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Death Toll in Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital May Rise, Group Says

The search continued for 24 staff members, many of them feared to be dead, after an attack in Kunduz, Afghanistan, on Oct. 3.

MEHWAR: Lessons To Be Learned From Kunduz

TOLO News - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 07:06

In this episode of Mehwar host Fawad Aman discusses the fall of Kunduz and the weaknesses of the NUG that could have led to the collapse of the city and what lessons can be learned from the recent crisis. In the studio with him is Wahid Omar, a civil society activist.

To watch the program, click here:


MEHWAR: Economic, Security Situation Under Spotlight

TOLO News - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 07:03

In this episode of Mewhar host Fawad Aman discusses the deteriorating economic and security situation and its relation with the increase of migration. In the studio with him is Hamidullah Farooqi, a university lecturer.

To watch the program, click here:


GOFTUMAN: Economic Improvement In Afghanistan Reviewed

TOLO News - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 06:59

In this episode of Goftuman, host Haris Jamalzada discusses the process of economic improvement in Afghanistan, with the following guests:

• Dr. Mohammad Satar Far, former Vice President, Iran, and lecturer in Allameh Tabataba'i University in Iran

• Dr. Noor Aqa Roeen, lecturer and analyst in political affairs

• Dr. Temor Mohammadi, lecturer in Allameh Tabataba'i University in Iran

• Ustad Massoud, university lecturer

To watch the program, click here:


FARAKHABAR: The Impact Of A Further Troop Drawdown Discussed

TOLO News - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 06:53

Amid increasing security threats in northern Afghanistan, U.S President Barack Obama is believed to be relooking at his plans on the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan. Currently the plan is 1,000 troops will remain until the end of 2016.

However, a number of U.S officials have called for a review of the process in light of the current situation in Afghanistan.

But questions are raised over why insecurity has escalated in the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan and what will be the impact of whether they stay or leave?

In this episode of Farakhabar, host Yama Siavash discusses the issue with Partaw Naderi, an analyst; and Ghulam Hussain Naseri, an MP.

To watch the program, click here:


TOLOnews 10pm News 07 October 2015

TOLO News - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 06:18

Top news in this Bulletin:

Former Interior Minister Mohammad Omer Daudzai called the National Unity Government (NUG) a two-headed government and pointed out mistakes made by government over the past year.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:


Announcing their support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), members of Basej-e Milli (National Movement) – otherwise known as Afghanistan Green Trend (Rawand-e Sabz-e Afghanistan) – on Wednesday called on the international community to increase technical and financial support to the ANSF and to put pressure on Pakistan to end its support of terrorism.

Obama Apologizes For Kunduz Airstrike

TOLO News - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 05:06

United States President Barack Obama in a phone call on Wednesday apologized to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) chief Joanne Liu for the Kunduz hospital airstrike.

Obama said that the strike was a mistake and promised that those who are responsible for the attack will be accountable.

But the MSF chief, who condemned the airstrike as a war crime, insisted on an independent investigation.

Liu said that if the Kunduz hospital airstrike is ignored and if safe medical environments are not provided for medical workers, aid agencies will not be able to work in places like Syria, South Sudan or Yemen.

Meanwhile the White House has also broached the possibility of compensation to victims.

The airstrike occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning killing 22 people, including 12 MSF staff members.

MSF officials have blamed the United States.

In addition, U.S defense secretary Ashton Carter, earlier this week, expressed his deep condolences and sympathy to the Afghan families who lost their loved ones in the incident.

Carter said the Pentagon is currently busy with a transparent and complete investigation of the strike and will share the findings with the people.‎

The Pentagon is committed to finding the facts, he said.

On Tuesday the American commander of international forces Gen. John Campbell said that the Kunduz airstrike against the hospital was a mistake.

For Afghans in Kunduz, Taliban Assault Is Just the Latest Affront

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 05:00
For years, residents of the strategic northern province have been at the mercy of corrupt or inept government and an abusive police force.

Obama Issues U.S. Apology Over Bombing of Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 05:00
Five days after the U.S. bombed an Afghan hospital, the president’s personal apology appeared to do little to satisfy the leader of the doctors group.

Board Recommends Transferring Afghan from Guantánamo

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 05:00
A parole-style board for Guantánamo Bay detainees has decided that an Afghan man, Mohammed Kamin, should be released from wartime detention.

More Than 90% Of Russian Strikes In Syria Not Targeting Daesh Or Al-Qaeda: US

TOLO News - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 04:24

A large majority of Russia's military strikes in Syria have not been aimed at the Daesh tied to Al-Qaeda, and have instead targeted the moderate Syrian opposition, the State Department said Wednesday.

"Greater than 90 percent of the strikes that we've seen them take to date have not been against Daesh or Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists," said State Department spokesman John Kirby.

"They've been largely against opposition groups that want a better future for Syria and don't want to see the Assad regime stay in power."

It was the first time that American authorities have offered any specific figures about the impact of Russian air strikes in the war-torn country.

The accusation came as Moscow -- which says it is going after "terrorist groups," including Daesh-- ramped up its bombardments in Syria.

Washington, which supports the moderate Syrian opposition, has consistently said that the Russian action will only add more fuel to the fire and will benefit the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"So whether they're hit by a cruise missile from sea or a bomb from a Russian military aircraft, the result is the same, that Assad continues to get support from Russia," added Kirby.

"Assad continues to be able to have at his, you know, at his hands the capability of striking his own people, including those who are opposed to his regime.

"And that's not a good future for Syria. It's also, as we've said before, we believe a mistake for Russia, because not only are they going to be exacerbating sectarian tensions there in Syria, but they're potentially exacerbating sectarian tensions in Russia itself.

"They're putting themselves at greater risk."

TOLOnews 6pm News 07 October 2015

TOLO News - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 19:04

Top news in this Bulletin:

Former Interior Minister Mohammad Omer Daudzai called the National Unity Government (NUG) a two-headed government and pointed out mistakes made by government over the past year.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:


European Union (EU) Ambassador to Afghanistan Franz-Michael Mellbin on Wednesday told TOLOnews the collapse of Kunduz came as a "big surprise" to the international community and is a technical setback for the Afghan government.

Green Trend Pledges Support To ANSF

TOLO News - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 18:57

Announcing their support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), members of Basej-e Milli (National Movement) – otherwise known as Afghanistan Green Trend (Rawand-e Sabz-e Afghanistan) – on Wednesday called on the international community to increase technical and financial support to the ANSF and to put pressure on Pakistan to end its support of terrorism.

Green Trend's leader, former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh said that supporters are ready to take up arms and fight alongside security forces if needed. His words were echoed by other members at a Kabul meeting – members that included religious scholars, tribal elders and youth. They condemned the Taliban's acts in Kunduz and said they are ready to defend the country.

"When human force is needed to defend the country and the people, Afghanistan Green Trend supporters are ready to fight alongside the security forces and defend the country's values against the Taliban," Saleh said.

"The international community should increase technical and financial support to Afghan national security forces and in the meantime increase pressure on Pakistan as it is a supporter of terror and brutality," he added.

Supporters of Green Trend urged the government to assess the Kunduz incident and bring those responsible to justice.

"Those who failed to fulfill their responsibilities properly, which resulted in the fall of Kunduz city, should be removed from government," said Padshah Bina, a member of the party.

Green Trend members also called on Afghan people to support security forces as they fight insurgency.

Green Trend announced their support to Afghan security forces two months ago.

President Ghani Appoints Five Governors

TOLO News - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 18:38

On the Proposal of Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) and the decision of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani five new governors have been introduced.

1. Yasin Zia son of Mohammad Nasim as the governor of Takhar province.
2. Zahir Wahdat son of Haji Ghulam Ali as the governor of Sar-e-Pul province.
3. Sayed Anwar Sadaat son of Sayed Muqim as the governor of Faryab province.
4. Abdul Satar Bariz son of Abdul Rashid as the governor of Baghlan province and
5. Haji Shahzada Mazlumyar son of Mohammadaa jan as the governor of Laghman province.

Recently the presidential administrative office said in a statement that Hamdullah Danishi, from the Independent Directorate of Local Governance has been appointed as Kunduz acting-governor.

The appointment comes in the wake of the fall of Kunduz to the Taliban.

Kunduz Governor Omar Safai was out of the country at the time of the attack.

Danishi previously worked as the Kunduz deputy governor.

Insurgents Pushed to Outskirts of Kunduz City

TOLO News - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 18:01

Security forces have pushed back insurgents to the outskirts of the city after having regained control of Chawk-e-Kunduz, the main traffic circle, on Wednesday.

TOLOnews journalist Karim Amini reports that the Taliban's defense lines have been pushed back to the outskirts of the city but that clashes are ongoing in these parts.

According to Amini, all four main roads, that start at the roundabout and lead to strategic areas, are once again open to traffic.

Civilians are reportedly venturing out on to the streets once again and some shops and bakeries have reopened.

The city was on Wednesday relatively calm after ten days of fierce battles between security forces and insurgents – which has resulted in about 6,000 families being left homeless since the start of last Monday's siege.

"Most parts of the city are now under control of the security forces," reported Karim.

Meanwhile, security officials said house-to-house search operations will be launched soon to eliminate insurgents hiding out in civilian homes.

"We are going to conduct house-to-house search operations at night and if we find any suspicious house, we will search it to make sure there is not threat," a police officer told TOLOnews.

In addition, he said insurgents are also hiding in the mosques.

However the overall situation in Kunduz has been relatively calm on Wednesday. The roads leading to Kunduz Airport and to provinces have also reportedly been quiet.

Kunduz city fell to the Taliban last Monday when hundreds of armed insurgents carried out a coordinated attack and captured government facilities.

They also attacked the prison and allowed about 600 inmates to escape, including 110 Taliban members.

To watch the report, click here:


Umer Daudzai Suggests Early Election

TOLO News - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 17:12

Former Interior Minister Mohammad Umer Daudzai called the National Unity Government (NUG) a two-headed government and pointed out mistakes made by government over the past year.

"The big mistake of the National Unity Government was the politicization of security forces, the division of ministries and the reporting of officials to two sides - similarly the heads and deputies. This dichotomy government is commonly called a 'two-headed government'," Daudzai told TOLOnews in a special interview.

In addition, he warned that the government could reach a deadlock in the future, and to overcome that, he suggested an early election could be an option.

Based on the political agreement that brought NUG into existence, the government must convene a Loya Jirga after two years of power so as to change the position of CEO to that of Prime Minister.

However Daudzai believes that the government may not be able to hold a Loya Jirga and that a deadlock could ensue.

"My suggestion to President (Ashraf) Ghani has always been that 'come forward and take a daring decision and hold an election as soon as possible so that a president will come with clear authority and with clear legitimacy," said the ex-ambassador to Pakistan.

Touching on the emergence of the new extremist group in the country, Daudzai declared Daesh a serious threat to the security of Afghanistan.

"Taliban are comparatively a bigger threat than Daesh," Daudzai said. "Both of them are worse than each other. [Initially] Daesh was considered more dangerous than Taliban, but what they [Taliban] did in Kunduz showed that they are more dangerous than Daesh. Both are a threat to Afghanistan," he maintained.

In addition, he said that Kunduz fell to the Taliban because of a weakness in the intelligence services.

Daudzai was not however the first to criticize the unity government – which last week marked one year in power. Other former government officials have also voiced sharp criticism over government's performance during the past year.

Recently, former national security advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta blasted the NUG's policy towards Pakistan and called the government a "boot-licker" of Pakistani generals.

To watch the whole program, click here:


Afghanistan To Import Wheat From Turkmenistan

TOLO News - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 17:03

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) on Wednesday said it will import wheat from Turkmenistan after the neighboring country announced it was prepared to sell the commodity at a lower price.

Turkmenistan government has pledged to sell wheat for $210 USD per ton to Afghanistan.

Afghan officials also said that they will try to encourage the private sector to buy foodstuff, especially wheat and flour, from Turkmenistan in a bid to bring down local food prices.

This comes as Pakistan struggles to provide the bulk of much needed wheat, flour and other grains to Afghanistan at $300 USD per ton.

MAIL officials said Turkmenistan has suggested exporting four types of wheat to Afghanistan in phases. The first phase will see the Afghan government buy 81,000 tons of wheat at a lower price than Pakistan.

"We are trying to start buying grain from Turkmenistan because it is of high quality and cheaper," said Lutfullah Rashid, a spokesman for the ministry.

"This issue has already been discussed with Turkmenistan officials and they are ready to sell each ton of wheat at $210 USD. We are trying to further decrease the price," he added.

Meanwhile, officials from the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) praised the efforts by MAIL, saying that they prefer Turkmenistan wheat compared to that of Pakistan.

"The private sector has always struggled to help investors import wheat at lower prices. Our choice will be the one that provides us wheat and other grains at the lowest price," said Hashim Rasuli, ACCI spokesman.

Afghanistan needs seven million tons of grain annually, including five million tons of wheat.

But according to MAIL, more than 4.6 million tons of wheat has been harvested this year in the country but Afghanistan's deficit is one million which needs to be imported.

Soldier Claims Insurgents Were Hiding in Hospital At Time Of Air Strike

TOLO News - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 16:55

An Afghan National Army (ANA) commando claimed on Wednesday that Taliban members were possibly present at the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital when the facility was bombed last week.

The Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital was the main medical facility that the Taliban used for its wounded, he said.

"Taliban were being treated in this hospital ... because it was their main center (in Kunduz) for their healthcare services. I think they had come in large numbers and that the aircraft attacked them," he told TOLOnews correspondent Wali Arian in Kunduz.

In addition, he said the Taliban had used the hospital to launch attacks on security forces.

Another ANA officer said the Taliban had seized the hospital for their own injured fighters before it was bombed.

"When the hospital was seized by the enemy (Taliban) they took the doctors hostage and were treating their injured fighters in the hospital," he said.

The strike came in the early hours of Saturday morning killing 22 people, including 12 MSF staff members.

However MSF officials called the incident a war crime and have blamed the United States for the attack.

Also, they rejected as baseless claims that insurgents were hiding in the facility.

"So claiming that they were targeting [Taliban] fighters is not proven by the facts so this claim is ridiculous ... only patients inside the building were - as I said - patients and staff and they are the only wounded and casualties of this attack," said MSF President Meinie Nicolai.

This comes after the United States' commander of international forces in Afghanistan Gen. John Campbell said on Tuesday the airstrike on the hospital had been a mistake.

Campbell said U.S. forces had responded to requests from Afghan forces and provided close air support as they engaged in a fight with Taliban militants in the provincial capital.

"To be clear, the decision to provide aerial fires was a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command," Campbell said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility."

Campbell's comments on Tuesday were the most direct acknowledgement yet by the U.S. government that the strike on the hospital was carried out by U.S. forces. But in a statement on Monday, Campbell said only that U.S. forces had responded to requests for support from Afghan forces.

Poor Political System Led To Fall Of Kunduz: EU Envoy

TOLO News - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 16:20

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Afghanistan Franz-Michael Mellbin on Wednesday told TOLOnews the collapse of Kunduz came as a "big surprise" to the international community and is a technical setback for the Afghan government.

He said he believes that inefficiency in the political system led to the fall of the city.

According to Mellbin, the Kunduz crisis is the result of an incompetent political system and not the inability of the security forces.

"It was a big surprise to the international community and a technical setback to the Afghan government and it is very important that lessons are learned from Kunduz so that in future we don't have a repeat of the situation," Mellbin said.

"We are waiting for independent reports to emerge from Kunduz and I am confident that it will happen. We have also encouraged from our side the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission look into what happened in Kunduz ... What is very important is that we get a good understanding of what happened. For now we have very worrying reports. I remain deeply concerned,"Mellbin added.

He said: "Political consequences are also drawn and I believe what we saw there was not just a strong enemy opposing or surprising weak government forces, it was also a political system which did not act in time to shrink this base for the insurgents."

In addition, French Ambassador to Kabul Jean-Michel Marlaud has called for clarification of the fall of Kunduz but believes the Taliban will not succeed in winning the war.

"We regret that (fall of Kunduz) and I think that it is necessary to rethink reasons why such an episode was possible and we know that the NUG is reflecting and will draw a lesson from this. But I do not think it changes things fundamentally. I am convinced that the Taliban has no possibility to take power in Afghanistan. They have no possibility because they do not have the support of the majority of the population and they will never succeed because the international community will never accept it," Marlaud told TOLOnews.

Meanwhile, a member of the German Parliament, Omid Nouripour, said that the collapse of Kunduz shows that Afghanistan needs the international community's long-term assistance.

"Leaders of both teams must show that they are acting as a unit and are one government. This is very important for Germany. The collapse of Kunduz showed that we should assist not only in the security sector but as well as in other sectors," Nouripour said.

No Sleep For Commandos Who Patrol Kunduz Streets At Night

TOLO News - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 15:58

Afghan commandos have started carrying out night raids in Kunduz city in a bid to secure the city.

TOLOnews reporter Tamim Hamid, who spent time with a commando unit on Tuesday night, experienced first hand the meaning of night operations.

He said: "We have seen wrecked military vehicles which were targeted in recent attacks. When you walk here on Kunduz city streets at night, you will see security force vehicles and military vehicles which have been damaged in the clashes."

On patrol, commandos checked in with colleagues in Chawk-e-Kunduz, the city center, which had earlier in the day been the scene of fierce fighting around the traffic circle between insurgents and security forces.

However, while in the area, the unit came under attack. Following an exchange of gunfire, they then moved on to Bala Hisar area of Kunduz.

This is a historical site, which dates back 3,500 years and is on 170 acres of land just outside the city limits.

The crack unit wrested control of the area from the Taliban four days earlier but insurgents continue an offensive to recapture the area.

Hamid reports that during the drive through the area, insurgents fired a mortar in their direction. After taking cover, insurgents retreated and commandos found an area where they could settle down to eat their dinner.

"We are always ready to sacrifice our life for this homeland. We do not care whether we get food or not. We are always ready to serve our country," a commando, Rahmaullah said.

Bala Hisar is a key area of Kunduz and commandos believe that their successful operation to retake it was an achievement.

"Enemies were here before we reached the area but we caused a major blow to the Taliban and they escaped," a commando, Sayed Maqsoud said.

"We assure the people that we have caused a major blow to the enemy and we are ready to do it again in future. We respect all the Kunduz residents," said Abdul Ahad, commander of the commando unit in Bala Hisar area.

After dinner, the commandos continued their mission and retuned to patrolling the streets. Hours later they returned to the heart of the city.

However, with other commando units stationed in key areas around the city and in Bala Hisar, sleep is a luxury for most of them who work tireless to secure the battle-weary city.

Click here to watch the whole report:


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