Aggregated News about Afghanistan

Soldiers Receive No Salary in 6 Months

TOLO News - 2 hours 4 min ago

Tens of Public Protection Forces (PPF) soldiers gathered in front of the national assembly on Saturday to raise concerns over not receiving their salaries in the past six months.

The soldiers say that they have filed several complaints with the Ministry of Interior (MoI) over the past two months, but received no responses.

"We do our duty with honesty; we lose our soldiers every day," one of the soldiers said. "But no one addresses our complaints. Our children are hungry."

In response to the statements, MoI stated that the salaries will be paid soon.
"We have good improvements regarding the issue," MoI spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. "We will pay the salaries and solve the issue shortly."

Many other government employees also fear salary shortages, as the government faces major economic problems as a result of the prolonged presidential election process and electoral tensions.

Two Police Injured in Taliban Attack in Nangarhar

TOLO News - 8 hours 27 min ago

Four Taliban insurgents were killed and two Afghan policemen were injured in an attack on Afghan police outposts in eastern Nangarhar province on Friday night, local officials said on Saturday.

According to Hazrat Hussian Mashriqiwal, the spokesman to the Nangarhar police chief, the clashe took place in Lal Pur district of the province around midnight after the insurgents attacked the police outposts.

"The attack resulted in an hour clash with the police. There are no civilian casualties," he said, adding that the police forces were able to seize some enemy weapons during the clash.

Lal Pur is one of the most insecure districts of Nangarhar, with constant insurgent attacks targeting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) outposts.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the attack.

Ghani Leaves Kabul for Saudi Arabia to Perform Umrah

TOLO News - 10 hours 51 min ago

President Asharf Ghani has left Kabul for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah and to meet with Saudi officials, the president's office said in a statement on Saturday.

President Ghani will meet the Saudi King and other officials to discuss the two countries' relations and the role of Saudi Arabia in the peace process, according to the statement.

First VP Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, First Deputy of Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Mohammad Khan, Ghani's Special Envoy for Reform and Better Governance Ahmad Zia Massoud, National Security Council Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Acting Minister or Interior Mohammad Umer Daudzai and few other Afghan officials will follow the president in his first trip abroad.

During the election campaigns, Ghani had promised to make his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra Hajj.

In French Port City, ‘a Real Psychosis’

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - 12 hours 46 min ago
Resentment and fear have swept Calais, France, in the last year amid a new wave of migrants hoping to cross illegally to Britain, which they see as a better place than France to start a new life.

State of Emergency in Sinai After Bomb Kills 30 Egypt Soldiers

TOLO News - 13 hours 17 min ago

Egypt declared a three-month state of emergency would begin Saturday in the north and centre of the Sinai Peninsula after a suicide car bombing killed 30 soldiers.

The bombing on Friday was carried out by a suspected jihadist who rammed a checkpoint with his explosives-packed vehicle, security officials said.

The emergency measures will begin Saturday at 0300 GMT "for a duration of three months", the presidency said in a statement in the wake of the deadliest attack on the security forces since the army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year.

The decision was also taken to close the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip, the only route into the Palestinian territory not controlled by Israel.

"The army and the police will take all necessary measures to tackle the dangers of terrorism and its financing, to preserve the security of the region... and protect the lives of citizens," the presidential decree said.

The attack, in an agricultural area northwest of El-Arish, the main town in north Sinai, killed at least 30 soldiers and left 29 others injured, medics said.

A senior army official and five officers were said to be among those wounded.

Gunmen also shot dead an officer and wounded two soldiers on Friday at another checkpoint south of El-Arish, security officials said.

Jihadists in the peninsula have killed scores of policemen and soldiers since Morsi's overthrow to avenge a bloody police crackdown on his supporters.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief who toppled Morsi and later won elections, has pledged to eradicate the militants.

- Three days of national mourning -

After Friday's attack, Sisi announced three days of national mourning and summoned a meeting of the national defence council -- the country's highest security body -- to discuss the killings, his office said.

The European Union and United States both condemned the attack.

"The United States continues to support the Egyptian government's efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in Egypt as part of our commitments to the strategic partnership between our two countries," the State Department said.

"We regret the loss of life and express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims," an EU spokesman said.

It was the latest in a string of bloody attacks against security forces in Egypt.

In August 2013, just weeks after the army ousted Morsi, 25 soldiers were killed in the Sinai when gunmen opened fire at two buses transporting troops with automatic rifles and rocket launchers.

In July this year, 22 border guards were killed in the western desert near the border with Libya.

Militants killed 17 policemen in two bombings in the Sinai later the same month and released footage of the attacks.

Those bombings were claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the most active militant group in Egypt.

From the desert and mountainous Sinai, which borders the Gaza Strip and Israel, the attacks have also extended to the capital and the Nile Delta to the north.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis tried to assassinate the interior minister in Cairo last year with a car bomb.

The group has expressed support for Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in Iraq and Syria, although it has not formally pledged its allegiance.

The military has said it killed at least 22 militants in October, including an Ansar Beit al-Maqdis commander.

The group itself has acknowledged the arrest or deaths of militants, but the army has been unable so far to crush them despite a massive operation in which it has deployed attack helicopters and tanks.

- Deadly crackdown -

The latest bombing came after an Egyptian military court sentenced to death seven members of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis on Tuesday for carrying out deadly attacks on the army.

Since Morsi's ouster, more than 1,400 of his supporters have been killed in a crackdown by the authorities.

Over 15,000 others have been jailed, including Morsi and the top leadership of his Muslim Brotherhood, and more than 200 sentenced to death in speedy trials.

The authorities have also dissolved the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, since Sisi became Egypt's second democratically elected president following a landslide victory in a May vote.

The secular April 6 movement, which led the 2011 revolution that ousted president Hosni Mubarak, has also been banned, prompting activists to charge that Egypt was heading to a worse autocracy than under the longtime ruler.

First 100 Days: President Ghani's Meeting With Residents of Helmand

TOLO News - 13 hours 42 min ago

In this episode of the program, host Fawad Aman discusses President Ashraf Ghani's meeting at the Presidential Palace with a number of residents of the southern Helmand province over security issues in the province, with the following guests:

• Aazem Arash, TOLOnews reporter
• Mohammad Sediq Patman, political analyst
• Fardin Hashimi, University professor
• Nabi Musadiq, Political analyst
• Nazir Paryani, Journalist

To watch the program, click here:

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TAWDE KHABARE: Public Trust in Afghanistan's Legal and Judicial Institutions

TOLO News - 14 hours 5 min ago

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Zabi Sadaat discusses the level of public trust in Afghanistan's legal and judicial institutions, with the following guests:

• Belqis Roshan, Senator
• Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, Political Analyst
• Mohammad Hashim, Member of the Lawyers Union of Afghanistan

To watch the program, click here:

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TOLOnews 6pm News 24 October 2014

TOLO News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 16:06

Top news in this Bulletin:

A number of residents and local officials of Nawzad district of southern Helmand province on Friday raised apprehensions on the possibility of the district's collapse and takeover by the Taliban.
"It's no secret that the security situation is really bad," District Governor Sayed Murad Sadaat said. "We only have control over the official district building and some small areas."

To watch the whole news bulletin, Click Here:

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President Ashraf Ghani took the first anti-corruption initiative by ordering the reopening of the infamous Kabul Bank corruption case, asking the attorney general's office to retransfer all of the embezzled money within 45 days of the presidential order. With only two weeks left until the deadline, the case remains inconclusive as some of the main people involved continue to be on the run.

IEC to Announce Provincial Council Results Saturday

TOLO News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 15:57

After more than six months, the Provincial Council election process is expected to come to an end on Saturday when officials from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) announce the results.

"Today we are reviewing the work that was done and tomorrow we will announce the result without any delay," IEC Commissioner Sarir Ahmad Barmak said on Friday.

While there was less public pressure on the election commissions to bring the provincial council elections to a close promptly than there was in the case of the presidential race, many question remain surrounding the numerous delays the provincial contest faced.

"There were technical issues and the Electoral Complaints Commission submitted final decisions that did not match our system, so later a joint commission of both the IEC and ECC solved the issues," Barmak said.

But it is doubtful the IEC and the ECC will be able to win back the public trust they lost during this year's process without first going through an overhaul of reform.

"As the electoral bodies continue to exaggerate, I have lost trust in them and am doubtful about the announcement of the final results of provincial council elections," Provincial Council candidate Nida Kaihan told TOLOnews.

Questions initially arose about the integrity of the election commissions and their potential involvement in fraud during the first round of voting this year. Those questions intensified, and turned more toward accusations, as the election process continued, and allegations of fraud derailed and prolonged the presidential contest between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah.

"I don't trust the statements of the electoral bodies anymore, because we waited for so long," said Rahimullah Mujahid, another Provincial Council candidate.

The national unity government that emerged out of the presidential race made commitments to electoral reform, particularly within the commission, but as of yet, no significant steps have been taken.

NUG Under Pressure to Fulfill Electoral Reform Commitments

TOLO News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 14:53

A number of election monitoring groups have criticized the national unity government (NUG), saying that the power-sharing agreement made between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah included promises for major reforms in the electoral system that have not been honored.

When the national unity government was formed, bringing the election standoff to an end, Chief Executive Abdullah pledged that fundamental changes would be made to the election commissions and the electoral system more broadly to ensure smoother and more trustworthy elections in the future. This commitment was included in the written agreement the candidates signed.

"In order to ensure that future elections of Afghanistan are conducted properly, the Afghan electoral institutions need fundamental changes," the national unity government agreement reads. "The President, with consideration of Article 7 of the political framework and the establishment of the national unity government, will issue an order creating a special commission for reforming the elections institutions."

But after 26 days, the new coalition government has failed to take any steps to reform the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC).

"Despite that the people and security forces made history, people's trust was damaged in the process; the recent survey conducted by ACSOR reveals that 65 percent of people will not participate in elections and that is a serious problem," said Zekirya Barakzai, the head of Afghanistan Democracy Watch. "I think the government must seriously work at brining necessary reforms to the electoral bodies as it has prioritized formation of the new cabinet."

Since assuming office, the national unity government has already taken major steps in a number of critical areas, including an attempt to put to rest the longstanding Kabul Bank corruption case and bring reform to Afghanistan's troubled judiciary. Negotiating the appointments for the new cabinet has, of course, received considerable attention as well.

Yet, like the Afghan judiciary, many say the electoral bodies have lost the public's trust. This year's process saw widespread fraud and constant delays on the part of the election commissions. The second top election official, Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail, even resigned his post in the middle of the election crisis amid allegations of fraud. All together, the drama around the election was said to have contributed to worsening economic and security conditions across the country.

Chief Executive Abdullah assured a group of tribal elders in Kabul over ten days ago that the necessary reforms would be brought to the election commissions. But whether those changes will come soon enough, at least before the next parliamentary elections, remains to be seen.

New Govt. Should Take Fight Against Corruption Serious: Marlaud

TOLO News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:32

In an exclusive interview with TOLOnews, French Ambassador to Kabul Mr. Jean-Michel Marlaud warned that if the new Afghan government does not take the fight against corruption seriously, foreign aid might be cut off. He emphasized on the French government's commitment to help Afghanistan in the fight.

"The fight against corruption, I think, is a necessity for donors, but more than anything for the Afghans themselves," Marlaud said. "First, because one of the danger with corruption is that one day the donors might say, well, we also have our own economic problems we also have poor people in our countries why we should continue to pay for Afghanistan if the money is used by corrupt people."

The French ambassador stressed that anti-corruption initiatives should be on the government's priority list, adding that the London Summit will be an opportunity for the new government to share its priorities with the international community.

"It is money which is supposed to be used for social projects, hospitals, schools, for economic development. So the victims are not so much the foreign donors, the victims are the Afghan themselves."

Additionally, Marlaud stressed on the importance of the fight against drugs, hinting at the high numbers of drug addicts in Afghanistan.

"Opium is also an important subject," he said. "The victims of opium and the victims of heroin are not so much the French people or the foreigners, they are basically the Afghans themselves."

The National Unity Government is expected to announce the list of its priorities and programs at the London Summit next month. Analysts believe that the country's appearance at the summit will be significant for its relationship with the international community.

Kabul Bank Case Remains Inconclusive

TOLO News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:11

President Ashraf Ghani took the first anti-corruption initiative by ordering the reopening of the infamous Kabul Bank corruption case, asking the attorney general's office to retransfer all of the embezzled money within 45 days of the presidential order. With only two weeks left until the deadline, the case remains inconclusive as some of the main people involved continue to be on the run.

Nearly $913 million was embezzled from the bank, of which only $226 million has been reclaimed.

"Regaining $226 million of the total embezzled money is a major achievement," spokesman to the attorney general Basir Azizi said. "The Kabul bank case has been completed and the attorney general awaits the decision of the appellate court," he added, stressing however, that the main people involved in the case have taken refuge abroad.

Meanwhile, a number of MPs have warned that if the total amount of the embezzled money is not reclaimed, the new government's credibility will be harmed.

"The president shouldn't have put the reassessment of the case among his top priorities. The case needs more time," MP Fatima Aziz said. "Now if the government fails to follow through with the promises regarding the case, it will lose its credibility before people and the international community."

MP Ramazan Juma Zada added that the full retransfer of the embezzled money is a major challenge and if the government wasn't successful "its credibility will be tarnished."

The attorney general's office has stated that those involved in the case could possibility return to the country in a week with the help of the Interpol.

As efforts to return the fugitives to the country continue, the international community and the people of Afghanistan impatiently await how the new government's first anti-corruption initiative would conclude.

Five Civilians Killed in Taliban Attack in Nangarhar

TOLO News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 12:29

At least five civilians were killed and two others--children-- were wounded in a Taliban attack on a civilian vehicle early Friday in eastern Nangarhar province, officials reported.

Confirming the incident, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai spokesman to the governor stated that the attack occurred early morning in Khogyani district.

The incident stirred the anger of local residents as well as provincials council members.

"Innocent people are being brutally killed in Khoghyani," Nangarhar provincial council member Zabiullah Zamarai said. "We ask president to stop these killings."

Local resident Mohammad Asif asked the government to "prioritize the security of citizens."

The news comes while clashes between the Taliban and local Afghan forces continue in Sangin and Nawzad districts of southern Helmand province.

Nawzad District on the Verge of Collapse

TOLO News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 10:18

A number of residents and local officials of Nawzad district of southern Helmand province on Friday raised apprehensions on the possibility of the district's collapse and takeover by the Taliban.

"It's no secret that the security situation is really bad," District Governor Sayed Murad Sadaat said. "We only have control over the official district building and some small areas."

They stress that if the government does not deploy additional troops to the district, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will lose the control. News of the deteriorating security in Nawzad comes as clashes between insurgents and the ANSF continue in Sangin district of Helmand as well.

Reports indicate that the infrastructure in the district has not developed much in the past 13 years; many residents are unemployed and live in poverty.

"We don't have security. We face danger every day when we leave our houses," Lal Gul one of the district residents said.

Another resident Mohammad raised concerns over unemployment, adding that "all schools are closed to children because the Taliban have captured all areas."

Residents have stated that if the government does not resolve the security issues shortly, they will have to flee their homes and take refuge in other provinces.

China Launches First Mission to Moon and Back

TOLO News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 08:44

China launched its first space mission to the moon and back early Friday, authorities said, the latest step forward for Beijing's ambitious programme to one day land a Chinese citizen on the Earth's only natural satellite.

The unnamed, unmanned probe will travel to the moon, fly around it and head back to Earth, re-entering the atmosphere and landing, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said in a statement.

"The first stage of the first return journey test in China's moon probe programme has been successful," it said after the launch, from the Xichang space base in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

The module will be 413,000 kilometres from Earth at its furthest point on the eight-day mission, it added.

The official Xinhua news agency said it would re-enter the atmosphere at 11.2 kilometres per second (25,000 mph) before slowing down -- a process that generates extremely high temperatures -- and landing in northern China's Inner Mongolia region.

The mission is intended to test technology to be used in the Chang'e-5, China's fourth lunar probe, which aims to gather samples from the moon's surface and will be launched around 2017, SASTIND said previously.

Beijing sees its multi-billion-dollar space programme as a marker of its rising global stature and mounting technical expertise, as well as evidence of the ruling Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.

The military-run project has plans for a permanent orbiting station by 2020 and eventually to send a human to the moon.

China currently has a rover, the Jade Rabbit, on the surface of the moon.

The craft, launched as part of the Chang'e-3 lunar mission late last year, has been declared a success by Chinese authorities, although it has been beset by mechanical troubles.

First 100 Days: Indian National Security Advisor Visit to Kabul and Meeting with President Ghani

TOLO News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:10



Indian National Security Advisor visited Kabul and met with President Ghani, Chief Executive Officer and Afghan National Security Advisor and discussed creation of joint working groups for implementation of 2011 strategic agreement between India and Afghanistan.

Host Omid Farooq discusses the issue with the following guests:

Jafar Mahdawi, University Professor

Ikram Andeshmand Political Analyst

Sayed Ikram Afzali Director of Afghanistan Integrity Watch

Qasem Rahmani Legal Advisor to Nai

To watch the program, click here:

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TAWDE KHABARE: Absence of Accurate Trade Figures Between Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries

TOLO News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 05:09

Figures provided by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries for trade between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, has a difference of $1 billion and $730 million dollars figure provided by the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Balkh province.

On the other hand, figures provided by the Central Statistics Office are different from what is provided by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries and Balkh Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakthyar discusses the topic with the following guests:

Muzamel Shinwari Commercial Deputy at the Ministery of Trade

Mir Zaman Popal Director Industrial Development, Chamber of Commerce

Haseebullah Mohed Deputy Director of Central Statistics Office

Abdul Satar Sarhal Director of Balkh Customs

To watch the program, click here:

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Jihadist Captive Faces Terror Charges in U.S.

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 05:00
The former Russian soldier who joined mujahedeen fighters during Russia’s war in Afghanistan in 1980s also later fought against American troops until his capture in 2009.

Afghanistan Prepares for Heart of Asia Summit Next Week

TOLO News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 16:53

Ambassadors from various regional countries gathered in Kabul on Thursday to review Afghanistan's draft declaration for the 14th "Heart of Asia" summit expected to be held in Beijing over the course of two days next week.

The declaration, and the summit more broadly, will seek to bring regional countries together for better economic and trade relations and greater cooperation on security issues. President Ashraf Ghani plans to attend the summit, which will make it his first trip abroad since taking office.

The meeting in Kabul on Thursday was chaired by Hekmat Khali Karzai, a special representative of President Ghani."Today's meeting, after the ambassadorial meeting on the 14th of October, is a working session to discuss the content of the revised draft for the 14th ministerial conference," Hekmat Karzai said. "Today's meeting is an important step in completing the task related to the Beijing declaration."

Chinese and Afghan relations have remained relatively subdued over the past decade, with Beijing largely steering clear of Afghanistan and its security problems. However, Chinese companies have expressed considerable interest in Afghanistan's mining sector. Experts hope that the summit next week will provide the opportunity for Ghani to work on strengthening ties between the two countries.

"We are ready to have your valuable input and feedback about the latest version of the declaration drafted by Afghanistan, which was circulated by the Regional Cooperation Department of the Afghanistan Foreign Ministry," Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Deng Xijun said.

The "Heart of Asia" includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.

TOLOnews 6pm News 23 October 2014

TOLO News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 16:13

Top news in this bulletin

The Afghan judicial system was thrown under the spotlight this week. Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi had his resignation accepted by President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday and a new survey by Gallup indicates only 25 percent of Afghans trust the country's judiciary.

To watch the whole news bulletin, Click Here:

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Vice President Sarwar Danish spoke at a meeting on Thursday in Kabul, praising the performance of former Vice President Karim Khalili.

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