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Print Media Doing Nothing For Children, Teens: Experts

TOLO News - 1 hour 45 min ago

A number of media experts believe the print media in the country has done almost nothing for children and teenagers over the past 15 years.

Sardar Kabuli, 57, has been selling newspapers and magazines for about 35 years and has over the years collected newspapers.

Kabuli said that in his opinion, the print media was far more professional 30 years ago compared to what it is today.

"The development of a society belongs to these children and teenagers. Today, our media offers nothing to the children and teenagers," he added.

Some experts agreed and said 30 years ago, the print media played an important role in encouraging literacy among children in the country.

"Media was effective in improving the literacy rate back then. Many of those who worked in the print media then are now great writers," said Ghulam Mostafa Dost, a writer and teacher.

The experts believe that the print media mostly focuses on security and politics, and pays no attention to social issues.

"All the print media outlets that you currently see in Afghanistan are biased and focus on special content and don't pay attention to social issues," said Kawa Jebran, a writer.

It is estimated that there is over 1,000 print media outlets in the country. Experts believe the media should move towards professionalism and government should also get involved in this sector.

MPs Call For Census Law Efforts To Be Stepped Up

TOLO News - 2 hours 58 min ago

Afghan legislators and members of the public are up in arms over persistent delays in ratifying the long-awaited census law.

MPs slammed government on Sunday over its continued reluctancy to dispatch the law to parliament for debate.

In reference to speculation over government's lack of commitment to finalize the law, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said Sunday that the amended draft law is now with the law commission of the MoJ and that it will be soon be referred to parliament for ratification.

The statement comes just weeks after government finally decided to include ethnicity in the transcript of the population registration law and electronic National identity cards (e-NIC).

"The law was amended a month ago. However the law so far has not reached parliament, they should have transferred the law to the House of Representatives already. It looks like government is not committed to conducting parliamentary and district council elections," MP Fakoor Behishti said.

Article 6 of the population registration law was one of the controversial items of the law, which restricted ethnicity being mentioned in e-NIC, an issue which has delayed the distribution of e-NIC for years. However government now says that ethnicity has been included but there are other issues that are slowing down the distribution process.

"The population registration law is now being processed by the law commission and soon it will be referred to the cabinet, we hope that the law is soon referred to parliament," Justice Minister Basir Anwari said.

Continued delays in the past over the distribution of e-NIC finally resulted in international aid being terminated by donors.

"The European Union as one of the key donors, over different sessions, announced that if the process is started again, they will continue their cooperation in all fields including financial, technical and operation assistance," head of e-NIC department Humayoun Muhtat said.

Meanwhile, residents have also asked government to take steps to launch the process to end peoples' concerns.

"A year has passed since e-NIC came under discussion, huge money was spent, but no results," Kabul resident Naibi said.

"A single person is holding ten ID cards, the government is aware of this, foreigners have obtained Afghan ID cards in Kabul, Kandahar, Paktia, Parwan provinces," another resident Ahmad Fahim said.

Senate Summons Rabbani Over India's Visa Clampdown

TOLO News - 3 hours 25 min ago

Concerned about reports of Afghanistan issuing passports to people from other countries, India has moved to tighten visa controls for Afghans, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salahuddin Rabbani.

Rabbani was summoned by the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of Parliament) on Sunday to explain the issue of visa restrictions by India and the United Arab Emirates for Afghans.

He said that India is concerned over the easy access to Afghan passports by nationals of neighboring countries and has urged government to resolve the issue.

"Unfortunately, Afghan passports have been seen with citizens of other countries, which is a matter of concern for the Indian embassy in Kabul," Rabbani said.

Rabbani said that based on new rules, visa applicants should provide a bank statement and those who are going for medical treatment should present a report from a doctor stating that the patient could not be treated in Afghanistan.

He did not however say which country's nationals have been getting Afghan passports. But senators believe India has taken this step to prevent the entry of militants into their country.

"The Minister of Foreign Affairs was directly hinting at Pakistan," said Asef Sediqi, a senator.

"Regional countries are concerned that suspected militants of Daesh, Taliban and other terrorist groups might enter into their countries from Afghanistan," said Gulalai Akbari, a senator.

The passport department at the Ministry of Interior refused to comment on the issue. However, a few months ago it was found that an Iranian woman had received an Afghanistan passport.

Helmand Court Convicts 25 Officials Of Corruption, Land Grabbing

TOLO News - 4 hours 30 min ago

In a ruling announced on Sunday, an appeals court in the southern province of Helmand found at least 25 individuals guilty of corruption and land-grabbing – a ruling that sparked widespread public support.

Among those who welcomed the move included residents along with some government officials and provincial council members.

The ruling comes amid growing calls by the public for government to step up its efforts to tackle such crime which has severely overshadowed transparency and rule of law in the country.

Those convicted by the court include the head of the local irrigation department, the head of the local public works affairs department, head of labor and social affairs department and some other officials in the province.

"The majority of the defendants convicted today are Helmand local officials who have been found guilty either of corruption or land grabbing. We will no longer keep silent against land usurpers and corruption," Fazel Sultan Safai, head of Helmand appeals court said,

Meanwhile, Hayatollah Hayat, the governor of Helmand province promised justice will be served in these cases.

"I appreciate the verdict of Helmand appeal court and promise to refer these cases to legal and judicial institutions," he said.

In addition, Helmand provincial council has also welcomed the verdict, calling the move an important step in fighting corruption and implementing the law.

"We strongly support the action taken by the appeal court and hope that the law will be implemented on the land grabbers and corrupt elements," member of Helmand's provincial council Bashir Shakir said.

According to the Helmand appeal court, there are certain individuals in the education and health departments who are also being investigated on charges of corruption.

Provincial Health Budget Plan Approved

TOLO News - 4 hours 34 min ago

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Sunday reported that cabinet has approved the much-awaited provincial health budget plan.

Health directors from all provinces will discuss the plan at a three-day seminar in Kabul in the near future, the MoPH said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Jawad Osmani, head of the admin and finance department at MoPH said the budget plan has been finalized after a delay of two years. He said that persistent delays for approving the plan have delayed the spending of $17 million USD which had been allocated for capacity building at the health directorates in the provinces across the country.

"Health services are provided in various provinces through provincial health directorates and health institutions in cooperation with the ministry of health. But the budget is aimed to boost the capacities of health directorates in 34 provinces of Afghanistan," Osmani said.

Health officials from 34 provinces are expected to attend a three-day seminar in which they will discuss the professional utilization of the budget. According to the plan, $500,000 USD will be allocated to each province.

"It will boost the capacity of health directors in the provinces. This enables them to come up with more energy and better management while providing health services and to develop the health system in the provinces," said Faraidoon, head of Jawzjan health department.

"Satisfactory health services are being provide in at least 28 districts of Badakhshan province, we face challenges only in a few districts," said Noor Khawari head of Balkh health department.

In addition, a number of health officials have said that nepotism and exploitation of the recruitment process has created major problems within the health management system at the ministry of public health.

"Powerful people try to recruit their own relatives to a post. But our demand is that recruitment should be on the basis of qualifications and professional people must be appointed for the jobs, otherwise the country will not develop," Noor Ahmad Sherzad, head of Nimroz health department said.

NUG Tackles Islamabad Over Cross Border Rocket Attacks

TOLO News - 4 hours 39 min ago

The National Unity Government (NUG) has held direct talks with Pakistan over its recent cross-border rocket attacks along the eastern parts of the country.

"The NUG has directly discussed the issue of [cross Durand Line] rocket attacks with Pakistan's leaders. Continuation of the attacks is a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations," said Shahussain Murtazawi, the deputy spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) meanwhile said that it has ordered security forces to retaliate against the rocket attacks.

"All our border protection troops have the authority to retaliate against the attacks," said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the MoI.

Analysts of international relations urge the government to resolve the issue through dialogue.

"The government should clearly discuss the issue with the international community and should resolve the issue through diplomatic ways," said Tahir Hashemi, a professor at Kabul University.

Eastern parts of Afghanistan have been witness to rocket shelling by Pakistan over the past few years. In a recent incident, rocket attacks killed one Afghan soldier and wounded two others in Ghoshta district of Nangarhar province.

Click below to watch full report:

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Afghanistan's Penal Code Revised: Officials

TOLO News - 4 hours 43 min ago


Members of a commission responsible for amending the country's laws on Sunday handed over a revised version of Afghanistan's Penal Code to the Ministry of Justice.

They said they grouped articles of the penal code and other relevant laws into one document – as the previous code had been "irregular".

The head of the commission, Mohammad Ashraf Rasuli, said they had revised and amended some articles of the law.

"We needed to revise Afghanistan's Criminal Law. For instance, some issues remained in the law from the past which now are not part of principles of international law," Rasuli added.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Abdul Basir Anwar said the move by the commission will help judiciaries to improve their activities and prevent misunderstandings while implementing the law.

"Naturally, faced with lots of laws [on criminal issues] it makes it difficult for an attorney to defend a case or for a judge to make a final decision on a case; therefore, the then president [Hamid Karzai] decided in 2010 to make the country's criminal law a single code and he tasked the commission with that function," the minister said.

He also said that this move was in line with government's commitment to fulfill promises ahead of the Brussels summit in October. He said his ministry will try to complete the remaining tasks on the law and then send it to parliament for approval.

Afghanistan's criminal law was drafted in two chapters and 229 articles nearly 40 years ago, but now it stands at 44 chapters and 430 articles, said Rasuli.

Key Taliban Commander Killed in Logar Operation: NDS

TOLO News - 6 hours 30 min ago

Mohammad Rahim, a key Taliban commander was killed in a special operation in central Logar province, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement on Sunday.

The operation was launched in Khoshi district, where Rahim was fighting against troops. In addition, two insurgents were arrested and their weapons seized, according to the statement.

However, the statement did not provide further details about the operation.

TOLOnews 10pm News 30 April 2016

TOLO News - 8 hours 30 min ago

Top news in this Bulletin:

An Afghan soldier who lost both his legs while defending his country, on Saturday slammed government for what he said was their lack of attention to his plight.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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President Ashraf Ghani's Special Representative on Reform and Good Governance, Ahmad Ziad Massoud, stressed that the government will soon execute those who have the blood of the people of Afghanistan on their hands.

Ghani Meets Australia's Governor-General, Discusses Security

TOLO News - 9 hours 5 min ago

President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday met with the Governor-General of Australia, Peter Cosgrove, at the Presidential Palace and discussed issues of mutual interest regarding security, development and sports, the president's office said in a statement.

At the meeting, Cosgrove also discussed foreign troops' cooperation with the Afghan security forces.

He assured Ghani of Australia's commitment to helping support Afghanistan in economic and developmental sectors and also congratulated the Afghan president for the country's recent achievements on the cricket pitch.

He also met with CEO of the National Unity Government (NUG) Abdullah Abdullah and Australian embassy staff at Resolute Support Headquarters.

Abdullah during his meeting asked for continued assistance in strengthening ties between Australia and Afghanistan and emphasized the importance of joint cooperation in fighting insurgency.

Cosgrove also visited Australian troops in Afghanistan and told them they are working to build a better future for Afghanistan and its people, the Guardian newspaper reported.

He told the troops that their task was challenging but not thankless.

Pakistan, China Reaffirm Support Over Afghan Peace Process

TOLO News - 11 hours 15 min ago

Pakistan and China have resolved to work closely with the Afghan government in its efforts to bring peace and stability to war-torn Afghanistan.

The announcement came after a meeting between the Pakistan Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Saturday.

According to Pakistan media, Aziz is in China to attend the fifth Foreign Ministers meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

In a statement issued by Pakistan's foreign affairs, the two envoys reviewed bilateral ties and exchanged views on regional and international developments including Afghanistan.

The two leaders recognised the importance of promoting Quadrilateral Consultative Group (QCG) in facilitating an Afghan-led and owned reconciliation process.

This statement comes just days after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said government no longer sought Pakistan's help with bringing the Taliban to the peace talks tables.

This comes in the wake of the recent deadly bombing in Kabul that killed at least 64 people and wounded over 340.

Pakistan media reports that the Pakistan government has not as yet officially reacted to Ghani's comments. Officials said Islamabad would not indulge in any war of words with the Afghan government as such a situation would only play into the hands of those who do not want improved ties between the two neighbours.

13 Insurgents Killed in Kandahar Operations

TOLO News - 11 hours 35 min ago

At least 13 insurgents were killed in military operations in southern Kandahar province in the past 24 hours, 205th Atmal Military Corps said in a statement.

In addition, five other insurgents were injured.

The operation launched in Maiwand, Ghorak, Meyanshin and Shah Walikot districts of the province to clear insurgents, the statement said.

"The operation still continues to clear all insurgents and the security forces have also discovered weapons and explosive devices," it said.

However, the statement did not provide details about casualties of security forces during the operations.

In recent months, the security forces have increased their military operations in insecure provinces including Kandahar, Helmand, Kunduz, Jawzjan, Faryab, Baghlan and Badakhshan.

MEHWAR: Attack On MSF Trauma Center In Kunduz Not A War Crime: US

TOLO News - 11 hours 46 min ago

The United States said the airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz last year was not a war crime, but it occurred due to human error, process error and equipment failure.

Click here to watch the whole program:

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The US airstrike on the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) trauma center in Kunduz in October last year killed 42 people and wounded several others.

Gen. Joseph Votel, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, said that the strike was not a war crime, 'because it was unintentional'.

The US Central Command released the report of its investigation into the ‎strike on the trauma center on Friday.

In this episode of Mehwar, host Haris Jamalzada discusses the topic with Abdul Ahad Farzam, human rights activist and Wahid Majroh, Chairman of Foreign Relations at the Ministry of Public Health.

 

FARAKHABAR: Massoud Welcomes Govt's New Policy Against Militants

TOLO News - 12 hours 17 min ago

President Ashraf Ghani's Special Representative on Reform and Good Governance, Ahmad Ziad Massoud, said government will soon execute those who have the blood of the people of Afghanistan on their hands.

Click here to watch the whole program:

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Massoud termed the new strategy of the government against militants as a positive change.

He said that Taliban don't believe in peace and they should be suppressed.

In this episode of FaraKhabar, host Fawad Amand discusses the topic with Helai Ershad, MP and Asar Rahimi, an advisor to Ahmad Zia Massoud.

 

PURSO PAL: Security Issues in Parwan Discussed

TOLO News - 13 hours 29 min ago

In this episode of Purso Pal, host Haris Jamalzada discusses the security situation along with other issues in northern Parwan province with Engineer Mohammad Asim, Provincial Governor.

Click here to watch the whole program:

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TOLOnews 6pm News 30 April 2016

TOLO News - Sat, 04/30/2016 - 16:41

Top news in this Bulletin:

An Afghan soldier who lost both his legs while defending his country, on Saturday slammed government for what he said was their lack of attention to his plight.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

{youtube}gGD_4pC2R7c{/youtube}

President Ashraf Ghani's Special Representative on Reform and Good Governance, Ahmad Ziad Massoud, stressed that the government will soon execute those who have the blood of the people of Afghanistan on their hands.

Security Forces Hold Upper Hand Over Militants: Shahim

TOLO News - Sat, 04/30/2016 - 16:35

The Chief of Army Staff, Qadam Shah Shahim, said that despite receiving widespread support from Pakistan, the Taliban, Daesh and other militant groups are losing against security forces.

Talking to a joint press conference, he said that security forces have intensified their fight against insurgents.

He added that Pakistan has also increased its attacks on check posts of Afghan forces in bordering areas.

"Unfortunately, we don't have a good neighbor in our south. Pakistan's military has been carrying out attacks on our border check posts in the east and they even used rockets and tanks on our check posts," said Shahim.

Abdul Rahman Rahman, the Deputy Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, said that a large number of militants have been arrested and have been handed over to judicial organizations.

He meanwhile called on judicial organizations to adopt a strict stance against militants.

"We have a lot gains and we arrested a large number of criminals and have handed them over to the Attorney General's Office (AGO) after investigation. Our demand is that the new leadership of judicial organizations should act as required and should bring these individuals to justice," he said.

Faizullah Zaki, the first deputy chairman of the National Security Council said that efforts are underway to attract international cooperation in the fight against insurgents.

"We are trying to attract more support from the international community and the countries' engaged in peace talks and strict action will be taken against those who don't want peace," said Zaki.

Afghan security organizations believe that this will be a decisive year for Afghanistan, because the Taliban will be eliminated if they don't come to the negotiation tables. ‎

A Veteran's Legacy Of Pain And Pride

TOLO News - Sat, 04/30/2016 - 16:21

An Afghan soldier who lost both his legs while defending his country, on Saturday slammed government for what he said was their lack of attention to his plight.

He said he lost his legs eight in a land-mine explosion eight months ago while serving in the south of the country.

According to Qand Agha, he has not been paid his salary in the eight months since the incident.

He said however that the former minister of interior arranged a new job for him, as head of a crime investigation unit in Helmand. However, officials have done nothing to finalize the process, he said.

To watch the full report click below.

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Massoud Welcomes Govt's New Policy Against Militants

TOLO News - Sat, 04/30/2016 - 16:12

President Ashraf Ghani's Special Representative on Reform and Good Governance, Ahmad Ziad Massoud, stressed that the government will soon execute those who have the blood of the people of Afghanistan on their hands.

Massoud termed the new strategy of the government against militants as a positive change.

He said that Taliban don't believe in peace and they should be suppressed.

"Based on new policies, the government has adopted a strict stance against insurgents and soon the promises that have been made [will be fulfilled] and a number of people, who have the blood of the people of Afghanistan on their hands, will be executed," he added.

He welcomed the government's new peace policy and said: "Taliban as a slave group has no belief in peace and their philosophy is destruction."

Meanwhile a number for former Mujahideen stressed for the need for engaging Mujahideen in the fight against militants.

"We should tell the Government of National Unity (NUG) that without Mujahideen it cannot move even a step forward," said Shakeri, a former Jihadi commander.

Massoud also expressed his deep concerns over the slow pace of investment in Afghanistan and urged the government to hang kidnappers who kidnap businessmen for ransom.

Protestors Call For Justice For Abaseen

TOLO News - Sat, 04/30/2016 - 16:07

Family members and a number of activists called for justice on Saturday during a protest rally over the kidnapping and murder of Abaseen, a teenager from Kabul.

Abaseen's family members said that they themselves will take action, if the government fails to do so. The protesters were chanting slogans of 'the government should put an end to the culture of impunity' and 'we want justice'. They urged the government to execute the kidnappers in public.

"We want justice to be done and want Abaseen's murderers to be publicly executed," said Andeshman Zazai, one of the protestors.

"If justice is not forthcoming, we want to tell the government we ourselves will take action and then government can't say we hadn't warned them," said Mohammad Zazai, Abaseen's uncle.

The protestors said that they will be concerned about their own and their family's safety, if justice is not carried out.

"Today, we see our sister, our brother and other relatives in Abaseen's face. If justice is not done, possibly one of us will be in the same position next," said Hasib Habib, one of the protestors.

"Abaseen's murderers have been arrested. We want justice to be done. The murderers should be executed in public and reforms should be brought to the judicial system," said Humaira Saqib, chairperson of Afghan Women Network.

The protests come after the National Directorate of Security (NDS) arrested five people for allegedly killing Abaseen.

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