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Implementation of cooperation pact, Presidential Palace expresses satisfaction

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Presidential Palace has said the 100% implementation of US-Afghanistan cooperation agreement has helped in strengthening good governance, security, fighting corruption and economic institutions.

A press release issued by Presidential Palace late Tuesday said the joint High Executive Committee on US-Afghan cooperation agreement met with Presidential Muhammad Ashraf Ghani in the chair.

Members of good governance, counter-corruption, peace and reintegration, security and defence and economic committees attended the meeting and presented their reports to the president.

The president said on the occasion that the cooperation agreement has bilateral commitment to fulfill the need of the people of Afghanistan with its full implementation in different sectors.

He said the US-Afghan cooperation agreement has been implemented 97.3 percent in the security and defense sector including editing security plan, biometrician police and Army personnel, reforming interior ministry, counter illegal advantage in awarding contracts, merging border and civil order police in defense ministry and strengthening air force and commando forces.

The Presidential Palace said that all the indicators in reconciliation and integration sector have been implemented 100 percent.

Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan and US ambassador Kabul also attended the meeting and praised the Afghan government for the achievements in the implementation of the agreement. The US representative assured continued assistance and cooperation to Afghanistan in different sectors.

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14 security men hurt in suicide blast

Monitoring Desk

LASHKARGAH: Fourteen security personnel and a civilian were wounded in a suicide car-bombing in Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province, on Wednesday afternoon, an official said.

Governor spokesman Umar Zwak confirmed the blast and added three Humvee vehicles were also damaged in the blast.

According eyewitnesses the blast took place at around 2:30pm in front of 505th Zone Police Headquarters on Bust Fort and Airport Road.

Sources at the civil hospital said they received one civilian injured while security personnel had been evacuated to army hospitals.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.

The group’s spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi claimed several security personnel were killed and wounded in the suicide blast carried out by one of their comrade.

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20 Nangarhar doctors, kin kidnapped this year

Monitoring Desk

JALALABAD: Twenty doctors or their family members were kidnapped for ransom in Nangarhar province during this solar year. Almost all those kidnapped had been released after payment of ransom money and as a result, six specialist doctors migrated to other provinces.

But there was an unfortunate incident in which the kidnapped brother of a doctor was killed by his kidnappers after the ransom money could not paid. Private Doctors and Clinics Union in Nangarhar says it has so far this year registered 20 incidents of kidnapping involving doctors and their relatives. The union says six doctors have migrated from Nangarhar fearing their abduction.

The union provided a list of individuals who had been kidnapped and then released, but there was no information about the volume of the ransom money paid to the kidnappers.

The list shows Dr. Syed Noor Ali Shah was kidnapped from Jalalabad, the provincial capital. The help of the National Directorate of Security had been sought in securing the release of Dr. Shah, but he was released against ransom money.

Dr. Nazar Gul Arab was kidnapped from Samakhel locality of Behsud district, Dr. Samiullah’s brother was kidnapped from Jalalabad City and released in return for money. Dr. Mohammad Ayub Shinwari’s brother was kidnapped from Jalalabad and was killed by kidnappers after the ransom money was denied. The son of another doctor, who was not named, had been kidnapped and released for money.

The six specialist doctors migrated from Nangarhar due to growing insecurity and threat of abducting. The union identified two of the departing doctors as Ayub Shinwari and Abdul Qadir Fazli.

Dr. Emal Hassanzai, head of the Union, said he had many times shared the issue with security officials, but no effective step could be taken to address the issue. He said doctors in Jalalabad daily faced threats and asked for money.

Dr. Naser Kamawal, a member of the Provincial Council, acknowledged doctors in Jalalabad faced security threats. He warned most doctors would leave the province if their security issue was not addressed. Governor Gulab Mangal said the government was responsible for security of all people and asked public cooperation in this regard. Mangal doubted the list provided by the doctors’ union and said no information had been shared with the government in this regard.

Few weeks earlier, doctors in Nangarhar went on strike to protest the growing insecurity and threats to them and called off their strike after concerned authorities assured them support.

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Five prisoners escape from Balkh jail

Monitoring Desk

MAZAR-E-SHARIF: As many as five prisoners broke out central prison in northern Balkh province, police said Wednesday.

The prisoners broke one of the jail walls in the darkness of the night and escaped, Sher Jan Durrani, spokesman of Balkh police, confirmed to Afghan Islamic Press (AIP).

He said the security guards did not know how the prisoners broke the jail wall and escaped, adding the jail was located in a populated area and surrounded by houses and private buildings.

Durrani said a joint team of police, jail authorities, attorney office and other investigative organs were conducting investigations into the jailbreak.

Some unconfirmed reports suggested that those broke out the jail were “political prisoners”, a term Afghan authorities use for Taliban prisoners.

The incident occurred at a time when the Afghan president removed the influential Balkh governor, Atta Muhammad Noor, a decision rejected by Noor.

 

 

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Afghanistan, India establish second air trade corridor

Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL: Afghanistan and India on Wednesday launched second air corridor for trade, bypassing Pakistan.

The Kabul-Mumbai air corridor is expected to fetch millions of dollars for Afghan exporters of herbs, fresh and dried fruits on annual basis.

Mohammad Sarwar Danish, Afghanistan’s vice president, told a gathering in Kabul that India is one of Afghanistan’s important trading partners.

“The Afghan government is also seriously pursuing plans to establish rail and road networks to promote transit trade,” Danish said.

India and Afghanistan enjoy cordial ties that have been further complemented by the U.S. in its new South Asia Strategy announced by President Donald Trump in August

As a desperate move to end reliance on Pakistan for trade, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in June launched aerial trade corridor between Kabul and New Delhi.

“Those who create challenge for us should know that we turn challenge into opportunity,” Ghani said back then.

Ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan are marred by mistrust and allegations of cross-border terrorism, however, the two neighbors have expressed willingness to improve relations.

According to the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), goods worth $ 20 million have been exported to India since June via the air corridor.

 

 

Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan has dropped by a quarter from over $ 2 billion to little over $ 1 billion this year due to strained ties resulting in frequent border closures and exchange of fire at the disputed Durand Line border.

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At least 50 IS militants killed in latest Nangarhar operations

Monitoring Desk

NANGARHAR: The Afghanistan Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Afghanistan claimed that at least fifty fighters affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh terrorist group have been killed in the latest operations conducted by Afghan security forces in Achin district of Nangarhar province.

The MoD told media persons on Wednesday that group forces were assisted by the air force and militants suffered causalities in airstrikes.

At least three depots of ammunition, explosives, and weapons of the terror group were also destroyed in the raids, MoD added.

Terrorists save haven were destroyed in the district as they were gathered there and were conducting activities for the area.

 

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25 IS men die in separate attacks

Monitoring Desk

JALALABAD/KABUL: More than two dozens of Islamic State (IS) or Daesh fighters were killed after airstrikes and clashes in Nangarhar and Logar provinces, officials said Tuesday.

The Coalition forces’ unmanned aircraft targeted Daesh gunmen in the Bandar Dara area of bordering Achin district, killing 15 gunmen, said Attaullah Khugyani, spokesman of Nangarhar governor.

Two more Daesh fighters were killed in the Oghaz area of Haska Mena ditrict, he told local media outlet.

Meanwhile, a press release issued by Nangarhar police said four Daesh members were killed after an airstrike in the Sheen Tangi area of Achin district.

In Sarkh district of Logar province, Afghan army troops ambushed anti-government gunmen who wanted to attack a security post, said Salim Saleh, spokesman of Logar governor.

He said four gunmen were killed and three more wounded in the ambush.

Similarly, A religious scholar, who also served as prayer leader, has been killed by unknown gunmen in the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, an official said on Tuesday.

Attaullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News the incident occurred in the limits of the 7th municipal district of Jalalabad.

He said unidentified gunmen riding a motorbike opened fire at Syed Hazrat Haqqani, a prayer leader at the Khogyani Wazir Mosque, and killed him.

According to him, the attackers managed to escape. However, police are investigating the incident. He said Maulvi Haqqani was also a teacher at a local madrassa.

“Haqqani has recently moved to Jalalabad due to security issues in Khogyani district. His home was set ablaze by Daesh fighters recently,” the gubernatorial spokesman said.

Governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal, meanwhile, expressed deep sorrow over Maulvi Haqqani’s assassination and extended his condolences to the cleric’s family.

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NAS passes ISAGO audit for second time in two years

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The National Aviation Services (NAS), the fastest-growing aviation service-provider in emerging markets, has renewed its IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) certification in Kabul.

NAS Afghanistan said in a statement on Tuesday it had passed the ISAGO audit with a perfect score for the second time in two years, once again demonstrating the company’s commitment to safety and security in all its operations.

Earlier this year, NAS Abidjan received its first ISAGO certification. NAS was also among the first ground handling providers in the world to receive an ISAGO certification for its Kuwait operation in 2008. This certification has since been renewed five times.

An internationally-recognised system for assessing operational management and control systems for ground handling service providers, ISAGO is based on industry-proven quality audit principles and follows a stringent process that reviews training, policies, procedures, etc.

Hassan El Houry, NAS CEO, said: “Our latest ISAGO certification in NAS Afghanistan demonstrates our continued focus on high levels of service quality, safety and security.

“As we continue to grow our reach and expand our portfolio of products and services, we remain committed to strengthening our presence in and contribution to the countries that we operate in.”

In Afghanistan, NAS partners with Ariana Afghan Airlines to form the Ariana-NAS joint venture. Ariana-NAS, the exclusive ground handler at Kabul International Airport, also provides services at the Herat and Kandahar airports.

Through its operations at the three major airports in Afghanistan, National Aviation Services serves more than 3,000 flights and over 900,000 passengers a year.

Reinforced with an employee base of 360 and over 175 pieces of ground-support equipment, NAS significantly contributes to areas of employment, training and infrastructure development.

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Governor House guards beat, hurt police officer

Monitoring Desk

GARDEZ: Deputy Commander of Border Police Squad Hameed Gul has been allegedly beaten and injured by the bodyguards of Paktia governor.

He told Pajhwok Afghan News the bodyguards of Governor Shamim Khan Katawazai beaten him with buttstock and spear at the first check-point of governor house while he was entering the Jarga Haul to attend the graduation ceremony of relatives.

He said he himself was policeman, aware of all military rules and introduced himself to the security officials before entering the facility but the guards ignored him and paid no attention to his comments. Hameed Gul said he would refer to concerned authorities if his voice was not heard and ignored.

“I am a government officer and introduce myself to them but besides my introduction Commander Qais and some other security officials beaten me badly. Qais stabbed me with spear and hit me with buttstock on my back,” he said. Hameed added he informed his department about the incident as well.

Governor spokesman rejected involvement of Paktia governor in the incident and accused bodyguards and the border policeman for the incident.

“Both sides have crossed their limits and the incident happened,” he said blaming the bodyguards and policeman for the incident.

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Shipment of Indian wheat arrives

Monitoring Desk

KANDAHAR: Another shipment of 4,200 tonnes of wheat has arrived in southern Kandahar province through Chabahar Port as part of donation from India.

Governor Maj. Gen. Zalmai Weesa, accompanied by Indian Consul General Madan Singh Bhandari and the provincial council head, oversaw the storing process of the Indian-granted wheat.

A statement from Weesa’s office said on Tuesday the governor hailed India’s assistances to Afghanistan as beneficial. He expressed gratitude to India for consistent support and assistance.

Weesa also lauded India’s continued assistance in the education sector and asked Bhandari to provide more scholarships for Afghan students.

The Governor called the Chabahar Port very valuable for the development of Afghanistan’s economy. With the launch of the two other phases of the port, Afghanistan’s trade relations would be further expanded with different countries, he hoped.

Meanwhile, Consul General Bhandari assured of more assistance by his country to Afghanistan and said India would always stand by Afghanistan. He said India was in favour of a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.

The governor said the remaining wheat would soon reach Kandahar via Chabahar. Last month, foreign ministers of Afghanistan, India and Iran flagged off the maiden vessel carrying wheat from New Delhi to Kabul through the Chabahar port.

The first shipment of 15,000 metric tonnes of wheat from India arrived in Afghanistan via the Chabahar Port in Iran, formally operationalising the sea route in November.

The Indian government promised 1.1 million tonnes of wheat for the people of Afghanistan on a grant basis.