RSS Feed Sun, 14 Feb 2016 07:54:34 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev ( Are We In A State Of 'National Confusion'? presidential-palace-

It has been 12 years since Afghanistan adopted its new Constitution and one and a half years since the establishment of the National Unity Government (NUG) but our political elite still has no idea how to share power.

More than 150,000 Afghans have been killed in the fight against terrorism; however, we still have no clear definition of our enemy. Our foreign policy is roaming in Delhi, Islamabad, Tehran, Riyadh, Moscow and Ankara; however, there is no light in Kabul to lead the way. So are we in a state of 'national confusion'?

An assessment of a number of external factors and several factors in Afghanistan's domestic policy might help us find an answer to this question.

Region and Beyond

The United States as a military power, that has had a presence in Afghanistan for the past 14 years, is spreading bad messages about the future of the country. In a recent case, the U.S Director of National Intelligence, James Robert Clapper, warned of a probable political breakdown of the Afghan government and earlier a number of U.S generals expressed their concerns over the possible collapse of 10 provinces to the Taliban in the next fighting season.

Russia as a world power - which once was hostile towards the Taliban and in its geostrategic studies considered the Taliban project as a proxy force to destabilize its southern borders – now says it shares common interests with the Taliban and will use the group in its fight against Daesh. What does this mean? It seems that the Taliban has found a global supporter – a former super power and currently a great power – and now the group will continue to fight as a proxy force for this new customer.

After reports on the death of the Taliban's former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, Pakistan, Taliban's main supporter, is trying to intensify the war in order to prevent a division among the group's members.

Intensified fighting will strengthen the position of Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who is leading a faction of Taliban that enjoys close ties with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Pakistan is aware that the main card in Daesh's game will not be with Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Gulf states will be the main players in this game. Pakistan, in contrast with the cold war period, does not consider itself as a stakeholder in transferring extremism and insecurity to the Central Asia and Russian borders. This project belongs to Gulf States and Turkey.

However, there are plenty of documents about cooperation of some groups in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Gulf States with Daesh. Taking into consideration the strain in relations between Russia and Turkey on one hand and the increasing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia on the other hand, the region is expecting proxy wars and conflicts like never before. Daesh in Central Asia has a base for its ideology and Fergana Valley (a valley spread across some parts of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) has turned into a ground for recruitment and ideology of Daesh.

Russia's opponents could not hurt the country's interests in Syria. Now, they probably are trying to expand the wars to Central Asia and Caucasus region to destabilize southern borders of Russia. To this end, Afghanistan's mountains and valleys are considered as tested strongholds. Reasons behind the fall of Kunduz city last year and Russia's reactions should be assessed with keeping this background in mind.

The Afghan government by announcing its support to Saudi Arabia in the war against Yemen showed that it has not understood the regional conflicts and Daesh so far. In this matter, Kabul was confused by the promise made by Saudi Arabia to support the peace talks with the Taliban.

These are all the great global and regional movements that cover Afghanistan. Just a clear picture of the region and a competent government can reduce the horrifying effects of these movements.
Domestic Reasons

Lack of a domestic mobilization and incompetence of government to play its role as a "government" has allowed the international differences to easily make their way to Afghanistan. Now the future political and security related stability of Afghanistan is undermined.

Among domestic reasons, the most important element is that a competent government is yet to be formed. Government does not have a complete cabinet so far. Some provinces are still being led by caretakers, the economic situation is worsening for various reasons, the educated and young generation is fleeing the country, corruption has increased, foreign policy in most cases is unstable and the Taliban, despite a disgraceful defeat, managed to capture an important city. The main juncture in the route towards the north and northeast of Afghanistan is under the Taliban's control and government is unable to suppress the group and thwart their conspiracies.

On the other hand, government's political stakeholders still have no idea how to share power and it seems that they are unhappy with what they have gained so far. Those in power are using their authority as an opportunity to strengthen their economic position and are busy appointing their relatives in profit-generating posts.

Public Opinions

Government's failure to defend its sensitive programs has badly affected its position in public opinion polls. One of the clear instances of this was government's reaction to signing an intelligence-sharing deal with Pakistan. Although such deals were signed between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO in the past, this time, government failed to manage public opinion and defend its stance after the reports on the agreement were leaked. Some differences between the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and office of the National Security Adviser – which were leaked to media – led government towards a political humiliation.

After reports on the intelligence-sharing deal with Pakistan, Afghanistan's government rejected the reports instead of accepting the responsibility and explaining reasons for the need for such cooperation with other countries or with Pakistan. The move led to further ambiguity regarding incentives behind the signing of the deal and strengthened the conspiracy theory. At the end, an unprofessional reaction by government towards public opinions allowed the NUG's political opponents to make use of this situation and defeat and humiliate government's program.

Another shortfall of the NUG was announcing its support to Saudi Arabia in the war against Yemen and the backtracking from this position after facing opposition from inside the administration – and also pressure from Iran. Similarly, there was another move by government that posed problems.

This move was the cold relations with India - even President Ashraf Ghani declined to pay a visit to New Delhi and an instead there were warm relations with Pakistan. The cold relations with New Delhi and the warm one with Islamabad was however short-lived. These stances are clear examples of a lack of coordination and instability of Kabul's foreign policy towards regional countries. A weak foreign policy in a country like Afghanistan can open the way for foreign interference and usher in regional conflicts.

Signing a deal on Dand-e-Ghori area with the Taliban and then breaking this deal was another blow to the credibility of the Afghan government. The people are now searching for answers for this failure in the blackouts faced in Kabul city.

Government's propaganda failure is mainly due to a lack of confidence of those in the reign - of power over the programs and plans that they first initiate but soon lose the courage to continue with after being faced with a little opposition by the people or critics.

What Should Be Done?

The likely solution is that Afghanistan should avoid entering into Saudi Arabia-Iran and Turkey-Russia conflicts. On the other hand, it should seriously and cautiously continue the current quadrilateral talks between Afghanistan, China, U.S and Pakistan. Meanwhile, it should try not to become a battleground for proxy wars between India and Pakistan. This way, Afghanistan's foreign policy will get on a logical and active impartial track until the end of NATO and U.S troops presence in the country. This policy is proportionate to the geostrategic location, national capacities and potential of Afghanistan.

In domestic policy, government should not delay in implementating electoral reforms and issuaning of electronic National Identity Cards (e-NIC) so as to pave the way for changes in structure of the system. Afghanistan still has a fragile power sharing system. This is the reason that the highest ranking official, for instance the vice-president, feels that he has no authority and believes that political contribution is not a reality on the ground.

By changes in government's administrative and political structure, provinces will be given more authorities and instead of a big corrupt and worn-out administration of current government, smaller administrations should be activated in provinces and everyone should share responsibility of governance. This change can also trigger struggles for assumption of central power and will reduce Kabul's vulnerability.

The problem of security and the Taliban's militancy should be considered to be entangled in regional and global policies and solution to this problem should be found in power sharing inside Afghanistan. Otherwise, the current political-military deadlock will result in the continuation of disputes and the continuation of 'national confusion' in Afghanistan.

Sun, 14 Feb 2016 07:13:30 GMT
Aid Convoy Enters Rebel-Held Area Near Syrian Capital Aid-Convoy-Enters-Syrian

A convoy carrying medical aid on Saturday entered the besieged rebel-controlled Douma area, a flashpoint near the Syrian capital, the Red Crescent said.

The aid consists of medicines and also milk for children, said Syrian Red Crescent director of operations Hazem Bakla, quoted by state news agency SANA.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) confirmed the aid delivery to Douma in the Eastern Ghouta, a rebel stronghold east of Damascus besieged since 2013.

According to UN figures, some 486,700 people in Syria currently live in areas besieged by either government or rebel forces.

Scores are reported to have died of malnutrition or because of a lack of medical treatment.

On Friday, the world body said it hoped to deliver aid to people in besieged Syrian cities "without delay", after world powers agreed a plan to cease hostilities in the war-wracked country.

The United Nations has said that only around a dozen of 116 access requests to reach people in need have been granted by the Syrian authorities.

The United States and Russia agreed Friday in Munich on a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria within a week with the aim of relaunching the peace process and halting the exodus of civilians.

The two countries and their main allies within the International Syria Support Group also agreed on "immediate" access to humanitarian aid for needy civilians.

The United Nations has said that only around a dozen of 116 access requests to reach Syrians in need had been granted in the past.

Sun, 14 Feb 2016 06:45:41 GMT
12 Insurgents Killed in Wardak Operation  AfghanistanANSF

At least 12 insurgents and a policeman were killed in the past week in a military operation in central Wardak province, local officials said on Sunday.

In addition, 18 other insurgents and five policemen were injured.

The operation was launched in Nirkh district of the province to clear the insurgents and is ongoing, Asadullah Shirzad, commander of 303 Spinghar Police Zone said.

Shirzad said that during the operation the forces cleared Khanjan Khil village which has been under the control of insurgents for the past few years.

"We have made good achievements in this operation and we have re-captured a number of villages during the operation which were under the control of the Taliban insurgents for the past few years. Now the families have good security," he said.

He added that "the operation will continue to clear all insurgents and a number of military outposts will be created in those areas which we recaptured."

The police also urge the people to cooperate with the security forces in their efforts to eliminate insurgents.

"We have good support from the residents and they have committed to help the police forces," a local police chief, Aziziullah said.

Sun, 14 Feb 2016 06:06:16 GMT
MEHWAR: Poor Leadership Within Military Ranks Reviewed Mehwar-13-February-2016

In this episode of Mehwar, host Muslim Shirzad discusses the issue of poor leadership within the ranks of the Afghan troops. In the studio with him is Mirdad Nijrabi, an MP.

Click here to watch the whole program:


Sun, 14 Feb 2016 05:36:11 GMT
Civilian Casualty Toll Hits New High In 2015: UNAMA Attack Kabul 2015

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Sunday launched its Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Annual Report 2015 and said that last year they recorded the highest number of civilian casualties in a single year in Afghanistan.

The annual report, produced by UNAMA in coordination with the UN Human Rights Office, shows that increased ground fighting in and around populated areas, along with suicide and other attacks in major cities, were the main causes of conflict-related civilian deaths and injuries in 2015.

Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA said in a statement: "This report records yet another rise in the number of civilians hurt or killed. The harm done to civilians is totally unacceptable."

He went on to say: "We call on those inflicting this pain on the people of Afghanistan to take concrete action to protect civilians and put a stop to the killing and maiming of civilians in 2016."

Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference to launch the report, Danielle Bell, Director Human Rights Unit, UNAMA, said conflict-related violence is increasingly impacting Afghan civilians. "Last year, UNAMA documented 3,545 civilian deaths and 7,457 injured (a total of 11,002 civilian casualties), a four percent increase from 2014, and the highest number of total civilian casualties recorded in a single year by UNAMA," he said.

UNAMA began its systematic documentation of civilian casualties in 2009.

According to Bell, ground engagements killed and injured the most civilians, followed by IEDs, and complex and suicide attacks.

"These tactics, combined with targeted killings, accounted for over 90 percent of all civilian casualties," he said.

He went on to say that anti-government elements continued to cause the majority of harm to civilians, causing 6,858 deaths and injuries - 62 percent of civilian casualties - a 10 percent decrease from last year.

"Despite this decrease, the mission recorded increases in civilian casualties from targeted killings, complex and suicide attacks, and pressure-plate IEDs," he said adding that "in addition, this reduction of casualties caused by anti-government elements must be considered in the light of an increase in unattributed casualties."

Bell said anti-government elements – including the Taliban – continued to use devastating suicide and complex attacks and publicly claim responsibility for attacks on persons and locations that are clearly civilian under international law.

He said the report documents a 24 percent increase in civilian casualties from targeted killings, including attacks against community leaders, civilian Government officials, judicial authorities and humanitarian workers by Anti-Government Elements.

Bell went on to say that pro-government forces caused 1,854 civilian casualties – "while this accounts for 17 percent of the total, it also represents a 28 percent increase compared to 2014."

Of the 17 percent, Afghan security forces caused 14 percent, international military forces caused two percent, and pro-government armed groups caused one percent, he said.

The increase in ground fighting and the use of indirect and explosive weapons in civilian areas, mainly mortars, coupled with increased civilian casualties from aerial operations, were the primary reasons for the higher number of civilian casualties caused by pro-government forces.

The report also notes progress made by the government in the development of a national policy on civilian casualty prevention and mitigation. The report encourages the government to finalize and operationalize the policy in the near future.

Unattributed crossfire between parties to the conflict caused 17 percent of civilian casualties, while unattributed explosive remnants of war caused the remaining four percent.

Meanwhile, the report highlighted human rights and protection issues concerning women and children.

Of the 11,002 civilian casualties in 2015, one in ten was a woman and one in four was a child.

The report highlights issues regarding women's freedom of movement, access to healthcare and right to education, and a disturbing trend of anti-government elements using parallel justice mechanisms – including executions and lashings - to punish women for moral crimes.

According to Bell, UNAMA plans to release a separate report on these concerns in the near future.

He said: "The Protection of Civilians Annual report also looks at protection issues, including school closures, incidents affecting access to healthcare, displacement, and harm from unexploded ordnance."

In conclusion, he said: "The report references commitments made by all parties to the conflict to protect civilians, however, the figures documented in 2015 reflect a disconnect between commitments made and the harsh reality on the ground.

"The expectation of continued fighting in the coming months combined with the current levels of civilian casualties, demonstrate the critical need for immediate steps to be taken by all parties to the conflict to prevent harm to civilians," he said.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said: "The people of Afghanistan continue to suffer brutal and unprincipled attacks that are forbidden under international law.

"This is happening with almost complete impunity. The perpetrators of the violations, documented by UNAMA and my staff, must be held to account. And the international community should emphasize far more vigorously that the rights of civilians should be protected."

The report also outlines key steps to be taken by parties to the conflict to mitigate casualties and protect civilians from harm, including the following:

For anti-government elements, it recommends that they stop deliberately targeting civilians and civilian locations, in particular journalists, human rights defenders, judges and prosecutors, civilian government officials, aid workers, and places of worship and culture.

UNAMA also suggests an immediate end to the use of IEDs in all areas frequented by civilians and for anti-government elements to stop using illegal pressure-plate IEDs.

That anti-government elements immediately end complex and suicide attacks and cease firing mortars, rockets and grenades from and into civilian-populated areas.

And lastly that they uphold statements by the Taliban leadership regarding the human rights of women and girls in areas under Taliban influence; cease attacks and threats against girls' education, teachers and the education sector in general.

In terms of the government's conduct, UNAMA calls for them to stop using mortars, rockets, grenades, other indirect weapons, and aerial attacks in civilian-populated areas.

Also that they finalize the national policy on civilian casualty mitigation backed by an action plan with concrete objectives to prevent civilian casualties in the conduct of hostilities and that they immediately disband and disarm all armed groups, militias and 'national uprising movements'.

In addition UNAMA recommended that government investigates all allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and human rights abuses by Afghan national security forces and pro-government armed groups and that they ensure that victims of violations have an effective remedy and that they strengthen procedures for compensation to women and families of civilians killed and injured in conflict-related violence.

With regards the international military forces, UNAMA suggests they conduct an independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigation of the attack against the MSF hospital in Kunduz and make the findings public and that they ensure accountability for those responsible.

UNAMA went on to say they must review current targeting protocols, operational policies and pre-engagement targeting criteria to prevent attacks against civilian locations, including hospitals.

Lastly the mission recommended that international forces help the Afghan government develop and implement a national policy on civilian casualty mitigation in the conduct of hostilities.

Sun, 14 Feb 2016 05:26:19 GMT
FARAKHABAR: Ghani Says War Waged in Afghanistan Has External Roots FaraKhabar-13-February-2016

President Ashraf Ghani, who is currently in Germany to attend the Munich Security Conference, has said that Afghanistan is not engaged in a civil war, but that the war being waged against his country is being plotted from beyond the borders and has regional and international roots.

To watch the whole program, click here:


In this episode of FARAKHABAR, host Fawad Aman discusses the topic with the following guests,

Sayed Eshaq Gillani, head of Nahzat-e-Hambastagi Milli Afghanistan party Abdul Hafiz Mansour, MP


Sun, 14 Feb 2016 04:31:00 GMT
TOLOnews 6pm News 13 February 2016 zaki-13-16Top news in this Bulletin:

General John Campbell, the outgoing commander of Resolute Support Mission and U.S forces in Afghanistan, has said that poor leadership within the ranks of the Afghan security forces is their biggest hurdle and called on the country's leaders to bring reforms.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:


 The Ministry of Defense (MoD) is trying to find the person or people responsible for leaking surveillance footage from the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital that showed how a woman in labor was refused admission and instead gave birth in the hospital's courtyard earlier this week.

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 15:50:20 GMT
Poor Leadership A Major Issue For Afghan Troops: Campbell campbell-13-16

General John Campbell, the outgoing commander of Resolute Support Mission and U.S forces in Afghanistan, has said that poor leadership within the ranks of the Afghan security forces is their biggest hurdle and called on the country's leaders to bring reforms.

He said that almost 70 percent of the problems troops are facing are due to bad leadership.

He went on to say that despite government's reshuffling of 92 officials, the issues still exist. He suggested more inclusive reforms to be introduced to overcome the challenges, referring to a number of recommendations he made to Afghan officials.

Campbell also talked on the Taliban insurgency, and dismissed the group's capabilities of reaching its objectives through war saying the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will maintain its military presence for an undetermined time.

On Saturday, Campbell held his last press conference as commander of the U.S and RS forces in Afghanistan. He expressed hope over the war capabilities of the Afghan forces on the battlefields, but reiterated calls for implementing necessary reforms in the security sphere.

"My estimation is that they [the problems] can be fixed with good leadership and holding the people accountable. In the last two months, there has been 92 general officers changed in the MoD ... and every one of those cases I think made a difference. For me leadership is what really drives everything.
Leadership is about discipline. Why in some places you have a unit that may not have a train, advise and assist, they have a very big threat there, but that unit continues to do very well, or you have another unit, maybe the same threat level, but they are not doing so well " he said.

According to Campbell, the Afghan forces are set to face a tough time next summer, but said that the Taliban has not been able to seize cities or towns for a long period.

"The Taliban has no vision for the future of Afghanistan, they don't believe in anything they do with education. They don't believe in education, they don't believe in women's rights. They don't believe in the Afghan Constitution. All they believe in is violence and killing women and children," Campbell said.
Campbell's comments come on the heels of a decision by foreign forces in Afghanistan in recent weeks to intensify their military campaign against Daesh.

He said that the Taliban was more dangerous than Daesh, but said that attacks against Daesh increased as the group poses direct threats against the U.S and the West.

He said their intent is to takeover Jalalabad and move on Kunar. "They want to attack Europe, they want to attack the United States, do they have the capability today, I don't think so, but a lot of that is because of the pressure that is put on them by the Afghan security forces," Campbell said.

Campbell took over as commander of the U.S and RS forces in Afghanistan eighteen months ago and has served in the U.S military for 36 years.


Sat, 13 Feb 2016 15:02:47 GMT
100 Years Of Radio In Afghanistan radio-13-16

Radio is considered one of the most cost effective means of disseminating information and entertainment and it officially came to Afghanistan 100 years ago.

Invented in the 19th century, radio has managed to survive the emergence of modern technology - including television and the internet.

Today - it is still one of the preferred means of information technology in Afghanistan.

At present 177 radio stations operate in the country - radio stations that broadcast programs on various topics that suit their audience.

To watch the full report click below.


Sat, 13 Feb 2016 14:51:00 GMT
MoD To 'Punish' Those Who Leaked Footage Of Woman Giving Birth Outside Hospital hospital-13-16

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) is trying to find the person or people responsible for leaking surveillance footage from the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital that showed how a woman in labor was refused admission and instead gave birth in the hospital's courtyard earlier this week.

The ministry, however, rejected claims of negligence after staff at the military hospital allegedly refused to admit the woman.

"Those responsible [for leaking the footage] will be introduced to the Attorney General's Office (AGO) and will be punished," said Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the MoD. He said that such events could happen. "The footage should note have been leaked," he stressed.

Meanwhile, a number of experts said the incident was a disgrace.

They believe that arresting those who leaked the footage instead of those who were negligent was an embarrassment.

The video footage shows the pregnant woman being forced to wait for more than an hour and a half outside the hospital, in cold and rainy conditions, before eventually giving birth to her child in the open.

To watch the full report click this link:


Sat, 13 Feb 2016 14:45:38 GMT
Former NDS Chief Accuses Govt Of Secretly Issuing Passports To Taliban Members‎ passport-13-16

The former chief of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and a number of lawmakers have accused the government of secretly issuing hundreds of passports to Taliban insurgents' family members and commanders.

The former NDS Chief, Amrullah Saleh, wrote on his facebook page that Afghanistan's consulate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has issued the passports after being pressurized by Kabul to do so.

He said passports are issued to family members of Taliban members, who are currently engaged in a war against government.

He said scores of passports have been issued to the Taliban commanders without them being present in Dubai. He alleged that issuing the passports was part of a secret deal.

The International Affairs Committee of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) also confirmed the move.

"Issuing passports to the Taliban commanders is a matter of concern. This move by government is giving privileges to the Taliban and will lead to further lobbying for the group," said Nahid Farid, a member of the committee.

Meanwhile, a number of political analysts said that in addition to Dubai, a number of Taliban commanders had previously received passports in Qatar.

"Taliban commanders have been getting passports this way for years, however, it triggered outrage only when the passports were computerized," said Jawed Kohistani, a political analyst.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) rejected the allegations as baseless.

Ahmad Shekib Mustaghni, spokesman for the MoFA, declined to comment on the allegations, but said that claims of the distribution of passports to Taliban commanders in the UAE does not hold any weight.

"The allegations of the distribution of passports to commanders of the Taliban are baseless, because based on laws and rules of passport distribution, no one can receive a passport without being present," he added.

Experts deem the issuing of passports to the Taliban in Gulf States as dangerous, because this will enable the Taliban to roam freely in these countries and easily fund raise for the group.

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 14:28:34 GMT
Soft Policy of Previous Govt Main Reason for Taliban's Surge: Massoud masoud-13-16

The president's special representative for reforms and good governance, Ahmad Zia Massoud, has said the soft policy of the previous government towards the Taliban is the main reason behind the group's recent surge in activity.

Massoud at a meeting with religious leaders and former mujahideen in Badakhshan province on Saturday said that insurgents should be eliminated. He said that taking a soft stance towards the Taliban is like paving the ground for Pakistan to implement its designs in Afghanistan.

"The only reason behind the expansion of the Taliban was the soft policy of the previous government and the lack of a strong resolve in the fight against the Taliban, as a terrorist group," he added.

Meanwhile, people and elders from Badakhshan said that they will no longer trust in the promises of government officials. They called on the government to differentiate its friends from foes.

Sadullah Abu Aman, the chairman of Badakhshan provincial council, said that the incumbent government doesn't have plans and programs for war.

"We are facing a destructive war that is destroying everything that we have," said Hamdullah Daneshi, a former mujahideen.

Local officials in the province said that government should increase the number of troops in the province to defeat the Taliban militants.

They said that government should also support public uprisings in the province.

"Our police chief has called for around 2,000 troops to be deployed to districts in the province," said Ahmad Faisal Begzad, the governor of Badakhshan. He added that local police should be deployed to areas where they are needed.

The meetings in Badakhshan are expected to take place with people for several days. The Taliban, last year, launched a massive attack in the province and inflicted heavy casualties on Afghan security troops.

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 13:46:42 GMT
Europe Should Initiate Projects, If They Do Not Want Refugees: Ghani ghani-13-16

President Ashraf Ghani said that root causes of immigration should be assessed and that if European countries do not want migrants, they should initiate good economic projects.

Addressing the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Ghani said that the current economic programs of world institutions for fragile states are not effective.

"We must analyze the root causes and create the conditions for stability. The current economic recipes of global institutions for fragile states are not working. If Europe does not want refugees, it has to create the conditions for getting commodities in value chains and linkages. Our people don't want to move, but we need to create opportunities," he added.

This comes at a time that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that during the first six weeks of this year more than 80,000 immigrants reached Europe and some 400 people have lost their lives on the way. The organization said that most of these refugees are from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The organization is concerned about the security of these immigrants in Europe and said that violence against refugees has increased.

Most of those who entered Europe in 2016 are women and children. Poverty, unemployment and insecurity are considered as the main reasons behind the immigration of people to European countries.

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 13:41:08 GMT
Nangarhar Residents Want Historical Sites Revived culture

A number of residents and provincial council members from Nangarhar on Saturday blamed government for doing nothing to save and revive historical sites in the province.

They called on relevant organizations to revive the historical sites in the eastern province which are on the verge of destruction.

According to them, one of the historical sites is Siraj al-Amara which has been under reconstruction for the past six years.

"We want historical sites to be rehabilitated by government. Relevant organizations should keep an open eye on saving such areas otherwise we will lose them gradually," said Nangarhar provincial council member Nasir Kamawal.

"The Siraj al-Amara Garden is in a bad situation. We want its rehabilitation and also we want a big library to be established in Nangarhar," said Daud Shah Jalalzai, a poet and writer in the province.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Information and Culture [MoIC) confirmed that a number of historical sites are on the verge of disappearing in Nangarhar and said some of the areas have been grabbed by powerful figures.

"We are concerned about the ancient sites that will vanish soon. Some land related to such sites have been grabbed by [some] powerful men," said deputy minister of MoIC, Zardusht Shams.

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 10:34:43 GMT
Assad Vows To Retake Syria, Amid New Ceasefire Push world-13-feb-2016

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to retake the entire country but warned it could take a "long time," in an exclusive interview with AFP as international pressure grows for a ceasefire.

Speaking at his office in Damascus, hours before a new ceasefire plan was announced early Friday by world powers in Munich, Assad said he backed peace talks but that negotiations do "not mean that we stop fighting terrorism".

Regime forces backed by Russian air strikes have registered major advances in recent days, particularly in northern Aleppo province, where Assad said the army was seeking to sever the opposition's supply route from Turkey.

The push is one of the most significant regime advances since the conflict began in March 2011 with protests against Assad's government, before spiralling into a bloody war that has killed more than 260,000 people.

The advances have prompted consternation from opposition backers including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and Assad said he saw a risk that the two countries would intervene militarily in Syria, pledging that his forces would "certainly confront" them.

He also addressed the massive flow of refugees from his country, saying it was up to Europe to stop "giving cover to terrorists" so Syrians could return home.

Over the past week, Syrian regime forces backed by pro-government fighters and Russian air strikes have encircled Aleppo, Syria's second city.

The advance is one of several for the government since Russia began an aerial campaign on September 30 after a string of regime losses to rebel forces and the Islamic State group.

Dressed in a dark blue suit, Assad appeared bolstered by his recent military gains, and said his eventual goal was to retake all of Syria.

"Regardless of whether we can do that or not, this is a goal we are seeking to achieve without any hesitation," he said.

"It makes no sense for us to say that we will give up any part."

Assad said it would be possible to "put an end to this problem in less than a year" if opposition supply routes from Turkey, Jordan and Iraq were cut.

But if not, he said, "the solution will take a long time and will incur a heavy price".

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 07:58:32 GMT
TOLOnews 10pm News 12 February 2016 10pnnews-12-feb-2016Top news in this Bulletin:

The President's Special on Reform and Good Governance Ahmad Zia Massoud on Friday visited northern Kunduz province where he spoke out about the leadership of Afghan National and Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) and said the forces lack proper management and leadership – in the war against terrorism.

Click below to watch full bulletin:


A senior European Union (EU) diplomat has said that an international conference on peace and stability in Afghanistan will be convened in the Belgian capital Brussels later this year.

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 07:10:15 GMT
MEHWAR: Effects Of Electricity Shortage In Kabul Reviewed mehwar-feb-12-2016

In this episode of Mehwar, host Haris Jamalzada discusses the effects of electricity shortage on the lives and economy of Kabul residents.

With him in the studio are:

• Abdul Hasib Rahimi, CEO of Kabul Chamber of Commerce and Industries

• Najibullah Mujaddidi, university lecturer

Click below to watch full episode:


Sat, 13 Feb 2016 06:28:30 GMT
FARAKHABAR: Delay In Electoral Reforms Discussed farkhabar-12-feb-2016

In this episode of Farakhabar, host Fawad Aman discusses the delay in the process of bringing reforms in election commissions.

His guests in this episode are:

• Saber Insan Dost, member of Afghanistan Lawyers Union

• Zikriya Osuli, university lecturer

Click below to watch full episode:


Sat, 13 Feb 2016 06:17:45 GMT
Former Herat Governor Kidnapped In Islamabad wahidi

Former governor of Afghanistan's Herat province Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi has been kidnaped by unknown armed men in Islamabad city in Pakistan, officials said Saturday.

According to Pakistan's the Express Tribune, Wahidi had been in Islamabad along with his family to get visas to travel to the UK.

Pakistani officials have said that Wahidi had gone to a restaurant with his 12-year-old grandson when unidentified persons arrived in two vehicles and kidnapped him, leaving the child behind.

Pakistani media quoted official sources from Pakistan as saying that the former governor was staying at a guesthouse in Islamabad's F-7 sector and was near Rana Market when he was abducted.

The officials added that the reason behind the former governor's kidnapping is not known so far.

Officials at the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad said they have registered a case with the police about the abduction of the former governor.

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 05:41:45 GMT
TOLOnews 6pm News 12 February 2016 shuja-12-feb-16Top news in this Bulletin:

The President's Special on Reform and Good Governance Ahmad Zia Massoud on Friday visited northern Kunduz province where he spoke out about the leadership of Afghan National and Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) and said the forces lack proper management and leadership – in the war against terrorism.

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A senior European Union (EU) diplomat has said that an international conference on peace and stability in Afghanistan will be convened in the Belgian capital Brussels later this year.

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 15:38:20 GMT
NATO Terms Support To Afghanistan As Part Of Global War Against Terrorism nato-12-feb-16

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, reiterated the organization's continued support to Afghanistan. He said that NATO is trying to turn Afghanistan into a stable country.

He termed NATO's support as essential for stability in Afghanistan.

"My view is that the Afghan national defense and security forces are facing challenging security environment in Afghanistan. NATO has ended its combat mission, but we continue to support them with training, assistance and advising and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have taken over the full responsibility for security in Afghanistan," said Stoltenberg.

He added that security forces have made a lot of progress and they have proven that they are capable, professional and that they are able to respond.

Stoltenberg said that NATO ministers on Thursday agreed to continue train, assist and advise mission in Afghanistan.

"NATO ministers assessed the work of the Resolute Support mission. They agreed that our training, advice and assistance for Afghan forces remain essential for stability in Afghanistan and they confirmed that the mission should continue to be kept under review to ensure its effectiveness," he added.

During the recent meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, the Defense Secretary of the US also reaffirmed Washington's economic and political support to Afghanistan.

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:33:15 GMT
EU Set To Host International Conference On Regional Peace And Stability eu-12-feb-16

A senior European Union (EU) diplomat has said that an international conference on peace and stability of the region will be convened in the Belgian capital Brussels later this year.

He said Iran will be asked to cooperate in light of Tehran's influential role in the region.

The European Union's Deputy Secretary-General for the External Action Service Helga Maria Schmid called on Iran to consider participating in the Brussels conference peace and stability of the region.

The Brussels meeting is aimed at discussing restoration of peace and security in the region and to assess ways of cooperation among the nations in their struggles against terrorism.

The EU will host the Brussels Conference on October 4-5, 2016. The conference will also discuss the issue of ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan and help reaffirm international support to Afghanistan until the end of 2020.

"The move indicates that the (EU) officials realize the security issues, dangers and threats coming out of the terrorists in the region and this is a positive sign for Afghanistan. The second point is that Afghanistan must be active in its foreign policy to get benefits of the opportunities and situations available," political analyst Mohammad Natiqi said.

Iran has welcomed the EU invitation for participating in the conference, calling on the EU to increase financial assistance to Afghanistan.

"With consideration of Iran's location to Afghanistan's western part and one of the countries which maintains crucial impacts on Afghanistan's political equations - Iran can play a realistic role in the process if willing to do so. I think inviting Iran to the conference has its own impacts if Afghanistan comes with its own fresh plans," political commentator Mohammad Haidari said.

Political analysts believe that alongside Iran, the role of Russia should also be considered in the war against terrorism.‎

They say that Tehran and Moscow maintain significant roles in the Afghan peace process and they can play a decisive role in this respect.

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:28:11 GMT
Tajikistan Electricity To Kabul Reconnected

Ghulam Hussain, the head of Baghlan electricity department said on Friday that the authorities have managed to reconnect two circuits on the main transmission lines transferring electricity from Tajikistan to the Afghan capital Kabul.

The two circuit lines had been destroyed by militants in the area two nights ago.

He said that currently more than a 100 megawatts of electricity is mow being provided to Kabul.

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:14:34 GMT
US Pushes Afghan Government For Significant Security Reforms afghan-forces-12-feb-16

Army Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, deputy chief of staff for communications for NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, briefed reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday and said the Afghan security institutions need to develop four capabilities to be successful in their mission against the militants on the battlefields.

Afghan forces need to develop a readiness cycle, reduce the number of checkpoints, make leadership changes, and fill their ranks, the general said.

"Some of their forces are worn down," the general said. "Some of them [have been involved] in continuous security operations since the beginning of 2015."

Referring to the issue of Daesh in Afghanistan, general Shoffner said that nearly 4,000 militants associated to Daesh exist in Afghanistan, pledging that the U.S forces in Afghanistan will increase attacks on them including the deployment of hundreds of troops in volatile regions in southern Afghanistan with particular attention paid to Helmand province.

Shoffner said Daesh is operating in four or five remote districts of Nangarhar province. "We're seeing [ISIL] attempting to establish a base of operations there," he said. "Afghan security forces have had quite a bit of success against them."

Daesh has not had a lot of luck recruiting Afghans, Shoffner said, adding that he estimates there may be between 1,000 to 3,000 Afghan adherents to the group.

It seems that Washington was not satisfied with the efforts of the Afghan government to mobilize the Afghan security forces properly.

He said that the Afghan ministry of defense needs to train at least 6,000 new soldiers every month. But currently the concerned ministry trains only three to four thousand soldiers.

Operations break down not only regarding soldiers, but also with equipment, he said. Units need time to be trained and equipped for deployment. Then there needs to be a set time for that deployment. Units then need time to rest and recuperate and, finally, to reconstitute with all ranks filled and all equipment repaired and maintained.

"Once they are done with that, they are ready for that training cycle to begin again," Shoffner said. "That cyclic system ... is going to be key for them being able to sustain security operations here in Afghanistan."

The general said that Afghan forces also need to reduce the number of checkpoints they man. "The Afghan security forces -- particularly in the army -- are short about 25,000 [personnel]," he said. "They've got too many of their soldiers on checkpoints, and they've got to reduce some of those checkpoints."

He also suggested that the Afghan officials also need to bring change in their leadership in the army.

Afghan security forces need to make some difficult leadership changes, the general said. The Afghan government has already started this, he noted, by changing out 92 general officers across the services.

Meanwhile, some Afghan military analysts have said that 25,000 vacancies within the ranks of the Afghan National Army (ANA) is a tragedy, calling on government particularly the ministry of defense to fill these vacancies in view of the ongoing turmoil.

"Defense minister must task his commanders to certify the posts and make plans for filling 25,000 vacancies ... Because we are at war. 25,000 vacancies at war time is a tragedy," former deputy minister of interior Mirza Mohammad Yarmand said.

The Afghan security forces have been leading the overall security responsibilities of the country since 2014 when the US-led coalition announced the end of their combat mission in the war-torn country. But the dramatic fall of the strategic town of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan to Taliban and the prolonged war in Sangin district of Helmand province has raised concerns among analysts.

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 13:44:18 GMT
NUG Leaders Not Able To Lead The Country: Civil Society civil-society-12-feb-16

A number of civil society members on Friday accused the National Unity Government's leaders of not being able to lead the country effectively - in light of the recent power cuts to Kabul.

The civil society members warn that if government does not restore electricity to the capital they will conduct massive protest action in Kabul.

The civil society members said that the welfare of citizens is one of the main‎ responsibilities of government and the government should not keep silent regarding people's demands.

"Providing public welfare is the duty of government and the government must provide better living opportunities," said civil society member Najibullah Mujadadi.

"This darkness may have bad consequences in every aspect such as security, trade and economy," said Mujtaba Paikan, a civil society member.

Meanwhile a number of Kabul residents raised concerns over the shortage of electricity in the capital.

"Nowadays there is a huge electricity shortage and we are facing lots of problems," said Mohammad Jan one of the residents.

"My shop needs electricity to function but since the electricity has been out my work has suffered and is close to collapsing," said Sulaiman, another resident.

The civil society members said that the Baghlan war is affecting the capital and the government is not taking any serious action to clear the province of insurgents.

"I do not know why such large numbers of security forces in Baghlan province are not able to eliminate a number of terrorists, in my opinion the government is again thinking of a disgraceful deal such as Dand-e-Ghori deal," said Nasrullah Falak, a civil society member.

"The government wants to follow another issue so it can be another headache in next year spring," said Faiz Azimi, another civil society member.

Nearly fifteen days ago armed militants cut off the Uzbekistan electricity to Kabul in Baghlan province and more recently they disrupted Tajikistan electricity to Kabul in Kunduz province.

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 13:40:11 GMT
Afghan Economy Trembles Amid Foreign Investment Decline: ACCI investment-12-feb-16

Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said Friday that foreign investment in the country sharply dropped - to its lowest level since the start of new solar year, warning of an economic recession if government does not take firm steps to tackle the decline.

According to ACCI, a surge in violence across the country and government's failure for providing fresh incentives to foreign investors have also affected domestic investments.

"There has not been any foreign investment in the country this year, no one is prepared to invest amid the fragile security situation, even our domestic investors are faced with numerous problems right now and they are not willing to continue," deputy head of ACCI, Khan Jan Alokozai said.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan Investment Supporting Agency (AISA) has said that investments dropped by 26 percent this year.

The lack of safety and proper security arrangements for investments and investors, absence of investment supporting strategies, a lack of incentives for investors to encourage investors for investment and a lack of clear economic and investment vision for attracting medium and major investments have been the main aspects of decline in investments in country.

The ACCI and AISA have warned that if the government doesn't come up with strategic economic reforms to boost the economy and attract foreign investments, the country may collapse into a financial recession.

"Problems exist and we are all aware of that, but right now it is difficult to say that foreign investment has been zero, but I can confirm that investments dropped by 26 percent overall and this is a matter of concen," deputy head of AISA Ibrahim Shams said.

Economic experts have said that uncertainty on the political and economic climate of the country and the fragile security situation have discouraged foreign investors.

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 13:25:06 GMT
Security Forces Need Proper Management: Massoud zia-masoud-12-feb-16

The President's Special on Reform and Good Governance Ahmad Zia Massoud on Friday visited northern Kunduz province where he spoke out about the leadership of Afghan National and Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) and said the forces lack proper management and leadership – in the war against terrorism.

He praised the forces for their bravery and resistance against terrorists on the battlegrounds and said they are capable of defeating insurgents on condition that there is good leadership for forces.

Massoud said softening towards insurgents will be a type of cruelty towards the people and that Afghan security forces should not be flexible towards terrorists.

He also said the security forces should act against terrorists from a strong and powerful stance.

"War against terrorism is our national duty. Those who act against Afghanistan's national interests should be eliminated," he told a gathering attended by Kunduz high ranking officials.

Massoud said the Afghan security forces need successful and proper leadership to fight terrorism and ensure the country's security.

Referring to his recent comments on the formation of a 'Resistance Council', he said that he will bring former mujahideen leaders together in Kunduz and other northern provinces in order to boost the country's security.

Massoud said terrorist groups have no political future in Afghanistan. "They are here to kill the people and destabilize the country," he added.

In conclusion he said their biggest responsibility in the near future is to bring the people and former mujahideen leaders together in a bid to help the security forces in the war on terror and to ensure countrywide security.

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:45:11 GMT
Areas Cleared Of Militants In Baghlan-e-Markazi District baghlan-12-feb-16

Security officials in Baghlan said Friday that two villages in Baghlan-e-Markazi district in the province were cleared of militants in a military operation carried out by security forces on Thursday night.

Acting police chief for Baghlan, Abdul Rashid Bashir, said at least 27 militants were killed and 24 others wounded in the operation.

"The areas of Kokina and Qaisar Khel were cleared of militants in last night's [Thursday night] military operation and now the areas are under full control of security forces," he added.

Meanwhile, local residents said they are happy that their areas came under control of Afghan security forces.

"The security forces came to our area and took full control. Now all the people can roam here freely," said Haji Mir Jan, a resident of Baghlan-e-Markazi district.

The areas were captured by the Taliban after they attacked local police check posts a few days ago.

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:37:35 GMT
Russia PM Warns Foreign Offensive In Syria Could Spark 'World War' world-12-feb-2016

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned Thursday that if Arab forces entered the Syrian war they could spark a "new world war" and urged ceasefire talks instead.

Asked about proposals by some Arab countries to enter the conflict under a US command, Medvedev said, "that would be bad because ground offensives usually lead to wars becoming permanent".

"The Americans and our Arabic partners must think hard about this: do they want a permanent war?" he was quoted as telling the German Handelsblatt business daily in an interview.

"Do they really think they would win such a war very quickly? That's impossible, especially in the Arabic world. There everyone is fighting against everyone... everything is far more complicated. It could take years or decades."

"Why is that necessary?" he added, according to a pre-released excerpt from the daily's Friday edition. "All sides must be forced to the negotiating table instead of sparking a new world war."

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 06:53:58 GMT
TOLOnews 10pm News 11 February 2016 10omnews-11-feb-2016Top news in this Bulletin:

The U.S State Department has proposed $3.4 billion USD for Afghanistan and Pakistan in its draft budget for 2017 as part of an increase in its financial support to Kabul.

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An Afghan woman has been flogged in public in Kohistanat district of Sar-e-Pul province after being accused of leaving her house with a strange man.

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 06:37:36 GMT