TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:43:31 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) 12 Taliban Insurgents Killed in Zabul Operation http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16070-12-taliban-insurgents-killed-in-zabul-operation

At least 12 Taliban insurgents were killed in an Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) operation in southern Zabul province on Thursday, local officials said on Friday.

Six other insurgents were injured in the operation.

The operation was launched in Shar-e Safa district of the province to rid the area of insurgents, in which 12 Taliban insurgents were killed, said Zabul Police Chief, Ghulaam Sakhi Rogh Lewanai.

There were no ANSF and civilian casualties during the operation, he said.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the operation.

The ANSF have launched massive military operations across the country to clear the insurgents as the foreign troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of current year with full hand over responsibility to Afghans.

About 10,000 foreign troops will remain in Afghanistan to train the ANSF post 2014.

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Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:20:02 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16070-12-taliban-insurgents-killed-in-zabul-operation
Taliban Kills Five Policemen in Helmand http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16069-taliban-kills-five-policemen-in-helmand

Taliban insurgents attacked a police check post in southern Helmand province on Thursday and killing five policemen, local officials said.

The incident took place in Gereshk district of the province after the insurgents attacked the check post of police who were providing security for Helmand University in the district, said head of the media office of Helmand's police department, Shah Mahmoud Ashna.

Helmand police believes that the incident happened with the support of a policeman.

"One of the policeman was involved in the attack and he was on duty last night while the incident happened," he said. "The policeman fled the area with the weapons."

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

"One of the police, who is our friend and trained by our fighters, helped us in last nights attack," Ahmadi said. "He fled the area with the weapons and joined us."

The police have started investigations and are in the search for the policeman who fled soon after the incident, said Ashna.

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Fri, 22 Aug 2014 07:36:05 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16069-taliban-kills-five-policemen-in-helmand
Imran Khan Calls Off Talks to End Protest Impasse http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16068-imran-khan-calls-off-talks-to-end-protest-impasse

Pakistani opposition politician Imran Khan yesterday called off talks with the government aimed at ending protests seeking the fall of the prime minister, which have unnerved the nuclear-armed nation.

Khan and populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have led followers protesting outside parliament for the past two days demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif quit.

Talks to end the standoff — which began a week ago with "long marches" from the eastern city of Lahore — started on Wednesday but made little headway.

Khan insists the May 2013 election, won in a landslide by Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party, was rigged, despite independent international observers judging it free and credible.

The former cricket star has demanded Sharif resign and call new elections and yesterday repeated his insistence the PM must quit before talks.

"The talks with the government are over. How can these talks proceed when we first want resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif?" Khan said.

"I want to tell you Nawaz Sharif that I will not leave this place until you step down."

Between them, the protest rallies of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) have drawn tens of thousands of supporters this week.

But as Khan made his address from the top of a shipping container outside parliament yesterday, there were barely a few thousand supporters scattered over the protest site.

PAT has said it wants "meaningful dialogue" and the powerful army has called for a negotiated end to the showdown.
The head of the Islamabad police was unexpectedly replaced yesterday, officials said. Qadri said this was because he refused to open fire on the protesters.

Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif denied suggestions a crackdown on the protests was imminent.

"We have let them come for the past eight-nine days – why would we crack down now?" he told reporters in parliament.

"We did not stop them in Lahore we did not stop them in Aapbara," he said. Aabpara is an area of Islamabad where the protesters first rallied.

Chief of religious Jamat-e-Islami (JI) party Siraj-ul-Haq called for an end to the crisis through talks.

"We appeal to all the parties to exercise restraint and avoid any deadlock in talks to resolve the crisis," he told reporters in Islamabad yesterday.

Ahsan Iqbal, federal minister and a member of government team for talks with Imran Khan, told AFP "we are still hoping negotiations will resume".

A number of Pakistan's key trade partners — and aid donors — including the United States, Britain and the European Union have also urged for a political solution.

The two protest movements are not formally allied and have different goals, beyond toppling the government. But their combined pressure — and numbers — have given extra heft to the rallies.

If PAT were to reach a settlement with the government and withdraw, PTI's position would be significantly weakened, despite Khan's tough stance.

Neither movement has mobilised mass support beyond their core followers and opposition parties have shunned Khan's call to unseat the government and begin a campaign of civil disobedience.

Yesterday, the lower house of parliament passed a unanimous resolution rejecting calls for Sharif's resignation and vowing to uphold democracy.

Lawyers also staged a national strike in protest at the PAT and PTI sit-ins.

"This style of politics and call for disobedience is harming Pakistan's economy, a call for civil disobedience is equal to a constitutional coup," Yaseen Azad, senior leader, Supreme Court Bar Association, told Geo TV.

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Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:08:21 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16068-imran-khan-calls-off-talks-to-end-protest-impasse
TAWDE KHABARE: Insecurity in Afghanistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/16067-tawde-khabare-insecurity-in-afghanistan

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discusses insecurity in Afghanistan and the lack of equipments for the Afghan forces with the following guests:

• Hamayoun Hamayoun, MP
• Samiullah Samim, MP

To watch the program, click here:

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Fri, 22 Aug 2014 05:55:32 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/16067-tawde-khabare-insecurity-in-afghanistan
8 Evening Program: The New Government http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16066-8-evening-program-the-new-government

In this episode, host Muslim Sherzad discusses about the new governance and interest in the retention of the transit topic with the following guests:

• Azrakhsh Hafizi, the head of international relations committee at Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI)
• Massoud, professor at the Kabul University
• Najila Habibyar, Chairman of the Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}sAELb4mAOaA{/youtube}

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Fri, 22 Aug 2014 05:51:27 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16066-8-evening-program-the-new-government
IEC to Have Candidates Agree to New Disciplinary Rules http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16065-iec-to-have-candidates-agree-to-new-disciplinary-rules

Following up the incident on Tuesday in which representatives of Abdullah Abdullah's team brawled with election officials, leaving six people injured, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Thursday announced that the two campaigns will be required to sign onto a new disciplinary code that will hopefully prevent such confrontations in the future.

According to election officials, constant disagreement between the two camps, and at times, the election commission, has been the major cause for delay during the audit process, which began nearly a month ago. Although Tuesday's fight was the worst yet, there have been other altercations during the scrutinizing of ballots, and each time the process is put on hold until things can be smoothed out.

IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor expressed hope that the new disciplinary rules would discourage unruly behavior in the future. "The electoral teams have pledged to sign the disciplinary procedure through which the role of their observers will be certified, we hope that the two electoral teams finalize the code soon and dispatch it to the election commission," Noor said.

Although nearly 60 percent of the the total number of ballots to be audited have been inspected, nearly everyday, there are hours of delays at the audit center.

On Thursday, the auditing process began without a hitch. Later on, however, problems arouse over a number of boxes from Zabul province. The boxes were recorded as having 500 votes each one of them, but when they were opened, there was nothing inside.

"When we brought up the eight boxes for auditing, each box had five hundred votes, but we saw that the locks were broken...," recounted Abdul Rahman Kharoti, a member of Ashraf Ghani Ahamdzai's team.

Although the case of the Zabul boxes caused some stir, unlike on other days, representatives of the two campaigns were in complete agreement that what they were dealing with was fraud. For that reason alone, a drawn out debate was avoided.

"When we opened the boxes, there were zero votes, I must say that these boxes were imaginary boxes and according to our electoral team's perspective, these boxes are imaginary," said Mohammad Zuhair Zaheer, a member of Abdullah Abdullah's camp.

Election officials have said that if things continue they way they have the vote invalidation process should begin next week.

"Up to 5,000 checklists have been registered in the database of the election commission, from this figure, 2,000 checklists have passed through the process and are prepared and it will be dispatched in shape of a report to the leadership of the commission," IEC IT Department head Syed Ibrahim Saadat said.

The IEC Chief on Wednesday was said to have met with President Hamid Karzai, and the president reportedly stressed the importance of finishing the audit as soon as possible.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:06:27 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16065-iec-to-have-candidates-agree-to-new-disciplinary-rules
TOLOnews 6 pm News 21 August 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/16064-tolonews-6-pm-news-21-august-2014

Afghan Minister of Defense Bismillah Muhammadi toured the northern provinces of Afghanistan on Thursday reporting that the Taliban are struggling to destabilize the northern provinces.

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The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has stressed that the presence of foreign insurgents, Pakistani military advisers, the halt in nighttime raids and air strikes are the main factors behind the increase of security threats and heavy Taliban offensives.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:57:42 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/16064-tolonews-6-pm-news-21-august-2014
Nimruz Residents Unfamiliar with Afghani Banknotes http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16063-nimruz-residents-unfamiliar-with-afghani-banknotes-

Nimruz local officials said that many residents are not familiar with Afghani banknotes because of the widespread use of Iranian currency.

The provincial local officials said that it would take time for the Afghan currency to be recognized by those residing in Nimruz, but that the central government needs to pay close attention in regards.

Business owners in Nimruz have said they are losing money with the Iranian Toman.

"One AFS is 550 Riyal, so the Afghani has a higher value in comparison to the Iranian currency," shopkeeper Abdul Hay from Helmand said. "Another issue is that the Iranian currency is very unstable and fluctuates a lot, that is why the traders, workers and farmers bear the loss."

A number of Nimruz provincial council members have said that is the central government does not fight this issue to its core the problem will not be solved.

"Foreign currencies are used in provinces that border other countries," says Muhammad Sediq, member of Nimruz provincial council. "This problem can only be solved if the central government makes a solid decision."

But the governor of Nimruz has said that the government is working on making the Afghanis more common through awareness programs.

The governor also reports that a committee has be formed to address the problem that is led by the central bank manager in Nimruz, but he emphasizes that due to the long term use of the Toman in the province it will take time to correct the challenge.

"We have fined many people many times for using foreign currency in place of AFS, which has helped the issue a bit," said Amir Muhammad Akhundzada, governor of Nimruz.

Use of foreign currency is not only taking place in Nimruz but in many other border provinces like Herat, Farah, Khost, Nangarhar, Kunar, Paktiya and Nuristan where the Iranian and Pakistani currency are extensively used, harming the Afghan currency.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:41:11 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16063-nimruz-residents-unfamiliar-with-afghani-banknotes-
ANA Fights Taliban in 14 Provinces http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16062-ana-fights-taliban-in-14-provinces

Afghan Minister of Defense Bismillah Muhammadi toured the northern provinces of Afghanistan on Thursday reporting that the Taliban are struggling to destabilize the northern provinces.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has stressed that the presence of foreign insurgents, Pakistani military advisers, the halt in nighttime raids and air strikes are the main factors behind the increase of security threats and heavy Taliban offensives.

Mohammadi said, "their [Taliban] demands are to weaken the northern parts of the country." He adds that there are several reasons behind the high offensives.

"There are different reasons behind the security threats, first being the presence of foreign terrorists, foreign militia and ISI advisors in the ranks of the Taliban. Second is the halt that was put on the nighttime military operations. Then you have the absences of air support by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). And of course, the political situation plays a role in the rise of insecurity too."

The province of Faryab is considered the gate for the insurgents to enter four other provinces: Ghor, Badghis, Sar-e-Pul and Jawozjan.

"Faryab is one of the important and strategic provinces used by the Taliban twice," Faryab MP Naqibullah Fayeq said. "The Afghan National Army (ANA) is conducting an operation in the province and we hope they [ANA] stay after it's been completed."

The MoD has emphasized that this year the Afghan forces have posed major threat to the Taliban fighters without the assistance of foreign forces.

"We are confronting the Taliban in 21 military operations, in the past these operations were conducted by 150,000 foreign troops, but today the situations are handled by the Afghan forces," said MoD spokesman Zahir Azimi.

The constant fights and rising insecurity has forged massive problems to the lives of many people, resulting in their evacuation of their native areas to save their lives.

Currently, the ANA is fighting Taliban militants in the northern provinces of Badakhshan, Faryab and Kunduz.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:34:20 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16062-ana-fights-taliban-in-14-provinces
Kunduz Battle Against Taliban Led by Released Taliban http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16061-kunduz-battle-against-taliban-led-by-released-taliban

Kunduz province has become the focal point of intense fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban militants, with thousands of insurgents bearing down on Kunduz city. According to local officials, the Taliban offensive is being led by a man who the Afghan government recently released from prison.

The attacks started during Eid, but have continued in a steady stream of insurgent advancements, particularly in the Chahar Dara district. Kunduz Police Chief Ghulam Mustafa Mohseni has maintained the insurgents are being led by a former detainee named Mawlawi Salam.

"Mawlawi Salam is leading over 2,500 Taliban members in this battle, he is the person who was released from prison and now is fighting on the battlefield," Chief Mohseni said.

TOLOnews reporter, Karim Amini, accompanied the security forces sent to reinforce efforts to push back the militants and reported that Salam's fighters had reached just a few kilometers from the provincial capital, Kunduz city.

In Chahar Dara, the Taliban were able to seize 15 check posts and lay siege to a number of others. After a full day and night of fighting, though, the Afghan forces were able to push the militants back.

"If we had arrived 10 minutes later, the check post would have fallen into the hands of the Taliban, everyone was prepared to escape," one Police officer told TOLOnews on condition of anonymity.

The Afghan security forces have freed up parts of Chahar Dara and Gor Tepa districts, but those achievements did not come easily, and it is unclear if they will hold up.

According to officials, over 80 Taliban militants have been killed and over 50 others wounded so far. Two police officers have been killed, and over ten others wounded.

The security forces face major challenges in combating the militant offensive, which began just 10 days ago, but came on the heals of a number of other large-scale aggressions by insurgents in provinces around the country over the past couple months.

Military officers leading the operations in Kunduz said that the lack of air support and heavy artillery has forced the hostilities to drag out longer than they might otherwise have been.

"We have problems with the air force, the national army's capacity is not shared among all the forces," said General Ghulam Haidar Haidar, the leader of the Shaheen 209 Battalion.

Another serious issue, and impediment to the security forces, is that the Taliban have been hiding among local civilian populations, forcing the Afghan army and police to take extra precautions and move in close in order to avoid civilian casualties.

"We are only a few meters away from the enemy," one soldier told TOLOnews.

Although officials have reported that some of the militants are foreign nationals form Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Chechnya and Pakistan, local residents have maintained that the Taliban are receiving support from local communities because of animosity toward the local police force.

"The Taliban are not imported from abroad, Taliban are our own children, we are Kochi and the local police are cruel to us, that is why we fight and if the police stop the cruelty, we will not fight with the government," one resident said. "We are not fighting with government, we just want to confront the local police."

Regardless of whether they have taken a side in the conflict or not, however, the fighting has left one civilian dead, 10 others wounded and hundreds of families displaced.

"We have left our home, our family members have been killed and wounded, we left our belongings and were forced to move form the village," one person told TOLOnews.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:23:23 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16061-kunduz-battle-against-taliban-led-by-released-taliban
We Will Protect People's Votes: Abdullah http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16060-we-will-protect-peoples-votes-abdullah

At a meeting hosted by members of the Reform and Convergence Team on Thursday afternoon, presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah asserted that the audit process should bring justice, adding that his team will monitor every step of the process before making final decisions.

"We want the audit process to bring justice," he said. "I assure the people of Afghanistan that we are determined to protect their votes."

Moreover, Abdullah stressed on the significance of maintaining the legitimacy of the election process, stating that people's votes should not be tampered with.

"Defending votes is not about getting power; it is about defending the rights of the people of Afghanistan," he stated while claiming that his team has genuine votes from various provinces around the country.

Abdullah also emphasized that safeguarding people's trust is an important part of his leadership.

"The only thing we have is the people's trust; we will not give it up in exchange for anything," Abdullah stressed.

The statements came as recent disputes in the Independent Election Commission (IEC) have once again raised concerns and uncertainties about the future of the election process.

In addition, Abdullah urged on the political negotiations with Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on the formation of national unity government, but maintained that the negotiations are not asking for privileges.

"The political process doesn't mean asking for privileges. Talks are underway and we will have a negotiation ready in the next few days."

But, Abdullah's second vice runner mate Mohammad Mohaqeq criticized the auditing procedures and declares the election commission as the main element behind the frauds.

"You saw the episode of the fat and skinny sheep's became the headline; Amarkhail resigned and left the sheep's for others, we have always said that Amarkhail and Saadat played a role in the electoral frauds, but no one listened to us," Mohammad Mohaqeq said.

Meanwhile, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's team has asked that audit process and invalidation of votes are transparent and valid.

Abdullah and his rival Ashraf Ghani held a meeting on Wednesday focusing on the formation of the national unity government.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:08:23 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16060-we-will-protect-peoples-votes-abdullah
$92 Million USAID Project to Advance Higher Education http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16059-92-million-usaid-project-to-advance-higher-education

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has undertaken a new $92 million project to improve the Afghan higher education system , a USAID press release announced on August 21.

The press release indicated that representatives from the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE),the Ministry of Economy and USAID signed the agreement for the University Support and Workforce Development Project (USWDP) on August 13.

“Improving Afghanistan’s educational system is an important and long-term priority for the United States,” the statement read, adding that the USAID has contributed $1.1 billion to the Afghan education sector from 2002-2013.

The USWDP aims to improve the quality of academic programs to meet international standards by organizing trainings for faculty and students. Furthermore, the project will help build and advance better management in MoHE , create new opportunities to attend higher education institutes and further develop the higher education curriculum.

Alongside representatives of the international community, USAID officials in Afghanistan have always stressed on the significance of a strong educational system for the country’s economy and stability.

USWDP will be implemented through the FHI 360 contracting company in the framework of a five-year plan.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:57:21 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16059-92-million-usaid-project-to-advance-higher-education
Man Who Stabbed Foreign Citizen Detained in Kabul: Police http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16058-man-who-stabbed-foreign-citizen-detained-in-kabul-police

The Kabul Police has arrested the man who stabbed a foreign citizen in the neck early Wednesday morning in Kabul's district 10.

The foreign national's identity has not been revealed yet. However, in a recent statement, NATO's International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) have said that one of their soldiers was attacked in "eastern Afghanistan," without giving further details about the incident or the victim's identity.

The incident occurred when unidentified men stabbed a foreign citizen around 10:30 a.m. on Kabul International Airport road. Eye witnesses stated that the man was standing on the main airport road when unidentified men came out of a car and stabbed him, immediately fleeing the area.

"The foreigners were escorting trucks and stopped near the police checkpost when two foreigners and their translator stepped out of the car to get permission from the police to allow the vehicles through," an eyewitness said. "And suddenly one of the foreigners fell to the ground with blood spattered everywhere."

Soon after the incident, the Kabul police spokesman Hashmatullah Istanikzai announced to the media that the attacker, Abdul Fatah Jahadwal, was a Taliban commander who is currently under investigation. Jahadwal is said to have resided in Kabul and Ghazni.

Meanwhile, on his twitter, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujaheed has claimed the responsibility for the attack but denied the arrest of the attacker.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:00:57 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16058-man-who-stabbed-foreign-citizen-detained-in-kabul-police
FARAKHABAR: 20 August 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/16057-farakhabar-20-august-2014

President Obama may have ordered American warplanes back to Iraq, but he has not changed his mind about his other big military withdrawal. Mr. Obama told advisers this week that delaying the pullout of American troops from Afghanistan would make no difference there as long as the country did not overcome its political rifts.

President Obama has said political differences arising from election in Afghanistan, will not go away with delaying the American forces withdrawal.‎

But John McCain, a senior American ‎senator reacted to the speech by Obama and warned that the Iraq scenario will be repeated in Afghanistan.

Previously, the NATO Secretary General said that if the security agreement is not signed by the time of the NATO summit in Wales, NATO will decide on the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

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

Arif Sarwari, former NDS head

Qayoum Sajadi, MP

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}YYZbdJCrytY{/youtube}

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:47:11 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/16057-farakhabar-20-august-2014
TAWDE KHABARE: Foreign Aid and Domestic Revenue Decrease http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/16056-tawde-khabare-foreign-aid-and-domestic-revenue-decrease

In this episode of tawde khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discusses about the foreign aid and domestic revenue decrease and economic problems in the county with the following guests:

Amin Farhang, former commerce minister

Sayed Massoud, university professor

Najib Manalai, adviser to the Ministry of Finance

Azim Mohseni, Deputy of the Financial and Budget Commission at the House of Representatives

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}RvCPT14pOkY{/youtube}

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:44:57 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/16056-tawde-khabare-foreign-aid-and-domestic-revenue-decrease
8 Evening Program: Future Govt. and its Relationship with the World http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16055-8-evening-program-future-govt-and-its-relationship-with-the-world

Less than two weeks remain for the NATO summit in‎ Wales, Britain and the Afghan government has once again emphasized on the international community's long-term commitment.

In this episode, host Muslim Sherzad discusses the topic with the following guests:

Omar Samad, political analyst in U.S

Abdul Hafiz Mansour, MP

Jafar Mahdawe, university professor

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}vZR-5yMCFnU{/youtube}

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:30:39 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16055-8-evening-program-future-govt-and-its-relationship-with-the-world
Clearance Operation Launched in Chahar Dara: Officials http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16054-clearance-operation-launched-in-chahar-dara-officials

Afghan security officials on Wednesday said that a clearance operation has begun in Chahar Dara district of Kunduz province to clear the district of insurgents.

Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi is said to be closely monitoring the operation.

On Wednesday more than a hundred Taliban militants attacked security checkpoints in Chahar Dara starting a clash that is still ongoing between both sides, security officials said on Wednesday.

Officials say that Chahar Dara will be cleared of insurgents soon.

The rising insecurity in Kunduz has left many residents concerned about the militant group advancements into the province, causing many to leave everything behind in search of safety.

Residents have stressed that the insurgents have gained more than the security officials have prevented. A Kunduz resident told TOLOnews that the insurgents have surrounded the entire province, leaving only the city, which he stressed they would come after sooner or later.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:31:36 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16054-clearance-operation-launched-in-chahar-dara-officials
4 ANA Soldiers Wounded in Kabul http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16053-4-ana-soldiers-wounded-in-kabul

At least four Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were wounded early Thursday morning in Kabul, according to local police.

Kabul police said in a statement released to the media, that the incident occurred at about 7 a.m. local time when the ANA's vehicle hit a land mine in the 12th district of Kabul in an area known as Ahmad Shah Baba Mina.

The victims have been taken to nearby hospital.

The statement added that there were no civilian casualties.

An investigation is underway by the Kabul police.

The Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility for the incident.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:29:31 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16053-4-ana-soldiers-wounded-in-kabul
Taliban Kills 5 Police Officers and Civilian http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16052-taliban-kills-5-police-officers-and-civilian

Taliban insurgents killed five police officers and a civilian and wounded another police officer in western Herat province on Wednesday, local officials said.

On Thursday Provincial Police spokesman Abdul Raouf Ahmadi says, the incident occurred late Wednesday in Ab Jalil area of Injil district of the province when armed Taliban attacked a Herat police training academy vehicle.

The police academy vehicle was traveling from Zinda Jan district to Herat city.

"The officers were instructors who were a part of Herat's police training center," Ahmadi said.

He adds that one civilian's life was claimed as he was caught in the crossfire.

While no insurgent groups including the Taliban have claimed responsibility, Ahmadi says the Taliban were behind the attack.

The victims were taken to a nearby hospital.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the attack.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:28:01 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16052-taliban-kills-5-police-officers-and-civilian
Abducted ICRC ‎Staff Released in Herat http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16051-abducted-icrc-staff-released-in-herat

Five International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff were released from the captivity of a local armed group on Wednesday in western Herat province, ICRC officials said.

"Our five colleagues are free and they are in good health condition and have been reunited with their families," ICRC office said in a statement.

"We remain committed to pursuing our activities for people suffering the effects of the conflict in Afghanistan. Once again, we are calling for greater respect for the ICRC's humanitarian works all over the country. Our staff must be allowed to work in safety."

The staff was abducted on August 14th while the team was traveling by road in Herat province.

So far no group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:20:26 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16051-abducted-icrc-staff-released-in-herat
Hamas Says Military Chief Alive, Calling Shots in Gaza War http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16050-hamas-says-military-chief-alive-calling-shots-in-gaza-war

Hamas said on Wednesday its military commander Muhammad Deif was alive and still calling the shots in the ongoing war with Israel in and around Gaza.

"The head of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades Abu Khaled is still alive and leading the military operation," a source close to the Islamist movement told AFP, using Deif's nom-de-guerre.

His remarks were made after an Israeli air strike leveled a six-story house in Gaza City, killing Deif's wife and infant son.

It was not immediately clear whether Deif had also been killed or injured in the strike, which also killed another woman and a teenager.

Israeli military sources had earlier told Fox News that the leader had been killed in the strike as well, in what would have potentially been a major blow for the group.

Muhammad Deif has been an active leader in Hamas' military wing for decades, and has long been an extremely mysterious figure in the Palestinian resistance movement.

He is said to live completely underground from where he directs Hamas military actions, and a photograph has not been taken of him in decades.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also issued a statement, saying Israelis would not be safe until Deif decided so.

"The occupation will pay for its crimes against Palestinian civilians and those living around the Gaza border will not return home until Muhammad Deif decides so," he said.

Earlier, Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for military action to topple Hamas, saying the movement was clearly dictating the pace of the confrontation.

"This policy of 'quiet for quiet' effectively means that Hamas is the initiator and the one deciding when, where and how to shoot at Israeli citizens," he wrote on his Facebook page.

"Hamas is controlling the height of the flames and chooses when to disturb the rhythm of life for people in Israel," he said, indicating the rocket fire from Gaza was unlikely to stop.

"When we speak seriously about Israelis' security we must understand that there is no other option other than decisive action with one meaning - toppling Hamas."

Lieberman is one of the most hardline members of Israel's inner security cabinet, which was meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the situation, media reports said.

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Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:15:32 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16050-hamas-says-military-chief-alive-calling-shots-in-gaza-war
EU Donates 95 Million Euros for ANP Salaries http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16049-eu-donates-95-million-euros-for-anp-salaries

Milko Van Gool, in charge of Development Cooperation for the European Union in Afghanistan, on Wednesday announced a 95 million Euro allocation for salary payments to the Afghan National Police (ANP) and said that the Afghan government would be held responsible for dispersing the money transparently.

The the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Afghan Deputy Minister of Interior have praised EU's generosity in supporting the ANP, a core wing of the Afghan security forces that assumed many operational duties from foreign troops in lead up to NATO's December withdraw.

Van Gool spoke about the importance of the Afghan security forces, and their professionalism, for the future of Afghanistan. "The Job of the Afghan police officer, is difficult and very, very dangerous," he acknowledged.

"We respect the dedication and courage of each officer and we pay tribute to every man and woman out there for their duty, for the sense of duty and their professionalism."

Meanwhile, Alvaro Rodriguez, the Afghanistan Country Director for UNDP, also applauded the EU for its efforts to help support the continued developed of the Afghan police. "The European Union delegation is a key partner in support, not only to LOTFA but to UNDP and the UN as well," Rodriguez said.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the EU is the third largest aid provider for the ministry. The EU has donated a total of 592 million USD to the ANP.

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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:39:46 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16049-eu-donates-95-million-euros-for-anp-salaries
TOLOnews 6 pm News 20 August 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/16048-tolonews-6-pm-news-20-august-2014

Afghan government officials said that international aids for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are not enough emphasizing at a meeting on Wednesday in Kabul that the officials must propose a new set of recommendations at the NATO summit in Wales to increase aids.

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During the meeting, Afghan officials and representatives from various countries discussed finalizing the agenda for the NATO summit, which will be held on September 4 and 5 in Wales, Britain.

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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:15:24 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/16048-tolonews-6-pm-news-20-august-2014
IEC: Tensions Could Prolong Auditing http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/16047-iec-tensions-could-prolong-auditing

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday warned that if disagreements and tensions between the electoral teams and election officials persist the vote audit process could face weeks of delays.

The comments came after a brawl broke out between representatives of Abdullah Abdullah's camp and IEC employees at the audit center on Tuesday night. The incident, in which knives and scissors were reportedly wielded as weapons, left seven people injured and caused the audit process to be delayed three hours on Wednesday.

The United Nations, which is helping oversee and mediate the audit process, has condemned the clash and called on the two candidates to keep their observers in line.

"A guy who was working as a daily wager asked not to have his picture taken, a dispute occurred, he was alone, and later on the issue grew," said IEC Chief Ahamd Yousaf Nuristani, recounting the brawl that took place on Tuesday.

Abdullah's team has claimed that the incident occurred when IEC staff members were found trying to steal the locks off ballot boxes.

"Obsevers of the Reform and Partnership team saw that they broke two ballot box locks and put hands on another, then an observer of the Reform and Partnership team asked them to be careful with the ballot boxes," claimed Amrullah Aman, a member of the Abdullah technical team.

At the IEC's audit center on Wednesday, tensions were still simmering, forcing officials to delay the start of the process and bring in extra staff to breakup any confrontations that might occur.

Although the two camps have been largely positioned against one another when it comes to matters of the vote audit, following Tuesday's incident, they were united in their criticism of the IEC.

"I condemn the mismanagement of the election commission, the election commission must take control of this institution, it should be asked how the weapons managed to enter the IEC," said Dawoud Sultanzoi, the head of Ashraf Ghani's technical team.

The IEC has maintained that the weapons that were used and caused injury on Tuesday night were smuggled into the center by the campaign teams.

"It seems that the knifes, gun and other items were transferred to the commission inside the cars of high ranking electoral team members who we have allowed to enter the IEC premises," Nuristani said on Wednesday.

The IEC has said if the delays continue, the auditing process could be prolonged another few weeks.

In a press release on Wednesday, the UN said it would welcome the establishment of a committee to investigate the incident that occurred on Tuesday.
According to the UN, more than 12,000 of the 22,828 ballot boxes have been audited so far.

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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:11:18 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/election-2014/16047-iec-tensions-could-prolong-auditing
Times Reporter Given 24 Hours to Leave Afghanistan http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16046-times-reporter-given-24-hours-to-leave-afghanistan

After writing an article on August 18 discussing the current election and rumored talk of the formation of an interim government, Matthew Rosenberg, a senior reporter at The New York Times, was told by the Afghan Attorney General's office on Wednesday to leave the country within 24 hours.

Mr. Rosenberg, who has been based in Kabul for The Times for three years, was initially, on Tuesday, called in for questioning and then later issued a travel ban by the Attorney General's office. According to staff of the country's top prosecutor, the decision to have Mr. Rosenberg leave the country came after he declined to reveal the sources he used in his story.

"After investigation, the Attorney General's office has come to the conclusion that Rosenberg's presence in Afghanistan will endanger the national interests of Afghanistan, so the Attorney General's office has decided that he [Rosenber] should leave Afghanistan within 24 hours," spokesman for the Attorney General Baseer Azizi said. He added that "any Afghan journal publishing such things would face the same consequences."

Officials at the Presidential Palace have also spoken out on the issue, criticizing The New York Times' coverage of the presidential election as baseless and divisive. The story Mr. Rosenberg wrote that has gotten him in trouble quotes anonymous ministry sources discussing the possibility of threatening to form an interim government in order to break the election stalemate.

Afghan media advocacy groups, along with the U.S. State Department, have criticized the decision to question and expel Mr. Rosenberg.

Nai, an Afghan media watchdog, has vocally defended The Times reporter's rights, and said that any issues must be judged within the parameters of Afghanistan's Mass Media Law.

"A reporter has the right to access information, and whenever there is a complaint against a reporter, the complaint must be reviewed on the bases of the Mass Media Law and not in a selective manner," said Sediqullah Tawhedi, the head of Nai.

Rosenberg is the first foreign journalist forced out of Afghanistan by Afghan legal authorities since the 2001 invasion.

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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:07:35 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16046-times-reporter-given-24-hours-to-leave-afghanistan
AIHRC Efforts to Legally Stop Bacha Bazi http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16045-aihrc-efforts-to-legally-stop-bacha-bazi

The lack of laws against Bacha Bazi in the Afghan criminal justice system has led to significant growth in the horrific practice.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), in a recent report about the Bacha Bazi tradition, said that a number of amendments must be made to the criminal law, asserting that the responsible institutions should act accordingly in bringing justified changes.

Bacha Bazi is an old Afghan tradition that involves young boys—AIHRC report indicates victims are between the ages of 10 and 16—that are taken and dressed as girls and are made to entertain older men.

These boys are "owned" by the perpetrators who, according to the report, are between the ages of 31 and 50, stressing that 78 percent of these men are married and "own" two to five boys that are kept as their courtesans.

The Afghan criminal law has declared sexual harassment a crime; however, the law does not explicitly cover Bacha Bazi. AIHRC stresses that laws against all forms of Bacha Bazi—including forcing young boys to cross-dress and dance—should be explicitly included in the criminal justice system.

"The criminal laws in Afghanistan only identify rape and pederasty as a crime," AIHRC Chairperson Sima Samar said. "According to our findings there are several types of Bacha Bazi where they are kept as slaves and forced to dance at marriage parties and much more. All forms of Bacha Bazi need to be considered a crime."
The AIHRC report includes interviews with 31 victims of Bacha Bazi from 14 provinces as well as 36 men involved in the practice. The analysis indicates that most of the victims are kids working on the streets, factories and bakeries and have been forced into Bacha Bazi because of poverty.

Meanwhile, most of the perpetrators are said to be wealthy, illegally-armed and known as local law-breakers.

"Those involved in Bacha Bazi are mullahs, commanders, rich men and the list can go on, but those involved are lawbreakers," AIHRC commissioner Suraya Subhrang said.

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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:47:06 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16045-aihrc-efforts-to-legally-stop-bacha-bazi
Boxing Competitions Held in Kabul http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/16044-boxing-competitions-held-in-kabul

Boxing competitions were held in Kabul on Wednesday to identify 52 superior boxers for the national boxing team. The competitions were held at Kabul University with the participation of more than 100 boxers.

"Such competitions are important in identifying superior athletes and paving the way for them to join the national team and participate in international competitions," the national boxing team coach Mohammad Maroof said.

Manager of the national team, Nisar Ahmad Qarizada, stated that such competitions are necessary, but should be planned in advance so that the winners are prepared for international competitions.

"Competitions must be planned in advance so that the boxers can prepare well for the international competitions."

The competitions held 11 different categories.

"I participated in four games so far and won the first one with a knockout and the three others with good titles," boxer Hasibullah said.

The boxers believe that the competitions were held at a high professional level.

"The level of the competition was very high," another boxer Faisal said. "But I was still able to defeat my rivals."

Competitions were held for the first time after three years. According to the national team coach, certain technical and professional issues had prevented the federation to organize the competitions in the past years.

Boxing was first introduced in Afghanistan by Master Abdul Rashid Begham who had pursued his physical education in Germany and returned to Afghanistan in 1944. The first boxing competition of its kind was held in the country in 1975 at Ghazi Stadium in Kabul after which the first national team was formed.

Aziz Ahmad Akhtari, Azizullah Azizi, Jailani, Faiz Mohammad Karmand, Salahuddin Sediqi, Abdul Ghafor Raghbat, Najibullah Hussaini and Ustad Arif are among Afghanistan's most renowned boxers.

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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:30:07 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/16044-boxing-competitions-held-in-kabul
Afghanistan in Need for Further International Aid http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16043-afghanistan-in-need-for-further-international-aid

Afghan government officials said that international aids for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are not enough emphasizing at a meeting on Wednesday in Kabul that the officials must propose a new set of recommendations at the NATO summit in Wales to increase aids.

During the meeting, Afghan officials and representatives from various countries discussed finalizing the agenda for the NATO summit, which will be held on September 4 and 5 in Wales, Britain.

The Minister of Finance Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal asserted that the current $4.1 billion aid is not enough to compensate the needs of the ANSF instead should be increased to $6 billion on an annual basis.

"Our needs have changed since the Chicago conference," Zakhilwal explains. "At that time, the budget was allocated for 220,000 security personnel. Today we have 350,000 personnel. Naturally, this requires a budget expansion. We need $5.5 to $6 billion to fund our security forces. We plan on discussing this at the NATO summit."

Furthermore, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Ministry of Interior (MoI) also emphasized the need to increase the expenditure.

"Our evaluations in the past nine month's show that our expenses have increased because of several reasons," Mohammad Omer Daudzai, minister of interior, said. "One of the main factors is the lack of a strategy for the budget for the years 2014 and 2015. We are now working within the framework of a five-year plan."

In response to the Afghan officials, Australian ambassador to Kabul has stated that the future of international aids to Afghanistan is dependent on whether or not the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) is signed between Kabul and Washington. The BSA will allow some U.S presence in Afghanistan post-2014.

"Last year in November 2013, I think we noted that we were limited in the work we can do on these issues by the fact that the BSA and the NATO SOFA hadn't been signed. This meant we were operating in an uncertain environment," Australian ambassador to Kabul Jon Philp said.

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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:57:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16043-afghanistan-in-need-for-further-international-aid
8 Evening Program: Afghanistan After Independence in the 20th and 21st Centuries http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16042-8-evening-program-afghanistan-after-independence-in-the-20th-and-21st-centuries

In this episode, host Omid Farooq discusses about incidents that have occurred in the 20th and 21st century of the country and Amanullah Khan's ruling of Afghanistan with the following guests:

Abdul Hamid Mubariz, Historian

Nasrullah Stanikzai, university professor

Mahmood Saiqal, former deputy foreign minister

To watch the program, click here:

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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:06:18 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16042-8-evening-program-afghanistan-after-independence-in-the-20th-and-21st-centuries
FARAKHBAR: 19 August 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/16041-farakhbar-19-august-2014

95th Independence Day

Tuesday, August 191 2014 marked the 95th anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from Britain. With Afghans still anxiously awaiting the country's first ever democratic transition of power this year, it seems a good time to look back at the role of constitutionalism and reform in the era of independence.

Amanullah Khan declares Afghanistan Independence in Murad Khani area of Kabul and in his remarks he said "After this my country is free like other countries in the world," since then Afghanistan's independence has gone through many ups and downs.

95 years of independence has passed the country, but where does Afghanistan stand now?

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

Ghulam Mohammad Mohammadi, Historian

Mohammad Asif Nang, Deputy Minister of Education

To watch the program, click here:

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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:03:26 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/16041-farakhbar-19-august-2014