TOLO News

Casualties Surges Among Children In Kandahar Conflict: Officials

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 07:44

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) office in Kandahar said Friday that casualties among children have increased in conflicts between security forces and militants in remote parts of the province.

According to the commission, at least 90 children were killed and 97 others wounded in Kandahar over the past year.

"Figures from hospitals in Kandahar, especially Mirwais Hospital – where they collect information every Wednesday – show that at least 90 children have been killed due to conflict in different parts of Kandahar over the past year – up to January this year," said chairman of AIHRC in Kandahar Shamsuddin Tanwir.

He said the figures are double if compared with those of the past year.

"This problem has been common in very remote areas [in Kandahar]. Children in the province have been killed due to roadside bombs and other kinds of violence. We are upset about it," he added.

The commission also said that poor economy has pushed a number of Kandahar children to commit a number of illegal acts, including robbery and that government should help them overcome the situation.

TOLOnews 10pm News 04 February 2016

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 06:25

Top news in this Bulletin:

The first Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum on Thursday dismissed rumors that he was stepping down and said he will not walk away from the government in which he had a key role in establishing.

Click below to watch full bulletin:

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Embattled Afghan troops have appealed for reinforcements in Sangin district amid reports that government forces have lost control of the key strategic town.

MEHWAR: U.S Commitment On Financing Afghan Security Forces Reviewed

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 05:41

United States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has said his country is firm on financing the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and that they will consider a billion-dollar package in the Pentagon's budget for the next year.

In this episode of Mehwar, host Haris Jamalzada discusses the issue with Mohammad Asif Sediqqi, the second deputy of the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of Parliament).

Click below to watch full episode:

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MEHWAR: Violence Against Women Discussed

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 05:36

Reza Gul, a victim of domestic violence, on Thursday left Kabul for Turkey where she will get specialized treatment after having had her nose cut off by her husband.

In this episode of Mehwar, host Haris Jamalzada discusses different dimensions of violence against women in Afghanistan.

With him in the studio is MP Masooma Khawari.

Click below to watch full episode:

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TAWDE KHABARE: Ghani's Kandahar Visit Reviewed

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 03:49

President Ashraf Ghani visited Kandahar this week where he vowed to address economic and social challenges in the province.

He vowed government will change nine airports in the country into economic zones and that he will give special authorities to mayors in Herat, Nangarhar, Balkh, Mazar and Kandahar in order to work better and effectively.

Analysts meanwhile believe that the president makes promises during provincial visits but none of his promises have been fulfilled so far.

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

• Qais Hassan, member of telecommunication committee in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament)

• Mohammad Naeem Lalai Hamidzai, MP

• Zahir Saadat, MP

Click below to watch full episode:

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Russia Accuses Turkey Of Preparing To Invade Syria

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 03:40

Russia on Thursday accused Turkey of actively preparing to invade Syria, saying it had spotted troops and military equipment on the border with the war-torn country.

"We have serious grounds to suspect Turkey is in intensive preparations for an armed invasion of the territory of a sovereign state -- the Syrian Arab Republic," the defence ministry said in a statement.

Ties between Moscow, which supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Ankara, which is a staunch backer of the opposition, have been in tatters since Turkey shot down a Russian bomber on the Syrian border in November.

Moscow's claims came as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking at an international aid conference for Syria in London, implicitly accused Russia of "war crimes" in the country.

Ankara said earlier Thursday that it had refused to allow a Russian reconnaissance plane to overfly its territory near Syria because of a disagreement over the flight plan.

Russia said Turkey had not given Moscow any clear explanation for the decision.

"We consider these Turkish actions to be a dangerous precedent and an attempt to conceal illegal military activities at the Syrian border," the defence ministry said.

"Moreover, we are recording more and more signs of covert preparations by the Turkish armed forces for active action on Syrian territory," it said, adding that Russia has ramped up reconnaissance in the Middle East.

"So if someone in Ankara believes that the cancellation of the flight by Russian monitors would allow (them) to hide something then this is unprofessional."

The defence ministry, citing reconnaissance data, said Turkey had recently expanded a parking lot for heavy-duty trucks on the border as well two smaller parking lots in rebel-controlled Syria.

"Such sites are used to secure a quick movement of military columns containing ammunition and weapons to a theatre of operations as well as a fast transfer and evacuation of personnel," it said.

Moscow said it had recorded plenty of such examples at the Syrian-Turkish border "including the presence of troops and military equipment".

Russia also said it was surprised that representatives of Pentagon, NATO and human rights organisations in Syria did not issue any reaction.

The Turkish foreign ministry declined to immediately comment on the Russian claim.

UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura announced Wednesday the suspension of peace talks to end Syria's civil war as the West accused Moscow of seeking a military solution to the war and refusing to halt its strikes.

Following a request from Assad, Moscow launched a bombing campaign in Syria in September, saying it needed to target jihadists like the Islamic State group before they cross into Russia.

The Syrian opposition has been outraged at Moscow's determination to press ahead with its bombing campaign during peace talks and accused Russia of targeting civilians.

Germany Will Stand By Afghanistan: German Minister

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 15:46

Muslim Shirzad interviews the German Minister of Interior, Thomas de Maizière about Afghan refugees and security issues in Afghanistan.

In this interview, the German minister said that his country will stand by Afghanistan and will support both the people and the government of Afghanistan.

Click below to watch the interview:

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TOLOnews 6pm News 04 February 2016

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 14:58

Top news in this Bulletin:

The first Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum on Thursday dismissed rumors that he was stepping down and said he will not walk away from the government in which he had a key role in establishing.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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Embattled Afghan troops have appealed for reinforcements in Sangin district amid reports that government forces have lost control of the key strategic town.

Domestic Violence Victim Reza Gul Leaves For Turkey

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 14:35

Reza Gul, a victim of domestic violence, on Thursday left Kabul for Turkey where she will get specialized treatment after having had her nose cut off by her husband.

Gul has spent the past 20 days in a private hospital in Kabul but despite concerted efforts by her doctors, her condition has not improved.

The victim is however hopeful that doctors in Turkey will be able to help her.

Kabul doctors meanwhile said that when she was admitted to their hospital her mental state was not good.

Gul relatives' have expressed their anger at her husband and have condemned violence against women.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Public Health has said that Gul will be taken care of in Turkey.

Turkey will pay all her expenses.

Gul's husband cut her nose off during a domestic dispute almost a month ago. The couple were from Ghormach district of Faryab province. The husband has however since reportedly fled the area.

To watch the report, click here:

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Presidential Palace Elements Hindering Election Reforms: Selection Committee

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 14:29

The Electoral Commissions' Selection Committee alleged that some elements have infiltrated the Presidential Palace and are hindering electoral reforms.

Members of the committee called on President Ashraf Ghani to issue a decree on electoral reforms soon.

It has been a month since the Electoral Commissions Selection Committee stopped its activities.

Naeem Ayubzada, a member of the committee, said if the government does not pay attention the ground will be paved for some opportunists to hijack elections, then holding polls will be impossible.

"We urge the president to issue a constitutional decree. The decree should ensure the activities of the current selection committee," he added.

The Presidential Palace, however, said that they are exploring ways to bring about reforms in the electoral system.

"The Second Vice-President [Sarwar Danish] is discussing the issue with both houses of the parliament— Wolesi Jirga and Meshrano Jirga— as well as prominent political figures to find a solution for electoral reforms," said Sayed Zafar Hashemi, a spokesman to President Ashraf Ghani.

Election watchdog organizations expressed their concerns over the current stalemate on electoral reforms and threatened that if the situation prevails, it will question the legitimacy of the National Unity Government (NUG).

"If holding elections were challenged, convening a Loya Jirga will also be a challenge and government's legitimacy, based on the political agreement [signed between the two leaders of the NU] will be questioned," said Jandad Speenghar, a member of the Afghan Civil Society and Elections Network (ACSEN).

A number of civil society activists voiced their concerns that the stalemate will have a negative effect on electoral reforms.

"They [leaders of the NUG] should keep Afghanistan's national interests in mind and should end the election deadlock," said Mohammad Asef Hamraaz, a civil society activist.

Dostum Dismisses Claims He Is Stepping Down

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 14:10

The first Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum on Thursday dismissed rumors that he was stepping down and said he will not walk away from the government in which he had a key role in establishing.

He did however say that he did have a problem with certain issues relating to the government.

He also said the vote of his supporters made the Change and Continuity team winners in the 2014 presidential elections.

"Why should I step down? I had a key role in laying the foundation stone for this government. I will never distance myself from it [government]. I am the first vice president," Dostum said.

He called on government officials to work instead of promising and giving mere-lip service speeches.

"If things were done in words, then it has been mentioned many times that we will fight, we will ensure security. It is time to make our words practical," he added.

Referring to votes from his supporters in the presidential election he said: "The vote of Dostum and his supporters made the team [Change and Continuity] a winner. I should confess one point that we have not addressed the 10 percent of your [supporters'] part."

He apologized for not taking part in the Kunduz battle, and said: "I apologize to the Kunduz people because I could not go there. I will tell you about the reasons later."

Dostum mentioned that he is committed to his promise to establish a youth ministry.

"I am still firm on my promise. The youth ministry should be established. The information and culture ministry should be changed into the youth ministry," he stated.

The remarks come after reports stated Dostum will step down from government . There were unconfirmed reports that Dostum had suggested the establishment of a special unit in defense and interior ministries as well as in the National Directorate of Security in order to fight the Taliban, but his suggestion was reportedly rejected by government leaders.

To watch the report, click here:

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Besieged ANA Troops Call For Reinforcements in Key Helmand Town

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 14:04

Embattled Afghan troops have appealed for reinforcements in Sangin district amid reports that government forces have lost control of the key strategic town.

Soldiers who are apparently under Taliban siege have said that they are running out of food and ammunition and are unable to break the siege and clear the area of militants.

Dozens of troops are reportedly still under siege and no one is addressing the problem, a number of troops fighting Taliban in Sangin district said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, members of Helmand provincial council have confirmed the reports - which have however been dismissed by senior Afghan security officials including the Ministry of Defense and provincial police chief.

Sangin, once a Taliban stronghold - has witnessed fierce fighting over the past two months with several areas of the district in the north still under control of the insurgents.

There are reports that the militants have cordoned off all overland routes to the area, leaving air transport as the only way to reach troops.

"Two months have past since the war erupted, several troops were wounded and martyred," an Afghan National Army ANA soldier said in Sangin adding that despite numerous pleas, no reinforcements have been sent in.
"They (officials) promised that they will do it today or tomorrow, but promises weren't kept. The entire bazaar is under Taliban siege. They (officials) tell us lies. It is now four days that we did not eat,"‎ said the soldier.

Insurgents however have planted landmines on the routes leading to Sangin district in an effort to inflict more casualties and curb the advance of troops.

"There are problems and pressures, Taliban alongside foreigners and opponents mounted their pressure. They (insurgents) had decided to seize control of the entire area in northern Helmand in a bid to establish strong command centers. However, insurgents failed to reach their objectives," Dawlat Waziri, a defense ministry spokesman said.

Waziri said they have been supporting Helmand fully, but promised to discuss certain issues facing troops in Helmand with the chief of army staff in order to address the problems.

While Waziri dismissed claims made by the embattled forces in Sangin, members of the provincial council said that troops fighting Taliban in Sangin are under serious threat and are facing a food shortage.

"The national army and border police forces live inside a fort, supply routes are closed and they face food shortages. According to our information, it is four or five days that they have not eaten food," a member of Helmand provincial council, Abdul Majid said.

"A limited area is under control of government forces which is also under the siege of the armed opponents. Government cannot supply them. Because the main road is also under siege of the armed opponents," another member Bashir Ahmad Badalshakir said.

Criticism has mounted against the central government in recent months after reports surfaced that government in Kabul has ignored calls from embattled troops for reinforcements.

"It is a laughable report to claim that there is no food, water and bullets, it means that the district is protected by ghosts. It is a totally baseless claim. How members of the provincial council know this, I can assure you that everything exists there and all necessary things are dispatched there," Helmand police chief Abdul Rahman Sarjang said.

This comes at a time that the Afghan security forces are still battling the Taliban in various regions of the volatile province and Taliban insurgency shows no sign of ending.

To watch the report, click here:

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Germany Will Stand By Afghanistan: German Minister

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 13:45

The German Minister of Interior, Thomas de Maizière, vowed that his country will continue its support to Afghanistan.

In an interview with TOLOnews, he said that despite ongoing fighting, Afghanistan should talk peace with the Taliban.

He believes that militants have not made tangible achievements in Afghanistan and said the collapse of Kunduz city did not indicate a weakness on the part of security forces, but weakness of the individuals in the province.

He said terrorists have even reached the back doors of European countries. He stressed that the world should remain committed to the war on terror.

The German minister was optimistic about the peace process and said that peace negotiations will yield a result.

"It is not our job to fight against the Taliban. It's the job of the Afghan authorities, but we will support, assist and train, and this has to be accompanied by the political talks, the reconciliation talks, then together fight and talk could be a solution," said de Maizière.

German troops were mostly stationed in northern Afghanistan and the collapse of Kunduz city to the Taliban was shocking for the country, he said. The country spends $200 million USD in different areas in

Afghanistan. Most of the economic projects of Germany are focused on Kunduz province, he added.

"We need the Afghan people to join the police, to join the armed forces. Kunduz was not in a way a sign of failure of the mission, it was the failure of some people who were in there, so the armed forces were not ready to fight at this point; they did it two weeks later," he said.

De Maizière urged Afghans to protect the achievements of the past 14 years.

He said the Taliban controls few districts in Afghanistan and stressed that the people and government of Afghanistan should not be pessimistic about the future of their country.

U.S Firm On Financing Afghan Security Forces: Carter

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 13:37

United States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has said his country is firm on financing the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and that they will consider a billion-dollar package in the Pentagon's budget for the next year.

Carter said the Afghan security forces are now equipped with different types of aircraft and that they will be used on the battlefields.

He said their budget contains an element for the Afhan security forces. "Remember, that is the key. They are supposed to be increasingly able to take over their own security," Carter said.

"They will have now fixed wing aircraft. We just delivered 29s to them... All these capabilities that they didn't have last season they will have this season. We hope that that will... not hope it is a plan - that strengthens their hand against the Taliban by full sufficiency," he added.

He also said the Afghan security forces will face a difficult war season come spring.

Expo Puts Artwork Made Of Garbage On Display

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 12:27

In a bid to highlight the problem of pollution, Khatera Afareenan, a civil society organization, launched an exhibition of artwork made of garbage.

For many, who visited the exhibition in Park-e-Zarnegar area in Kabul on Thursday, it was a new experience.

The artwork on display carried the message of cleanliness and protection of the environment.

Officials from the Kabul Municipality said more than 3,000 tons of garbage is being produced in Kabul city on a daily basis and if the situation prevails, residents will face more environmental challenges.

"One of the major problems that we are currently facing in Kabul city is that some roads and streets are not paved. We are trying to resolve this problem in order to reduce the amount of dust in the air," said Mohammad Aslam Ekrama, acting Kabul Mayor.

He added that Kabul is not built for the current heavy traffic.

He said there are some 750,000 vehicles in Kabul city now.

Members of the organization said that they have made the artworks in more than 50 days.

"By launching this expo we want to tell people to work for a clean and healthy environment. Our colleagues decided to make artworks out of something that has no value in Afghanistan," said Baresh Sarwari, head of the organization.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) expressed its deep concerns over Kabul's pollution problem and said such events will help raise public awareness.

"Despite have programs for security and good governance, we should also devise special programs for environmental protection and cleanliness of the city. Around eight million people lose their lives due to air pollution across the world annually," Qamaruddin Seddiqi, an advisor to the MoPH.

To watch the report, click here:

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Abdullah Invites Indian Businessmen To Invest In Afghanistan

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:48

CEO of the National Unity Government (NUG) Abdullah Abdullah on Wednesday met with Indian businessmen in New Delhi in a bid to encourage them to invest in Afghanistan, the CEO's office said in a statement on Thursday.

At the meeting, Abdullah thanked the Indian government and non-government sectors for their help in Afghanistan and encouraged them to invest further in the country - especially in the infrastructure, energy, agriculture, health, education and technology sectors, read the statement.

The statement said that the Indian officials and businessmen also welcomed Abdullah and promised to look at investing in Afghanistan.

Before this, Abdullah addressed the Conference on Counter-Terrorism which was held in Jaipur in India and called for joint cooperation against this problem.

On Tuesday, he met with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj where India approved the third phase of 92 small development projects in Afghanistan.

During the meeting Abdullah thanked Modi for their economic and military aid to Afghanistan, the CEO's office said in a statement.

Abdullah also said that the provisions of strategic agreements between the two countries must be implemented and added that Afghanistan is prepared for this.

Modi also stressed the need for relations between the two countries to be strengthened and said that his country will help Afghanistan in economic and security sectors, according to the statement.

Abdullah and Modi also agreed to visa free travel for diplomats.

The CEO's visit to India comes in the wake of Modi's visit to Kabul in December when the new Afghan parliament building, constructed with India's help, was inaugurated.

Abdullah who is on a five-day visit to India also met Afghan students studying there.

TOLOnews 10pm News 03 February 2016

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 08:13

Top news in this Bulletin:

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday marked World Cancer Day where it said that cancer affects at least 20,000 people and takes the lives of 15,000 every year in Afghanistan.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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A number of MPs from Baghlan province on Wednesday raised the issue of the controversial deal of Dand-e-Ghori and said it will provide an opportunity for insurgents to build a strong base in the strategic city of Pul-e-Khumri and recruit people there.

Syria Opposition Vows No Talks 'Until Humanitarian Demands Met'

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 06:58

Syria's main opposition group will not return to peace talks until its humanitarian demands are met, chief coordinator Riad Hijab said Wednesday after the UN suspended negotiations in Switzerland until February 25.

The group "will leave Geneva tomorrow (Thursday) and will not return until the humanitarian demands are met or (we) see something on the ground," Hijab told reporters.

The High Negotiations Committee "came (to Geneva) because of these assurances. But the opposite happened," he said. "Nothing happened on the humanitarian front and the regime caused the political process to fail."

"Unfortunately whenever there is a political process that starts the regime feels threatened and uses these kinds of tactics," he said.

"The whole world sees who is making the negotiations fail. Who is bombing civilians and starving people to death."

In a separate news conference, chief government negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari put the blame on opposition "preconditions" for the failure.

"Since its arrival... (the HNC) refused to take part in any serious talks with the (UN) special envoy," state news agency SANA quoted Jaafari as saying.

UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura said earlier Saturday that the "temporary pause" was needed because there is "more work to be done, not only by us but the stakeholders," referring to outside powers embroiled in the conflict.

"It is not the end or the failure of the talks," he said.

The comments came after several days of fruitless talks during which de Mistura tried to coax the Syrian government and opposition into beginning six months of indirect talks.

17 Taliban Insurgents Killed in Kunduz Operation

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 06:52

At least 17 Taliban insurgents were killed in military operations in northern Kunduz province, local officials said on Thursday.

The operations were launched in Ali Abad district of the province after Taliban insurgents attacked military outposts on Wednesday and clashed with security forces, a provincial security official, Mohammad Masoum Safi said.

"Two senior commanders of the Taliban Mawlawi Neyazi and Mawlawi Abdul Hai are among the dead," he said.

However, he did not provide more details about the clashes.

MEHWAR: Long-Term Presence Of US Troops In Afghanistan Discussed

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 06:20

In this episode of Mehwar, host Haris Jamalzada discusses the long-term presence of US troops in Afghanistan.

With him at the studio is Mirdad Nijrabi, head of security commission of Parliament.

Click here to watch the whole program:

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