TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:56:38 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) TOLOnews 6pm News 29 March 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18809-tolonews-6pm-news-29-march-2015

Speaking of an agreement on a general framework for the peace talks, the High Peace Council (HPC) members have declared that the proposed peace talks with the Taliban would likely be held in Afghanistan.

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The HPC adviser for international affairs, Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, hoped on Sunday that the Afghan government and the Taliban would to come to the negotiation table "without any preconditions."

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Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:42:55 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18809-tolonews-6pm-news-29-march-2015
Peace Talks Possibly in Afghanistan: HPC http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18808-peace-talks-possibly-in-afghanistan-hpc-

Speaking of an agreement on a general framework for the peace talks, the High Peace Council (HPC) members have declared that the proposed peace talks with the Taliban would likely be held in Afghanistan.


The HPC adviser for international affairs, Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, hoped on Sunday that the Afghan government and the Taliban would to come to the negotiation table "without any preconditions."

"There has been an agreement over the framework; first that both the sides would lead the talks freely and in a peaceful environment in Afghanistan, and secondly none of them would come for negotiations with any precondition," Qasimyar said.

The peace talks with the Taliban were to start in early days of March after the process was stopped during former president Hamid Karzai's government who opposed Taliban's Qatar office; however, the month of March is coming to an end but still there is no report of development in the process.

The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, however, insisted in an exclusive interview with TOLOnews that a woman would also include the panel of negotiators from Afghan government.

"It is the demand of people of Afghanistan, and as women make half of the society, they have the right to have a representative in these talks, and this will be an advantage for us," Abdullah emphasized.

But the delay in the initiation of peace talks is making the Afghan people more disappointed, a nation that is still eying for stable peace after suffering more than three decades of war and violence.
The analysts, however, blame the delay on Pakistan, accusing the Pakistani government of once again playing intelligence game with Afghanistan.

"The Afghan government trusts Pakistan very soon, that's why, they rushed in starting the program," female lawmaker Fawzia Kofi criticized. "But now the government has realized that Pakistan has not been honest in the past 10 years and will not be after this either."

Efforts for bringing peace to Afghanistan can be counted among the works that the National Unity Government (NUG) focused in the past six months.

As part of his peace efforts, President Ashraf Ghani twice visited Saudi Arabia and also Pakistan and China soon after forming the unity government with Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

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Sun, 29 Mar 2015 13:51:44 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18808-peace-talks-possibly-in-afghanistan-hpc-
KANKASH: India's Concerns About China's Role in Afghanistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/kankash/18807-kankash-indias-concerns-about-chinas-role-in-afghanistan

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit China in May where he would talk the border dispute between the two powerful regional countries. Besides that, the two leaders would also expectedly touch on Afghanistan's issues. Some Indian officials are said to be concerned about the role Beijing is currently playing in Afghanistan, especially bringing Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian Countries closer through railroad and Silk Road.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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Moreover, China has also offered to host talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban. However, India is also among the big donor countries to Afghanistan, investing in several infrastructure projects in the country.

The questions raised in this discussion were as follows:

1. How can Afghanistan continue to have cooperation and assistance of both the countries?
2. Importance of India and China's cooperation with Afghanistan?
3. What are India's concerns about Beijing's role in Afghanistan?

In this episode of Kankash, host Omid Farooq discuss the topic with the following guests:

Sayed Massoud, professor at the University
Ferooz Khan Masjidi, professor at the University
Fardin Hashemi, professor at the University

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Sun, 29 Mar 2015 12:18:22 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/kankash/18807-kankash-indias-concerns-about-chinas-role-in-afghanistan
A DEFINING MOMENT http://www.tolonews.com/en/opinion/18806-a-defining-moment

As she begged for her life, Farkhunda's vicious death took hours. Precipitated by false accusations, the 27-year-old pleaded to the hundreds of men and women who were intent on punishing her. Her pleas were not met with mercy, but with fatal weapons of choice; planks, rocks, and sticks. After a cruel and brutal beating at the hands of dozens of men outside a mosque in the heart of Afghanistan's capital, last week, Farkhunda was eventually dragged through the streets by the mob, thrown off a bridge, and, presumably still alive, set ablaze. Her assailants left her charred remains left on the bed of the dry Kabul River.

Dozens of bystanders cowardly looked on, recording the horrific event and eagerly made it immediately available on social media. Some bragged about their footage. Very few, a handful of people, briefly tried to protect Farkhunda, but failed miserably.

This "heinous attack," as categorized by President Ashraf Ghani, and how the murder of Farkhunda is handled is a defining moment. Many across the globe have valiantly demanded justice for Farkhunda, but very few have talked about the specific legalities of it all.

Let's review. It is an undisputed fact that Farkhunda was murdered. It is an equally undisputed that many witnessed this heinous attack doing nothing to stop it; they too should be held equally responsible for their failure to act.

How this case is prosecuted will show the world what Afghanistan has become, and what benefits and changes have been the legacy of billions of dollars investment and 13 year international intervention that came to an end this year.

After Ghani's fruitful three-day trip to the Whitehouse, President Obama announced a commitment to maintain a 9800 troop presence in Afghanistan President Ghani, amid thunderous applause in Congress on 25 March 2015,promised to work towards a commitment to woman's rights, a transformation of the legal system, and a pledge to defeat terrorism. All of this will now be put to the test as it is determined how Farkhunda's murder is handled by the Afghan legal system.

This is more than a community policing issue, it is a societal issue, a global issue, which goes to the core of how a disenfranchised public continues to silently support through their inaction the repeated degradation and demise of more than half of Afghanistan's females who consistently remain unheard, victimized, and shut down. By penalizing those who were passive onlookers Afghanistan can be a frontrunner in pointing out the responsibility that we have to each other and it can be a means of setting a global precedent. It can be an example to show how a vigilant public, working under the guise of community policing has an affirmative moral and legal duty to prevent such wild attacks in the future.

The reality is that hundreds of people cowardly watched as Farkhunda was brutally murdered. The equally important reality is that this is a global problem where guilty bystanders are not held accountable for their inaction. Afghan law, the International Conventions to which Afghanistan is a signatory to, as well as common human decency requires that those who participated in Farkhunda's murder must be punished, as must those who stood idly by and watched.
According to Afghanistan's Penal Code Article 354, a person has an affirmative legal duty to render assistance to someone being victimized, like Farkhunda so clearly was, failure to do so mandates criminal punishment.

Punishing the voyeuristic onlookers is key. It is key for Afghanistan, it is key in setting precedent in the Middle East, and it is key for the world. In a country that, as a 2012 Oxfam report noted, 87% of woman are victims of some form of physical, sexual, or psychological violence or forced marriage in their lifetimes, punishing perpetrators and the equally guilty onlookers sends a societal message that every Afghan is accountable to the protection of its women.

It is vital that the Afghan Government reaffirms, recognizes, and acknowledges that the community has certain responsibilities to protect its citizens. Allowing society to ignore its obligation only promotes anarchy, discord, and perpetuates further violence. It is imperative that the government punishes not only those who tortured Farkhunda to death, but also those who did nothing, so it deters anyone from refusing to render assistance in the future.
It is important that Afghanistan's new government not sweep what happened to Farkhunda under the rug and not support, passively or actively, the deeply rooted culture of misogyny that has permeated so much of Afghanistan's social fabric. After billions of dollars invested and thousands of lives lost, Afghanistan must decide who they are.

Millions of Afghan citizens like Farkhunda deserve a country that respects their rights and protects their safety; one which holds up moral and legal codes that will punish those who seek to attack them as well as the cowards who do nothing.


This is a defining moment Afghanistan. In 2005 at TED GLOBAL, then Minister of Finance and now President Ghani said, very astutely that "We must now finally come to think about the premises of a truly global world, in relationship to the regime of rights and responsibilities and accountabilities that are truly global in scope." Farkhunda and how her legacy is treated is a defining moment for Afghanistan. It is a defining moment for the world. Afghanistan will you passively sit back and watch as your citizens, your women, are viciously killed or will you take a stand and forge a new global path of accountability and responsibility by punishing those that were directly and indirectly responsible for her demise.

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Sun, 29 Mar 2015 10:52:43 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/opinion/18806-a-defining-moment
Guarded Optimism As Iran Nuclear Talks Enter 'Endgame' http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18805-guarded-optimism-as-iran-nuclear-talks-enter-endgame

World powers appeared Saturday to be narrowing in on a deal to stop Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb, with marathon talks stretching into the evening as Iran's foreign minister voiced confidence the final hurdles can be overcome.

"We're moving forward," Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters after meeting separately with his German and French counterparts who flew into Lausanne, Switzerland on Saturday to join the negotiations.

"I think we can in fact make the necessary progress to be able to resolve all the issues and start writing them down in a text that will become the final agreement once it's done," Zarif said.

Iran and six world powers aim by Tuesday to agree the main contours of a deal reducing Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief and ending a more than decade-old standoff. A full agreement is due by June 30.

France's top diplomat Laurent Fabius, the most hawkish in the P5+1 group of countries negotiating with Iran, said he wanted a "robust deal" with close oversight to ensure no violations.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the talks had entered their "endgame" but also warned this would also be the hardest stage.

Russia's chief negotiator, Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying the chances of a deal were "more than 50/50".

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who arrived in a rainy Lausanne late Saturday, said negotiators "have never been so close to a deal" but added there remained "critical points" to resolve.

The powers want Iran to shrink its nuclear programme and impose unprecedented inspections in order to make any covert dash to a bomb all but impossible.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi were reportedly due to join the talks on Sunday. Britain's Philip Hammond was on stand-by.

"It was important that ministers began to arrive... We expect the pace to intensify," a senior US official said.

"The brinksmanship in these negotiations will no doubt continue until the eleventh hour," said Ali Vaez, an expert at the International Crisis Group.

- Down the wire -

The Iranians "like to negotiate on the edge of a precipice. They're very good at it," a Western diplomat said.

The deal the negotiators are trying to put together is highly complex and two deadlines last year to turn an interim accord reached in November 2013 were missed.

"Everything is linked. If all the technical issues are resolved and the questions tied to the sanctions are not, then there is no deal," said Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi.

Late Saturday he went into a third meeting of the day with US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz working out the technical nuts and bolts of how a deal might work, Salehi's deputy said.

The sequence of sanctions relief and Iran's development of faster machines called centrifuges to make nuclear fuel -- but which can also produce the core of a bomb -- are proving particularly thorny.

The UN has imposed several rounds of sanctions since 2006 aimed at stopping Iran from expanding its nuclear and missile programmes while EU and US sanctions since 2010 have targeted its oil exports and financial system.

Iran wants the sanctions lifted immediately but global powers insist on a gradual phasing out of sanctions over many years to ensure Iran sticks to its commitments. The issue of UN sanctions is proving particularly thorny.

It remains unclear what form any deal to emerge from the Lausanne talks would take.

Kerry is under pressure to return from Lausanne with something concrete to head off a push by Republican lawmakers to introduce yet more sanctions, potentially torpedoing the whole negotiating process.

There are also wider issues at play.

Russia's Ryabkov said US-supported airstrikes by Iran's foe Saudi Arabia on Iran-backed rebels in Yemen was "having an impact on the atmosphere" in Lausanne.

"We hope that the situation in Yemen will not bring about a change in the position of certain participants," he said.

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Sun, 29 Mar 2015 09:05:01 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18805-guarded-optimism-as-iran-nuclear-talks-enter-endgame
TAWDE KHABARE: No Election Unless System Reformed: Abdullah http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/18804-tawde-khabare-no-election-unless-system-reformed-abdullah

The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has warned that as long as the electoral system has not been reformed, the government would not hold any election.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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In an interview with the Voice of America, President Ashraf Ghani's partner in the unity government noted that electoral reform was the only option to prevent fraud in the elections.

Pointing to the delay of upcoming Parliamentary and district council elections, Abdullah cleared that no election would be held until profound reforms are not brought to the system.

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

• Jandad Spinghar, head of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA)
• Gul Ahmad Madadzai, member of Election Reformation Commission
• Abdul Rahim Ayoubi, MP
• Zelgai Sajad, professor at the University

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Sun, 29 Mar 2015 08:53:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/18804-tawde-khabare-no-election-unless-system-reformed-abdullah
FARAKHABAR: Daikundi Abductees Released But The Fate of 31 Zabul Hostages Still Unknown http://www.tolonews.com/en/fara-khabar/18803-farakhabar-daikundi-abductees-released-but-the-fate-of-31-zabul-hostages-still-unknown

The Taliban have released about 20 passengers and drivers who were abducted last week from Kandahar-Daikundi highway. However, the fate of 31 other hostages that are being held for more than a month in southern Zabul province is still unknown.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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The Police Chief of Daikundi, Juma Gul Bardi, announced on Saturday that the abductees were released unconditionally as a result of mediation by the tribal elders.

Who are behind these abductions? And why is the government silent?

In this episode of FaraKhabar, host Yama Siavish discusses the topic with the following guests:

• Zulfiqar Omid, political analyst
• Tahir Zahir, political analyst

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Sun, 29 Mar 2015 08:22:17 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/fara-khabar/18803-farakhabar-daikundi-abductees-released-but-the-fate-of-31-zabul-hostages-still-unknown
ANSF Operations Kill 10 Taliban Insurgents http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18802-ansf-operations-kill-10-taliban-insurgents

At least 10 insurgents were killed and 11others injured during a series of coordinated operations over the past 24 hours by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in a statement on Sunday.

Four other insurgents were arrested during the operations.

The operations were conducted in Takhar, Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul, Kandahar, Logar, Ghazni, Nangarhar, Herat, Farah and Helmand provinces, the statement said.

"During the same 24 hour period, Afghan National Police discovered and defused 21 different types of IEDs placed in Kunduz, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Khost and Helmand provinces," the statement noted.

The MoI, however, did not comment whether the security forces were harmed in the operations.

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Sun, 29 Mar 2015 07:43:27 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18802-ansf-operations-kill-10-taliban-insurgents
Exclusive Interview with CEO Abdullah Abdullah http://www.tolonews.com/en/interviews/18801-tolonews-exclusive-interivew-with-ceo-abdullah-abdullah-

The visit to the United States was a step to restore the strained relations between Kabul and Washington, the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said, calling the trip productive.

In an exclusive interview with TOLOnews, Abdullah declared that their visit helped to gain more assistance from the United States including equipment to the Afghan forces.

To watch the entire interview, click here:

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:14:38 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/interviews/18801-tolonews-exclusive-interivew-with-ceo-abdullah-abdullah-
TOLOnews 6pm News 28 March 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18800-tolonews-6pm-news-28-march-2015

The visit to the United States was a step to restore the strained relations between Kabul and Washington, the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said, calling the trip productive.

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In an exclusive interview with TOLOnews, Abdullah declared that their visit helped to gain more assistance from the United States including equipment to the Afghan forces.

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 16:56:50 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18800-tolonews-6pm-news-28-march-2015
“Farkhunda Volleyball Tournament” Kicks Off in Kabul http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18799-farkhunda-volleyball-tournament-kicks-off-in-kabul-

A female volleyball tournament "Farkhunda Cup" has been kicked off in Kabul in remembrance of 27-year-old Farkhunda who was killed and burnt last week.

Being held in the gymnasium of Kabul Police Training Center, the tournament is organized for three days where eight different teams are participating.

In the first two matches of the tournament, the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) defeated Al-Zahra while the Police defeated Sports Association.

"This tournament is being launched to condemn the brutal killing and Farkhunda," an athlete Roya said. "Through this tournament, we express our sympathy to the family of Farkhunda."

The organizers of the tournament declared that efforts were underway to organize an international level tournament by the name of Farkhunda.

Farkhunda was beaten to death and burnt by a mob last week in Kabul on the alleged of burning Holy Quran, an accusation strongly rejected by the security agencies and the investigations teams as baseless.

A number of rallies and protests are being staged in different parts of the country to condemn Farkhunda's killing and demand the government to bring perpetrators to justice.

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:21:15 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18799-farkhunda-volleyball-tournament-kicks-off-in-kabul-
Breshna Says Kabul's Power to Be Restored Within Five Days http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18797-breshna-says-kabuls-power-to-be-restored-within-five-days

With about a month gone by since Kabul's electricity was cut down, the Breshna Company, the city's primary provider, has not been able to fix the line issues in Salang that have caused the power shortage. Nevertheless, the company's officials have said the problem should be fixed within a week.

"We need five business days - with good weather it can be done in three business days, and in the next two days we can do the wiring," Breshna spokesman Wahidullah Tawhedi said. "We will have electricity in the next five business days."

Meanwhile, officials at the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries said that Breshna had promised to reconstruct the electricity lines in Salang within four weeks. "The Breshna Company did not have the necessary preparations in place and enough equipment to resolve this problem," Deputy Chairman Abdul Qadeer Bahman said on Saturday. "This company must pay serious attention."

The electricity shortage in the capital is said to have caused a minor commercial depression. The downed lines in Salang were a result of heavy snow falls.
The Breshna Company has said that over seven million AFN worth of equipment has been purchased in order to reconstruct the downed lines.

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:17:20 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18797-breshna-says-kabuls-power-to-be-restored-within-five-days
MPs Urge Minister to Combat Taliban Propaganda in Mosques http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18796-mps-urge-minister-to-combat-taliban-propaganda-in-mosques

The Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs and Deputy Minister of Justice visited Parliament on Saturday to discuss the recruiting activities of anti-government insurgents as well as counterstrategies being pursued by the government.

A number of lawmakers claimed militant groups had issued a fatwa against the government in mosques across the country. Minister Faiz Muhammad Usmani said that in order to prevent the use of mosques by militants, efforts to undermine false religious authorities were being ramped up.

"There are 150,000 to 160,000 mosques in Afghanistan," Usmani said. "In provinces everywhere, less than 50,000 mosques have been registered with the ministry; there are 3,700 mosques registered with the ministry where we pay the salaries of clerics.

A number of MPs raised the matter of the killing of Farkhunda at the Shah-e-Do Shamshera shrine of Kabul last week. They said the incident demonstrated that spell writers, soothsayers and other opportunistic individuals have appropriated and corrupted the religious practices of communities around the country.

"The man in Shah-e-Do Shamshera shrine, who accused Farkhunda of burning the Koran, has not even read the Koran, and the items that were recovered from his residence are shameful to talk about," Badakhshan MP Fowzi Kofi said. "The items that were found at his residence can't be found in a dance house."

"We cannot go to mosques, because we fear these clerics," Kunduz MP Abdul Woodod Paiman said. "They label the government infidels!"

Minister Usmani said the only way to prevent such deceptive and exploitative practices is to prevent charlatans form entering religious institutions. He went on to say that the MPs must play an role in supporting the peace process.

"Millions of dollars are given to clerics from the government so that they can meet their expenses," Paktika MP Nader Khan Katawazai said. "Have they ever criticized the war against the government? They don't even go to funerals of the Afghanistan National Security Forces."

Faryab MP Bashir Ahmad Tayanj emphasized the sway the Taliban have over many clerics around the country. "We have witnessed on Fridays that clerics change the topics prayers with just one call from the Taliban," he said. "There is a saying: Who ever give money, he makes the orders. So if we pay money to clergies, then they must listen to the government."

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:17:00 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18796-mps-urge-minister-to-combat-taliban-propaganda-in-mosques
Activists Criticize Delay in ID Card Program Implementation http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18795-activists-criticize-delay-in-id-card-program-implementation

Civil society activists on Saturday criticized the national unity government for failing to complete the national ID card program that was launched well over a year ago under former president Hamid Karzai.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has said that the new ID cards will only be issued upon the order of the National Security Council. Yet it is unclear why implementation for the program, which is intended to increase electoral transparency and rule of law more generally, has not yet been given the go ahead.

"The Afghan Census Law has been passed and the law is clear about the issuance of electronic ID cards, we are ready from a technical point of view," Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah's Deputy Spokesman Asef Ashna said. "The delay so far has been on account of the cabinet's formation, after which both electoral reforms and the issuing of electronic ID cards will begin."

According to MoI spokesman Sediq Sediqqi, there remain some technical issues with the ID cards implementation plan. "The Ministry of Interior has finished its duties, but there are some considerations for the government of Afghanistan, especially in the area of technology costs of the process, which the government needs to consider," he said.

Meanwhile, civil society activists, who have been the most vocal critics of the government's delays, said there are some within the government who do not want to see the new IDs issued, because it could lead to a new understanding of the country's demographics.

"As there are no real numbers and statistics on tribes and ethnicities, mostly people who have made up the numbers over years are supporting the delay," Civil Society Association Chairman Aziz Rafiee said on Saturday.

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:52:45 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18795-activists-criticize-delay-in-id-card-program-implementation
US Trip Helped Restore Friendly Relations: Abdullah http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18794-us-trip-helped-restore-friendly-relations-abdullah

The visit to the United States was a step to restore the strained relations between Kabul and Washington, the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said, calling the trip productive.

In an exclusive interview with TOLOnews, Abdullah declared that their visit helped to gain more assistance from the United States including equipment to the Afghan forces.

Both the leaders of National Unity Government (NUG), President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah, headed a high-level government team last week to the United States where President Barack Obama made several pledges to Afghanistan.

Continued funding of all 352,000 Afghan forces until 2017, keeping the current posture of 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan until the end of 2015 and an aid of $800 million USD to the unity government's reform agenda were among the new Obama commitments to Afghanistan.

"This trip was a step to restore the friendly relations which were, unfortunately, harmed in the past," Abdullah said. "These steps were already started from the beginning of the government, and this trip led the United States to become more interested in supporting Afghanistan."

He noted that one of the achievements of their visit was to gain more support for the Afghan forces in terms of training, advising and assisting.

The analysts, meanwhile, believe that if the NUG leaders fail to practice their commitments, the newly created atmosphere between Kabul and Washington would be lost.

"This visit had achievements, and created a new chapter of relations between Kabul and Washington," analyst Mir Ahmad Joyenda said. "But in fact, this visit also brought more responsibilities to the unity government and they need to fulfill what they promised in America."

Though, the five-day visit is said to have been productive, the Afghan people are still awaiting their economic situation improved, their safety ensured and also implementation of rule of law and justice.

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:45:09 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18794-us-trip-helped-restore-friendly-relations-abdullah
20 Daikundi Abductees Released: Police http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18793-20-daikundi-abductees-released-police

The Taliban have released about 20 passengers and drivers who were abducted last week from Kandahar-Daikundi highway, security sources said.

The Police Chief of Daikundi, Juma Gul Bardi, announced on Saturday that the abductees were released unconditionally as a result of mediation by the tribal elders.

"The passengers and drivers who were traveling from Kandahar to Kajran [a district in Daikundi] were released yesterday," Bardi said, explaining the abductees were ordinary shopkeepers, drivers and labors, and were transferred by the Taliban to an unknown place.

He, however, stated that the motive behind the abduction was still unclear.

According to the police chief, the Taliban stopped six civilian vehicles last week in central Uruzgan province and took with them 20 passengers and drivers to an unknown place.

This was the second biggest abduction in the past five weeks after unknown gunmen abducted 31 passengers from Shah Joy district of Zabul when they were traveling on Kabul-Kandahar highway.

Despite many efforts by the elders and a military operation in Zabul, the fate of 31 abductees is still unknown.

The sit-in protest before the Parliament is still underway by the civil society groups, demanding the government for the safe release of the abductees.

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:45:59 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18793-20-daikundi-abductees-released-police
TAWDE KHABARE: 7 Months of NUG And It's Commitment To Eliminate Corruption http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/18792-tawde-khabare-7-months-of-nug-and-its-commitment-to-eliminate-corruption

President Ashraf Ghani had said that Afghanistan was among the most corrupt countries on the planet, calling it a "national shame" which can't be tolerated.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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He emphasized that he would remove this tragedy during his presidency.

But the questions is that what has the unity government done during its past seven months to eliminate corruption?

Will the government be able to remove this phenomenon?

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

• Qazi Hassan Haqyar, political analyst
• Kabul Khan Tadbirzurmati, military analyst
• Hassan Mubarak Azizi, political analyst
• Yousuf Aminzazai, civil society activist

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 09:40:45 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/18792-tawde-khabare-7-months-of-nug-and-its-commitment-to-eliminate-corruption
KANKASH:‎ Do We Really Need to Apologize to Taliban? http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/kankash/18791-kankash-do-we-really-need-to-apologize-to-taliban

President Ashraf Ghani has said during his visit to Washington that in order to heal the national wound, it was necessary to apologize to the Taliban as some members of the group suffered torture and ill-treatment and their grievances are legitimate.

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}S2j7fgUM-OY{/youtube}

Topics of discussion:

"Do we really need to apologize to the Taliban? Are their grievances legitimate?
Why the peace talks with the Taliban, which were expected to begin in early March, have not started yet?

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

• Shah Hussian Murtazawi, journalist
• Abdul Wodoud Payman, MP
• Fatana Gailani, Head of Afghanistan Women Council

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 08:48:56 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/kankash/18791-kankash-do-we-really-need-to-apologize-to-taliban
Gen. Zahir Talks of Conspiracy To Release Farkhunda’s Killers http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18790-gen-zahir-talks-of-conspiracy-to-release-farkhundas-killers-

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Gen. Zahir Zahir reveals a number of groups are trying to release the suspects held on the charges of killing Farkhunda.

He announced Saturday that the interior ministry has dispatched the cases of 44 suspects involved in killing and burning of 27-year-old woman to the Attorney General's Office (AGO).

He added that 27 of the suspects were civilians and 17 others were police.

"Today we completed Farkhunda's case and sent it to the Attorney General's Office," Gen. Zahir said. "The case includes all the documents and evidences about the suspects."

Expressing concerns about groups trying to get acquaintance for the suspects, Gen. Zahir assured that he would not let such a thing happen.

"I assure you that I will personally follow the case, and in case of any interference into the case, I will let the president know about it," Gen. Zahir said.

The AGO officials, meanwhile, urge that they would transparently and fairly investigate the case.

"Today we received the case of Farkhunda's death. I assure you that our attorneys will investigate the case transparently," AGO spokesman Basir Azizi told a press conference on Saturday.

Farkhunda was beaten to death, burnt and thrown into muddy Kabul River by a mob last week over alleged burning of Holy Quran, an accusation strongly rejected by the security agencies and the investigation teams as baseless.

Her brutal killing sparked countrywide protests, demanding ultimate penalty for the perpetrators.

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 07:45:39 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18790-gen-zahir-talks-of-conspiracy-to-release-farkhundas-killers-
12 More Insurgents Killed in Zulfiqar Operation http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18789-12-more-insurgents-killed-in-zulfiqar-operation

At least 12 insurgents including their commander were killed in an Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) operation going on in the southern Helmand province, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement on Saturday.

One insurgent was injured and five others were arrested during the operation, it added.

The latest action against insurgents was part of Zulfiqar operation which was launched about two months ago in Helmand, the statement said, adding the security forces have also seized a quantity of weapons.

The MoD, however, did not comment about possible casualties to the ANSF.

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 07:13:11 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18789-12-more-insurgents-killed-in-zulfiqar-operation
Saudi Pounds Yemen Rebel Camps, Arab Allies Gather http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/18788-saudi-pounds-yemen-rebel-camps-arab-allies-gather

Saudi-led coalition warplanes bombed rebel camps in Yemen for a second day, as President Barack Obama said the United States shared a "collective goal" with its regional ally to see stability in the war-torn state.

Obama offered support to Saudi ruler King Salman in a phone conversation as it emerged the US military had rescued two Saudi pilots forced to eject from their fighter jet in the region on Thursday.

A months-long rebellion by Shiite fighters in Yemen has escalated into a regional conflict that threatens to tear apart the impoverished state at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia has vowed to do "whatever it takes" to prevent the fall of embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, accusing Shiite Iran of "aggression" and backing the Huthi rebels' power grab.

Amid the air raids and scattered fighting, a call for a ceasefire was issued by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, suspected of being allied with the rebels.

At least 39 civilians have been killed in Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm against the Huthis and their allies, officials at the rebel-controlled health ministry in Sanaa said.

Twelve died when residential areas were hit in a raid on a military base north of the capital, the officials told AFP.

Strikes hit the rebel-held presidential compound in south Sanaa, as well as various military sites outside the capital including rocket launchers at the airport, witnesses said.

Warplanes also bombed a Huthi-controlled army brigade in Amran province north of Sanaa, and arms depots in the northern rebel stronghold of Saada, residents said.

And an army unit loyal to Saleh, along with Shiite militiamen, captured two villages in Abyan province, near the main southern city of Aden, where Hadi took refuge after fleeing Sanaa last month, military sources said.

The rebels have also clashed with Sunni tribes as they push south.

At least 21 were killed Friday when tribesmen ambushed their vehicles north of Aden, a local official said.

- Arab League summit -

Hadi, backed by the West and Gulf Arab states, flew to Egypt for a weekend Arab League summit set to be dominated by Yemen.

He travelled from Riyadh after making his way from Aden as the rebels advanced on the city.

Saudi Arabia says more than 10 countries have joined the anti-Huthi coalition.

Reports said Saudi Arabia has deployed 100 warplanes, with another 67 coming from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia has reportedly also mobilised 150,000 troops near the border.

The coalition said all members had contributed to the operation, with UAE warplanes "intensively" participating in the strikes.

The coalition now completely dominates Yemen's airspace, and aircraft seized by the Huthis have been destroyed, spokesman General Ahmed Assiri said in Riyadh.

Iran has reacted furiously to the air strikes, calling them a violation of Yemen's sovereignty.

"Any military action against an independent country is wrong and will only result in a deepening crisis and more deaths among innocents," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

The conflict has raised a major hurdle to Washington's longstanding drone war against Al-Qaeda militants who have exploited the power vacuum since Saleh's downfall in 2012.

- Obama support -

The White House said Obama had offered US support to King Salman during a call with the Saudi ruler, saying the United States shared a "collective goal" with the kingdom to see stability in Yemen.

"The president reaffirmed the strong friendship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and emphasised the United States' support for the action taken by Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Council members, and others in response to President Hadi's request and in support of the legitimate government of Yemen," said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

King Salman, meanwhile, thanked the US for rescuing two Saudi pilots who ejected off Yemen's coast in international waters.

Washington has pledged logistical and intelligence support for the Saudi-led campaign.

The Islamic State (IS) group, which has seized vast tracts of territory in Syria and Iraq, is also vying with Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Some observers warn that the Saudi strikes risk feeding instability and extremism.

"I think the net effect of this operation is ultimately dangerous for Yemen's future path," said Frederic Wehrey, at the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"It will open up more fissures on the ground, perhaps bolster the Huthis' popular support as defenders of Yemeni sovereignty, and create more opportunities for AQAP and IS to flourish."

Hassan Nasrallah, chief of Lebanon's pro-Iran movement Hezbollah, said in a speech that Saudi Arabia will be roundly defeated and called for a political settlement.

"Otherwise, defeat and shame will meet the invaders," he warned.

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 06:50:30 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/world/18788-saudi-pounds-yemen-rebel-camps-arab-allies-gather
Purso Pal: Exclusive Interview with Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs http://www.tolonews.com/en/purso-pal/18787-purso-pal-exclusive-interview-with-minister-of-hajj-and-religious-affairs

In this episode of Purso Pal, host Muslim Sherzad interviews Faiz Mohammd Osmani, the Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs.

To watch the entire interview, click here:

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 06:04:07 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/purso-pal/18787-purso-pal-exclusive-interview-with-minister-of-hajj-and-religious-affairs
Farkhunda's Murder: A National Tragedy http://www.tolonews.com/en/opinion/18786-farkhundas-murder-a-national-tragedy

Farkhunda Malikzada was brutally murdered by a mob in Kabul on Thursday March 19th in a crowded part of town, only miles away from the district police and the Presidential Palace.

The 27-year-old was accused of burning the Quran, after which she was beaten and tortured to death and put on fire by nearly a thousand angry men. The crime was fully documented with cellphones and was shared on social media within hours.

Reactions

Within hours of the attack, social media was overwhelmed with mixed responses. Some people expressed strong disagreements, shocked to see that this time the perpetrators weren't part of IS or the Taliban, but rather young men living, studying, and working in the city. Meanwhile, others, including few well-known—now notorious— public figures, expressed their sympathy with the mob for 'defending the country and religion's honor.'

The incident caused national outrage and condemnation only after it was confirmed that Farkhunda was wrongly accused and was indeed a conservative, religious woman herself. This has left room for implications that 'mob justice' would be tolerable had she been guilty of blasphemy or burning the Quran.

The Question of Responsibility

When a large group of people commit a collective crime, the question of responsibility becomes blurry and complicated. Does the responsibility lie with the main perpetrators only? If not, then whom else and to what extent? The Mullah who wrongfully accused Farkhunda? The people who physically took part in the murder? The people who watched, cheered, and took pictures? The police? What about the public figures who expressed sympathy— creating and altering public mindsets?

And what about the little children smiling as Farkhunda's dead body burned in fire? Who is responsible for exposing them to such violence? Who is responsible for the violence they will most likely commit when they grow up?

The police has arrested 19 of the main perpetrators thus far. However, considering the nature of the case, evidently there are many others who now roam freely among us. The police and the justice system are up for a challenge: to arrest and prosecute every single person who has been involved so that no such incident occurs in the future. How? We shall see.

The Gender Element

Would there be severe reactions had a man allegedly burned the Quran? Absolutely. Would he be treated the same way Farkhunda was? Absolutely not.

Misogyny was a big part of the way Farkhunda was killed. The men's immediate and intense attention to the man who accused Farkhunda, while ignoring her side of the story clearly show the power dynamics that played into the murder.

Additionally, the incident became an opportunity for the men to take out years of hatred, repressed anger and frustration by groping Farkhunda's wounded body, pushing her, and torturing her, with signs of pride and excitement visible on their faces.

The mob attack was a case of violence and brutality against humanity, but particularly, a case of violence against women. Hence, it has caused fear and outrage among women who are overwhelmed with fears and what-ifs, as they chant "we are all Farkhunda" and "we want security for women" slogans in the protests the past couple of days.

The Protest

The civil society arranged a protest in front of the Supreme Court in Kabul on Tuesday to condemn the horrific murder and demand that justice be served. Despite heavy rain, nearly 2,000 people showed up, making for a proud moment for Kabul and showing that last Thursday's barbarism doesn't represent the city.

That said, there were issues that created disappointment and rage among many female protesters. To begin with, some men had taken the front row (earlier pushing women to make their way up front) so they could pose in front of the media. Meanwhile, the media would stop the protesters in the front row every few minutes to direct them as to how they should pose for pictures. Moreover, an extremely disturbing selfie mania, the narcissistic tradition of our generation, found its way among the crowd. Pictures with the signs. Pictures with the crowd. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. It all became about "me, myself, and I."

There was one young man in particular who would jump among the crowd (so that the cameras could capture how much he cared) while screaming Adaalat, Adaalat (Justice, Justice) as though it was a song, with a disturbing smile on his face.

The protest was a time for collective mourning, for collective justice-seeking. But unfortunately, in more than few occasions, it seemed like a calculated showcase with competition over the spotlight. Such self-centered attitudes can cause disinterest among the public, create a negative image of well-intentioned civil acts, as well as allow extremists and their sympathizers opportunities to use the situation to their benefit.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The government as well as non-governmental organizations should focus systematic, strategic attention to mental health, education reform, awareness-building at the grass-roots level, creation of job opportunities, focus on legal reform and implementation, and most importantly nation-wide campaigns to teach the youth respect and tolerance.

Additionally, it is important that Farkunda is not forgotten. Her story should not be lost in the nation's selective memory; it should be remembered as a national tragedy, as a taint on the national honor. Only then can we ensure that no such tragedy happens again.

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Sat, 28 Mar 2015 05:23:50 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/opinion/18786-farkhundas-murder-a-national-tragedy
TOLOnews 6pm News 27 March 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18785-tolonews-6pm-news-27-march-2015 Top news in this Bulletin:

Leaders of the national unity government are expected to introduce the remaining 16 cabinet nominees to Parliament next week after repeated delays, Second Deputy Muhammad Nazeer Ahmadzai said on Friday. The news that President Ghani or one of his Vice Presidents would likely present the nominees to Parliament next Wednesday comes after officials had suggested the nominees would be introduced earlier in the week. Reportedly the assembly of documents for Parliament's evaluation was cause for the most recent delay. Lawmakers aren't expected to receive the review materials until Saturday.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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 The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has warned that as long as the electoral system has not been reformed, the government would not hold any election.In an interview with the Voice of America, President Ashraf Ghani's partner in the unity government noted that electoral reform was the only option to prevent fraud in the elections.

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:31:25 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18785-tolonews-6pm-news-27-march-2015
John Boehner: Obama's Troop Level Decision "Arbitrary Political Deadlines" http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18783-john-boehner-obamas-troop-level-decision-qarbitrary-political-deadlinesq

The U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner called President Barack Obama's decision on troops' level in Afghanistan "arbitrary political deadlines," and urged for the protection of hard-won gains in the war-torn country.

After the complete transfer of security responsibilities from US-led NATO troops to the Afghan forces in 2014, Obama announced to withdraw all the American forces by the end of year 2016.

However, after a meeting with the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah in the White House on Tuesday, Obama announced to keep 9,800 troops until the end of 2015, which he earlier planned to decrease to 5,600.

But the U.S. House Speaker Boehner has said that the congress would review Obama's proposed U.S. troop level in Afghanistan.

"Arbitrary political deadlines should never be put ahead of ensuring success that we have worked so hard to achieve," Boehner said. "We will review it closely, specifically President Obama's troop level announcement for the remainder of 2015."

Welcoming Ghani's address to the congress, Boehner called the Afghan leader's message "powerful."

"I had an honor to have President Ghani from Afghanistan here in the congress this week. His message of peace and his tributes to the service and sacrifice of our brave Americans was powerful," he said.

Meanwhile, the NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has supported Obama's decision on slowing the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

"I welcome President Obama's decision to extend the period where US forces will remain close to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan," Stoltenberg told reporters.
He noted that the decision was a sign of strong commitment of the United States and NATO to Afghanistan.

The US-Afghan relations, which were notably strained during former president Hamid Karzai's government, have now been significantly improved since the formation of Afghan unity government which in its very first step signed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Washington‎.

The relations further improved after Ghani and Abdullah visited Washington where the United States made several pledges including the funding of total Afghan forces until 2017 and an aid of $800 million to the reform agenda of unity government.

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:56:05 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18783-john-boehner-obamas-troop-level-decision-qarbitrary-political-deadlinesq
Ghani Discusses Taliban Threat, Afghan Development in New York http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18782-ghani-discusses-taliban-threat-afghan-development-in-new-york

Delivering a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Thursday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani outlined the frontline issues and challenges currently facing the country. He said that following the presidential elections the Taliban tried to collapse the new government, as has happened in countries like Yemen, but the Afghan security forces were able to thwart the Taliban's attempts.

Drawing in references to the crisis in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, President Ghani stressed that the worsening situations such countries has had a ripple effects in Afghanistan. He went on to point out his hopes and plans for a prosperous Afghanistan, but acknowledge his frustrations with extremist activities in Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan's problems are not confined within the geography of Afghanistan. We are dealing with a changed ecology of terrorism...," Ghani said. "Without understanding terrorism as a system where both symbiotic and competitive relationships take place, we are not going to understand the full dimensions of security. The state system is a chain. When links are severed and when several links break simultaneously, the risk to the rest of the system increases, so we are faced with new threats because of the collapse of Syria, because of the collapse of Iraq, the collapse of Yemen. This needs to be appreciated."

Referring to the Taliban, Ghani said touted the national unity government's survival in its early, fragile months as proof of it's ability to defy and withstand the insurgents ambitions.

"And then, of course, there's the phenomena of the Taliban as a distinctive ideological phenomenon but simultaneously a socio-economic one," he began.

"In this environment, what I'm proud to say is at the beginning, when authority was transferred to me, the attempt [by the Taliban] was to collapse the state like in Yemen, or like Syria, or others. But in the last six months, we've gone from a defensive position to an offensive position. Today, an unprecedented movement by the Afghan army is taking place in the Helmand province and a number of related areas."

Ghani's confidence was nonetheless tempered by a sober recognition that the near-term for Afghanistan would An uphill battle. "But, the net result conclusion, is that 2015 is going to be a very difficult security year. We had no break during the winter. We have demonstrated our capability and will, but we are going to be tested," he said.

Looking beyond security, and beyond just Afghanistan's borders, Ghani spoke about his vision for Central Asia. "Now, in the next 25 years, Asia is going to become the largest continental economy," he asserted. "What happened in the United States in 1869 when the continental railroads were integrated is very likely to happen in Asia in the next 25 years."

The national unity government has blazed forward with a number of economic projects in its first months in office, despite facing budget shortfalls and declining development aid rates. "Without Afghanistan, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and West Asia will not be connected, so that is our first advantage. Our goal is to become a transit country -- for transport, for power transmission, for gas pipelines, for fiber-optics. It's a network approach to the economy, because this will create massive jobs and opportunities," he said, while acknowledging the country's current infrastructural constraints.

Brining both his global security and regional economic remarks together, Ghani expressed hope for the US-Iranian nuclear talks. He said the lifting of sanctions on Iran could open up new opportunities for development in Afghanistan.

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:43:59 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18782-ghani-discusses-taliban-threat-afghan-development-in-new-york
Another Week Delay to Introduce Remaining Cabinet Picks to Parliament http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18781-another-week-delay-to-introduce-remaining-cabinet-picks-to-parliament

Leaders of the national unity government are expected to introduce the remaining 16 cabinet nominees to Parliament next week after repeated delays, Second Deputy Muhammad Nazeer Ahmadzai said on Friday.

The news that President Ghani or one of his Vice Presidents would likely present the nominees to Parliament next Wednesday comes after officials had suggested the nominees would be introduced earlier in the week. Reportedly the assembly of documents for Parliament's evaluation was cause for the most recent delay. Lawmakers aren't expected to receive the review materials until Saturday.

"The decision is this that the President or one of the Vice President swill introduce these 16 nominees to Parliament on Wednesday and Parliamentary Affairs has been preparing their documents and will send it on Saturday," Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Karim Baz said on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Administrative Board of Parliament has urged the government to also introduce the nominees for the Ministry of Defense (MoD), Central Bank and Supreme Court as soon as possible. "The Parliament has asked the government to introduce the other nominees for MoD and other independent organizations with the 16 nominated ministers," Deputy Speaker Mohammad Nazir Ahmadzai said.

Nevertheless, Deputy Minister Baz echoed comments made by the national unity government defending a patient approach toward the appointments. "Introducing the MoD nominees and other independent organization needs time. The government has decided that next week it will introduce only 16 nominees to Parliament and do the nominees for other organization weeks later."

President Ashraf Ghani announced the names of the 16 nominees just before he left on his trip to The U.S. Last week. The naming of nominees is just the start of a long process in which it is unlikely all those put forward will be confirmed. MPs have said that they will not vote for nominees who will have dual citizenship.

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:25:31 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18781-another-week-delay-to-introduce-remaining-cabinet-picks-to-parliament
10 Taliban Insurgents Killed in Wardoj Clashes http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18780-10-taliban-insurgents-killed-in-wardoj-clashes

At least 10 Taliban insurgents were killed and eight others wounded after they attacked a security check post in northeastern Badakhshan province.

The fierce clashes broke Friday morning in Wardoj district when dozens of armed Taliban insurgents attacked security check posts, the police chief Gen. Baba Jan said.

He added a Taliban shadow-governor, Mullah Obaid, was also among the arrested Taliban insurgents.

Only two police forces were wounded in the fighting, Jan said, adding the civilians were not harmed.

The Taliban, however, have not commented so far in this regard.

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 08:40:43 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18780-10-taliban-insurgents-killed-in-wardoj-clashes
NATO Welcomes Obama's Decision of Slowing Drawdown From Afghanistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18779-nato-welcomes-obamas-decision-of-slowing-drawdown-from-afghanistan

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the alliance's support of U.S. President Barak Obama's decision on slowing the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

"I welcome President Obama's decision to extend the period where US forces will remain close to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan," Stoltenberg told reporters.

He noted that the decision was a sign of strong commitment of the United States and NATO to Afghanistan.

The NATO statement came after Obama assured in a joint press conference with President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday that no American soldier would leave Afghanistan until the end of 2015.

"President Ghani has requested some flexibility on our draw down timelines. I've consulted with General Campbell in Afghanistan and my national security team and I've decided we will maintain our current posture of 9800 troops through the end of this year," Obama told the reporters in White House after holding a meeting with Ghani and CEO Abdullah.

The US-Afghan relations, notably strained during former president Hamid Karzai's government, have now been significantly improved since the formation of Afghan unity government which in its very first step signed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA)‎.

The relations further improved after the Ghani and Abdullah visited Washington where the United States made several pledges including the funding of total Afghan forces until 2017 and an aid of $800 million to the reform agenda of unity government.

NATO formally ended it's combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014; however, a particular NATO personnel are remaining in the country for the new mission called "Resolute Support" aimed at training, advising and assisting the Afghan forces.

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 07:20:45 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18779-nato-welcomes-obamas-decision-of-slowing-drawdown-from-afghanistan
KANKASH: Ghani's Address to US Congress http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/kankash/18778-kankash-ghanis-address-to-us-congress

In this episode of Kankash, host Omid Farooq discusses about President Ashraf Ghani's address to the joint meeting of US congress with the following guests:

Mubariz Rashidi, former minister of counter narcotics

Dr. Abdul Qayoum Sajjadi, MP

Dr. Mohammad Tahir Hashimi, University professor

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}HKqX3iHnnTI{/youtube}

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 06:22:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/kankash/18778-kankash-ghanis-address-to-us-congress