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BSA Shouldn't Be Further Delayed: Analysts

TOLO News - 6 hours 30 min ago

A number of political analysts have urged the new government to improve security, intensify the fight against insurgents and sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the U.S. and NATO in its first 100 days.

Urging the President-elect Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah-- who is said to become the chief executive-- to work together, analysts stated that the economy and human rights sectors need further development. Moreover, analysts added that the country's strategic geographic location should be used to its benefit in solving transit issues with the neighboring countries.

"In my opinion, there are few issues that need to be prioritized," political analyst Nasrullah Stanikzai said. "Firstly, they should take care of the BSA. Secondly, they should take a stance against Pakistan's missile attacks on Afghan soil as well as the digging near the Afghan border."

Adding to Stanikzai's views, political analyst Jawid Kohistani stressed that the government should focus attention on the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

"The new government should praise the achievements of the ANSF and bring reform to the management of the forces."

Analysts believe that economy should be one of the main priorities in the next 100 days and special attention should be diverted to business and transit issues with neighbors Iran and Pakistan.

"The government should take necessary steps for the growth and development of the economy," university lecturer Sayed Yahya Akhlaqi said.

Meanwhile, human rights organization have asked the new government to pay particular attention to the development and implementation of women's rights and violence against women acts.

After a prolonged electoral stalemate, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai signed the unity government agreement on Sunday at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. The agreement has received positive responses regionally and internationally.

The new president's inauguration ceremony is said to take place on Monday of next week.

Taliban Attack Kill Two ANA Soldiers in Herat

TOLO News - 9 hours 10 min ago

The Taliban killed two Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and took 13 others in an attack on a military outpost in Western Heart province on Sunday night, local officials said on Monday.

According to Najeebullah Najeebi, the spokesman for Zafar Military Corps 207, the incident took place last night in Kishk-e-Rabat Sangi district of the province. There are some reports claiming that the soldiers joined the insurgents by their own will.

"A delegation has been sent to the area to investigate the matter," Najeebi added. "We will find out whether the soldiers were taken captive or if they left themselves."

Kishk-e-Rabat Sangi is one of the most insecure districts in Herat.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Obama Pledges Support to National Unity Government

TOLO News - 9 hours 51 min ago

The U.S. President Barack Obama has welcomed the formation of the Afghan National Unity Government and pledged to support the new government.

In a phone conversation on Sunday, Obama congratulated Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah on signing an agreement at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on the same day.

"The president [Obama] reaffirmed the United States' strategic partnership with Afghanistan and commitment to continue its support to the new Afghan government," the White House said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed hope that the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul-Washington will be signed by the end of the month, stating that the BSA will offer "a huge opportunity for progress in Afghanistan".

Additionally, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also congratulated Ghani and Abdullah on reaching a political agreement.

"I congratulate Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the President-elect of Afghanistan. The agreement between the candidates to form a government of national unity and the Independent Election Commission's announcement of the president-elect paves the way for a stable and more prosperous future for the country," he said on Sunday. "I urge the President-elect, the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, and all political actors in Afghanistan to quickly form the government of national unity," he added.

After months of delay, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Sunday announced Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the president-elect, without providing exact details of election figures. IEC official also congratulated Abdullah Abdullah for becoming the chief executive.

The inauguration ceremony for the new president will be held next week.

Thousands Rally Worldwide Over Climate Change

TOLO News - 11 hours 13 min ago

Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe Sunday demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets.

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Mayor Bill de Blasio all marched down New York's Sixth Avenue, as part of what was proclaimed the largest climate protest worldwide in history.

There were colorful and boisterous rallies in other major cities in Latin America, Europe, India and Australia, designed to build pressure ahead of a climate-change summit hosted by Ban in New York on Tuesday.

In New York, where organizers said 310,000 people took part, elderly protesters -- leaning on walking sticks and sitting in wheelchairs -- joined young parents with children in strollers, adults in fancy dress and community groups.

There were chants of "hey, hey, ho, ho, fossil fuels have got to go," as the good-natured march snaked down Sixth Avenue with giant floats, balloons and banners with slogans such as "Urgent, Save our Planet."

Ban, wearing a baseball cap and T-shirt with the words, "I'm for Climate Action," praised de Blasio for announcing Sunday that New York would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.

"I am overwhelmed by such a strong power, energy and voice of the people, I hope this voice will be truly reflected to the leaders when they meet on September 23rd," Ban told reporters.

"There is no plan B because we do not have planet B. We have to work and galvanize our action."

The UN secretary general walked nine blocks in the parade with US former vice president Al Gore, who is now a climate advocate, de Blasio, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal.

"Our mission is to make this a decisive moment, a turning-point moment and I felt today that I was seeing history starting to be made," de Blasio said.

- Melbourne to Bogota-

In addition to New York, another 270,000 people turned out at about 2,500 events around the world, organizers said.

In London, an estimated 40,000 people paraded past Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament, including actress Emma Thompson, who likened the threat posed by climate change to a Martian invasion.

The pressure group Avaaz, which helped organize the rallies, said 30,000 people turned up in Melbourne and at least 15,000 in Berlin, where the crowd braved pouring rain, and another 5,000 in Rio de Janeiro.

In Paris, where police estimated that 4,800 people protested, many came on bikes with banners that read, "Climate in danger" or "World leaders, act!"
"Before we could say we didn't know. Now we know. Climate change is already under way," Nicolas Hulot, the French president's special envoy for the protection of the planet, told the crowd.

In Madrid, hundreds gathered in front of the environment ministry, brandishing signs with slogans including "There's no Planet B," "Change your life, not your climate," and "Our climate, your decision."

In Cairns, Australia, where finance ministers from G20 nations were meeting, more than 100 people wearing green paper hearts around their necks gathered outside the venue.

Hundreds also massed in Sydney and in New Delhi, where around 300 protesters carried placards that read "I want to save forests" and "Coal kills", as they shouted slogans and danced to pounding drum beats.

An estimated 5,000 people, some on bicycles, rallied in the Colombian capital Bogota, where some played instruments made out of recycled materials to form a noisy backdrop.

- Two million signatures -

Ricken Patel, executive director of Avaaz, presented a petition signed by two million people to Ban in New York.

"The march numbers are beating our wildest expectations," Patel said.

"Climate change is not a green issue anymore, it's an everybody issue," he said.

The "People's Climate March" in New York was endorsed by more than 1,400 organizations, including environment, faith and justice groups, as well as labor unions. Students mobilized marchers from more than 300 college campuses.

The protest wound its way from Central Park through midtown on a two-mile (3.2-kilometer) route ending at 11th Avenue between 34th and 38th Streets.

After a moment of silence, slightly obscured in the chaos, participants used instruments, alarms and whistles to make as much noise as possible at 1:00 pm.

The UN meeting Tuesday sets the stage for a crucial conference in Paris in December 2015 aimed at finalizing a new global climate change pact.

8pm Program:Announcement of the Presidential Elections' Outcome

TOLO News - 11 hours 28 min ago

In this episode, host Muslim Shirzad discusses the Independent Election Commission's (IEC) announcement of the presidential elections' outcome, with the following guests:

• Miriwais Yasini, Member of Abdullah Abdullah's team
• Faizullah Zaki, Member of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's team

To watch the program, click here:

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Afghan Woman Injured in Pakistani Missile Attack in Kunar

TOLO News - 11 hours 50 min ago

A 20-year-old Afghan female was injured and two civilian houses were destroyed by a Pakistani military missile attack in eastern Kunar province, local officials said on Monday.

According to the Kunar Police Chief Abdul Habib Sayedkhili, the Pakistani military has fired 25 missiles into Asmar district of the province in the past 24 hours.

"A female was injured after a missile hit her home," he said. "The attack also displaced four families in Asmar district."

The Afghan government had previously warned of a harsh Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) response if the Pakistani attacks continued.

The Pakistani military has fired nearly 6,000 missiles on the Afghan soil in the past year alone. Local officials report that more than 2,000 families have been displaced because of these missiles.

FARAKHABAR: 21 September 2014

TOLO News - 12 hours 21 min ago

After months of delay, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Sunday announced that Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has been elected as the next president of Afghanistan and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah as the chief executive.

To watch the program, click here:

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IEC officials congratulated both candidates on their new posts, refusing to provide exact details of election figures.

"As we continue to register complaints and invalidate hundreds of thousands ballots, the Independent Election Commission announces Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the President of Afghanistan and ends the election process," IEC Chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani said.

Reports indicate that announcing the election "outcomes," instead of the "results" was one of the main points of agreements between the two candidates about the formation of the next government.

In this episode of Farakhabar, host Yama Siawish discusses the topic with the following guests:
o Tahir Zahir, Member of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai
o Fazlrahman Oria, Member of Abdullah Abdullah's team

TAWDE KHABARE: Announcement of the Presidential Elections' Outcome

TOLO News - 12 hours 35 min ago

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtyar discusses the announcement of the presidential elections' outcome, with the following guests:

• Waqif Hakimi, Member of Abdullah Abdullah's team
• Abdul Ali Mohammadi, Member of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's team

To watch the program, click here:

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Deal on Power-Sharing Government Is Signed in Afghanistan

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - 14 hours 14 min ago
The American-brokered agreement would make Ashraf Ghani president, and the runner-up, Abdullah Abdullah, effectively a prime minister.

TOLOnews 6 pm News 21 September 2014

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 16:56

At a press conference on Sunday evening, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the election "outcomes," declaring Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the new president of the country.

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"We congratulate Ahsraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the new president and Abdullah Abdullah as the chief executive. We wish them both success," IEC Chairman Ahmad Yusuf Nooristani said.

Breshna Says Top Officials, Ministries Fail to Pay Electric Bills

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 16:36



The Breshna Company, one of the largest gas and electric providers in Afghanistan, has reported that a number of government institutions and important individuals have failed to pay their electricity bills and owe Breshna a total of some two billion dollars.

Officials at Breshna have said that the company is planning to transfer the outstanding balances to bad debt accounts. Meanwhile, analysts have said that if the money is not received soon, it most likely won't be recovered.

Although the company refrained from naming the powerful individuals that have overdue bills, they did say that the Ministries of Public Health, Interior, Defense, Higher Education, Transport and Aviation, along with a number of other institutions, have not paid their bills. The Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, Directorate of Jails and Ministry of Health, are said to each owe over 100 million AFG.

"This is a problem, because governmental organizations owe us a large amount, and these debts must be paid," said Mirwais Alemi, a top Breshna executive. "A system needs to be created where the ministries cannot spend more than their budget and we know currently the institutions that owe us money are not able to pay it," he added.

MPs in the house criticized the government offices for mishandling their budgets and being careless with expenses. "It is a great shame that despite the large deposits of money, some people do not pay their electricity bills," MP Ramazan Juma Zada said on Sunday. "These actions result in great losses to the government and the people, so they must pay their bills on time and those in power must know that money is Afghanistan's money and as a citizen they are obligated to pay."

Although most of the ministries named declined to comment, the Ministry of Health and Transport did respond with comment.

"We are in the process of paying the outstanding amounts and we are trying to pay as soon as possible," Ministry of Health spokesman Kaneshka Turkestani said.

"We are not sure what debt the company is referring to, we do not owe the company any debt in the capital and their money is paid on time," said Hekmatullah Qawanch, spokesman for the Ministry of Transport.

The Breshna Company currently imports over $200 million dollars worth of electricity from neighboring countries. Failure to receive payments can impact the amount of electricity the company brings in to Afghanistan.

Minister Requests Further Aid for Counter Narcotics

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 16:31



The Minister of Counter Narcotics, Mubarez Rashedi, said on Sunday that more programs and aid funding would be needed to start more effectively combating poppy production and other illicit drug trades.

Rashedi claimed only three to four countries had donated significant sums to Afghanistan's counter narcotics initiative. And he said those efforts have largely been superficial and politically compromised.

So the Minister said officials had been discussing new programs to curb poppy cultivation with governors and police commanders from 24 provinces.

"Narcotics have a value of $70 to $80 million dollars in Afghanistan, it is a major trade and in order to end this, we need a lot of money," Minister Rashedi said. "The fight against the phenomenon of drugs has only taken place in slogans, strong countries could have had practical presence in the fight against it, and we hope that they will have a presence in the future."

Rashedi acknowledged that the considerable poppy eradication programs pushed by the NATO coalition and United Nations over the years have not had the expected outcome.

"I accept that the money spent for fighting narcotics are big amounts but in order to end this phenomenon, there is a need for more precise programs and further aid from the international community," he said.

What exactly the Ministry's new program plans entail remains unclear. However, according to Badakhshan Governor Shah Wali Adeeb, assistance for farmers growing poppies is the key to curtailing production.

Since 2007, at least $147 million has been spent towards fighting narcotics in Afghanistan.

Ashraf Ghani Elected Next President of Afghanistan

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 14:17

After months of delay, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Sunday announced that Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has been elected the next President of Afghanistan.

Official congratulated Abdullah Abdullah for becoming the chief executive of Afghanistan and refused to offer any exact numbers when it came to the election results.

"As we continue to register complaints and invalidate hundreds of thousands ballots, the Independent Election Commission announces Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the President of Afghanistan and ends the election process," IEC Chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani said.

The announcement comes just a day after it was announced that the two candidates had concluded their negotiations and agreed upon terms for their power sharing arrangement. One of the last points of contention the candidates were said to have resolved was the matter of announcing the election results.

On Sunday, the IEC Chairman acknowledged that the vote audit was unable to determine the exact extent of fraud committed in the election. "Although the audit was conducted, it was credible and unprecedented in its size, but despite all of that, the audit could not find all the fraud claimed by both sides," Nuristani said.

Reportedly the IEC has shared the exact numerical breakdown of the results with the candidates. "Members of the IEC have announced the results and the details will come later," comission spokesman Noor Muhammad Noor said. "One of the demands of candidates was that before the announcement of results to the public, it should first be discussed with them. On the other hand, the candidates did not want the results to be announced today, but the IEC stood firm on its decision and announced the results."

Adding another wrinkle to the situation, just minutes before the announcement of Ashraf Ghani's victory, Sarir Ahmad Barmak, a commissioner of the IEC said that, the reason the numerical results were not announced was that the commission has not completed its responsibilities.

"There are some technical works that we are wrapping up, but due to the rush we have to announce the results of the elections and make it clear who is the winner," Barmak said.

The commission's decision to announce the results without precise figures, ironically, stemmed from growing criticism of the handling of the election process and questioning of its credibility. The IEC said they hoped to assuage anxieties and end the political instability that has gripped the country for months.

National Unity Govt. Agreement Welcomed Internationally

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 13:31

The international community has welcomed the signing of the National Unity Government agreement by presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai which took place at the Presidential Palace on Sunday.

The event took place with the participation of President Hamid Karzai, political figures, government official and members of both candidates' teams.

Soon after the ceremony, the White House, in a press release, applauded the agreement, stating that that the agreement will contribute to enhancing national unity and stability in Afghanistan.

"Signing this political agreement helps bring closure to Afghanistan's political crisis, and restores confidence in the way forward. We support this agreement and stand ready to work with the next administration to ensure its success," the statement read. "Reaching this agreement required difficult choices, partnership and compromise on the part of both candidates and the outcome of their talks prioritizes the recognized needs of the Afghan nation ahead of politics or individual power," it added.

The United Nations, too, welcomed the agreement, calling it "an important step to move the country towards a period of stability."

"The uncertainty of the past months has taken a heavy toll on Afghanistan's security, economy and governance," the UN special envoy for for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, said. "For the sake of the country it is time to quickly implement the agreement on a government of national unity. The United Nations remains committed to supporting a new government in Afghanistan."

Additionally, the NATO Secretary Gen. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, welcomed the signing of the agreement, urging the candidates "to take their responsibilities forward in the spirit of genuine political partnership." Ramussen stressed that NATO will continue to support Afghanistan's stability, sovereignty and unity.

"I look forward to the resolution of the electoral process with the announcement of the election outcome, the inauguration of a new President and appointment of a Chief Executive, and the conclusion of the necessary security agreements with the United States and NATO as soon as possible, as both candidates pledged in their joint message to the NATO Summit in Wales. This is key for the stability of Afghanistan and the continued support of the international community," Rasmussen said in a statement.

The government of Pakistan has also showed its support for the agreement.

"The government and the people of Pakistan welcome the agreement signed by the two presidential candidates in Afghanistan regarding the establishment of a government of national unity," Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.

"Consistent with our support for a peaceful democratic transition, we regard the signing of this agreement as a positive development. This outcome has been possible due to the wise and sagacious leadership of Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah," the statement read.

Only few hours after being signed, the National Unity Government agreement has received positive responses regionally and internationally.

National Unity Govt. Agreement Welcomed Internationally

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 13:31

The international community has welcomed the signing of the National Unity Government agreement by presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai which took place at the Presidential Palace on Sunday.

The event took place with the participation of President Hamid Karzai, political figures, government official and members of both candidates' teams.

Soon after the ceremony, the White House, in a press release, applauded the agreement, stating that that the agreement will contribute to enhancing national unity and stability in Afghanistan.

"Signing this political agreement helps bring closure to Afghanistan's political crisis, and restores confidence in the way forward. We support this agreement and stand ready to work with the next administration to ensure its success," the statement read. "Reaching this agreement required difficult choices, partnership and compromise on the part of both candidates and the outcome of their talks prioritizes the recognized needs of the Afghan nation ahead of politics or individual power," it added.

The United Nations, too, welcomed the agreement, calling it "an important step to move the country towards a period of stability."

"The uncertainty of the past months has taken a heavy toll on Afghanistan's security, economy and governance," the UN special envoy for for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, said. "For the sake of the country it is time to quickly implement the agreement on a government of national unity. The United Nations remains committed to supporting a new government in Afghanistan."

Additionally, the NATO Secretary Gen. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, welcomed the signing of the agreement, urging the candidates "to take their responsibilities forward in the spirit of genuine political partnership." Ramussen stressed that NATO will continue to support Afghanistan's stability, sovereignty and unity.

"I look forward to the resolution of the electoral process with the announcement of the election outcome, the inauguration of a new President and appointment of a Chief Executive, and the conclusion of the necessary security agreements with the United States and NATO as soon as possible, as both candidates pledged in their joint message to the NATO Summit in Wales. This is key for the stability of Afghanistan and the continued support of the international community," Rasmussen said in a statement.

The government of Pakistan has also showed its support for the agreement.

"The government and the people of Pakistan welcome the agreement signed by the two presidential candidates in Afghanistan regarding the establishment of a government of national unity," Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.

"Consistent with our support for a peaceful democratic transition, we regard the signing of this agreement as a positive development. This outcome has been possible due to the wise and sagacious leadership of Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah," the statement read.

Only few hours after being signed, the National Unity Government agreement has received positive responses regionally and internationally.

Candidates Sign National Unity Government Agreement

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 09:03

After a prolonged electoral stalemate, presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai finally signed the National Unity Government agreement at the Presidential Palace on Sunday noon.

President Hamid Karzai, prominent political figures and members of both electoral teams were present at the ceremony.

Speaking at the event, President Karzai congratulated the candidates on signing the agreement, calling it an "Afghan agreement."

"We hope that you [the candidates] can continue the things that the current government started," Karzai said. "As a resident of Afghanistan, I am ready to cooperate with the national unity government."

The electoral deadlock was initially broken early August with the mediation of the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Later, disagreements reemerged over the roles of the president and the chief executive. Now that the candidates have signed the agreement, questions regarding the structure of the future government have been raised.

A member of Ghani's team, Faizullah Zaki, explains the structure of the future government as following.

"The chief executive position will be created under presidential decree on inauguration day and after the provincial district elections. After two years, the chief executive will become the executive prime minister. The chief executive will lead the ministers' council and the President will lead the cabinet," he said, adding, that "the cabinet will decide the major policies and strategies and budget and will meet once a month. But the ministers' council will meet weekly and implement the cabinet's decisions. The two deputies of the chief executive will be members of the cabinet and the National Security Council."

After six months of waiting, many people welcome the agreement and express hope that the economic and security issues will begin to improve.

"We are happy to go back to our normal life and work routine," a resident of eastern Nangarhar, Rohullah, said.

Helmand resident, Mohammad Omar, added to the sentiment.

"Every resident of the country was impatiently waiting for the candidates to reach a deal."

Both Ghani and Abdullah's electoral teams had accused each other of fraud following the elections, leading to an electoral deadlock and months of indecision which resulted in severe economic and security issues in the country.

Click here for full agreement

Candidates Sign National Unity Government Agreement

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 09:03

After a prolonged electoral stalemate, presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai finally signed the National Unity Government agreement at the Presidential Palace on Sunday noon.

President Hamid Karzai, prominent political figures and members of both electoral teams were present at the ceremony.

Speaking at the event, President Karzai congratulated the candidates on signing the agreement, calling it an "Afghan agreement."

"We hope that you [the candidates] can continue the things that the current government started," Karzai added.

Soon after the agreement was signed, the White House, in a press release, applauded the formation of the national unity government.

"Signing this political agreement helps bring closure to Afghanistan's political crisis, and restores confidence in the way forward. We support this agreement and stand ready to work with the next administration to ensure its success," the statement read. "Reaching this agreement required difficult choices, partnership and compromise on the part of both candidates, and the outcome of their talks prioritizes the recognized needs of the Afghan nation ahead of politics or individual power," it added.

This is while the Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials is expected to announce the final election results later today. Reports indicate that the announcement will not declare any "winners or losers."

TAWDE KHABARE: Clashes Increase in Sangin District

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 08:22

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtyar discusses the increase of intense clashing in Sangin district of southern Helmand province with the following guests:

• Meyagul Wasiq, political analyst
• Abdulhai Akhundzada, MP
• Atiqullah Amarkhil, military analyst

To watch the program, click here:

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8pm Program: Discussion on Sayyaf's Speech Against the Taliban and for the ANSF

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 07:59

In this episode, host Fawad Aman discusses Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf's speech during the third death anniversary event of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani—former Afghan president--with the following guests:

• Fahim Kohdamani, political analyst
• Qazi Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, MP
• Mawlana Farid, political analyst
• Qanbar Ali Tabish, University professor

To watch the program, click here:

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Is the East Becoming Westernized?

TOLO News - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 07:26

The east-west dichotomy is the exclusive labeling of ideals and concepts as "either eastern, or western" (I.e. "the traditional east" and "the modern west").

Many sociologists and historians categorize societies to four: 1) The Islamic or Arab World, referring to the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of South Asia 2) The Brahman World, referring to the traditional Hindu societies of the Far East and major parts of the Indian subcontinent 3) The Confucius World, referring to the Far East and Southeast Asia, and 4) The Western World, referring to Europe, parts of the Oceania, and the Americas.

Generally, the first three societies are collectively referred to as "the east" and put in contrast with "the west." There is also the Eurocentric way of looking at such categorization: "the west and the rest."

The east-west dichotomy is the exclusive labeling of ideals and concepts as "either eastern, or western" (I.e. "the traditional east" and "the modern west").

Proponents of an east-west dichotomy believe that there are essential differences in the way of thinking, culture, society, and structures of the east and the west—particularly the Islamic world and the western world—arguing, therefore, that the two worlds will inevitably be in an ideological clash (Samuel Huntington's theory of Cash of Civilizations, for instance). Such way of thinking puts the east in contrast to the west and claims that there is something inherently irreconcilable about the two.

Because of such dichotomy, many believe that concepts of the Enlightenment era such as "modernism," "modernity," and "reasoning" are exclusive western achievements. Hence, in many cases, "modernization" is replaced with "westernization."Many in the west consider themselves the gatekeepers of science, modernity, and social advancement. And thanks to such orientalist propaganda, the east stays away from all ideas labeled as western in order to avoid being subject to imperialism.This is also a reason for the reactions against ideas such as "democracy" in the east.

Moreover, since the human journey toward enlightenment is considered an exclusively western phenomenon, many westerners have incorrect and biased images of the east. For instance, eastern women are patronized and considered "weak," "passive," and "backwards." The west thinks that eastern women need the west—and of course, its ideals of democracy, human rights, and freedom—to save them. Even some western feminists discuss eastern women's issues in a very condescending tone. These orientalist ideas assume that the east has always violated ideals that the west has safeguarded. Many are surprised that an eastern woman from the 10th century could have written poetry about concepts of rights, freedom and liberty, the very concepts that are now labeled as western.

It is, indeed, true that many ideals have emerged and/or developed in the west. However, to call all these ideals exclusively western—and irreconcilable with the east-- is unfair. Cyrus the Great was the first to bring up the notion of human rights. Should we, now, consider human rights an eastern—even better: Persian—idea? We cannot. The idea diffused transnationally, it evolved and it became what it is today, a global ideal.

Additionally, one cannot ignore the socio-political, economic, and regional circumstances that allowed the west to reach the Enlightenment movement at the time that it did. It is important to consider post-colonial scholarship and the role of Colonial Europe in the emergence of the Enlightenment. Courtesy of the European colonialism, cheap labor—as a result of slavery, the access to natural resources of foreign lands, and the socio-cultural environment of the time allowed for breakthroughs in Europe. Colonial Europe—the west— had the opportunity to advance as the east struggled to stay alive.

In their journey toward enlightenment, people everywhere yearn for certain ideals considered noble when they find the opportunity. In this journey, every society takes its time to advance and evolve; ideals emerge, expand, change, and diffuse.

In the 18th century, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote her speech "the Rights of Woman and of the Citizen" as a direct response to the French "the Rights of Man and of the Citizen."Many ridiculed her. Very few people agreed with her thoughts of equality. She was one of the first to bring the idea of women's equality in front of men who in no way and form accepted women as their equals. Now that the eastern women have finally got the chance to fight for the same ideals, they are labeled as "westernized," as if wanting equal rights for all global citizens is a western phenomenon only.

Arguing that certain ideals are exclusively eastern or western creates and cultivates prejudices and stereotypes and forms an ideological divide, leading to bigotry, racism, and superiority complexes.In today's evolving, globalized world of diffusion and transnational spread of ideas, there is no room for labeling ideas as either this, or that.

The east is not becoming "westernized." It is finally getting the chance to evolve and move forward in its journey toward modernity and change. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge and highlight that: 1)The ideals of democracy, modernity, human rights, and such are not "western."2) There is no inherent irreconcilability between the east and the aforementioned ideals.3) There is notjust one successful model of modern ideals. For instance, asserting that an American-style democracy will be successful everywhere is problematic.4) The east should not label prominent ideals as foreign/western and work toward creating its own models of them.

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