Aggregated News about Afghanistan

U.S. Mentors Prepare to Let Afghan Forces Go It Alone

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - 5 hours 14 min ago
American Special Forces teams have been a central part of Afghanistan’s security landscape, and how Afghan forces will fare after their departure will help define America’s legacy in the country.

Dobbins Meets Karzai in Kabul

TOLO News - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 09:37

The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James F. Dobbins has arrived in Kabul on Sunday and met President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace, according to a statement released by the Presidential Palace.

The statement read that Mr. Dobbins has talked in regards to the audit process with both presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai.

However, the statement did not provide more details about Karzai and Dobbins meeting.

This comes as, on Sunday the vote auditing process for the June 14 presidential runoff election halted due to disputes between Abdullah and Ghani-Ahmadzai teams, but resumed after 23 hours.

Officials of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the audit was expected to continue until 6 p.m., but was halted at 3 p.m. on Saturday when the two candidates' representatives disagreed about the status of non-standard signs like signatures on ballot papers.

Observers have weighed into the dispute between the candidates, arguing the signatures are insufficient in judging the validity of a vote.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has taken the responsibility of transporting ballot boxes from all the provinces to Kabul.

ISAF has transferred 1,515 boxes from Heart to Kabul on Saturday. The movement of ballot boxes from the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand are underway.

Millions of Afghans risked their lives and voted in the presidential runoff elections determined to decide the future of their country democratically. For the next five years the future of Afghanistan is weighed on the outcome of the ballots.

Suicide Car Bomber Targets Afghan Police in Helmand

TOLO News - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 09:13

A suicide car bomber targeted Afghan police vehicles in southern Helmand province on Monday afternoon killing two including a policeman, local officials said.

Fifteen other including eight policemen were injured in the attack.

The attack took place about 12 p.m. local time after a suicide bomber detonated his explosive near a police vehicle, said Omar Zwak, a spokesman for provincial governor.

The victims have been taken to a nearby hospital, he said.

The officials of the hospital have confirmed and said 21 victims have been taken to the hospital.

Investigation is underway.

No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

ELECTION 2014: Audit Resumes After 23-Hour Halt

TOLO News - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 08:48

The vote auditing process for this year's runoff election came to a grinding halt due to disputes between the two candidate teams, but resumed after 23 hours on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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In this episode of Entekhabat 93, host Muslim Shirzad discusses the topic with the following the guests:

• Amin Habibi, International Relations Analyst
• Sardar Mohammad Rahimi, lecturer at the Kabul University
• Ghafoor Lewal, Director of Afghanistan's Regional Studies Centre
• Faizullah Zaki, member of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's team

FARAKHABAR: 20 July 2014

TOLO News - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 06:50

The vote auditing process for this year's runoff election came to a grinding halt due to disputes between the two candidate teams, but resumed after 23 hours on Sunday at 3 p.m.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the audit was expected to continue until 6 p.m., but that it was halted at 3 p.m on Saturday when the two candidates' representatives disagreed about the status of non-standard signs like signatures on ballot papers.

"Based on the decisions of the commission, the audit was expected to continue until 6 p.m. yesterday, but the process halted because of some disputes between the candidates' teams," IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said on Sunday.

Observers have weighed into the dispute between the candidates, arguing the signatures are insufficient in judging the validity of a vote.

But why was the auditing process halted for more than 23 hours?

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

• Waqif Hakimi, member of Abdullah Abdullah's team
• Asadullah Sadati, member of Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team

20 Insurgents Killed in ANSF Operations

TOLO News - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 06:23

At least 20 Taliban militants were killed in the past 24 hours during a nationwide operation led by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in a statement on Monday.

One insurgent injured and six other were arrested.

"Within the past 24 hours, the Afghan army, police and intelligence agency carried out several operations in Uruzgan, Herat, Helmand, Faryab, Baghlan, Ghazni, Kandahar and Wardak provinces to rid them of insurgents," the statement read.

According to the statement, ANSF did not only seize enemy weapons, but also defused five mines in southern Kandahar and Paktia provinces.

"The mines were recently placed by the insurgents in the areas for terrorism act," the statement said.

The statement did not provide details about the number of ANSF casualties.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the operations.

Bloody Sunday as 100 Gazans, 13 Israeli Soldiers Killed

TOLO News - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 06:10

At least 100 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed on Sunday with Hamas claiming it had captured another, as Israel ramped up a major military offensive in Gaza.

The United Nations Security Council was set to hold an emergency meeting on the Gaza situation at 0130 GMT Monday, following a call by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, as regional leaders met in Doha for urgent ceasefire talks.

The Palestinian death toll soared to 438 in the bloodiest single day in Gaza in five years, with a spokesman for the enclave's emergency services saying more than a third of the victims were women and children.

The Israeli army said 13 soldiers had been killed inside Gaza on the third day of a major ground operation, raising to 18 the number of soldiers killed since the ground operation began late on Thursday.

It was the largest number of Israeli soldiers killed in combat since the 2006 Lebanon war.

Late Sunday, the armed wing of Hamas claimed it had kidnapped an Israeli soldier, prompting celebrations in the streets of Gaza City and West Bank cities.

"The Israeli soldier Shaul Aaron is in the hands of the Qassam Brigades," a spokesman using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida said in a televised address.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said they were investigating the claim.

More than half of Sunday's Palestinian victims were killed in a blistering hours-long Israeli assault on Shejaiya, near Gaza City, which began before dawn and claimed 62 Palestinian lives, with another 250 wounded.

With ambulances unable to reach the area, the International Committee of the Red Cross arranged a brief ceasefire that allowed paramedics to evacuate some of the dead and wounded before hostilities resumed.

- Ban in peace push –

As the violence raged, Abbas arrived in Qatar to discuss a ceasefire with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, and UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrived later to push truce efforts.

"I am calling for an urgent session tonight of the UN Security Council," Abbas said in a speech broadcast on Palestinian TV.

"What the occupation forces did today in Shejaiya is a crime against humanity," he said. "Those who committed it will not go unpunished."

Ban also condemned the "atrocious action" in Shejaiya and urged Israel to "exercise maximum restraint".

"Too many innocent people are dying...(and) living in constant fear," he told a news conference in Doha.

So far, truce efforts have been rejected by Hamas which has pressed on with its own attacks, undaunted by the Israeli bombardment by land, sea and air.

Following a night of terror in Shejaiya, thousands fled for their lives at first light after heavy shelling, an AFP correspondent reported.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA has opened 61 of its schools to shelter more than 81,000 people who have fled their homes.

- Netanyahu blames Hamas –

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed the civilian casualties on Hamas using innocents "as human shields."

He insisted on Sunday that the military campaign had strong international backing.

"We are carrying out a complex, deep, intensive activity inside the Gaza Strip and there is world support for this... very strong support," he said before a security cabinet meeting.

Although Israel said earlier Sunday it was expanding its ground operation to destroy the network of tunnels used by militants to stage cross-border attacks and fire rockets, Netanyahu said troops could end their mission "fairly quickly".

His Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon also suggested it could end within days.

"My assessment is that in another two or three days, the lion's share of the tunnels, from our perspective, will be destroyed," Yaalon said.

But he demanded international action to "demilitarise Gaza", the tiny coastal enclave which is home to 1.7 million Palestinians and is one of the most densely-populated areas on the planet.

Palestinian militants have over the past 12 days fired 1,414 mortars and rockets that hit Israel, with the Iron Dome air defence system intercepting another 377, the army said.

Israel's right to self-defence in the face of rocket fire from Gaza has won repeated US support, but President Barack Obama has expressed concern over the loss of life in a call to Netanyahu.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who is to travel to Cairo to seek an end to the fighting, meanwhile, blamed Hamas for perpetuating the conflict by "stubbornly" refusing all ceasefire efforts.

By its behaviour, Hamas had "invited further actions" by Israel, he said, in remarks which drew an angry response from Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who accused Israel of killing Palestinians "mercilessly".

Thousands participated in rallies in France, Vienna, Stockholm and Amsterdam to oppose Israel's offensive, with a demonstration in the northern Paris suburb of Sarcelles descending into chaos as protesters set fire to bins and looted shops.

TOLOnews 6 pm News 20 July 2014

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 16:16

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has taken the responsibility of transporting ballot boxes from all the provinces of Afghanistan to Kabul.

Thus far, ISAF has transferred 1,515 boxes from Heart to Kabul on Saturday. The movement of ballot boxes from the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand are underway.

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Audit Resumes After 23-Hour Halt

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 15:18

The vote auditing process for this year's runoff election came to a grinding halt due to disputes between the two candidate teams, but resumed after 23 hours on Sunday at 3:00pm.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the audit was expected to continue until 6:00pm, but that it was halted at 3:00pm on Saturday when the two candidates' representatives disagreed about the status of non-standard signs like signatures on ballot papers.

"Based on the decisions of the commission, the audit was expected to continue until 6:00 pm yesterday, but the process halted because of some disputes between the candidates' teams," IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said on Sunday.

Observers have weighed into the dispute between the candidates, arguing the signatures are insufficient in judging the validity of a vote.

"There was a dispute as to wether the signature violated the secrecy of the ballot and it was agreed by both of the candidates organizations that the IEC's original judgment was the correct one, if there is a signature on the ballots, the ballots will not be counted as part of this process and I think it was the correct conclusion to be reached," Democracy International chief Glenn Cowan told TOLOnews.

It is said that the process resumed after around six hours of negotiations between the candidates and the United Nations (UN).

"We had a meeting with Dr. Abdullah's team and the problem is now solved," said Daoud Sultanzoy, a member of Ghani's team.

"The disagreement was about signatures on the ballots, but it was decided that ballot papers with signatures are invalid," Abdullah's team member Amrullah Aman said.

Presidential Campaigns Criticize Slow Audit Process

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 15:12

Slow work by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in its vote auditing process has raised concerns of both campaign teams. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah have criticized commission and said they hope the process speeds up in the coming days.

"We hope that in the upcoming days, the IEC will be able to audit 1,000 boxes as they had said," Abdullah's technical team leader Fazel Ahmad Manawi said.

"During the past two to three days, the process was slower, which is not too concerning, but it would be good if the process is expedited," said Daud Sultanzoy, Ghani's technical team head.

In addition its own delays, however, the IEC has still not received an audit methodology approved by both of the candidates. Mr. Manawi has said that if the methodology is not approved, the entire audit will be meaningless.

"The agreement on cancellation of votes should have been finalized once and then the audit should have started, but based on pressure from the UN, the audit started, promising the bill would be confirmed. If this document is not finalized, what is done so far will be useless," warned Manawi.

Meanwhile, Sultanzoy tried to explain why the methodology bill is taking so long to pass, indicating there remain some issues with it from the perspective of the Ghani camp.

"The approval of the bill took longer because the UN added a few articles to ensure transparency and a few demands of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, which would result in the invalidation of people's votes, which we should not do," Sultanzoy said. "I would say that there are still two more issues that needs to be agreed on, which will be resolved soon."

The IEC has remained steadfast in maintaining that the auditing methodology will only be approved once both candidates have agreed on it. The commission has acknowledged that the auditing process continues to proceed without the approved methodology, and has faced delays on account of observers.

"The process has moved slowly, and any process that starts in the IEC, starts slow, so that all the observers are able to follow," IEC spokesman Noor Muhammad Noor said.

The audit results will feed directly into the final result that the IEC will announce, which will lead to the next president taking office. However, before then, the commission will have to re-examine over eight million votes, all while under the microscope.

Abdullah Abdullah Visits Paktika While Ceremony Held in Kabul

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 15:06

A ceremony was held at the Eidgah mosque in Kabul on Sunday to commemorate the lives lost during the recent Paktika province attack. A number of citizens and government officials participated in the ceremony, however, presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah was away visiting the province itself.

Participants of the ceremony stressed the importance of supporting the wounded and families of victims, and they drew connections between the attacks and foreign intelligence services in the region.

The Paktika attack has prompted Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, President Hamid Karzai and now Abdullah Abdullah to travel to the province.

On Sunday, while visiting Urgoon, Abdullah said that the current and future government has the chief responsibility of protecting people's lives.

"We saw people who had lost four of their kids in the attack," Abdullah said. "We ask for peace from Allah, we are proud of our security forces who have always worked for bringing peace for the people, but despite the efforts of the security forces, crimes like this take place, resulting in the mourning of all Afghans."

During his trip, Abdullah met with a number of residents of Paktika province and families of victims. Abdullah emphasized on the serious need for addressing the economic and social conditions of people in cities and villages throughout the province.

According to Abdullah's team, he set aside five million Afghanis to help with the families of victims, and said helping the victims is the duty of the government, business community and citizens of Afghanistan.

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was the first to visit Urgoon district, and did so just two days after the incident. Ghani also promised aid to the families of the victims. Three days after the incident, President Karzai visited Paktika province and met with the families.

ISAF Transports Ballot Boxes to Kabul

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 14:58

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has taken the responsibility of transporting ballot boxes from all the provinces of Afghanistan to Kabul.

Thus far, ISAF has transferred 1,515 boxes from Heart to Kabul on Saturday. The movement of ballot boxes from the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand are underway.

"The transfer of the ballot boxes was very transparent, we were welcomed as guests," said Haji Muhammad Qasem, an observer for Abdullah Abdullah's camp. "We are content with the transfer and process of the boxes conducted by the ISAF forces."

Campaign observer from Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's camp says that the transfer has been conducted well, but stresses that some boxes have been tampered with during the transfer.

"So far the transfer process is going well, but some of the seals were broken, which I think could have been done while transporting," Esmatullah Daneshyar, observer for Ghani-Ahmadzai's tea, said.

The duration of the auditing process is still unknown, but national and international officials have estimated that the inspection could take up to three weeks, if not longer.

Millions of Afghans risked their lives and voted in the presidential runoff elections determined to decide the future of their country democratically. For the next five years the future of Afghanistan is weighed on the outcome of the ballots.

In addition to being in charge of the transfer of ballot boxes, ISAF is also responsible for maintaining the security of the boxes in Kabul.

ELECTION 2014: The Complaints of the Provincial Council Candidates

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 09:35

In this episode of Entekhabat 93, host Omid Farooq discusses the complaints of provincial council candidates regarding the election process with the following the guests:

• Noor Mohammad Noor, the spokesman for the Independent Election Commission (IEC)
• Najibullah Alokozai, provincial council candidate
• Shirzad Allahdad, provincial council candidate
• Mohammad Naeem Asghari, Director of the Free and Fair Elections Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA)

To watch the whole program, click here:

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TAKANI: Ghani and Abdullah’s Meeting

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 09:29

In this episode of Takani 93, host Navida Khushbu discusses Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah, presidential candidates meeting with the following guests:

• Srir Ahmad Barmak, a Commissioner of Independent Election Commission
• Ahmad Shah Afghanzai, a member of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's team
• Mohammad Natiqi, a member of Abdullah Abdullah's team
• Fahim Naeemi, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) spokesman

To watch the whole program, click here:

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FARAKHABAR: 19 July 2014

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 09:18

President Karzai's First Vice President, Muhammad Younus Qanooni, has strongly criticized the government's policy toward the Taliban, stating that the released Taliban commanders have returned to insurgency and contributed to rising insecurities in the country.

To watch the whole program, click here:

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"I am against the release of those who kill the people of Afghanistan," Qanooni asserted. "We knew that when they [the Taliban] are released from prison, they would return to the battle fields and commit more crimes."

Qanooni's statements came as he visited the victims of a heavy explosion on Urgoon which had resulted in the death and injury of about 200 civilians on Tuesday.

In this episode of Farakhabar, host Yama Siawish discusses President Karzai's decision to release Taliban commanders with the following guests:

Ahmad Saeedi, political analyst

Faizullah Jalal, lecturer at the Kabul University

 

Optimism Over the Audit Process

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 07:51

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) officials on Saturday said that the ballot audit process is proceeding well, emphasizing that international observers are committed to correctly monitoring the process.

According to UNAMA, the auditing process has once again instilled global trust in the country's elections.

"We are optimistic about the process monitored by international observers and under the supervision of UNAMA. We have over 100 international observers--a lot more than we had expected," UNAMA Spokeswoman Nilab Mobarez said. "Auditing all the votes by international observers and candidates' observers has contributed to creating global trust in the Afghan elections.

In the meantime, a number of domestic monitoring groups have also stressed that the ballot audit will ensure transparency and retrieve people's trust in the election process.

"Auditing the run-off is a good option for building trust; it will guarantee transparency," Chairman of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), Mohammad Naeem Ayoubzada, said. "There were some problems in the beginning of the process but the presence of domestic, international and candidate observers show that the process will end successfully."

The Fair and Free Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) has also expressed the same conclusions as TEFA.

"Vote audit and other agreements between the candidates ensure election transparency," FEFA Spokesman Faheem Naeemi said.

The audit process of over 8 million votes from the presidential run-off election has entered its third day. Rumors indicate that the process will likely take more times than anticipated.

MPs Give Vote of No Confidence to ICOIC Members

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 07:12

Three members of the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of Constitution (ICOIC), including the office's top official, received votes of "No Confidence" from Parliament on Saturday, officially ending their terms at the Commission.

MPs accused the officials of failing to meet their responsibilities. In response, members of the commission blamed the lack of a budget and the interference of foreign countries for their unsatisfactory performance.

The First Vice President of Hamid Karzai, Yunus Qanuni, brought the commission members to Parliament on Saturday.

Most of the questions posed to the commission officials were regarding violations of the Constitution by government officials, but others got a bit more personal.

"A question that has been on my mind is that you, Gul Rahman Qazi and Ms. Huquq Mal, you both are over 88 or 85, do you have the strength to continue your duty?" asked Kunduz MP Amanullah Paiman.

"The President has violated the law many times, right in front of the the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of Constitution," Kabul MP Hafeez Mansoor said. "President Karzai gives an order to end the search of homes, releases Taliban members who are dangerous, gives the order for the commandos' arrest who fought the Taliban," he continued.

The discussions also touched on the legality and illegality of increasing the facilities and privileges afforded to MPs, a hot-button issue in recent weeks as a related piece of legislation has gone in front of Parliament.

"What has become controversial in the past few days is the salary law for the MPs," Kabul MP Baktash Seyawash said. "In your opinion, is this law legal, considering what is going on in Afghanistan?"

"Those who have received the people's vote, but were not present in sessions during voting, instead going out during these Ramadan days to spend time with beautiful girls, is that legal or no?"asked Daikundi MP Sadeqi Zada Neeli in response to Seyawash.

The ICOIC officials discussed the challenges they face in implementing the Constitution with the MPs.

"The lack of sufficient resources and a budget, the lack of professional and technical employees, and the interference of foreign countries in the work of the Commission and other major problems," listed off Gul Rahman Qazi, the head of the ICOIC.

However, the vote in the House was one of "No Confidence", meaning Qazi and the two other members of the commission will not return to their posts for the next four years. Now, based on the law, new members must be introduced to Parliament for approval.

MoD: Foreign Intelligence Trying to Stop Afghan Air Force Progress

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 05:54

Discussing a string of suicide and rocket attacks on Afghan Air Force bases in recent months, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense claimed on Saturday that foreign intelligence services were behind the attempts, and want to keep the airborne wing of the Afghan military from developing further.

A number of analysts were more direct, accusing Pakistani intelligence, ISI, outright of being behind the attacks.

Over the past few months, Afghan Air Force facilities and personnel have have come under attack from two suicide bombings and three rocket attacks as well as an assault by a heavily armed group of militants.

The suicide bombers have targeted the Afghan Air Force facilities in the Kart-e-Now and Kart-e Sakhi areas of Kabul.

During these attacks, in addition to civilian deaths, 11 Air Force members were killed and nine others wounded. On one occasion a helicopter was destroyed.

"Afghanistan is in a proxy war, the Air Force of countries are very threatened, meaning that foreign intelligence circles are working to endanger the air force in the long run," Mod spokesman Zahir Azimi said.

The training and education process for Afghan Air Force pilots is time consuming and expensive, and officials fear continued attacks could set the whole program back.

"If a rocket hits a location in air force area, any piece that hits anywhere will result in heavy losses and if a pilot is killed, it will take time and money to train someone else as a pilot," Azimi said. "If it was any other area, it would be possible, but only a pilot can do a pilots job."

In addition to the base at Shindand, Afghan pilots are being trained in the United States, Dubai, Czech Republic and Russia. Every pilot is trained for three years at a cost of around two million dollars.

Analysts have suggested it makes sense that the Air Force would be coming under increased pressure, given the potential threat it poses to enemies of the Afghan government.

"Afghanistan's air force is forming, these forces can fight alongside the ground forces and army, which can really put pressure on the enemy," intelligence analyst Jawed Kohistani told TOLOnews.

Officials hope to see the Afghan Air Force become fully functional and self-sustaining by the end of 2016, especially in areas of transportation, search and intelligence and ground support. But if the attacks continue, it will be hard to meet the deadline.

"All the intelligence agencies and institutions are the given task of identifying and investigating these incidents," Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqi said.

Commanders from the Air Force and National Directorate of Security declined to comment on the attacks.

IEC to Accelerate Audit Process in Coming Days

TOLO News - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 05:26

Independent Election Commission (IEC) spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said on Saturday that the commission would seek to accelerate the auditing process for votes cast in the runoff election over the course of the coming days.

According to the working plan of the commission, at least 1,000 ballot boxes should be audited per day. However, the commission has failed to inspect more than 235 boxes in the past two days.

"We will speed up the process," Noor told reporters on Saturday. "80 groups worked on Saturday in two shifts, 40 groups in the morning shift and 40 in the afternoon. And I can say that 100 groups will work tomorrow in two shifts."

The ballot boxes of Balkh, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni provinces have reportedly been fully transferred to the IEC's central office in Kabul, but await inspections.

The camps of the both the presidential candidates expressed continued support for the auditing process, but both teams expressed some concerns about the procedures being used.

"The only problem is the absence of a standard operating procedure right now," Abdullah Abdullah team member Fazl Ahmad Manawee said. "Both sides agreed to a procedure but the standard operating procedure is not yet verified, we hope it will be very soon."

"The audit process is proceeding very well, but there are some problems with the IEC's employees, like disagreements about the ticks on the ballot papers," Wakman Hashimi, a member of Ashraf Ghani's team said.

But election monitors like Democracy International's Gregory Minjack seemed optimistic about the audit.

"It seems like it is very true and deliberate and most importantly it looks like the candidate groups agree with it," Minjack told TOLOnews.

So far, 870 domestic and international observers have been registered by election commission to oversee the auditing process, which was the outcome of negotiations between the two candidates, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations.

Struggling to Keep Afghan Girl Safe After a Mullah Is Accused of Rape

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 05:00
Support for the rape suspect — a mullah — and plans by the girl’s family for an “honor killing” have become emblematic of a broader failure to help female Afghan victims.
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