Aggregated News about Afghanistan

TAWDE KHABARE: Failure To Spend Development Budget Discussed

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 17:58

Minister of finance Eklil Hakimi has said that most government ministries have failed to spend more than 35 percent of their development budget. He said that the president, in consultation with the parliament, will take action against them.

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Zabi Sadat discusses the topic with the following guests

Arifullah Pashtoon, senator

Sherbaz Kaminzada, head of Afghanistan Industrialists Union

Mohammad Osman, political analyst

Ahmad Shoaib Rahim, economist


FARAKHABAR: War Leadership and Afghan Military Toll Discussed

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 17:51

Nicholson General John Nicholson, commander of U.S and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has said that poor leadership is the number one cause of the current military fatality rate among the conventional forces in Afghanistan. He also said that young Afghan officers battling insurgents in some remote regions continue to grapple with major issues such as food shortages and lack of ammunition.

In this episode of Farakhabar, host Fawad Aman discusses the topic with the following guests

Jawed Kohistani, military analyst

Mohammad Radmanish, deputy MOD spokesman


TOLOnews 6pm News 24 October 2016

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 17:03

Top news in this Bulletin:

As Afghanistan struggles with the issue of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and return refugees, the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation said on Monday that addressing all problems in this aspect is difficult.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:


 The Afghan government is not ready to divulge the details of recent secret talks with the Taliban in Qatar, a source close to the National Security Council (NSC) said on Monday.

Kabul Not Ready To Divulge Details Of Qatar Talks

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 16:59

The Afghan government is not ready to divulge the details of recent secret talks with the Taliban in Qatar, a source close to the National Security Council (NSC) said on Monday.

Reports indicate that a team of Taliban peace negotiators held secret peace talks with representatives of the Afghan government in Doha, Qatar last week.

According to reports published in western media, head of Afghanistan's spy agency – the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai and the National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar led the government delegation in the secret talks with the Taliban.

But the talks in Qatar followed widespread reaction among Afghan political elites and members of the public.

On Sunday, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said he was not informed about the details of the peace talks between the two sides in Qatar, a statement analysts interpret as a sign of mistrust and tension between the two leaders.

"The lack of trust between the president and the chief executive is concerning. They must work together for national unity," said Ainuddin Bahaduri, secretary general of Afghanistan's Lawyers Union.
"In certain cases, details of the primary negotiations cannot be made public," said MP Sayed Ali Kazimi.

"They (government leaders) must put their disputes aside and should forge consensus on some important national issues, including the peace process," said Munawar Shah Bahaduri, another MP.
There are reports that the High Peace Council (HPC) was also unaware of the talks in Qatar.

However, a member of the peace facilitating body on Monday said the peace talks with the Taliban will be on track as the group has realized the fact that war is not the resolute solution to the crisis.

"Situations and ground realities have developed in a manner that indicate they (Taliban) are tired of the war and a belief has emerged that war is not the solution," HPC member Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar said.

Reports surfaced in the media earlier this week that a three member Taliban delegation under Mawlawi Shahabuddin Delawar, Mullah Jan Mohammad and Mullah Salam Hanafi travelled to Pakistan to discuss the peace process with the Afghan government.

Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhelwal has confirmed the meeting between Taliban and the Pakistani officials.

Addressing Problems of IDPs And Return Refugees 'Difficult'

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 16:51

As Afghanistan struggles with the issue of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and return refugees, the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation said on Monday that addressing all problems in this aspect is difficult.

Reports indicate that 32,000 families were displaced in Kunduz, 1,224 in Faryab, 6,981 in Uruzgan, 5,000 in Helmand and 6,696 families were displaced in Faryab.

"Nearly 100,000 families were displaced due to wars this year. No doubt, addressing this issue has its difficulties but we continue to manage it," said Islamuddin Jurat, spokesman for ministry of Refugees and Repatriation.

Meanwhile, Taj Mohammad, a member of a return refugee family said: "We have lived in Pakistan for several years, but recently they have increased their restrictions on the refugees therefore we decided to return to our homeland."

Foreigners Earning Billions From Afghan Opium: MPs

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 16:43

A number of MPs in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) on Monday said the United States and the United Kingdom are gaining billions of dollars from the drug trade in Afghanistan every year.

"NATO forces are engaged in drug smuggling during nights along with UK and the U.S. They get $110 billion USD a year while they give us only $4 billion USD in charity. Why are you killing the people of Helmand?"asked one MP Abdul Wadud Paiman.

"In most cases, our police are involved in drug smuggling, not members of parliament or other people," said MP Fatima Nazari.

"Main smugglers are the foreigners. I have documents about [drug] smuggling in Helmand [province]," said MP Obaidullah Barekzai.

Meanwhile, the Interior Minister, Taj Mohammad Jahid, who was summoned to the house, apologized to lawmakers for controversial remarks made recently by the Interior Ministry's deputy head of anti-narcotics department Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, in which he claimed that a number of MPs are trying to meddle in his activities.

Besides the Interior Minister, the public health and counter-narcotics ministers were summoned to Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) to inquire about the unprecedented surge in drug production in the country.

"I apologize to honorable representatives of Afghanistan. Lawmakers are the representatives of Afghans. You [MPs] are the elites among 30 million Afghans," Jahid said.

"I apologize over my recent remarks that hurt the honorable lawmakers," Ahmadi said.

The ministers talked about the problems before government's counter-narcotics mission.

"There is a lack of budget. The money allocated by government in this respect is quite different from the money allocated by mafia to promote this trend," Minister of Public Health Ferozuddin Feroz said.
"The capacity of our organization is not equivalent to the current challenges. According to statistics, more than three million people are in some way engaged in the drug trade, while we have only 2,500 personnel," added Ahmadi.

"Security threats have had a direct role on the increasing level of poppy cultivation [in Afghanistan]," Counter-Narcotics Minister Salamat Azimi said.

The statements come a day after the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) announced that based on a new survey of UNODC this year, the total land area that has been cultivated with poppies has increased by 10 percent compared to the last year.

Andrey Avetisyan, the UNODC regional representative said on Sunday that based on their new survey, drug production in Afghanistan will surge by 43 percent.

The UN envoy ‎said maintaining security, overcoming the endemic corruption and economic growth in the country is related to the eradication of poppy fields.

"Drugs have direct links with corruption, terrorism and development. Without tackling drug problem and elicit economy, in general, it will not be possible to solve other problems facing Afghanistan," ‎ Avetisyan ‎s‎aid.

Dostum Accuses President Of Nepotism

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 16:25

The first Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum on Monday accused President Ashraf Ghani of nepotism and said people from the president's ethnic group are important to him, but those from his province are even more important.

After attending a military operation in Jawzjan, Dostum criticized the National Unity Government leaders and labeled the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah incapable.

"Mr. Abdullah [Abdullah] is [ethnically] a Tajik, but he is incapable and does not have a good name among the people. If you speak Pashto with President [Ashraf Ghani], you will be a good person, and if you speak Pashto and you are from Logar [province], then you are very good," he said.

Meanwhile, Ghani's special envoy for reform and good governance, Ahmad Zia Massoud, at a gathering in Panjshir province accused government of nepotism and politicizing the state organizations.

"What is good in this that I am in government as a Tajik and I bring all Tajiks to government. This creates a reaction. And what is good in this that our Pashtun brother is head of government and then he appoints all Pashtuns in government offices. This is not good and it creates reaction from other ethnic groups," he said.

Massoud stated that he is concerned about a possible increase in activity by Taliban and Daesh militants in the upcoming spring season.

He called on jihadi leaders to be prepared to defend the country alongside the Afghan security forces.

MoD Rejects Rumors Of Dostum's Displeasure Over Security Institutions

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 16:13

Officials from the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Monday rejected reports that First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum was unhappy that orders of his were being ignored by security institutions.

Dostum's office has also rejected such reports.

Sources close to Dostum said on condition of anonymity that the security institutions do not abide by Dostum's directives, and that because of this he has left Faryab for Jawzjan province.

But the defense ministry hit out over the report, and said that no security institution is guilty of such action.

Meanwhile, officials from Junbesh-e-Milli party, which is led by Dostum, confirmed a lack of coordination within the leadership ranks of the security forces. But they said that Dostum's trip to Jawzjan is about planning for future programs.

Sources close to Dostum have told TOLOnews that he left Faryab for Jawzjan because of a lack of cooperation by security institutions which undermined the completion of the clearance operation against the Taliban in Faryab.

But the defense ministry rejected these claims.

Poor Leadership Fuels Afghan Military Toll: Nicholson

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 16:07

General John Nicholson, commander of U.S and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has said that poor leadership is the number one cause of the current military fatality rate among the conventional forces in Afghanistan.

He also said that young Afghan officers battling insurgents in some remote regions continue to grapple with major issues such as food shortages and lack of ammunition.

In reference to the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan, the top U.S commander stated that Daesh outfits have ramped up efforts to establish their so-called Khorasan Caliphate in Afghanistan by seeking support from an Uzbek military group known as Uzbekistan Islamic Movement and with the combination of some Pakistani militants loyal to the hardline militant group.

Nicholson noted that the Taliban and its brutal offshoot, the Haqqani network still operate in their safe havens inside the Pakistani territory and they have sanctuaries in that country.
The Taliban and Haqqani "still enjoy sanctuary in Pakistan," Nicholson said, adding that they are still able to conduct operations from there.

In Afghanistan, the main-hub of Daesh militants is estimated to be around 1,000 fighters and is in eastern Nangarhar province, which shares a border with Pakistan.

Nicholson said the US has seen many foreign fighters joining Daesh in Afghanistan, particularly Uzbeks from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Pashtuns from the Pakistani Taliban.

He said that the border region with Pakistan remains "very porous" and insurgents are able to move across in both directions. The fighters moving across are primarily Pakistani Taliban, Haqqani Network and Daesh-Khorasan.

Nicholson's statement on poor leadership comes amid a dramatic surge in the level of violence in Afghanistan. Recently the Taliban launched a number of deadly offensives on some strategic locations in provinces in the south and in the north over the past few months.

The Ministry of Defense has pledged to address issues facing the security forces in lower levels.

"Taliban leadership still has presence in Pakistan, wounded from the Afghan war are being treated in Pakistan and Daesh provides the Taliban with the necessary resources, ammunition and weapons," said MP Dawoud Kalakani.

"There are some tactical problems in the lower level, but the leadership of the ministry of defense is trying to address these issues through outlining the war policy," said MOD spokesman Dawlat Waziri.

But, the Afghan government believes that Pakistan wields a strong reputation among militant groups including the Taliban and use them as tools to destabilize Afghanistan, something Islamabad insists is untrue.

The Afghan security and defense institutions also believe that the reason behind the surge in violence is that militants are coming in from Pakistan to fight in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of Pakistani Fighters Build Strongholds In Nimroz

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 15:29

Hundreds of Pakistani fighters have built strongholds in Khashrod district in Nimroz province and it is said they are helping drug smugglers and land grabbers in the southwestern parts of the country, a special report prepared by TOLOnews reveals.

Reports indicate that Pakistani military is helping the fighters in Nimroz, but Pakistan's embassy in Kabul rejects the involvement of its military in this aspect and says that the fighters are members of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Meanwhile, TOLOnews's findings reveal that there is a lack of forces, equipment and other military facilities in Afghan soldiers' counter-narcotics mission.

The findings show that every counter-narcotics soldier has one weapon and a magazine.

Nimroz has sandy hills which can be used for tourists, but according to locals, the areas are serving as good routes for drug and human smugglers.

Nimroz police said they are chasing smugglers in the hills, but their success depends on the signs the suspects leave after they enter or pass through the areas.

"You see the hills and plains. We are stopping them [smugglers] and their cars if they pass through this route," Nimroz police chief Jailani Abubakr said.

According to reports, Nimroz is recognized as one of the biggest routes for drug smuggling in Afghanistan. It shares 236 kilometers of border with Iran and 185 kilometers of border with Pakistan.

Khashrod and Diaram districts are among insecure parts of the province which often witness drug smuggling and other illegal activities. Khashrod is located 115 kilometers of distance from Zaranj city, the provincial capital, and shares a border with Farah's volatile districts – Gulistan and Bakwa.

Dialaram district is 235 kilometers from Zaranj city and shares a border with Washir and Nad Ali districts of Helmand.

The findings indicate that despite the province sharing a long border with Iran, smugglers prefer the Pakistan route to send drugs out of the country.

Findings reveal that 42 percent of Afghanistan's drugs are smuggled through Pakistan, 30 percent through Iran, 24 percent through the Central Asia and four percent via the country's airports

Some of the drugs that are seized by security forces are destroyed by relevant organizations.

TOLOnews' Tamim Hamid, who traveled to Nimroz, says nearly 20 tons of drugs was meant to be destroyed. The deputy of interior ministry's counter-narcotics department went to the province to witness the torching of the seized drugs, but later they were informed that the man responsible for keeping the drugs had vanished with the keys.

According to Tamim, local officials did not comment on the issue and the event was delayed for a day.

The income from Afghanistan's drugs is between $65 to $70 billion USD. Taliban gains $155 to $400 million USD from the country's drugs, up to $500 to $550 million USD of the income goes into farmers' pockets, local smugglers get up to $1.5 billion from the drug trade and finally it pours nearly $2 billion USD to Pakistani Taliban.

The highest income from drug trade is received by world mafia which is up to $63 billion USD.

Findings of the report indicate that Pakistan has been used as the main route for drug smuggling in recent months. Even local officials said most drug smugglers have gone to Pakistan from bordering areas in Afghanistan.

Talking on the issue, Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, deputy head of Interior Ministry's counter-narcotics department, said: "Pakistan has its own benefits in drug smuggling and probably most of investigative and security personnel from Pakistan will be involved in drugs issue. There is no doubt in it."

Meanwhile, head of Nimroz provincial council Baz Mohammad Naseri said parts of Nimroz and Helmand that share borders with neighboring countries are the main hubs of terrorists and drug smugglers.

"We have a long border with Pakistan. I can name the Bahramcha area which is a big stronghold of the Taliban where they are equipped and also drug mafia is with them," he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistani officials called for an extended combat against drugs.

Head of media office of Pakistan's embassy in Kabul, Akhtar Munir, said Kabul should prevent poppy cultivation instead of blaming Islamabad for such issues.

"Poppy cultivation is increasing every year in Afghanistan. Afghanistan should try to prevent this act and keep both Afghanistan and Pakistan from this problem," he said.

The counter-narcotics mission in Afghanistan has faced many ups and downs over the past several years and recently the formation of relevant organizations has decreased and foreign forces have ended their cooperation in this aspect.

Meanwhile, the relevant organizations talked about interferences that according to them has faced them with a deadlock.

"Our office is faced with interference same as other organizations or even more than them – both in provincial and central level," said Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, deputy head of Interior Ministry's counter-narcotics department.

Currently, nearly three million farmers are busy in the drugs trade while the number of drug addicts is also up to three million in the country.

Reports indicate that a counter-narcotics authority with 750 personnel was canceled in 2011 and this helped the increase in poppy cultivation in parts of the country as now poppies are cultivated in 20 provinces and the volatile areas including Helmand produce the highest amount of world's drugs.

The report finds that the issues have resulted that from 2,000 police force members, only 76 of them are busy in counter-nartocis mission in Nimroz.

TOLOnews' findings show the number of security forces have increased in Khashrod following reports on an incrase in number of Punjabi fighters in the district.

"Punjabis are in Khashrod and even they have independent strongholds under the name of Punjabis bases in areas such as Kandahariha, Rezai Baluchi, Khairabad. Punjabis are living in the headquarters," Nimroz police chief said.

The support of Pakistani military from the Punjabi fighters is another concern which has grabbed the attention of most of officials and residents of the province.

As mentioned, the Pakistani embassy in Kabul rejected the reports but it accepted that the fighters in Khashrod are Pakistani Taliban.

"These fighters are members of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan and are living in Afghanistan," Munir said.

The Relation between Drugs and Land Grabbing

According to documents unveiled by the provincial justice director Azizullah Basir, nearly 29,600 hectares of land has been grabbed in Nimroz.

The documents show that more than 1,200 individuals have hand in these cases which most of them are living in Khashrod and Dilaram districts and have links with the Taliban and drug smugglers.

Basir said they have so far recovered 520 hectares of land in the province.

"Both the drug mafia and land grabbers have contacts with anti-government militants. They want to add to their age by disturbing the country and grabbing lands or other illegal acts," he said.

But despite that, the report finds that the security forces are trying to avoid any kind of security gap and keep the Taliban busy in their safe havens in Khashrod and Dilaram districts.

Anti-Corruption Measures Needed To Prevent Squandering Of Aid

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 12:53

On October 5 the international community at the Brussels conference made a welcome long-term commitment to support the Afghan government until 2020. What was lacking, however, was a serious attempt to tackle corruption.

The only anti-corruption commitment among the 24 agreed by the government and donors is the development of an anti-corruption strategy by the first half of 2017. Given the deep-rooted corrupt practices across the country, this is simply not sufficient.

Unless corruption is curbed, too much of the $15.2 billion USD on the table will go to waste or to line the pockets of the few. The long-suffering Afghan people will miss out. For the donor community not to insist on serious anti-corruption measures, and to simply delay action by calling for a plan in six months, is disingenuous. The key components of an effective anti-corruption strategy are already well-known.

Transparency International, working with civil society experts, produced a comprehensive review of all the Afghan institutions in 2015 and a series of recommendations that should be implemented. A further review of the 50 commitments made by the National Unity Government to fight corruption was released ahead of the Brussels Conference in early October. It found that only two out of the top 22 anti-corruption commitments had been implemented.

Any new funding should have been based on benchmarks that are measurable, meaningful and transparent. The most important institution to tackle is the judiciary, which is perceived as the most corrupt institution in the country.

Last year 63 percent of people polled said they had paid a bribe when dealing with the judicial system. Unfortunately, this is the same as polling figures from three years ago.

President Ghani's much touted new Anti-Corruption Justice Centre only started on 23 August but for the previous two years the courts dealt with fewer than 20 cases of corruption - although hundreds of corrupt acts take place across the country every day. The need for clear targets is obvious.

One key indicator in previous talks between donors and the government was the appointment of an attorney general. That took almost two years. But a simple appointment won't solve the problems facing Afghanistan's judiciary; it's the structure that needs to change.

The attorney general's office has enough financial resources but it lacks qualified and professional prosecutors. The problem becomes severe at the provincial and district levels. There is no anti-corruption arm with expertise on corruption cases and the office is subject to political interference.

This perpetuates the sense of impunity that runs through the entire judicial system.

Judges are appointed by the Supreme Court, whose members are appointed by the President on approval of parliament. This raises the question of the separation of powers and produces a dysfunctional justice system in which corruption goes largely unpunished.

The solution would be merit-based appointment of judges by an independent judicial services commission. In May, President Ashraf Ghani chose to create the High Council for Governance, Rule of Law and Anti-corruption, a new governance entity, chaired by himself. It is a symbol of political will to fight corruption, but not enough to see results.

If President Ghani is serious about fighting corruption he needs to give his people the effective anti-corruption agency they deserve. Almost everybody in the Afghanistan anti-corruption community, including donors, knows that the High Office of Oversight and Anti-corruption, created in 2008, lacks independency, supporting laws, and leadership capacity. It scored 0 out of 100 in our recent study for its internal integrity.

Afghans will continue to suffer unless the country has the competency and capacity to effectively investigate and prosecute corruption cases. But when it comes to crunch time at major international meetings, the international community goes soft in evaluating previous deliveries against agreed targets. We've just witnessed that in Brussels.

A better framework for concrete changes must be developed with meaningful benchmarks immediately. Afghanistan needs an independent anti-corruption agency and an independent judicial services commission to appoint judges. The new Anti-Corruption Justice Centre should be set challenging and measurable targets for investigating and prosecuting corruption, and adequately resourced.

Civil society and the Afghan people must be allowed to cross check the government's reporting to donors. For now the review is done behind closed doors. It is time for the international community to send strong and consistent message to the Afghan government that a strong justice system where there is no impunity is the critical foundation of the effort to fight corruption in the country.

Fighting corruption is challenging but not insurmountable. The government must move from promises to action in order to curb corruption in all sectors and ensure the new $15.2 billion USD is only spent to support Afghans to live better lives.

Edris Arib is a policy and advocacy advisor for the Afghanistan Programme (PAA) Transparency International Secretariat

Pakistan Forcing Taliban Leaders To Leave Or Engage in Afghan Peace Process

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 08:37

Pakistan has been putting pressure on fugitive Afghan Taliban leaders, along with their families, to leave the country if they refuse to hold peace talks with Kabul, officials and insurgent sources told VOA.

"The squeeze is continuing on them [the Taliban] and some have already left, or [are] leaving the country," says a senior Pakistani official directly involved in matters related to the Afghan policy.

The Pakistani official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Islamabad has not yet acknowledged the crackdown, which is part of its policy to seek an early repatriation from Pakistan of nearly three million registered and undocumented Afghan refugees, reported VOA.

However, this comes as Pakistan has been under increasing pressure from international partners, particularly the U.S, to deny space to the Taliban and other groups waging war in Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies charges its spy agency covertly supports the Taliban and its ally, the Haqqani Network, enabling them to prolong the Afghan war and expand influence of the insurgents after the 2014 withdrawal of U.S-led international combat forces.

The spike in violence has undermined efforts to improve bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. And President Ashraf Ghani has repeatedly accused Islamabad of not taking action against fugitive Taliban leaders.

In turn, Pakistan alleges Afghan intelligence operatives are sheltering and supporting fugitives linked to the anti-state Pakistani Taliban.

Pakistani authorities earlier this month arrested several key Taliban leaders from areas in and around Quetta, the capital of the southwestern Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan. The detainees also include Ahmadullah Muti, commonly known as Mullah Nanai, Suleman Agha and Mullah Samad Sani.

All three held key positions in the insurgency and were arrested after they ignored requests to hold peace and reconciliation talks with the Afghan government, according to Pakistani and insurgent officials. Authorities have also raided and shut down some Islamic seminaries, or madrassas, for refugee children that are suspected of sheltering Taliban insurgents.

The crackdown meanwhile appears to have prompted the Taliban to send a high-level delegation to Islamabad from its Qatar-based political office to take up the issue with Pakistani officials, according to reports.

Taliban delegates also plan to convey concerns over the way Afghan refugees are being treated, including their forceful eviction and deportations from Pakistan, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told VOA.

But he dismissed reports as "misleading" that Taliban political envoys have traveled to Pakistan to brief authorities there on the insurgent group's recent secret meetings with Afghan officials in Qatar. He said neither such meeting has taken place, VOA reported.

MEHWAR: Asian Development Bank (ADB) Funds For Afghanistan Discussed

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 07:40

In this episode host Jamal Nasir Farahmand discusses Asian Development Bank's (ADB) $858 million dollars in funding for Afghanistan over the next four years with Siyar Qoraishe, and economist

To watch the program, click here:


MEHWAR: Prosecution of IEC Officials Suspected of Fraud

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 07:34

An Independent Election Commission (IEC) commissioner, on Sunday called for the prosecution of IEC officials suspected of fraud during the 2014 elections.

Host Jamal Nasir Farahmand discusses the issue with Sarir Ahmad Barmak, an IEC commissioner

To watch the report, click here:


Taliban Commander Killed In Kapisa Clashes

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 07:29

Qari Emal, a Taliban commander, was killed in clashes with security forces in north-eastern Kapisa province on Sunday, local officials said.

In addition, Rabeullah, another Taliban commander, was among two other insurgents injured in the clashes.

The clashes took place in Tagab and Alasay district of the province after the insurgents reportedly attacked security forces, a spokesman for theprovincial governor, Qais Qaderi, said.

"There were no civilian or security forces casualties in the clashes," he said.

Tagab and Alsay are the insecure districts in the province in which insurgents have activities and frequently attack security forces.

TOLOnews 10 pm News 23 October 2016

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 07:02

Top news in this Bulletin:

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said on Sunday they have arrested a Mullah in Kabul who is suspected of helping another Mullah in the kidnapping of two young girls.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:


A number of writers and cultural figures on Sunday raised their concerns over what they say is a lack of interest in the country to promote Afghan children's literature.

Iraq Forces Press Mosul Assault, Hunt Kirkuk Attackers

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 06:43

Iraqi forces battled on Sunday through booby-traps, sniper fire and suicide car bombs to tighten the noose around Mosul, while also hunting Daesh group jihadists behind attacks elsewhere in the country.

Kurdish forces announced a new push at dawn on Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul, where some 10,000 fighters are engaged in a huge assault to take the Daesh-held town.

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the peshmerga had requested and received Turkish military assistance.

"They (Peshmerga) asked for help from our soldiers at Bashiqa base. We are providing support with artillery, tanks and howitzers," Yildirim told reporters in western Turkey on Sunday.

Ankara's claim came a day after Baghdad turned down a suggestion by visiting US Defense chief Ashton Carter -- who met Kurdish leader Massud Barzani on Sunday -- that Turkey be given a part in the battle.

Launched last Monday, the assault aims to reclaim the last major Iraqi city under IS control, dealing another setback to the jihadists' self-declared "caliphate" in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Carter said on Sunday that the idea of simultaneous operations against Mosul and Raqa in Syria "has been part of our planning for quite a while".

He also said destroying Daesh's external operations capabilities was "our highest priority".

The jihadists on Friday staged a surprise assault on Iraq's Kurdish-controlled city of Kirkuk, and two days later security forces were still tracking down IS fighters there.

The dozens of attackers, including several suicide bombers, failed to seize key government buildings but sowed chaos in the large oil-rich and ethnically mixed city.

At least 51 of the jihadists have been killed, including three more on Sunday, local security officials said.

At least 46 people, most of them in the security forces, were also killed in the raid and ensuing clashes, which had almost completely ceased by late Sunday.

Life was returning to normal in some parts of Kirkuk, but security forces in southern neighborhoods were still hunting for several gunmen.

Daesh also attacked Rutba, a remote town near the Jordanian border in the western province of Anbar, with five suicide car bombs, the area's top army commander said on Sunday.

The attackers briefly seized the mayor's office but security forces quickly regained the upper hand, he said.

Aid Agencies Struggle to Assist Wave of Returning Afghan Refugees

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 06:35

The Afghan government and aid agencies are struggling to cope with a wave of refugees returning from Pakistan and Iran to Afghanistan.

The flow of returnees from neighboring Iran and Pakistan this year, estimated by the United Nations to number more than half a million, is straining the capacity of the government and aid agencies, even as violence uproots more Afghans around the country, Reuters reported.

At Torkham, the busiest border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, nearly 170,000 Afghans have returned this year, according to the UN, many of them citing harassment by Pakistani authorities as relations between the two countries have deteriorated.

A cluster of white tents only a few hundred meters from the border marks the first facility operated by the UN, the Afghan government, and other aid agencies to provide aid for returnees before they look for a home in a country many have not seen in years.

In September, the UN issued an appeal for millions of dollars of emergency funding to help returning refugees and other internally displaced people in Afghanistan, but so far the fundraising has yet to reach its goal, said Mark Bowden, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan.

Islamabad has stepped up pressure to send people back and numbers have risen sharply in recent months as Afghan-Indian relations strengthened and those between India and Pakistan soured.

But Pakistani officials deny there has been systematic harassment of Afghans living in Pakistan and say their country has demonstrated great generosity to the refugee population, despite severe economic problems of its own.

While the challenges of helping the returning Afghan refugees requires immediate attention, the international community should work with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran to try to solve the broader problems driving the crisis, said Tadamichi Yamamoto, head of the UN assistance mission in Afghanistan.

"This could be a long-term issue, but I think the immediate attention now will define the magnitude of the problem that we have down the road," he said. "So we need to do it right at the start."

Daesh Trying To Establish Caliphate In Afghanistan: Nicholson

TOLO News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 04:53

Gen. John W. Nicholson, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan in an interview with NBC news on Sunday said that Daesh militants are trying to establish a caliphate inside Afghanistan territory.

"Right now we see them very focused on trying to establish their caliphate, the Khorasan caliphate, inside Afghanistan," said Nicholson.

According to Nicholson the U.S. has seen foreign fighters, mostly Uzbeks from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and many Pakistani Taliban who the joined Islamic State Khorasan moving into Afghanistan to fight.

Nicholson said that Daesh is completely rejected by the Afghan people and it is in complete contradiction to Afghan culture.

"With our Afghan partners, we've been able to reduce that territory significantly and inflict heavy casualties on them to include killing their leaders," he said.

Earlier Resolute Support said that Daesh was mainly present in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan and their numbers were around 1,000 fighters.

Nicholson also raised concern over the border region with Pakistan where insurgents are able to move across on both sides of the border which is mostly Pakistani Taliban, and Daesh militants.

A number of former Daesh and Taliban fighters who have recently joined the peace process in Nangarhar said the groups are supported by Pakistan and the members receive military training in the neighboring country.

They claimed that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is involved with the Taliban and Daesh, that they equip them and then send them to fight against security forces in Afghanistan.

Khalid, a former Daesh fighter, who joined the insurgent group in Haska Mina district in Nangarhar, said he received military training in Pakistan and was told to fight security forces in Afghanistan.

"They are no methods they haven't used to kill people. They have experienced all ways of killing. What they do is against Islam," he said.

Nangarhar MPs have said that the Taliban and Daesh have a grip on some areas in at least sixteen districts in the province.

Concerns have continued to rise after Daesh first emerged in the Achin, Kot, Haska Mina and Pachir Agam districts in Nangarhar.

Recently dozens of Daesh militants attacked Pachir Aw Agam district of Nangarhar, killing at least four civilians, officials said.

Attaullah Khogyani, the provincial governor's spokesman, said at the time that four civilians were killed and 27 were wounded. He said the insurgents also burnt down a number of houses.

However, ground forces and military air support targeted the group and killed at least 54, Khogyani added.

In July President Ashraf Ghani ordered the Afghan security forces to be ready for a "decisive battle" against Daesh in the eastern regions of the war-torn country.

Ghani also vowed to make sure sufficient weapons were made available to troops in their campaign against Daesh and other insurgents.

TAWDE KHABARE: Taliban Peace Delegation Travels to Pakistan

TOLO News - Sun, 10/23/2016 - 19:21

A three member Taliban peace delegation travelled to Pakistan soon after reports surfaced in the media of secret negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government in Doha.

Although, the Afghan government has not confirmed such a trip by the Taliban delegation, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) announced the journey was in clear violation of UN sanctions on the resurgent group.‎

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discusses the topic with the following guests

Abdul Qadir Zazai Watandost, MP

Obaidullah Barakzai, MP

Farhad Sediqqi, MP


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