Aggregated News about Afghanistan

Pakistani Insurgents Involved in Nuristan Attack

TOLO News - 5 hours 49 min ago

Afghan military officials on Friday announced that among the 28 insurgents who were killed on Thursday in crossfire with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in Do Ab district of eastern Nuristan province revealed a number of Pakistani insurgents.

The officials of the 201 Selab Military Corps said that after eight days of fighting against the insurgents, the ANSF have regained control of the district.

They said that they found Pakistani documents on the bodies of the dead insurgents, adding that among the dead were two Taliban leaders, Mullah Nematullah and Sultan.

"The flag of the country can, once again, be raised in Do Ab district as the Afghan troops built the way toward reconstruction and defeated the enemies," Mohammad Zaman Waziri, commander of the 201 Selab Military Corp, said.

Officials explained the detail of their operation saying that the Taliban had destroyed the routes to enter Do Ab so that the Afghan forces could not enter the area.

During the eight-day operation, U.S. military forces, Afghan commandos and police were working alongside each other. The clash resulted in the death of an Afghan police and soldier.

Haqqania Madrassa Largest Islamic Training Center for Taliban

TOLO News - 6 hours 9 min ago

Deputy head of the largest Islamic training center, Darul Uloom Haqqania Madrassa located in Pakistan, called on the Taliban to fight against the Afghan government and foreign troops on Monday during an exclusive interview with TOLOnews.

Reports indicate that Mullah Omar, the notorious Taliban leader, has awarded the madrassa many times in training newcomers to fight.

"We call on the Afghan Taliban's and ask them what relations do the thousands of foreign troops have with Afghanistan?" asked Mawlana Hafiz-ul-Haq Haqqani, deputy head of the Darul Uloom Haqqania Madrassa. "They should fight against them [foreign troops] and the Afghan government."

More than 4,000 Afghan and Pakistan Taliban are currently being trained by the madrassa. Those who have completed their training join either willingly or forcefully are sent off to fight in Afghanistan targeting military and non-military personnel.

According to a number of Pakistani political experts, during the soviet invasion in Afghanistan many members of the Mujahidin were trained by the madrassa and sent out to defend the country.

"Those who fought against the soviet troops alongside the Mujahidin were trained by the Pakistani madrassas," Mohammad Jan Babur, Pakistani journalist, said.

Political analyst in Pakistan, Shamim Shahid, said the "Taliban regime in Afghanistan are graduates of Pakistan's madrassas."

The Haqqania Madrassa trains more than 4,000 students, but Pakistan has roughly 16,000 active madrassas in the country, of which almost 600,000 students are learning.

Helmand Conflict Results in Heavy Losses

TOLO News - 7 hours 37 min ago

In the past two months the battle in Sangeen district of Helmand province has taken the lives of more than 900 people—Taliban, civilians and security forces—and injuring around 1,100 others, commander of the 215 battalion of Maiwand said.

Governor of Helmand, Muhammad Naeem, said that the casualties in the past two months are unprecedented compared to the past 10 years and in addition adds that alongside the lives lost, many families are now displaced and in search of safety.

"We are taking serious preparations. New forces are arriving to replace the forces that have been here for the past two months."

More than 400 Taliban insurgents, 270 security forces and 230 civilians have been killed in the Sangeen clashes and around 500 Taliban, 200 security forces and more than 400 civilians have been wounded, according to Gov. Naeem.

According to local officials in Helmand, the district is also facing attacks by illegal armed groups creating scattered quarrels for the security forces as the battle continues with the Taliban militants.

Helmand is not the only province that has witnessed and faced attacks by the Taliban offense, the provinces of Kandahar, Nangarhar, Kunduz, Baghlan, Badakhshan, Faryab and Nuristan have fallen victim to the intensive battles.

Ebola vaccine trials being fast-tracked: researchers

TOLO News - 10 hours 52 min ago

Safety trials on an Ebola vaccine are being fast-tracked, meaning it could be given to healthy volunteers as early as September, researchers said Thursday.

The vaccine will be given to volunteers in Britain, the Gambia and Mali in a bid to tackle the spread of an epidemic which has spread across west Africa, killing 1,552 so far.

Researchers hope the trials could finish by the end of 2014.

If they are successful, the vaccine could then be given to people infected with Ebola, which is spread through bodily fluids.

The move was announced by pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline -- which is developing the vaccine with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- and London-based medical charity Wellcome Trust, which is contributing to a grant to pay for the trials.

"A candidate Ebola vaccine could be given to healthy volunteers in the UK, the Gambia and Mali as early as September, as part of a series of safety trials of potential vaccines," the statement said.

A total of 3,062 cases have so far been reported but the World Health Organization warned Thursday that the caseload could eventually exceed 20,000.

The trials, which still need ethical and regulatory approval, will be funded by a £2.8 million (3.5 million euro, $4.6 million) grant from the Wellcome Trust, Britain's Medical Research Council (MRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

The Oxford study will involve 60 healthy volunteers, while those in the Gambia and Mali will each involve 40.

This will also allow GSK to make some 10,000 extra doses of the vaccine so that if the trials are successful, it could be made available to the WHO quickly.

Safety tests of the vaccine will take place at Oxford University alongside a US trial run by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

8 Evening Program: Start of Roshan Afghan Premiere League

TOLO News - 11 hours 44 min ago



The importance and value football is in Afghan society, the developments of Premiere League, and the opportunities and challenges ahead of football in Afghanistan.

Host Omid Farooq discusses the matter with:

Muhammad Yousuf Kargar, Head Coach of Afghanistan National Football Team

Hamed Ali, Author and Researcher

To watch the program, click here:

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TAWDE KHABARE: Corruption and New Government Opportunities for Eliminating the Phenomenon

TOLO News - 12 hours 2 min ago



What is the current condition of corruption in Afghanistan and what is being done and what programs are in place? Is past experiences enough for eliminating this phenomenon, or will the new government take new steps to eliminate corruption?

Host Shahpoor Bakhtyar, discusses the issue with the following guests:

Abdul Jabar Sabet, Former Attorney General

Ezatullah Wasefi, Former Head of High Office of Over-Sight and Anti-Corruption

Said Hameedullah Tawab, Advisor to the High Office of Over-sight and Anti-corruption

To watch the program, click here:

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RAPL Season Begins With Eventful Opening Match

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 17:18



The third season of the Roshan Afghan Premier League (RAPL) began on Thursday with a goal-filled match between Shaheen Asmayee and Da Abaseen Sapee. Shaheen Asmayee, last season's champions, won the match handedly with a final scoreline of 5-1.

It being the inaugural match of this year's season, an opening ceremony was held before the first whistle. But once the game began, it was clear from a series of consecutive attacks by Shaheen Asmayee that Da Abaseen Sapee was going to face an opponent holding nothing back in their first game.

The initial goal came just 10 minutes in, and was scored by Shaheen Asmayee's Amruddin Sharifi. Then, just two minutes later, a second goal was scored by the Kabul side's Mustafa Afshar.

Just before half-time, Da Abaseen Sapee, which represents eastern Afghanistan, netted their first goal to bring the game to 2-1, a scoreline that no doubt kept them hopeful that the game was not yet out of reach.

But in the second half, Shaheen Asmayee hit the pitch with renewed intensity and laid on an offensive that brought them two more goals, ending the game 5-1.

"My favorite team is Shaheen Asmayee, last year I attended all their games," one fan told TOLOnews after the final whistle blew. "This year too, I will come to all their games and will enjoy them."

The game, played in Kabul at the official stadium of the Afghan Football Federation (AFF), attracted a large crowd that included men, women and children.

"It is pleasing that families are coming to the games, we are really happy that our football is developing," said another fan Hajer Abul Fazel.

The RAPL has made a huge splash since it began in 2012, and has been praised by many for its role in bringing people from around the country together through their love for football. This was in part made evident at the match on Thursday by all of the politicians and government officials from different offices and parts of the country that came out to watch.

"We cannot live our lives without football and sports, it has become part of the lives of Afghans," Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. "Football guarantees a fine and stable society for a country."

Ghulam Ghous Nekbeen, the Deputy and Acting Mayor of Herat, also attended the inaugural match. "The Afghan Football Federation has been able to serve Afghanistan with the help of a number of sponsors, without whom, it would have been impossible."

Many, particularly at the AFF and the Afghan National Team, have praised the RAPL, which is the country's first ever national professional league, for helping develop Afghan football talent.

"This football will not only help in uniting people, but it will also help in development," AFF Chief Keramuddin Keram said. "I hope that our youth can take advantage of it."

Afghan National Team Coach Yousuf Kargar also applauded the RAPL, and indicated that he has observed growing interest in football since the league started. "People have participated with a great enthusiasm this year, and want their favorite team to win," Kargar said. "People are much more interested in football in compared to other years."

The RAPL splits its eight teams into two groups, with each team representing a different region of the country. However, players are allowed to play for any team, regardless of where they themselves are from.

This year's groups are as follows: Oqaban Hindukush, Mawj Hay Amo, Shaheen Asmaye and Da Abaseen Sapee in the first group and Semorgh Alburz, Toofan Harirod, Da Maiwand Attalan and Da Aspeen Ghar Bazan in the second group.

TOLOnews 6 pm News 28 August 2014

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 16:25



The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Thursday reported that the normal process of invalidation of fake votes from genuine votes is moving forward under the supervision of the United Nations' (UN) representatives.

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The commission also announced that votes from 147 boxes have been invalidated so far, adding that they will soon make a decision regarding the votes from 3,000 polling sites which were not audited.

Foreign Pressure Mounts as Election Remains Stalled

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 16:07

With renewed discord surfacing between the two presidential candidates this week, the U.S. and Britain have taken more steps to try and push the candidates toward agreement and the election process toward conclusion.

The U.S. has sent its Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Daniel Feldman, to Kabul in hopes of getting the candidates to see through the agreement they made at the beginning of the month, when negotiations were mediated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Although the language was broad, the two candidates agreed to terms for the vote audit and recount as well as a National Unity power-sharing arrangement to follow the election.

According to the U.S. State Department, Feldman, who replaced James Dobbins in July, has met with the presidential candidates, UN representatives and other key election officials. "He has been there and had a previously planned trip and certainly will remain engaged in this process, of course," State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said.

Psaki said the representatives of both candidates were withdrawn from the vote audit on Thursday, but confirmed that the process continued without them and under observer supervision. She added that both candidates have already agreed to accept the results of the audit so they will be expected to follow through on that commitment.

"We have continued to encourage both parties to continue to respect the process and raise their specific concerns with UN, which is supervising the process and has been working with them...so Mr. Feldman is on the ground continuing to discuss with them the path forward, and that is certainly natural given his role," Psaki said.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron has also looked to put pressure on the candidates to resolve their disputes, releasing a recent statement that calls on them to reach an agreement and see through the commitments they made with Secretary Kerry.

Cameron has asked Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai to agree on a timeframe for the conclusion of the election and try to put their differences to rest before the NATO summit to be held September 4-5 in Britain.

He added that participation of a new president in the summit would be crucial for ensuring continued foreign aid to Afghanistan. The summit is expected to be where the final arrangements for a post-2014 military partnership between Afghanistan, the U.S. and NATO will be made.

However, Afghan analyst Nasrullah Stanekzai is not so optimistic about a quick end to the election process, which has already dragged on for well over four months.

"It seems unrealistic for the elections to end in another week, and even if it does end, it will be rushed and under foreign pressure," Stanekzai said. "Otherwise, the way it has been agreed among the candidates, this process will take time, and the efforts of the U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and the Prime Minister of Britain will not do any good."

Northern Officials Say Released Prisoners Lead Taliban Fighters

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 16:06



Local Afghan security officials in the northern provinces have reported that former Taliban prisoners who were released are leading the militant fight against security forces in the area.

The officials, representing Baghlan, Faryab and Kunduz provinces, reported that most of the insurgents that are embattled are well known, and have been imprisoned at least once before. They say these militants are responsible for the deaths of among the security forces and local civilian populations.

"The release of Taliban prisoners is one of our major concerns, because the armed opponents who were released from the jails are commanding Taliban's operations in the battlefield," Baghlan Police Chief Aminullah Amarkhail told TOLOnews.

Although some suspected militants are often released when there is supposedly a lack of evidence to keep them detained, many have been freed under the pretense that they have reformed and want to participate in the government's reconciliation program.

Controversy surrounding the release of suspected militants has long been simmering, but has erupted this summer amidst an intense offensive by the Taliban that has caused trouble for security forces around the country.

Security officials and experts have been quick to criticize the government for overseeing the releases that have left Afghan police and soldiers facing a swollen and emboldened enemy.

"Those who are fighting are criminals who were in jails and are now commanding the operations," Faryab Governor Mohammadullah Batash said on Thursday.

The Presidential Palace has called into question some of the claims that released prisoners are involved in insurgent activities, asking officials to provide specifics so that steps can be taken to ensure the same mistake is not repeated.

While some have kept their language broad, not referring to any individuals in particular, Kunduz Police Commander Ghulam Mustafa Mohseni has named one former prisoner in particular as the new leader of a daunting fighting force in his area.

"Maulavi Abdul Salam already leads 2,000 fighters and he was released from the jail," Commander Mohseni told TOLOnews.

However, still no exact figures about how many Taliban prisoners are in jail, how many have been released and how many returns to fighting exist.

Disagreements Between Candidates Prevail

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 16:00

Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah's electoral team has announced that outcomes of the vote audit process will not be acceptable to them, adding that the political negotiations between the electoral camps have not reached any positive outcomes.

"Further political discussions must be on the basis of a new framework; Dr. Abdullah has clarified this to Dr. Ghani during their negotiations," Syed Hussain Fazel Aqa Sancharaki, Abdullah's spokesman, said on Thursday.

"Continuing the audit is illogical; we will not accept the result as the process does not have any credibility to us."

Furthermore, Sancharaki declared that the electoral team would pursue further negotiations "from the position of the winners."

"We are the winners of the first and second rounds of the elections so we will talk from the position of the president."

This is while the rival team, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's camp, has stressed on the continuation of political talks between the candidates, expressing optimism over reaching final agreements within 48 hours.

"The candidates met yesterday with a spirit of trust, but no new agenda was discussed; the talks focused on some of the previously disputed topics without any conclusive decisions," Tahir Zuhair, Ghani's spokesman, said. "Meetings between the candidates will continue."

In addition, Zuhair stated that the camp will endorse the election commission's decisions regardless of the election outcomes.

"The Transformation and Continuity Team [Ghani's team] will accept the election results whatever they may be," he said. "We will endorse the results because we want to protect the interests of the nation."

Abdullah's camp has said that the candidates have disagreements over eight main issues. This is while Ghani's camp maintains that the candidates have disagreements over few issues only, explaining that the disagreements are mostly about the authority of the chief executive and whether or not he will also serve as the head of the council of ministers.

Even though disagreements between the electoral teams prevail, President Karzai has emphasized that the inauguration ceremony--scheduled for this Monday-- should not be postponed. As tensions increase, it remains unclear how the political situation in the country will unwind.

IEC: Verdict on 3,000 Boxes Issued Friday

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 13:55

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Thursday reported that the normal process of invalidation of fake votes from genuine votes is moving forward under the supervision of the United Nations' (UN) representatives.

The commission also announced that votes from 147 boxes have been invalidated so far, adding that they will soon make a decision regarding the votes from 3,000 polling sites which were not audited.

On Thursday, the invalidation process took place in the presence of national and international observers as well as the IEC staff, despite the absence of the representatives from the two electoral camps.

IEC officials have stated that the process will move forward even if the electoral camps boycott the process, adding that their decisions will be sent to the electoral teams.

"Based on the IEC decision, at the end of each day, we will send a copy of the checklists to both electoral teams," acting chief of the IEC secretariat, Ahmad Jawed Habibi, said.

IEC officials also stressed that the electoral teams have to accept the results.

"We hope that there are no more issues and the election outcomes are endorsed by both teams so that the next government is formed on the basis of people's votes," IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said. "There was fraud in the election, which is why the commission supported a 100 percent audit process to allow the teams to investigate the issue alongside the IEC staff."

The IEC has announced that the checklists are entered into the database under the supervision of UN observers.

"So far we have received more than 17,000 checklists, out of which 13,000 checklists have been completed through all eight stages," head of IEC's data registration department, Syed Ibrahim Saadat, said.

The IEC statements come after presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah's electoral team announced their decision to boycott the invalidation process and withdraw all observers from the procedure. After Abdullah's announcement, on the request of the UN presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's camp also withdrew his observers.

Jowzjan Residents Fight Taliban

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 13:23

In recent weeks, the northern province of Jowzjan has witnessed an alarming increase in insurgent attacks, but according to the provincial police chief residents, alongside the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), are retaliating against the Taliban and fighting together with the ANSF.

Jowzjan Police Chief Gen. Faqir Mohammad Jowzjani said that the peoples uprising against the insurgency is very effective.

"Residents of Jowzjan are facing armed militants with whatever weapons they have," Jowzjani explained. "At the moment 200 residents in Faizabad district,

50 in Qara Qul, 50 in Aqcha, 30 in Maradian, 20 in Mangjeek and 10 residents in Khamab districts are fighting against the Taliban. They have begun an uprising."

The residents say the reason behind their uprising is a response to their frustration and inconvenience brought on by the insurgents on a daily basis disturbing their lives, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and tackle the enemies with their own weapons.

Meanwhile, Jowzjan Deputy Governor Abdul Rahman Mahmoodi said the insurgents do not have the ability to face the security forces on the battlefield.

"Militants do not have the capacity to face the Afghan security forces, hence they resort to kidnapping, mine explosions and stealing arms to create insecurity for the residents," Mahmoodi said.

Residents have voiced their concerns about the insecurity rising in their province to the government and continue to call on to the government to bring law and order back into the area.

Exclusive Interview with Baghlan Police Chief

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 09:27

To watch exclusive interview with Gen. Aminullah Amarkhail, the Baghlan Police Chief, click here:

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Third Annual RAPL Kicks Off Today

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 08:50

The Roshan Afghan Premier League (RAPL) first game will kick off on Thursday August 28 at Afghanistan's Football Federation stadium in Kabul.

The football match begins at 4 p.m. between Shaheen Asmayee versus De Abaseen Sapi.

The teams have been split into two groups: A and B.

In group A are teams Oqaban Hindukosh, Mawjhai Amu, Shaheen Asmayee, and De Abaseen Sapi and in group B are Simorgh Alborz, Toofan Harirod, De Maiwand Atalan, and De Spinghar Bazan.

The first annual RAPL was held in 2012 with Toofan Harirod winning the championship game against Simorgh Alborz. In the second year of RAPL in 2013, Shaheen Asmayee team defeated Simorgh Alborz.

Today's match will be exclusively broadcasted live on TOLO TV, Lemar TV, Arman FM and Arakozai FM.

FARAKHABAR: 27 August 2014

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 07:29

In a letter to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), President Hamid Karzai has assured the alliance that the new Afghan president or representatives of the current government will participate in the upcoming NATO leaders' summit expected to take place in Britain on September 4.

President Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi has confirmed that Karzai himself will not be participating in the NATO summit, which is expected to be where the final arrangements for the post-2014 military relationship between Afghanistan and the western alliance are made.

Who will go to the NATO summit in Wales?

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

Malik Satiz, international affairs researcher

Zakaria Barakzai, Head of Afghanistan Democracy Watch

To watch the program, click here:

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8 Evening Program: Legacy of the Current Regime To The New Regime

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 07:21

In this episode host Muslim Sherzad, discusses the legacy of the current regime to a new government in the development field with the following guests:

Dr. Daoud Ali Najafi, the Transport and Civil Aviation Minister

Najibullah Aoudjan, Afghan Public Works Minister

Wais Ahmad Barmak, Afghan Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development

To watch the program, click here:

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TAWDE KHABARE: Taliban Attack Sangeen District

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 07:02

Clashes between the Taliban, including foreign insurgents, and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have intensified in the district of Sangeen in Helmand on Tuesday, according to the Helmand governor.

In the past two months, residents of Sangeen have witnessed extreme battles between the ANSF and the Taliban.

Host Zabiullah Sadaat discusses the issue with the following guests:

Ghairat Waziri, Khanashin district governor

Gen. Akram Basharyar, military affairs analyst

Asmat Qani, journalist

To watch the program, click here:

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Unity Government Effort in Doubt as Afghan Candidate Boycotts Election Audit

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 05:00
American officials hoped to persuade Abdullah Abdullah, who withdrew observers from a United Nations vote audit, to continue talks on a unity government with his rival, Ashraf Ghani.

US hostage's Mother Pleads with Jihadists to Spare Him

TOLO News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 04:00

The mother of a US hostage who has been threatened with death by the jihadist gang that murdered a kidnapped reporter pleaded for her son's life Wednesday in an emotional televised appeal.

Shirley Sotloff, mother of 31-year-old freelance reporter Steven Sotloff, directly addressed the leader of so-called Islamic State, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, in a video message distributed to the media.

"My son is Steven is in your hands," she said. "He is a journalist who made a journey to cover the story of Muslims suffering at the hands of tyrants."

"As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over."

Sotloff disappeared while reporting in Syria in August 2013. His apparent kidnap was not widely reported until he appeared on a video released last week by the Islamic State.

In the footage a masked militant beheads US reporter James Foley then parades Sotloff, warning he will meet the same fate unless US President Barack Obama halts air strikes against the group in Iraq.

"We have not seen Steven for over a year and we miss him very much. We want to see him home safe and sound and to hug him," the mother said, looking tired and tense but controlled.

"Since his capture, I have learned a lot about Islam. I've learned that Islam teaches that no individual should be held responsible for the sins of others," she said.

"Steven has no control over the actions of the US government. He's an innocent journalist. I've always learned that you, the Caliph can grant amnesty. I ask you to please release my child.

"I ask you to use your authority to spare his life and to follow the example set by the Prophet Mohammed. I plead with you to grant me this."

The Islamic State, a jihadist militant group, has declared the stretch of territory it controls in eastern Syria and northern Iraq to be the heartland of a new caliphate and Baghdadi the leader of all Muslims.

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