TOLO News

TAWDE KHABARE: Kabul Reiterates Its Call To UN To Lift Sanctions Against Hekmatyar

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 17:40

The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Tuesday reiterated its call to the UN to lift sanctions against Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

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

Fatana Gillani, chairperson Afghanistan Women Association

Abdul Jabbar Shalgarai, member of HIA

Asif Baktash, political expert

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TOLOnews 6pm News 13 December 2016

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 16:51

Top news in this Bulletin:

Former Jawzjan governor and ex-member of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, Ahmad Eshchi, who was allegedly assaulted by the First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum last month, claims that he was also sexually assaulted by Dostum and his bodyguards – while in Dostum's 'custody'.

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 Dozens of religious scholars in Takhar on Tuesday criticized Mawlawi Abdul Samad for his recent anti-women remarks and called on the province's former head of the Ulema Council to apologize for his comments.

FARAKHABAR: I Was Sexually Assaulted By Dostum And His Men: Eshchi

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 16:38

Former Jawzjan governor and ex-member of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, Ahmad Eshchi, who was allegedly assaulted by the First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum last month, claims that he was also sexually assaulted by Dostum and his bodyguards – while in Dostum's 'custody'.

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Kabul Reiterates Its Call To UN To Lift Sanctions Against Hekmatyar

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 15:52

The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Tuesday reiterated its call to the UN to lift sanctions against Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

"Our expectation is that they (UN) officials respond positively to our recommendations," said MoFA deputy spokesman Khairullah Azad.

Meanwhile, Jabbar Shalgarai, a senior member of the group has also advocated the world body to take steps to remove embargos against its leader.

"If these sanctions are not lifted, other opponent groups will also lose confidence in the peace process and this would indicate that the international community does not support peace in Afghanistan," said Shalgarai.

The request by the government of Afghanistan follows a peace accord signed by President Ashraf Ghani and Hizb-e-Islami founder Gulbuddin Hekmatyar late September, an accord that drew widespread reaction from the Afghan public and political elite.

It is said that the ministry of foreign affairs in a letter to the UN security council requested the swift removal of sanctions against Hekmatyar.

But from a legal perspective, the process of scrutinizing the request could take three months.

"Lifting of sanctions is part of the peace accord between the Afghan government and Hizb-e-Islami, therefore efforts are underway for the removal of these sanctions," said Omid Maisam, deputy spokesman for CEO Abdullah Abdullah.

In September, the Ghani administration, as part of its peace initiative, clinched a deal with Gulbuddin – a move seen to put the peace process back on track.

But Hizb-e-Islami has also called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, something legal experts believe could create challenges when it comes to lifting sanctions.

Some countries have already expressed dismay over the deal with Hekmatyar – which could make it difficult for the UN to lift sanctions.

"The UN security council likely would have a number of reservations on the issue of lifting sanctions, certain countries such as Russia, Iran and India have concerns about peace with Hizb-e-Islami," said political activist Ajmal Balochzada.

The UN member nations are allowed to submit a request for the removal of names of certain persons, but the governments need to clarify the main reasons for their decisions to the UN.

70pc Of Afghans Dismayed Over Wolesi Jirga Performance: Survey

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 15:44

A recent survey by Freedom House of Afghanistan reveals that almost 70 percent of people are not satisfied with the activity of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament).

According to the survey, 64 percent of respondents have said they would not vote for the serving members of the Wolesi Jirga in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The survey shows that only 10 percent of the respondents have defended lawmakers' manner of speech and approach.

The organization said 7,367 persons from 34 provinces of the country were interviewed in the survey.

It indicates that 22 percent of the Afghan public have said the Wolesi Jirga was successful in overseeing government activity, legislations and public relations.

"33 percent of the respondents said the Wolesi Jirga has failed to take an effective step in fighting corruption," said Rohullah Rezwani, a researcher of the organization.

When asked about parliament's success in approving balanced and transparent budget, 13 percent of the respondents said yes while 55 percent of them said the parliament house did not act professionally when approving budgets.

Based on the survey, 37 percent of respondents said the Wolesi Jirga has a direct role in corruption.

Also, 19.5 percent of those interviewed in the survey said legislators exploit the National Assembly for personal ambitions.

They said 11.7 of the parliament members attend the Wolesi Jirga sessions regularly.

"They [MPs] took oath to serve the country, but they did not abide by it," said MP Gul Padshah Majidi

"The views which are expressed by the people are positive," said Farhad Sakhi, an MP.

Pugwash Sketches 19-Article Truce Plan For Afghanistan

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 15:40

Pugwash Secretary General Paolo Cotta-Ramusino on Tuesday said his organization has drafted a 19-article truce plan between the Afghan government and the Taliban – which could be helpful in sealing an agreement between the two sides in order to end hostilities and endorse a diplomatic solution for the ongoing turmoil.

He said the plan is designed to end the ongoing conflict in the country and seek a peaceful solution to the issue through diplomacy.

On Tuesday, Cotta-Ramusino held a backdoor discussion with a number of former Jihadi leaders, former members of the Taliban regime and a number of Afghan politicians.

He stated that the plan will be discussed by the Afghan government and the Taliban delegation in Qatar.

Cotta-Ramusiono said the warring factions of the Taliban would not reach their objectives through a military struggle.

"The issue that Afghanistan should not be anymore the source of any group of people that want to attack... The issue of entering government is something which should be defined. Its vague. It is a proposal that people should sit down and think on what to do," he added.

Commenting on the issue, chairman of Pugwash in Afghanistan, Khalilullah Safai, said: "The ceasefire strategy has been one of the disputed items as the Taliban claims they have control over 50 percent of the Afghan territory. There is a need for a coordinating body to be created and this mechanism is quite essential."

"Based on the agreement, finally the foreign forces will evacuate from Afghanistan, but their withdraw will not be a condition for peace. But, for some of the programs, they will withdraw after the peace agreement," chairman of the New National Front of Afghanistan, Anwarul Haq Ahadi, said.

Meanwhile, former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef said a lack of trust between government and the Taliban was one of the main obstacles on the way of the peace process in Afghanistan.

"Institutions such as Pugwash want to meditate and create an environment for consensus," Zaeef added.

Introducing a working strategy for the ceasefire, the removal of leaders of the Taliban from the blacklist, the gradual withdraw of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the release of Taliban inmates, implementing some key amendments in the Afghan constitution and the respect for human rights are key elements which are mentioned in the plan.

However, a number of former commanders of Taliban have said there are still a number of major challenges to resume the peace talks between government and the Taliban.

I Was Sexually Assaulted By Dostum And His Men: Eshchi

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 14:22

Former Jawzjan governor and ex-member of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, Ahmad Eshchi, who was allegedly assaulted by the First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum last month, claims that he was also sexually assaulted by Dostum and his bodyguards – while in Dostum's 'custody'.

Eshchi claims he was in Dostum's custody for five days and then spent 11 days in a National Directorate of Security (NDS) detention center.

He claimed that Dostum beat him up, threatened to kill him and sexually assaulted him.

"I took Gen. Dostum's hand and greeted him [at the Buzkashi grounds last month]. From that point, he started abusing me verbally. He told me that he knows what I have done. He told me he knows what my son has done. Who will look for you if I kill you here. I will throw you under the horses and do Buzkashi on you. He called on his bodyguards and told them to grab me and beat me. He [Dostum] lay me on the ground and put his foot on my neck," Eshchi said in an interview with TOLOnews.

Recounting the details of the assault, Eshchi claimed that first he was beaten by Dostum's bodyguards and then he was taken to his house. He said it was here that Dostum tried to abuse him sexually.
"You will not believe what I will say. He [Dostum] said first I want to have sex with him [Eshchi]... He [Dostum] ordered his guys to lift me up. Four of them grabbed my legs and two of them grabbed my hands. They rolled up my clothes. They put me up and down and then he [Dostum] said its enough. Three times is enough. Touching him three times is enough for pictures (Dostum said). Then he [Dostum] told his guys to put me down. He said this is enough and whenever needed we will show him the picture. Then he [Dostum] called on [someone named] Sattar and told him that 10 people including you [Sattar] should have sex with him [Eshchi] until his anus ruptures and bleeds.

"He [Dostum] told them to take pictures of his [Eshchi's] blood and show it to me [Dostum]. He [Dostum] went out of the room and then they [the bodyguards] lay me on the ground. When I was on the ground, my hands were tied up behind my back. They pulled me up and down and my face was hardly touching the ground many times. They did this seven or eight times. At this time, suddenly I felt a heavy pain and I started shouting loudly and that was the time when the muzzle of the Kalashnikov gun was entered the anus and it was ruptured," he added.

Eshchi has meanwhile called on the president and relevant government and international organizations to defend his rights.

"While Gen. Dostum is the vice president. If he has a reason against me, he should tell [me]. Otherwise he does not have the right to do so. I want justice," Eshchi stated.

Meanwhile, Dostum's office said in a statement late on Tuesday that the issue was a plot against Dostum and that a number of institutions have started a conspiracy against him.

The statement said Eshchi was arrested by security forces on charges of involvement in insecurity in Jawzjan.

The statement said there are a number of organizations that want to paint a different picture about what really happened and are making hasty judgments.

Meanwhile, the European Union, Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States have sought a transparent assessment of the issue.

"The international organization should put pressure on the Afghan government. But this has not been done. This is not the first time. We have witnessed such issues in the past," said Najibullah Azad, head of a human rights institution.

Click below to watch full report: 

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Basketball Tournament Underway In Kabul

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 13:03

A basketball tournament kicked off in Kabul on Tuesday aimed at selecting the country's top players for the national squad.

The event will continue for five days.

More than 160 basketball players from Kabul, Bamiyan, Kandahar, Ghazni, Herat, Samangan, Balkh, Kunduz and Nangarhar provinces will compete for a place in the team.

Officials from the Basketball Federation said they will select new talent for the national A and B teams.

"The competition is important for us, because we continue our efforts to own a powerful and professional national team with members from all over the country," said Abdul Saboor Azizi, acting head of the federation.

"The tournament is effective for us and will help us display our talent and exchange our techniques with our co-players," said Amanullah Arghandiwal, a basketball athlete.

A total of 36 new players will be selected for the national A and B teams.

Takhar Mawlawi Asked To Apologize For Anti-Woman Remarks

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 12:50

Dozens of religious scholars in Takhar on Tuesday criticized Mawlawi Abdul Samad for his recent anti-women remarks and called on the province's former head of the Ulema Council to apologize for his comments.

"Mawlawi Abdul Samad should apologize to all women in the country and he should not let the issue affect the trust and the place of religious scholars in society," said Massoud-ul-Haq Haqnawaaz, the new head of Takhar Ulema Council.

"No one can violate the right and the position that has been given by Allah to women. Religious scholars should consider this fact," he added.

They said the statement was against the principles of Islam.

"The statement made by Mawlawi Samad was his own remarks and it is against the teachings of Islam," asid Ghulam Rabbani, a religious scholar in Takhar.

Another religious scholar, Abdul Ahad, said: "Women are honest and well-mannered in Afghanistan; therefore, they should not be insulted."

TOLOnews' Nematullah Ahmadi tried to speak to Takhar women about the issue, but they did not want comment due to what they called a fear of the Mawlawi.

Samad said in an interview with TOLOnews last week that he does not regret what he said and that he would continue to make such remarks.

He said last week that women were deficient and the most shameless people in the world.

Meanwhile, the new head of the council, Mawlawi Massoud-ul-Haq Haqnawaz, who was appointed on Monday after Samad was fired, said women form half of society and they must be respected.

Jahan Nama: Naweed Mukhtar Appointed New ISI Boss

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 07:27

Host Massoud Malik discusses the topic with Ahmad Sayede former Afghan diplomat in Pakistan.

To watch the program, click here:

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NIMA ROOZ: Pakistan Tries to Resume Afghan Peace Talks

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 07:18

Host Maryam Sama discusses the topic with Asadullah Walwalji a political analyst.

To watch the program, click here:

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FARAKHABAR: Army Chief Shaheem Discusses Overall Security Climate of Afghanistan

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 07:08

To watch the whole interview, click here:

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EU Calls For Probe Into 'Human Rights Violations' Against Eshchi

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 06:38

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday called for a fair and transparent official investigation into reports of gross human rights violations and abuses against Ahmad Eshchi, the former Jawzjan governor.

The EU also called for investigations concerning the allegations made against the First Vice President, General Abdul Rashid Dostum.

The EU and its Member States present in Kabul, Australia, Canada and Norway "urge all Afghans to continue to work together to promote peace, stability and democracy, based on full respect for the rule of law by all citizens, regardless of position or standing in society," read their statement.

The former Jawzjan governor and ex-member of National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, Eshchi, was allegedly assaulted by Dostum and then taken into custody. He was released about 16 days later.

According to reports, Eshchi was allegedly assaulted by Dostum's guards at a Buzkashi game last month. He was then taken into custody by the men. According to Eshchi's family he was in Dostum's custody for five days before being handed over to the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

He was released on Saturday.

However, Dostum's office rejected the reports and said he was arrested by the NDS in Jawzjan.

Two Women Killed In Herat

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 06:21

Officials at the Herat regional hospital said that the bodies of two women were brought to the hospital on Monday – both of whom had been shot.

The officials said the body of a 27-year-old women was found by police in Zubaida Garden area of PD5 in Herat city.

The second victim was a 60-year-old woman who was shot dead by her son in Kart-e-Shahr of Herat city.

Police have started investigations into both incidents, officials said.

Chaudhry Claims 'Some' Haqqani Leaders Present in Pakistan

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 05:42

Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry has said "some" members of the terrorist Haqqani network are present in the country, but that Islamabad is not allowing any group to conduct terrorist activities in Afghanistan, VOA reported.

Chaudhry made the statement in an interview with the state-run Pakistani television PTV broadcast Sunday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and U.S officials have said Haqqani operates out of sanctuaries in Pakistan, a charge Islamabad rejects.

"The Haqqani Network is actually part of the Taliban. Most of their people are in Afghanistan, most of them, and some of them are present here (in Pakistan)," said Chaudhry.

VOA reported that Chaudhry said the Pakistani leadership is sticking to its pledges of not allowing any individual or group to use Pakistan's soil for terrorist activities.

"We have also explicitly given the same message to the Taliban and Haqqanis that you must not indulge in any terrorist activity or violence in Afghanistan," he said.

"And if you can't mend your ways and live peacefully like millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, then you better leave the country because Pakistani soil cannot welcome you and the space would be squeezed on you."

Chaudhry said Pakistan is putting "incremental pressure" on Taliban and Haqqanis to persuade them to reengage in peace talks with Afghan authorities.

But Islamabad has made it clear to the Afghan leadership that it would not use military force against the insurgents because they would then turn their guns on Pakistanis, bringing Afghanistan's war to Pakistan, he said, and reemphasized the need for finding a political solution to the Afghan conflict, VOA reported.

The Pakistani official reiterated Islamabad is ready to facilitate peace talks between Afghan warring sides provided Kabul accepts the offer.

TOLOnews 10 pm News 12 December 2016

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 04:43

Top news in this Bulletin:

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said Monday that it has started finalizing a number of key programs related to the elections such as that of the voter lists, election calendar and reducing the number of electoral districts.

To watch the whole news bulletin, click here:

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Mawlawi Abdul Samad, head of the Ulema Council in Takhar, was fired on Monday at a special meeting following his anti-women remarks last week.

MEHWAR: IEC Prioritizes Working Agendas, Experts Skeptical

Mon, 12/12/2016 - 17:56

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said Monday that it has started finalizing a number of key programs related to the elections such as that of the voter lists, election calendar and reducing the number of electoral districts.

The IEC called on government to finalize the rollout of digital national identity cards so that the elections are held in free, fair and transparent manner.

In this part of Mehwar, host Massoud Malik discusses the topic with former IEC chief Fazel Ahmad Manavi.

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MEHWAR: Wolesi Jirga Likely to Reject MoF's Draft Budget

Mon, 12/12/2016 - 17:44

Ministry of Finance (MoF) on Monday called on MPs to approve the 2017 draft budget by the deadline, which is in a week, but there are indications that the lawmakers will reject it.

However, a document seen by TOLOnews shows that more than $11 million USD has been allocated in the draft budget for upgrades to the presidential palace, including the construction of a special presidential kitchen, the painting of the presidential palace, the renovation of roads within the presidential palace compound and the renovation of Gul Khana and Del Kusha palaces.

In this part of Mehwar, host Massoud Malik discusses the topic with the following guests

Sayed Massoud, economist

Mohammad Azim Mohseni, MP

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TAWDE KHABARE: Ghani Reiterates Call to Insurgents to Enter Peace Process

Mon, 12/12/2016 - 16:43

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday addressed a gathering to mark the birthday of Prophet Muhammad and called on all opposition groups to enter peace negotiations.

Ghani said Prophet Muhammad had been kind to women and the elderly and did not discriminate against anyone.

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

Khalilullah Safai, head of Pugwash

Mohibullah Samim, former governor of Paktika

Amanullah Hotak, former member of Uruzgan provincial council

Qareebullah Sadat, member of Logar provincial council

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Western Envoys Call For Women's Role in Peace Process

Mon, 12/12/2016 - 16:33

Highlighting the importance of the contribution of women in issues of national interest and decision making, the Swedish ambassador to Afghanistan Andres Sjoberg and EU deputy envoy George Cunningham on Monday called for the meaningful engagement and inclusion of Afghan women in the peace process.

Joining the western envoys, Afghanistan's First Lady Rula Ghani concurred and said women must be included in the peace process.

She said the peace process will not reach inclusive outcomes if there is not substantial participation by women.

Women delegates from 34 provinces gathered in Kabul on Monday to participate in a three-day workshop organized by the Swedish embassy.

The workshop will provide training to the women on topics related to the peace process.

Talking on the importance of Afghan women's engagement in peace talks, the Swedish diplomat suggested 50 percent of a peace negotiating team be made up of women.

"To win peace we can no longer accept that half of the country's population is excluded from the discussion that concern their own future, women's inclusion in society ... smart politics," said Cunningham.

The EU's George Cunningham said that a substantial presence of women in the peace process would achieve meaningful negotiations.

"Gender is a center peace for our development activities, we are working to have gender delt with transparently and run like a silver threat throughout the national budget of Afghanistan," said Sjoberg.

President Ashraf Ghani has in the past pledged to consider a solid role for women in peace negotiation talks. But it is not known whether the Taliban would endorse a team made up of 50 percent women.