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Detained staffers of Afghan-Turk schools may be deported to Turkey

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Turkish staffers of Afghan-Turk School who went missing in Kabul were in the custody of security forces and likely to be deported to Turkey, sources said Wednesday.

Two Turkish nationals and an Afghan teacher affiliated with Afghan-Turk School in Kabul were detained by the security forces after a raid on the school, government sources told Afghan media outlet.

The sources said the detained Turkish nationals would be handed over to Turkey’s government who had questioned the activities of these people in Afghanistan.

The raid on the Turk-Afghan schools comes at a time when President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani left for Turkey the same day.

The sources continued that the fate of the Afghan-Turk schools would be decided later, adding the detained Afghan staffers of the international school and college chain would be freed or presented to the court of law after completion of interrogation. The management of the Afghan-Turk schools said in a statement that their three Turkish and an Afghan staffer went missing in the Tiamani area.

Family sources of the detained persons told media persons that the number of detained people was higher than three.

The network of Pak-Turk schools and colleges was launched in 1995 and linked to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who the Turkish government believes was behind the failed coup in Turkey last year.

Meanwhile, human right activities condemned the raid on hostel of Afghan-Turk girls school in the Taimani area of Kabu city.

The students claimed that security forces besieged and intimidated them for three long hours and searched their rooms.

Abdul Shakoor Dadras, a Kabul based legal expert, said the raid on the Afghan-Turk school was in violation of laws of the land and an attack on the privacy of a person.


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Crackdown on illegal arms kicks off in Kabul

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Security forces began a nationwide crackdown on illegal arms and tinted car windows from Kabul on Wednesday, two weeks after the Interior Ministry announced a new strategy on arms possession in the country.

Announcing the new strategy, the Interior Ministry had expressed the hope that the campaign would result into reducing the threat of illegal arms to a great extent until zero. Only 9mm pistol and arms in 7.62 caliber are conditionally allowed under the new policy. However, guards of government and private individuals even carry RPG and heavy machineguns.

On the day one of the campaign, security forces confiscated an RPG-7 rocket from a person at Abdul Khaliq square and a Kalashnikov from two men for lacking permits. In the same area, tinted glasses were removed a number of vehicles including those of police and armored vehicles.

However, the police were unable to get removed the tint from one vehicle as its owner said he worked as head of a section at the Supreme Court.

However, Interior Ministry spokesman Najibullah Danish said the law would be enforced on all citizens equally. He said police and intelligence officials had launched the similar drive in various parts of Kabul. He said the campaign would continue for some weeks in Kabul city before it was extended to Kabul districts and then other provinces.

Similar campaigns had been conducted in the past as well, but people in Kabul and province continue to complain about the presence of illegal armed individuals.

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Taliban can open office everywhere in Afghanistan

Monitoring Desk

KANDAHAR: A visiting High Peace Council (HPC) delegation said the government would agree to every mechanism the Taliban suggest for reviving the stalled peace talks to find a negotiated end to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Headed by Qazi Habibullah Fawzi, the HPC delegation arrived in southern Kandahar province.

Fawzi told Pajhwok News during an interview that the Taliban could open their office wherever they wanted in Afghanistan because without a political office no talks could take place.

He added the government had no pre-condition for the revival of peace talks and asked the Taliban not to impose any condition ahead of talks. Fawzi said they were ready to agree with every mechanism for the launch of peace talks.

He said fighting was not the way forward and asked the rebels to enter peace talks as soon as possible because there was no legal obstacle to talks for the sake of peace.

The government and the people of Afghanistan wanted honorable peace talks and they did not want the Taliban to surrender but to negotiate.

He said the purpose of provincial trips was to develop national consensus on peace. During its trip to Kandahar, the HPC delegation would meet tribal elder, religious scholars, civil society activists and the youth.






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10 Daesh militants Killed, 13 injured in Nangarhar operation

Monitoring Desk

NANGARHAR: Military officials claimed on Wednesday that around ten Daesh militants were killed during the operation conducted by Afghan forces in Nangarhar province.

Sherin Aqa Faqir, a spokesman Military, told local Afghan media that more than 13 Daesh militants were injured during the operation.

He added that the military operation was started on Tuesday in Khoghyani district of the Nangarhar province and at least nine villages have been cleared of militants so far.

Spokesman added that ten landmines were also defused by forces during the operation.


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Incidents of human rights violations up by 15per cent

Monitoring Desk

JALALABAD: Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) officials say more than 400 complaints of human rights violations have been registered in the eastern zone this year.

The commission’s branch for the eastern zone expressed concern at security organs failing to initiate action to arrest human rights violators — something that further aggravated the problem.

Erfanullah Larawai, AIHRC supervisor for the eastern zone, told local media that most of the human rights violation cases filed this year concerned violence against women.

He said human rights violations had increased by 15 percent over last year. The main reasons behind the surge include ineffective of law enforcement and lack of government writ in many areas.

Although significant changes had been made in judicial organs, police and other security forces failed to arrest human rights violators or bring them to justice, Larawai added.

Sabrina Hamidi, AIHRC head for the eastern zone, confirmed security organs’ lax approach to dealing with human rights violators. She accused the security organs of refusing to cooperate on the issue.

She said human rights violation cases were increasing with each passing day mainly due to non-cooperation of security organs and lack of government’s writ.

Attaullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman, said the provincial government had been trying to encourage police into cooperating with judicial organs and AIHRC.

He said the local administration would also push the security organs, particularly police personnel, to cooperate with the human rights commission.

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Peace impossible on govt’s plans: Akbar Agha

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Former Taliban member and head of Afghanistan Salvation Council, Syed Muhammad Akbar Agha, has said peace can never be restored in the country under the national unity government and High Peace Council’s plans and proposals.

Unfortunately, peace and reconciliation is seen as a project within the government and the peace talks are a source of income and privileges for most of the individuals, Akbar Agha told media persons on Tuesday. He said expecting peace from the foreigners was meaningless unless and until a national and popular movement is formed for this purpose in the country.

“Currently, the foreigners are the biggest hurdle in the peace. So how can we expect peace from them,” he stated.

Akbar Agha said the Salvation Council has convened a massive meeting in Kabul Tuesday to discuss and find reasonable and effective ways towards solution of the ongoing crisis.

Unlike the past, the Taliban stance has softened and talks with them would not be difficult if the government involves the nation in the peace process, he said.

Akbar Agha is a former Taliban member and fought against Afghan and international forces after the fall of the Taliban government. He later shunned armed jihad and currently making efforts for the restoration of peace in the country under the Salvation Council with elders and Uelma as its members.

The Salvation Council has offices in the provinces.

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New envoy vows to attract Turkish investment

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: New Turkish ambassador for Afghanistan has promised to persuade Turkish companies to invest in Afghanistan, a statement from the Presidential Palace said on Tuesday.

The newly-appointed Turkish envoy presented his credentials to President Ashraf Ghani, which he accepted and expressed happiness over his new job as Turkish envoy in Kabul.

The envoy said Ankara would remain committed to cooperating with Afghanistan in different fields and make more efforts at improving bilateral relations between the two countries.

“One of my top priorities will be to attract Turkish companies to invest in Afghanistan,” he said.

The president thanked Turkey for its assistance with Afghanistan in areas of education, training, security and economy.

He hoped under the new diplomatic envoy, relations between the two countries would improve and would remain friends.

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MoI announces 5 per cent pay raise for police personnel

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has notified a five percent pay raise for the police personnel, saying reform efforts have been stepped up.

The MoI also announced a one-month operation against militant groups would be launched in northern Faryab and Jawzjan provinces on Tuesday.

Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak said the salaries of policemen would be increased by five percent from the beginning of new fiscal year (December 22, 2017).

Speaking at a joint meeting of the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA) and the MoI officials, he said there had also been an increase in policemen’s privileges.

According to the MoI, the number of policemen has reached 175,000 and their salaries range from 10,000 afghanis to 40,000afs.

Barmak said efforts were ongoing to bring about reforms at MoI because the Afghan people and the international community wanted transparency in its affairs. Deputy Country Director at UNDP Jocelyn Mason, who also attended the gathering, praised the reforms effort made by MoI. He said the UN would continue supporting the ministry.

He claimed reforms and accountability at the ministry had enhanced its credibility in the eyes of donor nations and they were convinced their money was going into the right project.

Launch of operation

Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the ministry, told reporters in Kabul that an operation against an Daesh and other insurgent groups would be launched in Jawzjan and Faryab provinces.

In response to a question regarding the presence of French terrorists in Jawzjan, he said: “We haven’t received any report to the effect. But we are aware of the existence of Chechen and Iranian fighters in Afghanistan.”

A a number of officials and residents of Jawzjan province allege some French, Swedish, Chechen, and Uzbek nationals are training Daesh fighters in Darzab district. During Monday’s session, Rahimi promised enforcing necessary reforms in the Interior Ministry. He said people would soon see a transformed face of the ministry.

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IMF praises Afghan govt’s progress in reforms

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised the Afghan government’s measures in structural reforms and the pursuit of self-reliance despite persist challenges, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference at the government media office in Kabul, Ajmal Hammed Abdulrahimzai, Ministry of Finance spokesman, said: “The Executive Board of the IMF successfully completed the second review of the arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Afghanistan.”

He said the IMF had appreciated “the commitments and performance of Afghan government in the areas of maintaining financial stability, economic growth, macroeconomic stability, and implementation of reforms in financial sector, increased anti-corruption steps and providing job opportunities for Afghans.”

In an IMF assessment report released Friday, the IMF executive directors commended Afghan authorities’ commitment to economic transformation in pursuit of their objective of raising inclusive growth, boosting job opportunities for the rapidly rising population, and reducing aid dependency.

IMF directors have also welcomed the progress with financial sector reforms for Afghan banking system stability, financial inclusion, and economic development.

They also commended the progress in anti-corruption measures, particularly by criminalizing corruption in line with the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requiring asset declarations by Afghan officials.

Abdul Rahimzai said the High Economic Council under the leadership the President had given required instructions on key economic issues and attracting investment in Afghanistan to the ministries and government institutions for economic self-sufficiency, financial stability and national interest.

“The High Economic Council approved the establishment of a center for processing, trading and prevention of smuggling precious and semi-precious stones. It is decided that, in order to encourage the private sector in Minerals, the needs and fair royalty of the departments should be specified.”

A committee should be determined for storing urea, to study its quality and take required decision for selling and using it, he said about the approvals of the 16th meeting of the High Economic Council at the Presidential Palace.

“With Inauguration of the second phase of the Kajaki Dam, the capacity of this section will increase from 51 to 151 MW. The government carries out its contract according to the public-private partnership law, and its procurement process will begin,” he said, regarding the High Economic Council for opening the 2nd phase of Kajaki Dam.


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Hekmatyar offers all-out support to Taliban if group opts peace talks

Monitoring Desk

KABUL:  The leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has offered an all-out support to Taliban if the group opts to participate in peace talks with the Afghan government.

Hekmatyar made the offer during his visit to southeastern Paktia and Khost provinces where he met with supporters of his party during his three-day stay.

He said the ongoing conflict has no winner and will burn the Afghan nation since this is a conflict among the Afghan people and only the nation will suffer.

Calling on Taliban to join peace process, Hekmatyar said Hezb-e-Islami is prepared for an all-out support if the group agrees to start peace talks with the Afghan government.

This comes as the Taliban group has persistently rejected to participate in any form of reconciliation process.

On the other hand, the commander of the NATO and US forces in Afghanistan Gen. Nicholson has warned that the Taliban militants will be eliminated if they did not accept the offers for reconciliation.

Speaking to reporters in Pentagon via teleconference from Kabul few days earlier, Gen. Nicholson said “We’ll have to continue to apply the three types of pressure, engage within the region and leverage all of the instruments available to meet our goals.”

He also added “In the face of this pressure, the Taliban cannot win. Their choices are to reconcile, live in irrelevance, or die.”

Gen. Nicholson was briefing the reporters regarding the impact of the new US strategy for South Asia. The US President Donald Trump announced the new US strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan late in August this year as he emphasized on continue US presence to counter terrorism and help support the Afghan security forces.