RSS Feed Tue, 05 May 2015 09:03:01 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev ( 27 Taliban Insurgents Killed in Nationwide ANSF Operations

At least 27 insurgents have been killed in 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 Tuesday.

In addition, 35 insurgents were injured.

The operations were conducted in Kandahar, Uruzgan, Nangarhar, Helmand, Badghis, Farah, Paktiya and Zabul provinces, the statement said.

"During the same 24 hour period, Afghan National Police discovered and defused four different types of IEDs placed by enemies of Afghanistan for destructive activities in Arghistan district of southern Kandahar province," it said.

The MoI, however, did not comment on whether any security force members were injured during the operations.

Tue, 05 May 2015 07:46:15 GMT
Saudi Considers Pause in Yemen Bombing to Deliver Aid

Saudi Arabia is considering temporary halts in coalition air strikes against rebels in Yemen to allow for aid deliveries, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Monday.

The announcement came as clashes raged in southern Yemen between rebels and fighters allied with exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, killing at least 30 people.

The kingdom will consult members of the coalition on "finding specific areas inside Yemen... where all air operations will be paused at specific times to allow for the delivery of aid," Jubeir said in a statement.

The Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab countries launched air strikes in Yemen in late March against Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies after they seized control of large parts of the country including the capital Sanaa.

Hadi fled Yemen as the rebels advanced on his southern refuge of Aden, and anti-government forces have refused to concede territory or down arms despite international pressure.

The United Nations has repeatedly warned that impoverished Yemen faces a major humanitarian crisis and calls have been growing for efforts to increase aid deliveries.

Jubeir said Saudi Arabia "plans to establish a centre on its territory to be in charge of coordinating all humanitarian aid efforts" with the UN, donors and other relevant agencies.

He warned the rebels against "taking advantage" of any pause in the bombing.

Saudi Arabia "will deal with any violations in connection with the suspension of air strikes or movements that hinder humanitarian efforts," he said.

The United Nations has called for a humanitarian pause in the conflict, as relief agencies say they desperately need supplies, including fuel to run infrastructure such as hospitals.

It warned that key infrastructure in the war-torn country, including water supplies, health services and telecommunications, are on the verge of breaking down due to a major fuel shortage.

UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Johannes van der Klaauw said on Saturday that an arms embargo was affecting delivery of supplies, urging a humanitarian pause "at least for a couple of days".

- Clashes rage -

Russia proposed last week a draft statement at the UN Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire or at least humanitarian pauses, and an urgent return to political negotiations, but it failed to win endorsement.

Russia's diplomacy has been greeted with some suspicion given the country's close ties to Iran, which is supporting the Huthis.

A US diplomat said Washington supports humanitarian pauses and was urging Saudi Arabia to take measures to ensure aid deliveries reach civilians trapped in the fighting.

At least 1,200 people have been killed in fighting in Yemen since March 19 and thousands more have been wounded, according to the UN. It estimates that at least 300,000 people have been displaced by the conflict.

On Monday, clashes between Huthis and southern fighters intensified in the city of Loder, the second larges city of the province of Abyan, witnesses said.

Five civilians and six southern fighters were killed in the fighting and intensive shelling, while dozens others were wounded, according to medics at Mahnaf hospital.

Sources among the southern fighters said that coalition airplanes dropped Monday military supplies to the local militia, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

In Lahj provincial capital Huta, heavy clashes left 19 people dead, including a three-year-old girl, as well as 13 rebels, according to a local official.

Tue, 05 May 2015 07:12:45 GMT
17 Taliban Insurgents Killed in US Drone Attack in Nangarhar

At least 17 Taliban insurgents, including their commander, were killed in a U.S drone attack in eastern Nangarhar province late Monday, local officials said.

The strike took place in Mohmand Dara district of the province where a group of insurgents had gathered, head of the Media Office of the Police in Nangarhar, Hazrat Hussian Mashriqiwal said.

"A Taliban commander named Mullah Daoud is among the dead," he said.

This comes a day after another U.S drone attack targeted two Taliban vehicles – 12 Taliban insurgents were killed.

The Taliban has not yet commented on the attacks.

Mohmand Dara is considered an insecure area – where insurgents frequently target security forces.

Tue, 05 May 2015 05:49:21 GMT
TAWDE KHABARE: Ghani's Popularity Dips Over Past Few Months: Survey

A joint survey by the Afghan firm ATR Consulting and TOLOnews has found that President Ashraf Ghani has dipped in popularity in the past three months, with 43.5 percent of those surveyed stating they are "not satisfied at all" with his performance.

To watch the whole program, click here:


This comes after a similar survey in January found only 32 percent of people surveyed were not satisfied.

A total of 2,669 people from 34 provinces participated in the survey - which took place between 22nd and 29th April 2015.

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

• Hayatullah Hayat, Head of the Coordination of Civil Society Organizations
• Ajmal Hodman, Head of Afghan Lawyers Network
• Sediqullah Patman, political analyst
• Tofan Waziri, political analyst

Tue, 05 May 2015 04:53:14 GMT
TOLOnews' Special Edition on the 28th Anniversary of Ustad Khalilullah Khalil‎'s Death

TOLOnews Special edition on occasion of 28th anniversary of the death of prominent poet, writer and politician Ustad Khalilullah Khalil.

Click here to watch the whole program:


Khalil was one of the major and great poets of Afghanistan who played great roles in politics through his poems and writings.

In this program host Fawad Aman discusses his legacy with his son Massoud Khalili.


Tue, 05 May 2015 03:18:04 GMT
Doha Talks Could Pave Way For Peace Negotiations

The recent talks behind closed doors in Doha between High Peace Council representatives and the Taliban could spell the start of peace tallks as the "environment of the meeting was that eveyone wanted to move towards peace", said Ismael Qasimyar, the global affairs adviser for the High Peace Council.

The meeting was characterized from the start as a non-official meeting where all participants were free to express their personal opinions on a non- attributive basis, said international peace initiative Pugwash in a statement Monday. The organization said that the meeting was not supposed to be any sort of negotiation.

According to them, there were several presentations and interventions by people linked to the various parties and groups of Afghanistan, to civil society people (including a few women), and to people from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Thus, the discussion represented a wide range of opinions.

Their statement read: "Let us stress again that everybody in this meeting represented only him/herself and not any Institution or group. Despite the differences of opinions, the climate of the meeting was cooperative, constructive and friendly."

Among those present were Afghan representatives including Atta Ludin deputy chairman of High Peace Counil, Shahzada Shahed, Attaul Rahman Saleem, Asadullah Saadati, Malalai Shinwari, Waheedullah Shinwari, Faheem Hakim, Ishaq Geelani, Anwarul Haq Ahadi, Qayoum Kochi, deputy head and acting head of human rights at UNAMA, the Swedish ambassador along with a few other political figures.

From the Taliban were Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanekzai deputy head of Taliban political committee and other Taliban representatives including Shahabuddin Delawar, Muhammad Suhail Shaheen, Qari Din Muhammad Haneef, Abdul Salam Hanafi, Jan Muhammad Madani, Said Rasool Haleem and Hafez Aziz-ul-Rahman.

"After the start of peace talks, our people wrote their demands and conditions on paper and distributed it to all the participants. The talks started after that, where the Afghan representatives and Qayoum Kochi, uncle of President Ghani asked the Taliban to stop the war and agree on a cease fire. They called us brothers and advised us to come to Afghanistan and accept the constitution," a Taliban official told Reuters.

But this Taliban official said that they would continue to wage war until all foreign troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan.

In response, an Afghan representative said that the foreign troops had left Afghanistan and only their instructors remained. He said if the Taliban agrees to ending the war, these instructors will also leave.

"The environment of the meeting was that everyone wanted to move towards peace. There were also discussions over girls education and their rights," says Ismael Qasimyar, Global Affairs Adviser for High Peace Council.

But Presidential Palace spokesman Ajmal Abedi said: "This is just a conference, it is not peace talks and the representatives are not representing the government and the High Peace Council and have been invited individually," Ajmal Abedi.

Although the talks ended without any agreement, but both parties agreed to another meeting in the United Arab Emirates in the next few months.

The peace talks are among the National Unity Government's priorities. In line with this Ghani has already visited Pakistan and Saudi Arabia with regards to the issue.

Tue, 05 May 2015 02:31:31 GMT
TOLOnews 6pm News 04 May 2015 Top news in this Bulletin:

The Shahrak district education manager from Ghor province, Haji Mohsen, has come under fire after allegedly ordering the torture of three residents in an open court. The three victims were then allegedly killed.Concerned family members say they borrowed money to travel to Kabul where they handed over video footage to TOLOnews of the victims' injuries allegedly sustained during the incident.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:


A joint survey by the Afghan firm ATR Consulting and TOLOnews has found that President Ashraf Ghani has dipped in popularity in the past three months, with 43.5 percent of those surveyed stating they are "not satisfied at all" with his performance.This comes after a similar survey in January found only 32 percent of people surveyed were not satisfied.A total of 2,669 people from 34 provinces participated in the survey - which took place between 22nd and 29th April 2015.

Mon, 04 May 2015 16:49:26 GMT
Education Manager ‘Holds’ Open Courts

The Shahrak district education manager from Ghor province, Haji Mohsen, has come under fire after allegedly ordering the torture of three residents in an open court. The three victims were then allegedly killed.

Concerned family members say they borrowed money to travel to Kabul where they handed over video footage to TOLOnews of the victims' injuries allegedly sustained during the incident.

The footage, allegedly shot after the incident, shows one victim who lost an eye and who has burns on his body caused by a hot iron.

Ghor police commander, Ghulam Mustafa Mohseni, has confirmed the incident but says the education manager has not yet been arrested.

He said: "The man has been on the run since committing the act, he is not at his home and has left his job as well. He might have gone to areas of Ghor where our police have difficulty [in accessing]."

Family members of the victims claim this was not the first time Haji Mohsen has killed people in an open court. One victim's mother, Maleka, told TOLOnews that her family has fled their home in fear of Mohsen and his men.

She said her son was 24 years old and worked as a farmer. According to her, a group of armed men entered her son's house and took him, along with two relatives, to an unknown location. She claims that after torturing her son and their relatives, the three were shot on the orders of Haji Mohsen in an open court.

Meanwhile, Abdul Hai Khutaibi, a spokesman for Ghor province, said earlier that a number of residents from the district had killed three individuals accused of killing the education manager's son.

According to Khutaibi, organizers of the open court were those close to the education manager of the district. Khutaibi adds that the education manager created a committee to investigate the matter following the murder of his own son.

It has been said that the area where the open courts were held is completely under the control of government and that anti-government armed forces are not active in those areas.

According to the deceased's mother, Maleka: "My grandchildren were all alone at home, and the doors were left open, we didn't have any men at home. My husband was killed by Haji Mohsen 24 years ago, and now, my only son, who was orphaned at a very early age is taken and killed barbarically. When police went to the area, they were forced out by stones. They are very powerful people."

All three victims are believed to have been the sole breadwinners of their families. Jaleel Ahmad, brother of one of the other victims said that he has no other alternate but to set himself on fire in front of the presidential palace. Ahmad said his late brother has left eight orphans behind.

"I am forced to go and set myself on fire, right in front of the palace. Government has not done anything for us, we have lost our brother, our home which we have left since his murder. Our houses and livestock has been taken over by these powerful people," says Jaleel Ahmad.

The Independent Human Rights Commission has meanwhile shown concern over the increasing number of open courts.

"The increasing number of open courts shows two things. One that our police have not been able to enforce the law in all areas of the country, and the other, that people do not have much trust in judicial institutions," says Latifa Sultani, Independent Human Rights Activist.

The open court phenomenon has been one issue that government has not been able to stamp out. These courts are also held by anti-government armed groups as well as ordinary citizens. Most of the open courts are held by tribal elders and in some instances assisted by local police forces.

Mon, 04 May 2015 15:48:23 GMT
Kabul Court Expected to Announce Farkhunda Verdict Wednesday

Kabul's primary court is expected to announce its decision in the high-profile Farkhunda murder trial on Wednesday.

On the third day of the trial, 19 police officers and seven civilians standing accused of various degrees of involvement in the brutal murder presented their defenses.

Farkhunda was savagely beaten to death by an angry mob of men in the heart of downtown Kabul, an incident received with shame and disgust across Afghanistan. The tragedy came at a time when the country's leaders are trying to present an image of progress in hopes of securing further support from the international community.

The police officers standing accused of negligence for their failure to stop the mob attack have attempted to shift blame onto their superiors. The former second district police chief and other officers said the Kabul Police Chief was responsible because he failed to send reinforcements.

"I called the Kabul police chief three times, but he didn't answer my call," former second district police chief Haseebullah said. "You should have asked at least once why he didn't answer his phone; I also contacted him through the channel 32 walkie-talkie, which is only with me, chief detective and battalion commander."

"The police chief heard my voice, he usually checks through walkie-talkie when a shot is fired, but that day he heard the shots in Shah-e-Do Shamshera area and did not take any action," former second district operations chief Said Timor Shah said.

Mohmand, one of the defendants who was captured in a cell phone video inciting the crowd to attack Farkhunda, acknowledged his involvement but tried to downplay his role in her death. "I was behind the bars, I only pulled her hair, I didn't hit her with a stone or a stick, and I didn't kicker her," he said.

One detective who stands accused even suggested the prosecutor was involved in corruption. "You, Mr. Prosecutor, asked me about my salary; What was your purpose?" Former detective Noor Agha said.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor showed video evidence depicting Shah Muhammad, the former criminal investigation chief of the second district, standing among the crowd watching as Farkhunda was being beaten.

However, some present in the court on Monday expressed reservations about the case. "In Afghanistan, unfortunately, always low ranking officials are punished and senior officials are never brought to justice" civil society member Najeeb Rasa said.

Some of the arrested officers claimed that they were not even present during the incident, one being in the police station and the other going to get lunch.

Nevertheless, the prosecutor affirmed his commitment to seeking justice against all those accused. "I think there are very clear laws for serving justice in Farkhunda's case," prosecutor Kim Motley said. "Many of the accused individuals have forgotten how they killed Farkhunda that day. I hope that that judges will enforce the laws and I am optimistic about it. If justice is served, I am sure that the accused will be punished for what they have done."

The presiding judge, Safiullah Mujaddadi, said further investigations are needed before the case can be resolved. "Because this is a major incident and needs more investigation, we will be investigating today and for the next two days. We will be holding another session two days later," he said on Monday.

There are a total of 49 accused individuals in the case.

Mon, 04 May 2015 15:47:18 GMT
Ghazi Stadium Hosts Wrestling Tournament

A wrestling tournament aimed at identifying at least 40 of Afghanistan's top wrestling talents for places on the National Wrestling Team began in Ghazni Stadium on Monday.

The three day competition will see 250 wrestlers from 73 different clubs around western Kabul compete.

The National Wrestling Federation has said the competition is important for raising the public profile of the sport in Afghanistan as well as developing new talent.

"The competitions that cover five zones of Kabul will be an important move to prepare the wrestlers," said Ahmad Mansour Musleh, the head of Kabul's western zone wrestling team. "We want to select qualified and proper wrestlers and later on pursue regular trainings so that they can contribute better things for the national teams and the country can be successful in international competitions."

Mon, 04 May 2015 15:09:53 GMT
Ghani's Popularity Dips Over Past Few Months: Survey

A joint survey by the Afghan firm ATR Consulting and TOLOnews has found that President Ashraf Ghani has dipped in popularity in the past three months, with 43.5 percent of those surveyed stating they are "not satisfied at all" with his performance.

This comes after a similar survey in January found only 32 percent of people surveyed were not satisfied.

A total of 2,669 people from 34 provinces participated in the survey - which took place between 22nd and 29th April 2015.

The survey found that only 25.5 percent of the people are satisfied with Ghani's performance, which is down from the 59.9 percent recorded soon after he took office last year.

The survey shows that 23.8 percent of people were satisfied with the job being done by the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. It found that 71.3 percent of people want the National Unity Government to put the issue of security on its top working agenda.

Those that were moderately satisfied with Ghani totaled 21.9 percent – a drop from 30.4 percent during his first 100 days.

On the Chief Executive 23.8 percent said they were very satisfied with his work while 18.7 said they were moderately satisfied. A total of 43.5 were not satisfied at all with Abdullah's work while 14 percent gave no opinion.

Perceptions of what should be the government's top priority in the next six months showed that 71.3 percent of people called for improved security, 6.7 said the economy needed boosting, 12.1 percent said reaching a peace deal with the Taliban was a priority, 5.4 percent said bringing electoral reforms should be priority and 4.4 percent had no opinion.

To read the entire report click here:

TOLOnews & ATR Survey

Mon, 04 May 2015 15:02:23 GMT
Taxes, Foreign Competition Push Print Industry Toward Collapse

The Printing Press Association in Kabul on Monday announced that 100 printing companies out of the 150 total in Afghanistan have been forced to halt production on account of revenue shortfalls. The association blamed the industry's contraction on rising taxes on raw materials, the lack of tariffs imposed on foreign products entering the country and the Afghan government's choice to award a number of major contracts to foreign companies.

The shutdowns have reportedly led to thousands being put out of jobs. Local print shop owners have maintained that the Afghan government prefers to sign contracts with foreign companies to meet its printing needs while also imposing a 12 percent tax on the domestic industry.

"If the current situation isn't resolved, the domestic industry will be completely destroyed and then they [the government] will be compelled to send offers for print materials to Iran, Pakistan and India, while neighboring countries will strive to pursue dumping policies against the domestic print industry by decreasing prices," printing association head Kabul Khalid Danish said on Monday.

Responding to the allegations, the Ministry of Finance has maintained that, excluding books for the Ministry of Education, only a 2.5 percent tax on the domestic printing industry.

Still, Afghan printers have pushed for the government to award contracts to local firms. "The domestic industry has the capacity and capabilities, and if there is better coordination, if the Ministry of Education coordinates with us regarding the contracts, Afghanistan's printing industry will not have any issue ahead," one printing company owner named Syed Nazifullah Hashimi said.

According to the association, 300 million USD has been invested in the domestic printing industry and more than 8,000 people were employed by it prior to the closure of most factories.

Mon, 04 May 2015 14:48:13 GMT
Lower House Summons Key Security Officials Amid Growing Security Threats

The Lower House of Parliament on Monday summoned the National Security Advisor, the acting Minister of Defense, Minister of Interior and National Directorate of Security Director to discuss growing insecurity in northern Afghanistan.

The closed door meeting lasted almost five hours. Following the session, the First Deputy Speaker told media that the security officials suggested Pakistan was behind the recent uptick in militant activity.

"We want the security officials to clarify what are the main aspects of the growing security threats," house speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said on Monday. "God is aware that the security threats are unprecedented."

A few minutes after the security officials entered the chamber, the Speaker said media representatives would be shut out. Lawmakers shared their responses to the session after it was over.

"I personally believe that the response wasn't satisfactory, but the house will make a decision on Wednesday, if the response wasn't proper, then we will discuss impeachment," First Deputy of Speaker Zahir Qadir said.

MPs did reveal that Pakistan's relationship with the Taliban and other militant groups was a central part of the security officials' presentation.

"Later on you will see clips from security officials saying that Pakistan has so far not offered honest cooperation with Afghanistan regarding the peace process," MP Zahir Qadir said.

"Unfortunately, Pakistan has fooled the current government regarding peace as it fooled the previous government," MP Ghulam Hussain Naseri added.
All together, the lawmakers were deeply dissatisfied with the session.

"If I disclose the answers of the security officials, people will be disappointed and they will come out," MP Rahman Rahmani said. "We tried to put pressure on the minister of interior to disclose the names of the elements inside the system and their involvement to security issues, he didn't reply and said that there were faces, but when he refuse to name them, it means he is also involved."

Mon, 04 May 2015 14:41:36 GMT
Taliban Attack Police Posts in Badakhshan

Taliban insurgents attacked at least ten police bases in Warduj district of north-eastern Badakhshan province on Sunday night and took control of most of the posts, a military source said Monday on condition of anonymity.

Abdullah Naji Nazari, head of the Provincial Council of Badakhshan has confirmed the incident and said: "According to information which I received from Warduj so far the bodies of 17 policemen were taken to a hospital and 26 other policemen are missing."

However, the unnamed source said that Taliban insurgents not only took control of police posts but also stole a number of security force vehicles.

He also said policemen were missing following the clashes – and that a number of bodies of security force members had been found in the area. He said they appeared to have been shot by insurgents.

The source said that police contacted military officials for support, but they did not receive any response.

Meanwhile, MP from Badakhshan, Zalmai Mojadaddi said: "In the past military forces were near the police base, but in the past few weeks the military forces were moved far from here."

This comes after a number of MPs from Badakhshan province warned in recent weeks of the rise in serious threats by insurgents in the province. It also comes nearly a month after militants killed nearly 30 ANA soldiers at a remote outpost in Jurm district of the province.

The slain soldiers are said to have lacked adequate fuel for their vehicles to escape the area when attacked by insurgents, ultimately causing them to be stranded and outgunned.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the MPs summoned the acting Defense Minister, Interior Minister and the head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) to discuss the increase in insecurity in northern Afghanistan.

A week before insurgents attacked several districts of northern Kunduz in which more than 200 insurgents, 36 security soldiers and four civilians were killed. The clashes still continue in some parts of the province after military forces launched an operation to clear the insurgents, said officials.

MPs and residents are still worried about the situation especially as other northern provinces such as Baghlan, Sar-e-Pul, Takhar, Faryab and Samgan face insurgent threats.

Taliban insurgents have announced the launch of their summer offensive late last month and Afghan security forces have since had to deal with the increase in attacks – for the first time on their own after the foreign troop handover at the end of last year.

But thousands of foreign troops remain in the country to train and advise the Afghan forces.

Mon, 04 May 2015 12:27:43 GMT
18 Taliban Insurgents Killed in Kunduz Operation

At least 18 Taliban insurgents were killed and four others injured in a military operation in northern Kunduz province, local officials said on Monday.

Provincial Police Chief, Gen. Abdul Basir Nasrati has said that the operation still continues in the province and to date 10 villages – in the Imam Sahib and Chardara districts - have been cleared of insurgents.

"Clashes still continue in Chardara and Imam Shaib districts in which 14 Taliban insurgents – including their commander Mullah Sherzai Gojar - were killed in Imam Sahib. Four others were killed in Chardara," he said.

The operation comes after hundreds of Taliban insurgents carried out an attack on security forces in Ali Abad, Imam Sahib, Qal-e-Zal, Dasht-e-Archi districts and Gor Tepa in Kunduz City over the past 10 days.

Officials said Saturday that over 200 militants have so far been killed in the past week and at least 125 insurgents injured. This is in addition to 20 security force members and four civilians killed in the clashes over the same time period. An additional 36 security force members have also been injured, officials said.

The clashes have resulted in more than 2,000 families being displaced from their homes in the past week due to fighting.

Earlier concerns were raised that Kunduz would possibly fall into the hands of the Taliban after scores of insurgents attacked the province in their annual spring offensive about 10 days ago.

But officials from the Defense Ministry (MoD) eased fears and assured the nation that neither Kunduz nor any other province in the country was on the verge of collapse.

Reinforcement troops were however deployed to the province to support the local security force members, said officials.

Mon, 04 May 2015 07:18:24 GMT
Two Civilians Killed in Suicide Attack

At least two civilians were killed and 20 injured in a suicide attack in Kabul City early Monday, local officials said.

The attack took place in Dar-ul-Aman area when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Sediq Sediqqi said.

However, security officials have not provided further details but eyewitnesses said the target was vehicles belonging to employees from the Attorney General's Office.

Police have however started investigations into the incident.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack and said that they targeted employees from the Attorney General's Office.

To watch the footage, click here:


Mon, 04 May 2015 06:06:28 GMT
TAWDE KHABARE: Civilian Casualties Increase Across the Country

There is mounting concern over the rising civilian casualty toll due to suicide attacks and other insurgent-related activities.

To watch the whole program, click here:


In the recent suicide attack in eastern Nangahar province dozens of civilians were killed and more than 100 injured.

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

• Mawlana Farid, political analyst
• Abdul Jabar Qahraman, MP
• Naqibullah Fayeq, MP

Mon, 04 May 2015 05:49:00 GMT
FARAKHABAR: The Press Freedom Day

With the Press Freedom Day, the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) reportedly accused four print media agencies of breaking the ministry's regulations set out for freedom of the press.

To watch the program, click here:


The ministry has called officials from these newspapers to the media complaints commission – provoking anger among journalists and media outfits.

In the meantime, the media supporting agencies NAI expressed strong concerns on Sunday over restrictions on local media freedom in the country.

"Unfortunately, we have growing evidence of increasing challenges and violence against journalists," said Sediqullah Tawhidi, director of NAI – a media supporting agency. "This is a serious threat to freedom of expression."

But, is the freedom a rollback in Afghanistan?

In this episode of Farakhabar, host Yama Siavash discusses the topic with the following guest,

• Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, MP

Mon, 04 May 2015 05:25:10 GMT
Exclusive Interview with Gen. Salangi

In an exclusive interview with TOLOnews, Gen. Mohammad Ayub Salangi Deputy Minister of Interior for Security Affairs warns that there is no difference between the Taliban and Daesh, and a strong stance must be taken against them.

Click here to watch the whole interview:


Mon, 04 May 2015 03:44:17 GMT
101-Year-Old Rescued After Nepal Quake As Fears Grow in Rural Areas

Rescuers have pulled a 101-year-old man alive from his ruined home a week after Nepal's earthquake claimed at least 7,200 lives, as the government warned Sunday the death toll will climb "much higher".

Funchu Tamang was rescued on Saturday from the rubble of his house with only minor injuries to his ankle and hand, after the quake ripped through the impoverished country on April 25.

"He was brought to the district hospital in a helicopter. His condition is stable," police officer Arun Kumar Singh told AFP from Nuwakot district, around 80 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu.

Nepal's National Emergency Operation Centre, part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, tweeted that a 101-year-old was rescued in Nuwakot's Kimtang village.

Police also pulled three women survivors from under rubble on Sunday in Sindhupalchowk, one of the worst-hit districts, although it was not immediately clear how long they had been trapped.

The rescues were rare good news for the devastated country after officials on Saturday ruled out finding more survivors buried in the ruins and the focus shifted to trying to deliver aid to thousands of people in remote Himalayan areas.

Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said the death toll was likely to jump once relief teams reach mountain villages flattened in the worst quake to hit the nation in more than 80 years.

"There are still villages where we know that all houses have been destroyed, but have not yet been able to reach," Mahat said in a statement.

"The aftershocks have not receded and we expect the final casualty numbers to climb much higher," the minister said, as he appealed for hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign donations to help rebuild the country.

The 7.8-magnitude quake wreaked a trail of death and destruction, reducing much of the capital Kathmandu to rubble and triggering a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

In the worst-hit districts of Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk, almost 90 percent of the mostly stone and mud homes have been destroyed, the United Nations said in its latest situation report.

- US aircraft arrive -

"Our priority now is really to try to reach those people (in remote areas), get immediate assistance to them," the UN's head of humanitarian affairs Valerie Amos said.

The relief effort received a boost late Sunday when a United States Air Force C-17 aircraft and four tilt-rotor Ospreys landed in Kathmandu.

"They're going to make an immediate difference," US Brigadier General Paul Kennedy said.

"We've got search and rescue teams waiting to go out to the remote areas, we've got relief supplies, especially shelters. Most people don't understand that a shelter is the most pressing need, so we're going to take these things out starting tomorrow morning," he added.

International planes loaded with relief supplies have poured into landlocked Nepal, but there have been numerous reports of many getting stuck at Kathmandu's small airport, and customs officials stopping trucks filled with aid from crossing into the country from neighbouring India.

Amos had said she was worried that tonnes of foreign aid was being held up by red tape.

"I was extremely concerned to hear reports that customs was taking such a long time," Amos told AFP on Saturday, saying she had asked Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to speed up customs clearance for aid materials.

"He has undertaken to ensure that happens, so I hope that from now we will see an improvement in those administrative issues."

- Death toll hits 7,250 -

Tribhuvan International Airport has been closed to heavy planes over concern about the condition of the single runway after the quake and a series of strong aftershocks, said Birendra Prasad Shrestha, the airport's manager.

"We have issued a notice saying that aircraft with a total weight exceeding 196 tonnes will not be allowed to land at Kathmandu airport," Shrestha told AFP.

"There are no visible cracks in the runway but there have been so many tremors recently that we have to take precautions -- we don't know what's happening below the surface.

"This runway is the only lifeline for Kathmandu -- if it goes, everything goes."

The death toll from the disaster has hit 7,250, according to the Emergency Operations Centre, with more than 14,000 injured. More than 100 were also killed in India and China.

Fifty-one bodies, including those of six foreigners, have been found in the popular Langtang trekking region hit by a quake-triggered avalanche.

"We estimate that about 100 foreigners might still be missing in the area," senior local official Uddav Prasad Bhattarai said.

"Our priority was to get the survivors out. We rescued over 350 people, about a half of them were tourists or guides," he told AFP in Rasuwa district that includes Langtang, north of Kathmandu.

Climbing firms Sunday called off their Everest spring expeditions, after the quake-triggered avalanche killed 18 on the world's highest peak.

"With ongoing aftershocks and tremors we can't continue expeditions," said two-time Everest summiteer Dawa Steven Sherpa of Kathmandu-based Asian Trekkers.

Mon, 04 May 2015 02:58:34 GMT
TOLOnews 6pm News 03 May 2015

Yousif Al Sada, Director of the Asian Department at the Foreign Ministry of Qatar late Sunday confirmed that Doha is hosting peace talks between Afghan officials and Taliban representatives in order to end the war in Afghanistan.


The dialogue "will be through open discussions about Afghan reconciliation between all parties in Afghanistan", the Qatar News Agency quoted Yousif Al Sada as saying. He said that this dialogue Qatar is seeking is "to bridge the gap in viewpoints between all Afghan parties on all issues and topics that achieve security, peace and stability for the Afghan people".

Sun, 03 May 2015 17:23:18 GMT
Media Meets Amid Concerns Over Press Freedom

While marking Press Freedom Day in Kabul, the media supporting agencies expressed strong concerns on Sunday over restrictions on local media freedom.

The day, which is globally marked on 3rd May, was celebrated at an event organized by UNESCO and media advocacy groups under the theme of "Let Journalism Thrive."

This comes after the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) reportedly accused some print media agencies of breaking the ministry's regulations set out for freedom of the press.

The ministry has called officials from these newspapers to the media complaints commission – provoking anger among journalists and media outfits.

"Unfortunately, we have growing evidence of increasing challenges and violence against journalists," said Sediqullah Tawhidi, director of NAI – a media supporting agency. "This is a serious threat to freedom of expression."

MoIC officials, however, denied restrictions on the media, saying their recent actions against some newspapers was to stop what they called contemptuous publications.

"Articles being published by these newspapers are offending others," said Abdul Bari Jahani, Minister of Information and Culture.

Meanwhile, Ajmal Obaid Abidi, a spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, stressed that government was committed to supporting freedom of expression in the country.

"Freedom of expression is one of our main achievements and we are committed to backing media outlets in their work," Abidi noted.

But the journalists widely condemned MoIC action against newspapers, calling it against the articles of the Constitution on freedom of expression.

"From my point of view, it is totally against the law and it means restriction on the media," journalist Shah Hussain Murtazawi said.

Admitting challenges to the reporters and violence against them, Sediq Sediqqi a spokesman for the interior ministry stressed the need for protection of journalists.

"It's really horrifying to know 47 percent of violence against journalists is attributed to government departments. The government needs to take solid steps to address these problems," Sediqqi said.

Freedom of expression in the war-torn Afghanistan is considered one of the main achievements made over the past decade.

Sun, 03 May 2015 15:26:35 GMT
Senate Chair Blames Kunduz Crisis On Lack of Coordination

In an exclusive interview with TOLOnews, Muhammad Ayoub Salangi Deputy Minister of Interior for Security Affairs warns that there is no difference between the Taliban and Daesh, and a strong stance must be taken against them.

Meanwhile, Fazil Hady Muslimyar, the chairman of the senate, has blamed recent insecurities in Kunduz on the lack of cooperation between security officials and said that soldiers on the ground had multiple orders from different security officials.

Until recently, government leaders had different views regarding the Taliban, but now, the Deputy Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, Salangi, calls the insurgents murderers and speaks of efforts to destroy them.

"Any group, any organization and anyone who does not respect the Constitution of Afghanistan, and creates terror, violence and destruction, is our enemy and cannot be categorized as any other group," says Salangi.

This senior security official points out the insecurities in the Northern parts of the country and adds that anti-government armed groups are armed on the other side of the border, in order to be sent for battle across the border. Salangi is optimistic of Afghanistan National Security Forces' ability and calls any silence against the enemy clear treason.

"Anyone who kills an innocent Muslim for no reason, goes to the bottom of hell. If we have mercy on the enemy despite knowing that he has killed our people, it would be treason and a crime," adds Salangi.

The senate chairman, Muslimyar, has also criticized the recent insecurities, blaming it on a lack of leadership among security forces.

"There is no cooperation between police and the national army, as far as I know, there were over 10 orders for battle in Kunduz" says Muslimyar.

Meanwhile, a number of senators call the recent insecurity in Kunduz a conspiracy and call the circumstances of the visit by Deputy Minister of Interior for Security Affairs and the Deputy Chief of Army Staff questionable.

"You know that when General Salangi and General Murad Ali Murad went to Kunduz, the notion of battle changed by 180 degrees, but three days later and before the battle could end, these generals were asked to come back to Kabul for unknown reasons," says Senator Faisal Sami.

In answer to this, Salangi said that he had come back to Kabul on the orders of the Minister of Interior Noorulhaq Olomi.

"I had gone to Kunduz on the orders of the president, but since I am a police officer, I returned back on the order of the Minister of Interior," says Salangi.

During Saturday's session, the senate had asked the National Security Advisor and Governor of Paktika to answer questions regarding aid to the families of Daesh and to answer questions on insecurity in the northern parts of the country. But National Security Advisor Muhammad Hanif Atmar sent his deputy in his place - which the senate refused to accept.

Atmar has been called to attend Tuesday, to answer questions on why the ANSF has not been equipped as per the Bilateral Security Agreement to deal with insurgents.

Sun, 03 May 2015 15:22:28 GMT
Kandahar Football Federation Chief Accused of Embezzlement

Head of Kandahar provincial football federation, Mohammad Nabi Niazi, has been introduced to the Attorney General's Office (AGO) over claims of embezzlement of over two million AFN, the provincial media office said.

The decision to introduce Niazi to AGO was made during a high-level meeting of provincial officials, the office added.

Niazi, however, rejected the accusation as baseless, saying he spent money to grow football in the province.

"It is just a plot against me," Niazi told TOLOnews. "They accused me of corruption after I didn't attend Friday's meeting."

Niazi said he had come to Kabul to account for the money which he had spent on building a stadium and other development projects.

But the financial officials of the federation argued that money Niazi spent came from federation income and done without consultation and fair accountability to the federation.

"Niazi made the spending arbitrarily and he needs to account for that," said Fazal Mohammad Shahab, federation's finance director.

He stressed that Niazi had to account for expenses to the provincial federation not to the National Federation in Kabul.

Sun, 03 May 2015 15:14:06 GMT
Doha Confirms Hosting of Peace Talks Between Afghan Govt. And Taliban

Yousif Al Sada, Director of the Asian Department at the Foreign Ministry of Qatar late Sunday confirmed that Doha is hosting peace talks between Afghan officials and Taliban representatives in order to end the war in Afghanistan.

The dialogue "will be through open discussions about Afghan reconciliation between all parties in Afghanistan", the Qatar News Agency quoted Yousif Al Sada as saying.

He said that this dialogue Qatar is seeking is "to bridge the gap in viewpoints between all Afghan parties on all issues and topics that achieve security, peace and stability for the Afghan people".

The two-day dialogue between Afghan officials and Taliban is slated to begin in Doha on Sunday.

This comes after a 20-member Afghan delegation, led by Attullah Lodin, the deputy chief of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, also confirmed that they would hold meetings with Taliban representatives at a meeting initiated by international peace initiators Pugwash. Their aim they said is to thrash out their perspective on political matters, especially that relating to peace in Afghanistan.

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, Ajmal Obaid Abidi has said that "these people were personally invited to the conference. The basis is that we have always said that when the peace talks begin we will not only inform the people but we will proceed based on the demand of the people."

Meanwhile, the monitoring of the five Taliban leaders in Qatar – who were released from Guantanamo - will end at the end of this month. Concerns have been raised over the release of these leaders as analysts fear they will return to the battle fields. The US has said they maintain close contact with Qatari officials over the Taliban leaders who were freed under a prisoner-swap agreement with the US last year.

A US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said that "we remain in close contact, as we would in any circumstance, where we transfer detainees," while explaining that the talks were about five Taliban prisoners released from Guantanamo.

Mullah Khairkhwah, Minister of Interior, Mullah Fazel Mazloom, the Taliban Chief of Army Staff, Mawlawi Abdul Haq Wasiq, the Deputy Director of National Directorate of Security, Mawlawi Noorullah Noori, Commander of Kandahar Army Battalion and Mawlawi Muhammad Nabi Omeri served positions during the times of Taliban. These individuals were released last year in return for an American solider from Guantanamo prison.

Recently, U.S. officials have warned that three of the named individuals have been in contact with Taliban about returning to the battle field.

Sun, 03 May 2015 15:11:43 GMT
18 People Killed in Traffic Accident in Badghis

At least 18 people died and three others were injured in a traffic accident in western Badghis province early Sunday, local officials said.

The incident took place in the Bala Murghab district of the province after a passenger vehicle crashed on the highway while traveling from western Herat province to the northern parts of Afghanistan, District Governor, Ahmad Zia Akazai said.

Most of the victims were from Heart and western Farah provinces, he said.

The injured victims were taken to a nearby hospital, he added.

Local officials believe the incident occurred due to driver negligence.

Sun, 03 May 2015 07:07:42 GMT
Farkhunda Case Resumes Monday Pending Probe Into Arab-Speaking Man's Identity

Preliminary Court judge Safiullah Mojaddedi postponed the Farkhunda case on Sunday pending investigations into the nationality of an Arab-speaking man who was arrested soon after the murder on suspicion of having jammed police radios during the incident.

All 49 suspects, including 19 police officers, were present in court as were senior police officials who were summoned to appear before Mojaddedi.

The judge first heard comments from the suspects – most of whom denied accusations of complicity in Farkhunda's murder. Most said they had not been involved and said they failed to understand why they had been arrested.

The suspects instead asked the judge to release them.

However, officials showed video footage provided by the Attorney General's Office to the court – footage that clearly identifies the suspects, officials have said. 

On Saturday, the 19 police and security force members – who were arrested and charged with dereliction of duty, told the court on Saturday that at the time of Farkhunda's murder their police radios had not been working.

They said that soon afterwards they arrested an Arab-speaking man in the area who allegedly had a radio-jamming device on his person. Police said they were however ordered by the Kabul Police Chief, Abdul Rahman Rahimi to release the suspect.

But Rahimi denies having given such orders and said that "on the day there were no radio issues".

The Arab suspect - Abdul Wahab – was brought to court Sunday and claims he is an Afghan national. However he claims he cannot speak Farsi or Pashto and spoke to the judge in Arabic. Mojaddedi ordered that he hand over his passport and other documents proving his father is an Afghan. He told the judge that he had lived in Saudi Arabia but was deported after running in to trouble with police.

Mojaddedi ordered that the suspect be remanded in custody pending further investigations by the Attorney General's Office. Wahab was then led from court by security officials.

The second day of hearings ended and were postponed to Monday.

Farkhunda, a 27-year-old woman was brutally murdered during a public lynching in March after being falsely accused of burning the holy Quran outside the Shah-e-Do Shamshira mosque in Kabul city.

Sun, 03 May 2015 06:26:22 GMT
35 Taliban Insurgents Killed in Baghlan Clashes

At least 35 Taliban insurgents, including one of their commanders, were killed in clashes with Afghan security forces in northern Baghlan province in the past four days, local officials said on Sunday.

Eighteen other insurgents were injured in the clashes.

The clashes took place in Baghlan-e-Markazi , Dahana-e-Ghori districts and Dand-e-Ghori area of the province after the insurgents attacked the security forces. Among the dead is one of their commanders, Khalil Wardak, said Provincial Police Chief, Aminullah Amarkhil.

The clashes still continue in the areas and more troops have been sent in from Kabul to support the local troops, Amarkhil said.

However, he did not provide details about the casualties of the Afghan forces in the clash.

Baghlan borders with Kunduz province which has witnessed a week of heavy fighting after insurgents attacked several districts of the province. More than 200 insurgents, 36 Afghan troops and four civilians have so far been killed, according to officials.

The insurgents have increased their attacks in the northern parts of the country which has increased the concerns of the locals.

Sun, 03 May 2015 05:48:27 GMT
KANKASH: HPC, Taliban and Mediators Set To Meet In Doha

In a two-day meeting set for Doha, representatives from Afghanistan's High Peace Council, the Taliban and mediators from international peace initiators Pugwash, are expected to thrash out their perspective on political matters, especially that relating to peace in Afghanistan.

To watch the program, click here:


The High Peace Council's (HPC) advisor for international affairs Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar said the respective delegations are expected to partake in exploratory discussions on peace talks Sunday and Monday.

In addition to the High Peace Council and Taliban representatives, representatives of the Islamic Party, Pakistan and other countries and organizations will participate in these preliminary discussions.

However, the HPC has called the Pugwash conference in Doha an unofficial discussion with no agenda and rejects claims that official negotiations regarding peace between HPC representatives and the Taliban will transpire.

Host Fawad Aman discusses the issue with the following guests:

Fahim Dashti, journalist
Fatima Aziz, MP
Najibullah Manali, political analyst

Sun, 03 May 2015 05:04:34 GMT
TAWDE KHABARE: Ghani Addresses Mujahideens To Mark 23rd Anniversary of Soviet Defeat

President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday addressed a group of veteran mujahideens in honor of 8th Sauer, which was celebrated last Tuesday.

To watch the program, click:


But many of the mujahideen's complained that Ghani had not been home to mark the 23rd anniversary of the ousting of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and had instead been in India.

CEO Abdullah Abdullah also addressed the group and praised the mujahideen for their long fight against the Soviets. He said that 23 years later, this victory was still a critical one for Afghanistan. He said that in the same light, the nation had to support today's national security forces who were putting their lives on the line to protect their country.

In his address, Ghani said: "Gone are the times of personality-centric policies. One person cannot be the savior. Today it is Allah, the Almighty ... and then the Constitution that cominates."

"Our government is not individual centered but centered around law. We are working to leave behind a legacy of stability unlike what we have inherited," he said.

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

Daoud Kalakani, MP
Lalai Hamidzai, MP
Saleh Mohammad Saleh, MP

Sun, 03 May 2015 03:18:59 GMT