Aggregated News about Afghanistan

Female Journalist Killed in Balkh Province

TOLO News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 11:51

Female journalist Palwasha Tokhi, who worked for Bayan, a local radio in northern Balkh province, was killed inside her home on Tuesday evening.

Tokhi had just returned to Afghanistan after completing her master's degree in Thailand two months ago.

According to Palwasha's father, Mohammad Khalil Tokhi, she was stabbed by unknown men who broke into their house when he was not home. She lost her life at a hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif.

"I don't know the reason behind this incident. We don't have any personal enmity with anyone," he added.

The Northern Journalist Association in Mazar-e-Sharif has strongly condemned the incident.

"We are deeply saddened by the murder of Palwasha Tokhi who worked for Bayan radio for five years," Gulab Shah Bawar, head of Northern Journalists Association in Mazar-e-Sharif, said.

Palwasha is the second journalist killed in Mazar-e-Sharif in the past two months. No one has been arrested in relation to either case yet.

FARAKHABAR: 16 September 2014

TOLO News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 09:04

A suicide attack on a foreign troops convoy in Kabul early Tuesday morning killed three foreign soldiers and injured 21 Afghan civilians.

The attack came just after the National Directorate of Security (NDS) deputy, minister of interior, and minister of defense were summoned in the Senate over the increasing insurgent attacks in the recent months.

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

Shah Hussain Murtazawi, Journalist

Nazari Paryani, Journalist

To watch the program, click here:

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8pm Program: Review of the Afghan Foreign Policy Toward Pakistan

TOLO News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 09:01

Has Afghanistan had a clear strategy and policy towards Pakistan in the past thirteen years?

In this episode, host Omid Farooq discusses the issue with the following guests:

Jawed Ludin, Deputy Foreign Minister

Haroon Mir, Political analyst

Dr. Amin Habibi, International relations analyst

To watch the program, click here:

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TAWDE KHABARE: Democracy in Afghanistan

TOLO News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 08:46

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Zabiullah Sadaat discuses why the main concepts of democracy are not defined in Afghanistan, with the following guests:

Lal Gul Lal, Head of Human Rights Organization

Helai Arshad, Head of the Religious and Cultural
Committee of the Parliament

Ghulam Hussan Gran, Civic issues analyst

Baqi Samandar, Civil society activist

To watch the program, click here:

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Obama: Ebola Crisis 'Spiraling out of Control'

TOLO News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 07:58

President Barack Obama issued a global call to action to fight West Africa's Ebola epidemic, warning the deadly outbreak was unprecedented and "spiraling out of control," threatening hundreds of thousands of people.

Speaking as he unveiled a major new US initiative which will see 3,000 US military personnel deployed to West Africa to combat the growing health crisis, Obama said the outbreak was spreading "exponentially."

"Here's the hard truth. In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen before," Obama said.

"It's spiraling out of control. It is getting worse. It's spreading faster and exponentially. Today, thousands of people in West Africa are infected. That number could rapidly grow to tens of thousands.

"And if the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us."

As well as the military deployment, the US will also set up a command and control center in the capital of Liberia, the hardest-hit country, build new treatment centers and train health workers.

Precise timing on deployment was still unclear.

"No deployment in the coming days. The troops have to be properly trained and equipped," a Pentagon official said privately. Among the US soldiers sent to West Africa will be doctors and also engineers to set up the field hospitals, the official said.

Meanwhile, the United States moved to fund these plans.

Specifically, the Department of Defense plans to ask Wednesday to have reprogrammed "an additional $500 million in Fiscal Year 2014 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to fight Ebola," an administration official said.

This is separate from the funds already put toward the effort, including the $175 million already dedicated, and the $88 million requested through a continuing resolution.

The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 2,400 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone this year.

The virus can fell its victims within days, causing severe fever and muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea -- in some cases shutting down organs and causing unstoppable bleeding.

No licenced vaccine or treatment exists.

- Security Council action -

The United Nations Security Council is poised to adopt a resolution on Thursday exhorting countries to provide more field hospitals and urgent aid to the crisis-stricken region.

Likely passage of the resolution marks only the third time that the Security Council will vote on a public health crisis after resolutions on AIDS in 2000 and 2011.

"This has gone beyond health issues," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.

"It has gone to areas affecting social and economic situations. It may even affect political stability if not properly contained and treated."

The United Nations said nearly one billion dollars would be needed to beat back the worst-ever outbreak of the disease, which is on track to infect 20,000 people by the end of the year.

The world body has set a goal of stopping the spread of Ebola within six to nine months but aid agencies are complaining that help has been too slow.

Ban is planning a "high-level event" on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next week to draw attention to the crisis.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told reporters in Geneva the Ebola crisis faced a "huge funding challenge."

The capacity of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to provide even the most basic necessities is "on the brink of collapse," she warned.

The United Nations said the response to the crisis would require $987.8 million (763 million euros), with about half needed for Liberia.

- World 'needs to do more' -

The World Bank meanwhile approved a $105 million grant, part of a $200 million pledge made in early August aimed at helping people cope with the economic impact of the crisis and strengthening public health systems.

"The world needs to do much, much more to respond to the Ebola crisis in these three countries," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.

The UN said if the international community and affected countries respond swiftly and energetically, transmission should begin to slow by the end of the year and halt by mid-2015.

"The level of surge we need to do is unprecedented. It is massive," the United Nations' Ebola coordinator David Nabarro told reporters.

China will send a 59-person mobile laboratory team from its Centre for Disease Control to Sierra Leone, including epidemiologists, clinicians and nurses -- bringing the number of Chinese medics in the country to 174, the WHO said.

The EU, Britain, France and Cuba have also pledged to send medical teams and other aid to the region.

But this is far from enough, warned Joanne Liu, head of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity.

Noting that the known Ebola toll "represents only a fraction of the real number," she stressed that "the ground response remains totally and lethally inadequate."
"The window of opportunity to contain this outbreak is closing," she warned.

Roadside Blast Kills Two Civilians in Helmand

TOLO News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 07:41

At least two civilians were killed and three others were wounded in a roadside blast in Helmand province on Tuesday, local officials said on Wednesday.

The incident occurred in Musa Qala district when a roadside mine hit a civilian vehicle, District Governor Mohammad Sharif said.

"Among the injured civilians were two women and a child; they were all from the same family," Sharif added.

The victims have been taken to a nearby hospital.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Taliban Burn Down Civilian Homes in Kunar

TOLO News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 07:04

Taliban insurgents burned downed six civilian houses in Kunar province on Tuesday night, local officials said on Wednesday.

According to the provincial Police Chief Abdul Habib Sayedkhili, the Taliban ambushed local police outposts in Marwara district of the province two days ago, starting a clash with the local police in which seven insurgents were killed.

The Taliban retaliated with torching civilian houses on fire in the district.

The Taliban have threatened to burn other houses too and because of these threats 154 families have fled their homes.

The insurgent group has not yet commented about the attack.

Soldiers Killed in Suicide Attack at U.S. Base in Kabul

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 05:00
Three soldiers with the American-led coalition were killed Tuesday in the attack on a convoy at the gates of a United States military base, officials said.

Pictures of the Day: Ukraine and Elsewhere

New York Times Topic:Afghanistan - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 22:50
Photos from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Brazil and India.

TOLOnews 6 pm News 16 September 2014

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 17:12

After weeks of negotiations, the camps of the presidential candidates remain in disagreement on two central issues to resolving their dispute over this year's election. Nevertheless, on Tuesday, both teams met and appeared relatively optimistic about the possibility of their reaching a satisfying conclusion soon.

To watch the bulletin, click here:

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With the vote auditing and invalidation processes all wrapped up, pressure on the two presidential candidates to come to an agreement and end the election stalemate has mounted over the past week. Although they have restarted negotiations, including meets with President Hamid Karzai as well as U.S. officials, no progress has been made on two key points of contention between the sides.

Afghan Energy Watchdog Reports Steep Drop in Extraction Revenues

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 17:11

The Afghan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI) has released a report arguing that the revenues from Afghanistan's resource extraction industries over the past five years have plummeted from 286 million AFS to three million AFS.

The AEITI report also suggests there have been major differences between the facts and figures regarding revenues reported by the Afghan government and those documented by independent organizations over the years.

"One of the main problems that we found and failed to settle is that one of Afghan companies in 2008 deposited seven million AFS into a government account as customs duty for importing equipments for mines extraction in Afghanistan, but there is no record in the company, the company has lost its record, but it is kept by the government," AEITI head Mirwais Sarah said, providing an example of the kind unstandardized systems and documentation that trouble the resource extraction industry in Afghanistan.

Officials at the Ministry of Finance (MoF), from which AEITI was created in 2009, have said that the lack of clear policy and protocol when it comes to mining, in particular, has caused major problems. "We still have no special or clear policy for mining; major companies invest, but we don't have a clear policy," Deputy Minister of Finance for Customs and Revenues Gul Maqsood Sabet said.

However, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) has defended the transparency of the government's contracts system. "So far, all contracts - whether small or large - have been published and they have been available for all," Deputy Minister of Mines and Petroleum for Policy and Programs Mir Ahmad Jawed Sadat said.

AEITI officials have said the primary issues facing the Afghan resource extraction sector is the lack of standardized policy and protocol, accountability and transparency. They have argued these are the major causes for the differences in government-reported revenues and real revenues.

AEITI was originally established to ensure the transparency and monitoring of revenues collected from the mining sectors. They have published three reports, and the most recent one was put together in coordination with an Azerbaijani company known as Moor Stephens.

"A Man and A Motorcycle, How Hamid Karzai Came to Power"

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 17:05

"A Man and a Motorcycle, How Hamid Karzai Came to Power" is a new book written by Dutch author Bette Dam about Karzai's life and his journey to becoming the president of Afghanistan.

Dam's interest in Afghanistan has inspired her to write this book. The author has stated that writing the book has helped her better understand Afghanistan as well as Karzai's character.

"Karzai is under a lot of pressure from the west as well as key domestic players. He is more in touch with the internal figures than the west," she said. "He is under pressure from influential figures outside his cabinet as well."

Dam has stated that while writing the book, she came to the conclusion that President Karzai has his own special ways and strategies of handling various situations.

"When we saw him in western media, he seemed like a very moderate, highly-educated, democrat. We thought the only thing he wanted was an American style democracy. But when I started researching, I found that Hamid Karzai is much more like an Afghan from Kandahar, someone who has always been in contact with Afghan players, someone who knows how to make deals and how work with tribes. He is very experienced," Dam added.

The book was written in two years after interviews with 150 key figures, close to the Afghan president not only in Afghanistan, but also in Pakistan, the U.S. and some European countries.

Written in 230 pages, the book was first released in September 2014.

Campaigns Stay Hopeful Despite Disagreements

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 17:01

After weeks of negotiations, the camps of the presidential candidates remain in disagreement on two central issues to resolving their dispute over this year’s election. Nevertheless, on Tuesday, both teams met and appeared relatively optimistic about the possibility of their reaching a satisfying conclusion soon.

With the vote auditing and invalidation processes all wrapped up, pressure on the two presidential candidates to come to an agreement and end the election stalemate has mounted over the past week. Although they have restarted negotiations, including meets with President Hamid Karzai as well as U.S. officials, no progress has been made on two key points of contention between the sides.

According to the campaigns, the distribution of power between the president and the chief executive along with the manner in which the election results will be announced remain the issues unreconciled. The Abdullah Abdullah team has argued for the chief executive to serve as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers while Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and his supporters maintain such a move would be unconstitutional.

Still, despite their differences, both campaigns have presented an air of confidence that there will be an agreement soon.

“The negotiations were conducted between the candidates in a friendly and trusting spirit, but still there are some disputed points that haven’t been settled and an agreement hasn’t been made on them,” Ghani spokesman Faizullah Zaki said on Tuesday.

While not as positive about the prospects of a deal on the near horizon as their opponents seemed to be, the Abdullah camp on Tuesday said they remain hopeful and simply await their opponents consent to their “joint declaration”.

“Given the experience that we had with the previous talks between the candidates, we can’t be very optimistic about the outcome of the talks, but overall, we are hopeful,” Abdullah spokesman Mujiburrahman Rahimi said. “The negotiations will bear results once the Change and Continuity team signs the joint declaration.”

Meanwhile, the ripple effects of this year’s protracted and uncertain election process are continuing to be felt by Afghans of all walks of life. In addition to economic concerns, recently security officials have also voiced concerns about the impact the stalemate is having on counterinsurgency efforts nationwide. The past month and half have seen increasingly bold and aggressive moves by the Taliban and other groups.

The Minister of Defense Bismillah Mohammadi on Tuesday called on the candidates to reach an agreement as soon as possible. “Unfortunately, the election process is prolonged, but we are hopeful that they will reach an agreement, because I have heard some good news and I hope that they can reach an agreement and the problems of the public are resolved,” he said.

Deadliest Year for the ANSF: Mohammadi

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 16:11

According to the Minister of Defense Bismillah Mohammadi, Minister of Interior Umer Daudzai and the National Directorate of Security (NDS) Deputy Hasamuddin Hassam, who were summoned to the Senate on Tuesday, the current year has been the deadliest for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

The officials stated that in the past six months, Taliban insurgents have conducted about 700 offensives in different parts of the country with the cooperation of their foreign and domestic counterparts.

"This year has been the deadliest year in the past 13 years. The Taliban have conducted 691 offensives this year with the cooperation of their domestic and foreign counterparts," Minister of Defense Bismillah Mohammadi said. "We had the cooperation of the NATO forces in the past; but we fought alone this year."

Minister of Interior Umer Daudzai stated that this year's war was led by foreign Taliban.

"There were many foreign Taliban this year; they were not speaking Dari or Pashto [Afghanistan's official languages]; they were speaking Urdu [Pakistan's official language]," Daudzai said.

Daudzai stated that in the first six months of the year, 955 civilians 1,523 police officers were killed and another 2,394 civilians and 2,506 police officers were injured.

The Taliban, too, have suffered from casualties. In the last six months, 5,503 Taliban insurgents have been killed and another 2,370 have been wounded.

The ANSF tackles the unprecedented rates of insurgent attacks as the forces get ready to take on the full security responsibility after the foreign troops withdraw from the country at the end of the current year.

National Cricket Team Heads to South Korea for Asian Olympics

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 13:10

The Afghan National Cricket Team left Kabul for South Korea on Tuesday to participate in the 2014 Asian Olympics.

There are 12 cricket players, two coaches and two observers who are currently on their way to South Korea. Twenty other players from the national cricket team are in Australia partaking in friendly matches and training with other teams from around the world for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

Hamid Hassan, player for the national team, said that the team is "very strong this year and are hopeful for a victorious tour in South Korea." He added that three other team members, including the captain of the team, Nabi Essakhail, will join them from Australia.

"We lost in the last round to Bangladesh and won silver medals, but this time we will aim to bring the cup to Afghanistan," Shirzad Mohammad, another player on the team, said.

In the semi-finals of the Asian Olympic games, Afghanistan will face the team placed first in the second group.

The Asian Olympics are held every four years. In 2010 Afghanistan placed second, coming home with silver medals.

National Cricket Team Heads to South Korea for Asian Olympics

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 13:10

The Afghan National Cricket Team left Kabul for South Korea on Tuesday to participate in the 2014 Asian Olympics.

There are 12 cricket players, two coaches and two observers who are currently on their way to South Korea. Twenty other players from the national cricket team are in Australia partaking in friendly matches and training with other teams from around the world for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

Hamid Hassan, player for the national team, said that the team is "very strong this year and are hopeful for a victorious tour in South Korea." He added that three other team members, including the captain of the team, Nabi Essakhail, will join them from Australia.

"We lost in the last round to Bangladesh and won silver medals, but this time we will aim to bring the cup to Afghanistan," Shirzad Mohammad, another player on the team, said.

In the semi-finals of the Asian Olympic games, Afghanistan will face the team placed first in the second group.

The Asian Olympics are held every four years. In 2010 Afghanistan placed second, coming home with silver medals.

Afghan Soldier Kills ISAF Trainer in Herat

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 10:28

In a recent green on blue attack in Herat on Monday, an Afghan soldier shot an International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) trainer dead, injuring another trainer and an interpreter, local officials said on Tuesday.

The incident took place in a foreign military base in the 207 Zafar Army Corps, the commander of 207 Zafar Army Corps, Taj Mohammad Zahid said, adding that the shooter was also killed during the fire exchange.

"The soldier had no link with the Taliban insurgents. He had psychological problems," he said. "Investigations are underway."

The ISAF, in a statement, has confirmed the death of one of their soldiers in western Afghanistan, but nor provided details about the soldier's nationality.

"We can confirm one ISAF member died as a result of an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turning his weapon against ISAF members in western Afghanistan yesterday. Currently, Afghan officials and ISAF are reviewing the incident," the statement read.

"ISAF continues to train, advice and assist the ANSF, and does not view these incidents as representative of the positive relationship between our forces."

This is while three other ISAF soldiers were killed in a suicide attack on Kabul's airport road early Tuesday morning after a suicide bomber detonated himself near the Supreme Court.

The death toll of foreign troops in Afghanistan has reached 64 this year.

There are about 50,000 foreign, mostly U.S., forces in Afghanistan.

TAWDE KHABARE: Afghan Govt. Concern Over Pakistan's Tribal Areas

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 08:56

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtyar discusses the Afghan government's concerns over the potential threat Pakistan's tribal areas could pose to Afghan security after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, with the following guests:‎

• Atiqullah Amarkhil, Military analyst
• Zahir Sadaat, MP
• Kamal Nasir Osuli, MP
• Khalid Pashton, MP

To watch the program, click here:

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8pm Program: Punjabi Taliban to Increase Insurgency in Afghanistan

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 08:37

In this episode, host Omid Farooq discusses the implications of the Punjabi Taliban's assertions about increasing insurgency in Afghanistan with the following guests:

• Wali Aria, Analyst
• Alami Balkhi, Member of Afghanistan's Ulema Council
• Shikeeba Hashimi, MP
• Mirza Mohammad, Military analyst

To watch the program, click here:

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FARAKHABAR: 15 September 2014

TOLO News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 08:08

Pakistan's Punjabi Taliban recently announced that they will shift their focus to Afghanistan and fight the enemies of Islam on the Afghan soil.

To watch the program, click here:

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Punjabi Taliban Chief Ismatullah Muawiya announced that the group would no longer carry out insurgent activities on Pakistan's soil, instead will guide the focuses of all Pakistani and Afghan Taliban on Afghanistan.

"After talking to the tribal elders, we have decided to focus on the enemies of Islam in Afghanistan," Muawiya asserted. "From now on, the Punjabi Taliban will focus their attacks on Afghanistan."

What are the reasons behind Muawiya's assertions?

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

• Jawid Kohistani, Political analyst
• Sharifi Balkhabi, MP

 

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