TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:27:13 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) FARAKHABAR: 29 October 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/16938-farakhabar-29-october-2014

A number of legislators have called on banning the officials of election management bodies from leaving the country as the final results of provincial councils elections face further criticism.

The MPs have called some of the commission members "opportunists," claiming that many of the provincial council candidates became victorious on the basis of political ties.

How can the government resolve the tensions pertaining the electoral bodies?

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

• Raifullah Gul Afghan: One of the protesting candidates
• Assadullah Saadati: MP

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}0KFmMIVg900{/youtube}

]]>
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:09:33 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/16938-farakhabar-29-october-2014
First 100 Days: The New Government's 31st Working Day http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16937-first-100-days-the-new-governments-31st-working-day

First Part:

In this episode of the program, host Omid Farooq discusses the recent works of the chief and chief executive of the National Unity Government, as well as President Ashraf Ghani's recent speech at Xinhua University in Beijing on Wednesday about the importance of regional cooperation and his plans to build a thriving Afghan economy.

Syed Ismail Jahangir: Journalist

Second Part:

Agreements between Afghan and Chinese Officials

The economic and technical cooperation agreement was signed between the Afghan acting Minister of Finance Omar Zakhelwal and his Chinese counterpart.

Syed Massoud: University Lecturer

Muzammil Shinwari: Deputy Minister of Finance for Trade and industry

Third Part:

Government's Commitment to Fight Against Corruption

The one month timeframe President Ashraf Ghani gave during his inauguration to the Supreme Court to enact reforms and curtail corruption has already passed. According to the newly appointed Chief Justice Abdul Rashed Rashid, the process of change is well underway.

Fawzia Kofi: MP

To watch the program, Click here:

{youtube}ODwNVDPIGDs{/youtube}

]]>
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:08:07 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16937-first-100-days-the-new-governments-31st-working-day
TAWDE KHABARE: Role of Regional Countries in the Peace Process http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/16936-tawde-khabare-role-of-regional-countries-in-the-peace-process

What is the determining factor in the peace process between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban? What are the roles of regional countries such as Arabic states and China in the peace talks? Does Pakistan use Taliban as a tool to reach its objectives in Afghanistan?

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

• Moeen Marasyal: Political Analyst

• Ghrzai Khawkhogi: Military Analyst

• Jawed Kohistani: Military Analyst

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}mWK7RCYajeQ{/youtube}

]]>
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:54:40 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/16936-tawde-khabare-role-of-regional-countries-in-the-peace-process
Iran Wants Sanctions Lifted Before Nuclear Deal http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16935-iran-wants-sanctions-lifted-before-nuclear-deal

Iran wants all Western sanctions to be lifted before striking a deal on its contested nuclear programme by a November deadline, a top official said Wednesday.

The announcement came amid intensifying efforts to conclude a definitive pact. The six powers in the talks with Iran -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany, known as the P5+1 -- have set November 24 as the deadline.

The chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi said the US proposal of a gradual lifting of sanctions was "unacceptable."

"If we want a definitive accord on November 24, there must be an immediate lifting of sanctions," he told a news conference in Paris.

A Western diplomat close to the negotiations with Iran on Monday said a firm deal by the deadline was highly unlikely, saying Tehran would have to make "significant gestures."

The aim is to close avenues towards Tehran ever developing an atomic bomb, by cutting back its enrichment programme, shutting down suspect facilities and imposing tough international inspections.

In return, the global community would suspend and then gradually lift crippling economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic.

But the two sides, despite long-running talks, remain far apart on how to reconcile their objectives.

]]>
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:43:41 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16935-iran-wants-sanctions-lifted-before-nuclear-deal
Supreme Court Announces Special Kabul Bank Trial http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16934-supreme-court-announces-special-kabul-bank-trial

The Afghan Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that it will hold a special trial for the Kabul Bank case in the coming weeks, overriding a previous decision by an appeals court in Kabul to reject the case.

The Attorney General's office, which has spearheaded the reopening of the infamous corruption case by order of President Ashraf Ghani, turned to the highest court in the country after the appellate court said there were problems with the case.

The decision by the Supreme Court to hold a special trial was welcomed by Basir Azizi, the Attorney General's spokesman. "The special trial will speed up the case and the court has the legal authority to take action to evaluate the case," Aziz said.

Meanwhile, the head of the Supreme Court said that the Kabul Bank case, which involves a number of prominent Afghan bankers and officials along with the embezzlement of over 900 million USD, is a top priority for the Court.

"The decision we made was the result of the meetings and we have the details and I will present the details of the meetings to the president when appropriate," Chief Justice Abdul Rashid Rashid said.

President Ashraf Ghani, setting the tone for his new administration early on, gave the Attorney General's office a month and a half to get the case prosecuted. But already over three weeks have passed and a number of the men accused of involvement in the corruption scandal have not yet been arrested and no court hearing has been held.

"We hope that something will be done in the coming fifteen days, the court meetings will be held, the escapers will be arrested and the men that the ministries vouched for will be presented to the court," Basir Azizi said.

The head of the Milli Bank and the New Kabul Bank were both able to flee the country under the pretense of official leave immediately following President Ghani's decree reopening the case against them. The two men were allowed to leave the country based on guarantees provided by the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank.

The Attorney General's office has called on the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank to get the accused back to Afghanistan, but to no avail. The men have been warned that if they do not show in court, then a ruling will be issued in their absence.

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:18:32 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16934-supreme-court-announces-special-kabul-bank-trial
TOLOnews 6pm News 29 October 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/16933-tolonews-6pm-news-29-october-2014 Top news in this bulletin:

The Afghan Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that it will hold a special trial for the Kabul Bank case in the coming weeks, overriding a previous decision by an appeals court in Kabul to reject the case.

To watch the whole news bulletin, Click Here:

{youtube}JPgBMQSrM1E{/youtube}

A number of MPs have expressed apprehensions about the recent security situation, saying that the number of suicide attacks, explosions and rockets has increased--even in the capital--during the first month of the National Unity Government (NUG).

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:10:35 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/16933-tolonews-6pm-news-29-october-2014
Afghanistan Ready to Construct Wakhan-China Road: MoPW http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16932-afghanistan-ready-to-construct-wakhan-china-road-mopw

In response to President Ashraf Ghani's call for a direct land link from Afghanistan to the Republic of China, the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) has said Afghanistan is ready to coordinate with China on the construction of the road, which will follow the ancient Silk Road trading route. 

The highway will link the Xinjiang state of China with Badkhshan's Wakhan district, passing through the mountains of Guzar Wakhan through to the Anjuman Pass of Panjshir province and then on to centeral Afghanistan.

According to the MoPW, the construction will be expensive, but will be possible with China's contribution. "We are ready to construct the highway in joint effort with China," MoPW spokesman Sohail Kakar said.

Officials of Chamber of Commerce and Industries, too, stress that the road's construction will take less time considering China's technological developments.

Economists believe that the construction of Wakhan-China route will increase trade between the two countries and decrease the expenses of import and export transportation, as well as improving Afghanistan's trade relations with Europe and the rest of Asia.

The area's mountainous nature and harsh winters as well as the need to dig many tunnels are said to be some of the challenges on the way of the road's construction.

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:06:11 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16932-afghanistan-ready-to-construct-wakhan-china-road-mopw
Ghani Delivers Speech in Beijing on Silk Road, Regional Cooperation http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16931-ghani-delivers-speech-in-beijing-on-silk-road-regional-cooperation

Delivering a speech at Xinhua University in Beijing on Wednesday, President Ashraf Ghani emphasized the importance of regional cooperation and his plans to build a thriving Afghan economy.

The speaking event was organized as part of the president's trip to China, his first official trip abroad since taking office. The visit included meetings with top Chinese officials to discuss trade and economic cooperation as well as security issues with the Taliban and Pakistan.

"We have to move out of thinking along national boundaries to continental and international cooperation; in the second decade of the 21st century, state-to-state conflict is a lose-lose proposition, the only way forward is cooperative advantage," President Ghani said. "Cooperation can have very, very significant advantages while conflict can have many, many disadvantages."

In his speech, Ghani spoke about rebuilding the Silk Road trade route that was the main highway for Asian trade for thousands of years, passing from China through Central and South Asia into the Middle East and Mediterranean region.

"China is a strategic partner for us on multiple levels, this trip is based on that previous foundation, but it's about deepening and broadening of this relationship, making the new silk road happen," Ghani said.

With the U.S. and its NATO coalition set to withdraw by the end of the year, Ghani's choice for his first official trip as president to be to China could signal the intention of broadening Afghanistan's alliances and sources of aid in its own region. In his speech at Xinhua University, Ghani stressed that Afghanistan was ready to cooperate with everyone.

"Our image of Afghanistan is that we are for cooperation with everybody, because our future - lifting from poverty to prosperity - requires cooperation," Ghani said. "But the mentality must change to see Afghanistan as the center of new economic activity."

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:52:36 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16931-ghani-delivers-speech-in-beijing-on-silk-road-regional-cooperation
Supreme Court Claims Headway Made As Ghani's Deadline for Reform Passes http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16930-supreme-court-claims-headway-made-as-ghanis-deadline-for-reform-passes

The one month timeframe President Ashraf Ghani gave during his inauguration to the Supreme Court to enact reforms and curtail corruption has come and gone. And according to newly appointed Chief Justice Abdul Rashid Rashid, the process of change is well underway.

In exclusive interview with TOLOnews, Chief Justice Rashid discussed the efforts that have been made since the inauguration of the national unity government to bring reform to the Afghan judiciary.

"I can say with full confidence that I will emerge as a barrier to any mistakes and violations that might happen at the Supreme Court," he said. Citing the initiation of a special trial for the Kabul Bank case, a top priority of the Ghani administration early on, and efforts to rid the court system of corruption, the Chief Justice assured that concerted steps were being taken.

So far, nearly 200 judges and another 600 employees in the judiciary have been fired on account of allegations that they abused the powers of their office and/or took bribes. But considering the judicial system is considered the most corrupt public institution in Afghanistan, according to a survey conducted by Transparency International in 2013, it will likely take more than just that to satisfy Ghani's call for reform.

Rashid, for his part, assured the integrity of his work. "I will accomplish my job in a just manner, I will be the judge of the people and loyal to the law and will be frank and will decide on any case according to the spirit of the law and will maintain justice," he told TOLOnews.

With the NATO coalition set to withdraw by the end of the year, fears that Afghanistan has become debilitated by international aid-fueled corruption have compounded those of a Taliban resurgence. But the national unity government's early campaign against corruption has been welcomed by many politicians and experts.

"We have evidences of that a number of bribers are fearful only because of one announcement and they no longer ask for bribes," political analyst Najla Ayoubi told TOLOnews.

"If the presidential order is not implemented and reforms aren't brought it will hurt public trust, but I am confident that the president will follow up on the issue according to his order," analyst Tahir Hashimi said.

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:15:43 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16930-supreme-court-claims-headway-made-as-ghanis-deadline-for-reform-passes
Security Deteriorating in the Past Month http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16928-security-deteriorating-in-the-past-month

A number of MPs have expressed apprehensions about the recent security situation, saying that the number of suicide attacks, explosions and rockets has increased--even in the capital--during the first month of the National Unity Government (NUG).

"The security situation is terrible and intolerable," Sadiqi Ahmadi Usmani, first deputy speaker, said.

Ghor MP Sayad Nadir Sha Bahar added that, "people's security concerns have increased" and that "security gets worse every day."

President Ashraf Ghani, on his first day at office, asked security departments to accelerate efforts in maintaining security around the country, especially in the capital.

"We need a clear and coordinated strategy to maintain security in Kabul and neighboring provinces," the president had stressed, adding that Kabul's security is important for overall security.

In the past month, Kabul witnessed six suicide attacks, two roadside bombs explosions and two rockets fired in areas near the Presidential Palace. Based on the figures reported from the incidents, 27 people have been killed in Kabul in the past 29 days.

Kabul residents are furious over the reports and ask the NUG to address their concerns.

"We expected the security to improve after NUG, but unfortunately it has become worse," Kabul resident Maryam said.

TOLO news was not able to get the response of Kabul police in regard to the issue.

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:37:25 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16928-security-deteriorating-in-the-past-month
Heavy-load Trucks Illegally Commute on Kabul-Jalalabad Highway: MoPW http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16927-heavy-load-trucks-illegally-commute-on-kabul-jalalabad-highway-mopw

The Afghan Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) on Wednesday reported that local officials in the eastern province of Nangarhar deliberately avoid to issue fines for heavy-load trucks commuting on Kabul-Jalalabad Highway.

"According to our statistics, most trucks that commute on the highway carry unauthorized weights," MoPW spokesman Mohammad Suhail Kakar said. "The provincial authorities have not implemented the new policy of issuing fines."

In response to the allegation, spokesman to Nangarhar governor, Ahmadzia Abdulzai, stated that the provincial government has adopted another initiative to curb corruption.

"We are not certain that the new procedure introduced by the MoPW will be successful; therefore, we have taken the initiative to ban weighing the vehicles in order to curb corruption," he said.

Recent reports indicate that many parts of the highway have been badly damaged due to the heavy traffic of high tonnage lorries and trucks commuting through the route.

The heavy-load vehicles are said to have left extremely negative impacts on the highway, including increasing the number of traffic accidents.

"The road is in a catastrophic condition," a driver on the highway said. "Tens of accidents happen here on a daily basis."

The issue is especially alarming because more than 50 percent of the country's imports come through the same route.

The kabul-Jalaabad highway was built with $115 million in 2007. It is one of the busiest highways in the country and holds much significance for the country's economy, in addition to being the only way to connect the capital to eastern provinces as well the Torkham border.

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:15:18 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16927-heavy-load-trucks-illegally-commute-on-kabul-jalalabad-highway-mopw
Candidate Closes Ghorband-Bamyan Road http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16926-candidate-closes-ghorband-bamyan-road

The Ghorband-Bamyan road in Franjal area of Parwan province is closed to traffic by Wakil Samad, one of the protesting candidates from the provincial council elections, and his supporters. The candidate has reportedly blocked the road as a reaction to the announcement of the final results of the provincial council elections.

People travelling through the route have contacted TOLOnews to raise concerns over the issue. Spokesman to Parwan governor Wahid Siddiqi has stated that police are trying to reopen the road soon.

Meanwhile, a number of Herat candidates gathered on the same day to demand that the members of the electoral commissions be brought to justice.

Expressing anger over the alleged fraud in the elections, the protesters came together in a tent in front of the provincial governor's office. The protests have led to many roads being closed to traffic.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the final results of the provincial council elections after over four and a half months delay last week, with 458 individuals—97 women--winning seats in provincial councils around the country. A week later, a number of provincial council candidates took part in a protest in Kabul on Tuesday morning, asking for the trial of members of election commissions over alleged massive frauds in the election process.

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 06:49:47 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16926-candidate-closes-ghorband-bamyan-road
33 Insurgents Killed in Warduj http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16925-33-insurgents-killed-in-warduj

According to Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman to the Badakhshan police chief, more than 33 Taliban, including foreigners, have been killed in ongoing clashes between Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the Taliban in Warduj district of Badakhshan province. Ahmadzai asserted that the ANSF have destroyed all insurgent safe-havens in the district.

More than 300 Taliban insurgents attacked police outposts in Warduj earlier this week, killing four policemen and taking few others captive. Additional troops were deployed to the area for support and backup.

Meanwhile, Badakhshan's neighboring province, Kunduz, also witnessed major clashes between the Taliban and the ANSF on Monday of the same week. According to reports, the Taliban have taken control of 30 villages in Kunduz, including Gor Tapa and Imam Saheb.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attacks on Warduj, saying that a number of ANSF soldiers have been killed in the attack.

The insurgents have increased their attacks recently, targeting Afghan military outposts in Nangahar, Kunar, Ghor, Logar, Kunduz, Badakhshan and Helmand provinces.

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 05:51:24 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16925-33-insurgents-killed-in-warduj
FARAKHABAR: 28 October 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/16924-farakhabar-28-october-2014

In a recent report, the U.S. senate committee has recommended that post-2014 foreign aids to Afghanistan should be conditional on transparency as well as implementation of necessary reforms and maintaining human rights.

Will the National Unity Government succeed in meeting these criteria?

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

Dawoud Kalakani, MP

Moeen Marastyal, Deputy Head of the Rights and Justice Party

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}wJfyVarqTLI{/youtube}

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 03:21:53 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/16924-farakhabar-28-october-2014
First 100 Days: U.S Senators Push for Conditional Aids to Afghanistan Post-2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16923-first-100-days-us-senators-push-for-conditional-aids-to-afghanistan-post-2014

In this episode of the program, host Omid Farooq discusses the U.S. senate's demand on conditional post-2014 aids to Afghanistan as well as President Ashraf Ghani's meeting with officials of private and public construction companies, with the following guests:

Akbar Rustami, Reporter

Wafiullah Eftekhar, Head of Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA)

Naeem Yasin, Head of Construction Companies Union

Qurban Haqjo, Economic Affairs Analyst

Mustafa Mastor, Deputy Minister of Finance

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}3TavzBfgCOs{/youtube}

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 03:18:23 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16923-first-100-days-us-senators-push-for-conditional-aids-to-afghanistan-post-2014
TAWDE KHABARE: Security Situation in the Northeast http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/16922-tawde-khabare-security-situation-in-the-northeast

The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have surrounded the Taliban insurgents in Warduj district of north-eastern Badakhshan province. Fifteen Taliban insurgents, including foreigners, have been killed in the on-going attacks, local officials said.

More than 300 Taliban insurgents attacked police outposts in Warduj earlier this week, killing four policemen and taking few others captive, according Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman to the Badakhshan police chief. Ahmadzai reported that additional troops have been deployed to the area to free the ANSF soldiers taken captive by the Taliban insurgents.

Meanwhile, Badakhshan's neighboring province, Kunduz, also witnessed major clashes between the Taliban and the ANSF on Monday. According to reports, the Taliban have taken control of 30 villages in Kunduz, including Gor Tapa and Imam Saheb.

The Taliban insurgents have increased their attacks recently, targeting Afghan military outposts in Nangahar, Kunar, Ghor, Logar, Kunduz, Badakhshan and Helmand provinces.

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Zabiullah Sadaat discuses the issue with the following guests:

• Omer Sapai, Military Analyst

• Hamidullah Hotak, Kunduz Tribal Elder

• Gen. Baba Jan, Badakhshan Police Chief

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}muf1K--NHp0{/youtube}

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 03:07:09 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/16922-tawde-khabare-security-situation-in-the-northeast
Orbital Rocket Explodes After Launch http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16921-orbital-rocket-explodes-after-launch

An unmanned rocket owned by Orbital Sciences Corporation exploded Tuesday in a giant fireball and plummeted back to Earth just seconds after launch on what was to be a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

"The Antares rocket suffered an accident shortly after lift-off," NASA mission control in Houston said, describing the event as a "catastrophic anomaly."

After the countdown, the base of the tall, white rocket ignited on cue, then rose a short distance into the air before it suddenly exploded in a fiery blast six seconds later.

Enveloped in flames, the rocket collapsed to the ground, as a cloud of dark gray smoke rose from the wreckage.

Investigators swiftly secured the perimeter of the area and forbade any outside interviews of witnesses or staff, citing classified equipment that had been aboard the spacecraft.

As night fell, fires were seen burning at the coastal launch pad at Wallops Island, Virginia where waves lapped at the shore.

It was unclear what caused the explosion, which occurred at 6:22 pm (2222 GMT).

"At this point it appears that the damage is limited to the facility," a commentator on NASA television said.

All personnel in the area were accounted for, and there were no injuries, the US space agency said.

There was, however significant property damage.

The accident occurred just after Orbital's unmanned Cygnus cargo ship blasted off toward ISS carrying 5,000 pounds (2,200 kilograms) of supplies for the six astronauts living at the research outpost.

It was the first nighttime launch of an Antares rocket, Orbital said.

Engineers said the countdown had gone smoothly, and there were no issues apparent with the machinery.

The mission, known as CRS-3, was to be Orbital's fourth trip to the ISS, including an initial demonstration.

On NASA television, a man identified as Orbital executive vice president Frank Culbertson told his team to be as professional in this process as they are in a countdown, and urged them not to talk to the press.

"When we understand what happened, hopefully soon, then we will get things back on track," Culbertson could be heard saying to staff on the radio.

"We have all seen this happen in our business before, and we have all seen our teams recover from this," he said.

"Like I said, be very judicious about talking about it even amongst yourselves, in terms of speculation. Definitely do not talk outside our family."

Orbital has a $1.9 billion contract with NASA for a total of eight supply missions.

The Cygnus craft, which is shaped like a massive beer keg, was to have remained berthed at the ISS for about five weeks.

After the US space shuttle program ended in 2011, leaving no government program to send humans to the space station, private companies raced to restore US access.

SpaceX's Dragon was the first commercial spacecraft to make a supply journey there in 2010.

]]>
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 02:41:51 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16921-orbital-rocket-explodes-after-launch
TOLOnews 6pm News 28 October 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/16920-tolonews-6pm-news-28-october-2014 Top news in this Bulletin:

Afghan and Chinese government officials signed four agreements this week, addressing trade and commerce relations, bilateral economic ties, humanitarian aid and travel permits for public servants.

To watch the whole news bulletin, Click Here:

{youtube}eAJ7qc9vamk{/youtube}

A group of upper and lower house representatives in Parliament have demanded that members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) be barred from leaving the country before they are held to account for the problems faced during this year's election. Some representatives have said outright that members of the commission should be prosecuted.

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:41:08 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/video/16920-tolonews-6pm-news-28-october-2014
Representatives Call for Prosecution of IEC Officials http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16919-representatives-call-for-prosecution-of-iec-officials

A group of upper and lower house representatives in Parliament have demanded that members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) be barred from leaving the country before they are held to account for the problems faced during this year's election. Some representatives have said outright that members of the commission should be prosecuted.

The calls from Parliament come over a month after the presidential election ended and less than a week since the conclusion of the provincial council contests. However, momentum has steadily built around those demanding the election commissions be reformed and held accountable for the malfeasance observed and documented during the elections.

Meanwhile, IEC Chief Ahmad Yousaf Nuristani has agreed to accept any necessary reforms to the election commission, but stressed that they not be politically-motivated. "We are prepared to implement reforms in the election commission, I have fought for reforms, but the reforms must be on the basis of the Constitution," Nuristani said.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah was originally the most high-profile and adamant proponent of reforming the election commissions, having been the chief critic of their performance during the election process. Yet support for changes in the country's electoral system, after this year's process dragged on for over six months and required an intervention by the United Nations and U.S. diplomats to keep from falling apart, has moved far beyond him.

"To maintain justice and to respect the will of people, we need to bring reforms in the electoral bodies and members of the election management bodies must be introduced to the legal and judicial institutions of the country,"said Bashir Samim, the head of Parliament's Commission for Environmental Affairs.

"The commission led the country to the verge of collapse, therefore members of the commissions must be prosecuted," Maidan Wardak MP Ghulam Hussain Naseri added.

In light of recent events surrounding suspects in the Kabul Bank corruption case, some of which have fled the country to avoid court, MPs demanded that election commission officials be stopped from leaving the country until those responsible for fraud and other problems during the election process face consequences.

"We demand the national unity government ban members of the election commission so that they aren't able to flee the country," Badakhshan MP Abdul Rauf Enami said.

Members of the Senate also called for electoral reform on Tuesday, and questioned why nothing in that vein has happened yet. "In his first days of work, Dr. Abdullah was suggesting implementation of reforms in the electoral bodies, but in recent days, apparently he is silent," Senator Hidayatollah Rahayee said.

A central part of the national unity government agreement that Abdullah and President Ashraf Ghani made last month, which finally brought the election process to a peaceful conclusion, was that major reforms be brought to the electoral system. Abdullah, throughout the election process, maintained that he was cheated by election officials. Since the new government has taken office, however, he has quieted those claims.

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:40:39 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16919-representatives-call-for-prosecution-of-iec-officials
Budget Deficit Already Causing Delays in Salary Payments http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16918-budget-deficit-already-causing-delays-in-salary-payments

The super-scale salaries of at least 56 district governors have not been paid for the past year, according to the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG). Responsibility for paying the public servants falls with the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, but it is said to not have the financial means to do so.

Highlighting the importance of district governors, who are key to spreading and maintaining the Afghan government's rule of law on the local level, the IDLG said it was unfair and negligent for the Civil Service Commission and the Ministry of Finance to ignore the obligation to pay their employees.

"The Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission stresses that it has no money in the special code and the Ministry of Finance also refuses to pay for the budget," said Khawjah Shafi Sediqi, the head of the IDLG's Finance and Budget Department.

According to protocol, district governors serving in Category A provinces receive 1,000 USD monthly salaries while governors serving in Category B provinces receive 900 USD a month. Governors in Category C provinces receive 800 USD every month.

"It is a fact that a number of district governors who participated in the open competition haven't received their salaries, the budget deficit has been central factor behind the issue," head of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission Ahmad Mushahid said.

Budgetary issues were a staple of the last few months of the Hamid Karzai administration, and they have unfortunately rolled over to the new nation unity government. With the NATO coalitions set withdraw in December and international donor funds dwindling, the Afghan government is now forced to reckon with the fact that it has a budget far bigger than it can afford.

"When a district governor receives super scale salary and his counterpart does not pay the salary, it impacts their commitment to work," Khawjah Shafi Mohammad Sediqi further said.

Recognizing the issue, but denying any power to remedy it, the head of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, Ahmad Mushahid, said the presidential palace should do something about the situation.

"The solution is only to pay the salaries from another code of the presidential palace, otherwise, we are unable to pay the super scale salaries from the code with which we pay salaries of teachers and ordinary employees," Mushahid said.

Over a month ago, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) warned the government that the well of available public funds for this year was running dry and that public servant salary payments would be the first to suffer.

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:39:38 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16918-budget-deficit-already-causing-delays-in-salary-payments
Afghan Govt. Faces Severe Economic Crises http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16917-afghan-govt-faces-severe-economic-crises

Economic analysts have stated that the government's inappropriate expenditures have led to the deficit in the government budget this year.

"There is only one thing that can resolve the shortage of budget and that is to decrease the inappropriate expenses and use a logical economical way to avoid extra costs," Professor of Economics at Kabul University Sayad Masude said.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF), has acknowledged the issue, maintaining, however, that the decrease in national income, the reduction of foreign aids and the decrease of investments in the country are the main causes of the deficit.

"We faced many issues this year. National income decreased, investment was stagnated, international aid did not reach on time and the election process was prolonged; all these issues had negative impacts on the economy," MoF spokesman Abdul Qadir Jilani said. "We request from the international community to provide us with seven million dollars. If they do, we will be able to manage the situation for now."

Meanwhile, the Control and Audit Office of Afghanistan has said that they will evaluate the current year's budget to find out the reasons behind the shortage of funds.

"Based on our assessments, we suggested that the government and national assembly should decrease the amount of discretionary funds and its percentage in the budget," the Deputy of Control and Audit Office of Afghanistan, Sayad Muhmmad Mahdi Husini, said.

Some other reasons are said to be the 91 code and discretionary funds. The 91 code is a special account used with the permission of the president. It is said that most of the money from the account has been spent on purchasing armored vehicles with a cost of $58 million for the members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) as well as the rents for the bourses with a cost of 800,000 Afghanis.

MoF officials are concerned because if they provide money to the country's treasures, they will not be able to provide the salaries of government employees on time.

The country faces a serious deficit while another two months remain of the financial year.

President Ashraf Ghani's administration faces not only security challenges but also sever economic crises that need prompt attention.

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:27:18 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16917-afghan-govt-faces-severe-economic-crises
Afghanistan, China Sign Four Agreements http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16916-afghanistan-china-sign-four-agreements

Afghan and Chinese government officials signed four agreements this week, addressing trade and commerce relations, bilateral economic ties, humanitarian aid and travel permits for public servants.

The agreements were signed during President Ashraf Ghani's visit to Beijing, his first official trip abroad as president. Ghani and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, praised the agreements and pledged for longterm cooperation between the two countries.

"We look at China as strategic partner in the short term, medium term, long term and very long term," President Ghani said. The Afghan president was received warmly upon arriving in China, including a ceremonial 21-gun-salute.

Based on the travel permits agreement signed between the two countries, Afghan and Chinese government officials will be able to travel between them without the need for a visa.

During the trip, Chinese President Jinping announced his support for the new national unity government in Afghanistan. "We will continue our strategic and friendly ties between Afghanistan and China, China is committed on supporting Afghanistan to protect its freedom, territorial integrity, security and development," he said.

Ghani also reportedly spoke to Jinping about security issues in Afghanistan. Before arriving in China, sources close to the Presidential Palace said the Afghan delegation would seek help from Beijing in getting Pakistan to act as a more helpful, honest partner in peace talks with the Taliban.

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:19:38 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16916-afghanistan-china-sign-four-agreements
Countrywide Football Competitions Begin http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/16915-countrywide-football-competitions-begin

A series of football championship matches between several Afghan football clubs began simultaneously in seven zones around the country on Tuesday. The competitions aim to identity the most competent football teams in the country.

"The teams will first compete against each other in their own zones. Then, the winners will come to Kabul for the overall competition," Ali Kazemi, who is responsible for media relations in the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), said.
 
The teams will face each other in Heart, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Paktia, Parwan and Kunduz provinces.
 
“We have organized these matches as a preliminary step to empower Afghan football teams around the country," Chairman of the AFF Kiramuddin Karim said.  "These teams should not feel any pressure because of being compared to the Roshan Afghan Premier League (RAPL). We want to raise their level to that of RAPL."
 
The initiative is said to be a part of the AFF's goal to further empower football players around the country.

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:17:29 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/sports/16915-countrywide-football-competitions-begin
2 killed and 15 Wounded in Herat Clashes http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16914-2-killed-and-15-wounded-in-herat-clashes

Two Afghan National Police (ANP) were killed and nine civilians, including five women, were wounded during an insurgent attack on ANP and civilians on one of the busiest business roads in Herat city, the capital of Herat province.

After the attack, the insurgents took refuge in a civilian house, firing on ANP. Additional Afghan forces were deployed to the area to support the local forces.

The clashes continued for three hours, leading to the demise of the attackers as well as leaving serious injuries for six ANP officers.

"Fortunately, both attackers were killed and we could seize their arms," National Directorate of Security (NDS) special unit chief, Rafi said. "The operation ended successfully."

Meanwhile, an ANP soldier mistakenly fired in the area, injuring six civilians as well as himself as raising the number of the injured to 15, two of whom are said to be in critical conditions.

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:57:24 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16914-2-killed-and-15-wounded-in-herat-clashes
The Nation-State and Humanitarian Intervention http://www.tolonews.com/en/opinion/16913-the-nation-state-and-humanitarian-intervention

Escalating insecurities in Syria and Iraq have once again highlighted the dilemma of humanitarian intervention. Even though the globalized, trans-border, trans-linguistic world of neoliberal ideals has tremendously challenged the traditional ideas in international relations, the concepts of nation-state, national interest and sovereignty remain prominent, creating blurred lines and extensive confusion about issues such as humanitarian intervention.

The concept of humanitarian intervention is basically that of the legitimate use of force in cases of a humanitarian crisis. The international law considers humanitarian intervention a legitimate use of force alongside self-defense (against threats to territorial integrity) and other uses of force authorized by the United Nations Security Council. The issue is complicated because there are arguments both for and against it in the UN charter of 1945. According to article 2(7) which is based on the principle of sovereignty ofthe treaty of Westphalia (1648), "nothing contained in the present charter shall authorize the UN to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state." Article 2(7) goes on to add that the principle should not "prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII" of the charter.Based on chapter VII, the Security Council has the authority tointervene when/where there is "threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression."

The language of the charter leaves much room for interpretation and controversy, making humanitarian intervention one of the most complex and controversial issues of our time.

One issue is the question of sovereignty of the nation-state and the other is the easily modifiable criteria of humanitarian intervention which allow super powers and the international community to play the roles of selective hegemons—those who intervene or turn a blind eye as they please. This makes human rights epiphenomenal: secondary to the interests of powerful nation-states.

In his book The Last Utopia, Richard Moyn quotes Josef Kunz, an international lawyer (1951), who said that making the rights of individuals a central theme in politics and even defending these rights against states is neither theoretically nor practically acceptable. Kunz argued that since international law and the UN charter are based on state sovereignty, one couldn't violate those by focusing on individual rights. Kunz's approach is still applicable to today's dilemmas of human rights and humanitarian intervention vs. the nation-state and sovereignty. And so, the struggle for the efficacy of human rights on state behavior continues.

In the 21st century, the nation-state has a conditional authority. If the state cannot protect its people and/or itself commits atrocities against them, the state loses its legitimacy, authority, and sovereignty, and can, therefore, be subject to intervention. In such cases, the international community has a responsibility to and the right to protect the nation at question, often with the authorization for the use of force by the Security Council. Though, the problem is the subjectivity of the ideas in that powerful states could define and/or modify criteria for humanitarian intervention as they wish. Concepts of a well-justified reason to intervene could be easily constructed. The case of Iraq is just one example of how the case for war was built by claims about eminence and urgency of a global security threat.

So in such circumstances, how do we know if humanitarian interventions are indeed driven by humanitarian causes and human rights ideals?

Many argue that the UN can determine whether or not there is need for humanitarian intervention. Butit is important to note that the UN's impartiality and objectivity are not given. In many instances, the interests of powerful states influence the actions and decisions of the UN. Even the UN Secretary General—despite supposedly being independent—is often times directed and influenced by powerful states. Moreover, the veto power of the UN Security Council's P5 protects the interests of powerful states, even if that comes at the expense of human rights. Cases of Chinese violations in Tibet and Russian violations in Chechnya are just two examples of the neglect of human rights abuses because of the UN power dynamics.

When Mary Robinson, the out-spoken UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, spoke of China and Russia's violations of human rights as well as the inhumane treatment of enemy prisoners after 9/11 in the US, she faced severe criticism and pressure. It was even to an extent that the Bush Administration asked Kofi Anan not to extend Robinson's contract after she criticized Israel's policies.

The UN, despite its flaws, has been successful in drawing attention to human rights. But the UN's approaches, assumptions, and claims should constantly be questioned since no entity, not even the UN,can remain neutral considering the power dynamics at place.

In a world governed by realpolitik, human rights have neither in the past, nor in the present been the main driving factor in international relations. States are mainly driven by self-interest in the context of realism, making human rights secondary and inferior to the state. Even though human rights violations around the globe can no longer be ignored, the behaviors of states regarding these violations are most often driven mainly by their national interests. And as long as the definitions and implications of state sovereignty and national interest do not evolve, human rights will continue to be epiphenomenal.

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:40:48 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/opinion/16913-the-nation-state-and-humanitarian-intervention
TAWDE KHABARE: Budget Deficits http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/16912-tawde-khabare-budget-deficits

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discusses the concerns emerged out of budget deficits and the decline on government revenues, with the following guests

Azarakhsh Hafizi, Head of ACCI Department for International Affairs

Ahmad Shah Ramazan, Member of the Parliament's Economic Commission

Azeem Mohseni, Member of Parliament's Budget and Finance Commission

Seyar Quraishi, Independent Economic Analyst

To watch the program, Click Here:

{youtube}Ck000Nmb3RU{/youtube}

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:47:04 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/tawde-khabare/16912-tawde-khabare-budget-deficits
Provincial Council Candidates Ask for Trial of Election Commission Officials http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16911-provincial-council-candidates-ask-for-trial-of-election-commission-officials

A number provincial council candidates took part in a protest in Kabul on Tuesday morning, asking for the trial of members of election commissions over alleged massive frauds in the election process.

The protest started in Pul-e-Charkhil area of Kabul city about a week after the final results were announced by the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
The protestors chanted "death to Nuristani" chairman of the IEC and "death to Sadaat" chairman of the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), stating, in anger, that they have lost their trust in the electoral management bodies.

"We have documents that prove the frauds and corruption in the elections commissions," one of the candidates Rafeullah Gul Afghan said. "They [members of the commissions] have received armored vehicles as gifts. We want them to be put on trial."

Abdul Qayoum, another candidate, added that "the IEC and the ECC have tinted Afghanistan's reputation and made a bad name for the country before the international community."

A candidate from Paktia Nasim Mujahid added to Qayoum's statement, emphasizing that "a special tribunal be formed to attend to the issue."

"Some candidates had 500 votes and their votes were raised to 5,000. The votes of those who have 10,000 votes have been decreased to 3,000," Kabul candidate Shafiullah said. "They are making a mockery of people."

The ECC has rejected the allegations.

"They must submit their evidence to electoral complaints commission," ECC spokesman Nadir Mohseni said. "The ECC is determined to take legal action against any illegal actions."

The IEC announced the final results of the provincial council elections after over four and a half months delay last week. According to IEC, 458 individuals won seats in provincial councils around the country, of which 97 are women.

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 09:42:47 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16911-provincial-council-candidates-ask-for-trial-of-election-commission-officials
Taliban Surrounded by ANSF in Warduj http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16910-taliban-surrounded-by-ansf-in-warduj

The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have Surrounded the Taliban insurgents in Warduj district of north-eastern Badakhshan province. Fifteen Taliban insurgents, including foreigners, have been killed in the on-going attacks, local officials said.

More than 300 Taliban insurgents attacked police outposts in Warduj earlier this week, killing four policemen and taking few others captive, according Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman to the Badakhshan police chief. Ahmadzai reported that additional troops have been deployed to the area to free the ANSF soldiers taken captive by the Taliban insurgents.

Meanwhile, Badakhshan's neighboring province, Kunduz, also witnessed major clashes between the Taliban and the ANSF on Monday. According to reports, the Taliban have taken control of 30 villages in Kunduz, including Gor Tapa and Imam Saheb.

The Taliban insurgents have increased their attacks recently, targeting Afghan military outposts in Nangahar, Kunar, Ghor, Logar, Kunduz, Badakhshan and Helmand provinces.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks on Warduj, saying that a number of Afghan forces have been killed in the attack.

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 06:20:52 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/16910-taliban-surrounded-by-ansf-in-warduj
First 100 Days: Latest News About The Functions of NUG http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16909-first-100-days-latest-news-about-the-functions-of-nug

In this episode of the program, host Omid Farooq discusses the latest news about the functions of the National Unity Government (NUG), with the following guests:

• Fahim Saber, Producer of TOLOnew's political programs
• Basir Aziz, Spokesman to the Attorney General
• Abdul Raof Namani, MP
• Jawid Kohistani, Political analyst
• Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, Military analyst

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}x_3YR2tvtEU{/youtube}

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 03:57:45 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/miscellaneous-category/16909-first-100-days-latest-news-about-the-functions-of-nug
FARAKHABAR: 27 October 2014 http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/16908-farakhabar-27-october-2014

Chief Executive of the National Unity Government Abdullah Abdullah has stressed that peace talks must not be conducted behind closed doors, adding that the peace talks should not compromise the fundamental rights of the citizens.

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

• Zahir Sadaat, MP
• Shah Hussian Murtazawi, Journalist

To watch the program, click here:

{youtube}7kkehbsUbJE{/youtube}

]]>
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 03:50:50 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/farah-khabare/16908-farakhabar-27-october-2014