Top news in this Bulletin:
President Hamid Karzai early Tuesday announced the fifth and final phase of security transition from Nato troops to Afghan forces.
The United States is going to purchase 30 Mi-17 transport helicopters for Afghanistan Army at a cost of $ 572 million from Russia.
The US Defence Ministry announced that the helicopters will be handed over to Afghan Army until the end of next year.
Afghan Army forces need equipments to be able to thwart any terror attack and provide security in the country. The donor countries are trying their level best to fully equip Afghan Air Force until the foreign forces completely withdraw from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Afghan Air Force officials welcomed the announcement and have stressed on the need for more equipments for Afghan Air Force.
The officials added that the helicopters will be used in transporting weapons and soldiers who get injured during any clash.
"We welcome the announcement made by the US. With this our necessities have decreased to some extent but we still need more equipments for our forces." A Commander of Afghan Air Force Gen Mohammad Barat said.
Afghanistan currently owns 41 Mi-17 transport helicopters, of which only 25 are in working condition and the rest are under repair.
The Civil Society and Human Rights Network (CSHRN ) on Tuesday said that the five new Commissioners of Human Rights Commission elected by President Karzai lack competency to hold an office of national importance.
The CSHRN officials criticized President Karzai's decision of appointing the five Commissioners and added that the he did not consult any civil society organisations before making the decision.
The officials of CSHRN believe that some of the Commissioners have links with political parties and they pressurized Karzai to appoint them.
Although, the civil society representatives had sent a list of strong and efficient nominees to President Karzai but none of them were considered for the post.
"Based on knowledge about the new commissioners of Human Rights Commission, some of them belong to political parties and groups which can damage the independency of Human Rights Commission as a national organisation for human rights," the Director of CSHRN Mohammad Naeem Nazari said.
Meanwhile, the members of the civil society and human rights network believe that the five appointments will adversely affect several achievements made by the Commission.
"Those people who are appointed as Commissioners in the Human Rights Commission should be committed towards fighting for the cause of human rights and the President's appointments will destroy the Commission," a member of CSHRN Jawid Shikib said.
Another member of the Network Bari Slam said, "The people appointed as Commissioners should have higher education, experience in human rights field and their independency should be proven but unfortunately, these Commissioners do not possess any of the pre-requisites."
The CSHRN warned that if the President does not review his decision, the Human Rights Commission's aim towards strengthening human rights will fade and there would be severe human rights violations in the country.
President Karzai has appointed Abdul Rahman Hotak, Qadria Yazdan Parast, Ayoub Asil, Hawa Alam Nuristani and Wahidullah Arghon as Commissioners in the Human Rights Commission.
Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Ministry on Tuesday issued a statement and raised its concerns over Afghan President Hamid Karzai's recent remarks against one of the Pakistani state institutions.
In an interview with Pakistani private TV channel Geo, President Karzai said that the military and intelligence agency of Pakistan are adopting extremist methods based on religion to destabilise Afghanistan.
President Karzai said, "I have no complaints against the people of Pakistan because they shared their home and food with Afghans during the 'Jehad' years but we seriously have issues with the military and intelligence agency of Pakistan because they are using extremist methods based on religion to destabilize Afghanistan."
"The use of extremism as a tool against Afghanistan will one day put Pakistan itself into trouble," Karzai's office said in a statement on Sunday.
President Karzai said that the military apparatus of Pakistan and its intelligence agency has been always misusing the Afghan good-will to make Afghanistan's government work as their puppet and surrender to the evil will of that country (Pakistan).
The statement released by Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Ministry said, "The Government of Pakistan has noted with concern a recent remark by President Hamid Karzai against one of the Pakistan state institutions. In an interview to a local channel, the President has attempted to create an impression as if some institutions of Pakistan are not fully supporting the objectives of bringing peace to Afghanistan."
The statement further added, "The Government of Pakistan and all its institutions have unanimity of views on issues of national security and foreign policy. In this context, promoting peace and stability to Afghanistan is an important pillar of Pakistan's foreign policy which is supported by all state institutions. However, the success of this policy requires reciprocal action and good will on the part of Afghan government."
"It is in our common interest to jointly address the common challenges of terrorism and extremism being faced by our region. The newly elected leadership of Pakistan has reiterated its resolve to fully support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. Pakistan will continue to support reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan in all its earnest for achieving durable peace, stability and development in our region," the statement said.
Afghanistan and Pakistan have had strained relations since the time Pakistan was formed in 1947, after the British colonial rule in India ended.
The comments came in at a time when the US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to visit India and Pakistan later this month, to discuss about the crucial security and counterterrorism issues with the Pakistani civil and military leaderships.
The US Secretary of State during his visit will be discussing regional security issues, ways to reconcile with the Taliban, safe exit of the US-led Nato forces by 2014 and counter-terrorism cooperation.
John Kerry who sought to visit Pakistan shortly after his appointment as the Secretary of State could manage to have a direct interaction with the Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani twice, once in Jordan and another in Brussels where he discussed the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
In Brussels, he hosted talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani since both the neighbouring countries were locked in a state of mistrust over border disputes.
Taliban at a press conference said that its political office has been opened in Doha, capital of Qatar on Tuesday.
Jowzjan Governor Mohammed Alim Sayee on Tuesday said that the Founder of National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum is illegally distributing weapons to his followers.
The Governor said that Gen. Dostum is trying his best to make the northern part of the country insecure and distributing weapons to his followers.
He has asked the central government to take immediate action and prevent the illegal distribution of weapons. He added that if the government does not act now then northern Afghanistan will become extremely insecure.
"Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum has distributed weapons to his followers in some districts of Jowzjan province and this is creating concerns among the people," Mohammad Alem Sayee said.
Meanwhile, Spokesman of the National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan Kanja Kargar has accepted the claims and said that the weapons are being distributed by Dostum with an aim to assure security in the district.
The Spokesman further went on to say that it is not being done to oppose the government.
"Gen Abdul Rashid Dostum enjoys certain popularity in the Northern provinces because he is the Head of National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan as well as the Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief of the Afghan Army. Gen. Dostum has distributed weapons in some regions which is not concerning because the step has been taken to enhance security in the region," Spokesman Kanja Kargar told TOLOnews over phone.
Moreover, a number of Jowzjan's residents have raised concerns over the ongoing activities in the province.
Mohammad Alem Sayee who is also the Deputy of National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan, asked the government to take legal action against Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum.
The development happened after an armed clash took place near the house of Jawzjan's Provincial Governor Mohammed Alem Sayee, in Sheberghan city, on Monday.
According to reports, the attackers belonged to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, founder of the National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan.
The clash took place when a group of armed men belonging to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum attacked the Governor's house. Three of the Dostum's men were also injured in the clash.
In an exclusive interview with TOLOnews, Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the final phase of transition was a historic event for Afghanistan and the international community.
"Today is really an historic day. We have worked hard to achieve this goal to handover security responsibility to the Afghan forces all over Afghanistan," Mr Rasmussen said.
Continuing on and delving into the details, Rasmussen said, "I think it's important for the Afghan people to see that their own security forces will now take the lead for ensuring security all over the country."
"Similarly, it's important for troop-contributing countries to see that we have made progress happen in Afghanistan and also that we have made a huge difference. This is precisely why today is an historic day and a great milestone in our Afghanistan mission," he added.
Expressing his faith in the Afghan security forces, Rasmussen said, "I think the best assurance is the fact that we have seen the Afghan security forces in action. Also recently, they have handled security incidents in a very professional manner on their own without active involvement of Isaf. Nevertheless, with the Isaf troops in an advisory role and the Afghan security forces taking up the lead for more than 90 percent of security operations, makes me confident about the fact that they are ready to take lead responsibility for now and full responsibility by the end of 2014 as planned."
Inquiring into the areas of concern that Nato shares in case of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), Rasmussen said, "Obviously, we will continue to train, advise, give assistance to the Afghan security forces. We have seen huge progress but there are still works to do. So in collaboration with Afghan security forces, we will continue our training activities."
As it is known, the next year concerns itself with an extremely critical election, Rasmussen was asked about Nato's position when it comes to fulfilling citizens' expectations from foreign troops.
Rasmussen said that the Afghan forces will be responsible for the security. Nonetheless, foreign forces will be there to extend all forms of assistance when needed. Isaf mission will continue until the end of 2014 and it will also be combat ready, if needed, until the end of 2014. Thus, during the election period, the Isaf operation or the Isaf mission would continue.
The Afghan officers and Generals showcased a certain amount of concern over equipments being on the Nato's to-do list for the next year. To this, Rasmussen stated, "That is a priority on the to-do list for individual allies. Also, I am aware that individual allies do provide equipments for the Afghan security forces. This will assure us of the fact that the Afghan security forces take up full responsibility by the end of 2014. For the same, they will be trained and equipped entirely.
Post-2014, the role of Nato in Afghanistan will change to only training mission. The current Isaf combat mission will be completed by the end of 2014 and ideally from 2015 it will establish a training mission that will be aimed at training, advice and assisting the Afghan security forces in every possible means.
Emphasizing the need for Bilateral Security Agreement with the US, Rasmussen said, "The agreement would be a pre-requisite for deploying trainers and troops. The necessary legal framework needs to be in place that is referred to as the status of forces agreement. Currently, we are negotiating with the Afghans on that."
Now, the last group of provinces will be handed over. But Isaf still has 18 months until the end of its combat mission, post which it shall continue to train and assist the Afghan security forces.
President Hamid Karzai recently said that the military and intelligence agency of Pakistan are adopting extremist methods based on religion to destabilise Afghanistan.
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President Hamid Karzai early Tuesday announced the fifth and final phase of security transition from Nato troops to Afghan forces.
Speaking at a handover ceremony in Kabul, Karzai said, "From tomorrow, our defence forces will be in the lead. From here, all security responsibilities and all security leadership will be taken over by our brave forces."
In the ceremony attended by high-ranking Afghan officials and the Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, it was announced that Afghan forces will lead all security operations from Tuesday.
"They are doing so with remarkable resolve, and they deserve the full support of the Afghan people," Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen called the handover a 'milestone'.
"We can all be proud that, Afghan forces today (Tuesday) are taking the lead on security. They are doing so with remarkable resolve," he said.
The Nato combat troops will now move into a supporting role, ahead of their full withdrawal by the end of next year.
"As your forces step forward across the country, the main effort of our forces is shifting from combat to support," Rasmussen said. "We will continue to help Afghan troops in operations if needed."
"But we will no longer plan, execute or lead those operations. We still have 18 months of hard work ahead. And we must keep up the momentum."
The handing over of the remaining 95 districts from Nato to Afghan control includes areas in the south and east of Afghanistan, where the Taliban have a strong hold and launched attacks against the US-backed government since 2001.
However, concerns remain over the ability of the 350,000 strong Afghan forces to thwart the Taliban. The Nato military coalition will retain an important role in logistics and air support as well as in combat operations if the need arises.
Afghan forces will now have to lead security operations in all 403 districts of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. Until now, they were responsible for 312 districts nationwide.
After the fourth security transition, Afghan forces were carrying out 90 percent of military operations around the country.
Foreign troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and hand-over full security responsibilities to Afghan forces.
There are around 66,000 US troops in Afghanistan helping over 300,000 Afghan security forces fight insurgency.
Iran's newly elected president Hassan Rowhani ruled out any halt to the nuclear activity that has drawn UN sanctions but said he hoped an early deal could be reached to allay the concerns of major powers.
A convoy of Afghan MP Mohammad Mohaqeq was struck by a roadside bomb this morning in Kabul city, killing at least three civilians and wounding 30 others, officials said.
Sources have confirmed to TOLOnews that Mr Mohaqeq has survived the attack but his six bodyguards were injured in the explosion. The 24 other injured are all civilians.
The attack occured as the Afghan government and Nato held a ceremony in Kabul to announce the last tranche of security transition to Afghan forces, making the Afghan forces responsible for security of the whole country.
The blast occurred at around 9 am in the Pol-e Sorkh area of Kabul city, near Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) building. The area is also a home for several international non-governmental organisations.
“I saw three people falling down on the street and a woman with blood-soaked feet, the woman was helped by the police,” a witness told TOLOnews.
The Head of Criminal Investigation Department of Kabul Police Gen. Zahir Zahir said, “The explosion occurred at 9 am. Three were killed and 30 including six bodyguards of the MP were injured.”
The wounded have been taken to a nearby hospital.
Hours after the explosion, Afghan MP, Haji Mohammad Mohaqeq warned that the Taliban and Al Qaida network still try to launch attacks on the political figures of Afghanistan.
“Taliban and Al Qaida don’t know peace and stability, their language is terrorism and they want to harm Afghanistan’s leaders. I was in their hit-list and still I am, so this incident has happened,” Haji Mohammad Mohaqeq said.
“People who are fighting for the benefit of foreign countries are trying to harm Afghanistan’s leaders and spread war and insecurity in the country,” The Head of National Front Ahmad Zia Massoud said.
Meanwhile, TOLOnews reporter, Farhad Safi was also injured in the explosion.
TOLOnews journalist at the blast scene, Haseeb Maududi, said windows of many buildings in the area were shattered. TOLOnews footage shows body parts in the area and a police vehicle which is badly damaged.
No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
Last week, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle at the gate of the Supreme Court in Kabul, killing 17 people and wounding 40 others.
The Taliban group has vowed to intensify their attacks this summer.
To watch the footage, click here:
A convoy of Afghan MP Mohammad Mohaqeq struck a roadside bomb this morning in Kabul city, killing at least three civilians and wounding dozens more, officials said.
Top news in this Bulletin:
President Hamid Karzai said that the military and intelligence agency of Pakistan are adopting extremist methods based on religion to destabilise Afghanistan.
An armed clash took place near the house of Jawzjan's Provincial Governor Mohammed Alim Sayee, in northern Jawzjan early Monday. According to reports, the attackers were sent by Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, founder of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan Party.
The clash took place in Sheberghan city, capital of the province, when a group of armed men belonging to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum attacked the Governor's house. Three of the Dostum's men were injured in the clash.
Speaking over phone, Mohammed Alim Sayee told TOLOnews, "Today (Monday) in the afternoon while I was heading back home, Gen. Dostum's armed men attacked my house and the gun-battle between security forces and Dostum's men continued for 15 minutes."
Sayee said that Dostum had warned him over phone that if he doesn't accept his demands, he will take action against him.
However, the Governor did not provide more details about Dostum's demands.
Meanwhile, several members of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan Party confirmed the clash.
"Armed men belonging to General Dostum wanted to attack Jowezjan Provincial Governor but his bodyguards prevented and a gun-battle ensued. In the clash attackers were injured and we want an investigation in this regard," Senator and Deputy of National Islamic Movement Party Ismeal Monshi said.
On the contrary, other members of National Islamic Movement Party denied any military confrontation and said that General Dostum wanted to talk to Jowezjan Provincial Governor about the upcoming elections but the Governor refused.
"I can frankly say that no fighting had taken place. Bodyguards of Jowezjan Provincial Governor started firing in the air and Shebergahn residents panicked," Cultural Advisor for Gen. Dostum and MP Dr. Enayatullah Babur Farahmand said.
Both sides have urged the central government to investigate the clash. Motive behind the attack is not known at the moment.
Afghanistan's National Journalist's Union (ANJU) on Monday strongly condemned the recent speech made by MP Abdul Satar Khawasi in the Lower House of the Afghan Parliament and his declaration of 'Jihad' against media organisations.
ANJU questioned the silence maintained over Khawasi's speech by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
The Union also criticised the Ministry of Information and Culture over its failure to establish the Mass Media Commission.
"First of all, declaring Jihad is not the authority of everyone, only certain religious clerics have that authority and I can surely say that Mr Khawasi does not have it," President of the Afghanistan National Journalists Union Abdul Hamid Mobarez said.
Reactions from the Union came in after Khawasi announced 'Jihad' against a number of media outlets in his speech.
Khawasi said that several media organisations are acting irresponsibly and work only for the foreigner's interests.
On Sunday, the Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan also condemned the recent speech made by Khawasi.
Nai taking a stance against Khawasi said that circles inside the Parliament and government are trying to attack media and curtail its freedom.
Meanwhile, officials talked about the role of Minister of Information and Culture Sayed Makhdoom Raheen in delaying the setting up of Mass Media Commission.
"The Minister of Culture and Information, Head of High Council of Media and Chairman of Media Violation Evaluation Commission want to control the media," Afghanistan Journalist Union Executive Director Fahim Dashty said.
Afghanistan is considered as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. According to several journalists misusing the word 'Jihad' could be life threatening for media professionals working in the country.