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TOLOnews 6pm News 29 May 2016

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 15:58

Top news in this Bulletin:

Critics and members of the public on Sunday lodged a volley of criticism at government leaders for their poor performance in terms of bringing change in the country and delivering on their campaign promises.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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 Criticizing the appointment of Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada as Taliban's new leader, Mullah Mannan Niazi, spokesman for the Taliban's breakaway faction led by Mullah Rassoul, said on Sunday that the newly appointed leader is a puppet of Pakistan – just as his predecessor, Mullah Mansour, was.

Afghan Teen Invents Gadget To Foil Terror Attacks

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 15:41

A local teenager, Khalil-ur-Rahman Afghan, says he has invented a gadget that could be used to foil terror attacks from a distance.

He said his gadget, which is much like a jamming device, works from 300 meters away, while a similar, foreign product, works only up to 100 meters away.

The 17-year-old boy urged government to help him to improve his invention and introduce it to the security organizations.

Afghan has made the gadget from computer and bicycle parts.

"The gadget weighs 1.5 kilograms and can foil a suicide vest which works on a circuit system. It costs $7,000 USD but the same gadget made in America costs $20,000 USD," he said.

He said his gadget is more efficient than the one that is used by U.S troops in Afghanistan.

According to him, nearly 10 of his gadgets are already being used by government officials.

This comes after a number of Afghan youths recently started inventing new gadgets which many say brings hope to other youths – who should stay and help build the country.

To watch the full report click below.

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Taliban's Divided Faction Criticize Hibatullah's Appointment

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 15:33

Criticizing the appointment of Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada as Taliban's new leader, Mullah Mannan Niazi, spokesman for the Taliban's breakaway faction led by Mullah Rassoul, said on Sunday that the newly appointed leader is a puppet of Pakistan – just as his predecessor, Mullah Mansour, was.

He said Mullah Rassoul's faction wants an Islamic government in Afghanistan and that foreign troops should not stay in the country as invaders.

He said: "Hibatullah was appointed by those who appointed Mansour as Taliban's leader. It is part of the conspiracy that has started against the Taliban in the past."

"Those that are killed in the country are killed as a result of the fatwa issued by the unjust muftis that now claim they are leading Taliban. They are our killers and their hands are stained with our blood," he added.

The withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan has been one of the main pre-conditions of terrorist groups in terms of joining the peace process, but this time, the breakaway faction of the Taliban brought up the issue, with a slightly different angle.

"We do not want all foreigners, as invaders, in Afghanistan, but we want Afghanistan to have good relations with the world in the framework of international rules," he said.

Meanwhile, the presidential palace said they are ready to embrace the militant groups that quit insurgency and join the peace process.

"The peace door will always be open for the groups that quit killing the people, accept the Constitution of Afghanistan, and cut relations with terrorist groups ," said President Ashraf Ghani's deputy spokesman Shahussain Murtazawi.

Peace talks with militants, particularly with Taliban, has been government's top priority over the past several years, but the efforts have not yielded considerable results so far.

Analysts said they believe that there is still opportunity to carry on the peace process with militant groups.

Critics Slam NUG Leaders Over Undelivered Campaign Promises

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 15:28

Critics and members of the public on Sunday lodged a volley of criticism at government leaders for their poor performance in terms of bringing change in the country and delivering on their campaign promises.

There are rumors that even top government officials are discontent over the National Unity Government's (NUG) performance.

In the latest development, Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani criticized the leaders of the NUG, President Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abhdullah, for not implementing the political agreement they agreed upon in the wake of 2014 controversial elections.

Alongside Rabbani, Ghani's top advisor for reforms and good governance Ahmad Zia Massoud, has also in the past, raised his voice and criticized a number of NUG policies.

Meanwhile, critics and members of the public linked the discontent among the people with internal conflict in the NUG and warned against consequences.

After the political agreement for the establishment of the NUG, Ghani and Abdullah pledged to bring about changes in the lives of the people and boost security.

"Two complete years have been wasted, I fear that the next three years will also go to waste. Afghanistan is forty years behind the world and its very unfortunate. I want to call upon the government's leaders to not think that the U.S has provided you with insurance, the people are discouraged, they (government leaders) must resolve the issue of legitimacy," head of the Jabha-e-Naveen Milli party Anwarul Haq Ahadi said.

"Undertaking amendments in the constitution, distribution of electronic ID cards and the uncertain future of electoral reforms are among the problems which have not been resolved and there is a lot of criticism," said Mohammad Natiqi, member of the commission overseeing the implementation of the political agreement.

Meanwhile, a number of residents have expressed mixed ideas about the NUG's performance.

"Government leaders made fake promises to the people and exploited their aspirations, people cast votes for them, but years have passed and nothing has changed," one Kabul resident, Khalid, said.

"Works of government leaders were only uttering the words, they did nothing on the ground," a Balkh resident, Raihana, said.

Amid the ongoing controversy over the performance of the NUG, the presidential palace seemed to be resolute about the commitments of the NUG. The political agreement will expire in less than four months.

Bringing about necessary reforms in Afghanistan's election system, finalizing the distribution of electronic identity cards, and convening the constitutional amendment Loya Jirga were among the top promises which NUG needs to deliver within two years.

Twenty months have however passed since the formation of the NUG; but NUG leaders are still to fulfill their promises.

US Presence A Sign Of Robust Action Against Terrorism: MoD

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 15:22

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Sunday said that the establishment of U.S military bases in Afghanistan will help determine an effective campaign against threats emerging from the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

Joining the defense ministry, some Afghan political commentators have also hailed U.S military presence in Afghanistan as a key element in thwarting threats and curbing foreign meddling.

They argue that foreign intervention in Afghanistan has dropped to some extent after the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Afghanistan and the United States.

"The al-Qaeda, Taliban and Daesh groups operate here, they (U.S) forces can target them from these bases and help us in providing equipment and funding," a defense ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.

It is said that the US forces so far have directed several missions in which dozens of top insurgent commanders had been killed.

"For the first time, the Americans showed they are committed to Afghanistan's stability and longstanding security including support to Afghanistan's political process and the government and these are part of the U.S mission, the killing of Mullah Mansour is one of the new initiatives of the U.S," political analyst Haroon Mir said.

In line with the BSA, the U.S has committed to defend Afghanistan's territorial integrity and national sovereignty against external threats and to foil foreign interference in the nation's internal affairs.

"These bases can protect the U.S's long term interests in the region and it is in our interests as well. If we do not have major and credible support, we will be eliminated in regional games," political analyst Nasrallah Stanekzai said.

It is believed the killing of the Taliban's former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour inside Pakistani territory signaled a shift in U.S's counter-terrorism policy.

It appears that the U.S is fighting back to repress militants inside Afghanistan and beyond, something predicted in the BSA, said analaysts.

This comes after the U.S Congress's committee on military affairs passed a new law on the basis of which the U.S forces are granted special powers to target the Taliban, Daesh and Haqqani network in Afghanistan.

The new law has defined some additional authorities to U.S forces and says that the American troops must be provided with more resources and that 9,800 U.S troops will stay in Afghanistan until April 2017.

Hibatullah's Roots Were Non-Political And Reclusive

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 15:09

From a reclusive, non-political family in Kandahar, that fled the country during the civil war, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada has risen to become the Taliban's new leader.

But just who is this man and where does he come from? TOLOnews' correspondent Abdullah Hamim finds out.

Hibatullah was born in Panjwai district in the southern province 56 years ago. But fleeing the civil war, his family went to Pakistan.

A number of tribal elders in Panjwai, however said Hibatullah's family lived in Safid Rawan village for five decades. His father, Mullah Mohammad Akhund, was a religious scholar at a local mosque.

"We know the family of the Taliban's new leader. They lived here in Safid Rawan village 50 years ago. He was born here. His family was very kind. Hibatullah spent most of his childhood days here in this area," said

Haji Din Mohammad, a tribal elder from Panjwai.

His father was a cleric for many years at the Malook mosque and the family was not involved in politics, according to the tribal elders.

The elders said Hibatullah's family were well mannered and well behaved towards others but that they kept to themselves and did not participate in tribal assemblies and sessions, which were held to solve and discuss the villagers' problems.

Taliban last week confirmed former leader Mullah Mansour's death and appointed Hibatullah as his successor.

Hibatullah himself is a cleric and was the Taliban's top judge and a deputy under Mansour.

Sirajuddin Haqqani and Mohammad Yaqub, the elder son of the Taliban's founding leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, will serve as Hibatullah's top deputies.

Hibatullah reportedly lives in Ghaus Abad area in Quetta city in Pakistan.

Some critics said they believe that Hibatullah will further the Taliban insurgency.

Meanwhile, it is said that Hibatullah's appointment as the Taliban's new leader was done without consulting Mullah Rassoul, the leader of a divided faction of Taliban insurgents.

AGO To Establish Anti-Corruption Center

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 14:19

The Attorney General's Office (AGO) said Sunday that it will establish a judicial center to fight corruption.

"Work on establishing a judicial center for fighting endemic corruption in public offices is our top priority. The anti-corruption center will be established very soon," said AGO spokesman Farid Hamidi.

He added: "Afterwards, no official, no authority and no force will above the law."

These remarks come at a time that the National Unity Government (NUG) faces huge criticism for not addressing big corruption cases.

"We are not happy with the NUG's anti-corruption activities," said Abdul Aziz Aryaii, head of risk management at the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee.

Meanwhile, the AGO spokesman spoke of implementing new plans to assess big corruption cases.

He said: "Assessing big corruption cases is ongoing seriously as this is among our main commitments."

This comes after Kabul Municipality on Sunday confirmed that two senior officials from the authority were arrested on corruption charges – which include the deputy head of the municipality's finance and administrative office, Mohammad Aslam Akrami, and Kamal Qasimyar, head of human resources office of the municipality.

Those With Multiple Tours of War Overseas Struggle at Home

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 13:50
The number of veterans with multiple tours of combat duty is the largest in modern American history — more than 90,000 soldiers and Marines.

Jawzjan Police Establish 20 New Security Check Posts

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 13:18

At least 20 new security check posts were established in four districts of Jawzjan to prevent the infiltration of terrorist groups in the province, said Abdul Hafiz Khashi, security chief at Jawzjan police headquarters.

According to him, the areas were recently cleared of militants in a military operation carried out by Afghan security forces and led by first Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum.

"Local security officials decided to establish nearly 20 security check posts to prevent the infiltration of Taliban and also boost security in cleared areas. The decision is now implemented. It was taken to enable the

people to live in a peaceful and secure environment," he added.

Meanwhile, a number of Jawzjan residents said they welcome the move by police.

"The check posts will help boost security in our province and we will help security forces in this regard," said Ezatullah, a tribal elder in Jawzjan.

Mohammad Khan, another resident, said that now they can freely travel to various parts of Jawzjan.

TOLOnews 10pm News 28 May 2016

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 10:59

Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani has criticized the leaders of the national unity government, President Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abhdullah, for not implementing the political agreement.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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The US Congress's committee on military affairs has passed a new law on the basis of which the US forces are granted special powers to target the Taliban, Daesh and Haqqani network in Afghanistan.

MEHWAR: US Passes New Law, Giving Troops More Power in Afghanistan

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 08:00

The US Congress's committee on military affairs has passed a new law on the basis of which the US forces are granted special powers to target the Taliban, Daesh and Haqqani network in Afghanistan.

Click here to watch the whole program:

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In this episode of Mehwar, host Muslim Shirzad discusses the topic with Sami Yousufzai, journalist and Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

 

MEHWAR: Number of Afghan Refugees Returning Home On The Rise‎

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 07:10

Afghanistan's Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation has said that the Afghan government is determined to step up efforts to provide job opportunities for those refugees who return home from European nations.

In this episode of Mehwar, host Mulim Shirzad discusses the topic with Nasir Haidarzada, from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Click here to watch the whole program:

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In Iraq Town, Real Fans 'Challenge Daesh'

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 07:00

Wearing a pink Ronaldo tee-shirt, Ali Qais stares nervously at one of the Al-Furat cafe's TV screens to watch his beloved Real Madrid in the Iraqi town of Balad.

Facing a poster of Real coach Zinedine Zidane, the sofa he is sitting on has two bullet holes in its back.

Two weeks ago, gunmen sprayed gun fire and tossed grenades inside the cafe during a raid officials said killed a total of 16 people, including at least 10 on the cafe's premises.

"Tonight, it's much more than just watching a football match, it's a challenge to Daesh," said Qais.

"Until recently, I'm sure Ronaldo had never heard of Balad. Now he has worn the black arm band for our martyrs," the 29-year-old said.

"I hope he scores at least one tonight," he added, shortly before his idol and his teammates jogged onto the pitch to face Madrid rivals Atletico in the Champions League final.

Daesh has sewn death destruction in Iraq for two years, claimed responsibility for the attack, although the exact circumstances of the raid and its aftermath remain unclear.

The carnage sparked an outpouring of sympathy from the football world, including from Real Madrid, whose players wore the black arm band for their final Spanish league game the following day.

"The reaction of the club gave us great joy," said Qassem Issa, the 39-year-old businessman from Balad who founded the supporters club seven years ago.

"Of course, before the attack, we were planning to watch the final here. There was some hesitation but eventually we insisted to spend the evening here, as a show of strength," he said.

Iraqi forces are currently fighting to retake the Daesh bastion of Fallujah, one of their toughest battles yet.

In the Al-Furat cafe's large garden, festooned with multi-coloured light bulbs and posters of the victims; officials, residents and poets took turns to honor the victims.

Dozens of policemen armed with assault rifles were deployed around the cafe to protect the venue and frisk the young men flocking to watch the final.

Survivors of the May 13 massacre stayed home but many Balad youths who lost brothers and friends wept during the hour-long ceremony.

"I was the first one in the cafe after some people came running out shouting that there was an attack going on," Firas Hatef recalled.

"The first thing I saw when I burst in with my pistol was my 17-year-old son Sajad, lying on the floor face down, dead," he said.

"He had a bullet wound in the head and another in the neck," he said. "I also lost a brother in the attack. All of this because we like watching our team?"

Daesh and other jihadist groups consider football a product of the Western society they despise and sport venues have repeatedly been targeted.

A suicide bomber blew himself up on March 26 during a trophy ceremony after a local football tournament south of Baghdad, killing more than 30 people, many of them teenagers and children.

When Ronaldo finally slotted in the winning penalty kick late Saturday, the joy in the Al-Furat cafe was muted as fans broke down in tears remembering their fallen friends and relatives.

Extra time pushed the game past the midnight curfew that is slapped on Balad every night for security reasons and the dyed-in-the-wool supporters who had risked staying on hurried back home as soon as the match ended.

Seven Policemen Injured in Helmand Clashes

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 06:53

At least seven policemen were injured in clashes with Taliban insurgents in southern Helmand province on Saturday night, local officials said Sunday.

The clashes took place on the Laskhargah highway, and in Nadi Ali and Nah-e-Saraj districts of the province when dozens of Taliban insurgents attacked security forces' outposts, a spokesman for the provincial governor Omar Zwak said.

Zwak said that more reinforcements were sent to the areas to support local security forces. However there is no information on casualties among insurgents yet.

However, some police sources told TOLOnews that security forces sustained major casualties in the attacks - a claim that was however rejected by Zwak.

New AG Prioritizes Fight Against Corruption

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 06:37

Afghanistan's new Attorney General Mohammad Farid Hamidi on Sunday said his priority was to accelerate the fight against corruption in the country.

Speaking at his first press conference since taking up the position early last month, Hamidi said a mechanism of monitoring, auditing and transparency will be strengthened at the attorney general's office.

He said an agreement has been signed with the Ministry of Interior and no one will be above the law from now on.

He also said criminals will be held accountable and punished in accordance with the law.

Hamidi stressed that his office is committed to fighting corruption but called on the people of Afghanistan to cooperate with them.

He urged them to report issues pertaining to the violation of the law.

Hamidi was given a vote of confidence by MPs early last month and immediately took over as attorney general. He had previously worked as a Human Rights Commissioner.

His press conference comes just a day after his office announced that Hamidi had reshuffled at least key 40 posts in Kabul and its provincial headquarters, appointing qualified attorneys and professional people in an effort to provide satisfactory services to the people.

Speaking to TOLOnews, Basir Azizi spokesman to the AGO, said on Saturday that the reshuffling is aimed at designating qualified people and the process will continue.

"The appointments are aimed to boost transparency and develop the legal expertise in the attorney general's office and to highlight our gains and demonstrate our commitment to the faithful people of Afghanistan," he said.

Saturday's development was an unprecedented move since the new attorney general assumed office and it represents the AGO's commitments and firmness for reforms and fighting corruption.

FARAKHABAR: US Passes New Law, Giving Troops More Power

TOLO News - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 04:56

The US Congress's committee on military affairs has passed a new law on the basis of which the US forces are granted special powers to target the Taliban, Daesh and Haqqani Network in Afghanistan.

Click here to watch the whole program:

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The new law has defined some additional authorities to US forces and says that the American troops must be provided with more resources and that 9,800 US forces will stay in Afghanistan until April 2017.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) has said that the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington provided new hope for the Afghan security forces and it confirmed United States' continued aid to Afghanistan in the military spheres.

In this episode of FARAKHABAR, host Fawad Aman discusses the topic with the following guests:

• Ahmad Saeedi, political analyst
• Bashir Ahmad Bezhan, political analyst

 

The Graves of the Marines I Lost

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 20:30
I can’t forget them or the mistakes I made. Nor should the leaders who sent us to war.

TOLOnews 6pm News 28 May 2016

TOLO News - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 16:31

Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani has criticized the leaders of the national unity government, President Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abhdullah, for not implementing the political agreement.

Rabbani who also serves as head of Jamiat-e-Islami party was speaking to his parity members in Kabul on Saturday where he said that the future political stability of Afghanistan is linked with the implementation of the political agreement, calling on the NUG leaders to ensure the implementation of electoral reforms in the election system, convene the constitutional amendment Loya Jirga and order the electronic national identity cards distribution.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

{youtube}2HtbXADAaZ8{/youtube}

 The US Congress's committee on military affairs has passed a new law on the basis of which the US forces are granted special powers to target the Taliban, Daesh and Haqqani network in Afghanistan.

Rabbani Criticizes NUG For Not Implementing Political Agreement

TOLO News - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 16:13

Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani has criticized the leaders of the national unity government, President Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abhdullah, for not implementing the political agreement.

Rabbani who also serves as head of Jamiat-e-Islami party was speaking to his parity members in Kabul on Saturday where he said that the future political stability of Afghanistan is linked with the implementation of the political agreement, calling on the NUG leaders to ensure the implementation of electoral reforms in the election system, convene the constitutional amendment Loya Jirga and order the electronic national identity cards distribution.

In the wake of Jamiat's meeting on Saturday party leaders expressed their views on a number of key issues in the political spheres and good governance in the country, but accused NUG leaders of failing to implement their commitments.

"Unfortunately, the government has not been successful in some of its duties which were defined in the political agreement," Rabbani said.

"In the meeting of Jamiate leadership council, the action of Junbesh-e-Milli and supporters of Jamiat-e-Islami in some provinces were declared in the interests of enemies of the country and against the peace and stability of the country," he said, referring to a recent confrontation between the two parties in northern regions.

Rabbani also criticized the recent confrontations between Jamiat loyalists and Hizb-e-Junbesh which is led by first vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum.

"We do not have any kind of opposition or problems with Jamiat-e-Islami, there are some elements outside Faryab who under the name of Jamiat want to exploit political and ethnic issues," spokesman for Junbesh-e-Milli, Bashir Ahmad Tayyanj said.

Meanwhile, Jamiat has said that it strongly supports any move that could bring peace and stability in the country.

Jamiat also welcomed the peace negotiation talks between the government and Hizb-e-Islami, however Jamiat leaders stressed that any party that enter peace process must lay down their arms.

Sayyaf Warns Govt Against Sidelining Mujahedeen

TOLO News - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 16:06

Former jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf strongly criticized the Afghan government for side lining the Mujahedeen.

He also said their silence was not to be seen as a weakness.

Sayyaf also talked on Pakistan's terrorism policy, announcing it as an axis of terrorism.

He warned that Pakistan will be on the top of the list of countries supporting terrorism in the near future.

He said that Pakistan uses the Taliban as a tool, calling on Taliban leaders to return to their country and join the peace and national reconciliation process.

"We have given a lot of suggestions to the system and advised it, we have completed our duty before Allah (God) and before the nation. They (government) should not say that we have isolated the Mujahedeen, this is a Mujahed nation, you (government) cannot sideline the Mujahedeen," he said.

Sayyaf called on the United Nations to put Pakistan on the blacklist if it continues to harbor terrorism.

"Pakistan must remember soon it will be put in the list of countries supporting terrorism. If Pakistan continued its current policies, there are a lot of terror individuals, but soon terrorist countries will also be included in it, and Pakistan will be on the top of the list," he further said.

Meanwhile members of The Council for The Protection and Stability in Afghanistan have said that the government must undertake necessary reforms so that public trust is revived in the system.

"We selected bad among the worst, now we must undertake reforms, serious reforms must be put in place to honor the aspirations of our martyrs," council member Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal said.

Sayyaf concluded by saying that Pakistan use the Taliban as tools and that the Taliban must reject it and come back to their country.

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