibullah is a peace scholar and an aid worker.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed are those of its author and not representative of TOLOnews.

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:57:42 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/opinion/17549-isis-strategic-depth-has-failed-the-nation-of-pakistan
Military Soldier Killed in Nangarhar Blast http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17548-military-soldier-killed-in-nangarhar-blast

An Afghan military soldier was killed and a civilian injured in a blast in eastern Nangarhar province on Sunday morning, local officials said.

The incident took place around 9 a.m. in Torkham area of Nangarhar while a military vehicle was passing the area and an explosive device detonated, killing a military soldier and injuring a civilian, spokesman for Nangarhar Governor, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said.

He said that the police have started investigations on the blast and that the victims have been taken to a nearby hospital.

"It is not yet clear if the blast was caused by a roadside mine or a magnetic mine," Abdulzai said.

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

 

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 06:52:45 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17548-military-soldier-killed-in-nangarhar-blast
First 100 Days: 2014 Deadliest Year for Afghan Civilians: UNAMA http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17547-first-100-days-2014-deadliest-year-for-afghan-civilians-unama  

2014 has been the deadliest year for civilians in Afghanistan where the number of casualties have increased by 19 percent as compared to the previous year, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) head, Nicholas Haysom, said Friday at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

To watch the program, click here:

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Haysom, who is also the Secretary General Special Representative for Afghanistan, highlighted the devastating impact of the conflict on Afghan civilians in a statement posted on its website.

Also present at the briefing was Georgette Gagnon, the director of UNAMA Human Rights, saying that the number of civilians killed and injured in the first 11 months of this year totals 9,617, with 3,188 civilians killed and 6,429 injured.

In this episode of the program, host Fawad Aman discusses the topics with the following guests:

• Musa Mahmoudi, Executive Director of AIHRC
• Shah Gul Razaye, MP
• Zahir Sadaat, MP
• Moean Marastyal, member of the Truth and Justice Party

 

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 06:31:38 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17547-first-100-days-2014-deadliest-year-for-afghan-civilians-unama
TAWDE KHABARE: Joint Operations to Launch Near Afghan and Pakistan Border http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17546-tawde-khabare-joint-operations-to-launch-near-afghan-and-pakistan-border

Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to launch a military operation against the insurgents near borders of both countries.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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The security forces of both Afghanistan and Pakistan will carry out coordinated operations to counter terrorism along the Pak-Afghan border, said Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan's advisor to the Prime Minister on national security and foreign affairs.

"The Afghan leadership has assured the Pakistani army of full cooperation in countering terrorism," Aziz told Pakistan's Dawn News.

It added the agreement is said to have taken place after the visit of Pakistan's Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif to Kabul, which came a day after terrorists attacked an Army-run school in Peshawar killing at least 145 people, including 132 children.

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

• Saleh Mohammad Saleh, member of the internal security committee of the Parliament
• Jawid Kohistani, military analyst
• Sangarwal Neyazi, political analyst

 

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 06:19:45 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17546-tawde-khabare-joint-operations-to-launch-near-afghan-and-pakistan-border
FARAKHABAR: 20 December 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17545-farakhabar-20-december-2014

Setting a final one-week deadline, the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) criticized the National Unity Government (NUG) for not introducing the new cabinet nominees, believing that the delay has caused "tragedy" to the country's security, economy and political situation.

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}U_rEse2Jvmo{/youtube}

The deadline was finalized during Saturday's session that was specifically held to debate on the delay in the formation of the new cabinet after the establishment of the NUG.

So why have the leaders of the NUG forgotten their promises made during elections?

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

• Sayed Ishaq Gailani, for MP
• Helai Ershad, MP

 

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 05:41:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/17545-farakhabar-20-december-2014
TOLOnews 6 pm News 20 December 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17544-tolonews-6-pm-news-20-december-2014

Setting a final one-week deadline, the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) criticized the National Unity Government (NUG) for not introducing the new cabinet nominees, believing that the delay has caused "tragedy" to the country's security, economy and political situation.

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The deadline was finalized during Saturday's session that was specifically held to debate on the delay in the formation of the new cabinet after the establishment of the NUG.

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 15:44:56 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17544-tolonews-6-pm-news-20-december-2014
Kabul, Islamabad Agree on Joint Operations: Aziz http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17543--kabul-islamabad-agree-on-joint-operations-aziz

The security forces of both Afghanistan and Pakistan will carry out coordinated operations to counter terrorism along the Pak-Afghan border, said Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan's advisor to the Prime Minister on national security and foreign affairs.

"The Afghan leadership has assured the Pakistani army of full cooperation in countering terrorism," Aziz told Pakistan's Dawn News.

It added the agreement is said to have taken place after the visit of Pakistan's Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif to Kabul, which came a day after terrorists attacked an Army-run school in Peshawar killing at least 145 people, including 132 children.

The Afghan government, however, has not yet commented about Aziz's remarks, but the Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials seem hopeful of Pakistan's cooperation in fighting insurgency.

If Pakistan fulfills its commitments, the insurgency can be eliminated easily, said Dawlat Waziri, deputy spokesman of MoD.

"We hope for their intelligence sharing and their honest cooperation," Waziri said.

But the Afghan analysts believe that the joint Pak-Afghan fight against terrorism cannot be successful unless Pakistan "honestly" stops backing the militant groups.

"Pakistan must first build trust meaning that those militant groups who are known under the Quetta, Karachi, Chaman or Peshawar Councils must be handed over to the Afghan government," military analyst Javed Kohistani said.

The joint effort to fight insurgency comes as a result of Pakistan's accelerated efforts to root out insurgents after the horrific Peshawar attack.

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 15:00:33 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17543--kabul-islamabad-agree-on-joint-operations-aziz
Afghan Club Football Championship Hosted in Kabul http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17542--afghan-club-football-championship-hosted-in-kabul

The Afghan capital on Saturday hosted the first ever Kabul Football Club Championship at the Ghazi sports stadium.

On the first day of the tournament, Helmand's Haroon Popal defeated Faryab's Istiqlal narrowly in a 2-1 match.

Said Baqer Mir Salemi and Qayoum Barekzai scored the goals for Haroon Popal, and the only goal for Istiqlal was scored by Timoor.

In another match on Saturday, Herat's Istiqlal defeated Ghazni's Municipality 1-0.

Yousuf Kargar, Head Coach of the Afghan National Men's Football Team, says the tournament is an important step toward the further professionalization of football in Afghanistan.

According to Said Baqir Mir Salemi, a player for Haroon Popalzai, many preparations were made for this year's tournament. All the participating clubs have or at least tried to purchase players from around Afghanistan and abroad ahead of this year's competition.

Enayatullah Karimi, from Faryab's Istiqlal team, said the level of competition in the tournament is very high. He said playing teams from the same region made for good rivalries.

On Sunday, Paiman Mahmood Raqi will play against Shaheen Kunduz, while Pedagogy of Nangarhar will play against Kabul's Big Beer.
Teams from all eight geographic zones of the country are participating in the Club Championship in Kabul.

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 14:57:45 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17542--afghan-club-football-championship-hosted-in-kabul
Taxation Gaps at Customs Raise Questions About Waste, Corruption http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17541-taxation-gaps-at-customs-raise-questions-about-waste-corruption

Internal customs documents recently received by TOLOnews expose dramatic and inconsistent differences among the tax rates imposed on trade goods passing through different customs offices around the country. Some offices were found to have up to a 50 percent difference in rate of taxation for the same goods.

Based on the figures obtained by TOLOnews, the most dramatic disparity in tax rates being imposed at customs exists between Nimroz, Herat and Kabul provinces. According to a number professional traders, goods in Nangarhar, Nimroz and Herat customs are taxed at a rate of 40 percent less than Kabul customs.

"There are many problems, a container of our goods is 300,000 Afghanis in the Kabul customs, while the same container of goods is just over 100,000 Afghanis in Nimruz customs," a trader named Ahmad Shah told TOLOnews.

Internal documents show that 10,245 kilograms of chicken meat was taxed at 65,010 Afghanis in Nirmroz customs, while at Kabul customs 55,800 kilograms of chicken was taxed for 528,685 Afghanis.

Meanwhile, at Herat customs, 21,500 kilograms of chicken meat was taxed for 129,365 Afghanis, while in Kabul 25,827 kilograms was taxed for 300,337 Afghanis, a difference of over 50 percent.

"We have many problems, at the moment, dairy products such as milk are processed under the name of a different product, such as 'dough'," a trader named Said Ahmad Kohdamani said.

Beyond the lack of consistency at customs, members of the business community have said many items make it through customs without ever being taxed, meaning critical public revenue potential goes to waste. "We are facing many problems, as you know, at the moment, a small part of our goods are taxed and a major part of it leaves customs without being taxed," said Fahim, a representative from the chicken, meat and eggs importers union.

In addition to raising concerns about the amount of potential revenue going to waste and the apparent lack of standardization in the taxation system at customs, Afghan businessmen have also complained a great deal about administrative corruption.

Muhammad Farooq Majboor, an employee at a customs office, says that around 70 percent revenue from customs never makes it to the treasury. In a letter to President Ashraf Ghani, Majboor claims to have documents that show widespread corruption in customs.

"I know what the problems are and the corruption that takes place in customs, I have discussed the issue with Mr. President on Facebook several times," he said. "You must know that 70 percent of the national revenue from customs is wasted, and only 30 percent makes it to the government vault, from which the salaries of poor employees are given."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has blamed the disparities in taxation among the customs offices a mistake on the part of the employees. "This is a small problem, in some instances, employees make mistakes but these mistakes are not too many," Ministry spokesman Abdul Qader Jilani said.

However, Younus Mohman, a representative of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, was more suspicious of the inconsistency in taxation.

According to him, it is interrelated with the widespread corruption at customs. "You know that clothes are taxed based on their weight at customs, but today, three thousand kinds of clothing are imported to the market and the customs employees try to process them in different ways, there is a difference in taxation," he said.

Corruption at customs has gained attention in recent months as the Afghan government faces budget and trade deficits that will only become more difficult to deal with as the NATO coalition withdraws and foreign financial aid flow into the country reduces. Economic experts and commentators have encouraged Kabul to overhaul the customs system in order to maximize potential revenue streams.

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 14:55:51 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17541-taxation-gaps-at-customs-raise-questions-about-waste-corruption
Parliament Sets Final Deadline to NUG on Cabinet http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17540-parliament-sets-final-deadline-to-nug-on-cabinet

Setting a final one-week deadline, the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) criticized the National Unity Government (NUG) for not introducing the new cabinet nominees, believing that the delay has caused "tragedy" to the country's security, economy and political situation.

The deadline was finalized during Saturday's session that was specifically held to debate on the delay in the formation of the new cabinet after the establishment of the NUG.

"We will decide what to do next if the government fails to introduce the cabinet within this week," Wolesi Jirga Speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi warned.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Ghulam Hussain Nasiri accused the government of dealing on the cabinet seats rather than nominating persons on merit bases.

"The delay is because of disputes on having more power and seats in the cabinet," Nasiri said. "We can't tolerate delay anymore."

MP Nazir Ahmad Hanafi who also got harsh on the NUG said the delay in establishing the cabinet was contrary to the Constitution.

But Mohammad Natiqi, a member of the cabinet selection committee, said that progress has been made in this respect.

"As per the promises made by President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah, the new cabinet will be introduced in the coming days," Natiqi said.

According to a list received by TOLOnews, initially eight cabinet nominees and a nominee for the National Directorate of Security (NDS) will be introduced to the Parliament for a vote of confidence.

The list of possible nominees is as follows: Sher Mohammad Karimi as the defense minister; Fazl Ahmad Manavi as the interior minister; Salahuddin Rabbani as the foreign minister; Faizullah Zaki as the minister of information and culture; Jailani Popal as the finance minister; Sardar Mohammad Rahimi as the minister of commerce and industries; Sadat Naderi as minister of labors and social affairs and Rahmatullah Nabil as the head of NDS.

However, spokesman for Ghani rejects the list and insists that the selection for the cabinet members has not been finalized so far.

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 14:52:46 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17540-parliament-sets-final-deadline-to-nug-on-cabinet
Policeman Killed Defusing Bomb in Sar-e-Pul http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17539-policeman-killed-defusing-bomb-in-sar-e-pul

A policeman was killed and two others were injured in a landmine explosion Saturday morning in northern Sar-e-Pul province, local officials said.

The incident took place on a highway between Sar-e-Pul and Jowzjan when a bomb squad was trying to defuse a landmine, a spokesman for the provincial Police Chief, Mohammad Kazim Kanan, said.

"The bomb went off before it could be defused," Kanan said. "One member of the team was killed and two others were injured."

The injured policemen are in stable condition, he added.

However, no group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for placing of the mine.

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 10:16:12 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17539-policeman-killed-defusing-bomb-in-sar-e-pul
2014 Deadliest Year for Afghan Civilians: UNAMA http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17538-2014-deadliest-year-for-afghan-civilians-unama

2014 has been the deadliest year for civilians in Afghanistan where the number of casualties have increased by 19 percent as compared to the previous year, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) head, Nicholas Haysom, said Friday at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

Haysom, who is also the Secretary General Special Representative for Afghanistan, highlighted the devastating impact of the conflict on Afghan civilians in a statement posted on its website.

"One of the measurements of the security situation has been civilian casualties," Haysom said. "Civilian casualties are a particularly tragic and very prominent part, even benchmark, of the horror of the violence that ordinary Afghans face."

As of November 30, UNAMA has recorded more civilian deaths and injuries during 2014 than in any other year since it began its authoritative reports in 2009, the statement said.

Haysom, while briefing the Security Council, referred to a deadly suicide attack on November 23 on a large crowd watching a volleyball match in Paktika, killing at least 53 civilians, including 21 children.

"Haysom told journalists that UNAMA is continuing discussions with all parties, including the Taliban, to strengthen mitigating measures to limit the impact of the conflict on civilians." 

Also present at the briefing was Georgette Gagnon, the director of UNAMA Human Rights, saying that the number of civilians killed and injured in the first 11 months of this year totals 9,617, with 3,188 civilians killed and 6,429 injured.

These casualties resulted mostly from ground engagements between parties to the conflict, improvised explosive devices, and suicide and complex attacks, Gagnon said, noting that insurgents were responsible for at least 75 percent of the casualties.

She added that casualties of children increased 33 percent compared to 2013 with casualties among women up by 12 percent.

"Current projections indicate that by the end of 2014 the civilian casualty count will pass 10,000 for the first time in a single year since UNAMA began records," UN said.

The UN report was released after the Afghan capital of Kabul witnessed over a dozen armed attacks and bombings during the past month with foreign nationals being the target. The responsibility for most of these attacks was claimed by the Taliban, saying that the attacks were increased in Kabul because of the security agreements signed between Afghanistan, U.S. and NATO.

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 09:09:07 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17538-2014-deadliest-year-for-afghan-civilians-unama
US Drone Strike Kills Five in Northwest Pakistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17537-us-drone-strike-kills-five-in-northwest-pakistan

A US drone strike killed at least five militants in Pakistan's restive tribal region near the Afghan border on Saturday, security officials said, warning that the death toll was expected to rise.

The strike occurred in North Waziristan, one of the seven semi-autonomous tribal districts bordering Afghanistan, which is seen as a hub for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

"A US drone fired two missiles at a compound in Mada Khail neighbourhood of Datta Khail area in North Waziristan killing five militants. The death toll is expected to rise," a senior security official requesting anonymity told AFP.

The incident was confirmed by local intelligence sources.

The area is generally off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to independently verify the number and identity of the dead.

Washington pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out sanctuaries in North Waziristan, which militants have used to launch attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The army has been waging a major offensive against longstanding Taliban and other militant strongholds in the restive tribal areas on the Afghan border for the last six months.

But a series of fresh strikes after Tuesday's Peshawar attack, which left 149 people dead -- most of them children, suggest the military is stepping up its campaign.

As the Peshawar tragedy unfolded, army chief General Raheel Sharif said the attack had renewed the forces' determination to push for the militants' "final elimination".

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 07:56:42 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17537-us-drone-strike-kills-five-in-northwest-pakistan
22 Insurgents Killed in Nationwide ANSF Raids http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17536-22-insurgents-killed-in-nationwide-ansf-raids

At least 22 Taliban insurgents were killed during a nationwide operation led by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in a statement on Saturday.

Seven other insurgents were injured and four were arrested, according to the statement.

The operations were conducted in Helmand, Paktia, Khost, Uruzgan, Balkh, Jawzjan, Sar-e-Pul and Kunar provinces, the statement noted.

"During these operations, the Afghan National Police discovered and confiscated light and heavy rounds of ammunition and 50 different types of IEDs," it added.

Also during the same 24-hour period, the police diffused 26 different types of IEDs placed for destructive activities in Khost, Ghazni, Logar, Zabul, Kandahar and Faryab provinces.

The statement, however, did not provide details of possible ANSF causalities.

But the Taliban have rejected the MoI statement and the causalities occurred to them.

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 07:05:36 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17536-22-insurgents-killed-in-nationwide-ansf-raids
First 100 Days: Pakistani Traders Investments in Afghanistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17535-first-100-days-pakistani-traders-investments-in-afghanistan

Does Pakistan traders investment in Afghanistan have any positive impact on Afghanistan and Pakistan relations?

President Ashraf Ghani met the Pakistani traders and told them that the Afghan government will provide facilities for their investments in Afghanistan.

In this episode of the program, host Fawad Aman discusses the topics with the following guests:

• Wafiullah Iftikhar, head of Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA)
• Partaw Naderi, writer and civil society activist
• Raz Mohammad Dalili, civil society activist

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}hg_AHl7ufI8{/youtube}

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 06:59:03 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17535-first-100-days-pakistani-traders-investments-in-afghanistan
Girl Killed in Taliban Missile Attack in Laghman http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17534-girl-killed-in-taliban-missile-attack-in-laghman

A young girl was killed in a Taliban insurgent's missile attack in eastern Laghman province on Friday, local officials said on Saturday.

Six other civilians including women and children were injured in the attack.

The incident took place in Dawlat Shah district of the province when the Taliban insurgents launched several missiles into the district, in which one of the missiles hit a civilian home killing a young girl, spokesman for Laghman Governor, Sarhadi Zwak said.

"Six other civilians including children and women were injured in the missiles attacks," Zwak said. "The Taliban have lauched missiles for nearly two hours in several parts of Dawlat Shah district where most of it has landed on agricultural land, streets and other parts of the district."

The victims have been taken to a nearby hospital, he added.

However, the Taliban have not yet commented about the attacks.

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 05:57:36 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17534-girl-killed-in-taliban-missile-attack-in-laghman
TAWDE KHABARE: The Uprising of Residents of Kunar Against Taliban http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17533-tawde-khabare-the-uprising-of-residents-of-kunar-against-taliban

The residents of Dangam district of eastern Kunar province have started fighting against Taliban insurgents.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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The leader in Dangam leading the residents in the fight against the insurgents said that an air strike will only end this, stressing that without it families of the district are in the shadow of death.

This comes while, the acting Minister of Interior Gen. Mohammad Ayoub Salangi visited Kunar's district of Dangam on Thursday to evaluate the situation and in conclusion has ordered all Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to use all their "abilities and efforts" in defeating the insurgents that have drowned the district.

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

• Shahzada Shahid, MP
• Amir Shah Kargar, political analyst
• Gul Aqa Hassani, the head of people council of Kunar
• Abdul Habib Sayedkhili, Kunar Police Chief

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 03:27:01 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17533-tawde-khabare-the-uprising-of-residents-of-kunar-against-taliban
TOLOnews 6 pm News 19 December 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17532-tolonews-6-pm-news-19-december-2014 Top news in this bulletin

Acting Minister of Interior Gen. Mohammad Ayoub Salangi visited Kunar's district of Dangam on Thursday to evaluate the situation and in conclusion has ordered all Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to use all their "abilities and efforts" in defeating the insurgents that have drowned the district.

To watch the whole bulletin, click here:

{youtube} IYHqyFynwN8{/youtube}


"I have talked with our security officials of their plans in defeating the insurgents," Gen. Salangi said. "We have noted the deficiencies and shortcomings, but meanwhile our preparations made to defeat the insurgents are well planned."

A female lawyer's body was found on Thursday in Bagrami district of Kabul, police officials said.

According to police, the lawyer's body has been identified as Kabul's family court lawyer know as Fahima.

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Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:30:16 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17532-tolonews-6-pm-news-19-december-2014
High Costs Burden Afghan Medical Patients in India http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17531-high-costs-burden-afghan-medical-patients-in-india

Afghans who travel to India for medical treatment have complained of rising fees and extortion practices that have combined to make receiving care in India more expensive and difficult for Afghans than in the past.

TOLOnews correspondent Syed Tariq Majidi reported on the plight of Afghan medical patients, most of who prefer to go to India despite its high costs. In addition to the hundreds of Afghans who travel to India for tourism and business, since the 2001 NATO invasion, many have relied on Indian medical expertise in lieu of a more developed medical sector in Afghanistan.

"I preferred to bring my patient to India, because I took him to the hospitals in Afghanistan several times with no positive outcomes from the treatment, the government must do something to ensure better medical treatment of citizens inside the country," Syed Mohammad, the relative of a patient in India, told TOLOnews.

"My father is a heart patient, but hospitals ask for huge amount of money here in India," another Afghan named Abdul Basit said.

The treatments Afghans travel to India for are usually intensive and related to serious ailments. Nevertheless, it is often not just the treatments Afghan patients find themselves busting the bank for. "I have traveled to India twice, initially I was suffering from cardiac disease and now coping with a new illness, and in every hospital the patient consults and interpreters ask for money for different reasons," an Afghan patient in India named Mohammad Ishaq claimed. "I am fully aware if a patient spends 100,000 Indian rupees at the hospital, 20,000 rupees go to the accounts of the interpreters."

Although the Indian government has tried to make its medical sector more available to Afghans, some patients have been forced to return to Afghanistan without adequate treatment because of their inability to pay their bills. "It is almost ten days since I arrived in New Delhi, but today I will return to Kabul, because I have no money to stay anymore," another patient named Fahim told TOLOnews.

Referring to the issue, the Afghan Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) reported that programs would be developed to ensure better treatment inside Afghanistan. "We are determined to attract confidence of the citizens and avoid our citizens having to travel abroad for medical treatments," Ministry spokesman Kanishka Turkistani said.

In part of the Indian capital New Delhi, there is a township where hundreds of Afghans have brought patients for medical treatment and they pay 1,000 AFG rent per night, which is said to be beyond the financial capacity of most travelers. In addition to medical expenditures, most Afghans are also compelled to pay for varying amounts of gas, food, electricity, water and other necessary items.

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Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:13:32 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17531-high-costs-burden-afghan-medical-patients-in-india
Civil Society Activists Join Mounting Pressure for Kabul-Islamabad Cooperation http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17530-civil-society-activists-join-mounting-pressure-for-kabul-islamabad-cooperation

Pakistani civil society activists on Friday called for Islamabad and Kabul to unite in a large-scale offensive against all insurgents groups in the region, and emphasized the need for cooperation with Afghanistan.

The push for greater coordination and commitment to combating insurgency and terrorism in both country comes after weeks of deadly Taliban attacks on either side of the border. Earlier this week, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on a army-run school in Peshawar that left over 130 people dead, most of which were children, according Pakistani officials.

"It's beyond someone's thought and I don't understand how someone dares to commit an atrocity and resort to killing children and civilians, such an action poses a major threat to the government and these attacks should be stopped," civil society activist Gulalai told TOLOnews.

Meanwhile, Pakistani political commentator Emal Khatak said that: "Afghanistan and Pakistan must jointly combat terrorism and both nations must honestly contribute in this area, because in the past, meetings were held and commitments made, however, the promises were not fulfilled."

Afghan and NATO leaders have for years pushed the civilian government in Islamabad and the military to crackdown on militants inside Pakistan, many of which have fought in Afghanistan and continue to support the Afghan Taliban's insurgency. But tensions between the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan have simmered around the issue of the Pakistani intelligence service's covert support for the Taliban.

"Distinctions between good and bad Taliban must be avoided, both Afghanistan and Pakistan should abide by this and our common enemy should be identified so we can reach our targets," Pakistani civil society activist Amna Durani said on Friday.

Many in Afghanistan hope that Tuesday's attack on the school in Peshawar will be the catalyst to wake Pakistan up to the real threat posed by militants and spark a major push to subdue the groups.

On Wednesday, Pakistan's Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif traveled to Kabul to meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss combating terrorism in both countries and the region more broadly.

President Ghani was said to have expressed his condolences to Sharif and the nation of Pakistan in regard to the innocent lives lost in Tuesday's horrific attack.

Gen. Sharif, according to the press release, said that Pakistan is trying its best to hunt down those behind the Peshawar attack and ensure justice is served. "Afghanistan and Pakistan must fight terrorism together to prevent such incidents," a statement released by the Presidential Palace quoted Gen. Sharif as saying.

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Fri, 19 Dec 2014 12:58:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17530-civil-society-activists-join-mounting-pressure-for-kabul-islamabad-cooperation
ANSF Must Use All Abilities, Efforts to Defeat Insurgency: Salangi http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17529-ansf-must-use-all-abilities-efforts-to-defeat-insurgency-salangi-

Acting Minister of Interior Gen. Mohammad Ayoub Salangi visited Kunar's district of Dangam on Thursday to evaluate the situation and in conclusion has ordered all Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to use all their "abilities and efforts" in defeating the insurgents that have drowned the district.

"I have talked with our security officials of their plans in defeating the insurgents," Gen. Salangi said. "We have noted the deficiencies and shortcomings, but meanwhile our preparations made to defeat the insurgents are well planned."

The leader in Dangam leading the residents in the fight against the insurgents said that an air strike will only end this, stressing that without it families of the district are in the shadow of death.

"We have been fighting for more than 10 days and the government is still telling us they are 'preparing a plan,'" Muzamil, leader of the residents leading the uprising against the local and foreign insurgents, said. "Our children have been killed, our people have been surrounded and there is no food and no way for it to reach us," adding that six civilians have been killed and roughly 50 others wounded in the battle.

Meanwhile, Kunar representatives have warned the government and security officials that if there is no air strike, Dangam's villages will not be cleared of the insurgents.

"Until there is not an air strike, the insurgents will continue to push thru," Sakhi Mashwani, Kunar representative, said. "Just a few days ago foreign forces conducted an operation in the area and now that there is an actual war happening they are nowhere in sight to assist."

But Kunar army officials have said that efforts are being made to foil the attack in the district as soon as possible.

"We are following thru with our plan," Afzal Khan, Commander of the 2nd Army Brigade in Kunar, said. "We have taken control of vital areas and are moving forward cautiously and slowly."

Kunar's district of Dangam borders Pakistan where in the past few months the residents have risen against the local and foreign insurgents in hopes that the government will step in to restore security.

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Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:36:31 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17529-ansf-must-use-all-abilities-efforts-to-defeat-insurgency-salangi-
Female Lawyer Found Dead in Bagrami http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17528-female-lawyer-found-dead-in-bagrami

A female lawyer's body was found on Thursday in Bagrami district of Kabul, police officials said.

According to police, the lawyer's body has been identified as Kabul's family court lawyer know as Fahima.

Kabul police said that Fahima disappeared Thursday after she left the office around 3 p.m.

Her body was later found the same night around 8:30 p.m. and according to initial investigations, police have taken her husband in custody as a prime suspect in the case.

‎Police reports indicate that Fahima reached home as her purse and belongings from the office were inside her home.

The report also added that there were no gunshot wounds or signs of struggle. Police believe this may be a domestic violence case that led to the death of the Kabul lawyer.

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Fri, 19 Dec 2014 08:52:33 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17528-female-lawyer-found-dead-in-bagrami
First 100 Days: Afghanistan and Pakistan Commit to Combat Terrorism http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17527-first-100-days-afghanistan-and-pakistan-commit-to-combat-terrorism

Issue: Afghanistan and Pakistan Commit to Combat Terrorism

In a meeting with President Ashraf Ghani yesterday, Gen. Raheel Sharif, Pakistani Chief of Army Staff said that in order to prevent the repetition of such attacks, Afghanistan and Pakistan must jointly work against terrorism. Meanwhile, Ghani condemned the attacks on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan and the recent suicide bombings in Paktiya province and Istiqlal High School of Kabul. Ghani emphasized serious combat against terrorism.

Host Omid Farooq discusses the topic with the following guests:

• Ahmad Saeedi, Political Analyst
• Shah Hussain Murtazawi, Journalist
• Mirza Muhammad Yarmand, Security Analyst
• Basheer Bezhan, Political Analyst

To watch the program, click here:

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Fri, 19 Dec 2014 07:25:08 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/17527-first-100-days-afghanistan-and-pakistan-commit-to-combat-terrorism
TAWDE KHABARE: Counter Narcotics Report http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17526-tawde-khabare-counter-narcotics-report

Issue: Ministry of Counter Narcotics Report

A recent report by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics show that the poppy cultivation has increased by 36 percent this year compared to other years.

After spending $7.6 billion and 13 years of efforts, poppy cultivation is still on the rise in Afghanistan. Why has the efforts of Afghanistan and the International Community not been effective in preventing poppy cultivation?

Host Shahpoor Bakhtyar, discusses the matter with the following guests:

• Lalai Hameedzai, MP

• Hashem Wahdat Yar, Regional Official from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

To watch the program, click here:

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Fri, 19 Dec 2014 07:06:10 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/17526-tawde-khabare-counter-narcotics-report
Paghman Gang Rape Escapee Arrested http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17525-paghman-gang-rape-escapee-arrested

One of the three Paghman gang rape escapees was arrested with an associate in Kabul province.

Officials at the National Directorate of Security (NDS) have reported the arrest of Farzullah, a resident of Faizullah village in Khuwaja Musafer of Paghman district.

An associate of Farzullah named Aminullah was also arrested.

During the initial investigations, Farzullah admitted in assisting the rapists by driving from the scene and for reporting oncoming and going vehicles from the area.

He further admitted that that Friday evening he had informed the team leader of a red corolla with females inside, which they stopped and raped the women.

After the rape incident, Farzullah drove the rapists away from scene in exchange for 5,000 AFS.

The five Paghman men were put to death after being convicted for robbery and the kidnapping and rape of four women last month. Their case caused outrage around the country, and calls for their execution eventually came all the way from the Presidential Palace.

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Fri, 19 Dec 2014 06:47:49 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17525-paghman-gang-rape-escapee-arrested
TOLOnews 6 pm News 18 December 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17524-tolonews-6-pm-news-18-december-2014 Top news in this bullitine

Director of Kunar People Association said that Pakistani families, who have sought refuge in Kunar, were armed by the Pakistani government to attack the villages of Dangam district, where in recent days the residents have rose against the Taliban. Five days have passed since more than 2,000 domestic and foreign insurgents attacked a village in Dangam district, where local residents alongside Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are still fighting.

To watch the whole bullitine, Click Here:

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 According to a number of security officials, the absence of foreign troops, air support and intelligence has resulted in the challenges faced by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), and, of course the nation.At a recent Parliament session, acting Director of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Rahmatullah Nabil, stressed that the lack of intelligence gathering tools has overshadowed the efforts of the ANSF. Nabil presented to the Parliament that Kabul "may be the only capital in the world that is being threatened by 107 terrorist groups."

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Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:05:39 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/17524-tolonews-6-pm-news-18-december-2014
Wave of Attacks Could Prompt Increased Afghan-Pakistani Cooperation on Taliban http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17523-wave-of-attacks-could-prompt-increased-afghan-pakistani-cooperation-on-taliban

In a sign of potential increased cooperation on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts in the region, the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif, traveled to Kabul the day after a shocking Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar left over a 100 children dead, and met with President Ashraf Ghani and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander General John Campbell.

Following his visit, General Sharif said that the Afghan president and ISAF commander assured him that the Taliban would not be allowed to use Afghan soil as a launching pad for attacks on Pakistan, exposing the simmering distrust that remains between the sides after 13 years of war. The general's comments come after Afghan and NATO coalition leaders have for years pleaded with the Pakistani government to do more to keep the Taliban from using the tribal belt as a safe haven for recruiting fighters and launching attacks into Afghanistan.

But after the Tuesday's deadly attack by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on a military-run school in Peshawar, it is possible the Pakistani armed forces and civilian government in Islamabad are more inclined to crack down on terrorism and seek help in doing so than ever before. A number of security analysts have encouraged that view, arguing that Afghanistan and Pakistan should come together and establish a joint counter-terrorism task force.

"To combat militancy, not only the two governments, but also the role of the people and media of the countries is essential and they must undertake a joint strategy to fight insurgency effectively," Pakistani political commentator Nisar Mohammad Khan said on Thursday.

In the wake of the Peshawar attack, as well as the brutal Afghan Taliban attack on Estiqlal High School in Kabul earlier in the week, leaders and commentators on both sides of the border have emphasized the transnational nature of the insurgency and terrorist threat in the region. They have said the Taliban do not respect any existing borders and will attack either country just as they will attack a soldier or civilian - indiscriminately.

"Existence of militants, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan, threatens both countries, so both countries must honestly cooperate in fighting insurgency," Pakistani journalist Mahmoud Yousafzai told TOLOnews.

Stability in one country contributes to stability in the other, many have claimed. "If a joint force is established, this would be in the interests of both countries, because stability in Afghanistan ensures Pakistan's stability and stability in Pakistan guarantees Afghanistan's stability," said Attaullah Habib, a member of the Afghan Parliament's Internal Security Commission.

But Afghanistan's calls for greater cooperation on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations are nothing new. For much of the past decade, Afghan officials have harbored intense suspicion and resentment toward their Pakistani counterparts because the Afghan Taliban received support and protection from the Pakistani intelligence service and military. Even if Pakistan's stance on militants shifts on account of blowback like the attack on Peshawar, many Afghans say they need to see Islamabad take a stand against Taliban fighters supporting the conflict in Afghanistan if it is to be considered an honest partner.

"Now it is winter season and the Afghan Taliban has settled in Pakistani territory; if Pakistan is honest, then it should eliminate Afghan Taliban fighters," Afghan military analyst Atiqullah Amarkhail said.

The porous border and shared ethno-tribal ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan have enabled insurgents fighting on either side of the border to travel easily between the two countries and elude pressure from either government.

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Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:01:52 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17523-wave-of-attacks-could-prompt-increased-afghan-pakistani-cooperation-on-taliban
Nangarhar Provincial Council Accuses Highway Administrators of Corruption http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17522-nangarhar-provincial-council-accuses-highway-administrators-of-corruption

Members of the Nangarhar Provincial Council have alleged widespread corruption exists within the weigh station administration system along the Kabul-Torkham highway.

According to local officials in Nangahar, the Khairokhail scale administration receives hundreds of thousands of AFG from truck drivers on the Kabul-Torkham highway and only a small percentage of the money reaches the national treasury.

The Nangarhar Provincial Council has called attention to the corruption, and demanded the central government step in because high ranking officials are involved. "Huge amounts of money is earned with these scales on a daily basis, we know that the money goes to personal accounts with the support of high level government officials, such serious stealing isn't possible without the support of high level government officials," Nangarhar Provincial Council member Jawed Zaman said.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the Khairokhail High Tonnage Scale, Ghulam Qadir Faqiri, has claimed that 30 to 50 thousand AFG on average is earned daily and the money is charged based on orders from the Council of Ministers.

But a number of drivers have reported paying a fee of up to 20,000 AFG to scale administrators for a single vehicle. "We are tired of the oppression, there is no monitoring on these scales," one driver on the Kabul-Nangarhar highway named Abdullah told TOLOnews.

Heavy-load trucks have been the subject of frustration among many infrastructure developers and local governments in part because they tend to contribute to the deterioration of roads faster. Increased fees on higher trucks could be a response to the need for funds to repair roads damaged by heavy weight trucks.

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Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:54:09 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17522-nangarhar-provincial-council-accuses-highway-administrators-of-corruption
House Commission Recommends Changes to Election Law, Removal of Current Commissioners http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17521-house-commission-recommends-changes-to-election-law-removal-of-current-commissioners

The Legal and Judicial Commission of the House of Representatives announced on Thursday that it had finalized recommendations for changes to job description and authorities of the Independent Election Commission as they will be stated in the newly amended election law.

According a number of members of the commission, based on the changes, the current members of the electoral commissions will be relieved of their duties. In total, there will be changes brought to 10 articles of the election law.

"The changes have been brought so that after the finalization members of the electoral commissions will not be able to continue their jobs," said Abdul Rauf Inami, Deputy Chairman of the Legal and Judicial Commission of the House of Representatives.

When the national unity government was first formed, bringing the runoff election process to a close, one of the primary conditions of its existence was the agreement that reforms would be brought to the country's election process and the organizations that administrate it. But after months of inaction on the part of the president's office, the House of Representatives has stepped in.

According to the new terms of the election law, the members of the electoral commissions will be appointed by the President and the CEO after being nominated by the Chairmen of Parliament. After members are selected, they will be sent before the House of Representatives for a vote of confidence. Meanwhile, the eighth article of the election law now states that the term limit of the members of the commission is two and half years, a major decrease from the six years it was previously.

The twelfth through fifteenth articles of the new law concern accountability and checks and balances for the commissions. The twelfth states that two international observers must stay as permanent observers at the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), and based on the fourteenth article, the electoral commission members will be answerable to both the president and Parliament. The 15th article states that meetings and decisions of the commissions must take place with a majority of the members present.

Finally, the sixteenth article of the law states that the Chairman and deputies of the Commissions Secretariats will be appointed by the president, and must be confirmed by the majority of members of the commission, then confirmed by the CEO.

Before the current amendments to the election law can be implemented, however, the law must be reviewed and approved by all 18 commissions in Parliament and then put up for a general vote.

Election observer groups have said that they support the House's proposed amendments. "I hope that the modifications are brought so the country's democratic process is supported and the changes are not political," said Muhammad Naeem Ayoubzada, Chairman of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan.

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Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:40:40 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/17521-house-commission-recommends-changes-to-election-law-removal-of-current-commissioners