Aggregated News about Afghanistan

TOLOnews 6pm News 26 May 2016

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 16:00

Top news in this Bulletin:

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami, condemned the killing of Taliban's top commander Mullah Akhtar Mansour, days after a US drone strike killed the elusive leader in the Pakistani territory.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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Kandahar's Police Chief Gen. Abdul Raziq on Thursday said that Pakistan played a key role in appointing the new Taliban leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, adding that "the new leader would not be able to unite all Taliban."

We Will Destroy Terrorists, Ghani Warns Neighbors

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 15:27

Addressing members of local media outlets in Kabul on Wednesday, President Ashraf Ghani laid out his plan to destroy militants who infiltrate his country from neighboring nations, vowing to destroy those who continue to do so.

Ghani while urging closer ties with neighboring countries warned Afghanistan will eliminate all those insurgents coming from neighboring nations.

"We want close relations with neighboring countries, but not in exporting terrorism, but if they (neighbors) send us terrorists, we will kill them and eliminate them," Ghani said.

At the gathering, president Ghani asked Afghan youths to raise their voices against violence against women and the children and fight injustice.

Ghani expressed confidence in the war capabilities of the Afghan security forces, saying that Afghan forces are keeping enough potential to fight the enemies of the nation on the battlefields with courage and determination.

"The security and defense forces have the capacity of defending this sacred land forever," he said.

Although he did name any country over its link to terrorism, analysts say that Pakistan has always been blamed for supporting insurgency and terrorism in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, a number of military experts have hailed Ghani's remarks on the insurgency.

"The president's resolute stance on militancy will support the high morale of the security forces and it also sends clear signals to neighboring countries that the Afghan government is resolute in fighting terrorism and it will destroy the terrorists," said Mirdad Khan Nejrabi, head of parliament's internal security commission.

To watch the report, click here:

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Obama on the Taliban's New Leader

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 15:19
Speaking at the Group of 7 summit meeting in Japan, President Obama emphasized that the United States continued to support Afghanistan's elected government.

Analysts Negate Hekmatyar's Remarks on Taliban Leader

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 15:12

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami, condemned the killing of Taliban's top commander Mullah Akhtar Mansour, days after a US drone strike killed the elusive leader in the Pakistani territory.

"I strongly condemn the joint operation carried out by the U.S and Iran which terrorized Mullah Akhtar Mansour," Hekmatyar said in a statement on Thursday.

In addition, Hekmatyar accused the Iranian intelligence of providing information about Mansour to ask for incentives from the United States.

"There are reports that the Iranian intelligence had provided the U.S with the information about Mullah Mansour and the drone strike took place on the basis of the information provided by Iran," the statement read.

Hekmatyar said that "on the one hand we are carrying out the peace process; we also condemn this act of terrorism in the strongest terms and call the Iranian act big and unforgivable treason."

Hekmatyar went on to say, "Hizb-e-Islami wants the peace agreement which came out of the negotiations with the Kabul government to be finalized and hope it is prepared for the signature. We have to create proper grounds inside the party members about the agreement and we have to also persuade the Taliban to enter inter-Afghan dialogue. We also suggested some conditions for reforms within Kabul government which are acceptable to all parties including the Taliban," Hekmatyar said.

He called on Afghans to work together and naturalize the conspiracies against the peace process in the country.

"We want to urge upon our nation to foil plots of those interested in war. The nation must recognize the internal and external enemies of the peace [process] and not ask any foreign country for peace, but ensure peace through their own determination and understanding," he said.

Meanwhile, critics have dismissed Hekmatyar's remarks and perceived siding with the Taliban, asking government to clarify the conditions agreed upon to bring him to Kabul, terming secrecy in the peace talks with the militant group as national treason.

Joining the critics, meanwhile, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said that those groups who enter the peace process must denounce violence and cut ties with terrorists.

"They must guarantee the end of bloodshed and there should be solid guarantees that they will not support the opponent forces, denouncing them is the first condition," AIHRC spokesman Rafiullah Bedar said.‎

One of the important preconditions of Afghanistan for those groups who enter the peace process is that these groups must cut ties with other terrorist organizations or the groups who are at war with the Afghan government - something Hekmatyar has, in their opinion, violated by expressing sympathy with the Taliban in the wake of Mansour's death.

The remarks of Hiz-e-Islami leader have sparked strong reactions among the Afghan political commentators. Analysts have questioned the government's approach for bringing the militants to the peace table as government has announced a number of privileges for Hekmatyar after his return to Kabul.

"This is clear, there should not be any kind of relations, neither organic ties nor ties in war and violence," HPC member Ismail Qasimyar said.

"It is the responsibility of the government of Afghanistan to provide information and clarify its principles of negotiations with Hizb-e-Islami on what issues they have agreed upon, they must not keep the talks secret," political analyst Amin Farhang said.

"The residents of Kabul have not forgotten the destruction to Kabul," a resident in the capital city Faisal said, referring to war between Hekmatyar and other parties in the past.

"Taliban are killing the people on a daily basis, Hekmatyar should not support them," said Khushal a resident of Kabul.

This comes just days after the Afghan government and Hekmatyar reached a draft peace agreement.

To watch the report, click here:

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Policewomen Gets Father To Leave Taliban

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 15:01

Najiba Dalawar, a policewoman from Jawzjan province, said that she joined the police ranks after almost being shot for "collaborating" with government forces while being held in the Taliban's custody.

Twenty-year-old Dalawar has served as a policewoman for a year and is currently stationed at the Mazar-e-Sharif Police Training Center where she is undergoing three months of training.

Home for her is Sherbeg village in the district of Qushtapa of Jawzjan province.

Dalawar said that just over a year ago the Taliban kidnapped her after accusing her of collaborating with Afghan forces and kept her hostage for three days. During this time they wanted to kill her but with the help of tribal elders, she was released.

"Taliban took me and kept me for three days and nights then tribal elders told them that I am not a policewoman and then they gave a letter of guarantee [to this effect] to the Taliban and the Taliban released me and after that I came and I joined the police force," said Dalawar.

She said that at the time her father was collaborating with the Taliban and he was fighting alongside them against the Afghan forces.

But she eventually managed to dissuade her father from fighting with the Taliban and got him to join the peace process.

Dalawar said that she only wants to serve her country and along with fellow police force members is trying to implement the law and prevent terrorist activities.

"When you wear the uniform you must defend the country, you must have dignity and no one can be a police officer if you are not educated or not a champion or not clever," she said.

Officials at the police training center said Dalawar was a brave woman.

"Najiba's heart is very big and she is unflinching and always defends her stronghold, government and government policies," said Noor Alam Naweed the training center office manager.

Dalawar serves the country shoulder-to-shoulder with men and she said that she will defend her country to her last drop of blood.

To watch the report, click here:

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Obama Says Taliban Still Bent On Violence

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 13:12

US President Barack Obama commented on the appointment of the new Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada on Thursday, saying he hadn't expected a "liberal democrat" to be elected and that "this continues to be an organization that sees violence as a strategy for obtaining its goals".

Obama said: " We have a democratically elected government in Afghanistan that we're supporting and our goal right now is to make sure that that constitution and that democratic process is upheld, not to mention that we're able to maintain the counter-terrorism platforms that we need in that region so that al-Qaeda and now ISIL (Daesh) are not able to take root and use that as basis to attack us in the United States."

He said his hope, but not his expectation, is that "there comes a point at which the Taliban recognizes that they are not going to simply be able to overrun the country and that what they need to be doing is to enter into serious reconciliation talks that are led by Afghans".

"Look, I was very blunt with Vietnamese government. There is so much good going in that country and what I indicated to them is that these kinds of heavy handed actions end up being entirely counterproductive and folks we have invited included those who were there, are people that are prepared to have a constructive conversation with the government about how to advance peace and prosperity and economic development and environmental security in that country. And my general message, as you heard at the Youth Town Hall meeting, is harness that talent. Let them loose to create start-ups and solve problems."

Obama's comments came after his trip this week to Vietnam.

Haibatullah was announced new leader of the Taliban on Wednesday following the death of former leader Mullah Mansour on Saturday in a U.S drone strike in Baluchistan in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai issued a press release on Thursday on the death of Mansour - five days after the incident – and said the current war was a proxy war and that Afghans are being scarified for the benefits of strangers.

The death of Mansour, as Taliban confirmed in a statement, took place across the border, and once again showed that the current war is a war of foreigners, said Karzai in his statement.

But he once again called on Taliban to join the peace process and return to their country.

Karzai also said the National Unity Government (NUG) must stop executing prisoners as the only way to reach lasting peace and stability was by uniting the people.

"Only through national unity can we rescue our country from outside interference," Karzai said in the statement.

To watch the report, click here:

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Pakistan Had Key Role in Taliban Appointment: Raziq

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 12:53

Kandahar's Police Chief Gen. Abdul Raziq on Thursday said that Pakistan played a key role in appointing the new Taliban leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, adding that "the new leader would not be able to unite all Taliban."

"The new Taliban leader was appointed by Pakistan and a few members of Taliban's leadership and because of this he will not be able to uphold any unity among the Taliban," Gen. Raziq told TOLOnews.

He believes that Pakistan still has a strong influence over the Taliban and that the group is not able to take decisions without Pakistan.

"The name is Taliban and Islamic Emirate but behind the curtain there are foreign countries like Iran, Russia and Pakistan and the Taliban is working for the interests of these countries," he said.

"The government of Afghanistan and the international community know about this," he added.

Raziq however called on the Taliban to join the negotiations. "If they don't want to face the same fate of their leaders, they should join the peace process."

"We ask the Taliban, their local commanders and those who are giving military training to Afghans at Pakistani Madrasas that instead of war, don't take up weapons and explosives but support the government to start normal lives otherwise you will face the same fate as your leaders faced," he said.

A number of residents of Kandahar confirmed Haibatullah is from the province, as are a number of other Taliban leaders. They also urged him to join the peace process.

"We are asking the Taliban to make a new decision with their new leader and come to peace and support the peace process," a resident of Kandahar, Ahmad Shah said.

Gul Padshah, another Kandahar resident said: "All Taliban leaders were from Kandahar so we are calling them to say yes and choose the way of talks."

This comes after the Taliban selected Haibatullah, the first deputy to former leader Mansour, as his successor.

In a statement issued by the Taliban on Wednesday, the group confirmed the death of Mansour and said the Taliban's Shura had selected Haibatullah as their new leader.

Sirajuddin Haqqani and Mullah Omar's eldest son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob were selected as Taliban's new deputies, the Taliban's statement added.

‎Mansour was killed on Saturday in a U.S drone strike that targeted the car he was traveling in, in Baluchistan in Pakistan.

US Blacklists Two Pakistan-based Terrorist Groups

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 10:58

The United States on Wednesday designated two 'Pakistan-based' groups with links to the Taliban as global terrorist threats.

A statement issued by U.S State Department said that as "Specially Designated Global Terrorists", US citizens are forbidden from associating with the Tariq Gidar Group (TGG) and the Jamaat ul Dawa al-Qu'ran (JDQ).

It said any assets owned by the groups under U.S jurisdiction will be frozen, and U.S law enforcement will be authorized to investigate their activities.

The State Department claimed that the TGG is linked to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and is based in Darra Adam Khel in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
According to the statement, the Gidar group was responsible for the attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar that killed over 150 people mostly children in December 2014.

The group is led by Omar Mansour, who is said to also have ordered the January 2016 attack on a university in Charsadda that left more than 20 dead.

U.S State Department also said the TGG was behind the 2008 kidnapping and beheading of Polish geologist Piotr Stanczak in Attock.

The second group, the JDQ, is said to be based in Peshawar but has sworn allegiance to the late leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Omar. The JDQ also has alliances with al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the statement added.

The group has also been blamed for the 2010 kidnapping of British aid worker Linda Norgrove in Afghanistan. Norgrove died after being wounded in the explosion of a grenade thrown by a U.S Navy SEAL commando during a failed rescue attempt.

This comes after the U.S earlier this week said it hopes the newly appointed Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada decides to work toward negotiating a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan.

U.S Department of State spokesperson Mark Toner said on Wednesday: "We would hope that he [Akhundzada] would seize the opportunity...to choose peace and to work towards a negotiated solution," Toner stated. "We hope he makes that choice now."

Toner also confirmed that Akhundzada was not on the U.S designated terrorist list.

US Department of Defense spokesman Adam Stump told U.S reporters that the appointment of Akhundzada as the new leader of the Taliban will not interfere with US efforts to achieve reconciliation between the group and the government of Afghanistan.

Carter Urges Taliban To Join Peace Talks

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 10:22

In a blunt message to the new Taliban leadership, the U.S Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Wednesday said they have the option of either coming to the table for peace talks or be defeated in the battle field.

"The alternative to coming across and making peace with the government is their certain defeat on the battlefield. That's the environment in which we intend to put them in," Carter told reporters travelling with him in Newport, Rhode Island.

"It's from that posture, if it's possible at all, that a sensible leader of the Taliban would conclude that they can't succeed by arms alone. We'll see whether this individual makes that conclusion or not. Obviously, his predecessor didn't draw that conclusion," he said in response to a question.

"The only thing I'd say about our plans in the future is this. Our plan in Afghanistan it is to reduce the overall foot print of U.S. forces there, but we're going to be there for a long time. And in the most important way, which is the support of the Afghan Security Forces," Carter said.

"We have the funding, which we're going to continue to give them, the NATO allies have indicated that they would continue to fund the Afghan Security Forces and that's the most critical thing," he said.

"And then, of course, we'll be in there for the purposes of supporting the Afghan security forces and also our counterterrorism mission. That's not going away next year," Carter said.

Meanwhile the State Department hoped that the new Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada would chooses peace and join the Afghan-led peace talks.

"We would hope that he would seize the opportunity," the State Department Deputy Spokesman, Mark Toner, told reporters at his daily news conference.

"He (Akhundzada) does have an opportunity in front of him to choose peace and to work towards a negotiated solution. We hope that he makes that choice now," Toner said in response to a question.

Akhundzada is not in any terrorist designated list, he said, but did not respond to questions if he is on the target of US forces in Afghanistan. "I'm not going to predict who we might target in the national security interest of the United States," he said.

Govt Again Calls On Taliban to Joint Peace Process

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 08:26

Tawab Ghorzang, a spokesman for the National Security Advisor on Thursday called on Taliban groups to use this opportunity to join the peace process.

This comes just a day after the Taliban announced the appointment of its new leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. This announcement was followed by President Ashraf Ghani's message to the group to join the peace talks process.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Kabul with security organization spokesmen, Ghorzang warned the Taliban that "if they not join the peace process they will face the same fate as their leaders."

He said the Taliban's morale has been affected following the death on Saturday of their former leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour.

He said the Taliban's "weakness will increase more in their leadership and on the battle field."

His comments come just a day after the Taliban selected Haibatullah, first deputy to former leader Mullah Mansour, as successor.

Sirajuddin Haqqani and Mullah Omar's eldest son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob were selected as Taliban's new deputies.

‎‎Mansour was killed on Saturday in a U.S drone strike that targeted the car he was traveling in, in Baluchistan in Pakistan.

In the meantime, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Dawlat Waziri said at the joint press conference that since Mullah Mansour's death was announced the security forces have made considerable achievements on the battle fields.

Waziri said that "our intelligence report showing that the Taliban commander's contact with their leader is reduced and they don't know what to do," adding that "some of the commanders accept the orders and some of them don't."

However, he said that security forces have increased their military operations in different parts of the country to clear insurgents.

Haibatullah is 56 years old and is from Panjwai district of Kandahar province. He reportedly now lives in Ghous Abad of Quetta city in Pakistan and was administrative deputy to Mullah Omar.

Haibatullah is also a religious scholar and is known for releasing Taliban statements to justify their presence in their war against the Afghan government and foreign troops in Afghanistan.

However it is said that the selection of Haibatullah as the Taliban leader was done without consultation with Mullah Rassoul, and experts said that conflict still remains among the Taliban.

Although the main reason for the killing of Mullah Mansour is said to have been because he was opposed to the peace process, it is not known what stance his successor will take in this regard.

45 Insurgents Killed in Balkh Clashes: Officials

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 07:35

At least 45 insurgents were killed in clashes with security forces in northern Balkh province on Wednesday, local officials said.

In addition, dozens of insurgents were injured.

Gen. Abdul Razaq Qaderi, a police official in Balkh, said that clashes took place in Chamtal district of the province in which Mawalwi Gulabuddin, Taliban's shadow district governor, was also injured.

Qaderi said that clashes have been ongoing for more than five hours. In addition, a policeman was also killed in the clash.

However, officials said that the insurgents were being driven back from the area.

TOLOnews 10pm News 25 May 2016

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 07:24

Top news in this Bulletin:

Taliban selected Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada first deputy to former leader Mullah Mansour as his successor.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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Dozens of journalists came together on Wednesday to approve a code of ethics for journalists in Afghanistan.

Alarm Bells Ring In India Over Botched Terror Plot

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 06:47

A botched terror bid in New Delhi set alarm bells ringing for Indian security agencies after terrorists posing as Afghan medical tourists were able to infiltrate the capital, intelligence sources told India Today this week.

According to the media outlet, the mastermind behind the failed December, 2015, terror plan was Maulana Abdul Rehman – whom they claim played a key role in the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines' IC 814 flight.

Quoting intelligence sources, India Today reports that Rehman launched his first terror attempt on India in November when he sent two of his men to target five locations in Delhi with chemical bombs. According to the report, at the time Rehman had been backed by Pakistan's ISI and by Haqqani network.

The two infiltrators - identified as Pakistani Ahmed Khan Durrani and Afghan national Abdul Qadri - used medical visas to enter New Delhi, the article stated. Durrani posed as an Afghan patient and Qadri as his attendant, the officials reportedly explained.

They said Durrani had a forged passport issued in the name of Sohaib Abbas and that he had undergone training in chemical bomb-making.

While in Delhi, the duo reportedly remained in contact with their handler, identified as Abid, who had set up a control-room in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area of Pakistan-Afghan border.

According to the news article, the two had a hit list, which listed the Iskcon temple, a shopping mall and three other targets.

In addition the two bought bomb-making materials, such as fireworks for gunpowder, wires, bottles and watches, from Old Delhi markets.

Quoting security sources, India Today said the pair was able to make six chemical bombs which they planned to use in serial attacks in the second week of December.

But a test run went awry forcing them to abandon their sinister plan.

The two men reportedly panicked after a bomb they tried to detonate in the bathroom of their room sent huge plumes of smoke out of their building.
Scared, they apparently got rid of all devices and bomb-making material and fled to Afghanistan.

After investigators unearthed the terror plan, intelligence agencies alerted the police in Kabul who then arrested Durrani and Qadri. Explosives and secret documents were recovered from their possession.

But according to the news article, Indian Intelligence officials describe the entire modus operandi as alarming, with a new module using a new route of medical tourism to strike India.

According to them, the mastermind, Rehman, heads an organization called Al Barkat Trust and has an office in Peshawar, security officials said.

His trust has established the new group called Jaish-ul-Haq. Rehman's second-in-command has been identified as Dr Zubair.

MEHWAR: Haibatullah Becomes Taliban's New Leader

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 05:44

Taliban selected Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada first deputy to former leader Mullah Mansour as his successor.

Click here to watch the whole program:

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In this episode of Mehwar, host Massoud Malik discusses the topic with Karim Pakzad, international researcher.

 

FARAKHABAR: Haibatullah Named Taliban's New Leader

TOLO News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 04:58

Taliban selected Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada first deputy to former leader Mullah Mansour as his successor.

Click here to watch the whole program:

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In a statement issued by the Taliban on Wednesday, the group confirmed the death of Mullah Mansour and added that Taliban's Shura has selected Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new leader.

Sirajuddin Haqqani and Mullah Omar's eldest son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob were selected as Taliban's new deputies, the Taliban's statement added.

In this episode of FaraKhabar, host Fawad Aman discusses the topic with Ahmad Saeedi, a political analyst and Sayed Ishaq Gailani, leader of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan.

 

Afghan Lovers Begin an Asylum Odyssey in New York

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 19:27
Zakia and Mohammad Ali, whose families oppose their union because they are from different sects, are seeking a new life in the United States.

TOLOnews 6pm News 25 May 2016

TOLO News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 18:13

Top news in this Bulletin:

Taliban selected Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada first deputy to former leader Mullah Mansour as his successor.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

{youtube}JtXBBattbk8{/youtube}

Dozens of journalists came together on Wednesday to approve a code of ethics for journalists in Afghanistan.

Enlightening Movement Rejects 500kV Power Project Commission Decision

TOLO News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 17:16

Enlightening Movement has rejected the decision of the national commission tasked with assessing the 500kV power line project.

The commission on Tuesday suggested that the controversial line should go through Salang. The Enlightening Movement said that no other alternative except for the cancellation of the council of ministers' decision is acceptable for them.

"This decision that is based on the Presidential Palace's perception legalizes the council of ministers' decision, is not acceptable for us. We strongly rejected this decision," said Assadullah Saadati, a member of the movement.

"Distributing electricity to Bamiyan I think is a decision that is taken to divert minds of followers of the enlightening movement. The decision that they have taken is much more expensive and time-consuming compared to moving the line through Bamiyan," said Jafar Mehdawi, another member of the movement.

A number of lawmakers meanwhile urged the Enlightening Movement to accept the commission's decision.

"It is not about electricity, but it is about implementing Iran's project. If they don't accept decisions of the former government, then Daikundi, which was promoted to a province during the former government, should be demoted back to district," said Mohammad Naeem Lalai Hamidzai, an MP.

The government meanwhile has pledged to provide 300 megawatt electricity to Bamiyan and central parts of Afghanistan.

The commission has suggested that a power network should be built in Doshi area and from there 300 megawatt electricity should be supplied to Bamiyan and central parts of Afghanistan.

The government has accepted the commission's findings and suggestions.

"Taking into consideration that all the technical and procurement related processes of the 500kV electricity line from north of the country to south has been implemented over the past two and half years and based on findings of the national commission from assessment of related papers the projects is being resumed," said Sayed Zafar Hashemi, the deputy spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani.

To sort out controversies over the route of the 500kV electricity line from Turkmenistan, the government assigned a commission to technically assess both routes of Salang and Bamiyan.

To watch the report, click here:

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Haibatullah Named Taliban's New Leader

TOLO News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 17:05

Taliban selected Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada first deputy to former leader Mullah Mansour as his successor.

In a statement issued by the Taliban on Wednesday, the group confirmed the death of Mullah Mansour and added that Taliban's Shura has selected Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new leader.

Sirajuddin Haqqani and Mullah Omar's eldest son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob were selected as Taliban's new deputies, the Taliban's statement added.

"Death of Mullah Omar was a blow to the Taliban and now the death of Akhtar Mansour is a second blow the Taliban. After this any person can come as the Taliban leader but will not be a Mullah Omar," said Mohammad Abda a MP.

Meanwhile Haibatullah is 56 years old and a resident of Kandahar province. He reportedly now lives in Ghous Abad of Quetta city in Pakistan and was administrative deputy to Mullah Omar.

"Taliban sought Fatwas from him and he is a really active and charismatic person in Taliban ranks," said former deputy interior minister Mirza Mohammad Yarmand.

Haibatullah is also a religious scholar and is known for releasing Taliban statements to justify their presence in their war against the Afghan government and foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile a number of people refer to him as the most serious supporter to continue the Taliban battle.

"I think a vacuum came among them and Mullah Omar's son Mullah Yaqoob also did not agree to him even Yaqoob appointed as deputy but he wanted to be the Taliban leader," said Abdulhai Akhundzada another MP.

However it is said that the selection of Haibatullah as the Taliban leader was done without consultation with Mullah Rassoul, and experts said that conflict still remains among the Taliban.

Although the main reason for the killing of Mullah Mansour is said to have been because he was opposed to the peace process, it is not known what stance his successor will take in this regard.

To watch the report, click here:

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Taliban Under Military Pressure: Security Officials

TOLO News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 17:01

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that several Taliban commanders have also been killed in Afghanistan following their leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour's death in a drone strike in Pakistan.

They said that the Taliban have come under enormous military pressure.

The ministries said that the Taliban's attacks have reduced following their leader's death. They said that the Taliban launched 65 attacks over the past four days and security forces have conducted 260 attacks against the Taliban in the same amount of time.

"Taliban had movements, but they cannot create challenges for security forces. The Taliban have been suppressed, wherever they have risen up," said Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the MoD.

Based on figures provided by the MoI, "Mullah Manan, Qari Aref and several other Taliban commanders who were fighting in Helmand have been killed in security forces' operations," said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the MoI.

The Taliban militants, after the death of their leader, still continue fighting in different parts of the country, including Baghlan.

"Fighting is still underway in Baghlan-e-Markazi district [of Baghlan province]. The government has also launched an operation, but it was not effective," said Azim Mohseni, a lawmaker from Baghlan province.

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