TOLOnews.com RSS Feed http://tolonews.com/ Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:26:18 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) MP Reveals Why Election Law Is Not Amended Yet http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18831-mp-reveals-why-election-law-is-not-amended-yet

In order to retain their positions, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials have made secret deals with some MPs to prevent amendments to the election law, according to Mohammad Abdoh, the head of legal and judicial commission of the Parliament.

The Monday's session of Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament) was scheduled for voting on proposed amendments to the election law; however, when the issue was raised, most of the lawmakers began walking out of the session which caused a further delay in the approval of new election law.

"You all know that the election commission officials were walking through the corridors, demanding the MPs to remove the issue of amendments from today's agenda, and in return, they would guarantee their victory in coming Parliamentary elections," Abdoh told the session.

The other lawmakers who stayed in their seats strongly criticized their fellows over leaving the session and called it a conspiracy to avoid approval of amendments to the election law.

"If we break the house quorum, in fact it means that we are sabotaging the process of approving the amendments," Lawmaker Zakaria Zakaria said, after almost 40 percent of the MPs left the session.
"If we don't bring the changes, we will be supporting corrupt electoral commissions indeed," lawmaker from Herat Nazir Ahmad Hanafi urged.

Stressing the need for profound reforms to the election system, the MPs noted that the only way to avoid frauds in future elections was to reform the system.

"The Constitution says that the Parliament in its final year cannot bring changes to the election law. [But] this is about the law on composition and authorities of election commission, and we can bring amendments to it," MP Abdul Qayum Sajjadi said after some lawmakers noted that they were not legally allowed to touch on the issue.

A few MPs opposed bringing changes to the election law, saying that based on the Constitution, the MPs were not allowed to change the election law in the final year of their term.

"Based on the article 59 of the Constitution, we cannot work on the election law in our final year," female MP Helai Irshad commented.

The civil society activists, meanwhile, demand the President Ashraf Ghani to review the composition and structure of recently appointed special electoral reform commission.

"This commission is formed in such a way that its members are unable to bring those reforms which the people anticipate from the government," civil society activist Jandad Spinghar said. "President's decree about this commission clearly states that the commission's plan will be secret and won't be shared with the media and civil society groups."

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:57:20 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18831-mp-reveals-why-election-law-is-not-amended-yet
TOLOnews 6pm News 30 March 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18830-tolonews-6pm-news-30-march-2015 Top news in this bullitine

In order to retain their positions, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials have made secret deals with some MPs to prevent amendments to the election law, according to Mohammad Abdoh, the head of legal and judicial commission of the Parliament.

To watch the whole news bullitine Click Here:

{youtube}NzTOtQSEmTE{/youtube}

The Monday's session of Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament) was scheduled for voting on proposed amendments to the election law; however, when the issue was raised, most of the lawmakers began walking out of the session which caused a further delay in the approval of new election law.

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:24:58 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18830-tolonews-6pm-news-30-march-2015
Concerns Raised As Sar-e-Pul Districts on Verge of Collapse http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18828-concerns-raised-as-sar-e-pul-districts-on-verge-of-collapse

The residents and local officials of northern Sar-e-Pul province have voiced fears over possibility of collapse and takeover of several districts by the Taliban.

The secretary of provincial council, Masooma Ramazani, has said that the government has lost control over major parts of Kohistanat and Sozma Qala districts.

"Except the center and three to four villages, all the areas of Kohistanat are being controlled by the insurgents," Ramazani said. "Simultaneously, the Sozma Qala district is also severely affected."
According to Ramazani, more than a hundred families have fled their villages to the provincial center due to severe Taliban threats.

Grappling with tough living conditions, the displaced families demand the government to ensure their safety and pave grounds for their return.

The displaced families, according to TOLOnews reporter, are hardly making a livelihood, and their children are also unable to attend school.

"Neither the government nor the NGOs have helped us," a displaced man Mohsin complained. "I have two children who work the whole day and bring us five breads at night, and this is our life."

His wife also pleaded for assistance, and complained that they had lost everything they had in their home.

"One day we have something to eat and the other day we have nothing," another displaced woman said. "I am sick but I don't have money for my treatment."

Another man whose name is Makhdom and has been displaced along with his family for almost four months claimed that the local officials of Kohistanat had been trapped in the district.

"The Taliban are ruling over Kohistanat and it has been almost four months that the police in that district have not received their salaries. They are rather trapped there and can't move anywhere," Makhdom said.

Meanwhile, the acting governor, Abdul Jabbar Haqbin, acknowledged the insecurity in the mentioned districts, saying old enmities, unemployment and dispute between political parties were the reason for insecurity.

"Personal old enmities left from Jihad era have caused that some people take side of the government while the others join anti-government oppositions," Haqbin said.

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:52:40 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18828-concerns-raised-as-sar-e-pul-districts-on-verge-of-collapse
Protests Continue As Fate of 31 Abducted Passengers Still Unknown http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18826-protests-continue-as-fate-of-31-abducted-passengers-still-unknown

Family members of the 31 travelers abducted more than a month ago along the Kabul-Kandahar highway, along with civil society supporters, gathered outside Parliament in Kabul on Monday to protest what they see as carelessness on the part of the government in handling the kidnappings.

The families and activists traveled from southern Ghazni province to demonstrate in front of Parliament. They demanded President Ashraf Ghani to break his silence and inform the families about what is being done to free their relatives.

"We object to the government's ignorance with regard to the hostage taking, because it institutionalizes the culture of hostage taking and have damaging consequences ahead," civil society activist Asif Sahar said on Monday.

Although virtually no details have been made public or verified, the 31 abductees, all of which are Hazara, have reportedly been transferred to the Khak-e-Afghan district of southern Zabul province.

Although the Afghan security forces launched a military operation in effort to rescue the hostages, it was ultimately successful. Attempts to negotiate the release of the hostages through tribal elders were also unsuccessful.

Still, some are hopeful for a negotiated release. "It is better that we follow our traditional way and establish frequent contacts with the armed opponents and hear their conditions," Zabul MP Abdul Qadir Qalatwal said.

Khuda Bakhsh is one of the hostages, and his wife Bano Qamar says that her husband was a street seller and the breadwinner of the family. Without an adult son, she has no one to work and provide for her household.

"He is a hostage, but his wife and children are also hostages; I have a four year old baby, and last night his uncle brought some fruits," Qamar said. "He felt that his father had returned when he woke up and ran toward his uncle's home, but he retuned with crying eyes after he realized that his father hadn't returned," she said.

Some Zabul MPs have maintained that the hostages have been separated, some transferred to Urozgan and others to Ghazni province.

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:18:24 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18826-protests-continue-as-fate-of-31-abducted-passengers-still-unknown
Abdullah Talks U.S. Aid, Justice for Farkhunda With Council of Ministers http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18825-abdullah-talks-us-aid-justice-for-farkhunda-with-council-of-ministers

Upon returning to Kabul from the United States, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Monday chaired the Council of Ministers meeting, where he outlined the many achievements of the trip.

Ministers, acting ministers and directors of independent institutions presented their reports on various policy areas to Abdullah, including updates on security, issues facing university students residing in hostels in the capital as well as many other domestic and international topics.

In addition to listening to the reports, Abdullah discussed President Ashraf Ghani and his week-long trip to the U.S. Triumphantly, he said that military and economic aid from the U.S. would continue.

"There was an agreement that the United States would provide around $800 million in order to encourage the conditions for reform in the financial and administrative sectors and fight against corruption," Abdullah said. "There has also been discussions over bilateral cooperation in the areas of human rights, peace talks and regional cooperation," he added.

Separately, the Abdullah called on the judiciary to enact swift justice on the the killers of Farkhunda, a young woman who was brutally murdered by a mob that was incited by a local cleric in Kabul just as the president and CEO were departing for the U.S.

"I condemn the crime that took place in the last days of the past year, while at the same time we pray for the soul of Farkhunda," Abdullah said. "It's the time to let the judicial institutions in Afghanistan to punish the criminals based on their crimes."

Farkhunda was a 27-year-old girl who was killed near the Shah-e-Do Shamshera shrine of Kabul, after she was falsely accused of burning the Koran. The allegations were made against her by a corrupt local cleric who she had confronted about dealing out quotes and saying falsely attributed to the Prophet Mohammad.

Farkhunda was savagely beaten to death by a mob, set on fire and then thrown into the Kabul River.

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:01:26 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18825-abdullah-talks-us-aid-justice-for-farkhunda-with-council-of-ministers
220,000 People Killed in US War in Afghanistan: Report http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18824-220000-people-killed-in-us-war-in-afghanistan-report

The U.S.-led "war on terror" in Afghanistan has left about 220,000 people killed following the 9/11 attacks in the United States, according to a new finding of investigators.

The report has found that a total of around 1.3 million people, directly or indirectly, have lost their lives in the U.S. wars on terror including one million people killed in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan.

The report has been jointly prepared by the Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

According to the report, the figure "is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs."

However, the report which is titled (Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the "War on Terror") has noted that it was a conservative estimation, and the total number killed in the three countries "could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely."

"At a time when we're contemplating at this point cutting off our removal of troops from Afghanistan and contemplating new military authorization for increasing our operations in Syria and Iraq, this insulation from the real impacts serves our government in being able to continue to conduct these wars in the name of the war on terror, with not only horrendous cost to the people in the region, but we in the United States suffer from what the budgetary costs of unending war are," said Dr. Robert Gould, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and co-author of the forward to the report.

The U.S.-led war on terror in Afghanistan was started after September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States that left close to 3,000 people dead.

The report came only days after the U.S. President Barack Obama announced to slow the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, maintaining the current posture of 9,800 soldiers until the end of 2015.

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:38:21 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18824-220000-people-killed-in-us-war-in-afghanistan-report
District Police Chief Clashes with Office Manager, 6 Injured http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18823-district-police-chief-clashes-with-office-manager-6-injured

At least six policemen were injured following the clashes between a district police chief and his office manager inside their compound in northwestern Faryab province on Monday.

The Pashtun Kot district police commander Mohammad Najib, who fought with his office manager Zahir Rahmani, confirmed his fighting to TOLOnews himself, saying six police were injured in the fighting.

However, the reason behind the fighting is still unknown.

Another security official, who requested not to be named, also confirmed the incident but denied commenting on casualties.

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:06:56 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18823-district-police-chief-clashes-with-office-manager-6-injured
Unknown Gunmen Abduct Five Passengers in Balkh http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18822-unknown-gunmen-abduct-five-passengers-in-balkh

At least five more passengers have been abducted by the unknown gunmen this time in northern Balkh, the tragic incidents dramatically increasing since the abduction of 31 passengers from southern Zabul, with their fate still unknown.

These five persons were kidnapped yesterday evening from Sholgara district, the district governor Serajuddin Abid said.

Denying providing further details, Abid stated that the search operation has been launched to rescue the abductees.

This has been the fifth abduction in less than two months, with the first incident took place in southern Zabul when unknown gunmen abducted 31 passengers travelling on Kabul-Kandahar highway.

The second incident was the abduction of 10 passengers from Ghazni followed by abduction of six more passengers from Herat-Farah highway.

The fourth incident was abduction of 20 passengers and drivers in Kandahar-Daikundi highway who were later released following the mediation of elders, as said by the local officials.

However, the protests are still underway in different parts of the country including the sit-in protest before the Parliament, criticizing what they call government's inaction to release the hostages. 

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 08:42:59 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18822-unknown-gunmen-abduct-five-passengers-in-balkh
BA REWAYATE DIGAR: The Pathology of Governance http://www.tolonews.com/en/ba-rewayate-digar/18820-ba-rewayate-digar-the-pathology-of-governance

In this episode of Ba Rewayate Digar, host Muslim discusses the following topics:

• Definition of governance.
• Government and it's legitimacy and acceptability‎.
• The facts about effectiveness and ineffectiveness of the government.
• The role of local government and its impact on the central government.

Guests:

• Khalil Roman, writer and researcher
• Dr. Jafar Mahdawi, MP
• Halim Fedaye, former governor of Maidan Wardak
• Mohammad Abdoh, MP

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}Orlu_6V_lI0{/youtube}

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 08:08:39 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/ba-rewayate-digar/18820-ba-rewayate-digar-the-pathology-of-governance
Arab Leaders Agree Joint Military Force http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18819-arab-leaders-agree-joint-military-force

Arab leaders agreed on Sunday to form a joint military force after a summit dominated by a Saudi-led offensive on Shiite rebels in Yemen and the threat from Islamist extremism.

Arab representatives will meet over the next month to study the creation of the force and present their findings to defence ministers within four months, according to the resolution adopted by the leaders.

"Assuming the great responsibility imposed by the great challenges facing our Arab nation and threatening its capabilities, the Arab leaders had decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force," Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the summit in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The decision was mostly aimed at fighting jihadists who have overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria and secured a foothold in Libya, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said ahead of the summit.

On Sunday, Arabi told the meeting the region was threatened by a "destructive" force that threatened "ethnic and religious diversity", in an apparent reference to the Islamic State group.

"What is important is that today there is an important decision, in light of the tumult afflicting the Arab world," he said.

Egypt had pushed for the creation of the rapid response force to fight militants, and the matter gained urgency this week after Saudi Arabia and Arab allies launched air strikes on Huthi rebels in Yemen.

Arabi, reading a statement at the conclusion of the summit, said on Sunday the offensive would continue until the Huthis withdraw from regions they have overrun and surrender their weapons.

Several Arab states including Egypt are taking part in the military campaign, which Saudi King Salman said on Saturday would continue until the Yemeni people "enjoy security".

- 'Months to create' -

Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi at the start of the summit called for the offensive to end only when the Huthis "surrender", calling the rebel leader an Iranian "puppet".

However, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the leaders to find a peaceful resolution in Yemen.

"It is my fervent hope that at this Arab League summit, leaders will lay down clear guidelines to peacefully resolve the crisis in Yemen," he said.

James Dorsey, a Middle East analyst with the Singapore-based S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said that despite support for a joint-Arab force, "it would still take months to create and then operate on an ad-hoc basis.

"I don't think we will get an integrated command anytime soon, as no Arab leader would cede control of any part of their army anytime soon," he said.
"Today we will have a formal declaration that would be negotiated every time during action."

Sisi said in a recent interview that the proposal for a joint force was welcomed especially by Jordan, which might take part alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Aaron Reese, deputy research director at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, said "each of these countries would bring a different capability.

"The Jordanians are well known for their special forces capability... the Egyptians of course have the most manpower and bases close to Libya."

Before Egyptian air strikes in February targeting the IS in Libya, the United Arab Emirates, which shares Cairo's antipathy towards Islamists, had reportedly used Egyptian bases to launch its own air strikes there.

Cairo had sought UN backing for intervention in Libya, dismissing attempted peace talks between the rival governments in its violence-plagued North African neighbour as ineffective.

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 07:14:48 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18819-arab-leaders-agree-joint-military-force
17 killed in Anti-Insurgent Operations http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18818-17-killed-in-anti-insurgent-operations

At least 17 insurgents were killed and 8 others injured during a series of coordinated operations over the past 24 hours by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in a statement on Monday.

Two other insurgents were arrested during the operations, according to the statement.

The operations were conducted in Paktia, Farah, Ghazni, Kandahar, Zabul, Maidan Wardak, Herat and Helmand provinces, it added.

"During the same 24 hour period, Afghan National Police discovered and defused 13 different types of IEDs placed in Faryab, Badakhshan, Jowzjan, Balkh, Kandahar and Helmand provinces," the statement noted.

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

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:36:19 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18818-17-killed-in-anti-insurgent-operations
Ghani Visits Victims of Kabul Suicide Attack http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18817-ghani-visits-victims-of-kabul-suicide-attack

President Ashraf Ghani has visited the victims of Kabul suicide attack that are under treatment in Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan Hospital of Kabul, his office said in a statement.‎

"President Ghani has condemned the attack on civilians," the statement added.

At least three civilians were killed and eight others wounded in a suicide attack in a meeting of elders of eastern Paktia province in Shah Shaheed area of Kabul on Sunday, the day when Ghani and his high-level delegation returned from the U.S. trip.

Paktia's representative in the Parliament, Gul Pacha Majidi, was also injured in the attack.

According to the eyewitnesses, the bomber detonated his explosives when the participants, most of them elderly, were leaving the meeting.‎

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

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:25:12 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18817-ghani-visits-victims-of-kabul-suicide-attack
FARAKHABAR: No Physical Presence of Daesh in Afghanistan: Karzai http://www.tolonews.com/en/fara-khabar/18816-farakhabar-no-physical-presence-of-daesh-in-afghanistan-karzai

Former President Hamid Karzai has told Australia's CNBC news that Daesh does not have a presence in Afghanistan because it lacks the necessary support.

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}7HVMqGDIpJE{/youtube}

"As far as Daesh is concerned in Afghanistan, so far it's only a slogan," Karzai said. "[There's] a lot of media hype in Afghanistan, [but] there is no physical evidence of them."

The President's Office, meanwhile, confirms the presence of Daesh militants in Afghanistan.

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

• Helai Irshad, MP
• Sayed Ishaq Gailani, leader of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan

]]>
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:06:38 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/fara-khabar/18816-farakhabar-no-physical-presence-of-daesh-in-afghanistan-karzai
Kabul Suicide Attack Leaves 3 Dead, 8 Wounded http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18814-kabul-suicide-attack-leaves-3-dead-8-wounded

At least three people were killed and eight others wounded after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a gathering of elders of eastern Paktia province in capital Kabul, the Police Chief of Kabul told TOLOnews.


The incident took place Sunday afternoon in Shah Shaheed area, PD 8 of Kabul, when a suicide bomber blew himself up during a meeting of People's Council of Paktia.

Paktia's representative in the Parliament, Gul Pacha Majidi, was also injured in the attack and has been taken to Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan Hospital of Kabul.

According to the eyewitnesses, the bomber detonated his explosives while the participants, most of them elderly, were leaving the meeting.


]]>
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 16:01:03 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18814-kabul-suicide-attack-leaves-3-dead-8-wounded
HOAC Complains of NUG’s Inattention To Asset Registration http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18815-hoac-complains-of-nugs-inattention-to-asset-registration

So far out of all former government officials, only former President Hamid Karzai and former Minister of Public Works Najibullah Ozhan have accounted for their assets to the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption (HOAC) following the end of their tenure.

HOAC officials have said that many other high-ranking government officials filled faulty asset registration forms at the beginning of their tenure and they didn't provide details of their assets after the end of their incumbency.

According to the article 154 of the Constitution, the president, vice presidents and other high-rank government officials must register their assets before starting their duties and also must give accounts of their assets after their tenure.

"Unfortunately, from the former government officials, so far, only former president and the minister of public works have registered their assets after the end of their tenure," said Ghulam Hussain Fakhri, acting Director of HOAC.

Based on the statistics provided by HOAC, during the government of Karzai, 9,457 asset registration forms were given to the government officials, of which, only 5,358 forms were filled and registered with the anti-corruption body.

Furthermore, the HOAC officials revealed that of 1,378 forms reviewed by the office, the information in nearly 1,000 forms had been incomplete and untrue.

"The forms that we have received, over 900 of them were reviewed. The information provided in them was invalid," Fakhri said. "And now we are compelled to seek information about them through other ways."

The MPs, meanwhile, criticize the government's inattention to the issue, saying the new government must transparently oversee the asset accountability of former government officials as what MPs believe the former officials earned numerous capitals during their tenure.

"The people want to know that how did the former government officials, who had nothing prior to joining the government, now have properties outside the country," MP from Herat Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada complained.

From the current government, the HOAC officials said, only the Ministers Foreign Affairs and Mines have so far registered their assets.

]]>
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:59:23 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18815-hoac-complains-of-nugs-inattention-to-asset-registration
Families of 31 Abductees Criticize Government’s Inaction http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18813-families-of-31-abductees-criticize-governments-inaction-

A number of families of 31 abducted passengers have come from Balkh and Bamian provinces and also some from Pakistan to capital Kabul, protesting against the government's what they call inaction to release their family members kidnapped about 36 days ago from southern Zabul province.

One of the protesting families from Bamian said on Sunday that two young boys at the age of 13, who had returned from Iran, were also among those abducted.

"We don't have any information about them," a protestor Sayed Jawad said, who is waiting for the return of his two nephews for more than five weeks.

"They were innocent. They had gone to Iran for work because of poverty. We want the government to step forward for their release," complained Bibi Masooma, a female member of the two young boys.

Sarwar is another man who has come from Balkh to demand government for the release of his two nephews.

"We are very disappointed that government has not done anything yet," Sarwar complained. "There is no information about our passengers."

An aged man, Hussain Ali, who has returned from Pakistan and awaiting the return of his 36-years-old son wants the government to do enough for sound release of their beloved ones.

"It has been 36 days and there is no news of the passengers," he said. "It is very shameful that the government could do nothing."

A number of relatives of the hostages have said that they have set up tents in front of the parliament for the past 16 days but none of the government officials have paid attention to them.

"When government cannot find any information despite all the resources, then what is this government for? It is very shameful. It rather raises many questions," a protestor criticized.

At least 31 passengers were abducted about 36 days ago by armed masked men from Shah joy district of southern Zabul when they were travelling on Kabul-Kandahar highway.

However, there is no news about the fate of these hostages so far.

]]>
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:48:47 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18813-families-of-31-abductees-criticize-governments-inaction-
Turkmenistan Asks US Support For Its Afghan Border Protection http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18812-turkmenistan-asks-us-support-for-its-afghan-border-protection-

Expressing fears about insecurity on its border with Afghanistan, the Turkmen government has asked the United States for military aid to address the threats to their security, a request which the U.S. is apparently willing to support.

The statements were expressed by the head of U.S. Central Command, General Lloyd Austin, to the congress this week as part of CENTCOM's annual "posture statement."

"The Turkmens recently expressed a desire to acquire U.S. military equipment and technology to address threats to their security along their southern border with Afghanistan," Austin said. "We will do what we can to support those requests."

The Turkmenistan's demand came following several reports about the presence of Daesh Islamist militants in the northern regions of Afghanistan bordering Turkmenistan.

The Afghan MPs, meanwhile, acknowledge the concerns, warning that if Daesh militants were not curbed in the northern and southern parts, the newly-emerged rebels would likely reach to the capital city.

"Without regional cooperation, the issue of insecurity in the region cannot be addressed," female lawmaker from western Herat Nahid Farid said. "The Central Asian countries need to cooperate with Afghanistan in resolving these issues."

Turkmenistan has 209-meters long border with northwestern Faryab and western Herat and Badghis provinces of Afghanistan.

It has had neutral policy towards Afghanistan over the past 14 years; however, after the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan and the reports about emergence of Daesh insurgents have led the country to further strengthen its Afghan borders this time by the assistance of the United States.

]]>
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:46:54 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18812-turkmenistan-asks-us-support-for-its-afghan-border-protection-
TOLOnews 6pm News 29 March 2015 http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18809-tolonews-6pm-news-29-march-2015

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

{youtube}jPG7b85F8M4{/youtube}

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

]]>
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:42:55 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/anightly-news/18809-tolonews-6pm-news-29-march-2015
Interior Minister Wants Harsh Punishment To Farkhunda’s Killers http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18811-interior-minister-wants-harsh-punishment-to-farkhundas-killers

The Interior Minister Noor-ul-Haq Ulumi has called on the judicial institutions to give harsh punishment to the killers of Farkhunda in order that it should be a lesson to others.

Briefing the members of internal security commission of the Parliament on Sunday where the Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs Faiz Mohammad Osmani was also present to report on Farkhunda's killing, the interior minister called the killers "ignorant."

The 27-year-old woman, Farkhunda, was killed and burnt by a mob last week in Kabul over alleged burning of Holy Quran, an accusation strongly rejected by Ulumi as baseless.

Ulumi told the lawmakers that 28 civilians and 17 police were held in this connection, demanding the judicial institutions for fair investigation of the cases.

"The case should be addressed in a way that it should be a lesson for others," he insisted.

Despite denouncements inside and outside the country, still a number of public figures and MPs try to justify Farkhunda's killing.

"Now that Farkhunda is martyred, why should we sacrifice 30 to 40 more lives?" MP from eastern Laghman Mohammad Alam Qarar said.

Another lawmaker from western Herat, Keramuddin Reza Zada, criticized Farkhunda for going to the Mullah to stop them from writing Tawiz, a folded piece of paper containing the verses of Quran worn by the people with a belief that it will remove any evil or affliction put on them through black magic.

"Why did Farkhunda go to Tawiz writers to stop them from their work? This was not Farkhunda's Job," Reza Zada criticized.

The brutal killing of Farkhunda was widely condemned across the globe, sparking protests in different parts of Afghanistan and the world.

The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in an exclusive interview with TOLOnews also strongly condemned Farkhunda's killing and called it an "overt crime."

He assured that the government would seriously follow the case and would bring the perpetrators to justice.

]]>
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:40:16 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18811-interior-minister-wants-harsh-punishment-to-farkhundas-killers
Peace Talks Possibly in Afghanistan: HPC http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/18808-peace-talks-possibly-in-afghanistan-hpc-

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}R8WFCuU_smI{/youtube}

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

The questions raised in this discussion were as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Down the wire -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are also wider issues at play.

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

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

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

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

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}mY96fUdLyqY{/youtube}

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

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

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

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

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

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

To watch the whole program, click here:

{youtube}-Z6RnYn8Zk4{/youtube}

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four other insurgents were arrested during the operations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

To watch the entire interview, click here:

{youtube}CLgkkB-rY9g{/youtube}

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

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

{youtube}StK-7EeADvY{/youtube}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

]]>
Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:17:20 GMT http://www.tolonews.com/en/business/18797-breshna-says-kabuls-power-to-be-restored-within-five-days