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Taliban Shadow Governor Killed in Helmand

TOLO News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 09:20

Taliban's shadow district governor Mullah Nasir has been killed in Sangin district during an Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) operation in Helmand province.

Helmand's Governor Spokesman, Mohammad Omar Zawak, said that the operation was launched on Monday and so far nearly 21 kilometers of Sangin district has been cleared of insurgents.

According to Zawak the operation is still underway and since the start of it one police was killed and four others were wounded.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the attack.

This comes after hundreds of Taliban insurgents attacked ANSF outposts in eastern Nangarhar province early Tuesday and started clashes with the forces in which six policemen and more than 50 Taliban insurgents were killed, local officials said.

However, the deputy spokesman for the MoI did not give an exact number of Taliban insurgents involved in Tuesday's attack, he emphasized that the Afghan security forces are fully capable of dealing with such attacks.

Almost a month ago, more than 800 Taliban insurgents attacked Sangin and took control of the area for more than a week. The clash ended when an increase of troops were deployed in efforts to clear the district of militants.

Pakistani Military Bombardment on Eid Days

TOLO News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 09:06

Kunar Police Chief, Abdul Habib Sayedkhili, said that Pakistani military have continued shelling on Kunar province prior to Eid and throughout the holiday, launching more than 100 missiles onto Afghan soil.

He says that so far around 115 missiles have landed in the districts of Dangam, Shegal and Marawara of Kunar province since the shelling began last week.

According to Sayedkhili, as a result of the assault one child was killed and serious damages have been brought to the residents of the districts.

"A 12-year-old boy was killed and severe damages have been posed on the people of Kunar," he told TOLOnews.

He added that Pakistani soldiers have crossed the Durand Line and are 12 kilometers into Afghanistan where they have established check posts.

The cross-border shelling from Pakistan and reported occasional Afghan retaliation in the past few years have dramatically increased diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

TAKANI: Assessment of Security in Election Process

TOLO News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 06:18

With the prolongation of the election process the security in the country has worsened and it feels that all government officials, especially security forces, are paying more attention to the electoral issues, hence paving more opportunities for the Taliban.

Host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discusses the topic with following guests:

Abdul Jabar Qahraman, MP

Atiqullah Amarkhail, military expert

Jawed Kohistani, security expert

To watch the program, click here:

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US, Europe Slap Russia with Toughest Sanctions Yet

TOLO News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 05:10

The United States and Europe targeted Russia's key financial, arms and energy sectors Tuesday with tough new sanctions in response to Moscow's intervention in the Ukraine crisis.

Announcing the measures, US President Barack Obama denied that the West had begun a new Cold War against its former Soviet foe, but urged his counterpart Vladimir Putin to reverse course.

He warned the new sanctions would hurt a Russian economy already stumbling towards zero growth, and said Washington had proof that Russian artillery had fired on Ukrainian forces.

And, he said, the allies are now more determined to act together in the wake of the shooting down over Ukraine this month of a Malaysia Airlines jet by Russian-armed separatists.

"Today, in building on the measures we announced two weeks ago, the United States is imposing new sanctions in key sectors of the Russian economy -- energy, arms and finance," Obama said.

"Even before our actions today, nearly $100 billion in capital was expected to flee Russia," he said.

"Russia's energy, financial and defense sectors are feeling the pain. Projections for Russian economic growth are down to near zero."

The US Treasury singled out VTB Bank, its subsidiary Bank of Moscow and Russian Agricultural Bank as three institutions joining the existing sanctions regime against Russia.

Sanctions will also target Russia's state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation, which builds attack submarines and surface warships, some of them for export to Moscow's overseas military partners.

Europe's sanctions will notably make it tougher for Russian state-owned banks to access European financial markets, forcing their costs higher and hobbling an already struggling economy.

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, dubbed the measures "a strong warning" and condemned Russia's "illegal annexation" of Crimea and deliberate destabilization of Ukraine.

If Russia does not change direction, Van Rompuy said, "it will find itself increasingly isolated by its own actions."

"The European Union will fulfill its obligations to protect and ensure the security of its citizens. And the European Union will stand by its neighbors and partners," the statement added.

The EU however "remains ready to reverse its decisions and re-engage with Russia when it starts contributing actively and without ambiguities to finding a solution," he added.

For months since the crisis erupted in November, the EU has restricted its response to so-called 'Phase 2' asset freezes and visa bans on those implicated in or profiting from the Ukraine crisis.

- Sanctions 'inevitable' -

Washington and Kiev complained such measures were not enough, suggesting EU states were reluctant to hurt their extensive economic ties with Russia, which supplies a third of the bloc's gas.

The loss of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, however, dramatically changed thinking, even among holdouts such as Germany and Italy, and put broader 'Phase 3' sanctions on the agenda.

"The decision today was inevitable," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, urging the Russian leadership to "pursue the path of de-escalation and cooperation."

EU ambassadors also agreed to impose asset freezes and visa bans on four close Putin business associates, the first time the bloc has targeted such figures.

Details of their names will be made available in the EU's Official Journal, probably on Wednesday, with the new sanctions likely to come into force on Friday or Saturday.

Moscow has consistently derided the US and EU sanctions, condemning them as ineffective and counterproductive to shared interests in such key areas as the fight against terrorism.

"We will overcome any difficulties that develop in various sectors of the economy and maybe we will become more independent and confident," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

British energy giant BP, which owns almost 20 percent of Russian state oil giant Rosneft, complained that the new sanctions could seriously damage its interests.

- Fighting by MH17 crash site -

Some EU diplomats also expressed concern that the sanctions would convince Putin that he no longer has anything to lose by further escalating the conflict.
But another envoy played down this possibility, and warned: "Putin is going to try and divide the Europeans and his response will be a test of the EU's unity."

Heavy shelling in eastern Ukraine, meanwhile, forced international experts to again scrap plans to reach the MH17 crash site.

The remains of some of the 298 victims, who included nearly 200 Dutch nationals, still lie there 12 days after the disaster.

The Ukrainian military said they were not involved in hostilities in the area, claiming instead that insurgents were firing on their positions from nearby towns.

Key rebel-held cities further afield came under heavy bombardment, as the government pushed its offensive to regain control of the eastern industrial heartland.

In Donetsk -- the biggest rebel stronghold of a million people just 60 kilometers (37 miles) away from the crash site -- AFP journalists heard several explosions and saw several damaged buildings.

Heavy fighting was also ongoing in another rebel stronghold, Lugansk, where local authorities reported five killed and eight wounded in the past 24 hours.

More than 1,100 people have been killed in the fighting in the past three months, the United Nations said.

Bomber Kills Karzai Cousin Who Backed Recent Candidate for Afghan President

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 05:00
Hashmat Khalil Karzai, a major player in the Afghan presidential election, was killed as he greeted well-wishers at his home in Kandahar.

Spate of Attacks Heighten Kabul Security Concerns

TOLO News - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 16:17

A growing number and frequency of militant attacks in the Afghan capital over the past month has sparked anxieties among security officials, legislators and the general public. And with the increased concern has come the all too familiar blame game within the government.

Kabul Police Chief General Zahir Zahir has maintained the lack of proper air support and the termination of nighttime raids have made efforts to prevent attacks and keep militants at bay more difficult for the Afghan security forces in recent weeks.

He also said that militants who were released from prison by the government are mostly the ones behind the recent slue of attacks in Kabul. "A few days back, they launched a rocket attack on the Kabul airport, who was that? Those who were released from Bagram jail," General Zahir said on Tuesday.

The issue of releasing suspected insurgents from custody and their possible return to the battlefield has been a hot-button topic of debate over the past year. President Hamid Karzai, in particular, has received criticism from the international community, many members of the Afghan government and public for pushing for the releases, which many have suggested is part of his larger policy of appeasement toward the Taliban.

"A few days back, they fired rockets from Paghman, who were they? Those who were released from the jails; they pledged not to conduct terror activities, but they didn't honor their commitments and resorted to suicide attacks and explosions," General Zahir said.

The Kabul Police Chief has tried to defend the performance of his security forces in Kabul by arguing that although some attacks take place, far more attempts are thwarted on a daily basis. He argued the security situation would be much worse if it was not for the efforts of the security forces, a conclusion that few would likely dispute.

Nevertheless, Afghan lawmakers have linked the growing insecurity in the capital to the supposed weakness of those leading the security forces. A number of MPs have said that mismanagement in the security arena has been the main factor behind the increased number of attacks.

"There is no poor performance in the method, but there is weakness in the management of the security sectors and political interests are visible," MP Shukria Barakzai said on Tuesday. "We have witnessed the personal interests of the individuals serving in the leadership of the security sector, and it could create a major issue for harmony between the security forces in the future," Barakzai continued.

The one matter the lawmakers did agree with General Zahir and other security officials on, however, was the danger leniency toward suspected militants posed to the security of the capital and the country as a whole.

"We are witnessing the flexible policies and privileges that are offered to the armed opponents, because the Taliban builds morale every day and their released counterparts reintegrate and take part in suicide attacks and battles," Faryab MP Bashir Ahmad Tayyanj said.

The MPs urged the government to pursue a more consistent and coherent policy toward the armed opposition groups, or risk losing group to them at a critical moment for Afghanistan with the NATO coalitions set to withdraw by the end of the year.

Over 9,000 Female Police Recruits Trained in Balkh

TOLO News - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 16:10

More than 9,000 female police recruits have received coaching in the past three years at the police-training center in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province.

The female recruits are from Balkh, Faryab, Baghlan and Jawzjan provinces who were trained in the fields of criminal law, human rights, convicting criminals, knowledge and usage of weapons and how to arrest criminals.

"I am very happy to serve alongside my brothers in the rank of the Afghan National Police (ANP) and I will accomplish my task with honesty," said one of the female police officers in Balkh, Lal Mohammad.

Jamila is one of the female recruits who recently joined the police force. Joy is painted on her face as she expressed her enthusiasm of joining the ANP. She says that this opportunity has brought positive change to her life.

"I have learned many positive things during the training period and I am so happy to serve in the police force," she said happily. "I ask other women to join the police force and serve their country."

Currently, at least 27 female recruits are training at the center. Masooma, one of the recruits who started work for Baghlan police, says despite how negatively society looks at females working in the police force, she is happy with her decision.

"Working in police force is a difficult task, initially I faced opposition from my family members, but I continued to work," she said with proudly.

These policewomen express their pride of serving the country and protecting the rights of the citizens as well as contributing to the security of the nation.

Security officials said that in the northern part of the country currently up to 200 female recruits are serving in the ANP force.

Historical Monuments in Zabul on Edge of Ruins

TOLO News - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 16:06



In the southern province of Zabul there are at least 17 historical monuments, including six sacred places, that still stand today, but one day may collapse because of lack of protection and restoration.

Members of Zabul provincial council have criticized the responsible organs for not concentrating on the cultural heritages stressing that if necessary measures are not taken to protect the monuments, they will be ruined.

Residents have asked the local government and provincial information and culture directorate to undertake important measures in preserving the artistic remains of the province.

"The responsible organs have not accomplished any work in sustaining the cultural remains [of the province] over the past ten years," Zabul resident Ahmadullah said.

"We ask the local government and Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) to focus on the protection of the cultural heritages," another Zabul resident Saifullah said.

Meanwhile, Zabul provincial information and culture directorate head asked the MoIC to honor the demands of the people with regard to the protection of cultural heritages.

"I certify the concerns of the residents of this province, we are trying to jointly work with donor institutions and the MoIC to maintain the ancient monuments," head of Zabul Information and Culture Department, Abdul Muqim Afghan, said.

Zabul Bala Hisar, Burj-e-Teer-o-Kaman, Tapa Holan Rubat, Tangee Zareen Kulah, Bustan area, Mezani Hill, Topha Hill, Shah Dum area, Paindah Khan Fort, Sangar Jamal Khail, Tapa-e-Sartaj, Bolan Hill, Chehl Gazi Baba Ziarat, and Sheikh Mati and Hassan Mati are among the sacred and historical places of Zabul.

American Weapons Lost in Afghanistan: SIGAR

TOLO News - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 16:03



The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a recent report claimed that some 747,000 weapons provided by the U.S. to equip the Afghan security forces have been lost.

The weapons, which included mostly light and heavy firearms, according to the SIGAR report, were provided for the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Army (ANP). However, U.S. defense officials have reportedly failed to effectively track the weapons, and experts suspect many of them may have fallen in the hands of criminals and militants.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) has said that the weapons that have been provided to the Afghan forces by the U.S. are all logged in a database at the Ministry, which could be the starting place for trying to trace their whereabouts.

"The weapons and the equipment exist in the database of the Ministry of Interior since they were offered and the MoI is responsible for them," MoI spokesman Najibullah Danish said.

Meanwhile, Parliament's Commission on Internal Security and Defense has maintained that the U.S. is responsible for the weapons and equipment it donates. Members of the commission have said Washington armed irresponsible individuals in the initial days of its mission in Afghanistan.

"The fact is that the weapons weren't distributed properly and they were provided directly and personally to the individuals, which means that they weren't distributed through legal means with registration," said Mir Dad Khan Nejrabi, the head of the parliamentary commission.

Military analysts fear many of the weapons that the U.S. has flooded Afghanistan with have fallen into the hands of militants and criminal networks. They believe the issue has further worsened Afghanistan's security situation.

"Recently, the U.S. is responsible for this, because it provided the weapons without proper calculation and registration to irresponsible individuals and the U.S. must be answerable for it now," military expert Atiqullah Amarkhail told TOLOnews.

The SIGAR report says handguns, automatics and some other types of weapons have been provided by the U.S. since 2004. Some 626 million dollars worth of weapons are estimated to have been lost.

More specifically, the SIGAR report says the Pentagon has provided tens of thousands of AK-47s and similar weapons that have likely ended up in the hands of the Taliban and other militant groups.

In the lead up to NATO's withdraw in December SIGAR, along with the governments of coalition's member countries all together, have begun taking serious stock of the mark they will leave behind in Afghanistan. Although the U.S. continues to provide weaponry and equipment to the Afghan forces, the flow of provisions has dramatically decreased.

TOLOnews 6 pm News 29 July 2014

TOLO News - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 15:45

A suicide bomber killed Hashmat Karzai, cousin of President Karzai and member of the Provincial Council, at his home in southern Kandahar on Tuesday, local officials said.

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The attack took place in Karz area of Dand district of the province at about 10 a.m. after a suicide bomber who placed the explosive in his turban blew himself up while greeting Mr. Karzai for Eid at his house, said Dawa Khan Menapal, provincial governor spokesman.

TAKANI: The Impact of the Election Crisis on Democracy

TOLO News - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:10

In this episode of Takani 93, host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discusses the impact of the election crisis on democracy in Afghanistan with the following the guests:

- Dr. Fatema Aziz, MP
- Sultan Salar Azizpoor, writer
- Ajmal Balochzada, civil society activist
- Sediq Patman, political analyst

To watch the whole program, click here:

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Taliban Insurgents Attack Afghan Forces Outposts in Nangarhar

TOLO News - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 08:43

Hundreds of Taliban insurgents attacked Afghan forces outposts in eastern Nangarhar province early Tuesday and started clashes with the forces, local officials said.

The attack took place around 4 a.m. in Hesarak district of the province when more than 500 Taliban insurgents attacked the military outpost and began fighting with the forces, said Fazl Ahmad Shirzad, the provincials police chief.

"The clashes are still continuing and more troops have been deployed by air to the area," he said.

He added that both sides have casualties, but the number of fatalities is undefined.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the attack.

President Karzai's Cousin Killed in Kandahar Suicide Attack

TOLO News - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 07:16

A suicide bomber killed Hashmat Karzai, cousin of President Karzai and member of the Provincial Council, at his home in southern Kandahar on Tuesday, local officials said.

The attack took place in Karz area of Dand district of the province at about 10 a.m. after a suicide bomber who placed the explosive in his turban blew himself up while greeting Mr. Karzai for Eid at his house, said Dawa Khan Menapal, provincial governor spokesman.

"Hashmat Karzai was killed in the attack," Menapal said. "No one else was hurt in the attack. The bomber placed the explosive inside his turban and entered his home for Eid greetings."

The police have started investigations about the attack.

Mr. Karzai was also the head of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's electoral team in Kandahar, who was also a powerful man in Karz inside the district of Dand.

Hashmat Karzai is the sole victim of the today's attack at his house in Kandahar.

He is the second member of Karzai's family after Ahmad Wali Karzai, the half-brother of President Karzai, who was killed in Kandahar three years ago.

On July 2011, Wali Karzai, who was the leading power broker in southern Afghanistan, was shot dead inside his home. He was shot twice by his long-time head of security, Sardar Mohammed, who killed himself immediately after.

Israel Must be Ready for Long Gaza Campaign: Netanyahu

TOLO News - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 06:11

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday Israelis must be ready for a long military campaign in Gaza, after mortar fire from the enclave killed four people in the Jewish state.

"We must be prepared for a lengthy campaign," Netanyahu said in a speech broadcast live, soon after the news of the shelling of the Eshkol region that also reportedly wounded at least 12 people.

"Israeli citizens cannot live with the threat from rockets and from death tunnels -- death from above and from below," he said.

"We will not end this operation without neutralising the tunnels whose sole purpose is killing our citizens," he said, referring to a sophisticated network of cross-border tunnels used by militants to infiltrate southern Israel.

Israel began a major air campaign in Gaza on July 8 to wipe out rocket fire, expanding it with a ground operation on July 17 with the aim of destroying the tunnels.

Dealing with the tunnels was the "first and essential step in demilitarising the Gaza Strip," which along with disarming militants must be part of "any solution, and the international community must insist on it," Netanyahu said.

The Israeli premier also demanded the international community supervise and monitor construction materials entering the Gaza Strip, which he said were used to construct tunnels.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon also spoke of a lengthy campaign saying it could take "many more days until the quiet is restored."

And military Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reiterated a warning to civilians in Gaza to stay away from Hamas.

"Gaza residents should distance themselves from areas in which Hamas is acting because we will get there and it will be painful," he said, shortly after the army sent messages to residents living near Gaza City to flee their homes.

"A short while ago, phonecalls were made and text messages were sent out to the civilian population of Shejaiya, Zeitun and eastern Jabaliya calling them to evacuate immediately towards central Gaza City," an army statement said, referring to areas north, south and east of Gaza City.

Shortly afterwards it said it had also sent similar messages to the civilian population of Jabaliya, Beit Hanun and Beit Lahiya in the north.

Israel Must be Ready for Long Gaza Campaign: Netanyahu

TOLO News - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 06:11

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday Israelis must be ready for a long military campaign in Gaza, after mortar fire from the enclave killed four people in the Jewish state.

"We must be prepared for a lengthy campaign," Netanyahu said in a speech broadcast live, soon after the news of the shelling of the Eshkol region that also reportedly wounded at least 12 people.

"Israeli citizens cannot live with the threat from rockets and from death tunnels -- death from above and from below," he said.

"We will not end this operation without neutralising the tunnels whose sole purpose is killing our citizens," he said, referring to a sophisticated network of cross-border tunnels used by militants to infiltrate southern Israel.

Israel began a major air campaign in Gaza on July 8 to wipe out rocket fire, expanding it with a ground operation on July 17 with the aim of destroying the tunnels.

Dealing with the tunnels was the "first and essential step in demilitarising the Gaza Strip," which along with disarming militants must be part of "any solution, and the international community must insist on it," Netanyahu said.

The Israeli premier also demanded the international community supervise and monitor construction materials entering the Gaza Strip, which he said were used to construct tunnels.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon also spoke of a lengthy campaign saying it could take "many more days until the quiet is restored."

And military Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reiterated a warning to civilians in Gaza to stay away from Hamas.

"Gaza residents should distance themselves from areas in which Hamas is acting because we will get there and it will be painful," he said, shortly after the army sent messages to residents living near Gaza City to flee their homes.

"A short while ago, phonecalls were made and text messages were sent out to the civilian population of Shejaiya, Zeitun and eastern Jabaliya calling them to evacuate immediately towards central Gaza City," an army statement said, referring to areas north, south and east of Gaza City.

Shortly afterwards it said it had also sent similar messages to the civilian population of Jabaliya, Beit Hanun and Beit Lahiya in the north.

Afghanistan: Tracking of Arms Faulted

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 05:00
The United States has failed to effectively track many of the more than 465,000 light weapons it has supplied to Afghanistan, creating the risk that machine guns and other small arms could fall into insurgent hands.

The 'Battle Rhythm' of Helping to Build a Democracy

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 17:47
A view from inside a NATO compound in Kabul, where though seven-day workweeks, bombs and dangerous checkpoints, people from all over the world are trying to stabilize Afghanistan.

Peaceful Eid Kickoff

TOLO News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:58

Monday marked the first day of Eid ul-Fitr where Afghans across the nation were able to celebrate peacefully while the security forces were diligently working to provide safety for the festivities.

Senior Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs, Gen. Mohammad Ayoob Salangi, and Chief of the Afghan Police Force, Gen. Mohammad Salim Hasas, and a few other security officials visited Afghan security forces in the provinces of Logar and Paktia on the first day of Eid to thank the men and women for their sacrifices and services.

During the trips Gen. Salangi said that the security forces are available throughout Afghanistan and "are ready to respond immediately to any crisis."

"The Afghan police forces take special measures across the country for the days of Eid," added Gen. Hasas. "They are always ready to provide security for the people."

The Ministry of Interior's special force has been recognized for their recent complex operations on insurgents preventing harm to the society.

"We are assuring the people that the Afghan special unit is ready to provide security for the people on Eid, anywhere in Afghanistan," said Kambiz Yama, Deputy Head of the Special Unit of the Interior Ministry.

Kambiz added that there was no afghan force casualties in the recent operations led by the special force.

The people of Afghanistan have praised the Afghan forces in their security measures, but some circles at the Presidential Place are not pleased with the destruction of the Taliban

TOLOnews 6 pm News 28 July 2014

TOLO News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:41

Top news in this bulletin

Speaking after the Eid ul-Fitr prayers at the Presidential Palace, President Hamid Karzai defended his policies regarding the release of Taliban prisoners.

To watch the bulletin, click here:

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Karzai's statements came after recent concerns escalated about the return of freed prisoners to insurgency. Karzai rejected the claims, stating that the concerns were the result of foreign misinformation.

Karzai Defends the Release of Taliban Prisoners

TOLO News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:05

Speaking after the Eid ul-Fitr prayers at the Presidential Palace, President Hamid Karzai defended his policies regarding the release of Taliban prisoners.

Karzai's statements came after recent concerns escalated about the return of freed prisoners to insurgency. Karzai rejected the claims, stating that the concerns were the result of foreign misinformation.

"The information broadcasted is wrong," he asserted. "It is all foreign propaganda. They are attacking us from both sides. We did not know this in the past 14 years, but we do now."

During his speech, he also expressed his condolences to the victims' families of the western Ghor province incident in which he claims were killed by foreign insurgents who placed the blame on the Taliban.

"We express our condolences to the families of the youth who were killed [by unknown militants] under the name of the Taliban," he said. "We call on the Taliban leaders to not allow foreign insurgents to create insecurity in Afghanistan."

On Saturday, residents and activists from around Ghor gathered in the capital of Ferozkhoh to criticize the release of Taliban militants—who many claim were involved in the killings of 15 civilians in Ghor earlier this week.

Ghor Police Chief Gen. Fahim Qayem on Saturday said that the group of militants that brutally shot the civilians dead was led by Qari Rahmatullah and Mullah Farooq, both of whom were released from the Ghor prison. Ghor police claims that since their release, Farooq and Rahmatullah have formed a band of over 2,000 militants who are disrupting security in the province.

This is while Karzai's policies have been continuously criticized by people in his own government.

Recently, Karzai's First Vice-President, Mohammad Younus Qanuni, criticized the government's policy toward the Taliban, stating that the freed Taliban commanders have returned to their old ways and are contributing to the rise of insecurities in the country.

"I am against the release of those who kill the people of Afghanistan," Qanuni stated. "We knew that when they were released from prison that they would return to the battle fields and commit more crimes."

Moreover, the Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi had previously said at the Parliament that Mullah Omar's deputy had become the Taliban leader after being released from prison.

Additionally, MP Fawzia Kofi criticized the president asserting that his policies are far from what is best for the people of the country.

"The president has a set mental vacuum of facts about Afghanistan; there is much disparity between him and the people," she said.

Karzai has long called the Taliban "brothers" in effort to renounce violence and join the peace process, but received zero positive response from the insurgent group.

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