TOLO News

TOLOnews 6pm News 1 April 2015

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 17:30

Top news in this bullitine:

Among the 31 hostages there are two brothers - Syed Reza and Ali Gawhar - whose mother and other loved ones mourn their absence and traveled to Kabul this week to put pressure on the central government to take action in order to secure the release of the hostages.

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Despite spending about $1.8 billion, 569m of which paid to infamous mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater, the Pentagon has failed to fight drugs production in Afghanistan, according to a new U.S. report. The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has said in its recent report that the opium production climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year.

Hajj Ministry Closes Shah-e-Do Shamshera Shrine

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 15:33

In connection to the killing and burning of 27-year-old woman, Farkhunda, the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs has closed the crowded Shah-e-Do Shamshera shrine of Kabul.

The move came as the custodian and the servant of the shrine have also been arrested by the interior ministry.

Farkhunda was beaten to death and burnt outside the shrine by a mob on the accusation of burning the Holy Quran, an allegation strongly rejected by the investigations teams of interior ministry as baseless.

In connection to her murder, the Kabul Police have so far arrested 47 people including 19 police. The interior ministry has sent their cases to the Attorney General's Office for further investigations.

"Still nearly 10 to 12 of them [perpetrators] have not been arrested so far," said Gen. Zahir Zahir, chief of Kabul Criminal Investigation Department (CID). "We have shared their pictures in our Facebook page. They will also be arrested, and we want people's cooperation with police."

He urged that Farkhunda's killers must be sentenced to death.

According to the police, 28 arrested suspects were the ordinary labors and workers of tailoring and bakery shops.

The names of some of the arrested suspects received by TOLOnews are as follows:

Sharaf Baghlani, Mohammad Yaqoub, Rabiullah, Hizbullah, Mahmood, Ghulam Mohammad, Abdul Fatah, Mohammad Tahir, Sherzai, Ishaq, Naqibullah, Baharuddin, Mohammad Hakim, Abdul Khaliq, Shafiqullah, Mahmood, Ghulam Mohamamd, Abdul Fatah, Mohammad Zahir, Sherzai, Ishaq, Naqibullah, Jan Aziz, Ikramuddin, Jawad and Abdul Baqi are said to be among the main perpetrators.

The Shrine's custodian Gheyasuddin and the servant Zainuddin are also among the main suspects currently under police custody.

A number of women who had come to attend shrine's Wednesday's rituals strongly denounced Farkhunda's killing, and demanded the government to execute the killers in public.

"The mullah [who provoked the people to kill Farkhunda] should be executed in front of this shrine," a female Kabul resident Aziza said.

The second Vice President Sarwar Danish while introducing the remaining cabinet picks to the Parliament called Farkhunda's killing shameful to the government and people of Afghanistan.
He promised with a strong commitment to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Central Bank Plans to Inject Cash to Stabilize AFN Currency

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 15:30

The acting governor of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, Khan Afzal Hudawal, said Wednesday that 15 to 100 million USD would be injected into the local market in order to stabilize the Afghani currency.

According to Hudawal, Afghanistan manages its financial policy in line with the expenses of the government, value of the Afghani currency, consumer prices and financial aid provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

CBA officials have emphasized that the government's financial policy is unique for the region, and it has succeeded in providing sustainability for Afghanistan's financial policy without pillaging the country's reserves.

"Our monetary policy has been successful as we manage it in accordance with the demands and expenses of the government on the monthly and annual basis, the central bank also monitors the markets and this forms fundamental aspects of our monetary policy," Hudawal said.

Meanwhile, Parliament's commission for financial and budget issues and the association of money exchangers have expressed concerns over the lack of a comprehensive monetary policy in the country.

"There is a dire need to concentrate on domestic production and the laws should be executed in an equal manner across the country in order to ensure stability of the Afghani currency," the parliamentary commission's head Amir Khan Yar said.

The Central Bank weekly sells 50 to 70 million dollars to the market to compensate for government expenses. "Every week the bank dispatches 50 million dollars to the market and in exchange it gets Afghani and this has led to stability for the Afghani currency," money exchanger association head Khan Mohammad Baz said.

According to the CBA acting governor, another 150 million dollars will be included in the Afghan reserves in the next nine months.

Mourning Relatives of 31 Zabul Hostages Arrive in Kabul

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 15:20

Among the 31 hostages there are two brothers - Syed Reza and Ali Gawhar - whose mother and other loved ones mourn their absence and traveled to Kabul this week to put pressure on the central government to take action in order to secure the release of the hostages.

With well over a month gone by since the 31 travelers were abducted by masked men along the Kabul-Kandahar highway, the Afghan government continues to stall amid assurances that it is doing everything in its power to ensure their release. Yet even just the general location of where the hostages are being held has proven elusive.

The family of the two brothers who were kidnapped arrived in Kabul this week after trekking on foot from Waras district, one of the remotest districts of central Bamyan province.

"We have hiked for three days and come to Kabul so that someone can address our concerns and rescue us from this tragedy," the two boy's uncle Sarwar told TOLOnews.

Syed Reza and Ali Gawhar's mother, Masooma, has struggled to cope with the crisis facing her family. "I am now a dead body, and don't recognize day or night; I don't have any other option except to cry and scream," she said on Wednesday.

Adding further to their troubles, the family of the two abducted boys lacks the ability to support themselves in the absence of two crucial breadwinners. "We don't have a place to stay here and spend our nights inside the mosques and shops and do not have enough money to stay in a hotel," another uncle of the hostages Syed Jawad said.

Despite it all, government officials have maintained the same - increasingly dubious - line that efforts are underway to release the hostages. "We will use all options and available resources to ensure the release of our countrymen who have been taken hostage," President Ashraf Ghani's Second VP Sarwar Danish said on Wednesday.

SIGAR Says Pentagon Failed in War on Afghan Drugs

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 15:17

Despite spending about $1.8 billion, 569m of which paid to infamous mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater, the Pentagon has failed to fight drugs production in Afghanistan, according to a new U.S. report.

The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has said in its recent report that the opium production climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year.

It reported that from over $7 billion spent by the United States to eradicate poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, about $1.8 billion of that was spent by the Pentagon.

Furthermore, the SIGAR report has revealed that Pentagon has failed to account $45 billion it spent since 2002 in Afghanistan.

This comes as the United Nations, last year in December, reported a 60% growth in Afghan land used for opium poppy cultivation since 2011, up to 209,000 hectares.

"Given the growth in opium poppy cultivation, it must be assumed that the Taliban's income from the illegal trade in narcotics has remained an important factor in generating assets for the group," the United Nations reported.

The Afghan analyst, meanwhile, strongly criticize the failure in curbing poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, blaming it on external hands involved in Afghanistan's affairs.

"This [report] shows that powerful internal and external hands are involved in growing narcotics in the country," said Chaman Shah Etemadi, member of counter-narcotics commission of the House of Representatives.

"About 50 countries are, somehow, present in Afghanistan but the drugs production is still growing. Even these drugs are being smuggled to these countries. Why don't they take any serious step?" another lawmaker Massoud Karokhi criticized.

According to SIGAR report, the Congress since 2002 has set aside $104 billion specifically for Afghanistan's reconstruction, of which, $66 billion went to Pentagon.

Electoral Reform Commission Has Only Advisory Role: Member

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 15:05

The members of the special electoral reform commission appointed by President Ashraf Ghani complain that the commission has only advisory role, having no authority to bring reform to the election system.

The deputy head of the commission Sediqullah Tawhidi stated on Wednesday that if necessary authorities are not given to the commission, reforming the election system will be "impossible."

"This is an advisory commission. When the suggestions are unlike to president's wish, they are rejected," Tawhidi said. "We can say this is a weak and advisory commission."

Electoral reform was one of the major points of agreement between President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah to form the unity government after the almost six-month lengthy presidential election which was allegedly marred by huge fraud.

The 15-member commission chaired by female lawmaker Shukria Barekzai was announced only hours before the departure of Ghani and Abdullah to the United States; however, the commission is yet to hold their maiden meeting, something the commentators link to the odds between the Afghan leaders.

According to the analysts, the government has set up a symbolic commission, and there is no strong will to reform the election system and the electoral bodies.

The government officials, however, still emphasize on their commitments, saying electoral reform was the main responsibility of the National Unity Government (NUG).

"Electoral reform is the main job and the national and legal responsibility of the government," second Vice President Sarwar Danish said while introducing the remaining 16 cabinet nominees to the parliament. "We hope to have transparent and fraud-free elections in the future."

But Mohammad Abdoh, the head of legal and judicial commission of the House of Representatives, told the Monday's session that the Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials have made secret dealings with some MPs in order to avoid amendments to election law, which they fear, could remove them from their positions.

In returns, the IEC officials have promised the lawmakers to ensure their victory in the coming parliamentary elections, according to Abdoh.

BA REWAYATE DIGAR: Did Afghanistan's Economy Improve During First Six Months of NUG?

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 09:07

Since the first six months of the government has passed now, what direction is currently Afghanistan's economy moving to?

In this episode of Ba Rewayate Digar, host Muslim Sherzad discusses the topic with the following guests,

Saifuddin Saihoon, economic analyst
Mohammad Amin Farhang, former minister of commerce
Reza Farzam, university professor
Noor Aqa Roeen, economic researcher

To watch the program, click here:

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FARAKHABAR: No Breakthrough in Peace Talks as March Ends ‎

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 09:03

Apparently, the peace negotiations were expected to start in initial days of March. But so far there hasn't been any breakthrough and all aspirations remain limited to hopes, while on the other hand the Taliban are also continuing their attacks. Meanwhile, chairman of the senate has outraged at government's peace stance and mocks the commitments made by Pakistan to help the Afghan peace process.

Earlier during his U.S. trip, President Ashraf Ghani said that it was necessary to apologize to the Taliban due to torture and mistreatment of some of the group members.

In this episode of Farakhabar, host Yama Siavash discusses the topic with the following guests
Shahzada Shahid, spokesman to Afghan High Peace Council
Ahmad Saeedi, political analyst

To watch the program, click here:

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Operation to Clear Kabul-Ghazni Highway, 20 Insurgent Detained

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 08:33

The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) has launched a joint operation in central Maidan Wardak province to clear the Kabul-Ghazni highway from the insurgents.

The operation commander Aminullah Mubin told TOLOnews that the operation was launched in Sayed Abad district where 13 civilians where shot dead by the insurgents a few days ago.

Along with arresting 20 Taliban insurgents, Mubin added that several villages have also been cleared of the militants.

He noted that the civilians were not harmed in the operation.

The Taliban, however, have not commented so far in this regard.

Sarwar Danish Introduces 16 Cabinet Nominees To Parliament

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:45

The second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish on Wednesday introduced the remaining cabinet picks to the Parliament for a vote of confidence, except the nominees for the defense ministry, the Central Bank and Attorney General's Office.

The nominees for the much-awaited two-third of the cabinet were announced about two weeks ago, a few days before the trip of President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah to the United States.

While introducing the ministerial nominees, Danish emphasized that the government re‎spected the decision of the House of Representatives.

The names and profiles of the nominees ‎introduced after more than six months since the formation of unity government are as follows:

1. Hamayoun Rassa nominated as the Minister of Commerce and Industries; he has previously served as the deputy minister of education, and United Nations official.

2. Abdul Bari Jahani nominated as the Minister of Information and Culture; he is a poet and writer, and has worked with the Radio Voice of America.

3. Asadullah Zameer nominated as the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock; he has served as the financial advisor with the rural rehabilitation ministry, director at agriculture ministry and official of World Bank.

4. Gulab Mangal nominated as the Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs; he has been the former governor of Helmand, Paktia and Laghman provinces.

5. Mahmood Baleegh nominated as the Minister of Public Works; he has been professor at Kabul Polytechnic University.

6. Abdul Sattar Murad nominated as the Minister of Economy; he has served as the governor of Kapisa and Afghan Ambassador to Malaysia.

7. Mohammadullah Batash nominated as the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation; he has served as the governor of Faryab and the acting transport minister.

8. Asadullah Hanif nominated as the Minister of Education; he has served as the Afghan Ambassador to Kuwait.

9. Sayed Mansour Sadat Nadiri nominated as the Minister of Urban Development; he has served as the advisor of Afghanistan's National Bank and owns insurance companies.

10. Abdul Basir Anwar nominated as the Minister of Justice; he has served as the advisor to former president, and the acting health minister during Mujahidin's government.

11. Abdul Razaq Wahidi nominated as the Minister of Information Technology; he has served as the member of mathematician's association and university professor.

12. Dilbar Nazari nominated as the Minister of Women's Affairs; she has been the Member of Parliament and has worked with Independent Election Commission and the United Nations.

13. Salamat Azimi nominated as the Minister of Counter-Narcotics; she has served as the University Chancellor and Professor.

14. Farida Momand nominated as the Minister of Higher Education; she has worked as a doctor in several government hospitals.

15. Nasrin Oryakhail nominated as the Minister of Labors and Social Affairs; she has been the medical instructor at Kabul Medical University and the head of government hospitals.

16. Ali Ahmad Osmani nominated as the Minister of Water and Energy; he has been the university professor and has worked with the European Union and World Food Program.

 

Uzbek Militants Pledge Allegiance To Daesh

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 06:40

A group of Uzbek militants claiming to be the members of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) militant group have allegedly sworn allegiance to Daesh extremists in Afghanistan.

They have released a video purportedly showing the beheading of an Afghan soldier in retaliation to detention of a number of female IMU supporters by the Afghan security forces in northern Faryab.

Sadullah Urgeni, shown in the video as the commander of Uzbek militants in Afghanistan, have called Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, as their new leader instead of Taliban's supreme leader Mullah Omar who the IMU militants believe can no longer be the leader according to Sharia as he has not been seen for about 13 years.

Urgeni has reportedly said in the video that in retaliation to arrest of female IMU supporters, they have taken 30 Afghan soldiers captive, which they warned to behead if the Afghan government didn't meet their demand.

The Afghan government officials, however, are yet to comment in this regard.

The IMU militants are said to be operating in the some unsafe areas in northern Afghanistan.

TAWDE KHABARE: Increasing security threatens many provinces

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 06:25

In this episode of Tawde Khabare, host Shahpor Bakhtyar discusses the topic with the following guests:

Mirdad Khan Nejrabi, head of the parliamentary commission for internal security

Arif Rahmani, MP
Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, former deputy minister of interior
Saleh Mohammad Saleh, member of parliamentary commission for internal security

To watch the program, click here:

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Iran's Zarif Hopes to Finalise Nuclear Talks Wednesday

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 03:44

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that he hopes to finalise on Wednesday a framework nuclear agreement with world powers.

"We have accomplished quite a bit but people needed to get some rest and start over early in the morning. I hope that we can finalise the work on Wednesday and hopefully start the process of drafting (a final accord)" by the target date of June 30, Zarif told reporters.

TOLOnews 6pm News 31 March 2015

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 17:51

Top news in this Bulletin:

President Ashraf Ghani has reportedly issued an order directing government institutions that all executive decrees and orders will from now on be overseen and executed by the Presidential Palace's Office of Administrative Affairs. The move could mark an unprecedented step to consolidate power to the president.

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Still distrusting Pakistan's commitments to Afghan peace process, the Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar says Pakistan would not bring the Taliban leaders to the negotiation table.

Farkhunda Protesters Demand Dismissal of Kabul Police Chief

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 17:28

Continuing their protests for the second week, the civil society groups have called on the government to dismiss the Kabul Police Chief from his position over what they said neglecting the brutal death of Farkhunda.

In a gathering on Tuesday in Kabul, the activists accused the Kabul police of neglecting the brutal killing of 27-year-old woman, and asked for the trial of arrested suspects that include about 17 police officials.

Farkhunda was beaten to death and burnt nearly two weeks ago ‎by a mob in the center of capital city and that in the presence of several policemen that remained inaction and kept watching the horrific scene quietly.

The protesting activists warned that they would not stop their movement unless the police chief and other security officials are removed from their positions and brought to justice.

"We want the government to remove all those security officials including the police chief who neglected Farkhunda's death," a protester Mohammad Abdullah said.

Transparent trial of the suspects, end of arbitrary Fatwas (religious decrees) by the religious leaders and thorough and responsible investigation of the case were among the other demands of the protesters.

"Our demand is that the Attorney General's Office should share it's findings with the media and civil society groups before submitting them to the Supreme Court," another activist Seddiqullah Tawhidi mentioned.

A number of women activists who were also present at the event called on the Parliament to approve the law eliminating violence against women.

"If the Parliament members [really] want to put an end to violence against women, they need to approve the law on elimination of violence against women," a female rights activist Alema said.

Farkhunda was falsely accused of burning Holy Quran by a Mullah in Shah-Do-Shamshera Mosque, an allegation strongly rejected by the interior ministry and other investigation teams as baseless.

Since then, the rallies and protests are being staged, not only in Afghanistan but in most parts of the world, demanding harsh punishment to the killers.

The interior ministry, however, has arrested over 40 people including about 17 police in connection to the death of Farkhunda, who was killed for her movement to stop Mullahs from deceiving people by writing false Tawiz, a folded piece of paper containing religious words which is worn by the people for better luck or remove evil affliction. ‎

Muslimyar Says Pakistan Won't Bring Taliban to Negotiation Table

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 16:35

Still distrusting Pakistan's commitments to Afghan peace process, the Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar says Pakistan would not bring the Taliban leaders to the negotiation table.

"Bringing the Taliban to the negotiation table is just an imagination; it's impossible; it's insanity," Muslimyar said.

Criticizing the government for hurrying in trusting Pakistan's commitments, Muslimyar expressed that Afghanistan's hope regarding Pakistan's honesty was pointless.

His remarks came as the peace talks with the Taliban were expected to be initiated in the early March, but now that the month has finished, there has been so sign of progress so far in this respect.

But the High Peace Council (HPC) members blame the delay on Pakistan, saying the Afghan government's premature deadlines for dialogues were as a result of its optimism to the process.
"Those who set deadlines were just optimistic about the process," HPC member Mohammad Akbari said.

The lawmakers, meanwhile, criticize the Pakistani government for what they believe dishonesty to Afghanistan, saying Islamabad sought its interests in continuity of war in Afghanistan.

"The neighboring countries seek their benefit in Afghanistan's insecurity, therefore, they are not happy with peace in Afghanistan," secretary of House of Representatives Abdul Raouf Enami said.

The government officials, however, still express optimism about the initiation of peace talks, saying the process, which Ghani has emphasized would be Afghan-led, will begin in near future.

"So far, the date and location of the dialogues are unknown, but efforts are underway to clear these all," foreign ministry Ahmad Shekib Moshtaghni said.

But the HPC foreign affairs adviser Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar said on Sunday that the peace talks would begin soon and that in Afghanistan.

He hoped that the Afghan government and the Taliban would to come to the negotiation table "without any preconditions."

Ghani Meets With Investigators of Kabul Bank Case

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 16:32

President Ashraf Ghani has met with the investigators of Kabul Bank case, as part of his commitments during his inauguration to finalize the country's largest corruption scandal, his office said in a statement.

During the meeting held in the Presidential Palace on Tuesday evening, the statement added that the investigators reported about their performance on implementation of court's verdict to recover the stolen money.

They emphasized that since the court decision until now, six big debtors had pledged them to pay off their liabilities which, in total, reaches to $72 million USD, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Ghani asked the auditors to recuperate the money from the debtors through a specific procedure approved by the cabinet.

Ghani stressed that the law enforcement authorities were also obliged to pursue the case as serious as the courts did.

He emphasized that all the court verdicts regarding the Kabul Bank case must be implemented seriously.

Kabul Bank, once the country's largest financial institution, was badly shaken and collapsed in 2010 as one of the largest banking schemes in history.

The bank's former chairman Sherkhan Farnood and former CEO Khalilullah Ferozi were sentenced each to 15 years in jail last year in November.

Based on the court verdict, the properties of Mahmood Karzai, brother of former President Hamid Karzai, and Hasin Fahim, brother of late Marshal Qasim Fahim, were also frozen.

Ghani Skips Meeting With Factory Owners, Sparks Indignation

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 16:01

Afghan factory owners and industrialists on Tuesday expressed outrage over what they considered an egregious slight by President Ashraf Ghani, who reportedly failed to meet them at the National Industrial Festival when he said he would, instead leaving them waiting for multiple hours.

The indignation of many leading Afghan businessmen, while likely reflective of their wounded pride, marks a bad turn for relations between President Ghani and some of the most influential actors in the Afghan economy. The justification offered for Ghani's absence from the meeting his office had arranged was simply that he ran out of time, an inadequate excuse for those who felt spurned by the incident.

"This incompetent president left the scene without giving a welcome, and the road to the Loya Jirga tent remained closed because of his arrival while he was claiming to commute on the streets like other common Afghan citizens," one businesswoman named Shukria told TOLOnews. "We saw what commitments he made during the election campaign, but today we see that all his policies have been failed including the economic policy," Afghan businesswoman Shukria told on Tuesday.


Ghani was able to speak at the opening ceremony for the National Industrial Festival, which is being held at the Loya Jirga tend in Kabul this week, aiming to boost demand for domestic products and encourage industrial growth. But, afterward, he departed the grounds of the trade show without greeting those who had gathered to see him.

"Today we arrived here from far away places to share our problems with the president, but the president didn't even bother to come into the hall and ignored the industrialists and did not meet them," iodine salt producer Mir Aqa Sharif said.

Acting minister of commerce Muzammil Shinwari attempted to calm the tensions, trying to explain why the president was called away and forced to change his schedule on short notice.

"The presidents had some other appointments and he was to stay here [the fair] from nine to 12pm, but he has invited nearly 100 factory owners to meet them in the Presidential Palace on Friday," he said.

Meanwhile, the head of the Afghan Investment Support Agency (AISA) Wafiullah Eftekhar resigned from his post and his resignation was accepted by Ghani.

Order Suggests President Ghani Seeks to Consolidate Power

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 15:41

President Ashraf Ghani has reportedly issued an order directing government institutions that all executive decrees and orders will from now on be overseen and executed by the Presidential Palace's Office of Administrative Affairs. The move could mark an unprecedented step to consolidate power to the president.

Afghan political commentators have expressed shock and outrage at the news, calling it an obvious step toward authoritarianism. Others suggested the move exposed obvious tensions between the president and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

News of the order came in the form of a letter received by TOLOnews. In the first and second articles of the five paragraph order, it is stated that all ministries and government institutions are obliged to process all recommendations and documents included in the president's authority through the Office of Administrative Affairs.

The Office of Administrative Affairs is then directed to assess the received documents in accordance to the prevailing laws and regulations and refer the draft of the order and decrees issued by the president and his VPs and submit them to the president.

"If decisions are made separately without consulting the opposing side, in the first step, they come out of national unity government and the national unity government moves toward segregation and this would further weaken the government," university professor Tahir Hashimi said in response to the order.

Other commentators have expressed concerns that the consolidation of executive power could be a major turning point for the Afghan government. "The history reveals that authoritarianism never succeeds in Afghanistan, but rather it causes fights; therefore, authoritarianism isn't supposed to have aplace in Afghanistan's political history," Civil Society Association head Aziz Rafaee said.

The Office of Administrative Affairs and the office of the Chief Executive have yet to comment on the order.

Industrial Festival Opens in Kabul to Promote Domestic Production

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 15:01

The National Industrial Festival opened in the Loya Jirga tent in Kabul this week, presenting an opportunity for Afghan businesses from around the country to showcase their products in hopes of expanding their presence in domestic markets.

Participants in the trade show praised the Afghanistan Investment Supporting Agency's (AISA) efforts to promote increased reliance on domestic goods rather than imports, as has been the case traditionally. In the presence of President Ashraf Ghani, who visited the fair, they called on the government to continue industrial development and domestic product promotion.

"We should prove our capability of production and growth of national products to the people and undertake the necessary steps to introduce these products to the people," AISA Deputy Ibrahim Shams said on Tuesday.

The products at the trade show represented a variety of different sectors and sub-sectors of the economy, presenting a wide spectrum of Afghan-made alternatives to the foreign products that currently dominate the market. The products being showcased at the event include, but are not limited to, construction materials, food items, home appliances, home decorations, medical equipment, carpets and detergents.

"We have reached self-reliance with 17 products and those products have been displayed in today's exhibition," a factory owner named Mohsin Amiri told TOLOnews.

Members of the business community, independent economic analysts and government officials all agree that boosting domestic production and industrial growth is key to sustainable economic development in Afghanistan.