Aggregated News about Afghanistan

TAWDE KHABARE: Rise In Insecurity In Kabul Discussed

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 19:19

In this episode of Farakhabar, host Shahpoor Bakhtiar discusses the recent rise in insecurity in Kabul city.

With him in the studio are.

• Najibullah Danish, deputy spokesman for interior ministry

• Saleh Mohammad Saleh, MP

• Abdul Khaliq Zazai, member of Kabul provincial council

• Tahir Yargharl, military commentator

Click below to watch full episode.


FARAKHABAR: NUG's Activities In Past Two Years Discussed

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 19:09

In this episode of Farakhabar, host Fawad Aman discusses activities of the National Unity Government (NUG) over the past two years.

With him in the studio is Anwarulhaq Ahadi, head of the New National Front of Afghanistan.

Click below to watch full episode.


Kunduz Troops Call For Offensive To Secure Province

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 18:44

Afghan troops in Kunduz have called for a large-scale military operation to eliminate insurgents in the province; otherwise, they have warned, a further delay in conducting offensives will be disastrous for that part of the country.

TOLOnews reporter Wali Aryan, reporting from the province said residents of Kunduz city are faced with serious problems especially after the Taliban reportedly destroyed the key Alchin Bridge – which connects the city with other districts of the province.

Talking on Kunduz city's situation one resident, Allah Nazar, said: "You see, the people are faced with lots of challenges when they want to travel into or out of the [Kunduz] city. I have paid 500 Afghanis to go to Imam Sahib [district] from Kunduz city."

According to Aryan, the war has mostly affected civilians in Kunduz – leaving dozens of families homeless.

Bibi Gul, a member of one of the displaced families, said: "We were faced with lots of problems, therefore we left our house."

Meanwhile, police force member in Alcin, Sebghatullah, said: "Taliban [fighters] are very near to the city. They are in Khwaja Pak area [on the outskirts of Kunduz city]. Only the main road is under government's control."

This comes after Kunduz has witnessed heavy clashes between security forces and Taliban fighters over the past few weeks.

Operation Launched To Re-Open Helmand-Kandahar Highway

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 17:39

Helmand Governor Hayatullah Hayat said that an operation has been launched to re-open Helmand-Kandahar highway to traffic.

"The highway will be opened in two to three days. Taliban closed it by planting mines on both side of the street", said Hayat, Helmand's governor.

He said he hopes the highway will be opened in two days.

Sharif Amiry and Abdullah Hamim, TOLO News correspondents reporting from the battle zone, have said the operation is moving forward slowly due to the mines.‎

The insurgents launched massive attacks on the southern Helmand province a few weeks ago. For the past 18 days the major southern artery has been completely closed to traffic.

Clashes are however still ongoing in the war-ravaged province.

The closure of the highway has caused endless problems for residents and has resulted in an increase in the cost of food.

"We want the government officials to reopen the highway," Khudai Noor, a shopkeeper in Lashkargah said.

Taliban Overrun Afghan Border District, Opening a New Front

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 17:37
Local Afghan officials expressed alarm that the attack was led by the Haqqani network, an arm of the insurgency based in Pakistan.

NUG Achievements To Be Reviewed At Brussels Summit

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 17:35

The ministry of finance has said that national revenue covers 30 percent of the national budget and that they have collected more than that.

But economists and investors have claimed that government needs to bring changes to the way in which they collect this revenue.

However, it is believed that security threats are the main reason that investors leave Afghanistan. But the Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that strict and improper methods of tax collection also caused about 2,000 investors to withdraw from Afghanistan in recent months.

"Between 50 to 300 people become jobless when a business or factory closes down. Then where does government employ them? How do they find them new jobs?" asked Siamuddin Peserlay, spokesman for the chamber.

Furthermore, investors also believe that some of the government's new plans do not match with traditional methods of business in Afghanistan.

Rahimuddin, chairman of the board of private entrepreneurs said: "Government has created a new balance system that requires one month, three months, six months or yearly reports while Afghan traders have complained about one year balances - there are balances that have not been reconciled from six months to one year."

Meanwhile, the ministry of finance has insisted on the increase of national revenue and said that last year the International Monetary Fund determined 114 billion Afghani as the target for national revenue while the ministry has collected more than 120 billion Afghani.

"The total budget for this year is 455 million Afs of which 30 percent of it will be covered by national income and the rest will be provided by the international community. Afghan government policy is to increase the national income to cover a bigger part of the national budget," said Ajmal Hamid Abdul Rahimzai, spokesman for the ministry of finance.

However, economic analysts insist that government need to review national revenue collection methods, especially the collection of tax.

Siyar Quraishi, a banking and finance analyst: "Government should have some supportive exemption from tax policies to encourage investors to invest in the country."

As the Brussels Summit looms, government tries to implement its plans to prove that they have fulfilled their promises to the international community – an important step to secure the continuation of non-military aid to the country.

TOLOnews 6pm News 27 August 2016

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 16:44

Top news in this Bulletin:

Reports indicate that the Taliban are targeting military convoys along parts of the Kabul-Jalalabad Highway and that they are also creating random check points to search motorists and passengers.

Click below to watch full bulletin.


Pakistan's continued support for resurgent militant groups hostile to the United States, coupled with warming U.S military and business relations with India, is sharply diminishing Islamabad's strategic importance as an ally to Washington, U.S military, diplomatic, and intelligence officials and outside experts said.

AUAF Victim's Family Asks Govt To Probe Attack

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 16:04

Hafizullah, the first victim of the attack on the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), was a 35-year-old guard employed by the School for the Visually Impaired when died.

It was at this school, which is next door to the university, that insurgents first launched their attack on Wednesday night. By blasting through the shared wall, attackers were able to access the university through the school.

Hafizullah's family meanwhile has said they want government to investigate how the insurgents were able to reach the school and university with an explosive laden-vehicle without being stopped by security forces.

"It needs to be investigated how they masterminded the attack and how they reached the heart of the city with explosive devices. Did they come from outside the country or from inside (the country)? And how did they manage to pass checkpoints and who brought them in?" said Ezatullah, Hafizullah's brother.

"If government does not prevent such attacks, all the people in the country will be in mourning. Everyday people are grieving. If you go outside of the house, you can see grief in every corner of the country," said Nizamuddin, Hafizullah's cousin.

Sabira, Hafizullah's wife said her husband not only worked as a guard but also worked as a tailor to earn money. She said he had been building his family a house but died before he could complete it.

"He borrowed money to build the house. The house was not finished and now he is gone," said Sabira.

Hafizullah had two children and was living with his wife and mother.

"What should we do? How should we live? My son walked out but his body was brought back instead," said Hafizullah's mother.

Hafizullah had worked for 11 years as a guard for the high school but died when insurgents opened fire on the school guards on Wednesday night. The guards were the first to come under attack by the insurgents.

The attack left 16 dead in total, with at least 53 wounded.

An Afghan Feud Reignites, Putting Police Families at Odds

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 16:01
Prominent northern families are contesting a new killing, fueling a type of infighting that threatens government stability and the fight against the Taliban.

Security Forces Blasted For Not Maintaining Kabul Security

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 16:00

Kabul residents on Saturday continued to blast security institutions for not ensuring the safety of the city, and said the sharp rise in crime and attacks was due to negligence on the part of authorities.

Military analysts concur but have said it is also due to poor management.

Afghanistan's capital has witnessed a sharp increase in a wide variety of incidents in recent months including armed robberies, kidnappings, suicide attacks, IED explosions and other terrorist attacks.

Kabul provincial council and military analysts believe that these crimes and attacks happen because security officials are being appointed by powerful men and not appointed on merit.

"All the chiefs of police departments are appointed based on their relations not their merit. The appointed persons are not competent and cannot manage departments," said Atiqullah Amarkhail, a member of the Kabul provincial council.

But one military analyst said: "A police chief whose profession is in logistics should not be appointed as commander. But in this country everything is based on relationship - not on profession and competency."

In the meantime, Kabul residents criticize the government for not maintaining the security and say that day by day the situation gets worse.

"Does Kabul have gates or not? Is there anyone responsible for the life of the people?" said Najibullah, a resident of Kabul.

"We take such risks when we leave home because we don't know whether we will come back alive or not," said Haron, another Kabul resident.

"Terrorists enter the city through Kabul gates. Why do security forces do not stop them,", asked Ekram, another Kabul resident.

But the ministry of interior has said that it is busy overcoming challenges.

"The ministry of interior insists now on merit-based appointments and we only want to appoint people who can maintain security. But this does not happen all the time," said Najibullah Danish, deputy spokesman for the ministry of interior.

Mawjhai Amu Beats Oqaban Hindukush 1-0

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 15:50

In the third match of the Roshan Afghanistan Premier League (RAPL), the Mawjhai Amu Football Club defeated Oqaban Hindukush 1-0 on Saturday after a string of heavy attacks and counterattacks by the two teams throughout the match.

Mawjhai Amu started off in an offensive mode and scored the first goal through Lal Pacha Karokhail in the third minute of the game.

Oqaban Hindukush struggled to fill the gap from then on. In the 17th minute, Mujibullah Faizi from Oqaban scored but it was ruled out by the referee.

The most promising opportunity for Oqaban came when Omran Walizada's strike hit the top of the goal – but failed to hit the net – denying them the chance yet again to score.

The second half was better for Oqaban Hindukush as they tried to maintain possession of the ball but again failed to score.

Mahbubullah Kargar, goalkeeper for Mawjhai Amu, was selected as man of the match.

Concerns Raised Over Taliban On Kabul-Jalalabad Highway

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 15:30

Reports indicate that the Taliban are targeting military convoys along parts of the Kabul-Jalalabad Highway and that they are also creating random check points to search motorists and passengers.

Drivers and passengers that use the highway have said that they witness sporadic clashes between security forces and insurgents at times along parts of the highway.

They said only a few people now use the road after sunset.

"Sometimes we witness conflict between security forces and the Taliban – particularly in Tangi area of the highway," said Najibullah, a driver.

"The Taliban sometimes harass and search the passengers. We do not use the highway after sunset. But if I have to use the highway at night I worry a lot," said Khan Saeed, another driver.

Meanwhile, a number of security officials said the Taliban insurgents do appear along parts of the highway at times but then disappear.

"The enemy appears like a thief in the dark on parts of highway – particularly in high mountainous areas. They [insurgents] come and open fire and then they leave," said Mohammad Aqa, a commander of 201 Selab Corps.

According to TOLOnews' Karim Amini, Afghan National Army soldiers have permanent outposts along parts of the highway and they patrol the road during the day and at night.

"Sometimes they [militants] clash with us for four, six or seven hours; and sometimes we fight for the entire day," said Ahmad Fawad, a police force member.

Another police force member, Bahadur Shah, said: "The militants stopped a number of army soldiers near the Laghman entrance gate and also opened fire on civilian vehicles."

According to reports, the destabilization of highways has been a new war tactic by the Taliban in recent months.

SEAL Team 6 and a Man Left for Dead: A Grainy Picture of Valor

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 14:17
An airman with the unit is being considered for the Medal of Honor after new video analysis suggested that he fought alone bravely in a 2002 battle on an Afghan peak.

U.S Aid To Pakistan Shrinks Amid Mounting Frustration Over Militants

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 14:14

Pakistan's continued support for resurgent militant groups hostile to the United States, coupled with warming U.S military and business relations with India, is sharply diminishing Islamabad's strategic importance as an ally to Washington, U.S military, diplomatic, and intelligence officials and outside experts said.

The United States has cut both military and economic aid to Pakistan sharply in recent years, reflecting mounting frustration among a growing number of officials with the nuclear-armed country's support for the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.

That frustration has dogged U.S-Pakistan ties for more than a decade, but has spiked anew as the militant Islamic group has advanced in parts of Afghanistan that U.S and allied forces once helped to secure, U.S officials and analysts say. "We're seeing a very definitive and very sharp reorienting of U.S. policy in South Asia away from Afghanistan-Pakistan and more towards India," said Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert with the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think-tank.

The U.S relationship with Pakistan has long been a transactional one marked by mutual mistrust, marriages of convenience, and mood swings.

The long-standing U.S. frustration with Pakistan's refusal to stop supporting the Taliban, especially within the U.S. military and intelligence community, is now overriding President Barack Obama's administration's desire to avoid renewed military involvement in Afghanistan, as well as concerns that China could capitalize on fraying ties between Washington and Islamabad, the U.S. officials said.

Obama announced last month he would keep U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan at 8,400 through the end of his administration, shelving plans to cut the force in half by year end.

American civilian and military aid to Pakistan, once the third-largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, is expected to total less than $1 billion in 2016, down from a recent peak of more than $3.5 billion in 2011, according to U.S. government data. The United States has not appropriated less than $1 billion to Pakistan since at least 2007.

The decrease also comes amid budget constraints and shifting global priorities for the United States, including fighting Islamic State militants, a resurgent Russia and an increasingly assertive China.

In March, Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would seek to bar $430 million in U.S. funding for Islamabad's purchase of $700 million of Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16 fighter jets.

Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter refused to authorize $300 million in military reimbursements to Pakistan, citing the limited gains the country has made fighting the militant Haqqani network, which is based in the country's tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. The approval of such funding has been mostly routine in the past.

The U.S. Congress has yet to authorize hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan for the next fiscal year. The Pentagon is due to authorize $350 million in military aid for the next fiscal year, and is unlikely to approve it under the Obama administration, a U.S. defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

"Congress is no longer willing to fund a state that supports the Afghan Taliban, which is killing American soldiers," said Bruce Riedel, a Brookings Institution expert and former CIA officer who headed Obama's first Afghanistan policy review.

In a stark illustration of the limits of U.S.–Pakistan cooperation, the United States killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a drone strike in Pakistan's remote Baluchistan region in May, without informing Pakistan.

Badakhshan Gold Mine A Source Of Income For Taliban: Officials

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 12:26

Badakhshan local officials said Saturday that a gold mine in Raghistan district of Badakhshan has become a key source of income for the Taliban.

Badakhshan provincial council warns that it will be impossible to clear the province of Taliban unless their revenue source is cut.

The council said if Raghistan's gold mine and the lapis mine in Karan and Manjan districts are not released from the control of Taliban and powerful elements the insurgent group will strengthen in the province.

"Those two mines in Badakhshan helped Taliban a lot to have heavy weapons and fight for months against the government. In my opinion while the mines are controlled by the Taliban clearance operations will not be successful," said Abdullah Naji Nazari, a Badakhshan provincial council member.

According to Badakhshan police, terrorists annually receive up to five million Afghani and with this money they buy heavy and light weapons.

"In fact Raghistan gold mine helps Taliban a lot and has become a source of income for Taliban and on a monthly average Taliban receives from three to five million Afghani," said Mohammad Nabi Bayan, Badakhshan's security chief.

But the question arises as to where are the terrorists buying their weapons?

"They buy light weapons in Afghanistan and they import heavy weapons from Pakistan through Nuristan province which has an open border with Badakhshan," said Saifuddin Sayes, head of the Badakhshan Civil Society Forum.

For the past two years the lapis lazuli mine in Badakhshan has been mined by illegal armed men and reports indicate that Taliban receives 50 percent of this income monthly.

On the other hand, Raghistan gold mine is under Taliban control and being extracted by foreign Taliban and smuggled to neighboring courtiers, officials said.

To watch the report, click here.


MEHWAR: Issue of Insurgents Infiltrating Kabul Discussed

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 08:47

In this episode of Mehwar, host Masoud Malik discusses the issue of insurgents infiltrating Kabul in the wake of Wednesday night's attack on the American University of Afghanistan.

In the studio with him is‎ Selai Ghafar, spokeswoman for the Hizb-e-Hambastagi Afghanistan party

To watch the program, click here:


Blast In Kabul Wounds One Civilian

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 08:23

A magnetic mine blast in Kabul city Saturday morning wounded one civilian, Kabul police said.

The blast took place at around 10:30 am local time in Qala-e-Hashmat Khan in PD8, police said.

According to police the mine had been placed close to a police station.

BLACK AND WHITE: Durand Line Discussed

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 08:03

In this episode of Black and White, host Sami Mahdi discusses the Durand Line problem between Afghanistan and Pakistan with the following guests:

Akram Akhpalwak, President Adviser

Assadullah Sadati, MP

Yousof Pashton, President Adviser

Ahmad Zia Rafat, University lecturer

To watch the program, click here:


US, Russia Move Closer to New Syria Ceasefire

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 06:37

Washington and Moscow made key steps towards agreeing a new ceasefire in Syria, but a final deal has not been reached, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart said after talks Friday.

Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the comments after the marathon talks at a luxury hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva.

"Today I can say that we achieved clarity on the path forward" for a revamped cessation of hostilities, the top US diplomat said.

He added that the "vast majority" of technical obstacles to a ceasefire had been agreed but that some issues remained unresolved.

Lavrov echoed his American counterpart, telling reporters that "very important steps" had been made on a deal to stop the violence.

There had been hopes of a definitive announcement to stem the fighting in the war-ravaged country or on a new round of UN-brokered peace talks.

Kerry explained that US and Russian experts would continue to meet in Geneva in the coming days to pour over a set of unresolved issues in hopes of striking a durable deal.

He stressed though that "neither of us is (ready) to make an announcement that is predicated by failure -- we don't want to have a deal for the sake of a deal."

A previous ceasefire agreed earlier this year has all but collapsed, and Kerry acknowledged that "violations (of the deal) eventually became the norm rather than the exception."

Moscow and Washington support opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, which erupted in March 2011 after President Bashar al-Assad unleashed a brutal crackdown against a pro-democracy revolt.

Russia is one of Assad's most important international backers while the US supports Syria's main opposition alliance and some rebels.

Kerry on Friday listed two main priorities to ensure that a prospective revamped ceasefire holds: responding to ceasefire violations by the Damascus regime and checking the rising influence of the former Al-Nusra Front.

That group has renamed itself Fateh al-Sham Front after renouncing its status as Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, but Kerry on Friday stressed that "Nusra is Al-Qaeda, and no name change by Nusra hides what Nusra really is and what it tries to do."

Janikhel District In Paktia Collapses To Taliban

TOLO News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 06:16

Paktia's deputy provincial governor Abdul Wali Sahi on Saturday confirmed that Janikhel district collapsed to the Taliban on Friday night.

Sahi said that the district collapsed to the Taliban with the help of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

According to Sahi the bodies of Pakistani fighters were seen lying on the battle field.

Sahi criticized government for not conducting airstrikes in Janikhel districts ahead of Friday night's clash.

Earlier district governor Abdul Rahman Solamal confirmed the fall of the district and said 30 security force members had been killed in the clash.

Solamal said that about 1,200 Taliban insurgents attacked the district.

According to the district governor the district collapsed because central government and provincial officials did not send in reinforcement troops to the district on time.

After the Taliban captured the district they torched the district governor's building and the houses of government employees and local policemen, Solamal said.

Most of the district's residents have fled the area.

The district governor also claimed many of the Taliban's fighters are Pakistanis.

In addition, Solamal said that government has not done enough to transfer wounded soldiers to hospitals.

So far there have been no reports of civilian casualties.

This comes after hundreds of Taliban stormed the district last week, resulting in an ongoing clash with security forces.

Janikhel borders Pakistan and some parts of the district have for a while been insecure.

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