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Afghanistan Said to Overturn Death Sentences in Woman’s Lynching

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - 6 hours 38 min ago
The lawyer for the woman, who was falsely accused of burning the Quran, says an appeals court, meeting in secret, reduced the sentences to prison terms.

TOLOnews 6pm News 02 July 2015

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 16:25

Top news in this Bulletin:

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Thursday announced the establishment of a joint unit aimed at heightening coordination among security institutions to more effectively combat Daesh affiliates in Afghanistan.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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 The chairman of the U.S Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday said the new National Military Strategy takes into account increasing disorder in the world and that the United States is working at building a network to combat Daesh.

Special Unit Formed to Counter Daesh in Afghanistan

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 15:29

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Thursday announced the establishment of a joint unit aimed at heightening coordination among security institutions to more effectively combat Daesh affiliates in Afghanistan.

According to MoI officials, each of Afghanistan's security institutions maintains an equal share in the special unit formed to counter Daesh's rapid expansion in remote areas of the country.

"If there is fear of a major challenge emerging, then there is definitely a need to establish a special group to suppress it, and so the formation of the special unit is to counter Daesh," MoI spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) has emphasized that the special unit is not just an operational unit, but will also undertake intelligence gathering and analysis activities as well.

Independent military analyst Atiqullah Amarkhail believes the special unit would be better off operating under the auspices of the NDS. "If the special unit is consisting of police and army officers, then it will not be constructive, but if such issues are dealt with by the intelligence bodies, it would be more advantageous," he said Thursday.

Regardless of who is primarily behind the wheel of the unity, however, the announcement of its formation comes at a time when security analysts have warned of Daesh's intentions to intensify their presence in Afghanistan. Commentators have said the group, which is based in Iraq and Syria, has begun exploiting divisions within the Taliban's ranks in order to recruit and establish bases of support in Afghanistan.

"Daesh militants operate in Badakhshan, Kunduz, Farah, Faryab, Logar and also in the eastern regions," military analyst Jawed Kohistani told TOLOnews.

Lawmakers in Parliament have been some of the most vocal proponents of the government and the international community taking greater steps to curtail Daesh's growth in Afghanistan. The militant group has become infamous in small communities around the country - just as it has worldwide - for its brutal tactics in warfare and its macabre approach toward managing territories it captures.

"Daesh is a major threat to international peace and regional security, therefore, there is a need on an international level to fight them," MP Syed Ekram said.

According to sources at the NDS, a special intelligence unit has already been actively monitoring the activities of Daesh militants in Afghanistan. Reportedly the killing of Mullah Abdul Rauf, a top Daesh commander formerly of the Taliban in Helmand, was among the unit's first achievements.

Over the past three days, the special unit is said to have already arrested six members of Daesh in Achin district of Nangarhar province and eliminated another 14 foreign militants in Gomal district of Paktika province.

Farkhunda's Family Demands Justice After Court Reverses Convictions

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 15:23

Responding to reports that the Kabul Appeals Court has ruled to commute the death sentences handed down to four individuals convicted of brutally murdering Farkhunda earlier this year, members of Farkhunda's family have expressed their outrage, calling on leaders of the national unity government to step in and prevent any further injustice.

Sources close to case recently told TOLOnews on condition of anonymity that the Kabul Appeals Court has reversed the Primary Court's May death penalty sentence for four of the men observed in video footage as key perpetrators in the barbaric mob attack on Farkhunda. The four men have reportedly had their sentences reduced to 20 years imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the Appeals Court is said to have entirely acquitted Omran, the custodian of the Shrine where Farkhunda was killed, despite that he was originally sentenced to 16 years in prison. Omran was found guilty of instigating the mob attack on Farkhunda for make false accusations publicly that she had burned the Holy Quran.

In addition, eight another defendants, each sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for their role in the murder, were also acquitted by the Appeals Court.

"How could the court make such a decision?" Farkhund'as mother Hajira Malikzada asked on Thursday. "I am feeling pain in my heart, and I am poor," she added.

"We do not accept this verdict - this is not justice," Farkhunda's father Mohammad Nadir Malikzada said. "I demand justice from the president and the chief executive," he added.

President Ashraf Ghani was very public with his outrage over the mob killing when it occurred three months ago. The incident was treated as a national tragedy, with the backdrop of the Afghan government's struggles to recast the country after years of state-backed brutality against women under the Taliban regime.

Joining Farkhunda's parents, some civil society groups have also called on the national unity government to review the ruling of the Appeals Court. "The court ruling has raised questions on promises made by the leaders of national untiy government, nor the people neither Farkhunda's family accept the court ruling, the president and chief executive must appoint a speicla court to review the case," MP Neelofar Ibrahimi said.

"The ruling has changed all hope into disappointment," civil society activist Humaira Qaderi said on Thursday. "This means that Afghanistan's legal and judicial institutions support criminals rather than implementing justice."

Kabul Police Arrest 234 In Anti-Crime Blitz

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 15:08

Kabul police have arrested 234 people in the past two weeks in an anti-crime operation.

According to Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi, 234 people were arrested on suspicion of criminal activities. A number of cases have already been referred to the Attorney General's Office for prosecution, he said.

"Over the past two weeks, 234 individuals have been arrested allegedly involved in criminal events, cases of some of them have been sent to the attorney general and the remaining will be sent soon," Rahimi said.

According to the Kabul police department, a total of 121 have been charged for crimes committed.

Rahimi said that among those arrested were 37 suspicious beggars.

"We always monitor the beggars in Kabul city and recently we arrested 37 suspicious beggars and investigations are underway," Rahimi added.

However, he did not reveal give further details but said that crime has decreased in Kabul recently, compared to previous months.

Dempsey Discusses New Military Strategy To Combat Daesh

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 13:49

The chairman of the U.S Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday said the new National Military Strategy takes into account increasing disorder in the world and that the United States is working at building a network to combat Daesh.

The strategy, released on Wednesday, charts the way forward for the joint force, said chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday.

"Since the last ... National Military Strategy was published four years ago, global disorder has trended upward while some of our comparative advantages have begun to erode," Dempsey said.

Addressing recent claims by Daesh that it is responsible for attacks outside of Syria and Iraq, Dempsey said: "What we've said from the beginning is that ISIL [Daesh] is trans-regional," he said. "There are also groups in Afghanistan that have re-branded themselves under the ISIL [Daesh] ideology and that stretches over to Boko Haram in Nigeria, which has also expressed its affiliation with ISIL [Daesh]. So it is trans-regional."

The United States is trying to build a network to combat the group, Dempsey said. "We're trying to build a framework - a scaffolding - to address this problem trans-regionally in an enduring way so ... their defeat lasts, which means there are other lines of effort that have to move along with the military line," he said.

Anything the United States does against Daesh must be sustainable, the chairman said. "We've got challenges across not just from Afghanistan and Nigeria, but we've got a few others things we're working as well," he said. "So we're trying to balance all this out."

The United States poses a threat to the terror group, Dempsey said.

"Everything we believe in is completely opposite of what they believe in – every bit of freedom, every bit of diversity, every bit of civic freedoms and religious freedoms, is exactly opposite to what they espouse," he said.

"We will keep pressure on them, and they will eventually collapse under the weight of their own contradictions with a little help from coalition partners, partners and stakeholders in the region and military power," the chairman said.

The report, titled the National Military Strategy of the United States of America 2015, stated that in Afghanistan, the US and its NATO partners are teaming up with the National Unity Government to provide security by way of the Resolute Support mission. It stated that the US is working toward establishing a long-term counterterrorism partnership in Afghanistan.

Similarly, in Iraq a broad coalition of over 60 nations is providing security assistance, training, airlift, and strike support in its struggle against Daesh.

"Defeating VEOs [violent extremist organizations]also requires an appreciation of the nexus between such groups and transnational criminal organizations. A fuller understanding of that relationship will allow us to disrupt illicit funds, weapons, and fighters that are flowing into conflict-ridden regions. Such knowledge also will allow us to work with law enforcement officials to more effectively protect our homeland from terrorists."

The Department of Defense reported that the strategy recognizes that the application of military power versus traditional state threats is far different than military power against non-state actors. It also states that the most likely scenario is prolonged campaigns rather than short, intense battles.

The strategy also states that as a "hedge against unpredictability with reduced resources we may have to adjust our global posture."

According to the strategy document, the U.S. military also must be ready to counter "revisionist states" such as Russia that are challenging international norms as well as violent extremist organizations such as Daesh.

"We are working with allies to deter, deny and - when necessary - defeat potential state adversaries," the document says. But at the same time, the U.S. military is building and leading an extensive network to take on Daesh.

Taliban Seize Control of Six Check Points in Jalris District

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 12:59

Wardak's deputy governor on Thursday said that insurgents have seized control of six police checkpoints in Jalris district in Wardak province.

He said the armed confrontation between security forces and the insurgents started last night at around 11:00 pm and that by late Thursday afternoon fighting continued.

According to him, five Afghan Local Police (ALP) officers have been killed and a number of vehicles seized.

Meanwhile, a provincial official, speaking on condition of anonymity, criticized the delay by government to send in reinforcement troops to the area. He warned the district itself is on the verge of collapse.

USAID’s Location Data of Clinics Inaccurate: SIGAR

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 11:26

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko has accused USAID of providing inaccurate or incomplete data on the locations of 80 percent of the health clinics it is funding in Afghanistan.

In a letter to USAID, Sopko noted discrepancies in the geospatial coordinates provided by the development agency last year for 420 of 641 health care facilities in the country. An additional 90 of those clinics had no accompanying geographic coordinates.

The data, provided to Sopko's organization in May 2014, is based on geospatial coordinates compiled by the Afghan Ministry of Public Health. While the data set was limited to health clinics in Afghanistan, coordinates for six of the clinics were located in Pakistan, six were in Tajikistan and one was in the Mediterranean Sea.

The coordinates for 30 of the clinics pulled up locations in a different province in Afghanistan than the one USAID reported, and nearly 200 more coordinates yielded locations that were not in close proximity to a building.

"To provide meaningful oversight of these facilities, both USAID and [the Afghan Ministry of Public Health] need to know where they are," Sopko said in the letter.

He has given the development agency until the end of the month to send updated location information to confirm the existence of the 641 clinics, which have received more than $210 million in US government funding.

USAID acknowledged the faulty data from 2014, but downplayed the importance of geographic coordinates for conducting oversight of the effectiveness of the clinics in Afghanistan.

"GPS coordinates are not the first line in monitoring a health facility. Local staff, third-party monitors, Afghan government officials, and the benefiting community do not use GPS to navigate, let alone to find a health facility, because they are familiar with the area or from the community benefiting from the project," said Larry Sampler, assistant administrator for Afghanistan and Pakistan affairs at USAID.

"It has been a common practice for Afghan ministries to use the location of a village center as the coordinates for a facility, particularly when there was limited access to GPS technology."

The USAID program that funds the health clinics in Afghanistan was started in 2008 and spans 13 provinces throughout the country. According to Sampler, the program helps provide over one million Afghans with health care every month.

Osmani Saves $10m On Hajj Expenses

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 09:50

Faiz Mohammad Osmani, Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs, on Thursday told a press conference that his ministry had cut costs this year by $10 million USD.

Osmani, who had been reporting back following his Saudi Arabia trip said: "We have a $10 million USD decrease in this year's Hajj expenses."

The minister said that a delegation of 13 officials had spent a month in Saudi Arabia, on the eve of Hajj.

He said that the visit, to make arrangements for Afghan pilgrims, ended on a positive note as he had been able to cut costs and arrange accommodation and local food for pilgrims, among other things.

"We have saved $3 million USD in our Hajj expenses for pilgrims and for the first time Afghan food will be provided three times a day for locals, and we have prepared proper accommodation for 24,000 Afghan pilgrims," said Osmani.

About $133 USD will be spent per person on food for the duration of their stay, Osmani said.

The Hajj minister said that the holy Zam Zam water will also be distributed following an agreement reached with a Saudi company.

"The holy Zam Zam water will be sent to Afghanistan by reliable Saudi companies and then we will distribute them to the pilgrims," Osmani said.

In addition, he said that savings on air tickets for pilgrims had also been achieved after Ariana Afghan Airlines won the contract to transport pilgrims to Medina and to Jeddah.

"About a $250 USD decrease has been achieved per ticket and this year the Ariana tickets are cheaper," Osmani said.

Faiz Mohammad Osmani Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs said that last year the round trip cost was $2,700 USD per person but now this year the cost has been reduced to $2,450 USD," Osmani said.

In conclusion, Osmani called on pilgrims to exercise patience during Hajj and assured them that his ministry's staff would be available for them at any time.

TAWDE KHABARE: UN Warns Against Forgetting Afghanistan Amid Rising Insecurity

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 08:14

The same day a spate of blasts shook Kabul, the UN's special envoy to Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom warned that it would be disastrous for the country should the international community forget about it in light of more pressing global issues.

This warning comes at a time of heightened insecurity and the rising threat of Daesh.

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapor Bakhtiyar discusses the topic with the following guests,

Lal Gul Lal, head of Human Rights Organization
Siddiq Patman, political analyst
Obaidullah Barakzai, MP
Akbar Stanikzai, MP

To watch the program, click here:

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GOFTMAN: Unbundling UN Security Council Resolution 1325

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 07:46

In this episode of GOFTMAN host Haris Jamalzad discusses UN Security Council R‎esolution 1325 on women, peace and security, with the following guests:

Dr. Habiba Surabi, advisor of the CEO office for Women and Youth
Dr. Abdul Qayoum Sajadi, MP
Dr. Alima, civil society activist
Qadria Yazdan Parast, a commissioner in the AIHRC
Hamayoun Shah Asifi, political analyst

To watch the program, click here:

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FARAKHABAR: Afghan forces inadequately equipped to fight Taliban

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 07:29

Afghanistan's security forces have suffered a whopping 59 percent increase in battlefield casualties in the past six months compared with 2014 - mostly in the national police force.

The reason for this is due largely to them being under-equipped in fighting off the Taliban, says a new Pentagon report.

The downsized U.S.-led coalition has handed over virtually all the fighting to the Afghan Defense and Security Force. It numbers over 300,000, for which the national police make up about half.

Yet as important as the police (ANP) and adjunct local police militias (ALP) are in protecting the country, the force remains dogged by corruption as well as poor leadership and tactical skills, states the Pentagon's latest biannual report on the nearly 14-year war.

In this episode of Farakhabar, host Yama Siavash discusses the topic with the following guests,

Miagul Wasiq, political analyst

Zulfiqar Omid, head of labor and development party

To watch the program, click here:

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Suicide Rate Spikes in Daykundi Province

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 06:30

Regional Human Rights Commission statistics show that the suicide rate of has sharply increased in Daykundi province in recent weeks.

The report indicates that in less than a week four cases of suicide in the province have been recorded. The latest case was on Tuesday when a girl committed suicide in Shahristan district in Daykundi province.

The 18 year-old girl whose identity has not been disclosed died after eating poison. It is believed she took her own life due to domestic violence.

According to statistics, in the past year 47 women and girls have attempted suicide.

In addition to violence, Public Health officials cited forced marriage, often between pre-adolescent girls and adult men, as well as widespread illiteracy as the main challenges facing female Afghans that contribute to the startling rates of suicide.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed Pledges $32 bn Fortune To Charity

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 05:58

Saudi tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal on Wednesday promised his entire $32 billion (28.8 billion euro) fortune to charitable projects in coming years, in one of the biggest ever such pledges.

The pledge is "maybe... the first such big announcement" of its kind in the region, and is modelled on a charity established by Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the United States, the prince told reporters.

Alwaleed said his charity "will help build bridges to foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world."

The money "will be allocated according to a well-devised plan throughout the coming years", he said, but stressed there was no time limit for the donation to be spent.

Alwaleed said he would head a board of trustees tasked with spending the funds, which would still be used after his death "for humanitarian projects and initiatives".

The 60-year-old magnate belongs to the Saudi royal family and is a nephew of king Abdullah, who died on January 23.

In the conservative Muslim kingdom, Alwaleed, who holds no government rank, is unusual for his high profile and periodic comments about economic issues.

"We are clearly in very close coordination with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation", which is already working with Alwaleed on a polio eradication project, he said.

"This is very much separate from my ownership in Kingdom Holding," and there should be no impact on the publicly listed company's share price, Alwaleed told reporters on the 66th-floor headquarters of the firm which he chairs.

- 'Dramatic and drastic'-

But he said his charitable commitment would provide even more incentive for his business investments to be profitable.

As well as media stakes, Kingdom Holding has interests ranging from the Euro Disney theme park to Four Seasons hotels and Citigroup.

Alwaleed is constructing a tower in the Red Sea city of Jeddah that is to rise more than one kilometre (almost 3,300 feet) to be the world's tallest building.

Earlier this year, he opened a pan-Arab news channel in Bahrain but authorities there shut the station after less than 24 hours on air and a new home is being sought.

Alwaleed last week in Paris signed a letter of intent with France's CDC International Capital to create the first French-Saudi investment fund, worth up to $400 million.

A separate deal saw a French consortium and CDC IC invest about $150 million in Kingdom Holding.

Alwaleed told reporters he has already donated a total of $3.5 billion over more than 35 years through his Alwaleed Philanthropies.

The charity has distributed houses and provided electricity to isolated Saudi communities, while supporting other projects around the world.

He said he announced his pledge now, after years of preparation, to institutionalise the process "so they can continue after my lifetime".

Flanked by his son Prince Khaled and daughter Princess Reem, he said they will be president and vice-president of the charity after he dies.

"I believe that a person should take dramatic and drastic decisions at his peak," Alwaleed said, proclaiming himself to be in good shape.

"I'm very healthy, enough to bike every day three hours," he said. "I assure you my health is good."

Taliban's Supply Commander in North West Arrested

TOLO News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 04:42

The Taliban's supply commander for four north west provinces in Afghanistan has been detained by Faryab police, officials said Thursday.

Faryab police media officer Sayed Massoud Yaqoubi confirmed the arrest and said that Mullah Mohammad Nabi was detained by Faryab police on Wednesday afternoon in Gurziwan district in Faryab province.

"Mullah Mohammad Nabi son of Abdul Malik of Ghor province who had responsibility of Taliban's supply chain in Faryab, Badghis, Sar-e-Pul and Ghor provinces in Afghanistan has been arrested," Yaqoubi said.

According to Yaqoubi, Nabi also managed the Taliban's security in Chaharsada district in Ghor.

Nabi was responsible for the murder of Chaharsada police chief and dozens of police officers and soldiers in Ghor, said Yaqoubi.

Taliban yet to comment about the arrest.

TOLOnews 6pm News 01 July 2015

TOLO News - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 17:48

Top news in this Bulletin:

Second vice president Mohammad Sarwar Danish on Wednesday introduced four nominees for key government posts to parliament ahead of Saturday's vote of confidence.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

{youtube}ERqMlUAFEoQ{/youtube}

Bereaved families of those killed in Tuesday's deadly car bomb called on government Wednesday to step up efforts to stop such attacks.

Breshna Denies SIGAR's Report On 'Unused' Thermal Power Station

TOLO News - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 17:28

Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) on Wednesday denied claims in the ‎Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report that the Tara Khel thermal power station is not being used.

Tara Khel thermal power station was built in 2007 with a production capacity of 150 megawatts of power. The station cost $335 million USD in US aid money to build.

SIGAR reported that the station is unused but the Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) said that the station is used in times of emergency, when there are outages of imported power, when technical issues prevail and during winter.

But apparently after the establishment of connections for imported power to the Kabul power station, the thermal power station is hardly being used.

"This station is useful for Afghanistan and it is very good for Afghanistan and all its turbines are active. If the SIGAR wants to go with us we will show them that the station is active and is ready for production in any time when needed and we will turn it on ," said Chairman of Breshna Mirwais Alimi.

According to DABS, the usage of thermal power of Tara Khel is more costly and therefore the station is used in emergency situations.

"When the imported power was cut along Salang highway the thermal power station was working continuously and was producing six thousand megawatts of electricity which used up two million liter's of fuel," said Khowaj Muzafar Siddiqi director of Tara Khel thermal power station.

"Whenever we need thermal power production the station is ready to operate with skilled and technical staff working there," said Mohammad Daoud general director of Tara Khel thermal power station.

Washington Concerned about Daesh Presence in Afghanistan: Kirby

TOLO News - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 17:19

The United States for the first time officially expressed deep concerns about the presence of Daesh insurgents in Afghanistan – weeks after reports emerged about alleged fighting between Daesh and Taliban insurgents in eastern Nangarhar province.

Washington is seriously concerned about the expansion of Daesh in Afghanistan, the U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday.
The U.S. State Secretary John Kerry had discussed the matter with the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, he added.

"Nobody said Afghanistan was going to be violence free," Kirby told a press conference in Washington. "We know and we are watching and we are concerned about ISIL [Daesh] aspirations inside Afghanistan."

Meanwhile, a number of families in Dor Bala, Kot, Achin and Nazian districts in eastern Nangarhar claimed to have been displaced from their homes by Daesh insurgents.

Insurgents claiming to be Daesh fighters have reportedly warned the residents of these districts that they would not allow these families to return to their homes unless their sons stopped serving the government.

"Daesh forced us out of our homes," a man who said he is now homeless told TOLOnews. "Insurgents belonging to Daesh asked us to not return to the village unless our family members stop working with the government."

Another resident of Nangarhar said there was fighting between the Taliban and Daesh fighters. "Daesh fighters lowered Taliban's white flag and raised their black flag," he claimed.

The Nangarhar officials also admitted fighting between Taliban and Daesh insurgents but said the Taliban had retaken the areas which they lost to Daesh.

"The Taliban insurgents have been able to retake the villages that Daesh took from them," said Zabihullah Zemarai, a member of Nangarhar Provincial Council.

The governor of Nangarhar, Salim Khan Kunduzi, also confirmed that the Taliban had retaken the villages recently invaded by Daesh.

Kabul Court Quietly Reverses Death Penalty Decision in Farkhunda Case

TOLO News - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 15:11

The Kabul Appeals Court has allegedly reversed the Primary Court's sentence of the death penalty handed down in May to four accused in the Farkhunda murder case.

Those handed the death penalty in a ruling in May have now reportedly had their sentences reduced to 20 years in prison, a source told TOLOnews on condition of anonymity.

The decision came Wednesday after a "secret trial", the source added.

Furthermore, the court is said to have acquitted the custodian of the Shrine named Omran of the case – who was sentenced to 16 years in prison for playing a major role in accusing Farkhunda of burning the Holy Quran.

Farkhunda was brutally beaten to death, burnt and thrown into muddy Kabul River by a mob on 19 March in Kabul in the presence of a number of policemen after a Mullah accused her of burning the Quran. This led the people to attack her with stones and sticks.

About 50 suspects including policemen were arrested in connection with her murder – but four were handed the death sentence and eight got 16 years in prison.

Families of ‎Kabul Blast ‎ Victims Speak Out

TOLO News - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 14:46

Bereaved families of those killed in Tuesday's deadly car bomb called on government Wednesday to step up efforts to stop such attacks.

The blast occurred on Tuesday near the Qazi Plaza on the airport road when a suicide car bomber, targeting a NATO-convoy, detonated his explosives.

Afghan officials on Tuesday said one person had died in the deadly suicide car bombing near the Qazi Plaza on the airport road but people in the area say the death toll was much higher – some putting it as high as 10.

Head of Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital Noor Agha Akramzada told TOLOnews on Wednesday that the hospital admitted 23 patients who had been wounded in the attack – including two women and two children.

Locals say numerous people died, including a student who died of heart failure when the explosion occurred.

Two separate families who lost relatives in the attack spoke out on Wednesday and said they are tired of such incidents. They called on government to step up efforts to fight insurgents.

The Sher family – who lost the head of their family – were among those who spoke out about the security.

Sher, the family's breadwinner, was one of the victims of the blast. His distraught wife told TOLOnews that the family's livelihood had depended entirely on her husband, who had supported her and their eight children.

"What will I do with my daughters and sons? They are small and cannot work. We have nothing," she said with tears streaming down her face.

Sher's daughters were as distraught and said the family had been left destitute. "My brothers are so young to work. Our father was everything to us," one of the daughter's said.

"We want the president to prevent such attacks by insurgents, or else he should resign," they said.

Khaki Shah lost his 13-year-old son, Faisal, in Tuesday's attack. Shah, who lives near Sher's house, said Faisal was a Sixth Grade student and that he lost his mother this time last year.

"I raised my son in a very miserable situation. It was a struggle. But the sound of the explosion stopped his heart from beating. My salary is only Afs5,000 a month and the mother of my children died last Ramazan," said Shah.

The increase in civilian deaths this fighting season has become a major cause for concern. Last month the United Nations reported that almost 1,000 civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict in the first four months of the year, while 1,989 were injured.

Mark Bowden, the UN Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, said at the time that "as of 30 April, 1,989 Afghans were injured as a result of the conflict and 978 Afghan civilians killed, throughout the country".

He said the number of wounded at the Emergency Hospital in Kabul illustrates the devastating impact of the conflict. "The doctors there told me that they are seeing a 50 per cent increase in the number of civilians injured this year compared to the same period last year."

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