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EU calls for conclusion of legal proceedings against Dostum

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The European Union and Norway Heads of Mission in Afghanistan have called for a conclusion to the legal proceedings against the First Vice President of Afghanistan General Abdul Rashid Dostum.

“The European Union and Norway takes note of the return of 1st Vice President, General Abdul Rashid Dostum to Afghanistan. We expect the conclusion of the legal proceedings against General Dostum, in full respect of the law and due process. Nobody should be above the law,” according to a statement released by EU and Norway Heads of Missions.

The statement further added that “It is important that all Afghans continue to work together to promote peace, stability and democracy throughout the country, based on full respect for the rule of law by all citizens.”

Gen. Dostum arrived to Kabul from Turkey last month after almost 14 months in exile. The EU and Norway Heads of Missions have not specified the existing case against Gen. Dostum in their statement.

However, the First Vice President Gen. Dostum is accused of torture and sexual abuse of his political rival Ahmad Ishchi.

Ishchi is the former governor of Jawzjan province and has accused the First Vice President and his security guards of torturing and sexually abusing him.



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IEC unveils final list of candidates from 33 provinces

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Independent Election Commission (IEC) released the final list of Wolesi Jirga candidates from 33 provinces on Tuesday, a day after supporters of some disqualified hopefuls shut the panel’s gates in Kabul and northeastern Badakhshan province.

The final list of contenders from 33 provinces was posted on the IEC website. Candidates from embattled Ghazni province, where fierce clashes have been underway for the last four days, are not included in the list.

The candidates’ nomination process for the Oct 20 parliamentary polls began two back in Kabul in the presence of dozens of observers, representatives of political parties and media.

Maulvi Tarakhel, Fawzia Kofi, Zardad Faryadi, Qais Hassan, Sher Ali Ahmadzai, Akbar Stanikzai, Shayesta Baz Naseri and Amanullah Hotak are among the 35 candidates removed from the final list.


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33 security men flee Ajristan, get shelter in Daikundi

Monitoring Desk

NILLI: Local officials on Tuesday said 33 security personnel based in the Ajristan district of southern Ghazni province have got shelter in the Miramor district of central Daikundi province.

Abdul Qadir Haidari, Miramor district chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News the 33 soldiers, five of them wounded, fled to the district two days ago. The injured are currently under treatment at a local hospital.

“Eight of these forces are Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers, 16 are commandos and the rest are policemen,” Abdul Qadir Haidari explained. The security forces were capable of defeating the Taliban if they attacked Miramor from Ajiristan, he said.

Ali Mardan, a resident of the district, told Pajhwok that Ajiristan was under high threat from Taliban. Soldiers and local officials fled to Daikundi province whenever they came under attack, he said.

Some reports previously said around a hundred Afghan soldiers were missing in Ajiristan. But Tariq Shah Behrami, the defense minister, said only 50 soldiers were missing, probably sheltering in neighboring districts.



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Afghan forces foil bomb explosions in Kabul

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Afghan security forces have foiled two explosions in two different parts of capital Kabul as the anti-government armed militants are attempting to increase attacks in key provinces and cities of the country.

The Criminal Investigation Department said Tuesday that an improvised explosive device was discovered from Deh Mazang area of the city close to Park Shahr.

The militants had planted the bomb and were looking to detonate it using a remote control but it was discovered and defused by the security forces during a patrol in the area.

In the meantime, the Criminal Investigation Department said a similar improvised explosive device was planted close to the security commandment of Qarabagh.

The source further added that the bomb was discovered and defused at around 7am local time Tuesday before the militants manage to detonate it.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban militants have not commented regarding the report so far.

This comes as the anti-government armed militants have been attempting to increase attacks in key provinces and cities of the country, including capital Kabul during the recent months.

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the election commission office on Monday, leaving a policeman dead and another wounded.

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US airpower kills above 220 Taliban since Aug 10: Ghazni

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Afghan forces-led operations helped derive a large portion of Taliban insurgents from the southern city of Ghazni over the last day or so, read a statement from the US Forces-Afghanistan on Tuesday.

“What we observed was the retreating Taliban attacking the more vulnerable surrounding districts, which Afghan forces are reinforcing,” US forces spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell was quoted as saying in the statement.

However, the Taliban hiding amongst the Afghan populace posed a threat to civilian population, who were terrorized and harassed.

He said the Taliban falsely and repeatedly claimed they did not target civilians, but in fact they executed innocents, destroyed homes, burned a market and created the conditions for a potential humanitarian crisis with the attack.

“Clearly the Taliban have paid no heed to the calls of the Afghan people for them to reconcile and join the peace process.”

He said Task Force-Southeast, US Special Forces and 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade advisors were providing advice on things such as clearance operations and combined-arms integration.

From a US Forces-Afghanistan perspective, US airpower has killed more than 220 Taliban since August 10.

In addition to the initial strike on Friday, US forces conducted five strikes Saturday, 16 strikes Sunday, 10 Monday and none thus far Tuesday. Also, AH-64s from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Combat Aviation Brigade provided close-air support on Friday, Sunday and Monday.”



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Samangan farmers happy with fruits income

Monitoring Desk

AIBAK: Despite a 36 percent decline in watermelon and melon harvests in northern Samangan province this year, growers say they are happy with income from the fruits due to a three-fold increase in their price compared to last year.

Agriculture Department Head Najibullah Joya said farmers in Samangan cultivated watermelon and melon crops on 5,800 hectares of land and harvested 75,000 tons of yield last year.

But due to drought this year, the farmers cultivated watermelon and melon on 3,900 hectares of land, which produced 48,000 tons.

However, the fruits were sold at a three-time higher rate compared to last year’s, with farmers expecting 685 million afhganis in revenue. Last year, the farmers earned 321 million afghanis from melon and watermelon crops.

This year, farmers say they are happy that despite low cultivation of watermelons, the price is high and they could earn a fair income.

Mohammad Murad, a farmer from Alsha village of Hazrat Sultan district, recalled last year his 100 to 120 watermelons and melons were priced at 1,500 to 2,500 afghanis compared to this year’s 6,000 to 9,000 afghanis of the same amount.

He said last year he grew melon and watermelon on 7.5 acres of land and this year on 2.5 acres.

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CEO pressured IECC to remove my name: Amarkhel

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Former Independent Election Commission secretary Ziaulhaq Amarkhel on Monday said he would move the court and organize civil movements because his name was removed from the final list of candidates under pressure from the Chief Executive Officer.

He said he was delisted without having a criminal record and violations.

According to a Pajhwok Afghan News report, the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) has removed 35 people including Ziaulhaq Amarkhel from the final list of Wolesi Jirga candidates on August 11.

Talking to a press conference titled ‘The voice of justice’ here, Amarkhel, head of the National Stability Association (NSA), said: “I am a victim of injustice, I don’t know why my name was removed, I have no weapons or illegal armed men, I am not a murderer, it is obvious the IECC decision is discriminatory.”

He said no complaints had been lodged against him with the IECC and there were no problem in his documents.

“After the removal of my name from the final list, I contacted the IECC chief for the reason, but he did not provide any reason and told me he has no time to talk,” Amarkhel said.

He added he also visited the IECC office on Sunday about the issue, but no one including the commission chief met him.

“I told the IECC chief that I want to appeal in my case, he told me that the time for appeal was over and the commission’s decision was final,” he said, adding he was not given the right for appeal.

Amarkhel said the IECC had been pressed by the office of the chief executive to remove his name from the final list of Wolesi Jirga candidates. He criticized the president and said: “Why is the president silent about injustice to our rights, this silence questions the legitimacy of the government, the president and the Cabinet.”

He said he would raise his voice for justice through civil movements with his supporters in Kabul and provinces. “I will also lodge a complaint about the issue in the Supreme Court today.”

The CEO office did not comment about Amarkhel’s allegations. However, the Presidential Palace a day earlier said: “The national unity government always supports transparent, fair and on time elections. The authorities and independence of electoral commissions are clear in the law. The government fully respects the IECC and Independent Election Commission (IEC) decisions.”

Ali Reza Rohani, IECC secretary, did not directly comment about Amarkhel’s allegations, but said there was no pressure on the commission from any side and the commission had removed candidates based on complaints and valid reasons.

Mualvi Tarakhel, Fawzia Kufi, Zardad Faryadi, Qais Hassan, Sher Ali Ahmadzai, Akbar Stanikzai, Shayesta Baz Naseri, Amanullah Hotak are among 35 candidates removed from the final list.




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In remote parts of Logar, 40,000 girls out of school

Monitoring Desk

PUL-I-ALAM: Thousands of school-age girls are yet to be enrolled in schools in remote parts of central Logar province due to security problems and cultural restrictions.

Mohammad Shapur Arab, spokesman for the Logar education department, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the education sector had significantly improved in the province during the past 15 years.

“But still some families in rural and remote areas do not allow their girls to attend school due to security problems and cultural restrictions,” he added.

He said around 40,000 girls were not allowed to go to school due to the mentioned problems despite recruitment of female teachers in schools in rural and remote areas.

“Many families think it is a shame to send girls to school while some families do not allow their girls to go to school due to security problems,” Arab added.

He said the education department had talked with ulema, tribal elders and civil society activists and had also launched public awareness programs about solution to the problem.

Kamila, a resident of Mohammad Agha district, told Pajhwok that her husband was refusing to allow their daughters to get education outside home.

“There is a special school for girls here, but three of my daughters do not attend it because their father does not allow them, he says he cannot tolerate people speak about his daughters,” she said.

Mohammad Nasar Ahmadzai, a tribal elder from Khwaja Ismail area of Kharwar district, said there were no schools for girls in the district and people also did not allow girls to attend schools due to security problems.

“People in Kharwar are from Pashtun ethnic group, it is considered a shame send women outside of home, 99 percent of women here are uneducated,” he said.

Asima, 15, a resident of Purk area of capital of Logar, said there were thousands of girls barred by their families from going to school.

“I love writing and reading, but our elders do not allow us to get education,” she said.

She said she was still ready to start from the first grade if her family allowed her to go to school.

Pajhwok interviewed around 100 girls in Logar and almost all of them mentioned similar problems.

Shima Zargar, Logar women’s affairs head, also said cultural restrictions had deprived thousands of girls of education.

“Despite the fact many people in this province are educated, but in remote areas girls are not allowed to go to schools because culture and traditions still rule there,” she said.

The women’s affairs department has launched many awareness programs for encouraging families to let their girls attend schools and the programs are still ongoing, Zargar added.

Abdul Wali Wakil, deputy provincial council head of Logar, also said that many girls in the province were out of school.

“Some families do not allow their girls to go to school (due to cultural restrictions) while others fear security problems, therefore girls are not given the right to education,” he said.

He said development in a country was linked to an educated nation and all people should be serious in solving problems the education sector faced.

Governor’s spokesman, Shamshad Larawi, said that local officials were trying to address the mentioned problems.

“Just a day earlier, the governor met with civil society activists and discussed with them bad cultures and restrictions on girls,” he said.

Around 150,000 students including 40,000 of them girls currently get education in Logar schools.


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Sayyad reacts at protesters move to close election office

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Independent Election Commission (IEC) Chief Gula Jan Abdul Badi Sayad reacted at the protesters move to close the door of the election office in Kabul.

Speaking during a press conference in Kabul, Sayad said the citizens of the country have the right to protest but they do not have the right to create barriers and hurdles in the work of the election commission.

Sayyad further added that the closure of the IEC office by the protesters is not accepable and such a move would delay the election commission’s work and upcoming elections.

He also added that the candidates, whose names have been removed from the list and are objecting the decision, should follow the issue through legal ways and with the Independent Electoral complaints Commission.

This comes as the election commission officials had earlier said the supporters of Mawlavi Tara Khel have closed the door of the Independent Election Commission.

The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission on Saturday announced the names of 35 people have been removed the list of the candidates after reviewing complaints filed against them.

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Seven troops killed, nine injured separately

Monitoring Desk

SHEBERGHAN/HERAT: Seven security personnel were killed and nine more wounded in separate attacks of Taliban in Sare Pul and Badghis provinces.

Taliban attacked a police checkpoint in Qadis district, Badghis governor’s spokesman Jamshed Shahabi told Afghan Islamic Press (AIP).

Four police personnel were killed and five more sustained injuries in the gunfight, he said.

Similarly, he added that six Taliban fighters were killed and five more wounded in the clash.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Yousaf Ahmadi said four security personnel including head of anti-crime branch were killed and six more cops including a commander Gulab were injured in the gunfight.

He, however, did not say anything about casualties to Taliban in the clash.

Separately, Sare Pul provincial assembly deputy chairman Syed Asadullah Danish told AIP that Taliban attacked a police checkpoint on in Lodin area located on the highway between Sare Pul and Jawzjan province.

Three police personnel were killed and four more wounded in the gunfight, he said. The Taliban set the checkpoint on fire, he said. They took away all the weapons and gadgets, he added. Security officials in Sare Pul and Taliban have not said anything in this regard so far.