for victims of natural disasters


for victims of natural disasters
[email protected]
Eye on the News
Kabul summons Pak
ambassador over
Afghan diplomats
AT News Report
KABUL: The Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (MoFA) on Sunday summoned Sayed Abrar Hussain, Pakistan s Ambassador to Kabul, in
connection to the arrest and harassment of four Afghan diplomats
by police in Peshawar.
According to reports, the four
diplomats were arrested among
several Afghan nationals by police
in scattered localities of University Town in Peshawar last week.
The diplomats were among 28 Afghan nationals who were arrested
by University Town Police Station as part of a crackdown against
Afghan refugees there.
The MoFA said in a said that
the Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai raised strong
protest of the Afghan government
and Kabul s concern to Pakistan s
ambassador over the arrest of Afghan diplomats by the Pakistani
police. He termed it as blatant violation of principles of diplomatic
relations. Karzai prodded the ambassador to share the strong protest and concern of Afghanistan
with his country s authorities and
ask them to thoroughly investigate
the reasons. He added that the cooperation and relations between
the two countries has entered a
new phase and it should not be
strained by such acts. Karzai also
expressed Kabul s concern over
harassment of the Afghan refugees
by the police in Pakistan and wanted it to be stopped. He also said
that until the visit of the Afghan
high-ranking delegation to Pakistan
and their negotiation with the Pakistani authorities aimed at phased
return of the Afghan refugees, there
is an urgent need to halt the process of forced expulsion. The Pakistani ambassador reassured that
he would take up the issue with
his country s authorities to take
necessary measures.
Truthful, Factual and Unbiased
2015 -Hoot 11, 1393 HS
Vol:IX Issue No:208 Price: Afs.15
www.face afghanistantime s afghanistantimes
AT News Report
EW DELHI: Prime Minister
Narendra Modi has offered to
extend relief and rescue operations
KABUL: The ex-President Hamid Karzai, President
Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Abdullah Abdullah prayed Fatiha for departed souls
of the victims of natural disasters in Afghanistan.
Hamid Karzai prayed that may Allah Almighty
rest the deceased souls in eternal peace. He extended
his condolences to families of the victims of floods
and avalanches in Panjshir, Parwan, Bamiyan, Laghman, Nangarhar, Badghis, Nuristan, Ghor and other
parts of country. According to a statement issued
by the Presidential Palace, President Ghani and CEO
Abdullah also offered Fatiha for the departed souls.
They offered their heartfelt condolences to families
of the victims. The prayer ceremony was also attended by the president s special representative for
reforms and good governance Ahmad Zia Massoud,
Speaker of Wolesi Jirga Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi and
other government officials. Following that avalanches and floods killed 286 people across the country,
the bulk of them in Panjshir province last week,
President Ghani on Saturday announced three days
of national mourning.
PC members
monitoring right
resumed after
AT Monitoring Desk
KABUL: The provincial council
(PC) members right of monitoring government offices was resumed through a decree issued by
President Mohammad Ashraf
Ghani on Sunday.
The Wolesi Jirga, (the parliament), on the day before their vacation passed a controversial draft
that annulled the overseeing right
of provincial council members
from government offices. The de
(See P2)
INDIA offers
relief to
Taliban ready for peace negotiations in Kabul
following a series of avalanches in
parts of Afghanistan and central
Panjsher province of the country,
the spokesman of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said on
Sunday. Syed Akbaruddin tweeted that Modi wrote to President
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani saying
India is "deeply saddened by the
loss of lives in avalanches in different parts of Afghanistan". "India (is) ready to help in any way
with rescue and relief and help
people to rebuild lives, Akbaruddin tweeted. Hundreds of people
have been killed and an indeterminate number have been reported
missing after the series of avalanches in Afghanistan. The death toll
from a series of avalanches and
flash floods rose to 260 on Friday,
It s a biggest change that for the first time in their history of resistance, the Taliban have
shown readiness for peace talks and that too in Kabul
AT Monitoring Desk
ABUL: When situation on the
ground is brutal, the readiness
of the Taliban for peace talks with
Kabul is a surprise welcome for
this war-weary nation. Peace negotiations are set to begin soon as
a high profile Taliban representative in Qatar, Qari Din Mohammad, said that peace talks likely to
be kicked off next week in Kabul.
In an interview with Anadulo
Agency on Sunday, Qari Din Mohammad, said Mullah Omar was
ready for peace talks with President Ashraf Ghani in near future,
in Kabul. We are ready for peace
negotiations with the ruling Afghan
government, Mohammad said.
Sharply after his return to Qatar
from Pakistan where Din Mohammad held talks with Pakistan s security officials, Anadolu Agency
conducted an interview with him
he said he had fruitful talks with
Pakistani officials in Islamabad.
Consultations are going on and
soon Mullah Omar would reveal
the names of peace talks representatives, he said.
Pakistani officials last week
vowed their strongest support for
absolutely transparent and Afghanlead peace process. Back in November 2014, a Taliban delegation
also visited Beijing, the capital of
China in an effort to discuss the
possible role of China that could
play in peace process in the country. But the report was termed
unfound by Chinese officials as
soon as the Taliban delegation trip
to China took surfaced to the different media outlets.
After the visit of General Raheel Sharif, the Pakistan s Chief of
the Army Staff to Kabul, peace
talks between National Unity
Government and Taliban are accelerating. Some month ago, the President Ashraf Ghani had also started counseling regarding peace process with political parties, tribal
elders, and civil society activists.
President Ghani added that peace
cannot be restored far from the
people s sight rather it needs the
involvement of the entire nation.
Amid changing prospect, however, many people still look at Pakistan s support with suspicion and
don t look happy on sending of
Afghan army cadets to Pakistan
for military trainings.
with the bulk of deaths coming
from central Panjsher province,
where above 200 lost their lives,
including women and children. The
Afghanistan cabinet announced a
three-day national mourning to
express solidarity with families
who lost their beloved ones to avalanches in several parts of the
country, a statement from the Presidential Palace said on Saturday.
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50pc Afghans do not have access
AT News Report
KABUL: The Independent Board
of Kabul New City Development,
an autonomous body overseeing
implementation of the mega construction project, on Sunday said
the project would create 200,000
construction jobs, once work
kicked off.
Expressing concerns over lack
of human resources and construction capacity, caretaker of the independent board Yusuf Pashtoon
said the these two challenges could
affect implementation speed of the
Kabul New City (KNC) project.
Speaking at the signing ceremony of Interface Agreement
between Dehsabz Barikab City
Development Authority (DCDA)
and Ministry of Commerce and
Industries (MoCI), he said that
worth $6.5 billion agreements have
been signed while others are in the
pipeline to implement the project.
To complete the project, 200,000
construction workers are required,
he said, adding that overall around
500,000 workers would be re-
He stressed on training and
capacity building of the human resources. Regarding dispute over
land acquisition for the project,
Pashtoon said that DCDA and the
local shura (council) addressed 70
percent of challenges and efforts
are underway to resolve the remaining.
Talking to reporters about the
interface agreement signed with the
MoCI, he said the agreement is
aimed to attract investment in the
area and create employment opportunities for the residents.
As per the agreement, MoCI
will cooperate in line with economic growth of Afghanistan by creating permanent job opportunities
in numerous fields and provide
opportunities for private sector
investments, creating MoCI led
coordination committee with relevant government authorities to
supervise the implementation and
development plans of industrial
parks and special economic zones
within Kabul New City, to design
and implement appropriate policies to support private sector investments in Kabul New City and
to introduce national and international investors towards the development of KNC project.
Lack of residential plots in
the over populated capital city is
not as big issue as poor job market. Therefore, we are seeking
ways to expand industrial parks
and trade zones in the New Kabul
City, he said. Acting Minister
of Commerce and Industries,
Muzamil Shinwari, said that according to the agreement efforts
would be made by the relevant organizations to attract private sector for investment and establish
business zones in the new city.
He said that five industrial
parks would be established in the
new city where 2,500 acres had
been allocated only for one phase
of the industrial parks.
Nawroz festival to be celebrated with enthusiasm: PC members
MAZAR-I-SHARIF: The Provincial Council (PC) members of
northern Balkh province on Sunday pledged to extend all out support to ensure better arrangements
for the looming Nawroz festival
scheduled to be held on March 21.
A number of PC members told
Pajhwok Afghan News that last
year the new year could not be
celebrated with fervor because of
certain reasons.
The resident of Mazar-iSharif, the provincial capital of
Balkh province, celebrated the first
day of solar year by hoisting special flag at the shrine of fourth Caliph Hazrat Ali (RA).
Mohammad Hashim Azimi,
provincial council member and
member of the organizing committee for Nawroz festival, said the
New Year celebrations had historical importance where people from
different parts of the country
throng to attend the event.
Only Afghan brain will be
behind security plans THIS
. . .From P12
nearly 400 militants including a number of their commanders have been
killed in military operations in Helmand, Kandahar, Farah and Uruzgan.
Sediqi said that crackdowns had been kicked off in 12 provinces.
In order to overcome security threats in parts of the country, we
conducted small and big military operations in 12 provinces, he added.
The remarks by the MoI spokesman come as officials in the US spy
agency have said that some parts of Afghanistan would come under
control of the Taliban in upcoming year. However, these remarks were
rejected by Afghan security officials, and they termed it as baseless and
as attempts and struggles to gain the advantage of the current situation.
A number of analysts in security affairs said that the Afghan security forces should be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment in a bid
to thwart militant attacks and ensure law-and-order in the country.
He said the organizing committee members, officials of information and cultural department and
Olympic committee had been
working in tandem to make the
event outstanding one.
PC members monitoring right
resumed after tinkering
. . .From P1
cision stirred criticism as provincial council member
all over the country reacted angrily and staged several
protests while closing their offices in parts of the
Sources close to the government were
quoted by Bokhdi News Agency, as saying that the
decree was issued late Saturday which allows provincial council members to monitor government offices according to the new draft which is different
from the draft they enjoyed in the past.
The sources said that provincial council members and officials of the Independent Directorate of
Local Governance (IDLG) had prepared a draft about
authorities of provincial council members to oversee
government offices, and the draft would be sent to
the Wolesi Jirga for approval in near future.
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Email: [email protected]
According to the Ministry of Public Health, Afghans spend as much
as 300 million dollars on healthcare abroad on an annual basis.
In an exclusive interview to
Azadi radio, Ferozuddin Feroz, the
Public Health Minister said that
despite the relative progress that
has happened in the public health
sector, as much as 50% of the Afghan public still do not have access to sufficient healthcare. The
situation is especially dire in remote areas of the country, adding
that they have specific plans to
help those in these areas. He was
also quick to point out that there
are difficult days ahead of us .
While the biggest accomplishment of the Public Health Ministry in the last 13 years has been
the decline in infant and maternal
mortality rates, many believe that
accomplishment alone isn t enough
and that parallel focus must be put
on other areas of the public health
sector. One of the biggest health
related problems is the lack of high
quality medicine, a problem that
is believed to be largely neglected
by the Public Health Ministry.
This reason and the lack of enough
qualified doctors are believed to be
the main factors as to why so
many people travel to countries
like Pakistan, India, Turkey and
Iran for health related issues every
The lack of any concrete
progress in this area is largely credited to a lack of sufficient leadership and the overwhelming presence of corruption in the last 13
years. Improving the situation of
the public health sector is counted
to be among the biggest challenges
the new administration faces.
Deadliest avalanche: Highways reopening
efforts heightened, says Abdullah
From P12
willingness to provide relief aid to
the natural disaster-hit areas. Local businessmen have already provided aid in cash to the affected
families, Abdullah said, adding
that the Ministry of Public Works
and Ministry of Rural Development and Rehabilitation are trying
to reopen the ways leading to villages and districts. Although, the
damages have not been estimated
but orchards, crops, small hydropower dams and large number of
houses have been destroyed in the
affected provinces, particularly in
Panjshir. The Salang tunnel was
reopened after several days of
blockage, said the CEO.
According to a press release,
the Ministry of Public Health
(MoPH) has sent 10 mobile health
teams to Panjshir province. The
teams would provide basic healthcare services to the residents.
The statement said that these
teams were flown through helicopters to the targeted areas due inaccessibility to the troubled areas via
roads. Every team is consisted of
a doctor, a nurse and necessary
Dr. Ahmad Jan Naeem, MoPH
Deputy Minister for Policy and
Planning also visited Panjshir province in order to further address
health problems avalanche-hit
Attending the emergency coordination meeting held in the provincial headquarter, the deputy
minister has also assured the preparedness and measures of the
MoPH for addressing health problems of the victim families. The
statement adds that health emergency kits have been dispatched
to the province. MoPH s ambulances have been deployed the areas near the avalanches-hit villages. Local health facilities and Panjshir neighboring provinces hospitals are ready for providing
health care services to those injured in the avalanche. Considering the country s weather situation, the MoPH s health teams
have also been deployed in other
provinces including Nuristan and
Badakhshan for responding the
emergency situations and natural
incidents. Panjshir, Baghlan, Laghman, Badghes, Farah, Badakhshan, Parwan, Faryab, Nangarhar,
Uruzgan, Takhar, Herat, Bamyan are included in 29 provinces
were affected by heavy snowfall
and rains.
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A court in Kabul has sentenced a
well-known Afghan photojournalist Najibullah Musafir to six
months imprisonment which has
Well-known Afghan
photojournalist Najibullah
raised concerns from the organizations defending rights of the journalists in Afghanistan.
Najibullah is now imprisoned
in Pul-i-Charkhi prison of Kabul.
His case falls eight years back
when he took pictures of the female basketball players in Kabul s
Ghazi Stadium for his news coverage. But the pictures were later
used by Etisalat telecommunication company for advertisement.
Sediqullah Tawhidi, director of
NAI, an organization that supports
open media in Afghanistan, expressed concern over the current
condition of journalists in the country.
He said The court has sentenced Najibullah Musafir without
his presence.
He added Najibullah is not
responsible in this case .
Sediqullah further said The
pictures were taken for news purposes and Najibullah should not
be held responsible for anything
in this regard
Najibullah Musafir was arrested two weeks before in Kabul and
was sent to Pul-i-Charkhi prison
after court announced him six
months imprisonment.
Family of Musafar states that
they have proof that he was announced clear of charges but after
seven years he is again arrested and
being sent to prison.
Sediqullah Tawhidi, director of
NAI, while talking to Khaama
Press said that government is silence in regards to the complaints
from the journalists. KP
Pakistan s territory will
never be used against
Afghanistan: Sartaj Aziz
AT Monitoring Desk
KABUL: Adviser to Pakistan s
Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj
Aziz on Sunday said that Pakistan
would never let its territory to be
used against Afghanistan.
Talking about the allies with
Afghanistan, Sartaj Aziz assured
to have restored cooperation and
peace with Kabul by improving
the defense and intelligence sharing sector.
According to Pakistan s Dunya News, Aziz said that the Pakistan land would never be used
against Afghanistan.
He further expressed that Pakistan wants to have mutual relations with India and termed harmony between leadership of both
countries as essential for national
Relations between Afghanistan
and Pakistan stepped into a new
era following deadly attack on a
school in Peshawar which left
Releasing abducted passengers:
Zabul officials reject any covert deal
AT Monitoring Desk
KABUL: It is almost one week
that at least 30 passengers (ethnic
Hazaras) have been abducted by
armed men said to be linked to the
international militant group ISIS
or Daesh, but their fate is unknown
yet. Officials in southern Zabul
province said Sunday that they
have come up with no covert deal
to release the abducted passengers,
but they are increasing their efforts
to save the abducted men in near
Recently, reports said that the
abducted passengers in Zabul have
been released in exchange of a container full of weapons and ammunition. However, the reports were
rejected soon after releasing.
Radio Azadi quoted Zabul
police chief, Ghulam Sakhi Rogh
Liwanai, as saying that they were
trying to release the abducted men
but no deal has occurred in this
regard yet.
He said that nothing would be
given to the Taliban in a bid to help
in releasing the abducted people.
He also said that they would never come up with such a deal even if
rebels abduct hundreds of Afghan
citizens.A container full of weapons and ammunition was recovered by Zabul police two weeks
back. It is said that the container
was supposed to be swapped for
the release of the passengers.
There is no exact information
about identity of the abductors but
Zabul provincial council office said
Salary payments through
available to govt employees
According to the Ministry of Finance, government employees can
now receive their salaries through
mobile phones.
New Kabul Bank, Maiwand
Bank and the Ministry of Finance
have developed a mobile money
platform and integrated it with the
Afghan Wireless Communication
Company (AWCC) with the support of United States Agency for
International Development (US-
more than 100 children dead.
Afghan and Pakistani officials
held several meetings in the two
countries to discuss the improvement of ties between the two neighbors. A number of analysts in political affairs said that Pakistan
should be sincere in its commitments regarding helping the Afghan-led peace process. They also
said that Pakistan should eliminate
terrorist groups that have safe havens in that country otherwise
peace will not come in the region.
wand Bank system with Afghan
Wireless Company in a proper and
secure way. This is the pilot
project that started from the treasury department of the Ministry
of Finance.
This will be expanded to all
government organization and to all
rural areas of the country. The
Ministry of Finance currently has
contracts with four commercial
banks (New Kabul Bank, Azizi
the other day that the armed men
involved in abducting 30 passengers in the province are linked to
Daesh militants.
Head of Zabul provincial council, Ata Jan Haqparast, said the tribal elders would in collaboration
with the Taliban would discuss
with the abductors about releasing
of the 30 men.
He said no demand had been
raised by abductors in this regard
In the meantime, the Ministry
of Interior (MoI) said that efforts
were on to release the abducted
passengers in Zabul.
The MoI spokesman, Sediq
Sediqi, told a press conference in
Kabul did not share any details
about the abducted men but said
that they were trying to release the
abducted passengers and send
them to their homes. We cannot
share details in this regard. Hope
that we resolve this issue in cooperation with locals, he added.
Recently, a number of employees of non-governmental organizations were abducted by unknown armed men and the Taliban
militants on a number of highways
but they were released in exchange
of money and in a number of cases
they were killed by abductors.
However, it is the first time that a
number of people have been abducted by those whom government officials say are linked to
Two Afghan National Army
(ANA) soldiers were killed in a
roadside mine blast in western
Herat province on Saturday
evening, local officials said.
The blast took place at about
6pm local time in Chesht district
of the province while the ANA
soldiers were travelling to Ghor
district and one of their vehicles
struck a roadside mine, Najibullah
Najibi spokesman for the 207 Zafar Corps told TOLOnews.
MoFA overrun by officials
KABUL: The findings by Pajhwok
Afghan News (PAN) has revealed
most diplomats of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) are either family members or relatives
of government officials or members of National Assembly, who
have been appointed on the basis
of nepotism trampling established
rules, regulations and merit policy.
The findings disclosed that
mostly sons and close relatives of
government officials and members
of parliament appointed to key
posts to Afghanistan embassies
abroad where most of them sought
political asylum.
While article 60 of government
employment clearly outlined that
at least BA especially in Law, Political Science, Business Administration, Journalism, Economics and
Trade is needed for employment
in the MoFA.
Being at least 21 or 35 years
old (35 should have MA or PHD
degree), not being in the MoFA
blacklist, speaking both Dari and
Pashto languages, having at least
450 TOEFL score or passing another equal test as well as being
able to operate computer and other new technology tools, not being
morally corrupt and addicted, successfully passing the entry test of
the Ministry are other specifications that an employee should be
regarded eligible for MoFA vacancy.
Written test, interview, security clearance, completing the probationary period and graduation
from the MoFA institute are all
considered during the hiring process.
But during president Karzai s
13 years rule, his uncle, two vice
presidents sons and a number of
other close relatives of officials,
MPs and Jihadi leaders were hired
without conducting any competitive test or going through legal process.
Adeeb Fahim, elder son of
Marshal Mohammad Fahim Qaseem, former first vice president,
was appointed as deputy head of
economics department. In 2013, he
was appointed as head of second
political department, which is an
important position in MoFA dealing with relevant embassies in Kabul and lead the activities of Afghan
embassies in Middle East and Africa.
However, he had resigned from
his position after the demise of his
father in 2014.
But Taqi Khalili, elder son of
Karim Khalili, the second former
vice president is a diplomat at the
MoFA for over 13 years. He has
also served as first deputy of the
Afghan ambassador in the US and
the deputy of the permanent representative of Afghanistan at UN.
Since the formation of the unity government, he is serving as
Afghan ambassador to Azerbaijan
without going through legal process of working for three years in
Availing the opportunity in the
United States, he sent all his family members via embassy resources in Washington to Canada where
they were given citizenship.
According to credible sources,
most employees especially the
MoFA diplomats are sons and
close relatives of government officials that were appointed without
conducting entry tests or going
through needed legal process.
The following persons are
among those working in MoFA
without going through test, interview and other official formalities:
Son of Mohammad Younus
Qanoni, former Wolesi Jirga speaker and first vice president.
Son of Omar Daudzai, former
interior minister.
Son of MP Daud Kalakani.
Daughter of MP Rahela.
Son of Zahir Azimi, spokes-
man of Ministry of Defense.
Brother of MP Hamida Ahmadzai.
Son of former MP Sayed Hussain Anwari.
Brother of Anwarulhaq Ahadi, former trade and industry minister.
Brother of Farooq Wardak ,
former education minister.
Son of Qayamuddin Kashaf,
head of Afghanistan s Ulama Council.
Daughter and son of Muhaiuddin Sahibzada, MoFA administrative affairs head.
Son of MP Mohammad Abdu.
Son of MP Qudratullah Zaki.
Daughter of MP Nazifa Zaki.
Nephew of Abdul Rab Rasoul
Sayyaf, Jihadi leader and former
Daughter and son of Noor
Akbar, former MP.
Husband of MP Nilofar Ibrahimi.
Sister of MP Fouzia Raofi.
Brother of MP Aryan Youn.
Daughter of Amena Afzali,
former labor and social affair minister.
Son of Mohammad Eshaq
Alko, Attorney General.
Two daughters of Torialai
Weesa, Kandahar s acting governor.
Apart from the list above, there
are a number of other close relatives and cronies of the former as
well as sitting officials and parliamentarians that have been hired in
MoFA without considering merits
or even appearing for the entrance
According to sources, Farid
Kazemi who was previously personal assistant to the secretariat
of the lower house of parliament
and Mujtaba a former employee
of the office of the administrative
affairs have been employed trampling all rules and regulations.
Abdul Qader Zazai, head of
the international affairs committee
of the Wolesi Jirga, told Pajhwok
Afghan News one of the reasons
that Afghanistan s diplomacy was
ineffective and useless during the
past 13 years was that most of the
officials who got appointed on key
posts have no relevant qualification and experience.
Based on our reports, unprofessional personnel have been employed in the MoFA. Among them
are even medical doctors, engineers, architects who have been
hired thanks to their connections
with the high ranking officials.
Some of them have even become
ambassadors and top diplomats at
key embassies abroad, he said.
Zazai added that his committee in the Wolesi Jirga has prepared
a list of inefficient employees and
has submitted it to the Foreign
Minister Salahuddin Rabbani. If
Rabbani did not take action in the
next three months, he warned they
would take actions based on legal
authorities that they possess.
Some diplomats are even above
80-years old which is against diplomatic protocols.
Based on the information by
the Wolesi Jirga committee of international affairs, more than 100
persons had just studied up to 12th
class and have been hired on key
diplomatic positions and 200 more
that have also been employed without pursuing merit policy, Zazai
Other members of parliament
were also of the opinion that at
least half of the lawmakers have
their family members or relative
hired at the MoFA. They said
when the sitting Chief Executive
Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah
was foreign minister then diplomats from Panjsher province were
hired in each and every embassy.
In European or North American embassies, majority of the local or technical employees have
some connections with top government officials, they added.
They said MoFA has turned
into a human trafficking centre
where top officials send their relatives to Europe and other countries with diplomatic passports.
Some have been sent to Italy as
family members of Qais Hassan a
Through such works and connections, former parliamentarian
directorate head has now been appointed as the General Consul in
Los Angeles through his connections with members of parliament,
they alleged.
Atiqullah Atifmal, deputy at
MoFA, acknowledged that in the
last 13 years, employees have been
hired based on their relations but
said that this trend was prevalent
in all the ministries and MoFA was
not an exception. Some people
were hired without entrance exams.
We have evaluated the current situation based on President s directions and we submitted our report
to Ghani for further action, he
Apart from the cronies of the
officials, family members and relatives of CEO Abdullah Abdullah,
Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Zalmai Rasoul, and Zarar Ahmad Osmani
former foreign ministers have also
been employed at MoFA.
Those who have recently been
hired by Zarar Ahmad Osmani included Shoaib Habibi, deputy chief
of staff, Najib Aqa Fahim, director of policy and strategy, Fahim
Kohdamani, Abdul Rab Rassoul
Sayaf s spokesperson, Hamid
Haidari, former Tolo TV journalist, Fahim Abrat, Ahmad Reshad
Kohistani and many more.
Serajul Haq Seraj, deputy
spokesperson at MoFA, has also
been hired without completing any
procedures or appearing for any
It is said that when Zarar Ahmad Osmani was minister of
counter-terrorism and interior, Fahim was his advisor in both ministries. But when he came to MoFA
he created a new directorate of
policy and strategy and hired Fahim for the post.
Hamid Haidari, former Tolo
TV journalist, who was also Osmani s advisor at counter-narcotics ministry, was brought to MoFA
and according to some has poor
attendance at work.
Sirajul Haq Siraj, deputy
spokesperson at MoFA, however, said that they were employed
based on the needs of the ministry.
Without presenting any figures that how many people have
been hired without appearing for
the exams, he added, based on the
new policies people would be
hired after presenting their university degrees and passing entrance
Critics said one of the main
reasons that MoFA and diplomatic mission abroad have been so
useless has its roots in employees
who have no professionalism or
Physical brawls among top
diplomats and relatives of these
officials in embassies abroad were
also hot issues in media. Three
years ago, Aklil Hakimi, former
ambassador to the US and current
finance minister was beaten by
Ashaq Alako, son of Attorney
Head of Ulama Council Qiamuddin Kashaf s son who was a
diplomat at Afghan embassy in
Saudi Arabia had brawl with the
ambassador and was then sent to
Hungary where he created trouble
as well.
Salahuddin Rabbani taking vote
of confidence from parliament last
month promised to bring reforms
to this key portfolio. When we
promise for reforms it is not a
promise for a particular group. Our
promise is for people.
200 killed in avalanches
Days of severe weather and heavy snow in the Panjshir valley
lead to deadly avalanches
AID). According to the ministry,
the reason for the establishment
of this move is to make mobile
payment an alternative to cash in
order to prevent corruption and
improve governance by undercutting financial threats to security.
Mr. Mohammad Aqa Kohistani, the Director General for
Treasury of the Finance ministry
had this to say about the process:
Paying salary to government employees in districts and villages is
a big challenge for the government.
The directorate was struggling to
find a reasonable solution for it.
Fortunately with support of USAID we could suggest to integrate
the New Kabul Bank and Mai-
Bank, Maiwand Bank and Bakhtar
Bank) for maintaining employee
bank accounts to which salaries are
transferred. Out of about 800,000
serving government employees,
almost 520,000 are receiving their
salaries and benefits through the
banking channels. Amin Ramin, the
Managing Director of AWCC explained the process in detail and
said that the mobile money has yet
to achieve sustainable scale in Afghanistan, but it shows much potential. Mr. Haris Hashimi the
project manager for the My
Money project then delivered a
presentation to explain the speed,
security and ways of using the
system. Wadsam
100 - 119
FMIC Hospital
Behind Kabul Medical
Rabia-i-Balkhi Hospital
Pule Bagh-e- Umomi
Khairkhana Hospital
Indira Gandhi Children
Hospital, Wazir Akbar
Khan, Kabul 2301372
Ibn-e- Seena
Pul-e-Artan, Kabul
Wazir Akbar Khan
2301741, 2301743
Ali Abad
Shahrara, Kabul
Malalai Maternity
2201377/ 2301743
Da Afghanistan Bank
2100302, 2100303
Kabul Bank
222666, 070285285
Azizi Bank
0799 700900
Pashtany Bank
2102908, 2103868
Air Services
Safi Airways
020 22 22 222
Kam Air
Safi Landmark
New Rumi Restaurant
Internet Services
UA Telecom
0796701701 / 0796702702
Exchange Rate
One US$ =
One Pound Sterling=
One Euro =
1000 Pak Rs =
AT Monitoring Desk
ers of the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (CHA) around
four weeks ago. The militants, later, killed one of the captives. According to an official source in the
province, the Taliban set free the
three workers of the organization
the other day. According to reports, the militants had demanded
release of the Uzbek women in
exchange of the engineers. The
three Uzbek women arrested in
Maimana, the capital city of Faryab province, were family members
of Uzbek fighters.
Uzbek militant women swapped
KABUL: The government has released Uzbek women in exchange
for three engineers of a welfare organization captured by militants
in Faryab province.
Spokesman for Faryab governor office, Ahmad Javid Baidar,
confirmed the release of Uzbek
women, detained by Afghan security forces in the province for having links with Uzbek militants.
However, he did not provide details about release of the engineers
kidnapped by militants.
Insurgents abducted four work-
n Afghan national army helicopter delivering food lands in an area hit by an avalanche in the Paryan district
of Panjshir province, north of Kabul, on Feb. 27. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
One US$ =
One Pound Sterling=
One Euro=
64.70 Afs
1000 Pak Rs= 564Afs
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MONDAY MARCH 02 , 2015
131 cand idates
to contest Pak s
senate polls
ISLAMABAD: A total of 131 candidates are left in the run for 52
Senate seats after four were elected unopposed from Sindh on Saturday. According to the final list
of candidates released by the Election Commission of Pakistan
(ECP) late on Saturday night, 84
candidates will be contesting for
33 general seats, 21 for nine seats
reserved for women, 18 for eight
seats reserved for ulema and technocrats, and eight for two seats
reserved for non-Muslims. From
the Federal Capital, Iqbal Zafar
Jhagra and Muhammad Ashraf
Gujjar of PML-N, former prime
minister Raja Pervez Ashraf s
brother Raja Imran Ashraf (PPP)
and Syed Zulfikar Ali of MQM
will contest the election for a single general seat, while Nargis Nasir (PML-N), Nargis Faiz Malik
(PPP) and Bisma Asif and Shumaila Shahab of MQM are in the run
for the one seat reserved for women. Eighty-four in the run for 33
general seats For seven general
seats from Punjab, nine PML-N
candidates and a solitary PPP man
are the only contenders after the
withdrawal of nomination papers
by PPP s Shaukat Mehmood.
Those left in the race include retired Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum, Saud
Majeed, Pervaiz Rashid, Mushahidullah Khan, Chaudhry Tanvir
Khan, Ghous Mohammad Khan
Niazi, Syed Nihal Hashmi, Khawaja Mehmood Ahmad and Saleem Zia, and Nadeem Afzal Chan
of PPP. Also read: MQM, PPP
reach accord on Senate polls, coalition govt in Sindh After the withdrawal of candidature by Kiran
Imran Dar, only two PML-N candidates are left for two reserved
seats for women. They are Najma
Hameed and Ayesha Raza Farooq.
PPP s Sarwat Kanwal is also in the
race. Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq
and Prof Sajid Mir (PML-N) and
Malik Nosher Khan Langrial of
PPP will be contesting for two re-
Violence flares
ahead of
opposition s
72-hour strike
HAKA: Stray incidents of
violence are flaring up in
parts of Bangladesh capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the
country, as ex-Prime Minister
Khaleda Zia's opposition alliance
is all set to enforce another round
of strike from Sunday morning. A
Dhaka Metropolitan (DMP) official who preferred to be unnamed
said miscreants torched at least
eight vehicles at different parts of
Dhaka and Narayanganj town on
the outskirts of capital city. Vandalism, explosion of hand bombs
and detention of dozens of opposition men have also been reported in capital Dhaka and elsewhere
in the country since Sunday morning. Dozens of vehicles were
smashed or set on fire also elsewhere in the country on the eve of
the strike on Saturday. No one was
reported injured in the incidents.
Demanding fresh election under a
non-party caretaker government
system, Bangladesh's main opposition alliance on Friday called another round of nationwide strike
form Sunday morning. The strike
will start at 6:00 a.m. local time
Sunday and will continue till 6:00
a.m. local time Wednesday, said
two-time ex- Prime Minister
Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Spokesperson
Salahuddin Ahmed in a statement
on Friday.
served seats for ulema and technocrats. Also read: Wealthy candidates in Senate polls set alarm bells
ringing in PTI After the withdrawal of candidature by 10 candidates,
eight are left in the arena for a fight
for seven general seats from Sindh.
Those who will contest include
Rehman Malik, Saleem Mandwiwala, Islamuddin Sheikh, Abdul
Latif Ansari and Gianchand (PPP),
Khushbakht Shujaat and Mian
Ateeq Sheikh (MQM) and Imamuddin Shoqeen (PML-F). Sassui
Palijo (PPP) and Nighat Mirza
(MQM) unofficially won unopposed on two seats reserved for
women after rest of the four candidates opted out of the contest.
Likewise former Chairman Senate
Farooq H Naek (PPP) and Muhammad Ali Saif (MQM) were
elected unopposed on two seats
reserved for technocrats after withdrawal of candidature by Rehman
Malik (PPP) and Abdul Kadir
Khanzada (MQM). In KP, 12 candidates are left in the race for seven general seats after withdrawal
of candidature by two PTI, one
Jamaat-i-Islami and one Qaumi
Watan Party candidate. PTI candidates include Mohsin Aziz and
Syed Shibli Faraz. Others in the
race are heavyweights including JI
chief Sirajul Haq, JUI-F chief s
brother Attaur Rahman, Haji Muhammad Adeel (ANP), retired Lt
Gen Salahuddin Tirmizi. Six candidates will be vying for two seats
reserved for women, six or two
reserved for technocrats and three
for one reserved for non-Muslims.
Also read: 87 aspiring Senate candidates appear before PML-N
board In Balochistan, 14 candidates
will be contesting the elections
against seven general seats while
six will fight the electoral battle for
two seats reserved for women,
seven for two reserved for technocrats and five for one seat for nonMuslims. In Fata, 36 candidates
are in the run for four general seats.
External Affairs Minister Sushma
Swaraj will arrive in Colombo on
Friday to set the stage for Prime
Minister Narendra Modi s visit to
Sri Lanka, the first bilateral visit to
the country by an Indian premier in
over 25 years. During her two-day
stay, Swaraj will call on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and hold
talks with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, the Sunday Times
reported. She is also expected to call
on President Maithripala Sirisena
Narendra Modi last week reached agreement with the PDP on a common agenda to jointly rule the state.
India s ruling Hindu nationalist party was Sunday sworn into government for the first time in the country s only Muslim-majority state
after a power-sharing deal with a
regional rival. Prime Minister Narendra Modi s Bharatiya Janata party
(BJP) and the Peoples Democratic
party (PDP) have forged a coalition
government after inconclusive elec-
during the trip, seen as a precursor
to the visit by Modi on March 13.
This is Prime Minister Modi s first
visit to Lanka during which he is
likely to travel to war-ravaged Jaffna in the Tamil-dominated Northern Province and Trincomalee in the
Eastern Province. He is scheduled
to travel to Jaffna, Anuradhapura
and Kandy during his stay in Sri
Lanka, the report said, citing presidential secretariat sources. It further
added that Modi will visit the Dala-
tions two months ago for the restive Himalayan region s state assembly. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the Muslim head of the PDP,
was sworn in as chief minister of
the region, where a sporadic revolt
against Indian rule has been waged
since 1989. In a symbolic gesture
he enthusiastically embraced
Modi, who was on stage to wit-
da Maligawa in Kandy and also
inspect ongoing Indian housing
projects in the estate sector. Modi s
visit will be a return for Sirisena s
visit to Delhi last month that saw
the two countries sign a civil nuclear pact. It was Sirisena s first
overseas visit since being inducted
as the president in January. Modi
was originally invited to visit Sri
Lanka by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, Indo-Lanka relations nosedived during the
ness the historic ceremony. This is
a great day. No one in their wildest
dreams ever thought of this, PDP
leader Naeem Akhtar said after the
ceremony in the region s winter capital of Jammu. But I think Mufti
Sayeed and the national (BJP) leadership of Modi-ji, they are on a journey to turn around Kashmir, an
upbeat Akhtar told the NDTV net-
Rajapaksa regime as China had expanded its footprint in the country by building ports, highways
and participating in other infrastructure projects. Modi will be
the first Indian Prime Minister
since 1987 to visit the island. Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, met with a hostile reception as
he was attacked by a Sri Lankan
sailor using a rifle butt during a
guard of honour. Modi s visit to
Sri Lanka will be part of a tour of
four Indian Ocean nations, including Mauritius, Seychelles and the
Maldives, the report said, adding
that his visit to Male seems uncertain because of the political crisis
Bangladesh pays tribute to US
blogger killed in machete attack
angladeshis gathered on
Sunday to pay tribute to a
U.S. blogger and critic of
religious extremism who was killed
in Dhaka, in the latest of a series
of attacks on writers in the Muslim-majority nation. Avijit Roy, a
U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin,
was hacked to death by machetewielding assailants on Thursday
after a book fair. His wife and fellow blogger Rafida Ahmed suffered
head injuries and lost a finger and
remains in hospital in a serious
condition. The attack came amid a
crackdown on hardline Islamist
groups, which have increased activities in recent years in the South
Asian nation of 160 million people. People from all walks gathered with flowers at the Dhaka University premises on Sunday to
pay their respect to Avijit, who
came to his native city in mid-February and was due to go back to
the United States. "Free thinking
in Bangladesh is become a great
danger, all the free thinkers are at
great risk," writer Shahriar Kabir
said. "We want to know why the
government failed to ensure the
safety of him, despite knowing
that he had been facing threats
from the Islamist radicals." No arrest has so far been made.
People also held a demonstration
at the spot where he was killed
and chanted slogans demanding
immediate arrest and quick trial
of the perpetrator . Roy's family
said Islamist radicals had been
threatening him because he maintained a blog, "Mukto-mona," or
"Freemind," that highlighted humanist and rationalist ideas and
condemned religious extremism.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called it "a
shocking act of violence" that was
"horrific in its brutality and cowardice".
In 2013, religious extremists targeted several secular bloggers who
had demanded capital punishment
for Islamist leaders convicted of
war crimes during Bangladesh's war
for independence. Blogger Ahmed
Rajib Haider was killed that year
in a similar attack near his home in
Dhaka after he led one such protest demanding capital punishment. In 2004, Humayun Azad, a
secular writer and professor at
Dhaka University, was also attacked by militants while returning home from a Dhaka book fair.
He later died in Germany while
undergoing treatment.
Media group Reporters Without
Borders rated Bangladesh 146th
among 180 countries in a ranking
of press freedom last year.
22nd constitutional amendment: Chances
of PTI s return to parliament fading
ISLAMABAD: Chances for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to
make a comeback in parliament almost faded on Saturday after refusal by the government s ally
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUIF) and main opposition Pakistan
Peoples Party (PPP) to back the
22nd constitutional amendment.
The ruling Pakistan Muslim
League Nawaz (PML-N) made
its utmost effort to evolve a consensus among all the political parties to bring the proposed amendment whereby the upper house s
elections would be conducted
through a show of hands . The
PTI was equally interested in enacting this law to avoid losing its
Senate seats due to horse trading.
After seven months of boycott,
there was a chance that the PTI
would return to parliament if consensus was developed among all
the political parties over bringing
the 22th constitutional amendment. For the purpose, the PTI
had also sent its representative to
a parliamentary party meeting at
the Prime Minister House on Friday.
work, using a Hindi honorific for
respect. The inauguration, held
amid tight security at the University of Jammu, came after weeks
of intense negotiations between the
two parties which disagree on several critical issues in the region.
Sayeed has described the alliance
as the coming together of the
North Pole and the South Pole
while the BJP has hailed the move
as a miracle of democracy . The
negotiations followed December
elections that saw the BJP capture
25 seats mainly in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, while the PDP
took 28, mostly in the Kashmir valley where Muslim separatist sentiment has traditionally been strongest. (The Guardian)
Ind ia hikes
grant to Nepal
KATHMANDU: India has increased grant aid to Nepal by 40
percent to IRs 4.2 billion (Rs 6.72
billion) in the annual budget for
2015-16 presented on Saturday.
For this fiscal year, India had allocated IRs 3 billion for Nepal. The
southern neighbour has also providing loan assistance to Nepal,
and the biggest being the recentlyannounced $1 billion line of credit.
Nepal has been allocated the fourth
largest amount of grant in South
Asia after Bhutan, Afghanistan and
Sri Lanka. Bhutan is traditionally
the biggest receiver of Indian grant
aid and the total amount allocated
security men
among 10 held
for jailbreak
ILGIT: Initial investiga
tions into the jailbreak in
Gilgit have revealed that
the inmates had carried out the
daring act with help from the prison s security staff. Danyor Station
House Officer Ghulaam Muhammad and one of the runaway prisoners were injured after police encircled them in Minwar town,
13km from the jail, but the fugitives still managed to escape.
Gilgit-Baltistan police chief Zaffar Iqbal Awan told Dawn that
police and other security forces
had launched a search operation on
Friday evening after receiving an
intelligence tip and a clash took
place in a hilly area near Minwar.
He said police had sealed off roads
near a river, but the besieged prisoners jumped into a ditch and escaped. Read| GB jail escape: Man
involved in Nanga Parbat massacre among two fleeing prisoners
He said the SHO and one of the
fugitives were injured in the encounter.
for Bhutan stood at IRs 61.6 billon. Afghanistan has been allocated IRs 6.76 billion, while Sri Lanka has been approved IRs 5 billion. India s aid to Nepal was reduced for the current fiscal year
from the last fiscal s IRs 4.5 billion. Bangladesh will get IRs 2.5
billion in grant, and the grant allocated for Maldives is IRs 1.83 billion. India announces aid to South
Asian and other developing countries and even Latin American and
Eurasian countries. Indian grant
support to Nepal includes that to
BP Koirala Institute of Health and
Science under India s faculty support. Since 2013-14, India has also
been also providing an annual funding of IRs 10 million to the hospital towards partially covering hiring of Indian faculty for the introduction of super specialty courses. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the National Trauma Centre in Kathmandu .
Establishment of Manmohan Memorial Polytechnic in Biratnagar and a polytechnic at Hetauda
are other health-related projects
being undertaken with Indian aid,
according to the Finance Ministry
of Nepal. Indian grant is used in
the construction of a Dharamshala
at Pashupati Temple Complex,
upgradation of 26km road from
Dakshinkali-Kulekhani Dam and
installation of 2,700 shallow tube
wells in various districts. Integrated Border Check-Posts on IndoNepal border areas Raxaul-Birganj, Sunauli-Bhairahawa, JogbaniBiratnagar and Nepalganj Road-Nepalgunj are being constructed
with Indian aid, which are expected to boost bilateral trade. Postal
roads connecting Nepal-India border and East-West Highway are
also moving forward. Cross- border railway links are being constructed at five locations on the
Nepal-India border JayanagarBardibas, Jogbani-Biratnagar,
Nautanwa-Bhairahawa, Rupaidiha-Nepalgunj and New JalpaiguriKakarbhitta.
Swine flu: 36 more
succumb to virus, death toll
in India increases to 1,041
The swine flu epidemic has
claimed the lives of 36 more people, taking the total death toll in
the country to 1,041. The number
of people affected by the virus also
stands at 19,000 now. Rajasthan
and Gujarat have been the worsthit states so far with 234 and 231
deaths, respectively. According to
Skymet Meteorology Division in
India, unusual weather conditions
prevailing across the country have
aggravated the situation and with
the rainy days expected ahead,
there is a possibility of steep rise
in the numbers. This has raised serious concerns over H1N1 influenza, as weather has played major
role in intensifying the flu this season. In a bid to curtail spread of
deadly virus, it is very necessary
for temperatures to rise and drop
in humidity levels, which is not
expected to happen anytime soon.
Gujarat government has also imposed a ban on most public gatherings of five or more people in
Ahmedabad in a bid to halt the
spread of swine flu. Officials have
also asked people to wear mask as
precautionary measure. Swine flu
is caused by H1N1 virus. Symptoms for swine flu include high fever, headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and
internal and external bleeding.
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MONDAY MARCH 02 , 2015
UN Syria envoy
moves to finalise
deal on Aleppo truce
UN envoy Staffan de Mistura
has held talks in the Syrian capital to try to finalise a deal to
freeze fighting in the war-ravaged
northern city of Aleppo. De
Mistura met Foreign Minister
Walid Muallem and agreed to send
a delegation from his Damascus
office to Aleppo on a fact-finding mission, state news agency
SANA said, without giving a date.
De Mistura's visit started as the
army and pro-goverment fighters regained territory in southern Syria from forces opposed
to President Bashar al-Assad.
The Swedish-Italian diplomat
"hopes to set in motion as soon
as possible" his project to halt
fighting in Aleppo for six weeks,
said a member of his delegation
who declined to be identified. De
Mistura has met government officials and opposition chiefs in
recent weeks to promote his plan
for a temporary truce in Aleppo in
order to move aid into the northern city. Once Syria's commercial
hub, Aleppo has been devastated
by fighting that began in mid-2012,
and the city is now split between
loyalist forces and rebels. De Mistura said last week that the government had shown a willingness
to suspend aerial bombardment of
Aleppo for six weeks to allow for
a humanitarian ceasefire. Under the
plan, rebels would be asked to suspend rocket and mortar fire there
during the freeze. De Mistura incurred the wrath of the opposition earlier in February by describing Assad as "part of the solution"
to Syria's conflict. About 220,000
people have been killed in Syria
since the conflict began in March
2011 with anti-government protests that spiralled into a multisided civil war drawing foreign jihadists.
Baghdad museum reopens
12 years after looting
raq's national museum officially reopened Saturday after 12 years of
painstaking efforts during which close to a third of 15,000 stolen
pieces were recovered. The much-delayed reopening was brought
forward in what officials said was a response to the destruction of
priceless artifacts by ISIS the northern city of Mosul. "We have been
preparing to reopen for the past couple of months, the museum should
be open to everyone," Deputy Tourism and Antiquities Minister Qais
Hussein Rashid told AFP. "The events in Mosul led us to speed up our
work and we wanted to open it today as a response to what the gangs of
Daesh did," he said, using an Arabic acronym for the ISIS group. On
Thursday, the jihadists who have occupied Iraq's second city of Mosul
since June last year released a video in which militants smash ancient
statues with sledgehammers. Militants are also seen defacing a colossal
Assyrian winged bull in an archaeological park in Mosul with a jackhammer. The destruction sparked global outrage, calls for an emergency
meeting of the U.N. Security Council and fears over the fate of other
major heritage sites in areas under ISIS control. The Mosul destruction
was the worst disaster to strike Iraq's treasure since the national museum in Baghdad was looted in the chaos that followed the U.S.-led toppling of Saddam Hussein.
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's president, plans to limit the US diplomatic presence in Venezuela and
require American tourists to obtain visas, amid growing tensions
between the two countries. Maduro said the measures, announced
on Saturday, aimed to "control" US
meddling in Venezuelan affairs.
Maduro has intensified his allegations of coup and assassination
plans in recent months - often purportedly backed by the US - as he
faces a deep economic crisis and a
sharp drop in popularity. "In order to protect our country ... I have
decided to implement a system of
compulsory visas for all Americans
entering Venezuela," he told supporters. Under the new measures,
Venezuela will start charging tour-
ists the same visa fees the US asks
of Venezuelans, though it was unclear when the plan would be implemented. But the restrictions
could also have an impact on business travellers seeking to invest in
one of the biggest oil producers.
Diplomatic staff In his speech outside the Miraflores presidential
palace, Maduro noted that the
Americans have 100 diplomatic
staff in Caracas, compared to 17
Venezuelan diplomats in Washington DC. He cited the Vienna Convention's principle of the equality
of states concerning the size of respective diplomatic missions in
ordering his foreign ministry to
"reduce, adjust and limit the number of US officials" at the US embassy in Caracas. Additionally,
Bill was recently introduced in the Senate allowing Congress to weigh in on any nuclear deal the U.S. reaches with Iran.
resident Barack Obama
would veto a bill recently in
troduced in the U.S. Senate
allowing Congress to weigh in on
any deal the United States and other negotiating countries reach with
Iran on its nuclear capabilities, the
White House said on Saturday.
"The president has been clear that
Maduro singled out several US
political figures as being unable to
come to Venezuela because his government considers them "terrorists". Inside Story: Unrest in Venezuela "A group of US political
leaders who have violated human
rights in bombing" countries like
Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan "will
not be able to enter Venezuela because they are terrorists", Maduro
said. Maduro cited former President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, as well as Hispanic American politicians Bob
Menendez, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
and Marco Rubio. Maduro said
the visa decision was made after
the capture of an American pilot
of Latin American origin in the
western state of Tachira suspect-
now is not the time for Congress
to pass additional legislation on
Iran. If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it," said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for
the White House's National Security Council. The United States and
five other major powers are seeking to negotiate an agreement with
ed of carrying out "covert" espionage activities. He did not provide additional details about the
previously unreported arrest.
Maduro also warned that the US
mission must alert and receive authorisation from the local government for any meeting held by US
diplomats in Venezuela. In recent
days, Maduro has hardened his
speech against the US embassy
in Caracas, accusing it of "interference and abuse," and of meeting with the Venezuelan opposition. The US and Venezuela have
been at diplomatic odds since
Maduro's predecessor Hugo
Chavez came to power in 1999,
repeatedly criticising US "imperialist" policy. They withdrew
their ambassadors from each other's country in 2010, and Venezuela has expelled several US
diplomats under Maduro.
Somalia s al-Shabab
injures police in
Mogad ishu car bomb
Somali militants al-Shabab detonated a car bomb in the capital
Mogadishu on Saturday, injuring
two police officers, police and a
spokesman for the Islamists said.
The al-Qaeda-affiliated group was
pushed out of Mogadishu by African peacekeeping forces in 2011
but has waged a series of gun and
grenade attacks to try to overthrow
the government and impose its
strict version of sharia law. Somalia is trying to rebuild after two
decades of civil war and lawlessness, but persistent attacks in the
capital have complicated that effort. The fragile government is be-
ing backed by international aid
aimed at preventing it from becoming a haven for al-Qaeda-style militants in East Africa. Somali police
said the attackers had remotely
exploded a car and then escaped.
Two policemen were injured but
there were no known fatalities. A
spokesman for al-Shabab said the
group had targeted Somali police.
The car bomb targeted the police. We played a prank on them,
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al
Shabaab s military operations
spokesman told Reuters. The car
deliberately sped as it came to a
police checkpoint.
woman suicide bomber on Saturday killed two passers-by and
her accomplice in an attack in northeast Nigeria, witnesses and
security sources told AFP. Moments before the explosion, the
female attacker and her accomplice, had tried to board a bus but were
stopped by the driver. The suicide mission took place at around 1130
am when two women wearing hijabs tried to board a commercial vehicle
but the wary driver resisted, a highly-placed security source said.
One of the women was wearing the bomb around her waist and it
exploded after the bus departed, killing the other woman and two other
people, the source added. According to witnesses, the two women
tried to board the bus in the village of Ngamdu, 90 kilometers (55 miles)
from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, and 40 kilometers from
Damaturu, the capital of the neighboring state of Yobe.
The two women were wearing the hijab and they told the driver they
wanted to go to Damaturu, said a witness Sharu Hassan, a Ngamdu
resident. After the explosion, residents of the village shut themselves up
in their homes leaving the four dead bodies on the road, witnesses said.
Iran to curb its nuclear program in
exchange for relief from economic
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act would require to submit
to Congress the text of any agreement within five days of concluding a final deal with Iran.
The bill would also prohibit
Obama from suspending or waiving sanctions on Iran passed by
Congress for 60 days after a deal.
Meehan said United States "should
give our negotiators the best chance
of success, rather than complicating their efforts."
Negotiations between the United
States, Russia, China, France, Ger-
many, Britain and Iran have reached
a crucial stage, with a basic framework agreement due by the end of
March. Republican Senator Bob
Corker, one of the bipartisan group
of sponsors of the bill, said it was
"disappointing that the president
feels he is the only one who speaks
for the citizens of our country."
Egypt s terrorist
labelling of Hamas
prompts protests
Vote counting
begins after
Lesotho snap
rotests have broken out in the
Gaza Strip against an Egyp
tian court's decision to declare
Hamas a "terrorist" organisation,
just weeks after the Palestinian
group's armed wing was given the
same designation. A judicial source
told AFP news agency that the
court issued the verdict on Saturday, a ruling seen as in keeping with
a systematic crackdown on Islamist groups by Egyptian President
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Palestinians
throughout refugee camps and cities in Gaza held demonstrations in
protest at the decision. The verdict resulted from two separate private suits filed by two lawyers
against Hamas, the de-facto rulers
of Gaza, a 360sq km enclave. Sami
Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman
in Gaza City, denounced the ruling
as "a desperate attempt to export
Egypt's crisis". "The Egyptian
court decision ... is shocking, critical and targets the Palestinian people and Palestinian resistance forces," he said. Mustafa Barghouti, an
independent Palestinian politician,
told Al Jazeera the verdict "is a very
unwise decision" that carries political complications. "Hamas is
part of the Palestinian national unity movement, and this decision is
not useful," Barghouti said. String
of attacks Saturday's ruling comes
just days after Egypt adopted a
new anti-terrorism law allowing the
authorities to close the premises
of any declared "terrorist" organisation, and to freeze its assets as
well as those of its members. The
relationship between Egypt's authorities and Hamas has soured
since the overthrow of the Muslim
Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi as
across Gaza
denounce ruling
and reject Egypt's
accusations that
the group is aiding armed forces
in Sinai.
president in July 2013. Hamas is
an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim
Brotherhood, which Egypt also
banned after the military coup in
2013. Since then, Egyptian authorities have accused Hamas of aiding
armed groups, who have waged a
string of deadly attacks on security forces in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. In January, an Egyptian court
also declared Hamas' armed wing
al-Qassam Brigades a "terrorist"
group. The case was based on allegations that al-Qassam staged attacks to support the Muslim
Brotherhood, and carried out deadly operations in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014, allegations that
the group denied. Armed groups
in Sinai have killed scores of policemen and soldiers since Morsi's
overthrow, pledging revenge for a
crackdown on his supporters that
has left more than 1,400 people
dead. Most of the attacks, however, have been claimed by the armed
group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis,
which has pledged its allegiance to
the Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant (ISIL) group.
UN says 1,100 people killed in Iraq in February
The UN mission to Iraq says violence in the country claimed the
lives of at least 1,100 Iraqis in February, including more than 600 civilians. In a statement released on
Sunday, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said 611
civilians were among 1,103 people killed last month. The rest were
members of the security forces.
UNAMI said at least 2,280 people were wounded, including 1,353
civilians. January's death toll was
at least 1,375. Some 790 of those
were civilians. It said the most
violent city was the capital Baghdad, with 329 civilians killed and
875 wounded. The UN numbers
do not include the third of the country held by the Islamic State of
Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
According to UNAMI, last year
was the deadliest in Iraq since
2006-2007, with a total of 12,282
people killed and 23,126 wounded. The news came a day after a
series of attacks targeting public
places and Shia militia checkpoints
in north of Baghdad killed 37 people, according to authorities.
Vote counting has begun in the
southern African mountain kingdom of Lesotho, after a snap election aimed at resolving a political
crisis triggered by an alleged coup
bid Tensions were high ahead of
Saturday's parliamentary poll,
which was called two years ahead
of schedule, but election day
passed off without incident, according to observers. "Everything
I've come across tells me everything has gone extremely well,"
said Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy
president of neighbouring South
Africa, who is acting as regional
mediator, shortly after polls
closed at 15:00 GMT. "From my
side it is congratulations to the
people of Lesotho for having come
this far to hold a peaceful election,"
Ramaphosa said. Lesotho's Independent Electoral Commission
(IEC) also said the election had
proceeded largely without incident, although some ballot papers
in two of over 2,000 polling stations did not have the names of all
candidates. "The voting has been
proceeding peacefully and according to plan," said IEC chairman
Justice Mahapela Lehohla. According to local media, about 1.2
million people - out of a population of 2.2 million - were registered
to vote. Political crisis Lesotho has
been in crisis since June 2014,
when Prime Minister Thomas
Thabane suspended parliament to
avoid a motion that would have
seen him ousted from power after
his fragile coalition government fell
apart. On August 30, soldiers attacked police headquarters, looting weapons and killing one officer. Thabane described the violence
as a coup attempt fuelled by the
opposition and fled to neighbouring South Africa.
boat with
70 migrants
on board
Romanian coastguard have intercepted a boat carrying 70 mainly
Syrian and Iraqi migrants in the
Black Sea, the interior ministry
announced on Saturday. Seven children, including a five-month-old
baby, and twenty women were
among those on board the fishing
boat which came from Turkey. The
small boat was intercepted off the
Romanian coast on Friday night
after it encountered problems due
to high winds and rough seas. The
migrants were rescued and escorted to the eastern Romanian port
of Constanta for medical checks
before being handed over to immigration authorities. According to
the coastguard this is the tenth
such incident in two years.
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MONDAY MARCH 02 , 2015
We a r e a n a t io n a l in st it u t io n a n d n o t t h e v o ice o f a go v t o r a p r iv a t e o r ga n iza t io n
Editor: Abdul Saboor Sarir
Phone No: +93-772364666
E-mail: [email protected]
When did Obama give up? (Part
Six years ago, a visionary president blessed with the rare gift of speech
came to Washington to change the world. What happened?
Email: [email protected]
Photojournalist: M. Sadiq Yusufi
Advisory editorial board
Saduddin Shpoon, Dr. Sharif Fayez, Dr. Sultana Parvanta, Dr. Sharifa Sharif,
Dr. Omar Zakhilwal, Setara Delawari, Ahmad Takal
Mansoor Faizy and Edriss Akbari
Marketing & Advertising:
Mohammad Parwiz Arian, 0708954626, 0778894038
Mailing address: P.O. Box: 371, Kabul, Afghanistan
Our Bank Accounts: Azizi Bank: 000101100258091 / 000101200895656
Printed at Afghanistan Times Printing Press
The constitution says
Article 90:
The National Assembly shall have the following duties:
3. Approval of the state budget as well as permission to obtain or grant loans;
4. Creation, modification and or abrogation of administrative units;
Death and destruction in Panjshir
Panjshir, once known to be the valley of peace (because the
insurgent Taliban couldn t dare to carry out suicide bombings
except one or two) and natural beauty has been worst hit by
deaths and destruction caused by deadliest avalanches. The death
and destruction is so massive that the government called it a
national tragedy. Rescuers have been busy in battling to get to
the areas buried in avalanches. Over 200 people have been
killed. Many more are stranded. Afghan National Army helicopters are dropping edibles, blankets, water and other essentials to the stranded villagers that have been cut off for days. In
solidarity with the people of Panjshir and the nation, President
Ashraf Ghani cancelled Iran trip. He said he cannot leave his
countrymen in distress. Heavy snowfall following the avalanche
has made it difficult for rescuers to carry out their relief works.
Heavy machinery has been busy at clearing roads. This greatest
ever natural disaster has once again brought us together and
provides us a window to look back that if we could show unity
in battling natural disasters, why we have been failing to fight
off man-made catastrophe, successfully. This troubled nation is
grateful to all the nations that dispatched relief items and stood
with us in this hour of national grief. Their helping hand has
proved this notion utterly wrong that grief cannot be shared and
everyone carries it alone. Perhaps it might be true for other
living things but not for human beings. We have been living a
life of grief and loss which should be followed by a movement
of hope, courage and change. In this war-wracked country there
are too many other means of deaths and destructions as well.
It s not only the war that s killing our people daily. Here even
the nature looks brutal. However, we can overcome all these
deadly challenges with unity, love, respect, integration and good
governance. Our history is abound with brutalities sometimes
man-made catastrophes and sometimes the brutalities of the nature. Though, there is no way to escape natural disasters but
organizations like National Disaster Management Authority
should utilize all the available resources and energies at best to
reduce the disastrous effects of natural calamities. Since we
know that every year, brutal winter, and harsher weathers come
as a killer, therefore NDMA should batten down the hatches.
NDMA is well-aware that sometimes there are droughts, sometimes floods and sometimes avalanches that kill our countrymen year in, year out. Therefore, this organization needs to be
well-equipped and manned with well trained staffs. It doesn t
mean NDMA didn t perform well. But yes, the absence of met
offices in provinces has been responsible for such higher death
tolls. The government should establish met offices in provinces
prone to natural disasters. Met offices will keep foretelling about
likely natural disasters. When people are informed beforehand
they should be taken to relatively safe places. Met offices should
also establish relations with media so that media could inform
masses in a timely and effective manner.
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organizations and the number of
copies you want.
President Barack Obama delivers a speech at Hradèany Square in
Prague on April 5, 2009. Credit: AFP/ Getty Images
By James Traub
The leitmotif of the speech was a
strikingly literary one, as seemed
appropriate for a politician who
had come to public notice through
an evocative memoir. It is time to
turn the page, Obama said. It is
time to write a new chapter in our
response to 9/11. He was challenging not just the Bush administration s war on terror but the narrative of America that Bush had
implicitly composed. That narrative, Obama said, had increased the
pool of terrorists, alienated America from its allies, and given democracy a bad name. America
needed to tell a new story to the
world, and to itself. He illustrated
his point with a vivid image. As a
senator, he said, he had seen the
desperate faces of refugees and
flood victims from the door of a
helicopter. Here he paused and
pursed his lip, either because he
was thinking while he spoke or
because he wished to convey the
impression of active thought.
And it makes you stop and wonder, he said. When those faces
look up at an American helicopter,
do they feel hope, or do they feel
hate? I happened to be sitting in
the audience, and was struck
and impressed
by the weight
Obama had given to the way America was seen. He was arguing that,
in the post-9/11 era, America s
ability to advance its national interests depended not simply on
fashioning strong alliances but on
changing the way ordinary people
thought about the United States.
This was the first foreign-policy
speech Ben Rhodes had written;
he had channeled Obama s rare
sensitivity to what it means to be
on the receiving end of American
a product of the candias
date s years living abroad
well as a temperament finely attuned to the thoughts and beliefs
of others. Little of this made it into
the reporting on the speech,
which, to the immense frustration
of Obama s advisors, focused almost entirely on a passage in
which the candidate had sought to
dispose of lingering questions
about his willingness to use force
by asserting that if he had actionable intelligence about high-value
targets in Pakistan, and President
Pervez Musharraf refused to act,
we will. The press knew the
public mood better than the Obamians did, for the issue has dogged
his presidency ever since. To this
day, his worldview is assessed on
the single question of when and
where he is prepared to use force.
As a campaign speaker, though,
Obama took America by storm,
miraculously recasting the most
divisive issues, including race relations, as occasions for national reconciliation. This young and untested figure persuaded first Democrats, and then the American people, that he was the man to turn
the page. His inaugural speech was
dedicated to the idea of a new beginning, both at home and abroad.
Speaking of earlier generations
and leaving the listener to make the
contrast with George W. Bush
Obama said, They understood
that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do
as we please. Instead, they knew
that our power grows through its
prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our
cause; the force of our example;
the tempering qualities of humility and restraint. America would
put aside the bellicose self-righteousness of the last eight years.
When Obama took office in January 2009, Rhodes became his
master wordsmith. Rhodes had no
foreign-policy expertise, but he
was an important member of an
inner circle very much determined
to preserve Obama s prophetic
vein from the conventionalizing
forces of politics and policy to
protect that asset, as he put it.
Ben would always consult the
idealists, says Dennis Ross, who
served in Obama s State Department and White House. One of
those idealists, Michael McFaul,
a National Security Council director who later became ambassador
to Russia, confirms that. Ben held
the pen, and we kibitzed, McFaul
says. I kibitzed on every major
speech. That kibitzing, however,
rarely extended beyond the White
House. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton and Defense Secretary
Robert Gates had little input. As
one former senior State Department official told me, The White
House folks would ask us a question or two, clearly designed to
check out something. But we were
not given language to consider.
This was very tightly controlled
by that most controlling White
House. If the speeches were to
project not just Obama s policies
but also his voice and his story
if they were to carry to the world
the message he had delivered to the
American people then they had
to be shaped by the small group
that understood him best. In his
first year in office, Obama delivered a remarkable number of foreign-policy speeches, and almost
all of them abroad. The imperative
that he and his advisors felt was
not only to introduce a post-Bush
narrative but also a post-post-9/
11 understanding of what needed
to be done in the world. They believed that the great issues confronting the United States were not
traditional state-to-state questions,
but new ones that sought to advance global goods and required
global cooperation
change, energy supply, weak and
failing states, nuclear nonproliferation. It was precisely on such issues that one needed to enlist the
support of citizens as well as leaders. Obama had shown that he had
a unique capacity to reach Americans at the level of deep belief and
to inspire them with hope. Could
he not do the same with listeners
abroad? Obama, and those closest
to him, believed that his voice, his
(non-white) face, his story, could
help usher the people of the world
to a higher plane. As he said to me
in 2007, I think that if you can
tell people, We have a president
in the White House who still has a
grandmother living in a hut on Lake
Victoria and has a sister who s halfIndonesian, married to a ChineseCanadian, then they re going to
think that he may have a better
idea of what s going on in our lives
and in our country. And they d be
right. Experience as a candidate
only reinforced this sense of destiny. Dennis Ross accompanied
Obama on a trip to Berlin and other European capitals in the summer of 2008, and says that the rapturous reception Obama received
the most delirious
response to an American leader, in
fact, since Wilson landed in Paris
in December 1918
made the
candidate feel, There s a hunger
for this kind of leadership, and I
can offer it. Obama thus delivered his first major foreign-policy
speech in Prague in 2009, on the
subject of nuclear nonproliferation.
George W. Bush had barely paid
lip service to the American obligation under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
to reduce its own nuclear stockpile; other states, in consequence,
had offered only grudging cooperation on America s effort to rein in
nuclear rogues like Iran or North
Korea, and to craft new treaties
that would reduce the threat of
nuclear weapons. Nonproliferation, Obama reasoned, was precisely the kind of issue where a
new narrative, delivered by a new
leader, could carve a path through
what had been frozen seas. The
stagecraft of Prague was more rally than speech: On a brilliant spring
afternoon, Obama stood on a stage
in the midst of a vast crowd that
seemed to fill the ancient city center. No one had embraced Obama s
promise more fervently than the
young Europeans who thronged
the square; when he took the microphone they cheered so wildly,
waving little American flags, that
the president could barely wipe
the huge grin from his face. Obama
began, as he often would, by introducing himself to his audience
as an individual like themselves.
Few people, he said, to another
round of cheers, would have
imagined that someone like me
would one day become president
of the United States. They, too,
he told them, had embarked on an
improbable journey reclaiming
freedom after decades of repression. We are here today because
enough people ignored the voices
who told them that the world could
not change, said Obama. The Cold
War had seemed implacable, just
as had the limits placed on a black
man in America. Obama was so
energized that he was, uncharacteristically, stabbing the air with a
long index finger. (To be concluded: Courtesy FP) James
Traub is a contributing editor at
Foreign Policy. Follow him on
Twitter: @JamesTraub1.
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MONDAY MARCH 02 , 2015
Turkey s foreign policy after Arab
Afghanistan war:
Forgotten but not over Spring: An identity-based approach
By David William Pear
What Obama calls a responsible
end to the Afghanistan War is to
not end it. Even though in December 2014 there was a symbolic US
and NATO flag lowering ceremony in Kabul, the US war in Afghanistan still goes on even if forgotten. Obama has kept US boots
on the ground in Afghanistan,
boots in the air war, droning of
wedding parties and funerals, Special Forces night raids, indefinite
detentions, tortures, killing of
women and children, destruction
of infrastructure and carnage of
villages, towns and cities. Instead
of the war winding down there
were instead a record number of
civilian deaths in Afghanistan in
2014. One reason that the US is
not leaving Afghanistan is because
of a myth that Afghanistan became
a breeding ground for al-Qaeda because the US abandoned Afghanistan after the Soviets were defeated in 1989. The truth is more likely that the mistake the US made
was not honoring a United Nations
peace agreement worked out by
the then Soviet Union leader
Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva. Instead the US was pumped up with
triumphalism and stayed in Afghanistan and continued to fund
chaos, even after the Soviets left.
The historical lesson that the US
should have learned from the Soviet Union s misadventure in Afghanistan is that the best way to
end the war is to negotiate a diplomatic peace agreement between all
sides, promote reconciliation and
the return of refugees, and make
generous reparations in the form
of financial aid. Then leave. In
1986 the Soviet leader Mikhail
Gorbachev was desperate to get
out of Afghanistan. In 1987 Gorbachev announced that the Soviet
Union would be withdrawing its
military from Afghanistan. He
thought that he had negotiated a
peace deal with the US to stabilize
Afghanistan after Soviet troops
left. Under that deal the Soviets
would withdraw its forces and in
exchange the US would stop funding the mujahedeen. Instead the US
reneged on the deal and continued
funding the civil war in Afghanistan until the overthrow of the
government of President Mohammad Najibullah in 1992. The US
had thought that the Najibullah
government would quickly fall after the Soviets pulled out in 1989.
Instead with the continued Soviet
financial support, the government
of Najibullah held on until the Soviets finally withdrew their financial support in 1992. Without financial support the Najibullah government in Afghanistan fell to the
US backed mujahedeen. During all
those years the US just handed
over billions of dollars in military
aid to Pakistan to distribute how
and to whom they wished. Never
mind that Pakistan had very different national security goals in
mind than did the US. And what
is Pakistan s most important national security concern? It is India. Pakistan saw how effective and
relatively inexpensive (especially
when the funding was coming from
the US and Saudi Arabia) a motivated force of fanatical Islamic guerillas could be in defeating a super
power such as the Soviet Union.
They decided to turn that force
against India too. What the US
wanted from Pakistan was a quick
total victory and the overthrow of
the Najibullah government in Afghanistan. What Pakistan wanted
was a strong Taliban ally in Afghanistan that would be an ally
against India. Pakistan also wanted to promote civil war in Kashmir. Pakistan and India have fought
three bloody wars over Kashmir
since 1947. Deep hostilities between these two nuclear-armed
states continue to this day. Osama bin Laden was also angered at
the US for backing India in the
Kashmir dispute. In a Letter to
American People written by Osama bin Laden in 2002, he stated
that one of the reasons he was fighting America was because of US
support for India on the Kashmir
issue: You attacked us in Somalia; you supported the Russian
atrocities against us in Chechnya,
the Indian oppression against us
in Kashmir, and the Jewish aggression against us in Lebanon. With
the fall of the Najibullah government in 1992 the mujahedeen,
which later became known as the
Northern Alliance, took power.
The Northern Alliance was made
up of mostly non-Pashtun mujahedeen lead by Ahmad Shah Massoud. The Northern Alliance tried
but failed to form a unified government. Instead the country
broke out in civil war between the
many different factions. The civil
war raged on until 1996 when the
Pakistan backed Taliban took over
government control and the mujahedeen withdrew from Kabul.
Over the years Pakistan, with funding and support from the US and
Saudi Arabia, had been setting up
Islamic schools, known as madrassas, among the millions of Afghan
Pashtun refugees from southeast
Afghanistan who had fled the Soviets to Pakistan. Many of these
refugees during the 1980 s were
young boys when they fled with
their families. By the early 1990 s
they were young adults. Many of
them had become radicalized Sunnis in the madrassas and they
joined what became the Taliban.
The US had turned a blind eye to
the rise of the Taliban. They also
turned a blind eye to Osama bin
Laden who had worked for the CIA
during the war against the Soviets.
Osama and his family s construction company had built tunnels and
caves in Afghanistan from which
to fight the Soviets. He also built
training camps for the Arab legions
that were recruited from the Middle East. In 1989 the US had a
chance to walk away from Afghanistan but it didn t take it. The US
could have accepted Gorbachev s
peace plan. It might have meant a
more stable Afghanistan with a
secular government. The government of the PDPA in Afghanistan
had accomplished many of the
goals the US says it favors now.
Women were attending school.
Women were accepted into the
workforce. Women were not forced
to wear the burka. There was peace
and security for the population. A
secular government was determined to bring Afghanistan into the
modern age. Islamic fundamentalists were marginalized. Instead of
accepting responsibility for setting
Afghanistan backwards after the
Soviets left, the US would rather
promote the myth that it walked
away from Afghanistan. The US
and the political pundits would
rather believe that Afghanistan was
a victim of benign neglect from the
US. This myth has been widely
spread by the fictionalized Hollywood movie Charlie Wison s War
staring Tom Hanks. According to
foreign correspondent for the
Guardian Jonathan Steele: The
problem was not that the West
walked away from Afghanistan
after the Russians withdrew in
1989, as one of the oldest myths
has it. The West stayed in the game
and maintained the wrong strategy, cynically blocking every
chance for a negotiated end to the
Afghan civil war. The United States
bears a heavy burden of guilt for
that policy, and has suffered greatly from the blowback of its shortsighted support for the fundamentalists who became al Qaeda and
the mujahedin who turned into the
Taliban ..Ghosts of Afghanistan:
The Haunted Battleground by
Jonathan Steele (page 395). Ever
since the US invaded Afghanistan,
after blaming the Taliban for the
responsibility of harboring 911Terrorist Osama bin Laden, the US
has vowed that it would not walk
away and abandon Afghanistan a
second time like it supposedly did
after the Soviets left. This myth
that the US simply packed up its
secret CIA war and walked away
and forgot all about the aftermath
is dangerous. It is what keeps the
war going now. So, when the US
and NATO lowered their flags at
the Afghanistan Combat Command Center on December 08,
2014 they vowed not to make the
same mistake of abandoning Afghanistan again . Instead, in the
words of then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel: US boots will
remain on the ground in Afghanistan to protect the tremendous
progress the U.S. has accomplished
over the past 13 years . He and
Obama have vowed that the war
and chaos will go on for another
decade. What President Obama
and the US should have learned
from the history of Afghanistan is
that it is the war that provides the
breeding ground for terrorists.
By Hossein Mofidi Ahmadi
An identity-based approach to
Turkey s foreign policy will be a
better way to explain actions taken by this country subsequent to
developments known as the Arab
Spring. It means that Turkey s foreign policy actions at that juncture, like other actors in the region,
were rooted in the country s identity. In fact, it was due to the influence of three-tier identity of
Turkey, which has European, Islamic and Turkish components in
it, that the country has taken such
actions as taking part in a coalition
of Arab and Western countries to
overthrow the ruling regime of
Syria. Other actions taken by Ankara that arose from that identity
included expression of concern
about the rising influence of Iran
and other Shia groups in the region, having doubts about joining
the anti-ISIS coalition despite Turkey s concerns about increasing
power of this terrorist group, criticism of the West s double standards in the region, attaching importance to expansion of democratic and overarching governments in
the region, and expressing concern
over rising global popularity of
Kurdish people.
Turkey s foreign policy actions following the developments
that have come to be collectively
known as the Arab Spring arose
from the country s identity components, as has been the case with
other regional countries. The most
important of Turkey s identity
components include its Turkish,
Islamic and European layers.
These three identity layers have
been manifest in the policies of the
Justice and Development Party as
the ruling party. At the same time,
they have been evident in the action taken by social groups that
support the party and which are
The US and Gulf are confused
over Yemen and Iraq
By Raghida Dergham
The return of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to bloodily shaping the country s history
has not come overnight, on the eve
of the house arrest imposed by the
Houthis on current President Abd
Rabbo Mansour Hadi before they
allowed him to flee to Aden - the
capital of South Yemen before reunification. Ali Abdullah Saleh,
since he agreed to step down three
years ago, has been planning to
return to power either on the
Houthi bandwagon or through elements in the military establishment, not to mention deploying his
huge influence and financial assets
to buy loyalty and empower his
party, family, and son to retake
power at any cost. Another man
in the Arab region preparing be-
hind the scenes and plotting in secret to return to his devastating role
in Iraq s history is former Iraqi
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The common denominator between
Yemen s strongman and Iraq s
strongman is that they both left
power as a result of regional and
international pressures and bargains
in which the United States and the
GCC countries, as well as Iran,
played important roles. The difference is that the Iraqi event attested
that Tehran had to sacrifice Nouri
al-Maliki in what appeared as signs
of strategic accords between Iran
and key Gulf powers, especially
Saudi Arabia, as well as the United
States. By contrast, the event in
Yemen is a clear indication of the
absence of accords and reconciliatory strategies. Parallels The Iranian role backing the Houthis in Yemen emerged in parallel with the
Iraqi event, in tandem with the determination of Ali Abdullah Saleh
to enter into an alliance with the
Houthis and Iran to settle scores
with Saudi Arabia and other GCC
countries, which had helped remove
him from power. The two men have
an ugly agenda for Iraq and Yemen.
If the Gulf leaders are serious and
vigilant, they must develop a comprehensive strategy for both Iraq
and Yemen, two majorly important
countries for the Arabian Peninsula
and the Gulf. Otherwise, the GCC
countries will pay a heavy price,
and not just Iraq and Yemen. The
common denominator between Yemen s strongman and Iraq s strongman is that they both left power as
a result of regional and international pressures and bargains in which
the United States and the GCC
countries, as well as Iran, played
important roles Raghida Dergha
Protest street harassment but not this way
Afghans have passed through several problems and challenges and have borne the brunt of war and
insecurity for past 30-plus years. No one was exception in this period. The wars and conflicts affected
women, children, elders and all the society members. But after the 9/11 incident, the whole world enjoyed
a change and Afghanistan was the core of this change.
After toppling the Taliban regime, Afghans and their international allies established an interim government, and now Afghanistan is led by the second elected president in post-conflicts era. The government
led by ex-President Hamid Karzai had great achievements during past 13 years, among which women s
rights was the major. But there are number of figures and organizations that misuse the freedom they have
been given in the past 13 years. Recently, a girl came out to the streets of Kabul with iron-made clothes.
She was member of civil society organization. She did this to protest street harassment.
Since we are Muslims, we should respect the directions of Islam regarding women s rights and imply
them in every aspect of our life. As an Afghan youth, I criticize the way that the girl protested street
harassment. There are several other ways that can protest this social taboo. Afghan youth have other great
responsibilities. Protesting social problems in the way the girl did is not fair and does not suit our
traditions. Hope the young generation realize this fact as soon as possible.
Samim Ahmadi, Khairkhana, Kabul
Letter to editor will be edited for policy, content and clarity. All letters must
have the writer s name and address. You may send your letters to:
[email protected]
This week, a U.N. Security Council expert team said in a report that
Saleh had amassed close to $60
billion in 30 years as Yemen s president, through corruption, embezzlement, and commissions imposed on oil companies. According to the experts, he has stashed
away these funds across 20 countries using other figures and companies as fronts. The experts who
report to the U.N. Yemen sanctions panel told the Security Council that Saleh facilitated it for the
Houthis and al-Qaeda to expand
their control in northern and southern Yemen, and that he continues
to run a broad network of financial, security, military, and political interests in Yemen that allowed
him effectively to avoid the effects
of the sanctions imposed on him
under U.N. Security Council resolution 2140. The panel s report
said, It is also alleged that Ali
Abdullah Saleh, his friends, his
family and his associates stole
money from the fuel subsidy program, which uses up to 10 per cent
of Yemen s gross domestic product, as well as other ventures involving abuse of power, extortion
and embezzlement. Raghida
Dergham is columnist and Senior
Diplomatic Correspondent for the
London-based Al Hayat, the leading independent Arabic daily, since
1989. She writes a regular weekly
strategic column on International
Political Affairs. Dergham is also a
Political Analyst for NBC, MSNBC and the Arab satellite LBC. She
is a Contributing Editor for LA
Times Syndicate Global Viewpoint and has contributed to: The
New York Times, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune and Newsweek Magazine.
currently considered as the most
influential political, social and economic currents in Turkey.
From the viewpoint of the
European layer of Turkey s identity, a change in the country s
former policy of détente with regard to Syria following the wave
of Arab revolutions, and alliance
of Ankara with a large group of
European states for the overthrow
of the Syrian regime, were not unrelated to Turkey s efforts to attune its domestic and foreign policies with Europe. First of all, a
change in Turkey s approach to
Syria came about gradually and in
early stages of Syria crisis when
Ankara was trying to mediate between belligerent sides. By the
way, the balance between security
and freedom in Syria is currently
turning into a very important discourse because this country sees
its security hinged on the establishment of more democratic and
broad-based governments in its
periphery. Even within Turkey,
despite some problems, we are
currently witnessing gradual
strengthening of a special discourse which is characterized by a
more broad-based definition of
governance. It is through such a
discourse that Turkey considered
regional revolutions as major efforts made by nations to get rid of
their dictatorial rules. On the other hand, Ankara saw its own interests dependent on making efforts
to help establish more democratic
and more broad-based governments in its surroundings. In fact,
from the viewpoint of Turkish officials, absence of broad-based nation-states in the region is one of
the most important factors that
have caused a wide gap between
Shias and Sunnis in the Arab Middle East.
The Islamic layer of Turkey s
identity has, for its own part, had
remarkable effects on the regional
policies of Ankara. Since this layer is mostly inclined toward Sunni
Islam, Turkey feels alarmed about
expanding influence of Iran and
other Shia groups in the region.
Secondly, this identity layer has
made rulers of Turkey suspicious
of the policies and goals pursued
by the Western countries in the
region. For example, a large group
of the elites and politicians in Turkey have been slamming West for
what they call Western double
standards, including the inaction of
the Western countries in the face
of Israel s barbaric invasion of
Gaza or their passivity in the face
of what Turkey considers as the
crimes committed by the Syrian
regime against its own people.
They consider such inaction and
passivity as one of the main factors that have helped such terrorist groups as the ISIS to gain power. Another effect that this identity layer has had is on the model of
governance that Turkish politicians
proposed for the Arab world following the Arab Spring developments. Turkish officials maintain
that their purposed model combines freedom-seeking with search
for Islamic identity and, thus, can
save citizens in regional countries
from the purgatory in which they
have to choose between the currently dominant totalitarian models, or the model offered by theocratic Islamists figures. For these
reasons, Turkish officials believe
that establishment and strengthening of ideas and institutions arising from Salafist and jihadist way
of thinking and focus on reviving
the old form of the Islamic caliphate will lead to the collapse of nation-states in the region and is,
therefore, a major rival for Turkey s
proposed model.
From the viewpoint of the
Turkish layer of the country s identity, the most important issue is
the link between recent developments in Iraq and Syria, on the one
hand, and the issue of Kurds, as
the most strategic security and
identity-related problem for Turkey, on the other hand. During recent years, Ankara has been very
intent on introducing a new concept of being Turkish, which would
also include the Kurdish minority
in the country. This process,
which has come to be known as
normalization of the Kurdish
problem, faced a serious challenge
due to the sudden breakout of regional developments, which have
been described as Arab Spring. In
fact, as the issue of Turkey s Kurds
has been desecuritized in a step
by step manner, the issue of separatist Kurds has been, on the contrary, greatly securitized. Reasons
for this issue include establishment
of a semi-independent Kurdish region in the northern part of Iraq as
well as creation of independent
Kurdish colonies in Syria. There
is also another important issue in
this regard: Due to widespread involvement of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the recent war
against the ISIS terrorist group
both in Iraq and Syria, Turkey has
been founding it increasingly difficult to make a political and military decision about the involvement of Ankara in the war against
the ISIS. This issue alone is a powerful sign of the concern that the
ruling elite of Turkey has about
the effect of the Kurdish fight
against the ISIS in increasing the
popularity and subsequent activities of separatist Kurdish groups.
In the meantime, further expansion
of nationalistic and socialistic ideas
of the PKK and the Democratic
Union Party (PYD) has also stirred
a great deal of concern among Turkish officials. Such concern will further increase if Kurds manage to
stabilize their position in northern
Syria. The Turkish officials are also
of the opinion that withdrawal
between July and August 2011 of
Syria s security forces from northeastern and northwestern parts of
the country and from cities and
towns close to the common border between Turkey and Syria,
was done with the goal of engaging
Turkey in a conflict with Kurds
and shifting Ankara s focus from
toppling the Syrian regime. Attention to identity dimensions of foreign policy interactions of Turkey
and other important regional players will help analysts have a more
realistic understanding of foreign
policy strategies of these players.
This understanding will also help
better understanding of regional
coalitions and rivalry among such
countries as Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. It will specially help
analysts have a better grasp of the
nature of institutions which would
be able to introduce a new regional
order in the era that follows the
Arab Spring. At the same time, attention to various layers of Turkey s identity will lead to better
understanding of various reasons
behind Turkey s concern about establishment of independent Kurdish political units. It also shows
why Turkey is paying so much
attention to the need for the establishment of more democratic and
broad-based governments in the
region, why it criticizes West s inaction and double standards; why
it is concerned about establishment
and further strengthening of
Salafist and jihadist groups; and
why Ankara is so much worried
about the expansion of the influence of Shia Muslims in the region, or why it is still in doubt
about joining the anti-ISIS coalition. This article as first seen at
Iran Review.
The UN envoy to Syria s disastrous failure
By Abdulrahman al-Rashed
U.N. envoy to Syria Staffan de
Mistura has succeeded in achieving only one thing: arousing anger
in most Syrians. He started his
mission four months ago with a
disappointing plan based on a
ceasefire in Aleppo. But he is yet
to accomplish anything. Although
he focused his ambitions on a cessation of hostilities in only two
neighborhoods in Aleppo, the proposal didn t gain a significant response. Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad agreed on the ceasefire in
just one neighborhood, because has
no authority there. Meanwhile, the
armed opposition didn t concern
itself with the international envoy s plans. De Mistura s mission
was more like a smoke curtain; he
left the international coalition to
fight on behalf of the regime in areas occupied by ISIS, and disregarded the daily systematic attacks
perpetrated by Assad s forces in
civilian areas. The goal of Syria s
embattled president was and still
is to expand the scope of the tragedy in order to force millions of
Syrians to busy themselves with
searching for food and shelters day
after day. De Mistura s four months
was wasted - Syrians only saw him
smiling with Assad, who has killed
more than a quarter of a million people so far. Just like his predecessors,
the U.N. envoy has filled the diplomatic void. He has done what it takes
to distract the various forces and the
20 million Syrians, who are mostly
living without housing or basic
needs. What does the international
envoy want to achieve if he fulfills
his plan to stop fighting in the two
Aleppo neighborhoods for six
weeks? Perhaps providing food supplies? This was previously done
through a rescue mission, without it
being considered a political solution.
Of course, de Mistura can throw the
ball in our court now and ask: What
else can I do when I have neither the
power nor the authorization to impose international sanctions? What
stirred the doubts of the Syrians in
the envoy s mission is that he
launched it saying that the future
plan is a regime approved by Assad! Abdulrahman al-Rashed We
know that de Mistura s authority
does not outdo that of Angelina Jolie s, who is visiting the region in
highly respected humanitarian
missions. We know that he cannot
do anything so dramatic as to do
what the majority want and get rid
of Assad and his regime. Nevertheless, he is expected to at least
start from where the Geneva Conference ended, which stipulates the
establishment of a new fusion government formed with remnants of
Assad s regime but without the
Syrian president himself, in addition to the opposition forces and
representatives of all Syrian society, including Alawites. To a certain extent, it is close to what some
of the regime s allies, such as the
Russians, were saying over and
over; that they are not going to
cling to Assad if an acceptable solution is found. Forging ahead with
an acceptable solution is going to
be a difficult equation for de
Mistura.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
is the former General Manager of
Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed
journalist, he is a former editor-inchief of the London-based leading
Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where
he still regularly writes a political
The views and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author(s)
and do not reflect the views or opinions of the Afghanistan Times.
This document was created with Win2PDF available at
The unregistered version of Win2PDF is for evaluation or non-commercial use only.
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mounts over
Turkey s
security bill
ISTANBUL: On a recent evening
in the southwestern Turkish city
of Manisa, 29-year-old Salih Kara
gathered with fellow activists to
protest the detention of Onur
Kilic, a left-wing politician arrested for calling Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan a "thief"
on Facebook. Hours after Kara returned from the small, nonviolent
gathering in the city centre, police
arrived at his doorstep, searched
his home and declared that he, too,
was under arrest for insulting Erdogan. "If only I had shared my
feelings online, I could have been
arrested without the hassle of protesting at all," said Kara, whose
tongue-in-cheek attitude could not
conceal his fearful tone. "Every
day, protesting becomes more of a
crime." OPINION: Turkey's coming police state Concern has flared
over the right to free assembly in
Turkey after parliament partially
approved a new security bill this
week, vastly expanding police
powers to detain demonstrators,
conduct warrantless searches and
use deadly force during violent
protests. "No one will be allowed
to drag Turkey into an environment of chaos," Prime Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu declared in a televised address on Thursday. Davutoglu described the bill as a security upgrade before parliamentary
elections in June, warning against
a repeat of deadly pro-Kurdish
demonstrations that rocked the
country in October. Almost 50 died
during those protests, which
erupted over Ankara's refusal to
aid the Kurdish defenders of
Kobane, a Syrian border town besieged by fighters with the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Turkish troops pass smouldering
Kobane to save shrine The bill faces unanimous opposition from
parliament's three minority parties, but the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) holds 312
of 550 seats in parliament and has
pledged to approve the bill unilaterally. Parliament has since been
rocked by two fistfights, a multiparty sit-in by opposition deputies, and nightly filibusters. After
nine days of debate, only 33 of
132 articles have been approved.
"I have never seen parliament so
angry and tense, so divided between the AKP and everyone else,"
said Aykut Erdogdu, a deputy for
the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Injured when a
gavel struck him in the chest during a brawl last week, Erdogdu
warned that the bill allows police
to initiate strip searches or vehicle
searches without a court warrant.
That provision was approved earlier this week, along with an article
extending non-court-approved detention periods from 24 to 48
hours, he said. The death of eight
people during nationwide protests
in 2013 garnered international concern for police abuses in Turkey,
"but the new law goes a step further, formalising the most troubling
practices of the police," Erdogdu
told Al Jazeera. Davutoglu has dismissed criticisms of the law, declaring on Thursday that "every
sentence of the law conforms to
universal [human rights] standards". He argued that the criminalisation of protesters covering
their faces had been copied from
similar laws in EU states, while an
article that allows police to use firearms against Molotov-cocktailwielding protesters would reduce
violence in the country's predominately Kurdish southeast. "All
[opposition parties] are now defending the Molotov cocktail," by
filibustering the bill, Davutoglu
said. "They are a Molotov coalition." But even pro-government
pundits have even expressed concerns over the law. "Honestly, I
find the powers of detention being
granted to police and civil authorities to be problematic," wrote columnist Abulkadir Selvi in Yeni
Safak, a leading pro-AKP daily.
RELATED: Turkish-Kurdish relations threatened by ISIL Turkey's history of police violence
has been in the spotlight since
2013, when the country was
rocked by a summer of anti-government protests. By expanding,
rather than curtailing, police powers in the aftermath of those protests, Ankara "is sending a message that police are not going to be
held accountable for cracking down
on protests the government does
not like," Nate Schenkkan, a Eurasia expert at Freedom House, told
Al Jazeera. My friend was arrested for protesting my arrest, which
occurred because I protested the
arrest of someone else. It's a very
bad time to give the police even
more power. Salih Kara, Turkish
protester The law has also complicated the government's bid to
conclude a bloody, three-decade insurgency waged by Kurdish separatists in the country's southeast.
On Saturday, Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party
(HDP) made a joint peace statement with Ankara, renewing the
party's commitment to a twoyear-old ceasefire. Kurdish politicians had earlier refused to read the
statement, citing concerns over the
security bill. (AL JAZEERA)
Despite the tense mood in the south, the Houthis have said they have no intention of pushing into that territory
Al Mukalla, Yemen - The ongoing
expansion of northern Yemen's
Houthi rebels has prompted many
tribes in the restive south to pull
together, despite the rebels' assurances that they will not raid the
south. The Houthis, also known
as Ansar Allah, have continued to
expand their area of influence since
taking control of the Yemeni capital on September 21. The rebels
reached the closest point to the
south when they seized the province of Baydha on February 10;
subsequently, anxious tribes within the borders of the formerly independent south began staging
public gatherings. This week, hundreds of members of the Bani Hilal tribe flexed their muscles in a
military parade in the southern
province of Shabwa, days after
another powerful tribe displayed
its arsenal in the same province.
RELATED: Voices from Yemen:
'We are on the verge of war' According to a spokesperson for Bani
Hilal, the latest gathering - during
which tribespeople lined up dozens of cars loaded with armed men
and weapons - aimed to send a
message to the Houthis and alQaeda that the tribe was ready to
resist any possible incursion. "The
aim of this parade is to get ready
to confront any force that could
target Shabwa in particular and the
south in general," spokesperson
Naji Al Asami Al Hilali told Al
Jazeera. "We wanted also to send
a message of solidarity and cheer
to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour
Hadi over his arrival to Aden."
Hadi had been under strict house
arrest by the Houthis for a month
when he broke free last week, fleeing to Aden. As the Houthis threatened to try him for treason, some
southern tribes expressed solidarity and vowed to defend him if the
Houthis were to chase him to
Aden. "We assigned some members of the tribe to travel to Aden
to meet President Hadi [and] show
solidarity with him," Al Hilali said.
Yemen's feuding parties agree on
transitional council By the end of
the day, Bani Hilal approved forming an army of at least 10,000 armed
men and 400 vehicles to defend the
province from intruders. On February 19, the powerful Al Awalik
tribe got together in the same province for the same purpose, bracing
for any possible incursion of
Houthis into their territories. Al
Awalik said they would form an
army of 3,000 men equipped with
200 armed vehicles. Also in the
south, tribespeople from the Yafae
tribes in Abyan province have been
on high alert since the Houthis
stormed the neighbouring Bayda
province. Armed men have positioned themselves on the mountains,
with weapons aimed near the border. Commenting on the sporadic
tribal gatherings, Brigadier Thabet
Hussein, a military analyst from the
south, told Al Jazeera that the tribes
were taking these defensive mea-
sures merely to scare the Houthis,
who do not appear to be seriously
contemplating an incursion into the
south. "These are defensive measures aimed at repelling any attack
on their territories. Different factions in the south would act together if [they perceived a threat from
the Houthis]," Hussein said. "The
Houthis have not declared any aggressive behaviour towards the
south." RELATED: Hadi's comeback a game changer in Yemen But
as the tribes in Shabwa displayed
their firepower, al-Qaeda fighters
appeared to be in the wings, waiting
for any chance to recapture some
territory in the province. Yemen's
branch of al-Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP) capitalised on
the central government's struggle
with its adversaries during the
youth-led protests of 2011, ultimately gaining control of a large
swath of land in Shabwa and Abyan. It took the army and allied militiamen months to defeat them and
US-Israel ties fraying over
Netanyahu speech, Iran talks
WASHINGTON: As relations between President Barack Obama and
Benjamin Netanyahu hit a new low
over the Israeli prime minister s
planned speech to Congress and a
looming deadline for a nuclear deal
with Iran, there are growing signs it
could damage the broader U.S.-Israeli alliance. Already there has
been some fraying of the usually
strong relationship amid the frosty
personal ties between the two leaders and a deepening divide over the
Iran talks, which Israel fears will allow its arch foe to develop an atom
U.S. officials are fuming
over what they see as an affront by
Netanyahu over Obama's Iran diplomacy ahead of an end-of-March
deadline for a framework nuclear
Israeli officials and
hard-line U.S. supporters are just as
adamant in defending Netanyahu s
right to take center-stage in Washington on Tuesday to sound the
alarm over the possible deal. U.S.
and Israeli officials insist that key
areas of cooperation from counterterrorism to intelligence to cyber security have been unaffected and will
remain so. But the rift - shaping
up as the worst in decades between
the allies due to its partisan nature
could have a real impact in some
areas, making it harder for Israel to
press concerns directly with senior U.S. officials, for example.
As one former U.S. official put it:
Sure, when Netanyahu calls the
White House, Obama will answer.
But how fast will he be about responding (to a crisis)?
officials last month even went as
far as accusing the Israeli government of leaking information to the
Israeli media to undermine Iran negotiations and took the unusual
step of limiting further sharing of
sensitive details about the talks.
The rift is considered potentially
far-reaching because it marks a dramatic departure from Israel s long
tradition of carefully navigating
between Republicans and Democrats. A U.S. official, speaking
on condition of anonymity, said
the politicized nature of Netanyahu s visit threatens what undergirds the strength of the relationship , though he said there was
shared interest in keeping the alliance strong.
People on both
sides, including current and former
officials, U.S. lawmakers, independent experts and Washington lobbyists, expressed concern about a
broader fallout on ties.
At the
same time many of them point to
the two countries history of being able to compartmentalize
diplomatic disputes to preserve
cooperation on other shared priorities. There are ways that
Obama, whose aides see an Iran
nuclear deal as a potential signature achievement for a foreign policy legacy short on major successes, could make his displeasure felt
in the final two years of his presidency. Israelis have long fretted
over the possibility that Washington might not be as diligent about
shielding Israel at the United Nations and other international organizations.
One Israeli official
acknowledged the prospect is now
more worrisome when the Palestinians are resorting increasingly to
global forums like the International Criminal Court to press griev-
ances against Israel and Europeans are losing patience with Israel
over settlement building on occupied land. Obama also has the
option of trying to restart moribund Middle East peace efforts and
putting more pressure on Israel for
concessions to the Palestinians.
Whether he does so could depend
partly on the outcome of Israel s
March 17 election, when Netanyahu faces a stiff challenge from
the center-left.
Netanyahu is
expected to use his speech to urge
lawmakers to approve new sanctions against Iran despite Obama s
insistence that such legislation
would sabotage nuclear talks and
he would veto it. It has driven a
rare wedge between his government
and some congressional Democrats. Some two dozen or more of
them plan to boycott the speech,
according to unofficial estimates.
Using strikingly strong language,
Obama s national security adviser
Susan Rice called the political partisanship caused by Netanyahu s
coming address destructive to the
fabric of the relationship with Israel. What the prime minister is
doing here is simply so egregious
that it has a more lasting impact
on that fundamental underlying
relationship, said Jeremy BenAmi, head of J Street, a liberal proIsrael lobbying group aligned with
Obama s Iran policy.
Netanyahu, who will address the influential pro-Israel lobby AIPAC on
Monday, has remained defiant.
Even so, he is expected to try to
keep tensions from spiraling. And
no one believes the Obama administration would abandon it should
a new military conflict erupt with
Hamas in the Gaza Strip or with
Hezbollah in Lebanon.
"Let s
not forget the U.S. needs every
friend it has in the Middle East,"
said Aaron David Miller, a former
Middle East negotiator for Democratic and Republican administrations. (Reuters)
regain control of the cities. Earlier
this month, AQAP re-emerged again
when its fighters seized an army
base in the province of Shabwa.
Many people use al-Qaeda as a
scarecrow to maintain their occupation of the south. Brigadier Thabet Hussein, military analyst In the
south, where conspiracy theory is
rife, Al Hilali does not believe alQaeda is as dangerous as the
Houthis. "The threat of al-Qaeda is
overstated," he said. "There is some
collaboration among some security
officials to allow al-Qaeda to control the base to create a rationale
for the Houthis to enter Shabwa."
Officials have repeatedly denied
such claims, which are common in
the south; Washington has also accused the Houthi-aligned former
President Ali Abdullah Saleh of using al-Qaeda operatives to carry out
attacks in a bid to weaken Hadi.
According to Hussein, however,
"the tribes are able to defeat al-Qaeda. For example, they managed to
drive militants out of Abyan and
Shabwa in 2012. Many people use
al-Qaeda as a scarecrow to maintain their occupation of the south."
Despite the tense mood in the
south, the Houthis have said they
have no intention to push into that
territory. Mohammed Al Magalih,
a member of Houthi Revolutionary Committee that governs rebelcontrolled regions, said they would
leave Hadi and his men to run the
south while they worked on building state institutions in the capital. "The armed forces and the popular committees would not intervene in people's affairs in the south
and would not have any security
or military presence there," Al
Magalih said in a recent post to
his Facebook page. But the Houthi
leader did not rule out the possibility of entering the south if the
"people of Aden" asked for a rescue from pro-Hadi militiamen, or
if al-Qaeda were to take control of
the south. (AL JAZEERA)
Who w as Boris
Nemtsov and why
w as he murdered?
he gunning-down of Russian opposition leader Boris Y. Nemtsov
has some pundits consumed with the whodunit. Nemtsov admit
ted fears for life weeks before murder AFP But one expert on
Russian politics, who knew the victim professionally, says any theory
that doesn t begin and end with Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn t
hold water. Author and Russia political expert Amy Knight says in an
interview that she barely slept Friday night after hearing of the death of
Nemtsov, whose work she has edited for American publication and has
worked with via telephone. Recommended: Vladimir Putin 101: A quiz
about Russia's president The biggest theory which dumbfounded me is
the notion that Nemtsov s own party ordered his murder because that s
just absolutely ridiculous and I can t even believe it s being dignified,
Knight says. "This was a man with whom I have spoken many times
over the phone. He is someone I respect for his courage, his keen observations about Vladimir Putin and his rigorous attention to detail and
research. Ms. Knight has a PhD degree in Russian politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She worked for 18
years at the U.S. Library of Congress as a Soviet/Russian affairs specialist. In 1993-94, she was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International
Center for Scholars. Her books include Who Killed Kirov and Spies
Without Cloaks. Knight addressed the theories presented in the media
and by the Kremlin about who killed Nemtsov and why. Nemtsov, 55,
was a former first deputy prime minister and a leader of the Russian
political opposition. The Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor
General s Office said in a statement, according to The New York Times,
that Nemtsov's murder may have been intended to build support for a
government opposition rally scheduled for March 1. The investigation
is considering several versions, the statement said. The first on the list
in that statement was a murder as a provocation to destabilize the
political situation in the country, where the figure of Nemtsov could
have become a sort of sacrificial victim for those who stop at nothing to
achieve their political goals. The committee also suggested that Islamic
extremists had killed Nemtsov in response to his views on the Charlie
Hebdo shootings in Paris. And the committee floated the theory that his
murder may be connected to the Ukraine conflict, where Russia-backed
separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since last April. Nemtsov had said he had evidence that proved Russia's direct involvement in
the separatist rebellion, reported The Associated Press As usual, the
wild speculation isn t surprising from one end to the other. The Kremlin
has its propaganda machine cranked all the way up for this one tossing out everything it can think of in hopes the media will latch on,
Knight says. Think about this for a moment. If you are someone who
opposes Putin right now and you see a high-profile leader shot in the
street, you are going to be afraid. I believe that s a far more credible
motive than to say it was his own party or a foreign faction, etc. Knight
refers back to the political assassination of Galina Starovoitova in St.
Petersburg in 1998 as a frame of reference for Nemtsov s slaying. Starovoitova was gunned down in the lobby of her apartment building, shot
three times in the head, says Knight. It was typical of Russian contract killings. This murder is more in line with that kind of action.
Starovoitova was an outspoken member of the Russian Parliament and
had declared candidate for governor of the region around St. Petersburg
at the time of her death. (BBC)
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ECB braces
for QE as
others shift
RUSSELS: Greek funding
and quantitative easing in
Europe, an expected rate cut
in Australia and the buoyant U.S.
labor market are set to be the focus of an economic week dominated by a host of central bank meetings. Greece may have secured an
extension of its bailout last week,
but it remains reliant on emergency funding. The European Central
Bank's Governing Council convenes in Cyprus on Thursday and
may take a decision on whether to
accept Greek government bonds as
collateral for its direct ECB funding, which it stopped doing at the
start of February. If the ECB does
not - and it most likely will not - it
could be forced to prolong the provision of Emergency Liquidity
Assistance (ELA) to the Greek
central bank. "The Greek question
will be a hot topic," said ING Chief
Eurozone Economist Peter Vanden
Houte. "(Greek Finance Minister
Yanis) Varoufakis has been saying
the country is counting on the ECB
for finances over the next few
months." ECB President Mario
Draghi is also expected to provide
further details on the bank's 1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) government
bond buying program, which begins in March. He may face questions about the program's ability
to reach its target, such as how the
ECB intends to convince domestic banks to sell their government
debt, with the prospect of then
parking the money with the ECB
at a negative interest rate. The ECB
will also release new economic forecasts. Chief Economist Peter Praet said last week that it was likely
to revise upward its expectations
for growth in the euro zone, with
low oil prices and a weak euro helping. The ECB will be just one of
many central banks to meet. The
Reserve Bank of Australia opens
proceedings on Tuesday, its board
meeting a month after it surprised
markets with a quarter percentage
cut to its cash rate to 2.25 percent.
A wafer-thin majority of economists polled by Reuters expect a
further reduction to 2 percent to
spur an economy hit by lower prices for its raw material exports and
to keep downward pressure on the
Australian dollar. A day later, it will
be the Bank of Canada's turn to
decide on rates. It too surprised
with a 25 basis point cut to 0.75
percent at its last meeting in January, citing risks to its outlook from
week oil prices. By contrast it is
seen holding fire on Wednesday,
with a cut seen more likely in the
second quarter. On the same day
elsewhere, a rate cut is expected in
eastern Europe's largest economy,
Poland, to counter declining consumer prices.. Brazil's central
bank, by contrast, is seen raising
interest rates for a third straight
time as inflation races above the
government's 4.5 percent target.
The Bank of England is expected
to keep rates unchanged at its meeting on Thursday. In the United
States, labor market data for February on Friday are likely to be
the highlight of the economic
week, a major data point ahead of
the Federal Reserve's rate-setting
committee meeting on March 1718. Economists polled by Reuters
are forecasting a healthy 240,000
rise in non-farm payrolls last
month. If confirmed, it would be
the 12th straight month of job gains
of over 200,000, the longest such
streak since a 13-month run in
1994-95. It should be enough to
persuade the Fed that the economy could cope with a rate hike and
may prompt it to alter its forward
guidance language, in particular
dropping its view that it will be
"patient" in normalizing monetary
policy. The missing part of the
Fed action puzzle is inflation. U.S.
consumer prices fell year-on-year
for the first time since 2009 in January, supporting the view of those
that believe the Fed will wait until
September to start raising rates,
even though core inflation inched
up. "The precise timing is probably based on inflation. Our view is
that it will be September, with June
an outside possibility," said Bernd
Weidensteiner, economist at Commerzbank. If inflation is indeed the
key, the focus on Friday could be
less the jobs figures than average
earnings, which posted the greatest absolute gain since mid-2007
in January.
The growth is seen easing to a still
healthy 0.2 percent in February,
with a SmartEstimate pointing to
a stronger 0.3 percent. Finally, the
prospects for a Chinese recovery
should become clearer after official National Bureau of Statistics
numbers on Sunday and final
HSBC/Markit purchasing managers' index data on Monday and
Wednesday. Last week's flash
HSBC/Markit PMI showed activity in Chinese factories edged up
to a four-month high in February
but export orders shrank at their
fastest rate in 20 months. On Saturday, China's central bank cut interest rates for the second time in
just over three months to support
the world's second largest economy.
LONDON: The latest episode of
Greece's debt crisis has revived
doubts about the long-term survival of the euro, nowhere more so
than in London, Europe's main financial center and a hotbed of Euroskepticism. The heightened risk
of a Greek default and/or exit comes
just as there are signs that the euro
zone is turning the corner after seven years of financial and economic
crisis and that its perilous internal
imbalances may be starting to diminish. To skeptics, the election
of a radical leftist-led government
in Athens committed to tearing up
Greece's bailout looks like the start
of an unraveling of the 19-nation
currency area, with southern countries rebelling against austerity
while EU paymaster Germany
rebels against further aid. A lastditch deal to extend Greece's bailout for four months after much
kicking and screaming between
Athens and Berlin did little to ease
fears that the euro zone's weakest
link may end up defaulting on its
official European creditors. U.S.
economist Milton Friedman's
aphorism - "What is unsustainable
will not be sustained" - is cited frequently by those who believe market forces will eventually overwhelm the political will that holds
the euro together. Countries that
share a single currency cannot devalue when their economies lose
competitiveness, as occurred in
southern Europe in the first decade of the euro's existence. There
is no mechanism for large fiscal
transfers between member states.
So the only option has been a
wrenching "internal devaluation"
by countries on the periphery of
the euro area, involving real wage,
pension and public spending cuts
and mass unemployment that has
caused deep social distress. Austerity has fueled radical forces of
political protest and may be running out of democratic road - not
just in Greece - but none of the
alternative ways out of the euro
zone's economic divergence dilemma looks remotely plausible. "The
history of the gold standard tells
us that an asymmetric adjustment
process involving internal devaluation in debtor countries, with no
corresponding inflation in the core,
is unlikely to be economically or
politically sustainable," economic
historians Kevin O'Rourke and
Alan Taylor wrote in the Journal
of Economic Perspectives in 2013.
"What is desirable for the euro
zone may not be feasible." Germany has so far been unwilling to
see either higher inflation, debt forgiveness, issuing common euro
A Greek (L) and a European flag flutter outside the Greek embassy in Brussels
zone bonds or cross-border fiscal
transfers. There is scant support
anywhere for closer political and
economic integration of the euro
area. "The strategy of the euro zone
has been to wait for something to
turn up," says a senior figure in
the British financial establishment,
who observed the euro zone crisis
from close up but outside. "In the
1930s, World War Two turned up.
Maybe something else will turn
up," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The European
Central Bank has acted at key
moments to hold the euro zone
together, vowing in 2012 to do
"whatever it takes" to save the
currency and now launching a massive program of buying government
bonds to spur the economy and
avert deflation. ECB action can
only buy time for governments to
implement structural economic reforms that could close the competitiveness gap by raising potential growth over time. But countries like France and Italy largely
failed to use that breathing space
in 2013-14 to shake up labor markets, pension and welfare systems.
Yet things can go right as well as
wrong. A nascent cyclical recovery in the euro zone, aided by lower
oil prices, a weaker euro and ECB
money-printing, may narrow the
imbalances that have led skeptics
to predict the euro's demise. Ireland and Spain, which have been
through the wringer of austerity
programs and structural reforms in
return for European assistance, are
now the fastest growing economies in the currency bloc. Portugal too is perking up. German wages are rising faster than prices, giving a boost to consumer spending
and raising the prospect that inflation in the bloc's biggest economy
may outpace the rate in southern
Europe for several years. That
would make economic adjustment
more symmetrical, and less agonizing for the south. There are also
signs that France and Italy, the euro
zone's second and third largest
economies, are finally tackling
some of the economic reforms that
politicians long feared to touch,
albeit at a slow and gradual pace.
French President Francois Hollande's government has just
rammed through a bill to loosen
some shackles on business such as
Sunday trading and plans new
steps to ease labor regulation. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
has introduced a jobs act to ease
hiring and firing and is making
progress on reform to streamline
parliament and the electoral system. "Spain shows that reform is
possible to create a growth environment and significant job creation," said Luigi Speranza, cohead of European economics at
BNP Paribas bank in London.
"The return of growth could make
it easier for Renzi to make reforms
in Italy, and Hollande in France."
The European Commission's budget leniency for Paris and Rome
may assist that process by rewarding them for planned growth-en-
Ukraine s new US-born finance
chief enduring baptism by fire
ARACHI: Cheaper arrival
of foreign tiles, thanks to
low import trade price
(ITP) regime in place from 2010,
is hurting the local industry. A
spokesman of Pakistan Ceramic
Tiles Manufacturers Association
(PCTMA) on Saturday asked the
government to increase the ITP to
support the local manufacturers.
We demand removal of an anomaly for imported tiles and logical
implementation of correct valuation, he asserted. Talking to media he said raw material for local
production of tiles was available
which can save precious foreign
exchange on its import, besides the
sector would be creating jobs and
business opportunities. All the
cost indicators wages, transportation and energy etc are increasing in China and other countries,
but surprisingly the ITPs in Pakistan had been decreased. The ITP
for Iran was fixed in March 2014
while further 20 per cent discount
was given on Iranian and Middle
Eastern tiles in December 2014,
the spokesman lamented. China
produces 5,200 million square
metres of tiles yearly of which 584
million square metres are exported. As under-invoicing and misdeclaration of imported tiles is
rampant, the low ITPs are adding
to the woes of the local industry.
A large gap between the original
price and ITPs of different sizes
of ceramic and porcelain tiles is
causing huge revenue losses not
only on the local industry but the
government as well, he explained.
He said the influx of Chinese tiles,
on which already lower ITPs were
fixed by the government under the
Free Trade Agreement (FTA), had
encouraged their imports. Last
year 15 million tiles were imported from China. The government
should exclude the tiles from the
FTA list with China which is being re-negotiated, he requested.
Tiles were placed in No Concession category while signing FTA
with China on the request of the
local industry, but unfortunately
few PCTs relating to tiles were inadvertently included in CategoryIV. Tiles importers took full undue advantage and circumvented
duties and taxes during last five
years. This backdoor is still open
and the importers are routing most
of their imports through PCTs
which appear on the concessional
category of the FTA. He said the
cost of production is rapidly rising in China and their minimum
wages are three times higher than
Pakistan. Under this scenario it
seems illogical that the prices of
tiles could go down in China
whereas the ITPs of Chinese tiles
have reduced from $4.57 per square
metre in 2011 to $2.51 in 2013.
KIEV: War-torn Ukraine is a long
way from Wood Dale, Illinois. But
Natalie Jaresko, the country's new
finance minister who was born and
raised in the Chicago suburbs, says
she feels just as much at home here
as she takes on a daunting task: overhauling a Soviet-era economy at a
time when public finances are being
drained by war. It's been a baptism
of fire for the 49-year-old former
banker, who only got her Ukrainian
citizenship the day she was appointed minister in December but
has lived in the country for over
two decades. She hopes the fact she
is not part of the entrenched political elite will help as she attempts a
root-and-branch reform of the economy. "I don't see myself as a politician," she told The Associated Press
at her office in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. "I'm a technocrat minister
and I don't have a political career
ahead of me. I'm not running for
office." The job is as big as it is
urgent. She estimates that the war
has consumed about 20 percent of
the economy, taking out a region
rich in industry and commodities.
Corruption is endemic throughout
Ukraine. Red tape and a lack of financing are hindering business. Foreign investors are wary of the geopolitical instability. Inflation is forecast to hit a staggering 26 percent
this year as the hryvnia currency
has fallen 70 percent since last year,
when former President Viktor
Yanukovych was ousted by popular protests. Amid all this, the government is living a hand-to-mouth
existence it must pay Russia up
front for gas supplies at a time when
it is quickly running out of money.
Ukraine and Russia will hold more
talks on the gas issue Monday.
Jaresko's first success in the job
came this month when she clinched
a promise for a $40 billion fouryear lifeline from the International
Monetary Fund and Western nations. However, that eye-catching
headline figure includes up to $15
billion of expected debt renegotiation with private investors by the
government in Kiev, a sum which is
by no means guaranteed. Highstakes debt renegotiations are likely to start by the second week of
March and conclude by June, according to Jaresko, who says her
U.S. background gives Ukraine an
edge. "Coming from the private sector and coming from the Western
side, I can understand both the demands and the perspectives of the
creditors as well as . the Ukrainian
side and the Ukrainian perspective,"
she said. "Bringing those two together is a skill set that I bring to
the table." After studying at DePaul University in Chicago, during
which time she lived in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, Jaresko's
moved in the mid-1990s to Kiev as
head of the economic section at the
U.S. embassy. She then ran the
Western NIS Enterprise Fund
(WNISEF), which invests USAID
funds into small and medium-sized
businesses in Ukraine and Moldova. She and her then-husband later
founded Horizon Capital, an investment firm that now manages
WNISEF. Jaresko says she no long-
er has any ownership or control at
Horizon Capital. Jaresko's appointment gifted Russia's state
media a line of attack an American banker representing Washington's interests rather than the
Ukrainian people
but Jaresko
says she does not feel any need to
prove her Ukrainian credentials.
"I've always been a Ukrainian. I'm
a Ukrainian citizen now, that's a
difference, but I have worked and
lived in this country - this is my
home - for 23 years," she said. "Like
any minister right now, I feel the
need to prove my credentials as a
reformer, but I don't think it makes
a difference that I was previously
an American citizen." Ukrainian
law obliges Jaresko to renounce her
American passport within two
years, although she declined to say
whether she had yet done so. Jaresko is one of three foreign-born cabinet ministers as President Petro
Poroshenko looks to bring in outside expertise. Mirroring the policy that brought her into government, Jaresko has assembled a
multinational team partnering
U.S.-educated Ukrainians with
advisers seconded from the U.S.,
German and Polish governments,
as well as Ivan Miklos, who reformed the tax system as Slovakia's finance minister from 201012. "I think it's important for us
not to reinvent the wheel," she
said, adding that her foreign advisers should "help us to skip over
many of the steps, or many of the
mistakes, that may have been
made by others in the past."
Yemen signs aviation deal with Iran: State news agency
emen and Iran signed a civil
aviation deal on Saturday,
Yemeni state news agency
SABA reported, a move that may
reflect Tehran's support for the
Shiite Muslim militia that now
controls Sanaa.
The deal signed in Tehran by the
aviation authorities of both countries allows Yemen and Iran each
to fly up to 14 flights a week in
both directions, SABA said. The
websites of the Iranian and Yemeni national airlines indicated there
were currently no flights between
the two.
The Shiite Muslim Houthi militia
seized Yemen's capital in September, which eventually led President
Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee
this month to the port city of Aden
where he is seeking to set up a rival power center. Sunni countries
in the Gulf fear that events in Yemen show Shiite power Iran asserting its influence, something
Tehran denies. U.S. officials have
also expressed concern that the rule
of the resolutely anti-American
Houthis will harm their counterterrorism efforts in a country that
has one of the most active branches of the Sunni Islamist militant
group al Qaeda.
hancing reforms with more time to
cut their deficits and debt. Another
encouraging sign is that lending to
businesses in Italy and Spain is picking up following last year's ECB
stress tests of European banks and
their interest rates are falling, narrowing the gap with the euro zone
core. "What worries me is that some
of the factors behind the rebound
are temporary," Speranza said.
"Structural reforms could make that
more sustainable and build confidence." A Greek default or exit from
the euro zone - whether by "Grexident" or intention - could shatter that
returning trust, even though Athens
accounts for just two percent of the
bloc's economy. So Greece's fate remains entwined with the euro's survival. (Reuters)
China s
central bank
cuts rates
again to boost
EIJING: China's central
bank cut interest rates for
the second time in three
months, adding to signs the country's leaders are worried the economic slowdown is deepening too
sharply. The People's Bank of
China announced a rate cut on oneyear loans by commercial banks
by 0.25 percentage point to 5.35
percent. The interest rate paid on
a one-year deposit was lowered by
0.25 point to 2.50 percent. Rates
were last cut on Nov. 22. The new
rates take effect Sunday. Last year,
China's economic growth fell to
7.4 percent
the lowest since
1990. It is expected to decline further this year, and a steep economic decline can raise the risk of politically dangerous job losses. The
latest round of cuts follow a string
of tax reductions and other measures aimed at propping up
growth. The government cut business taxes last week and has announced a pay hike for civil servants. The lower rates are expected to reduce financial costs for state
companies and are a signal to stateowned banks to boost lending to
them. Economic growth in the
world's second-largest economy
has slowed down steadily over the
past two years, mostly as a result
of government efforts to steer the
economy to more self-sustaining
growth based on domestic consumption and to reduce reliance on
trade and investment. Eswar Prasad, an economics professor at Cornell University, noted that China
has been a primary driver of global
economic growth and that the slowdown will have a negative ripple
effect throughout the world. Still,
Jay Bryson, global economist for
Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte,
North Carolina, emphasized that
China's economy is still growing,
just at a slower rate. "China is not
collapsing. You're looking at a
country that was growing at double digits, and now it's only going
to grow 6 to 7 percent," he said.
"We're talking about slower global
growth, not another 2009," he added, referring to the global financial
crisis. The impact of the slowdown
will vary depending on a country's
exposure to China.
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MONDAY MARCH 02 , 2015
A show of polarised
ollywood actor has Sonam Kapoor tested positive for swine flu, India Today reported on Saturday. She was
admitted to a hospital in Rajkot after she complained of sore throat and high fever. The actor was shooting for
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, which also stars Salman Khan, when she fell ill. Sonam Kapoor tested positive for
swine flu today [Friday] and she is being treated at Sterling hospital in the city, Rajkot district collector Manisha
Chandra said. She probably contracted swine flu from her physical trainer in Mumbai and by the time she came here
she was already suffering from the symptoms, added Chandra.
Red carpet
round-up: 2015
Vanity Fair/Elton
John Oscar
The second and last day of this year s Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Fashion Showcase boasted a line-up of
designers, who pushed sartorial boundaries with sleek and modern
Juxtaposing innovative techniques with popular fabrics in a range
of hues, the collections were a mix of yays and nays.
Appeared to have been inspired by Rumi, Zahid Khan s collection elevated georgette and silk. The chic use of burnt brown shades
blended with deep cream-coloured tones, and the elaborate waistcoats and full-length tunics paired with over-coats permeated looked
serene on the runway.
Huma Adnan s design label was an elaborate showcase of embroidery, stylised pants and boldly-textured skirts. With patchwork
patterns in pulsating shades, outsized accessories and bold crop
tops, the brand exuded a tapestry-like feel.
Naushaba Brohi s label brought forward a fusion of East and
West by utilising Sindhi mirror work and ethnic embroidery in a
subtle fashion. Pastel shades and ivory dominated the colour palette
and the use of ralli work added to the collection s edgy appeal.
Nida Tapal demonstrated workmanship through her compilation
of crochet ensembles with diverse hemlines. Modern silhouettes paired
with glistening sequinned crochet fabric in ivory, cobalt-blue, hibiscus-pink and deep lavender livened up the senses.
Exhibiting the craftsmanship of the rural woman of Sindh on the
ramp, the collection featured reflective mirror work on basic ashen
background, a move that helped put the accent on the intricate embroidery and structured motifs.
The florescent-green capsule collection comprised Western wear
stylised on simple cuts. Embroidered shimmering designs coupled
with ruffled details and flirty slits emphasised the simplicity and
versatility of the ensembles.
Playing with karandi fabric, the collection elevated grey and beige
tones to chic status. Paying attention to detail, the ramp was busy
with accessory-laden models, sporting ultramodern poncho styles,
layered details and bohemian-inspired satchels.
The exclusively men s collection illustrated conventional sherwanis with a twist. The line featured complex embroidery paired
with beaded statement-making waistcoats. Beige fused with gold
needlework was a dominant trend.
With the laser-cut technique at play, the white embroidery paired
with gold needlecraft was the highlight of Azwer s collection. Using
a selection of pastel colours blended with mesh fabric, the ensembles
emitted a formal and festive feel.
Zainab Chottani emphasised the mukesh embroidery in pale
tones of beige, experimenting with French Chantilly lace and mesh
fabric. From glitzy jackets to sequined vests, the designs were uber
feminine. Faraz Manan exhibited fish-tail cuts on jamawar fabric and
accentuated his tailoring with pearls and diamantes in the collection.
Arsalan Iqbal s capsule collection, on the other hand, drew attention
to the digital printing method and over-sized motif designs.
The A-listers on the Oscars red
carpet were the epitome of glamour and sophistication, with most
stars looking graceful in their floorkissing gowns. However, the after-parties were a whole different
affair altogether, with celebrities
trying their best to grab the limelight in a little more chilled-out fashion.
While some celebs amazed us
with rocking ensembles, others let
us down. Here s a round-up of
their looks.
Alessandra Ambrosio
The Victoria s Secret angel
donned a mischievous look by
stepping out in a glitzy red strapless Atelier Versace gown. The deep
scarlet hue complemented the
model s olive tan. Alessandra accessorised with dazzling Chopard
rings and bracelets. Letting loose
her brunette locks and sporting a
bouncy side-parted hairdo, she
looked strikingly good.
The Wrecking Ball singer
looked like a wreck in a white Schiaparelli Couture jumpsuit that had
a mish-mash of gaudy graphic
prints. She wore black bolero
Brian Atwood shoes, a flimsy
black scarf that resembled a rag,
and a ruby-red heart-shaped Judith Leiber clutch. Not quite her
best look, but she accessorised with
exquisite Lorraine Schwartz diamonds that glimmered at the event.
The 31-year-old former Victoria s Secret model showed off her
enviable frame in a form-fitting
custom Emilio Pucci gown. The
ivory floor-grazing number featured gold sequins detailing on the
edges and cut-outs on the waist.
The supermodel polished up her
look with a red pout, Lorraine
Schwartz jewels, Jimmy Choo
heels, and with her chestnut locks
resting on one shoulder.
The Heart Wants What It
Wants singer stunned in a jet-black
crochet-knitted gown teamed with
a silver-champagne slip underneath, which helped her stand out
at the jamboree. The full-sleeved
high-neck dress fit the starlet like
a glove and accentuated her curves.
Wearing her lustrous tresses down
in a centre-parting and styled in
loose curls, Selena beamed in her
floor-grazing number.
I can never say no to SRK: KAPIL SHARMA
MUMBAI: Stand-up comedian and Comedy Nights with
Kapil host Kapil Sharma refuted rumours that he refused
to be a part of superstar Shah Rukh Khan s upcoming TV
show titled India Poochega Sabse Shaana Kauna.
He says he can never say no to Shah Rukh.
It is well known that Shah Rukh and Kapil share a good
bond. In fact, SRK has readily made appearances on Kapil s
comedy show.
Shah Rukh s new show is based on the popular international show Who s Asking? and it is about judging
one s common sense and seeking answers to random questions. So far, Bollywood celebrities like Karan Johar, Farah
Khan, Alia Bhatt and Anushka Sharma have shot for his
show, which will be aired on &TV.
LOS ANGELES: The $150,000 Oscar gown worn by actress Lupita
Nyong o that was stolen two days ago was returned on Friday by the
thief, who tipped off celebrity news site after learning the
pearls on the dress were fake, according to officials and the website.
TMZ said the thief took the Calvin Klein dress from Nyong o's
hotel room on Wednesday after finding the door ajar. The Kenyan actor
had worn the dress adorned with 6,000 pearls to Sunday s Academy
Awards in one of the most commented looks of the night. Los Angeles
County Sheriff s Department Lieutenant Michael White told reporters
at a Friday news conference that they received a call around 3 p.m. local
time from a media outlet who reported hearing from an anonymous
caller that the dress had been returned to the London Hotel.
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reland and Afghanistan show need
for rethink before 2019 World Cup
When the associate nations show the sufficient talent and
confidence to seek victory rather than respectability it is time to
reconsider the planned reduction to a 10-team tournament
In the World Cup of 2011, England
kept the tournament alive in the
early stages by losing to Ireland
and Bangladesh and beating West
Indies and South Africa, thereby
scraping into the quarter-finals
before producing an anaemic performance against Sri Lanka.
This time, until the little epic
at Eden Park on Saturday, the associates were the ones keeping us
Kenya were thrashed by all the
established nations; so, too, Holland except against England when
they lost respectably and Canada. The experience did not seem to
do any of them much good and we
were lumbered with some ghastly
games, which made the tournament
appear bloated and stupid.
Fearing a repetition in 2015
the idea of a 10-team tournament,
interested. Ireland, who thrashed
West Indies and scraped past the
United Arab Emirates, have yet to
be beaten. Afghanistan frightened
Sri Lankaand then participated in
a thrilling game when
they defeated Scotland by one
wicket in Dunedin.
The vanguard for the associates is growing by the day. Some
of the advocates come purely from
a cricketing perspective, others are
more political seeing the shunning
of the Irish, Afghans, Scots and
Emiratis as further evidence of a
nasty plutocracy in charge of the
I have to admit to swaying in
their direction. In 2011 in Asia
almost mirroring the format of
1992 in Australasia, made sense.
But last October the ICC, after
much protest, swerved back to 14
teams. Now the associates are winning me over. Ireland are so tenacious; they are capable of chasing
anything and they are not frightened to win. Moreover, Afghanistan, with three serious pace
bowlers, were brilliant against Sri
Lanka when they lost. They
played nowhere near as well
against the Scots when they won.
Advocates of the associates
should be wary of using that game
in Dunedin to support their argument. There was some awful cricket played by two associate teams
onda Rousey destroys
Cat Zingano in just 14
seconds at UFC 184
It used to be that Ronda Rousey
needed a minute to finish her fights.
Now, she's getting two of them
done in half of that time.
The most dominant fighter in
the world continued her mindboggling run of destruction Saturday, submitting previously unbeaten top contender Cat Zingano in
just 14 seconds the quickest finish in UFC championship history
in the main event of UFC 184 at
Staples Center to retain her women's bantamweight title.
Rousey blew away Alexis
Davis in just 16 seconds at UFC
175 in July in what seemed to be a
ridiculously easy manner. But it
was done even quicker on Saturday.
Zingano raced out of her corner and threw a flying knee at Rousey. She then flung Rousey down.
But Rousey, the vastly superior
grappler, quickly reversed position
and got on top.
She extended Zingano's arm
toward her and then turned her hips
to the right, putting incredible pressure on the joint and forcing the
"We expected she might come
out flying," Rousey said.
It was over so quickly, Zingano seemed stunned. She didn't
know what to say and several
times uttered an expletive as she
was being interviewed in the cage
by UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan.
"She had my arm and I saw
her leg," Zingano said. "I thought
to grab a hold of it and all of a
sudden, I was tapping."
Cat Zingano took Ronda Rousey down right off the bat, but the
champ quickly turned the tables.
Rousey has now beaten each
of the women ranked 1-5 in the
bantamweight division, including
Miesha Tate twice. Tate actually
made it to the third round at UFC
168 in 2013, but since then Rousey needed 1:06 to stop Sara McMann, 16 seconds to dispose of
Davis and only 14 seconds to end
it against Zingano.
Against McMann, Davis and
Zingano, fighters who entered their
bouts against her with a combined
record of 32-5, Rousey is 3-0 with
three first-round finishes in a combined time of one minute, 36 seconds.
There is literally no one for her
to fight. Tate appears to be the
only opponent currently in the
UFC who is even remotely competitive with her.
Former Strikeforce champion
Cristiane Justino, who defeated
Charmaine Tweet on an Invicta
card Friday in Los Angeles, wants
to come to the UFC to face Rousey, but there is question if she
can make the bantamweight limit
of 135.
And even if she makes it, even
Justino would appear to be a long
shot to beat the 2008 Olympic
judo bronze medalist.
"Holly Holm is a world champion boxer and I want to test myself against that striking," Rousey
said. "And Bethe Correia is undefeated and I'd like to take that '0'
away from her."
Zingano was believed to be
Rousey's biggest test, but she entered as a 9-1 underdog. It's hard
to believe that either Correia or
Holm would be any better than a
20-1 underdog against Rousey.
In the co-main event, Holm, a
former boxing champion, made her
UFC debut a successful one, outworking Raquel Pennington to
claim a split decision. Judges
scored it 30-27 and 29-28 for
Holm and 29-28 for Pennington.
Holm's debut was made amid
much media fanfare and its effects
showed. She had a lot of pressure
on her and didn't seem to be able
to relax. "The nerves were there
and because of the hype, I didn't
feel I could live up to it," Holm
said. "There was a lot of talk."
Holm circled quite a bit and
fended off numerous takedown
attempts by Pennington. Holm
also managed to land a number of
kicks, but Pennington for the most
part neutralized her hands.
in what proved to be an utterly
spell-binding contest and both
sides admitted that after the game.
One could argue that this was the
best game of the tournament and
the worst. Certainly it was an infinitely preferable spectacle to
watching Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in the field against Sri Lanka
and West Indies. Between them
they conceded 704 for three in 100
overs. And it was so much more
captivating than West Indies succumbing to South Africa in Sydney on Friday by 257 runs.
Clearly, there are some very
fine cricketers among the associates. Just to start an argument
here s a possible combined team,
which may not go down too well
north of Hadrian s Wall: Paul
Stirling (Ire), Ed Joyce (Ire), Samiullah Shenwari (Afg), Niall
O Brien (Ire), Mohammad Nabi
(Afg), Shaiman Anwar (UAE),
Gary Wilson (Ire), Amjad Javed
(UAE), George Dockrell (Ire),
Hamid Hassan (Afg), Shapoor
Zadran (Afg). It is possible to select another team from the associates to give that one a good game. I
am converted to the notion of an
expanded World Cup for 2019.
But there remains the problem
of finding the best format. This is
the 11th World Cup since 1975 and
there have been seven different
formats. The ICC is no nearer a
permanent solution than those
trying to find the best schedule for
the English domestic season,
which changes almost every year
and has been debated after the elevation of Colin Graves to chairman of the ECB.
The conflict is similar in both
cases; it is inevitably between
commercial priorities and cricketing ones. The commercial ones
nearly always win. Graves has
pointed out that the ideas for English cricket were only in a strategy conversation summary . To
allay alarm he stressed that anything and everything could be
tossed into the pot. (So where was
a return to uncovered pitches and
the rehabilitation of KP?)
There was a strange mix of the
radical and the reactionary in that
pot. For example, quite how county chairmen can think that because
they prefer the idea of 40-over
cricket at their grounds, the rest of
the world will fall into line for the
2019 World Cup after a nod and
wink from president Giles Clarke
of the ECB beggars belief. Commercial imperatives certainly dictate our World Cups. The 2007
tournament in the Caribbean horrified the moneymen since Pakistan and, far more importantly,
India were out within a fortnight.
All that lovely TV advertising revenue went down the pan. That
potential revenue also dictated the
schedule for the 2011 tournament
when the option of playing two
matches on the same day was
shunned and the format ensured
that no team went home early. In
an entrepreneurial age it is almost
unbearable for those in charge to
avoid the most lucrative option.
Yet there is still time to rethink
the 2019 World Cup, indeed there
is still more evidence to be gleaned
from this one. After two weeks I
want to see more of Ireland and
Afghanistan. They have shown
sufficient talent and confidence to
seek victory rather than respectability.
In contrast, Scotland, so desolate after the defeat by Afghanistan, have underperformed. They
can atone by beating Bangladesh
at Nelson on Thursday, a result
that would bring a broad smile to
the new chairman of the ECB or
will he soon be the chairman
of Cricket England and Wales since
the ECB is apparently such a toxic brand ? A Scottish victory
would help England s campaign
greatly. And it would further bolster the argument for the associates. (The Guardian)
akistan cricket fans, pretty much like the team, have been down in the dumps. Two losses out of two matches at the World
Cup has soured almost every fan, and put immense pressure on the team. But things could look up if Shahid Afridi, arguably
Pakistan s most popular cricketer, comes up with a performance treat for fans on his 35th birthday. This is what many fans
are hoping for as Pakistan take on Zimbabwe in an all important group B match on Sunday. Many who wished Lala a happy
birthday, hope that the all-rounder will give them all a birthday treat with a scintillating, match-winning performance.
Tokyo Olympics 2020 to save $1b with
other 25 balls to bring up his 23rd
ODI century as he took control of
the game for the final 20 overs,
dominating the latter stages of the
partnership with Thirimanne.
Earlier, Joe Root anchored England's 309 for six with his fourth
ODI century after Moeen Ali and
Ian Bell had put on a quick-fire
62-run opening partnership.
The 24-year-old, who topscored with 46 in England's humiliating eight-wicket loss at the same
ground to New Zealand on Feb.
20, produced his highest one-day
score of 121 before he was trapped
in front by Rangana Herath in the
47th over.
He was shared in a 60-run partnership with captain Eoin Morgan (27) and a stand of 98 with
James Taylor (25).
Root and Taylor were both
dismissed in the final five overs
but wicketkeeper Jos Buttler (39
not out) and Chris Woakes (nine)
pushed the total past 300 for a
score which looked competitive at
the change of innings.
Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 are to move or alter
three venues, saving around a billion dollars, with more changes and
savings to come, the International
Olympic Committee's Sports Director Christophe Dubi said on
Dubi said Tokyo had abandoned plans to build a new basketball venue and would instead
hold matches in an existing venue
that was used for the world championships.
Dressage and show jumping
are now to be held in the venue
that hosted those events in the 1964
Olympics, while the canoe slalom
is to be moved "a few hundred
meters" because of environmental
concerns over the original location.
"At this point in time it is close
to a billion (in savings) compared
to the revised budget so it is a very
substantial figure and it will continue to grow," Dubi said after the
Tokyo 2020 organizers presented
their plans to the International
Olympic Committee's executive
board meeting in Rio de Janeiro.
Other venues might change,
Dubi said, and Tokyo will present
a fully revised plan by April with
the intention of locking in all changes for final approval by the IOC's
executive committee in June.
The announcement came just
a day after planners for the Tokyo
2020 Summer Olympics issued
their playbook for organizing the
sports extravaganza.
Rising labor and construction
costs have forced Tokyo to rethink
its plans for 10 venues it intended
to build for the Games, reneging
on a bid commitment to host a
majority of events within 8 km (5
miles) of the Olympic village.
Tokyo's bid team erupted with joy when it was
revealed their city will host the 2020 Olympics.
That did not perturb Dubi,
who said there was enough time to
make the moves and still ensure
the athletes were not unduly affected.
"We are still in the timeframe
where you can confidently make
these changes," Dubi told reporters. "The athletes' experience remains what it was in the bid. That
was what was promised. But to
change at this point in time espe-
cially when you are using existing
venues is something that is largely
Planners allotted $1.5 billion
for venues in Tokyo's Olympics
bid but that estimate more than
doubled late last year after a recalculation. The city won the Games
over Madrid and Istanbul by emphasizing Japan's organizational
prowess and $4.5 billion in the
Awesome Federer floors Djokovic in straight sets
Roger Federer s enduring class
shone through again as the Swiss
maestro beat world number one
Novak Djokovic 6-3 7-5 to win
the Dubai Championships for a
seventh time.
The 33-year-old s serve is the
least praised of his repertoire but
it was his awesome delivery that
blunted Djokovic s baseline game,
taking his career ace haul past the
9,000 barrier with 12 more, several at vital moments.
Federer went into the match
with a 19-17 winning record against
Djokovic, although the Serb beat
him in last year s gripping Wimbledon final.
The match proved to be a tale
of chances taken and chances
missed -- Federer converting his
two break points with clinical efficiency, while Djokovic failed on
all seven of his.
We get the best out of each
other, Federer said in a courtside
interview after winning an 84th
tour singles crown.
I m pleased I did some good
serving when I had to. I definitely
won the big points tonight.
The 17-time grand slam champion began with the same tactics
that helped trounce teenager Borna Coric in the semi-finals, charging the net at every opportunity.
ederer went into the match with a 19-17 winning record against Djokovic,
although the Serb beat him in last year s gripping Wimbledon final. (AFP)
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2015 -Hoot 11, 1393 H.S
Vol:IX Issue No:208 Price: Afs.15
Deadliest avalanche:
Highways reopening efforts
upped, says Abdullah
Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi
KABUL: The Chief of Executive
Officer (CEO) of the country Ab-
dullah Abdullah on Sunday said the
government is utilizing all available
resources to reopen the roads and
provide humanitarian assistance in
the avalanches-hit areas of Afghanistan.
In a press conference here, the
CEO said the teams are clearing
the roads of snow. After chairing
meeting of the emergency committee established by the government,
Abdullah told reporters that 196
persons have been killed and 23
other were injured alone in Panjshir province.
He said that scores of people
were killed and injured in avalanches, heavy snowfall and floods in
different parts of the country. The
roads in villages and districts are
still closed. Around 40km of the
Panjshir highway is still to be
cleared of snow.
Several countries and Afghan
businessmen have shown their
(See P2)
Only Afghan brain will
be behind security plans
AT News Report
KABUL: The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said Sunday that security forces have the capacity and
capability to fend off militant attacks and threats posed by antistate elements, and are well capable of ensuring citizens safety.
The MoI spokesman, Sediq
Sediqi, told newsmen that security forces own now the things
which they lacked in previous
years, (in terms of capacity and
Our men in uniform have been
able this year to chalk out security
plans and offensives on their own
which of course is a biggest
achievement, he said.
Security forces are competent enough than the past years
when for the first time they shouldered security responsibilities. We
are trying to overcome the shortcomings if there are any. Since we
have picked up strength therefore
our policy has been drastically
changed from defensive mode to
offensive mode, he said.
Hinting at Zulfaqar Operation
in Sangin district of southern Helmand province, Sediqi said that at
least 14 villages were cleared of
militants during the operation, and
they were trying to boost up security in other areas as well.
According to security officials,
Zulfaqar is the first independent
military operation of Afghan security forces which will be extended to all restive districts of Helmand.
Officials in the MoI said that
(See P2)
Pakistan ready to
intensify relief
efforts for affected
families: Sharif
KABUL: In the backdrop of devastated avalanche that left hundreds of persons dead and as many
families displaced in Afghanistan,
Prime Minister Muhammad
Nawaz Sharif said that he directed
Pakistan s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to
provide whatever support it can
to airlift support to Afghanistan.
In a statement from PM s media office, Sharif said: "I was deeply troubled upon learning of the
devastating avalanches in Afghanistan that have taken hundreds of
our Afghan brother and sisters from
us. I join you in praying for them
and their families.
The death toll from a series of
avalanches and flash floods rose
to 260 on Friday, with the bulk of
deaths coming from central Panjsher province, where above 200
lost their lives, including women
and children.
The Afghanistan cabinet announced a three-day national
mourning to express solidarity
with families who lost their beloved
ones to avalanches in several parts
of the country, a statement from
the Presidential Palace said on Saturday.
He said that he was am confident that your (President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani) leadership
at this time is of even more importance than during ordinary times.
He said that the Pakistani people and our resources stand available to you as always. I also want
to assure you that my staff is keeping me apprised of the situation
on an hourly basis. (Pajhwok)
2 Pakistani nationals working in UNDP
accused of derailing Wolesi Jirga polls
AT News Report
KABUL: A local bilingual daily
accused two Pakistani citizens,
working at the ELECT-II project
of the United Nations Development Project (UNDP), of sabotaging the upcoming Wolesi Jirga elections.
The UNDP s Enhancing Legal
and Electoral Capacity for Tomorrow (ELECT) project had been
designed to help the Independent
Election Commission (IEC) of Afghanistan to conduct parliamentary elections.
According to a news report
published by the Daily Weesa,
without mentioning source, the
Pakistani nationals who are employees of the UN Development
Project, Azhar Malik and Irfan
Mahmood, are in the quest to delay and derail the upcoming polls.
The Pak origin staffers of the
UNDP s ELECT II project want
to bring steady changes in the country s electoral body, Weesa reported. As per report of the newspaper, the two persons also delayed
announcement of the election
schedule. In accordance with the
ELECT II project, the UN body
provides support to the IEC
through development of its human,
organizational and technical capacity. The project advisors are embedded within the IEC. The advisors help the election commission
with the development of all necessary electoral plans such as voter
registration and the candidate nomination process. When Afghanistan
Times contacted the UNDP, the
UN body rejected the allegations
and said that it is a technical coordinator and collect donations from
the international donors to help the
IEC in conducting polls. A high-
MoD dispatches team to rescue
KABUL: The Ministry of Defense
(MoD) dispatched a team to central Panjsher province, which
helped rescue a number of families
trapped by avalanches.
Over 260 people were killed
and 100 others wounded in the latest wave of blizzards and avalanches in parts of the country,
including the worst-hit Panjsher
The statement said that the
ministry had dispatched 24 more
flights yesterday to rescue marooned people. It said that the rescue team consisted of 71 members.
However, the statement did
not share exact figures of those
rescued. The relief goods sent to
Panjsher included blankets, edible
and non-edible stuff to be distributed among the affected families.
Meanwhile, some civil society
organizations on Saturday held
protest in Kabul against the government luck warm response to the
affected families.
The death toll from a series of
avalanches and flash floods rose
to 260 on Friday, with the bulk of
deaths coming from central Panjsher province, where above 200
lost their lives, including women
and children.
The Afghanistan cabinet announced a three-day national
mourning to express solidarity
with families who lost their beloved
ones to avalanches in several parts
of the country, a statement from
the Presidential Palace said on Saturday. Ghani on Saturday said in
his address that latest situation at
home and tragic deaths caused by
avalanches amid incessant snowfall forced him to postpone his
Iran s visit. He said as many as
287 Afghans have been killed, 143
wounded and 1,248 homes destroyed in the natural disasters
across the country. I prefer to
stay at home with my people at
this tragic moment, the president
said. He thanked his Iranian counterpart for extending him an invitation. He would visit the neighboring country soon. (PAJHWOK)
Women s role shouldn t chip
away at peace talks: HRW
AT News Report
KABUL: The role of Afghan women in peace negotiation with the
Taliban should not be undermined rather the national unity government
should commit to including women in any peace talks, the Human Rights
Watch (HRW) said on Sunday in a statement.
Heather Barr, Senior Women s Rights Research at HRW said that
President Ashraf Ghani should protect human rights, especially the
rights of women through their involvements in government s negotiating
team with Taliban. All parties should ensure that women have a momentous presence on the negotiating teams, Barr said.
The statement said that recent Afghan government statements indicated efforts to restart peace negotiations, but provided no clarity on
government plans to ensure increased representation of women in all
decision-making and mechanisms regarding conflict resolution, as set
out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and later resolutions. Afghan women s rights activists had repeatedly talked about
their fears that the government would trade away women s rights in an
effort to reach an accommodation with Taliban, statement further said.
Barr further said that peace talks should be adopted in a manner that
reassures all Afghans that their rights not to be humiliated.
ranking official at the UNDP, who
wished anonymity, told Afghanistan Times the two Pak origin employees have no role in the decision making process. IEC s
spokesman, Noor Ahmad Noor, in
a telephonic interview with Afghanistan Times also rejected that
report and expressed satisfaction
in the UNDP s plans. He said the
problems regarding conducting
polls were shared with President
Ashraf Ghani and the exact date
for holding the parliamentary elections would be announced in the
near future.
IECC charges over
10,000 electoral
staffers with fraud
AT News Report
KABUL: The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission
(IECC s) said that more than
10,000 contracted and 20 permanent staffers of electoral bodies
were involved in fraud in the presidential elections that unleashed
deepening controversy. Nader
Mohsini, spokesman for the IECC
said that those staffers of the Independent Election Commission
(IEC) and IECC charged with fraud
and ragging in the elections would
be a blacklisted. He said that those
allegedly involved in poll ragging
can refer to the commission till end
of this week to explain themselves.
Once the IECC finalized its
decision those charged with fraud
and ragging would be blacklisted
and would not be allowed to take
part in election process ever,
Mohsini added. He said that a fact
finding committee of the IECC after three months of investigations
found out that around 13,000 contracted and 20 permanent staffers
of the two electoral bodies were
involved in fraud in the presidential elections. Mohsini maintained
that the commission will release a
complete report on fraud and ragging next week. Allegations of
widespread fraud in April, 2014
presidential elections led to an electoral deadlock that resulted in formation of the national unity government led by President Ashraf
Ghani and Chief Executive Officer
(CEO) Abdullah Abdullah.
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