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Eye on the News
.
MONDAY NOVEMBER 02
.
2015 -Aqrab 11, 1394 HS
Truthful, Factual and Unbiased
www.afghanistantimes.af
Vol:X Issue No:94 Price: Afs.15
www.face book.com/ afghanistantime s www.twitter.com/ afghanistantimes
Yo u r
ad
h e re
Page 4
Page 5
Page 9
Page 8
Page 7
India-Africa
Forum Summit:
Africa invites
India to do
business
Khamenei
calls for
Syrian elections to end
crisis
Greek banks
must find up
to 14.4b
after ECB
stress test
Israeli
officer: 'We
will gas you
until you
die'
What ISIS
talks about
when it talks
about
Palestine
Page 11
Why Ronda
Rousey is a
cut above
rest
Page 6
ISIL won t
get very far
in
Afghanistan
- for now
Editorial P6
Murky US policy and
pervasive violence in
Afghanistan
Change Is The
Spice of ShowPage 10 biz: B-town
embraces the
digital boom
Page 2
Page 3
Afghan women
entrepreneurs
in Balkh province
Safe homes
playing vital
role in Nimroz
women s safety
Yo u r
ad
h e re
Veteran ANP leader Afzal Khan Lala passes away
Former Afghan Preside nt Hamid Karzai expresse d sorrow
ove r his demise and said his death has caused a huge void
AT News Report
KABUL: Veteran Pashtun nationalist and Awami National Party
(ANP) leader Afzal Khan Lala
passed away on Sunday morning
due to chronic liver disease. He
was 89 years old. Ex-President
Hamid Karzai expressed grief and
sorrow over the demise of the veteran leader. He lauded the services
of Afzal Khan Lala for his people.
Karzai described Afzal Khal Lala
as a prominent leader and a well-
wisher of Pashtuns. Afzal Khan
was also an iconic writer who exerted indefatigable efforts for
strengthening unity among Afghans, said a press statement issued by the former president s office. The statement added that the
prominent leader remained beside
his people throughout his life. Hamid Karzai extended his heartfelt
condolences to family and friends
of the Pashtun nationalist leader.
Karzai prayed to Allah Almighty
to rest the departed soul in the eternal peace and give his family the
fortitude the bear the loss. Afghanistan Times group of newspapers
also extended its grief over the death
of the veteran ANP leader and
termed his death an irreparable void.
It extended condolences to family,
friends and the entire Afghan nation.
The state was inactive and the
army was silent on the happenings
in Swat. This son of the soil stood
to them. Rest in peace, Afzal Khan Lala.
Political leaders and journalists from Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkwha sent
out messages on social media to condole
the death of the senior leader. Afghanistan s ambassador to Islamabad, Janan Mosazai hailed Afzal Khan Lala as a fearless
leader who stood up for his principles and
against terror and extremism until the last
breathe of his life. Bushra Gohar, an ANP
leader, said the death of Afzal Khan Lala is
a great loss of Pashtuns. A champion of
our national unity is no more. Struggle to
continue, she said. Hasan Khan, a renowned journalist, called him a man of
commitment. Hasan said that Lala never
changed his standpoint till his life comes
to complete close. He joined ANP two
times only when ANP accepted his only
demand of including a Pashtun state as
an ultimate goal in the party manifesto.
His name will be written in golden words
at any time in future his cherished dream
was realized. Aimal Khan Khattak, the son
of the renowned late Pashtun nationalist
and poet, Ajmal Khattak, said that Afzal
Khan Lala was a great Pashtun leader. No
doubt his death is a great loss to the Pashtun nation, he said.
Kabul jobless youths
decry govt s unconcern
KABUL: Tens of girls and
boys gathered in front of the
Ministry of Labour, Social
Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) to protest widespread unemploy-
tens of unemployed youths.
The protestors were chanting
slogans of negligence of government officials have compelled
youths to escape their country ,
We want job , 13 million peo-
ment. The protest was organized by the Movement
against Unemployment,
civil society activists and
ple are jobless and unemployment is the main reason behind
migration of youth to foreign
countries . See P2
Refugees minister speaks out against germany s decision
Referring to recent decision by
Germany to send the Afghan migrants back home, the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation
declared Sunday that Afghanistan
will not accept the deported asylum seekers without a mutual
agreement between the government
of Afghanistan and the European
Union.
However the ministry urged
that the government of Afghanistan is ready to hold dialogues with
EU to find a solution to the alarm-
ing matter. "We are ready to make
decisions based on an agreement
with the European Union over the
matter," Afghan Refugees Minister Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi
said, adding that "The government
of Afghanistan is not ready to ac-
cept the deportees outside of an
agreed framework." These statements came after Germany's interior minister Thomas de Maiziere
announced last week that the country will send back majority of Afghan asylum seekers. The an-
nouncement has led to mounting
criticism of German Chancellor
Angela Merkel's decision, who after Europe started facing refugee
crisis, was among the first EU leaders that warmly welcomed migrants.
78,000 kids to
be missed out
on polio vaccine
JALALABAD: As many as
78,000 children could be missed
out on anti-polio vaccination campaign in eastern Nangarhar and
Kunar provinces due to security
concerns, an official said on Sunday. Nangarhar is the only province in the eastern zone where six
more polio cases have been found.
Officials say the new cases were
found in children to families returning from Pakistan. A new antipolio campaign targeting 966,000
children in the eastern zone was
launched on Monday. Dr. Ashraf
Ahmadzai, general director for
polio vaccination campaigns, told
Pajhwok Afghan News said a total of 87,000 children, including
69,000 in Nangarhar and the remaining in Kunar province, could
not be administered polio drops
due to insecurity. Public Health
Director Najibullah Kamawal said
six more polio cases had emerged
in the province and the victims
belonged to Achin and Haska Mina
district. He asked Taliban militants
to allow health workers to give
polio drops to children in order to
save them from disabilities.
MESHRANO JIRGA URGES GOVT TO TAKE UP
AFGHAN ASYLUM SEEKERS ISSUE WITH GERMANY
Senators demanded of the government to convene Loya Jirga eyes of the
general public as soon as possible because the crisis has already become
pervasive and the govt is losing its image in the
Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi
KABUL: The Meshrano Jirga
(MJ) the Upper House of the
Parliament in its Sunday s session
called on the government to take
up the issue of Afghan asylum
seekers with Germany and pave
the way for their voluntary repatriation, as security and economic
situation doesn t look promising
at home and if they were deported, it will unleash a new challenge.
Two weeks ago, Germany s Chancellor Angela Merkel announced
that her country would start deporting Afghan asylum seekers as
Berlin is grappling with a worst
refugee crisis in the aftermath of
security crisis across the Muslim
world. The Meshrano Jirga came
into move when Germany s Federal Ministry of the Interior said
that Berlin and Kabul has agreed
on kicking of deportation program
for Afghan refugees. Nisar Hares,
a member of International Relation
Committee (IRC) of Meshrano
Jirga criticized Germany for its
flawed policy toward Afghan refugees. He said that growing insecurity and lack of job opportunities forced them to take a deadliest
route to Europe. Given that they
had promising security and economic situation, they would never
have taken the troublesome route
to Europe, he said. If Germany
sends the Afghan asylum seekers,
our government doesn t have the
capacity to provide them jobs, he
said. There is no legal document
between Kabul and Berlin singed
for the deportation of Afghan refugees, he said. He said that it was
just a telephonic conversation between President Ashraf Ghani and
Angela Merkel regarding the influx
of Afghan asylum seekers in Germany. However, he added this refugee crisis is an international challenge it needs to be resolved
through Parliaments of the two
countries. Another Senator from
Kabul, Farhad Sakhi, said the
forced deportation of Afghan refugees is not the solution.
He called on President Ghani to
reconsider his plan of dealing with
the refugee-crisis. See P3
Loya Jirga the
only remedy to
deepening crises
AT News Report
KABUL: As security, economic,
and political crises are deepening,
different voices are being raised to
overcome the plethora of challenges, which is a cause of concern to
the entire nation and the international community. To know what
some prime movers from the former
government think about the current situation and what they think
could be the effective way out,
Afghanistan Times conducted a
brief interview with Shahzada
Massoud, a former advisor to exPresident Hamid Karzai, and
Pacha Khan Zadran, a former lawmaker, on Sunday. Shahzada Massoud, said that calling a Loya Jirga
is the only solution to the problems faced by people of Afghanistan. He said the leaders of the
National Unity Government
(NUG) have failed in fulfilling their
promises. See P2
65.40
64.05
72.10
70.60
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MONDAY NOVEMBER 02, 2015
AFGHANISTAN TIMES
Why I chose to return
to Afghanistan now?
By Suhrob Ahmad
The smuggler camp where
Milad was waiting is ideally situated as a launching point to the
Greek island of Lesbos. The island
spreads out invitingly on the horizon with nothing between the
camp and the Greek shore but
10km of open sea - seemingly within arm's reach on a clear day.
Smugglers loaded inflatable
black dinghies, three per hour, with
refugees far beyond any recom-
ple drowned and dozens went
missing after their overcrowded
vessels sank. More than 100 people have died this year attempting
the Turkey-to-Greece sea voyage.
On this particular day, there
were only a few people preparing
to make the final lunge to Europe.
An hour before, the Turkish gendarmerie and coastguard coordinated a raid on the camp, detaining
those who didn't run in time.
hid. The border police boat came
from over there," Milad said, motioning to the narrow stretch of
open beach.
The people who had managed
to avoid detention - the Palestinian, Syrian, and Afghan refugees were all scared, exhausted, and
uncertain about what to do next.
But despite the risk, the refugees
eventually returned "to find something to eat".
mended capacity and sped across
the straits under the cover of darkness. This year alone, more than
450,000 refugees have landed in
Greece in this manner, with thousands arriving on Lesbos each day.
The journey is often deadly.
Last Wednesday at least 16 peo-
What few boats remained had
been slashed by the Turkish authorities to prevent anyone from
making an attempt. Life jackets
were piled up under trees by the
dozens; they too had been slashed
during the raid.
"When they came, we ran and
Despite his warm demeanour
and eagerness to practise his nearly impeccable English, Milad, a 19year-old Hazara refugee from Afghanistan, was hesitant to reveal
any information about himself who he is, where he came from.
Standing in a hillside olive
Loya Jirga the only remedy to
deepening crises
From P1
Massoud said that insecurity
mounted after formation of the
NUG, adding that the government
also failed to address economic
and political crises. Leaders of
the NUG President Ashraf
Ghani and the Chief Executive
Officer Abdullah Abdullah
have agreed to convene a Loya
Jirga within two years to amend
constitution and create position
of acting prime minster. However, calling constitutional Loya Jirga is not possible, because the
Wolesi Jirga s tenure has officially ended and we don t have district councils so far, he said.
Masoud said that people urge the
government to convene a traditional Loya Jirga to find a solution to current crises. Throughout the history Loya Jirgas have
proved helpful in bringing the country out of crises, he added.
He urged Afghans to remain
united and said that unity is the
only key to success.
Pacha Khan Zadran, said that
leaders of the NUG failed to fulfill
the promises that they had made
with people of Afghanistan during
2014 presidential campaigns. The
two leaders are busy in appointing members of their teams in high
positions, he added.
He said that mounting challenges have widened distance between people and the government.
Thus, the only remedy to the
current crises is to convene traditional Loya Jirga, Zadran added.
If the government is not
ready, then people should come to
the fore to convene Loya Jirga and
find a way out to current challenges, he added. He said that the
government should respect whatever decision the Loya Jirga takes.
Zadran added that they don t have
enmity with the government, but
their concerned about stability of
Afghanistan.
In the meantime, a member of
the Mesrano Jirga, Zalmai Zabuli,
called on the government to convene Loya Jirga immediately in
order to overcome current crises.
Kabul jobless youths decry govt s unconcern
from1 The protestors had also hoisted red card and said that they
give red card to the government for its performances. The demonstrators accused the MOLSAMD of negligence and stressed that 13
million people are unemployed and the government is yet to take any
action. Hafiz Akhgar, a member of the Movement against Unemployment, said that they staged the protest to give vent to their anger
against the government for its negligence in creating job opportunities
for unemployed youths. Around 50 days ago the movement launched
a sit in before the parliament to urge the lawmakers to address the
challenge of joblessness. He said that widespread unemployment
leads to drug addiction, insecurity and illegal immigration of youth to
foreign countries. He urged the government to find solution to the
problem. The protestors warned to continue their protests, if the
government failed to meet their demands. They accused the government of nepotism and alleged that employment process in government administrations is not transparent. Widespread unemployment compelled hundreds of youth to migrate to foreign countries in
the past one year.
grove-turned-smuggler camp in
Turkey's northwest in the cool
stillness of the late afternoon, Milad finally opened up about his
experiences that had made him so
reluctant to even reveal his name.
His story is complex. The
Hazara are a Persian-speaking Shia
ethnic group who live predominantly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Many are fleeing the crushing
poverty that accompanies the extreme persecution they face at
home. But, almost universally, the
Hazara making the journey to Europe are all young, single men seeking an education.
Despite doing well academically, Milad said no school would take
him past grade 11. "The places are
for Pashtuns and Tajiks only," he
said.
For many Hazara, leaving Afghanistan is a family decision. The
poverty endemic to the Hazara
means there is usually only enough
money available in a family to send
one family member - the one most
likely to succeed in the journey to
Europe - usually the eldest son.
At the port of Lesbos, Mohammed Reza reflected on the difficulties he had overcome to successfully arrive on European soil.
"All of my family agreed I should
come here," said the 18-year-old.
His family, living as refugees
in Iran, face continuous discrimination both from the government
and other refugees and decided to
send him to Europe for everyone's
eventual benefit. Immaculately
dressed in a smart button-down and
Ray-Bans, 18-year-old Reza, recounted his ordeal that is typical
for refugees who arrive on Lesbos.
"From Tehran to the Iran-Turkey border, we came with a pickup truck. The capacity of this car
is 10 - and it is for sheep or animals, but we were 25 or 26 people," Reza recalled. The group then
climbed for 20 hours over a mountain to arrive in Turkey where
smugglers arranged for the boat.
"The capacity of that boat was
25 to 30 people. We were 49 in
that boat Our ship filled with
water. We lost our engine [when]
the water and fuel mixed together," Reza explained. The Turkish
police saw their stranded boat but
did not rescue them as they were
already in Greek waters. "We
waved flags, shined lights, made
noise, but they didn't care," said
Reza. The people eventually decided to row with their hands and,
luckily, were able to reach land after several hours. Ali, another
young Hazara who arrived on Lesbos, explained why he had taken
the dangerous journey to Europe.
"My family doesn't know that I'm
here I told them that I was going
to another province for one month.
They don't know that I'm in Europe now. When I get to my final
country, I'll call them and tell
them," Ali said. In a country where
their very name is a slur, few Hazara see a future for themselves or
their children in Afghanistan. And,
despite having crossed the threshold into the European Union, few
of the Hazara expressed elation,
but simply relief - and even then,
it is often quickly put into check
with the acknowledgement that
their journey is not yet over.
Aljazeera
Women entrepreneurs in
Balkh province
Through the UK funded business
support program in Balkh, women like Raqiba, a mother of seven,
are becoming successful entrepreneurs.
Although Raqiba had worked
as a shopkeeper, she did not have
the experience of running a professional business until four years
ago, when she was trained in a program supported by the Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development
Program (AREDP).
For the last four years she has
been selling Balkhi women s handicrafts in her shop in Rabia Balkhi
marketplace in Mazar-e-Sharif
city, a market dedicated to female
shopkeepers.
Ten years ago, however, Raqiba was the only female shopkeeper in the city. Mazar-e-Sharif municipality provided her with a shop
downtown, where she worked for
six years. She now runs a small
business which provides job opportunities for 40 other women
who live in rural areas on the city
outskirts. These women earn an
average of between 1,000 Afghanis ($18) and 4,000 Afghanis ($70)
a month. Raqiba uses raw materials she imports from India, Pakistan, and Iran to produce various
handicrafts including vases and
cloth.
Every item in Raqiba s shop
is made by her creative colleagues
whom she trained in tailoring, knitting, needlework, and embroidery.
Soraya Noori is one of the
trainees whom Raqiba, with support from AREDP, trained in knitting winter wear. She has a homebased knitting company now and
produces winter clothes using knitting machines. Soraya says: Before, we used to hand-knit clothes,
which required more work and took
a long time. But now we knit more
clothes in less time.
Support from AREDP has
helped Raqiba to expand her business, including managing her financial accounts. Raqiba says: People have seen my work from the
beginning. My work has changed
so markedly and has improved after the training. Habiba Rasuli
was also trained in knitting by
Raqiba and is considered a master.
She now runs her own handicraft
and clothes shop in the market.
She says: Many women have
been able to develop their own
handicraft business in Rabia Balkhi
marketplace The UK is a key
donor to the Afghanistan Rural
Enterprise Development Program
(AREDP), which is funded through
the Afghanistan Reconstruction
Trust Fund (ARTF).
Ottawa. In a small gathering afterwards, students shared the nervousness of the uncertainty that
lay ahead and professors, government officials and field professionals advised on the prospect of entering the real world . I was asked
what plans I had, to which I replied; I am going back to Afghanistan. Being in a conflict studies
program meant everyone had a
sound knowledge of what was going on in Afghanistan? So I was
prepared for the immediate follow
up question of Why?
The confusion and concern
that transpired that day and has in
fact accompanied me to Afghanistan in the last three months is understandable. My family and
friends are worried and caution me
that for someone who has lived
most of his life abroad, finding a
place for himself in here especially with the deteriorating situations
is not possible . Therefore, in such
dire times my return from the diaspora to the homeland is perceived to be illogical and illusory.
My return so far:
A return to my homeland has
delineated a whole package of socio-cultural meanings. It has
brought together memories and
longings, definite physical sensations with the intangibles and of
course so much that cannot be
spoken. I have realized on my return that home is an intimate place
and a significant contributor to
shaping of my identity. I have noticed that there is often an unsettling consequence for both the diaspora returnee and the local population. Change and continuity has
been a constant development for
both me and the home. I have come
to struggle with the question of
what correlation my return has to
the protracted conflict.
It is certainly true that return
migration is perceived as a positive sign that conflict is abating and
a return to normalcy is occurring. Returnees are often considered as significant agents in the
post-conflict reconstruction efforts. There is a general implicit
assumption that diaspora return is
unconditionally good as it offsets
the massive epidemic of brain
drain that often plagues conflict
zones. I believe this is rather a sedentary thinking that homecoming
is unproblematic, and returnees
will be naturally re-inserted into
the homeland once left behind.
I have realized that the reality
of a homecoming that does not
match to the imagined and experienced homeland is emotionally
destabilizing and arguably harder
to settle than migrating to a new
part of the world. The cool welcome towards the returnees is a
general theme that emerges in the
homecoming experience. The animosity towards the returnees is
derived from envy of exaggerated
images of the comfortable ,
easy living conditions that the
returnees have supposedly enjoyed abroad.
The experience of the returnee
is not all negative as homecoming
can actually lead to a discovery
of a new sense of attachment. Considering that life in the diaspora is
often characterized by poverty and
marginalization rather than a luxurious life of a cosmopolitan. In this
respect, homecoming holds great
potential for empowering. It is
liberating and can be characterized progressive as opposed to
a dislocated diasporic life of hybrid postnationals .
Personally, my decision to return has been adamantly clear for
sometimes now. In such difficult
times for Afghanistan, it is my responsibility to return and provide
my service. This desire to return
under such unfavourable conditions might upset the postmodern
belief that the bond between people, culture and nations has withered away. My conviction is not
based on a nostalgic reaction to the
hardship of displacement. Neither
do I aspire to be one of the many
opportunist Afghan Diasporas
who flooded Kabul in 2002 and
by now are back on route to their
host country with the fortune made
in Afghanistan.
I have chosen to return now
precisely because there is no promise of personal gain. I neither have
any affiliation with anyone in
power nor strive towards flashing
my foreign degree to obtain a high
salary job. I return with a simple
task of building an ICT library in
my home town. What I endeavour
neither fits in a NGO template nor
meets the donor demand. So as
expected, I am struggling.
Why I write:
In a time when the refugee crisis has taken the front and center
of the world s attention, it is indeed a perplexing read of someone s voluntary return to a conflict zone. Particularly, when the
return destination happens to be
the second largest exodus of the
current refugees crisis. Tragically,
Afghans are again leaving their
country by thousands daily. The
causes are escalating insecurity and
more than a decade of economic
underdevelopment that has become quite difficult to bear.
Return migration is an emerging phenomenon and I am certainly not alone. There are thousands
of young dedicated Afghans who
have voluntarily returned and are
now working in Afghanistan towards a better future. This is precisely why I have chosen to write,
to share my experience in the hope
that the young generation in my
country will choose not to leave.
Perhaps as someone who has
left the country himself almost two
decades ago, I do not have any right
to call on Afghans who will embark on this dangerous path today.
This goes as well for many of the
afghan leadership today who themselves are Afghan diaspora returnees pocketing dual citizenship and
yet calling on young afghans to not
leave their country.
But my plea is not that of our
elite class who speak from a secure and rather comfortable vantage point. I do not voice our former
president Karzai s disgraceful rhetoric that stay and build your country who very much laid the foundation for the current despair. I am
truly dumbfounded how a person
who presided over the last decade
of ailing socio-economic condition
and responsible for the misery of
the nation today is still allowed to
appear before the nation in an eccentric pretentious fashion and
preach.
My appeal to my fellow Afghans is as a citizen who has lived
abroad and believes there is no salvation in Europe and beyond. Despite the fact that today Afghanistan is marred by increasing violent insurgency and terrorism, the
chances are not much worse than
staying alive on route to Europe.
In Afghanistan the young generation is unfortunately a mere target
of insecurity, but by leaving and
uprooting oneself, the young Afghans become dispersed moving
targets. Even if one succeeds to
reach the shores and borders of
Europe after a long tortuous journey, what is next? Is the life purpose to stay alive or to live to one s
full potential? A foreign land can
hardly be a resourceful prospect
for a refugee.
Afghan Refugees:
The total estimate of Afghan
diaspora stands at over four millions. For many Afghans who left
their country and settled in the
Global North, there was a grave
socio-economic shock, from being
once part of established elite, to
struggling new immigrants. Afghans who held high government
positions in the homeland, it was
impossible to obtain a job in the
host country that would be commensurate to their previous status
in Afghanistan. Hence, the previous generation of Afghans who left
their homeland all have had to come
to terms with socio-economic
downgrades in their host country.
It is important also not to misconstrue challenges that Afghan
Diasporas in the Global North
face with the banality of imagery
being propagated within Afghanistan today. I am referring to the
assumptions that all Afghan Diasporas are taxi drivers, restaurant
cleaners, and many other labels
comprised for the purpose of demeaning. Yes, Afghan Diasporas in
Europe and beyond have historically faced many challenges in their
host countries. Afghans like any
other immigrant groups learned to
persevere in the face of obstacles
that the host country structurally
places upon them. Parents often
do sacrifice themselves by working labour intensive jobs in order
to provide a better future for their
children. These pervasive clichés
emerging by irresponsible propagandists inside Afghanistan is not
useful in deterring the mass exodus.
The previous generation of
Afghan refugees were the largest
in the world for more than a decade and had the Western sympathy for being victims of Soviet War.
Today an Afghan refugee has to
compete with growing and more
desperate refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. Many
of the states in the global north are
reluctant to grant asylum to Afghan refugees because they still sell
to their public that their decade
long involvement in Afghanistan
had been a success.
Afghans today leaving their
country endure being smuggled
through dangerous routes for
months, walking painfully, running
fearfully, being insulted, kicked at,
shot at, loved ones separated
amidst chaos, and if still did not
drown or die of exhaustion, they
reach the borders of so called safe
havens . It would be a blessing if
this was the end of their struggle.
Little do they know that their enduring hardship will be structured
and systematized under the guise
of immigration policies of their
new host country.
Today Europe, North America and Australia is a much more
different host for asylum seekers.
These countries are in most part
enduring an economic recession
that has led to re-emerging right
wing nationalism and a substantive Islamaphobic segment of a
population. It is not just a question of challenges of cultural shock
and integration for immigrant communities in the host society. It goes
beyond structural violence as the
attacks on immigrant communities
and Muslim immigrants in particular is a documented concern in
most of these refugee hosting countries.
Afghans who choose to flee
quite understandably have all the
rights to do so, but should be informed on what awaits ahead in
their destination. It is the responsibility of all concerned including
the Afghan diaspora to share their
experience. In my return as I share
with my generation of Afghans this
dreadful cycle of protracted war
and bleak socio-economic condition with no light in sight, I hold
on tight to the feeling of belonging
to a homeland and its people that
was always missing in the diaspora.
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MONDAY NOVEMBER 02, 2015
AFGHANISTAN TIMES
GHANI PROMISES JOBS AS
CITIZENS FLEE UNEMPLOYMENT
President Ashraf Ghani once again
promised to create jobs for the citizens amid alarming flee of Afghans
to Europe in a bid to seek employment and peaceful life. Ghani announced at the 5th National Community Development Councils
Consultative Conference in Kabul that a number of programs will
be launched in weeks to create
employment for the citizens.
Implementation of all government programs is linked to the economic growth of country, Ghani
told the gathering attended by CEO
Abdullah Abdullah, cabinet members and parliamentarians. Ghani
admitted that Afghanistan is a rich
country but the citizens are facing
economic issues. Stressing the need
for implementation of National
Solidarity Program (NSP) across
the country, he said the programs
of all the ministries would be run
through NSP in order to develop
the Afghan communities in all corners of the country. "Ten underdeveloped provinces will be prioritized under National Solidarity
Program," Ghani promised. In ad-
dition, he announced the program
will be launched in urban areas too.
During his speech, he expressed condolence to the families
that lost their beloved ones and
suffered extensive damages as a
result of recent deadly earthquake
in the country. "Our effort is to
make sure those who suffered a
lot should be provided with more
assistance," Ghani said.
Before his speech, CEO Abdullah also addressed the attendees, saying that he would work
together to overcome barriers to-
wards having a developed community. "This conference gives us a
better chance to work with people, for the people, and through
their own communities," he noted. Calling the program successful, Abdullah said millions of dollars are being spent to develop the
rural communities and improve the
living conditions of the villagers.
"We are in a decade which is dedicated for sustainable development
and we are committed to meeting
the goals of this millennium," he
stated.
ADB, donor countries announce
$858m grant for Afghanistan
The Asian Development Bank
(ADB), which is the leading and
largest infrastructure development
partner of Afghanistan, together
with donor countries have announced a new grant of $858 million for Afghanistan.
The new grant was announced
during a recent visit of Afghanistan s Deputy Finance Minister
Mustafa Mastoor to the headquarters of ADB where he met the
bank s president Takesiko Nako,
Vice President, Executive Director
for the United States Robert Orr
and other members of the executive committee.
According to the Ministry of
Finance, the announced grant
would be used on infrastructure
building from the year 2017 to
2020. In a meeting with Mastoor,
ADB leadership also expressed
keen desire in remaining a reliable
partner to Afghanistan and assured
Bank s continued support and engagement in the country for many
years to come.
The important financial contributions of ADB and donor countries will promote economic
growth, energy transmission, private sector investment, and build
and run infrastructure to promote
security and development in Afghanistan.
EMERGENCY
CALLS
JAPAN DONATES $2M ROAD EQUIPMENT TO GHOR
FIROZKOH: Japan has provided 10 vehicles and equipment to the
Public Works Department of western Ghor province in donation for
roads maintenance, officials said on Sunday. The modern vehicles and
equipment included three dump trucks, as many loaders, two graders
and as many excavators, Ghor Public Works Director Eng. Khalilullah
Noor told Pajhwok Afghan News. While thanking Japan for the aid, he
said, it would facilitate them in rehabilitating damaged roads in the
province. Governor Sima Joinda said she had shared road problems in
the province with the Japanese ambassador and the Deputy Minister
of Public Works, so they handed over the machineries to the province.
She also thanked Japan for the assistance which she said would be
used mostly for construction of roads in the provincial capital.
Police
100 - 119
Hospitals
Safe homes playing vital role in
Nimroz women s safety
ZARANJ: The Nida-i-Zan (voice
of women) Organization (VoW)
through its safe homes project has
rejoined 150 women with their
families in southwestern Nimroz
province.
While some women, including
two foreigners, are still living in
the safe homes, awaiting their families to join them.
The safe home project was initiated in 2012 in Nimroz to provide medical and legal assistance
to victims of domestic violence
besides literacy and vocational
training.
Khalil Ahmad Aziz, an official
of the organization, said as many
as 100 women had so far been provided shelter at the safe homes after they fled family violence,
eloped or faced other similar problems.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News
38 women and 12 children, who
lost their way during illegal trips
to Iran, were reunited with their
families through the safe homes.
Around 20 women were
trained in vocational skills, awareness about human rights and
household responsibilities.
According to Azizi, currently
10 women and four children were
living in the safe homes and they
would also be reunited with their
families soon.
He said two foreign women
were also living in the shelter house
and they were trying to find their
families through their countries
embassies in Afghanistan.
Azizi said when they first
launched the safe homes project,
they faced opposition from local
people, but people remained calm
after they witnessed services the
facility offered.
Fatima, 40, a resident of
Zaranj, the provincial capital, said
her husband would beat her without any reason and therefore she
and her daughter got refuge in the
safe homes.
After 20 years of her marriage,
she approached the police who
sent her to the safe homes.
After one month, I returned
to my home and found that the
situation has changed. I begin a new
life and my husband has also
changed a lot. Officials of the safe
homes would visit my house to
assess my husband s behavior.
Nimroz women s affairs director Amina Hakimi said the USAID-funded women s shelter home
played an important role in resolving women s problems. She said
women in the safe homes were
taught about their rights in family.
According to her department,
80 cases of violence against women, including three murders and one
self-burning, were registered this
year while the number of such cases
last year was 60. Other cases included beating, eloping, underage
marriages, divorce and others.
Hakimi linked the increase in
violence against women to poverty, joblessness and drug addiction.
We are campaigning from village
to village and door to door to aware
women about their husband rights
and the men about their wives
rights, she said.
Figures with the provincial
Counternarcotics Department
show more than 10,000 people,
600 of them women, are addicted
to drugs. A majority of these addicts are returnees from Iran where
had travelled in search of work.
A civil society activist, Razia
Baloch, said every family in Nimroz had one member addicted to
drugs, calling it a major problem.
Despite public awareness
programs over the past 13 years,
little progress was achieved because Afghanistan is many times
backward compared to other countries.
The government should pay
attention to the issue.
Zubaida Rassouli, a worker at
the Neda-i-Zan organization, said
another big problem the women
faced was joblessness.
Girls who graduate from
schools cannot find jobs, we want
donor agencies to generate job opportunities for women in tailoring,
sewing, carpet weaving and other
activities, she said.
She added the current problems women faced forced them into
choosing shelter houses.
(Pajhwok)
FMIC Hospital
Behind Kabul Medical
University:
Four road
engineers
injured in Herat
shooting spree
HERAT CITY: Four engineers of
a road construction company were
shot and wounded by unidentified
gunmen in western Herat province,
an official said on Sunday.
Herat police spokesman Abdur Rauf Ahmadi told Pajhwok
Afghan News gunmen riding a
motorcycle opened fire at the workers in Kort Wa Neshin area late on
Saturday. The engineers were
heading from Pashton Zarghon district to Herat City, the provincial
capital, when came under attack,
he said, adding security guards also
accompanied the engineers, but
they did not retaliate. Herat Zonal
Hospital spokesman Mohammad
Rafiq Sherzai confirmed receiving
three injured people from the incident area. One of them was discharged after treatment, he said.
0202500200-+93793275595
Rabia-i-Balkhi Hospital
Pule Bagh-e- Umomi
070263672
Khairkhana Hospital
0799-321007
2401352
Taliban kidnap four
civilians in Jawzjan
Taliban militants kidnapped four civilians from Qush Tepa District of
northern Jawzjan province last night after accusing them of helping
government.
Deputy Police Chief of Jawzjan said on Sunday that Taliban have
taken the abducted villagers of Jarqaduq village to an unknown location.
Colonel Abdul Hafiz Khashi added that there is no information
about the where about of the hostages but community elders are trying
to secure their release.
Reports suggest that the kidnapped civilians are not government
employees but their sons were once soldiers of the Afghan National
Army.
Taliban had not commented on the report by the time it was filed.
This comes as the leadership of Taliban always stress to fighters in
messages to refrain from bothering or harming civilians.
Wardak truck-scale daily
revenue nears 300,000 afs
MAIDAN SHAHR: The electronic truck-scale s daily revenue in
central Maidan Wardak province
has increased manifold compared
to past years.
During the last one year, average daily income from the weighbridge had been 15,000 afghanis but
currently it stood at nearly
300,000 afs, Governor Hayatullah
Hayat told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The income increased because
the government had recently paid
more attention to truckloads passing through the province besides
eliminating corruption in the department, he said.
During a visit to the scale, the
governor said the scale officials
fined truck drivers who violated
the maximum axel weight and that
was another reason behind the increased income.
Hayat said before there had
been widespread corruption in the
scale involving officials from the
public works, security forces, drivers, contractors and others, but
now the corruption had been prevented and the effort continued.
An official at the scale, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the provincial police chief,
his deputy and the public works
director had appointed their own
people in the scale department and
they pocked most of the income.
The public works director,
Syed Younus Najafizada, has recently been detained on corruption
charges.
Acting revenue department
head, Mohammad Yasin Siddiqui,
said the scale s revenue in the previous years had been low due to
corruption.
He said the scale department s
income would further increase and
exceed the Finance Ministry s target if transparency in its affairs
was maintained.
Provincial council head Ahmad
Jafari praised recent anti-corruption measures by the governor s
office, but said the scale employees should be officially appointed
in order to run its affairs smoothly.
However, Hayat said the scale
employees had been introduced by
a joint commission with representatives from security and civil services departments.
But Masihullah, a truck driver, complained anout many problems they faced at the scale department.
Asylum seekers from Afghanistan topped Iraqis as majority in Tornio
On Friday 126 asylum-seekers arrived to the Tornio reception centre, but for the first time since the
influx of migrants began there, the
majority were from Afghanistan,
not Iraq.
The National Bureau of Investigation says that of Friday's newcomers 61 were Afghanis and 49
were Iraqis, all of whom became
registered asylum-seekers.
Lapland police communications director Elina Katajam ki
says it is too early to tell whether
the number of migrants from Iraq
is on a sustained decline. Until Friday, the number of arriving Iraqis
had remained fairly uniform.
"Roughly speaking about 70
percent of the asylum-seekers arriving in Finland are from Iraq,"
Katajam ki says.
The Tornio centre, located near
the northern border with Sweden,
was established in late September.
Since then, migrants from Iraq,
Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran and Eritrea have arrived to the facility, she
says. The number of families requesting asylum has also risen
slightly.
Katajam ki says it's possible
some that Iraqis may now be turning their sights towards other European countries after the Finnish
Immigration Service's widely-reported change of security assessments. The Service recently announced that it no longer considers certain parts of Iraq unsafe
enough to grant all Iraqi applicants
asylum in Finland. Centre running
Two Pakistani
militants killed in
Kunar drone
attack
AT Monitoring Desk
KABUL: Two Pakistani militants
were killed on Sunday in a US
drone strike in eastern Kunar province, an official said on Sunday.
Provincial Police Chief, Brig.
Gen. Abdul Habib Syedkhel told
media that two Pakistani militants
were killed in a US drone attack on
Saturday night in Shultan valley
of Shegal district of the province,
which is bordering Pakistan. He
added that two insurgents were
killed while civilians escaped unhurt in the drone attack. The Taliban insurgents did not comment
on the incident so far.
This is worth mentioning that
a foreign militant commander with
his two guards killed in a drone
attack in province two days ago.
According to Afghan officials, Bilal al-Naiby, who was allegedly an
Arab, was targeted Thursday
evening in Ghazi Abad district of
the Kunar province.
This eastern province has long
been experiencing terrorist attacks,
and seen constant rocket fires from
across the border over the past few
years.
Meshrano Jirga urges ...
Indira Gandhi Children
Hospital, Wazir Akbar
Khan, Kabul 2301372
Ibn-e- Seena
Pul-e-Artan, Kabul
2100359
Wazir Akbar Khan
Hospital
2301741, 2301743
Ali Abad
Shahrara, Kabul
2100439
Malalai Maternity
Hospital
2201377/ 2301743
Banks
Da Afghanistan Bank
2100302, 2100303
Bakhtar Bank
0776777000
Azizi Bank
0799 700900
Pashtany Bank
2102908, 2103868
Air Services
Safi Airways
020 22 22 222
Ariana
020-2100270
Kam Air
0799974422
Hotels
Safi Landmark
From P1
smoothly
Katajam ki says the Tornio
reception centre operates exceptionally well. The centre employs
police staff from all over the coun-
try. "We have received messages
from migrants saying they are here
to work and to stay. The work
morale is high here, as is a sense of
community," she says. Some one
hundred newly registered asylumseekers left the northern Finnish
border town in buses, headed for
reception centres across the country especially towards the capi-
tal region. All in all 9,276
asylum-seekers have arrived in Finland since the
beginning of the refugee
crisis.
They reached Germany at while risking
their lives and worldly belongings, and if they
are returned with all their valuables lost, they
will join the enemies of the country and cause
a big security challenge for the country, he
said. Tayeba Zahedi, a senator from Herat
province expressed her deep concern over
increase in joblessness and said that due to
lack of financial support, a month ago two
houses were looted by robbers in 11th jurisdiction of Khair Khana locality. A senator
from Baghlan, Faisal Sami, said that joblessness was a major challenge for the country,
asking the government to step up efforts and
suppress human traffickers as they play with
dreams and emotions of young generation
by taking them to Europe. Deputy Speaker
of Meshrano Jirga, Muhammad Alam Ezedyar asked the government to find solution to
prevent forced deportation of Afghans from
Germany as well as other parts of the European countries. He said the government
should accelerate steps for voluntary repatriation of Afghan from Germany. In the
meantime, the senators called on the government to convene traditional Loya Jirga to
find a remedy to current challenges. They
also urged the government to announce the
exact date of parliamentary and district council elections. Sher Mohammad Akhunzada, a
senator from Helmand, said that the government has failed to overcome the deepening
crises, thus it should call a Loya Jirga. Zalmai Zabuli, another senator also urged the
government to convene Loya Jirga soon.
However, Maulvi Muhauddin Munsif said
that convening constitutional Loya Jirga was
impossible without launching Wolesi Jirga
and district council elections. Deputy Speaker of the Meshrano Jirga, Muhammad Alam
Ezidyar, said that the government should announce exact date of Wolesi Jirga elections
before convening Loya Jirga.
020-2203131
SERENA
0799654000
New Rumi Restaurant
0776351347
Internet Services
UA Telecom
0796701701 / 0796702702
Exchange Rate
Sell:
One US$ =
64.55Afs
One Pound Sterling=
98.40Afs
One Euro =
73.13Afs
1000 Pak Rs =
618Afs
Buy:
One US$ =
64.35 Afs
One Pound Sterling=
98.23Afs
One Euro=
72.53 Afs
1000 Pak Rs= 610Afs
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.
MONDAY NOVEMBER 02, 2015
AFGHANISTAN TIMES
China-Pakistan corridor: Nawaz to
Sri Lankan Navy
break ground of western route ‘soon’ arrests five more
ISLAMABAD:
Following
months of criticism over the government’s preference for the eastern route for the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif on Friday asserted
he will personally kick off work
on the neglected western route
‘soon’.
The announcement comes
nearly 10 days after the National
Highway Authority (NHA) told a
Senate panel that the government
had allocated less than a fifth of
funds for the western route than it
had for the eastern route.
Reviewing progress on
projects under the CPEC umbrella
at the PM House on Friday,
Nawaz was briefed by Finance
Minister Ishaq Dar on the estimated dates for completion of the
projects.
Terming CPEC as the future
of Pakistan, Nawaz said that he
would personally monitor the pace
and progress of the projects
through the core team on a weekly
basis. In this regard, he directed
the concerned authorities to update the project benchmarks on
monthly and quarterly basis.
According to a PM House, the
premier said that he would personally perform the ground breaking ceremony for the western route
“soon”.
Emphasising on the need to
complete the project on time, he
said that delays will not be tolerated and officials found to be slacking will cease to be part of the team.
The $46 billion project was
signed with China earlier this year.
However, the exact roadmap for
executing the project has divided
the country from end to end. Parliamentarians from Balochistan and
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have criticised the government for having a
tilt towards the eastern route of
the $46-billion CPEC, voicing
their rage from time to time over
leaving behind the smaller provinces. The NHA confirmed those
fears when it told the Senate Standing Committee on Communication
that the government has allocated
a mere Rs20 billion for the western route, which starts from Gwa-
dar and goes to Kashgar in China
via Balochistan, K-P and Punjab.
In contrast, the Rs110 billion eastern route travels along the
Balochistan coast to Sindh before
turning north and traveling through
Punjab and then on to Khunjerab.
Development controversy:
Balochistan backtracks on CPEC
route stance
On Tuesday, a parliamentary
oversight committee for the
project suggested that the government consider converting the western route as a dual carriageway
from the outset, with a motorway
to eventually link Gwadar with the
rest of the country.
Bhutan is keen to export hydropower to Bangladesh at 'the cheapest possible rate', says the country's Economic Affairs Minister
Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk.
He told Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina on Sunday that Bhutan had
the potential to increase its generation to 30,000 MW in future.
Briefing reporters after the
meeting, Hasina’s Press Secretary
Ihsanul Karim quoted Wangchuk
as saying his country was currently generating 5,000 MW of electricity and the price was the cheapest in the world.
In reply, the prime minister
reiterated that her government’s
planned to import power from
Bhutan and was keen to participate in its future power projects.
Karim said Hasina hoped Bhutan's yet unexplored hydropower
potential would help Bangladesh
meet its growing power demand.
She said that India was also
positive about helping Bangladesh
import power from Nepal and
Bhutan under the BBIN framework.
Sheikh Hasina also said that
the Motor Vehicle Agreement
would improve connectivity
among the four countries.
Karim said she expressed Bang-
ladesh's keenness to promote bilateral and sub--regional cooperation with India, Nepal, and Bhutan on Water Resources Management, power or hydroelectricity
and connectivity-related issues.
Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk,
highly appreciative of her leadership, congratulated her for receiving the ‘Champions of the Earth’
award of the United Nations Environment Programme.
He also lauded her government’s initiatives to combat climate change. Karim said the Bhutanese minister was impressed to
find various remains Buddhist heritage in Bangladesh and appreciated the government’s efforts to protect them. Outgoing Malaysian envoy meets PM The outgoing Malaysian High Commissioner in
Bangladesh, Norlin Binti Othman,
on Sunday also paid a courtesy call
on the prime minister at her office.
Ihsanul Karim said Sheikh Hasina
had stressed further strengthening
of economic cooperation between
the two countries. She said there
was to increase bilateral trade. The
prime minister also expressed satisfaction over Malaysian investments in various sectors in Bangladesh such as textile, power, infrastructure and agro-based indus-
tries. She noted that the countries had agreed to establish regular foreign official level consultations to steer
progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation. She thanked Norlin Binti Othman for successfully completing her
tenure in Dhaka and contributing significantly to the strengthening of bilateral ties. Karim said the outgoing
Malaysian high commissioner felt Bangladesh had a great potential for economic development. Othman also
lauded Bangladesh's striking progress in various sectors.
From seeking help in fighting terror group Al Shabab to inviting
India to do business in diamonds,
African leaders discussed a wide
range of issues with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines
of the third India-Africa Forum
Summit.
Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Thursday invited
Modi to visit his country and told
him that he will personally take
him to Timbuktu, which he said
was a heritage site that faced the
threat of being destroyed by extremist groups. Stating that his
country was badly affected by terrorism, he sought India’s cooperation in counter-terrorism.
Somalian President Hassan
Sheikh Mohamoud, who did his
Masters’ in Education from Bhopal, told Modi that he was the
“shining example” of a beneficiary
of education cooperation. He went
back to Somalia and set up an educational institute, which has now
become an university with 5,000
students.
PM Modi offers Africa $10bn loan, says projects to be monitoredDigital technology to terrorism: What PM Modi said at the
India-Africa SummitPM Modi
announces credit line of $10 million for Africa over 5 yearsIndiaAfrica summit: 12 African leaders
talk terror, defence with PM
Narendra ModiOn India-Africa
summit eve, PM Narendra Modi
hails continental ties with AfricaPM Narendra Modi to visit Russia tomorrow to attend BRICS,
SCO summitsPM Modi offers
Africa $10-bn loan, says projects
to be monitoredDigital technology to terrorism: What PM Modi
said at the India-Africa SummitPM
Modi announces credit line of $10
million for Africa over 5 yearsIndia-Africa summit: 12 African lead-
ers talk terror, defence with PM
Narendra ModiOn India-Africa
summit eve, PM Narendra Modi
hails continental ties with AfricaPM Narendra Modi to visit Russia tomorrow to attend BRICS,
SCO summitsPM Modi offers
Africa $10-bn loan, says projects
to be monitoredDigital technology to terrorism: What PM Modi
said at the India-Africa SummitPM
Modi announces credit line of $10
million for Africa over 5 yearsIndia-Africa summit: 12 African leaders talk terror, defence with PM
Narendra ModiOn India-Africa
summit eve, PM Narendra Modi
hails continental ties with AfricaPM Narendra Modi to visit Russia tomorrow to attend BRICS,
SCO summits
While praising Indian Navy’s
role in curbing piracy, he said terror outfit Al Shabab was “in retreat” and sought India’s cooperation in counter-terrorist activities.
Modi told him that India can send
counter-terrorism experts if Somalia needs them.
Angola’s Vice-President Manuel Domingos Vicente said India
should do business with his country, which is rich in diamonds. To
this, Modi said it will be a “winwin partnership”.
In a gesture of goodwill, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
decided to release two Indians languishing in Egyptian jails for 16
and 22 years, respectively, under
the transfer of sentenced persons
agreement between the two countries.
India had requested Egypt in
December 2014 to release the two
Indians as per provisions of the
sentenced persons pact.
“Sisi, in a goodwill gesture,
agreed to the release of two longterm Indian prisoners in Egypt who
had been in jail for 16 and 22 years.
Tamil Nadu fishermen
RAMESWARAM: Sri Lankan Navy arrested five Tamil Nadu fishermen today and seized their boat on charges of crossing the International
Maritime Boundary Line and fishing in their waters. Rameswaram
fishermen Association President S Emirit said the fishermen were fishing near Katchatheevu islet when the navy personnel arrested them.
The navy had on October 2 arrested seven fishermen who went for
fishing in the sea from here while on October 10, 19 fishermen hailing
from Nagapattinam were arrested. Again in October 13, 24 fishermen
from Rameswaram have been arrested. Nine more fishermen from Nagapattinam have been apprehended the next day. Similarly, 34 fishermen
have been arrested on October 27 on charges of fishing in Sri Lankan
waters. Expressing shock over these arrests, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had written letters on various occasions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to take up the arrest of the state's
fishermen with Sri Lanka and sought their release. "I have repeatedly
and emphatically pointed out that the unconstitutionality of the IndoSri Lankan agreements of 1974 and 1976 and the ceding of the Katchatheevu islet, is the root cause of the problem," she had said. Emirit alleged
that the Centre was "not taking" any action to prevent arrests of Tamil
Nadu fishermen, who had "no other option except crossing IMBL for
fishing." He said the distance between two sea coast was only 12
nautical miles. "Mechanised boats can't fish within three nautical miles
from the Tamil Nadu shore. Another four nautical miles is rocky. They
had no other option except crossing the IMBL in view of narrow sea
dividing the countries", she said. Besides, the Katchatheevu agreement
gave them the right to fish in traditional waters. "If the government was
not able to provide protection to the fishermen, let them take the boats
and give us alternative livelihood", he said.
Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar will leave for Moscow and St. Petersburg Friday,
October 30 to finalize two defense
deals part of an over Rs 12,000
crore (over $1.8 billion USD) to
acquire new equipment that was
just approved by the Defense
Acquisitions Council (DAC).
This comes ahead of the planned
December visit by Indian Prime
Minister Narendra Modi to Russia and is also believed will help
set the agenda for that future
event. Additionally, it is reported
that both countries will sign an
agreement on Russia leasing another nuclear-powered submarine
to India this December.
Russia India Modi Putin
Some of the planned defense
spending is meant to bridge gaps
in the combat capabilities of the
Indian Armed Forces. While India has a thriving indigenous defense industry, it has been beset
by numerous problems which
have served to seriously set back
projects far beyond planned deadlines. As a result, New Delhi is
increasingly forced to turn to external sources such as Russia for
hardware. An overwhelming majority of India’s military equipment is sourced from Russia, either built there or domestically
produced in India under license.
Additionally, apart from the acquisition of weaponry and technology, a number of advanced
projects between both countries
are currently in advanced stages.
Without a doubt, the India-Russia defense relationship is of great
importance to the Russian economy and India’s armed forces.
Approved Defense Deals
Two major military purchases are expected to be finalized in
Moscow in the coming days while
discussions are expected on a variety of other possible future
deals. The two deals with Russia
involve an upgrade of India’s aerial
fleet of Russian-designed transports and tankers and the purchase of new infantry combat vehicles (IFVs). In addition, the
DAC also approved the acquisition of two more multiple launch
rocket system (MLRS) regiments,
new multi-purpose vessels for the
navy and an upgrade to existing
surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. According to unnamed defense sources, some of the acquisition projects are intended to
“overcome hollowness” in the
Indian Armed Forces. Deals with
Russia The larger of the deals
worth Rs 4,250 crore is for a wide
range of improvements to the Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refueling tankers and Il-76 (Candid) strategic
transports of the Indian Air Force
(IAF). In addition to enhanced avionics, the fleet will receive various
upgrades extending their service life
by 20 years. On the receiving end
of most improvements are the IAFs
Il-87s which will be fitted with new
engines to help increase their range
in addition to other modifications
that will allow for greater fuel loads.
It is likely the new engines will be
PS 90 power plants that will provide enough lifting thrust to increase the load carrying ability of
each aircraft by almost two tons.
The IAF has 14 Il-76 transports, three Il-76s fitted for AWAC
(Airborne Warning and Control
System) duties, three Il-76s deployed by the Aviation Research
Center and six Il-78 tankers. For
over two years, the IAF has failed
to finalize a deal with European
aircraft manufacturer Airbus to
provide six new generation tankers under the Multi Role Tanker
Transport (MRTT) project. With
no progress being made on that deal
due to pricing issues, the planned
modernization of the IAFs existing tankers will at the least provide a stop-gap measure until new
aircraft can be procured.
The second deal with Russia
concerns the acquisition of 149
BMP-2 IFVs for the army at a cost
of Rs 924 crore. The decision to
purchase these IFVs came as a result of an amendment to the “acceptance of necessity” (AoN) that
was originally granted for Indian
licensed production by the Ordnance Factory Board of 363 of the
same IFVs.
Earlier this month, due to over
five years of delays in the Future
ICV (FICV) program, the Indian
Army made clear its intention to
accelerate the upgrade of 1,0001,200 aging license-built BMP-2/
2K “Sarath” IFVs to BMP-2M
standard through the enhancement
of their armament and fitting of
more powerful engines. The FICV
program has been beset by problems, one of them being its restriction to domestic companies and the
eventual realization that foreign
collaboration is necessary in several areas. Domestic Deals
Several projects not involving
Russia have also been approved by
the DAC. The Indian Army will
add two additional Pinaka MLRS
regiments (each regiment has 18
Pinaka launchers and associated
systems) at a cost of Rs 3,306 crore
to boost its medium-range, high
volume firepower. Manufactured
by the Indian companies Tata and
Larsen & Toubro (L&T), each Pinaka rocket can carry a 100kg payload to a maximum range of 40 kilometers.
At least four
dead as IED
blast hits
passenger
train in
Balochistan
They will be extradited to India under the transfer of sentenced persons agreement,” the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup
said. He said there were certain charges against the two Indians due to which they served long prison terms and added that New Delhi had never
questioned the judicial process. During the talks, Modi also thanked Sisi for attending the Summit and asserted that without Egypt, the Summit
would have been “incomplete”. The two leaders agreed to take bilateral ties to a “much higher and broader level”. Referring to Indian investments,
the Egyptian President invited more joint ventures in his country. “He referred to the new Suez canal as a complete corridor of integrated
development and said that numerous industrial zones in Egypt would be very attractive to Indian businesses,” said Swarup.
QUETTA: At least four people
were killed and at least 10 others
injured as an improvised explosives
device (IED) was detonated near a
stretch of railway track in the Dasht
area of Balochistan's Mastung district. Rescue sources say four passengers are dead, while at least 10
others are injured. The injured were
taken to Civil Hospital Quetta and
Bolan Medical Complex Hospital
for treatment. An emergency was
also declared in Civil Hospital
Quetta. The explosion took place
as the Quetta-Rawalpindi Jaffar
Express, a passenger train, was
passing. According to the Bomb
Disposal Squad, 8 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.
Faiz Muhammad Bugti, Divisional Superintendent of Railway said
that the BDS had also scanned the
tracks in order to avoid occurrence
of another untoward incident.
Chief Secretary Balochistan Saifullah Chattha said, "Train service
between Quetta and other parts of
Balochistan have been restored."
He also ordered that the blast victims be shifted from Civil Hospital Quetta to the Combined Military Hospital for medical treatment. The Jaffar Express had earlier been stopped immediately after the attack. Security has been
tightened along the railway tracks
from Quetta to Jaccobabad in the
aftermath of the fresh terror attack. FC and levies personnel have
been guarding the track to ensure
security of passengers. There has
been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The Jaffar
Express has been targeted by similar IED attacks in the past. Militants have targeted vital national
installations and security forces in
the province for over a decade.
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MONDAY NOVEMBER 02, 2015
AFGHANISTAN TIMES
News-in-Brief
Lebanon army
kills three
militants near
Syria border
Lebanon’s army on Saturday
fired at a vehicle carrying Islamist militants, killing three of
them and wounding two others in the north of the country
near the Syrian border, a security source said.
The source said it was unclear which group the militants
belonged to. They were driving near the outskirts of the
town of Arsal, the source said,
without providing further details.
Islamist groups including
al Qaeda’s Nusra Front have a
presence in western Syria, including near the border with
Lebanon, and there are have
been numerous incursions by
Islamists reported in the porous border region.
Syria’s four-year conflict
has spilled over into its smaller neighbour, which is still rebuilding after its own 15-year
civil war. There have been
clashes inside Lebanon between gunmen loyal to opposing sides in the Syrian conflict,
as well as strikes on the army
and cross-border attacks by
Syrian rebels.
The army fought several
days of deadly battles last year
with insurgent groups including Islamic State of Iraq and
Syria (ISIS) and Nusra Front
when they staged an incursion
into Arsal.
Al-Shabab assault
targets senior
Somali officials
At least 15 people have been
killed and dozens more
wounded in an attack on a
hotel in the centre of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, witnesses tell Al Jazeera. A car
bomb exploded at the main
gate of the Sahafi Hotel early
on Sunday morning, with attackers then storming the hotel as they exchanged gunfire
with security guards. A suicide bomber detonated a second set of explosives inside
the hotel. Somali troops and
African Union forces were
deployed to the scene and
took control of the situation,.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Njuguna, the spokesperson for
the AU Mission in Somalia,
told Al Jazeera. The al-Shabab armed group immediately claimed responsibility for
the attack. Those killed in the
attack included parliamentarian Mohamed Abdi Abtidoon
and a freelance photographer,
Mustaf Abdi, who on several
occasions contributed to Al
Jazeera reports. Several prominent people were among the
injured ,including a journalist
and a local businessman.
Medical sources confirmed
that a top Somali military commander, General Gacma Duule, and Somalia's ambassador
to Ethiopia, Abdisalam Haji
Adam, were also injured.
US Navy d iscovers w reckage
believed to be
cargo ship El
Faro
Wreckage believed to be of the
cargo ship El Faro, which was
lost off the Bahamas along
with its 33 crew during Hurricane Joaquin, was discovered on Saturday, U.S. officials said. El Faro disappeared
on Oct. 1 en route from Jacksonville, Florida, to Puerto
Rico in the worst cargo shipping disaster involving a U.S.flagged vessel since 1983, after the captain reported a “hull
breach” and said a hatch had
blown open. A search team
aboard the U.S. Naval Ship
Apache using sonar equipment discovered the wreckage
on Saturday in the area of El
Faro’s last known position at
a depth of 15,000 feet (4,572
meters), the National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) said in a statement.
NTSB said officials
planned to use a remotely
operated submersible as early as Sunday to confirm the
find. But it said the wreckage
was consistent with a 790foot (241-meter) cargo ship,
and appeared to be intact in
an upright position. A video
camera mounted on the submersible will be used to document the wreckage and debris
field and locate the ship’s
voyage data recorder, similar
to the black box on airplanes,
the statement said. The discovery followed an earlier,
failed attempt by the Apache
to detect pings from El Faro’s
voyage data recorder by using equipment called a towed
pinger locator. Most of El Faro’s crew were American.
Iran’s top authority said elections
should be held in Syria to end the
civil war there and criticized foreign powers that arm and fund
Syrian opposition fighters, state
television reported on Sunday.
“The solution to the Syrian
question is elections, and for this
it is necessary to stop military and
financial aid to the opposition,”
several state media outlets quoted
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei as saying. He added that
U.S. objectives in the Middle East
were the opposite of Iran’s and
negotiating with Washington on
regional issues was meaningless.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Kimoon said on Saturday he was “encouraged” by talks in Vienna bringing together the main outside players in the four-year-old Syria crisis for the first time. “I am encouraged that the participants have
reached a mutual understanding on
a number of key issues,” Ban told
a press briefing in Geneva after
meeting the head of the Interna-
tional Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC), Peter Maurer. Top diplomats from 17 countries, including
Iran, as well as the United Nations
and the European Union, attended
the unprecedented talks on Friday,
though the Syrian regime and the
opposition were not represented.
They sought common ground over
a conflict that has claimed a quarter of a million lives and triggered
an exodus of refugees to Europe.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister
Syrian rebels launch
FRESH OFFENSIVE
AGAINST ISIS
trying to train fighters outside the
country to supplying groups headed by U.S.-vetted commanders.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,
which monitors developments on
the ground, said fighting was raging on Saturday near al Hawl, a
town close to the Iraqi border, accompanied by coalition air strikes.
Hasaka province borders Iraq
and territory there that is a crucial
stronghold for ISIS. One member
of alliance, the Kurdish YPG has
to date proved Washington’s most
effective partner on the ground
against ISIS in Syria. It had pushed
towards the border in previous
fighting this year.
The Raqqa Revolutionaries
Front, one of the Arab groups in
the alliance, on Thursday declared
an imminent offensive against ISIS
in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa
province, which borders Hasaka.
Turks head to
polls in crucial
snap elections
A newly formed U.S.-backed Syrian rebel alliance on Saturday launched
an offensive against ISIS in the northeast province of Hasaka, a day
after the United States said it would send special forces to advise insurgents fighting the militants. It was the first declared operation by the
Democratic Forces of Syria, which joins together a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia and several Syrian Arab rebel groups, since it announced its
formation earlier this month. World powers and regional rivals are convening in Vienna to seek a solution to the four-year conflict in Syria that
has escalated since Russia intervened a month ago with an intense air
campaign. Fighting in Hasaka had begun after midnight, a spokesman
for the alliance said. A group monitoring the war reported fighting and
coalition air strikes in the area. A video posted earlier on Youtube announced the offensive in southern Hasaka, and showed several dozen
men in fatigues standing outdoors with yellow flags and banners carrying the name of the Democratic Forces of Syria in Arabic and Kurdish.
The campaign would “continue until all occupied areas in Hasaka
are freed from Daesh,” a spokesman for the alliance’s general command
said in the video, using an Arabic name for ISIS. He urged residents to
stay away from ISIS-controlled areas of Hasaka. Another spokesman
later said alliance forces had already attacked ISIS fighters. “The battle
began after midnight,” Talal Salu told Reuters via internet messaging
service. “They were flanked by our forces... (who) thwarted a counter
attack.” The United States’ decision to station ground troops in Syria
comes after it dropped ammunition to rebel groups in northern Syria
several weeks ago. Washington’s strategy in Syria has shifted from
ISTANBUL : Turkey is heading
to polls for a second time in five
months amid instability spilling
over from neighbouring Syria and
renewed tensions over the 30year-old Kurdish conflict. More
than 54 million people are registered to vote at 175,000 stations
on Sunday between 7am and 4pm
in the eastern provinces of Turkey, and 8am and 5pm in the western ones. The June 7 elections had
seen the social conservative Justice and Development Party (AK
party) lose its 13-year single party rule, but four political parties
that made their way to the parliament failed to produce a coalition
government and snap elections
were called. In the June polls, the
AK party secured 258 seats in the
550-seat house, losing many to the
Peoples' Democratic Party
(HDP), which achieved unprecedented success for a pro-Kurdish
party by getting 80 seats. The
unofficial election results are to be
announced on Sunday evening and
the country's election council will
make the official ones public in
several days. Main players The
main opposition centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP)
and far-right Nationalist Action
Party (MHP), which respectively won 131 and 80 seats.
Sergei Lavrov said they had agreed
that Syria must emerge from the
conflict as a unified secular state.
However, he and Lavrov disagreed
over whether President Bashar alAssad should step down immediately. The West and Gulf monarchies led by Saudi Arabia want
Assad to step down, but Russia
and Iran insist he has a right to
play a role in an eventual transition towards a mooted unity government and later elections. Another round of talks will be held in
two weeks. Also Saturday, Ban
and the ICRC’s Maurer issued a
joint statement appealing for urgent action to address growing instability and human suffering
around the world and to enforce
international humanitarian law.
“Rarely before have we witnessed
so many people on the move, so
much instability, so much suffering,” Maurer said. The statement
said conflicts and violence had
forced 60 million people from their
homes –- the highest figure since
World War II. Ban said in the statement: “In the face of blatant inhumanity, the world has responded
with disturbing paralysis... The
world must reaffirm its humanity
and uphold its commitments under international humanitarian
law.”
South China Sea
disputes
increasing
demand for US
security
presence:
Pentagon chief
OSAN AIR BASE: Disputes over
territory in the South China Sea
are causing countries in the region
to increase their demand for an
American security presence, the
U.S. defense chief said on Sunday.
A U.S. warship sailed within
12 nautical miles of one of China's
man-made islands in South China
Sea on Tuesday in the most significant U.S. challenge yet to territorial limits Beijing claims around the
Spratly archipelago.
The move triggered an angry
rebuke from Beijing and a warning
that a minor incident in the area,
which is one of the world's busiest
sea lanes, could spark war if the
United States did not stop what it
called "provocative acts."
“The attention to disputed
claims in the South China Sea, the
prominence of those disputes, is
having the effect of causing many
countries in the region to want to
intensify their security cooperation with the United States,” U.S.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter told
reporters on his way to South
Korea.
Carter said discussions at an
upcoming defense summit in Malaysia would include developments
in the South China Sea, “the most
notable of which in the last year
has been the unprecedented rate
of dredging and military activity
by China.”
Carter is due to arrive in Seoul
later on Sunday and is scheduled
to hold talks with South Korea's
defense chief on Monday, focused
on the allies' response to North
Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
He later flies to Malaysia for
the meeting of Southeast Asia defense ministers, which China's
Defense Minister Chang Wanquan
is also due to attend.
Russia grounds
airline's A321
fleet after
Egyptian
crash: Interfax
CAIRO: Russia has grounded Airbus A321 jets flown by the Kogalymavia airline, Interfax news agency reported on Sunday, after one
of its fleet crashed in Egypt's Sinai
Peninsula, killing all 224 people on
board.
The A321, operated by the
Russian airline under the brand
name Metrojet, was carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg when it went down soon
after daybreak on Saturday.
Interfax said the Russian transport regulator Rostransnadzor had
told Kogalymavia to stop flying
A321 aircraft until the causes of
the crash were known. However,
RIA news agency cited a Kogalymavia representative as saying that
the airline had not received the order from Rostransnadzor.
Egyptian and Russian investigators will begin examining within
hours the contents of two "black
box" recorders recovered from the
airliner, which crashed into a mountainous area of central Sinai shortly after losing radar contact near
cruising altitude.
A militant group affiliated to
Islamic State in Egypt said in a
statement that it brought down the
plane "in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of
Muslims on Syrian land", but Russia's Transport Minister Maxim
Sokolov told Interfax news agency the claim "can't be considered
accurate".
Three carriers based in the
United Arab Emirates airlines Emirates [EMIRA.UL], Air Arabia and flydubai - said on Sunday
they were re-routing flights to
avoid flying over Sinai. Two of
Europe's largest carriers,
Lufthansa and Air France-KLM ,
have already said they would avoid
flying over peninsula while awaiting an explanation of the cause.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail told a news conference
late on Saturday that there did not
appear to be any unusual activity
behind the crash but added that the
facts would not be clear until further investigations had been carried out. Sokolov and a team of
investigators arrived at the scene
on Sunday and experts would begin examining the black boxes at
the civil aviation ministry in Cairo
within hours, judicial and ministry sources said. It was not clear
how long the contents of the boxes, which record flight data and
cockpit conversations, would take
to retrieve. Russian transport prosecutors have already examined the
quality of the fuel used by the airliner and found that it met necessary requirements, Russia's staterun RIA news agency said.
The crew had also undergone
medical tests recently and no problems were detected, Interfax reported.
At least 163 bodies had already been recovered and transported to various hospitals including Zeinhom morgue in Cairo, according to a cabinet statement.
Russian experts had already
visited the morgue on Saturday
night and Russia's emergency minister said in a televised statement
that 120 bodies had been examined
and were being prepared to return
home.
They were expected to begin
arriving in St Petersburg late on
Sunday or early on Monday.
Those on board included 214
Russians, at least three Ukrainians and one Belarusian, most returning from holidays on the Red
Sea, popular with Russians seeking winter sun.
The Russian flag was flying at
half-mast over the Russian embassy in Cairo on Sunday morning.
President Vladimir Putin has declared a day of national mourning
in Russia.
Emergency services and aviation specialists resumed their
search at the crash site which is
spread over more than 15 square
km early on Sunday with 100 Russian emergency workers on their
way to help recover bodies and
gather evidence.
Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, launched air
raids against opposition groups in
Syria including Islamic State on
Sept. 30.
Islamic State, the ultra-hardline group that controls large parts
of Iraq and Syria, has called for a
holy war against both Russia and
the United States in response to
airstrikes on its fighters in Syria.
Sinai is the scene of an insurgency by militants close to Islamic State, who have killed hundreds
of Egyptian soldiers and police and
have also attacked Western targets
in recent months. Much of the Sinai is a restricted military zone.
Militants in the area are not
believed to have missiles capable
of hitting a plane at 30,000 feet.
Islamic State websites have in
the past claimed responsibility for
actions that have not been conclusively attributed to them. Officials
say there is no evidence to suggest
so far that a bomb could have
brought down the plane.
The A321 is a medium-haul jet
in service since 1994, with over
1,100 in operation worldwide and
a good safety record. It is a highly
automated aircraft relying on computers to help pilots stay within
safe flying limits.
Airbus said the A321 was built
in 1997 and had been operated by
Metrojet since 2012. It had flown
56,000 hours in nearly 21,000
flights. The aircraft took off at 5:51
a.m. Cairo time (0351 GMT) and
disappeared from radar screens 23
minutes later, Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.
It was at an altitude of 31,000 feet
(9,400 meters) when it vanished
from radar screens.
According to FlightRadar24,
an authoritative Sweden-based
flight tracking service, the aircraft
was descending rapidly at about
6,000 feet (1,800 metres) per
minute when the signal was lost to
air traffic control.
More than a 100 migrants found in refrigerated truck
Some 130 migrants, most believed
to be from Syria, were discovered
Saturday in a refrigerated truck on
the Bulgarian border with Turkey,
Bulgaria’s interior ministry said,
adding that the lorry driver had
been arrested.
A ministry spokeswoman said
38 men, 33 women and 58 children were found hidden behind
bottles of sparkling water at the
border crossing of Kapitan-Andreevo, adding that their state of
health was not a cause for concern.
The migrants’ attempt to flee
their homeland recalled a case with
a more tragic outcome in August
when 71 migrants were found to
have frozen to death in a refrigerated lorry designed to carry frozen food after traffickers abandoned the vehicle in Austria.
EU member Bulgaria has been
making around 100 arrests a day
of migrants seeking to transit the
country clandestinely to avoid being discovered and sent to camps
pending an outcome to their asylum requests. The country has to
date avoided the mass influx seen by neighboring Greece, which thousands of refugees have sought to reach in perilous crossings by sea. But Bulgarian authorities nonetheless fear
increased arrivals ahead of the winter, leading police Saturday to make checks of some 6,000 vehicles and arrest 16 suspected traffickers as well as 495 migrants nationwide.
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MONDAY NOVEMBER 02, 2015
AFGHANISTANTIMES
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
AFGHANISTAN TIMES
Editor: Abdul Saboor Sarir
Phone No: +93-772364666
E-mail: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
www.afghanistantimes.af
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
Graphic-Designers:
Mansoor Faizy and Edriss Akbari
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Printed at Afghanistan Times Printing Press
The constitution says
15. Accept credentials of foreign political representatives in Afghanistan; 16. Endorse laws
as well as judicial decrees;
17. Issue credential letter for conclusion of international treaties in accordance with the
provisions of the law;
18. Reduce and pardon penalties in accordance with the provisions of the law;
By Barnett Rubin
Murky US policy and pervasive
violence in Afghanistan
Why violence today is worse than it was a few years back? Is this happening just because of the US or some domestic factors are also responsible?
If the United States is failing in curbing the terror, yes the terror, it had
lit in a joint venture with some Muslim countries, in this ill-fated country,
way back in 1980s, who is there to support Afghanistan to extinguish it?
These are some of the questions which are being picked up in media analyses and on the floor of national assembly.
If the United States is failing in supporting Afghan security forces, what
should be the status of the bilateral security agreement (BSA), with the
Washington? The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) of the Parliament on Saturday asked the government and the United States to adopt a clear standpoint on war on terror. This time, this national body, has hit the bull’s eye
as we must know why violence toady is too pervasive than it was just a few
years back and why security has been deteriorating? The answer to this
question is perhaps the lack of clear definition of ‘enemy and terrorism’.
Many of the lawmakers said the US should abide by the promises it has
made in the document of the security agreement therefore must train and
equip the Afghan forces. However, security officials complain that they
have been given such helicopters which are very much misfit for fighting
militancy. Resultantly Afghan forces are deprived of their own aerial support and whenever they are caught in trouble and fall short of ammunition
while fighting against militants, they call for help from foreign forces.
Now once again a question pops up that why the United States has been
hesitating from training and equipping Afghan air force despite knowing it
that it is aerial power that provides edge to Afghan forces over the Taliban?
Rumors say that Pakistan had asked the United States not to train and
equip Afghan air force lest it will cut its alliance with Washington. As the
political, economic and security crises are becoming pervasive, and the
National Unity Government is finding it impossible to cure all the problems any time soon, therefore, the Wolesi Jirga suggested the government to seek assistance from Moscow. But is it a viable option given the
historical tussles between Moscow and Washington? A member of the
Wolesi Jirga even called on the government to review the BSA with the
US and if it is possible Kabul must ink BSA with Moscow and cancel the
one with Washington. This ire is triggered by the flawed and murky policies of US in Afghanistan. The US, so far has failed in a clear definition of
who is its enemy in Afghanistan? Only al-Qaeda? Or the Taliban are also in
the list of American enemies? And yes what about the ISIS, which is a new
threat. The US must take account of this stark fact that nearly all surviving
leaders of the ISIS in Afghanistan are from members of the Pakistani Taliban. Then why it has been adopting a weaker stance against Pakistan for
its brazen support to terrorists? Besides that when the US knew that investing in religious extremism gives deadliest backfires then why it started investing in ISIS in the Middle East being cognizant of the fact that one
day its blowbacks will be felt in Afghanistan.
Now that the Wolesi Jirga has suggested seeking help from Russia, and
the government has already attempted so, it will be seen how Kabul secure
Moscow’s support.
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On March 25, 2015, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told the United States Congress that Afghanistan was the “front line” against
the “terrible threat” of the self-proclaimed caliphate, the Islamic State
of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
In February, the Pentagon
spokesman had called ISIL’s presence in Afghanistan “nascent at
best”, but by October, the US commander in Afghanistan, General
John Campbell, said that the group
had transitioned from “nascent” to
“operationally emergent”. It had a
presence, he said, in two regions
of Afghanistan: Helmand and
Farah provinces in the southwest
and Nangarhar in the east, along
the border with Pakistan.
ISIL recruiting and brainwashing Afghan children
Both leaders warned of ISIL’s
threat as they tried to persuade US
President Barack Obama to rescind his decision to withdraw,
with the exception of a training
mission, all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.
Hence, they had incentives to magnify the threat, however sincere
their evaluation.
How dangerous is the threat?
We can analyse ISIL’s ideology,
ability to recruit, financial base,
organisational capacity, and operational environment.
At a track two meeting between the Taliban and other Afghans held in Doha in May 2015,
all participants agreed that “the
so-called Islamic State [ISIL] is
alien to the tradition and the desires of the Afghan people”.
Some have speculated, however, that a portion of the Taliban
might join ISIL out of unhappiness with the current leadership
or to gain access to resources.
Antagonistic ideologies
The Afghan Taliban (or the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) and
ISIL are often lumped together as
jihadi organisations, but their ideologies are distinct, even antagonistic.
ISIL preaches a version of jihad that’s a militant form of con-
temporary Islamist political ideology that seeks to re-establish the
caliphate, a state with jurisdiction
over all Muslims, and enforce a
harsh version of Islamic law based
on a literal interpretation of the
Quran and sayings and practices
of the Prophet.
The Taliban, however, belong
to the Deobandi school of Hanafi
Islam. They accept Afghanistan as
a nation-state and indeed express
pride in its history. They have repeatedly said that their jihad is limited to their own country.
Ideological and religious differences have limited the ability of
ISIL to recruit, even from aggrieved
Afghan Taliban.
The Taliban’s leader, Mullah
Akhtar Mansoor, like Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi of ISIL, uses the title
“Amir al-Mu’minin” (commander
of the believers). For ISIL, this title signifies authority over all (Sunni) Muslims (they consider Shia
to be non-Muslim).
For Mansoor, and Mullah
Omar before him, the title signifies leadership of a jihad. Afghan
Amir Dost Mohammad Khan took
the same title in 1836 when he recaptured Peshawar from the Sikhs.
The King of Morocco and the Sultan of Sokoto in Nigeria also use
the title without making any claim
to pan-Islamic authority.
One group now in Afghanistan
has recently renounced its affiliation to the Afghan Taliban and given allegiance to Baghdadi and ISIL:
the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which Pakistan’s military has pushed out of the tribal
areas and into Afghanistan.
The IMU has questioned the
Taliban’s account of Mullah
Omar’s death and shifted allegiance
to ISIL. There is no sign yet that
ISIL recognizes the IMU’s adherence. According to some reports,
the IMU fought alongside the Taliban in the September 2015 capture of Kunduz, despite ISIL-Taliban antagonism.
Sectarian differences
Ideological and religious differences have limited the ability of
ISIL to recruit, even from aggrieved
Afghan Taliban. Since the July 29
revelation that Mullah Omar had
died in April 2013, a dispute over
succession has provoked significant opposition, including from
Omar’s family. No Taliban leader
who questioned the choice of
Mansoor as a successor has been
reported to consider Baghdadi as
an alternative amir.
Despite differences, they have
followed the advice of an open letter that Mansoor wrote to Baghdadi in April and have not created
a parallel organization. The letter
accused Baghdadi of inciting divisions among Muslims and weakening jihad by trying to extend his
authority to Afghanistan.
The best-known exception to
the rule that Afghan Taliban do not
join ISIL, Abdul Rauf Khadim,
proves that sectarian differences
can be decisive. Khadim, whom
ISIL had appointed deputy amir
of Khurasan province and was
killed by a drone in July 2015, had
been expelled from the Afghan Taliban. While detained in Guantanamo, Khadim accepted the jihadist
preaching of his Arab cellmates.
The cell of ISIL formerly led by
Khadim is reportedly still in
southwest Afghanistan, but it does
not control territory.Nearly all surviving leaders of ISIL in Afghanistan are former members of the
Pakistan Taliban. A fragmented
coalition Former Pakistan Taliban
members dominate ISIL’s sole territorial foothold in Afghanistan,
which consists of about seven districts in eastern Nangarhar province, adjacent to the Pakistan border. The ISIL leadership recognises the leaders of this area as officials of the caliphate. Hafiz Saeed,
a former Pakistan Taliban member
from Orakzai agency, whom Raqqa
has appointed as amir of Khurasan
province, is the top ISIL authority there. Saeed is aided by a few
Arabic-speaking emissaries sent
by ISIL central, who have also
brought cash. Local Afghans report
that the ISIL has more money than
the Taliban (there is no government
presence in the area).
There was some speculation
that ISIL established itself in this
area to fund itself through control
over the opiate trade, but instead
it has decreed its signature punishment of beheading for participation in the narcotics industry.
Special brutality
ISIL has brought its special
brutality to eastern Afghanistan.
In one case, Saeed massacred 10
elders from Achin accused of supporting the Taliban by detonating
explosives on which he had forced
them to sit.
This incident was so egregious
that his deputy, Mawlawi Abdul
Rahim Muslim Dost, a former
Guantanamo inmate, broke with
him. The two also differed on strategy: Muslim Dost, an Afghan and
former Talib, wanted to fight the
Pakistan army, while Saeed, a
former member of the Pakistan
Taliban, argued for military offensives to capture Nangarhar and
Logar provinces of Afghanistan.
At present, there is little space
for ISIL to expand in Afghanistan.
While Afghanistan remains in a
state of civil conflict, almost all of
its territory is controlled by either
the government or the Taliban, both
hostile to ISIL. ISIL cannot appear
as in parts of Iraq, Syria, or Libya
as the only force able to restore
order. Nor is there a political grievance like the political exclusion of
Sunnis in Iraq and Syria looking
for a champion. The Taliban occupy the armed opposition space,
and they also enjoy sanctuary and
support in Pakistan. It is, therefore, difficult to see an opportunity for ISIL to grow as quickly as it
did in Syria and Iraq however the
current stalemate evolves. But if
the crises dissolve the Kabul government or the Taliban leadership,
if Kabul loses the foreign assistance
it needs to fund and defend the
state, or if the Taliban lose their
sanctuary in Pakistan and are
forced back into Afghanistan without any political agreement, ISIL
might find that its managed brutality will give it an advantage. In that
case, the Afghan government and
its international supporters will
mainly have themselves to blame.
(Courtesy: Aljazeera) Barnett
Rubin is a leading expert on Afghanistan and South Asia.
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MONDAY NOVEMBER 02, 2015
AFGHANISTANTIMES
And why we should worry
By Samar Batrawi
One month ago, the Islamic
State (also called ISIS) released
a video message to the people
of Palestine. The video, in
which ISIS members urged Palestinians to remain patient as
they actively fight for the caliphate, included a rare public
reference to clashes in Gaza
between suspected ISIS affiliates and Hamas earlier this year.
The clashes were triggered by
a mixture of factors, including
the ongoing siege of Gaza, the
area’s increased isolation from
Egypt, and Hamas’ poor record
of governing. With violence
apparently increasing in the
Palestinian territories—to the
extent that some observers
have even speculated about
the possibility of a third intifada and potential power vacuum—the question of ISIS’ real
intentions in the region has
never been more pressing.
PALESTINE IN HISTORY
Palestine has long been at
the center of one of the most
heated and polarizing global
debates. Historically, many
groups have claimed to speak
in the name of—and to defend
the rights of—Palestinians.
Before the 1967 Arab defeat at
Israel’s hands, Palestine was
mainly a Pan-Arab cause.
Groups such as the Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-Leninist
group, even had ties to the
People’s Republic of China and
the Soviet Union. Because the
issue of Palestine seems so
pervasive, it is often assumed
to be important for Salafi jihadists such as ISIS. Two scholars
of Salafi jihadism, Thomas
Hegghammer and Joas Wagemakers, reported that “in the
years after 9/11 […] the issue
of ‘al-Qaida and Palestine’ regularly came up at dinner conversations or in question-andanswer sessions after public
talks about jihadism.”
AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS A Palestinian protester
tries to hammer a hole through
the Israeli barrier that separates
the West Bank town of Abu Dis
from Jerusalem, during clashes
with Israeli troops, October 28,
2015. In fact, Salafi jihadism has
had a complex yet limited relationship to Palestine. Salafi jihadists have never been key
players in the Palestinian conflict, which is historically secular and has only recently seen
a surge in Islamism. Support for
Salafi jihadist groups seems to
be very low among Palestinians, but some opinion polls do
indicate surges after significant
historical events, such as 9/11,
which happened to occur at the
height of the second intifada
in Palestine, and more recently,
in the aftermath of the war in
Gaza in the summer of 2014,
when polls suggested that 24
percent of Palestinians had favorable views of ISIS.
For its part, al-Qaeda has
never had a straightforward relationship with Palestine. To be
sure, the terrorist group has
long included Palestine in its
rhetoric. For one, Palestine was
listed as the third most important justification for jihad
against the United States in a
1998 declaration. The issue featured in the first ever al-Qaeda
recruitment video in 2001, and
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the
mastermind behind 9/11, mentioned American support for
Israel as his motivation for the
attack. Likewise, high-level
ideologues such as Osama bin
Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri
dedicated time and attention to
the issue, the latter referring to
Palestine as “our concern and
the concern of every Muslim.”
At the same time as al-Qaeda was claiming to speak for
Palestinians, however, it was
also engaging in a standoff
against Hamas, an indigenous
Palestinian group. Indeed, its
relationship with Hamas was
always one of competition. Essentially, al-Qaeda viewed Hamas as a false representation
of an Islamic group, one that
did not adhere to a Salafi jihadist doctrine and methodology,
and which had sold out its last
vestiges of Islamist character
when it participated in democratic elections.
Whether opportunistic or
genuine, ISIS has found in the
suffering of the people of Gaza
a golden opportunity for moral
outrage and claims to superiority.
MUSSA QAWASMA / REUTERSA Palestinian protester uses a sling shot to hurl
stones at Israeli troops during
clashes in the West Bank city
of Hebron, October 27, 2015.
So what explains al-Qaeda’s mixed record on Palestine?
One answer could be political
opportunism; after all, it makes
sense for any movement attempting to gain legitimacy in
the Middle East to address one
of the region’s most heated
debates, which conveniently
features two of the usual suspects: Jews and America.
And, in fact, previous research on bin Laden’s statements shows that he cites Palestinian
political
grievances more often than religious arguments in his rhetoric, with political grievances
featuring relatively more often
when addressing Westerners.
All in all, then, al-Qaeda likely
saw Palestine as an opportunity to mobilize resources and
support more than as a religious or ideological priority. It
is difficult to measure whether
this rhetoric worked, though,
since it is virtually impossible
to separate such variables from
the broader scheme of what
motivates and inspires support
for al-Qaeda.
Hegghammer and Wagemakers refer to this as the “Palestine motivation effect,” which
can be seen among a broader
range
of
Salafi
jihadists, particularly during Israeli operations in Gaza, for example during Operation Cast
Lead in 2008–2009 and Operation Strong Cliff in 2014. And
now, whether opportunistic or
genuine, ISIS has likewise
found in the suffering of the
people of Gaza a golden opportunity for moral outrage and
claims to superiority.
GRIEVANCES
Salafi jihadism, because
of its transnational character
and general lack of interest
in national borders, speaks
only of Palestinian land when
addressing either Palestinian
grievances or concern for the
holy places currently held by
non-Muslims. The land of
Palestine is not precious to
Salafi jihadists in the same
way that it is to the Palestinians. Instead, Salafi jihadist
symbolism mainly focuses
on important sites, such as
the al Aqsa Mosque and the
Temple Mount. This is not to
say that Palestinians themselves do not value these
sites, but that their importance is part of a broader
claim on territory. Salafi jihadists reframe what is essentially a nationalist struggle as
a religious one, conveniently ignoring the non-Muslim
population that equally suffers in Palestine. The differences in some Salafists’ and
Palestinians’ estimations of
the land’s importance are perhaps most tellingly illustrated by a fatwa issued by a
prominent Salafist sheikh,
Mohammas Nasiruddin alAlbani, in 1993, in which he
ordered Palestinians to leave
their land if they were unable
to practice their religion under non-Islamic rule, citing
historical examples of Muslims migrating to Muslim-held
land.
The fatwawas controversial even within the Salafist
community, but it does demonstrate the tension between
certain elements of the transnational Salafist doctrine
and Palestinian identity. That
tension perhaps explains
why, among conservative
Muslims in Palestine, nationalist Islamist organizations
such as Hamas have thrived
whereas
transnational
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Security situation has deteriorated in some parts of the country in recent months. Civilian as well as military casualties have
surged. And Taliban militants have mounted their group and suicide attacks recently.
The government should beef up security by adopting new plans and measures. These measures should include increasing
of intelligence operations. The international community should also prove that they are honest in fight against militants and
should equip Afghan security forces with modern weapons.
Knowing that Pakistan is involved in such terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, the government should adopt a
clear policy towards the country.
Rishad Ahmadi, Hese Se 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]
Disclaimer:
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.
Salafist ones have faltered.
Even so, transnational
groups have pressed on—and
that could be a problem for everyone. The most resonant
symbol for these groups is the
holy places, and the need for
their liberation. The “infidel”
Palestinian governments of
Fatah and Hamas are blamed
for the stalled liberation of
these holy places, the lack of
popular uprising, and un-Islamic rule. In a recent ISIS video, a
fighter explains that ISIS does
not differentiate between the
rule of Israel and the rule of
the murtadin(apostates; rejecters, namely Fatah and Hamas).
The fighter explicitly states
that ISIS’ cause is not about
land but about Islamic rule in
Palestine. The first step in
achieving this, he says, is reclaiming the Palestinian narrative, which failed under the
banners of Pan-Arabism and
secular nationalism. ISIS
doesn’t merely talk about Palestine, rather, it talks about radically and actively changing
what it means to be Palestinian.
This puts ISIS in a relatively easy position: as a critic of
both Arab governance and Israel (and not to mention the international involvement in Palestine), it is essentially exploiting a deep outrage over an issue
that
is all
but
irresolvable in the short term.
It has an endless capacity to
challenge all parties on the
ground politically and ideologically, without getting its hands
dirty by engaging in anything
practical, let alone constructive,
beyond occasional symbolic
outreach. As a relentless contrarian, ISIS will prove to be an
additional hurdle to addressing
Palestinian grievances. Yet unless the world starts pursuing
real change rather than the nonpeace of the past decades in
Israel and Palestine, the Palestinians will remain a compelling
chess piece in the Salafi jihadist game. (Courtesy: Foreign
Affairs)
By David Lepeska
On a warm sunny Saturday in
Ankara, one week after the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of modern Turkey, several
dozen workers, writers, artists,
students and opposition politicians turned out at the site of the
bombing to commemorate the
dead and issue a warning. A few
metres from a street pock-marked
by the blast, they laid flowers and
placed small placards filled with
quotes of peace from the likes of
Carl Jung, Victor Hugo, and Aeschylus. But during a minute of
silence to honour the victims, attendees raised more fists overhead
than peace signs. Investigators
have traced the attack to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL), but many Turks blame
their government, or more specifically the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Chants by
the Ankara attendees denounced
the state, and particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as
murderers and thieves, and called
for their ouster. I asked Fatma
Ceylan, an Ankara housewife and
grandmother, how this anger
might play out in parliamentary
elections scheduled for November 1. "If the truth was shared
properly and the information
By Brooklyn Middleton
The latest round of international talks on how to end the Syrian conflict took place on the
same day as the latest massacre in the country. Regime airstrikes and shelling killed at
least 70 people and injured another 550 at a market in Douma,
the violence-wracked city located just northeast of Damascus. Doctors without Borders indicated in a written statement that as first responders
rushed toward the mangled victims, shelling targeted the chaotic site, worsening the bloodshed.
The barbaric, though hardly unprecedented, attack on the
market took place as no less
than 17 countries sat down at
the table – no Syrian parties
were present – to discuss the
need for a comprehensive
ceasefire. With more talks
scheduled for the coming
weeks it is relevant to ask if despite all the talking - any party is actually speaking for suffering Syrians.
It is difficult to comprehend
the total exclusion of the Syrian opposition and any Kurdish representatives. One of
which will usher in a new era
post-conflict and the other
which will play a pivotal role in
security matters on the ground.
In addition to the failure to
bring two of the most important parties to the table, it is all
but certain the talks will descend into failure. Both Iran and
Russia refuse to back any deal
that risks Assad’s future grip
on the country; meanwhile, the
international community’s excuse for not doing more to stop
the bloodshed, the “there are
no good options in Syria”
could very well soon be replaced with “the involved parties failed to agree on Assad’s
future.” At the same time, the
death toll will continue to skyrocket while both Russia and
the Assad regime carry out war
crimes with impunity. In addition to the continued, indiscriminate targeting of civilians,
Doctors without Borders officials confirmed that at least 12
hospitals were bombed since
late September, killing at least
35 people. No party has successfully delivered any security solutions to end the conflict
for over four years
That such attacks are being continuously carried out
while over a dozen countries
discuss the conflict is absurd;
the death toll from the same
day the talks took place - alone
- should trigger immediate initiatives to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis and suffering.
While not abandoning the position that Assad’s criminal regime must go, the U.S. should
use upcoming talks as an opportunity to lead on presenting solutions that address the
humanitarian crisis. No party
has successfully delivered any
security solutions to end the
conflict for over four years.
Such a reality at this point in
underscores the need to prioritize the humanitarian situation
over all other issues on the table in the immediate term.
The U.S. and EU should
pressure Iran and Russia to
agree to measures that immediately mitigate the suffering on
the ground. A U.N.-backed
meeting, with Doctors without
Borders advisors present,
should be held for the sole purpose of determining which besieged areas are in greatest
need. All parties should then
focus on implementing a ceasefire in the designated areas and
agree to facilitate the transfer
of critical aid. Any party opposed to such measures only
further exposes their lack of
serious interest in deescalating
the conflict and their own culpability in the continued bloodshed.
The statement released by
the international community
after their meeting in Vienna
offers a broad nine-point outline of what the group referred
to as matters of “mutual understanding.” The parties very well
may be in agreement on the
nine issues but not a single one
of them can even begun to be
addressed without halting the
wanton bloodshed first.
Brooklyn Middleton is an
American Political and Security Risk Analyst currently based
in New York City. She has previously written about U.S. President Obama's policy in Syria
as well as Bashar al-Assad's
continued crimes against his
own people. She recently finished her MA thesis on Ayatollah Khomeini’s influence on
the Palestinian Islamic Jihad
militant group, completing her
Master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies. You can follow her
on Twitter here: @BklynMiddleton.
reached the people as it's supposed
to, what would happen automatically is that the people would put the
AKP down," she said, shaking her
finger. "They're closing all the channels that we can speak through, television, newspaper, internet." Turkish media on tenterhooks Media
crackdown The media muzzling has
reached a high-water mark of late. In
decades past, Turkey's military
would seize media outlets after overthrowing the civilian government.
Today an interim government led by
the AKP is shuttering critical media
outlets and bullying opponents - terrorists all, in the eyes of the state - in
the lead-up to what's expected to be
another close vote. This week an
Ankara court handed a trustee panel
control of Koza Ipek media, home to
a handful of news outlets critical of
the government, some linked to USbased Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen.
Two days later, in a surreal, slowmotion chronicle of a muzzling foretold, viewers watched a news channel broadcast its own silencing, live.
Interactive: Turkey decides Riot police smashed their way into the Koza
Ipek offices and marched the trustees inside. Hours later - during which
reporters were able to interview a
leading opposition politician about
the media attack, as it continued police cut the joint broadcast of Kanalturk and Bugun TV. Journalists
were bloodied, and several arrested, in clashes with police outside
the building. The list goes on. Two
British journalists and an Iraqi fixer-translator for Vice News were
detained (police are still holding the
Iraqi, Mohammed Rasool, some 50
days later), a leading columnist and
television host was beaten in the
street - allegedly by AKP members, and an independent Dutch
journalist covering the mostly
Kurdish southeast was detained
and later deported. Citizens under
pressure Citizens, too, face the
government's wrath: dozens of
students, activists, and celebrities
face charges of attacking the government or lawsuits for insulting
Erdogan, mostly for criticising the
AKP on social media. AKP supporters see their party as the only
one that can save Turkey. Its opponents see it destroying the country, with themselves in the
crosshairs. "Now, the only way we
can express ourselves is to go out
into the street - even though there
are these bombings," added Ceylan, who was there when the
bombs went off on October 10 and
is terrorised by the images. "I
haven't slept for a week, but I am
still here, and will keep coming. I
will never give up to create a better future for my children and my
grandchildren.
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MONDAY NOVEMBER 02, 2015
AFGHANISTANTIMES
WASHINGTON: Even as President Barack Obama sent US troops
back to Iraq and ordered the military to stay in Afghanistan, he insisted Syria would remain off limits for American ground forces.
Now the president has crossed his
own red line.
His deployment of up to 50
US special operations troops into
northern Syria to assist in the fight
against the self-styled Islamic State
is the kind of incremental move
that has defined Obama s approach
to the Middle East in his second
term.
While the US military footprint in the region grows, each step
is taken on a small scale so as to
reassure the public that Obama
isn t plunging the country into
another large, open-ended conflict.
The strategy may help ease
Americans back into the realities
of war, but regional experts as well
as some of Obama s political allies
say his slow ramp-up may be insufficient in defeating the fastmoving militants.
Deploying a handful of US
special operations forces to Syria
will not change this situation significantly, Frederic Hof, Obama s
former Syria special adviser, said
of Friday s announcement. It is a
Band-Aid of sorts.
Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Obama s home state of
Hawaii, said the latest escalation
is unlikely to succeed in achieving our objective of defeating IS
and instead threatens to embroil
the United States in Syria s civil
war .
The military campaign against
the IS is nowhere near the size and
scope of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama has repeatedly
used the costly and unpopular Iraq
war in particular as an example of
what he s tried to avoid in the region.
But the significance of Friday s announcement was more
about the location of the deployment, not the number of troops. It
marks the first time the US has
openly sent forces into Syria, expanding the geographic reach of
Obama s military efforts in the
Middle East.
For years, the president has
gan launching air strikes against the
IS in both Iraq and Syria.
Despite killing as many as
12,000 militants, the bombing campaign has not significantly weakened the IS s capacity to hold territory, and the group s ranks have
been replenished by foreign fighters and others.
Obama had hoped the strikes
in Syria would be complimented
by a ground force trained by Americans elsewhere in the region. But
the train-and-equip programme
failed spectacularly and the president abandoned it earlier this fall.
The new US deployment into
Syria essentially replaces that effort.
The decision allows Obama
who has been under pressure by
the Pentagon and international
partners to make progress against
the IS
to contend he s seeking
new ways to address the crisis.
The White House also argued the
president wasn t backtracking on
his commitment to keep US troops
out of Syria because the presence
was narrow in size and scope.
But to some, the White House
appears to be more concerned
about being able to keep that political promise than in taking action that could have a more substantial impact in resolving the situation on the ground.
War has a harsh reality in that
in order to have an effect you have
to be present, said Jerry Hendrix,
a retired Navy flight officer and
the director of the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program at
the Center for a New American
Security.
The White House put no timetable on how long the American
forces would stay in Syria, though
Obama has previously said he expects the campaign against the IS
in Iraq and Syria to last beyond
his presidency.
The escalation of the Pentagon s campaign against the IS follows Obama s announcement two
weeks ago that he was reversing
course and keeping American
troops in Afghanistan beyond next
year. That means the president
who inherited two military conflicts will likely hand his successor three. AP
cast the chaos in Syria as exactly
the type of situation he was elected to keep the US military out of.
Washington has no partners in the
Syrian government and few good
options among opposition leaders.
There is no ground force that the
US can quickly train.
But the crisis has become unavoidable for Obama, particularly
since the IS grew out of the chaos
and crossed the border into Iraq.
What the president could once cast
as a civil war that needed to be
solved by Syrians has threatened
to upend the whole region.
Obama s first move was to
deploy a few hundred US troops
to Iraq to train and assist local forces in the fight against the IS. It
marked a return to Iraq for the US
military after the 2011 withdrawal, which was a fulfillment of
Obama s campaign promise to end
the war he inherited from President George W. Bush.
But over the past year, the
number of US troops in Iraq has
expanded to about 3,300. In another escalation, the US also be-
A vote among Libya s warring factions on a list of names for the
Government of National Accord
(GNA) has been postponed again.
The United Nations had hoped
for the House of Representatives
(HOR) in the east and the General
National Council (GNC) in the
west to reach an accord before the
HOR s mandate as the internationally recognized government expired
on Oct. 20. However, no accord
seems within reach in the near future.
The last modified list of
names presented by the United
Nations may have unconsciously
overlooked the complexity of regionalism in Libya s society and
politics, the country s representative to the Arab League, Ashour
Burashed, told Al Arabiya News.
The additions to the list
tipped off the balance of all regions
representation in the GNA, which
may have delayed the vote.
There is an old, ongoing rivalry among Libya s three regions:
Fezzan in the south, Barga in the
east and Tripolitania of the west.
It took time and long negotiations for the three regions to unite
under King Idris el-Senussi after
the Italian occupation. Muammar
Qaddafi played on this rivalry during his 40-year rule, exacerbating
the problem.
This has been translated into
having two parliaments, two governments and two armies now,
Rabee Shrair, a member of the Libyan National Dialogue Develop-
ment Committee, told Al Arabiya
News.
There were already reservations about the original list, but this
last list added to many parties
concerns. For example, no GNC
members are chosen for any of the
vice-president positions.
Intra-regional rivalry
There is also rivalry within
each region. One of the vice presidents on the list, Fathi Elmajebri,
is from Benghazi [in the east], but
he isn t from one of the dominant
clans in Benghazi, said Shrair.
Because of regionalism, the east
can t just be represented by anyone.
Meanwhile, militias in the
West are fighting for dominance.
This is being translated into competition for political representation between the cities of Misrata
and Zintan in the GNA.
The west is represented
through many positions on the list,
but Misrata is over-represented,
Breik Swessi, Libya s ambassador
to The Netherlands, told Al Arabiya News. This infuriated many
from the east and also the west,
especially Zintan.
The United Nations is leading
the initiative to form the GNA, but
despite much negotiation a consensus is still lacking.
The United Nations has a
genuine interest in bringing stability to Libya, Burashed said. Its
next list of names though has to be
more sensitive to Libya s regionalism and to public opinion.
Swessi said: The last list included a few names that don t necessarily have the cleanest past, before or
after the 2011 revolution that ousted Qaddafi.
Burashed said: Regionalism is a huge factor to tackle when making political decisions for Libya.
However, this doesn t mean it s easy to rip Libya s social fabric apart. It s hard to find a city, let alone
a region, not related to another through blood or matrimony.
Israeli officer:
We will gas you
until you die
Israeli border police have issued a
shocking threat to Palestinians in
Aida refugee camp, saying, "We
will gas you until you die," in an
apparent response to stone-throwing.
In a one-minute video of the
incident recorded on Thursday by
a resident of the West Bank camp,
an Israeli border officer speaking
in Arabic reads the chilling message over a loudspeaker as an Israeli jeep rolls slowly down the
street.
"People of Aida refugee camp,
we are the occupation forces. You
throw stones, and we will hit you
with gas until you all die. The children, the youth, the old people you will all die. We won't leave
any of you alive," the unidentified
officer says.
Such an announcement is remarkable in its stated contempt for
human life, as well as raising a
multitude of grave concerns as to
the adherence of Israeli forces to
central tenets of international law.
Badil Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee
Rights
"We have arrested one of you.
He is with us now. We took him
from his home, and we will slaughter and kill him while you watch if
you keep throwing stones," the
officer continues, referring to a 25year-old Palestinian who was arrested on Thursday and subsequently released.
"Go home or we will gas you
until you die. Your families, your
children, everyone - we will kill
you."
FORUM: How can Palestinians legally fight occupation?
The video was recorded after
Israeli forces raided the camp during a protest against the occupation and fired tear gas, reportedly
in response to Palestinian youths
hurling stones at Israel's separation wall.
According to a report in The
Times of Israel, the border officer
who made the threat has since
been suspended.
Camp resident Mohammed alAzza said the incident unfolded at
dusk on Thursday, noting an Israeli jeep shot tear gas towards residents' homes before making the
announcement via loudspeaker.
"Everyone in the camp is talking about it," Azza told Al Jazeera.
"Especially the families who have
children, and older people. They
are afraid because [last year] a
woman died from tear gas. They
believe the Israeli occupation forces
will do it."
Azza noted that it was unusual for the Israelis to refer to themselves as the "occupation forces",
rather than a more traditional term,
such as "defence forces".
"This was something new," he
said. "I was sad and happy at the
same time because I heard for the
first time the [Israelis] saying they
were the occupation, and this is
good for countries outside to hear.
[But] I was angry to hear them
threaten to use tear gas and kill the
people; there wasn't any reason."
Contacted by Al Jazeera, a
spokesperson for the Israeli army
declined to comment, noting: "The
video in question is under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Border Police." Israeli police directed inquiries to spokesperson Micky
Rosenfeld, who could not be
reached for comment.
The Badil Resource Centre for
Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights has condemned the latest developments, calling the officer's announcement from the jeep
"a clear and grave threat to collectively punish the population of
Aida camp by way of lethal force".
"Such an announcement is remarkable in its stated contempt for
human life, as well as raising a
multitude of grave concerns as to
the adherence of Israeli forces to
central tenets of international law,"
Badil noted in a statement, citing a
clear threat to kill Palestinians by
way of extrajudicial executions,
which would breach the Geneva
Conventions.
Badil has called for an independent investigation into the incident, which comes amid escalating violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
A recent string of stabbings and
shootings has killed 70 Palestinians and nine Israelis. Among the
victims was 13-year-old Abdel
Rahman Abdullah, a Palestinian
who was hit by Israeli fire inside
the Aida camp, which is located
near the occupied West Bank town
of Bethlehem.
[The Israeli officer's statement]
is a barbaric affront to all objective
moral and legal standards - a statement intended and serving to terrorize an occupied civilian population," Badil said. "Such threats
and the crimes to which these
threats allude are the natural result
of a growing culture of impunity
which exists within the Israeli military."
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MONDAY NOVEBMER 02, 2015
AFGHANISTANTIMES
Chinese manufacturing has contracted for the third month in a row,
according to the government's latest factory survey.
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) showed a reading of
49.8 for October, unchanged from
last month.
A figure below 50 indicates that
factory activity contracted.
The most recent growth figures showed the country's economy growing at a rate of 6.9%, the
weakest rate since the financial crisis.
S-Arabia
criticises S&P
over credit
rating
downgrade
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Saturday strongly criticised Standard
and Poor s agency for downgrading the kingdom s credit rating over
the oil price slump, saying it was
not backed by facts.
The evaluation... came as a
hasty reaction, unjustified and not
backed by reality, the finance
ministry said in a statement cited
by the SPA state news agency.
The agency depended on
temporary and unsustainable factors, it said.
S&P late Friday lowered the
long-term credit rating for Saudi
Arabia one notch to A+ after its
deficit rose sharply because of low
oil prices.
The ratings agency maintained
its negative outlook on the world s
top crude exporter, saying that the
decision reflected the challenges of
reversing the marked deterioration in the Saudi fiscal balance.
S&P said it could further lower the rating within the next two
years if Riyadh fails to achieve a
sizable and sustained reduction
in the general government deficit .
The finance ministry cast
doubt on the decision, saying S&P
lowered the country s ratings
twice within one year from AAwith a positive outlook to A+ with
a negative outlook because of the
oil price fall.
It also said the decision did not
take into account the sound fiscal
position of Saudi Arabia, which is
backed by assets of more than 100
per cent of gross domestic product besides large foreign currency
reserves.
Saudi Arabia recorded a $17
billion budget deficit last year for
the first time since 2009. It is expected to post a deficit of around
$130bn this year, according to the
International Monetary Fund.
S&P said that Saudi Arabia, a
key member of Opec, had seen its
deficit climb to 16 per cent of GDP
in 2015 compared with 1.5pc in
2014 because of the plunge in the
price of oil, Riyadh s main source
of revenue.
It said the government could
cut back on key investments and
cut subsidies on power, water and
fuel to strengthen government finances in the coming years.
But it also referred to political
risk, saying that intrafamily issues around succession could make
the kingdom s policy decisions
more challenging and difficult to
predict .
In February S&P had put the
Gulf state on negative outlook,
warning about its dependence on
oil.
The price of a barrel of oil has
tumbled from $90 to less than $50
since June last year.
It has been hit by a stock market slump and a global slowdown
in demand.
Economists had expected October's PMI to show a pick-up to
a reading of 50.
"Because of the recent weak
recovery in the global economy and
downward pressure in the domestic economy, manufacturers still
face a severe import and export
situation," said Zhao Qinghe, a
senior statistician at China's National Bureau of Statistics in a
statement.
The government is trying to
move away from being an exportled economy to a more consumer
and services-led one.
It has been taking action to try
to spur growth, including cutting
interest rates five times so far this
year.
Economists at ANZ Bank said
the latest PMI survey indicated
there could be further measures to
come.
"While the PMI has stabilised,
it is too early to confirm a bottoming out," ANZ Bank said.
Greek banks must find up to 14.4b after ECB stress test
FRANKFURT: Four major Greek
banks must find up to 14.4 billion ($15.8 billion) to survive potential economic shocks, the European Central Bank said Saturday, releasing the results of an indepth financial health check.
Weakened after years of recession, Greece s banks took a further battering this year when the
government pushed the country to
the brink of a euro exit in a standoff with Berlin and Brussels over
the terms of Greece s international bailout.
While less than anticipated
under the new aid package -Greece s third since 2010 -- the big
four banks now have until Friday
to explain how they will plug the
capital hole on their balance sheets.
Greece s Alpha Bank, Eurobank, the National Bank of
Greece and Piraeus Bank were all
submitted to a health check by the
ECB known as a comprehensive
assessment .
The health check comprises an
asset quality review and a forwardlooking stress test aimed at assessing the specific recapitalisation
needs of the individual banks under Greece s current economic adjustment programme.
Overall, the stress test identified a capital shortfall across the
four participating banks of 4.4
billion, under the baseline scenario, and 14.4 billion under the adverse scenario, the ECB said.
That is less than the 25 billion earmarked for the recapitalisation of the four major banks in
the 86 billion bailout package
agreed between Greece and its creditors this summer.
Piraeus was the weakest, with
an anticipated shortfall of nearly
5 billion in an adverse scenario.
The banks have until 6 November to submit plans showing
how they plan to cover their shortfalls, as part of a recapitalisation
process to be completed before the
end of the year.
Raising fresh capital would
result in the creation of prudential buffers at the four Greek banks,
which will improve the resilience
of their balance sheets and their
capacity to withstand (a) potential adverse macroeconomic
shock, the ECB added.
Any capital increase would be
the third for Greece s banks since
the country got its first interna-
Ikea billionaire pays
first Swedish income
taxes since 1973
The billionaire founder of flatpack furniture chain Ikea has paid Swedish
income tax for the first time since he left the country in 1973, a report
said.
Ingvar Kamprad declared income of 17.7 million Swedish kronor
($2 million), with 1.2 million kronor coming from work, according to the
Dagens Nyheter daily.
The 89-year-old paid around six million kronor in taxes, the newspaper said.
The Kamprad family reportedly holds around 40 billion euros ($44
tional bailout in 2010, and come
ahead of new more stringent rules
for European banks come into
force in January.
On Friday, the Greek government submitted draft legislation to
parliament paving the way for the
recapitalisation process to begin on
Monday.
Finance minister Euclid
Tsakalotos on Saturday praised the
results of the stress tests and said
he was optimistic over the process.
An ECB official said in a conference call: Private investors
contributions are expected to play
a significant role in the capital-raising process by means of taking
common shares.
But if the private sector response is not sufficient, the banks
will enter into resolution, the
Greek finance ministry said earlier.
Analysts say Piraeus is the
most exposed to bad loans because
it has been a top lender to small
and medium-sized Greek businesses that have particularly suffered under years of recession.
The bank on Saturday said it
took bad loan provisions of 2.121
billion in the January-to-September period, down from 3.197 billion in the same period last year.
It reported a net loss of 635
million in the period, down 61%
from last year.
The National Bank of Greece,
meanwhile, reported a net loss of
1.614 billion for the second quarter, with provisions for bad loans
in Greece soaring to 2.3 billion
from 323 million in the first quarter.
Eurobank noted in a press release that it was ranked as the
Greek bank with the lowest, and
fully manageable, capital needs
under the... adverse scenario (reflecting) the soundness of the strategy we have been consistently
implementing.
Michigan
insurance prices
up slightly under
health care law
Many Michigan consumers will
pay modestly more for health insurance with an average increase
well below the national average
entering the third year of President
Barack Obama's health care law.
The federal government said
the cost of a benchmark plan in
Michigan on HealthCare.gov will
increase 1.2 percent for 2016 coverage. Consumers could start
choosing plans Sunday through the
online marketplace and have until
Dec. 15 to buy coverage if they
want it to start Jan. 1. Across all
37 states using the HealthCare platform, the cost of the benchmark
plan will rise on average 7.5 percent. Analysts say Michigan favorably compares with many other states because it's a highly competitive market with more than a
dozen insurers and roughly 200
vying for business.
plans
"(Michigan is) one of the most robust markets in the country," said
Marianne Udow-Phillips, director
of the Center for Health Care Research and Transformation at the
University of Michigan.
HTC GOES FROM
BAD TO WORSE WITH
DREADFUL THIRD
QUARTER FINANCIAL
RESULTS
Shell s £43b gamble of a deal
for BG is sliding out of reach
Ben van Beurden must be sick of
answering the same question but
unless there is an unlikely sudden
surge in the oil price and therefore the fortunes of the world s
energy giants the boss of Shell is
likely to be quizzed on the same
issue many more times in the coming months.
What people want to know is,
will the UK oil major press ahead
with its mammoth £43bn takeover
bid for BG Group despite the dramatic slump in the oil price?
BG Group profits drop as it
nears merger with Shell
The fall from highs of more
than $100 a barrel in mid-2014 to
as low as $43 has unleashed havoc
across the energy industry, forcing the majors to rein in costs at
lightning speed as they desperately try to prop up profits and keep
paying dividends to investors.
Shell announced its bumper bid
for BG Group back in April. Mr
van Beurden was triumphant. The
deal would be the largest the industry had seen for decades and
would propel the combined company past HSBC to become Britain s biggest public company and,
with a stock market value of
£180bn, put it second in the oil
world only to ExxonMobil.
Royal Dutch Shell owes the
Iranian government for oil purchased last year.
Royal Dutch Shell owes the
Iranian government for oil purchased last year. Photo: GETTY
IMAGES
Yet, to land his prize, the
Dutchman, a Shell lifer who had
landed the top job the previous
year, had agreed to pay an eyewatering £43bn in shares and cash,
and a 50pc premium to BG s share
price.
Almost immediately observers
began asking how he could justify
such an astronomical outlay on one
of its big rivals in the face of such
a massive deterioration in the fortunes of the energy world.
van Beurden s big problem is
that the deal is predicated on something over which he is completely
unable to influence: the oil price
Yet despite the obvious risks
that surround such a mammoth
deal, Mr van Beurden has made a
convincing argument for pushing
ahead. Rather than being the time
for restraint, the current environment is the moment for bold action, he has insisted.
Mr van Beurden claims the
deal will help reshape Shell for the
modern era by enabling it to focus
on fewer and more profitable areas, such as deepwater exploration,
where massive reserves are still
being uncovered. It would also act
as a giant springboard to expand
heavily in natural gas, seen by
many in the industry as the carbon fuel of the future.
Mr van Beurden s ambitious
move has echoes of the late 1990s
when BP boss John Browne
stunned the oil world with a blockbuster bid for US rival Amoco.
Ben van Beurden said the pullout from Alaska was a "major disappointment"
Their merger, which created
Britain s largest company at the
time and placed it in the top three
international oil producers, came
against a backdrop of depressed
world oil prices, which had plummeted to their lowest levels in decades.
The price of a barrel of Brent
crude had sunk as low as $11 a
barrel, leaving gaping holes in com-
pany profits and forcing many to
jump into the arms of arch rivals
in a bid to survive the brutal downturn.
However, as time passes and
the oil price continues to languish
at such low levels, the logic of
Shell s BG takeover looks increasingly shaky.
Last week, Shell reported a
$6.1bn third-quarter loss, and announced it was abandoning another slew of projects in Canada and
the Arctic region, having already
responded with tens of billions of
dollars in spending cuts and redundancies.
Just days earlier, BP laid out
plans for even deeper cuts, after
its third-quarter earnings nearly
halved compared with the same
period the previous year.
Mr van Beurden s big problem, from which it is almost impossible to escape, is that the deal
is predicated on something over
which he is completely unable to
influence: the oil price bouncing
back sharply.
To complicate his position further, when the deal was announced,
Shell laid out its predictions on
which it based the BG bid. These
were $67 a barrel in 2016, $75 in
2017 and $90 a barrel by 2018.
In July, the Shell boss went
even further, stating that BG s
wide-ranging assets, including natural gas plants in Australia and oil
fields off the coast of Brazil, would
add to Shell s cash flow if crude
hit $67 a barrel in 2016.
From the outset, the numbers
looked a big bet but the oil price
has since fallen a further 11pc and
many experts believe it will be depressed for the foreseeable future,
including even BP and Shell s own
economists.
HTC has reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2015,
and things aren t getting any better for the Taiwanese company. It
revealed a significant dip in revenue from $1 billion in the preceding quarter to $660 million, and an
operating loss of $151 million.
The company doesn t seem to
be hitting the mark anywhere, with
neither high-end nor mid-range
smartphones winning over customers. The one small ray of hope
comes from HTC s partnership
with Valve to build the Vive VR
headset, which launches this year.
To make matters worse, HTC
also confirmed it would not provide guidance for the next quarter
and plans to withdraw from
giving guidance in any future quarters to avoid what it characterizes
as side effects. This policy could
be detrimental for the firm, which
is already under pressure from
shareholders to show at least some
positives. Fortunately, HTC has a
lot of cash to spare, meaning it can
grind through a few more poor
quarters without having to look at
other options. It currently has a
market cap of around $2 billion,
making it a prime target for a private equity takeover, if its founder
and CEO Cher Wang decides to go
that route. The launch of the HTC
One A9 might provide the turnaround the company is hoping for,
but early reviews don t seem too
hot. The company is also taking a
lot of flak for the iPhone 6 knockoff design, with fans claiming HTC
sold its iconic M7 shell to try and
win over Apple fans.
HTC suffers from not having
other sectors to back up a failing
mobile business, unlike Samsung,
LG, and Sony. All three Android
providers reported grim numbers
for the third quarter, but LG revealed strong display performance,
Samsung noted growth in semiconductors, and Sony reported growth
in entertainment and sensors.
(Digital Trends)
Iran to announce oil output rise at next OPEC meeting
billion) in assets, with the Ikea founder himself sitting on a fortune of an
estimated three to four billion euros.
Originally from Almhult in southern Sweden, Kamprad decided to
leave his longtime home of Switzerland for his native land after the death
of his wife Margaretha in 2011.
The billionaire has yet to retire -- Kamprad still serves on the supervisory board of Ingka Holding, Ikea's parent company.
Ikea, founded in 1943, is the number one furniture store in the world
bringing in around 31.9 billion euros for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
The Iranian oil minister said on
Saturday that Iran will officially
announce its crude oil output rise
by 500,000 barrels per day at the
upcoming OPEC meeting on Dec.
4, according to the ministry's news
agency.
"During the [upcoming OPEC]
meeting, we will officially notify
other OPEC members of our plans
to raise production and will ask
them to respect the 30-million-barrel ceiling which they have agreed,"
Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Shana.
"Iran is prepared to supply at
least 500,000 bpd of crude oil to
global markets," he added.
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MONDAY NOVEMBER 02, 2015
AFGHANISTANTIMES
Change is the spice of
showbiz: B-town embraces the digital boom
Holograms go mainstream,
with future full of possibility
NEW YORK: Concert promoters
hoping to bring out legends such
as Whitney Houston, Billie Holiday and Elvis Presley used to face
an obvious problem the singers
are dead.
But with rapid advances in
technology, those stars and many
more are returning to life through
holograms, the three-dimensional
light projections that have opened
new frontiers for the live music and
other industries.
The hologram boom began in
April 2012 when Coachella, one
of the most influential music festivals, resurrected slain rapper Tupac Shakur in a headlining set by
his former collaborators Dr. Dre
and Snoop Dogg.
Two years later, the King of
Pop Michael Jackson came back
from the dead at the Billboard
Music Awards, the annual event
hosted by the US music industry
magazine.
The firm also plans to bring
Billie Holiday, who died in 1959,
back to Harlem s Apollo Theater
in what would be the first regularly scheduled hologram show.
Holograms record light fields,
rather than standard camera images, thereby allowing a three-dimensional presentation. For Tupac and
Michael Jackson, the holograms,
however realistic looking, still used
a 150-year-old technology
the
image was projected onto a transparent screen.
For Whitney Houston s tour,
which four venues have so far
agreed to welcome, the late singer s image will be projected onto a
live artist on stage.
Whitney will be able to interact live in a real performance. It
won t be scripted, said Alki David, the founder of Hologram USA.
There is a performer
an actor
whose body is like Whitney, he
told AFP.
Another US company, Pulse
Evolution, is preparing a musical
based on Elvis that will take place
on stage through virtual reality.
Concert promoters are avidly
seeking unique headliners as the
number of summer festivals has
grown rapidly in the past years, in
one of the music industry s few
areas of substantial growth.
But will the public keep shelling out money to see dead entertainers once the novelty fades?
Reid Genauer, a member of the
band Strangefolk and chief marketing officer of the movie app company Magisto, said he struggled
to see how holograms would work
once the technology becomes commonplace.
Meeting dead celebrities, it
seems reasonable to me. Is there
business there? Probably. The difficulty I have and it s a lack of
imagination, not a lack of possibility
is envisioning how holo-
grams scale, he said.
Jason Ross, a veteran producer of multi-media music projects,
said that holograms may have more
practical uses in classrooms for
example, for dissections in biology courses.
Smelly Cat is back: Pheobe
joins Taylor Swift during concert
I think there is a market for
it, but I think from an instructional video standpoint it s going to be
much stronger, he said. Some promoters already shy away from
hologram concerts, finding them
tacky.
When rock legends the Grateful Dead threw five self-declared
final concerts in June and July, the
band considered
but decided
against creating a hologram of
Jerry Garcia, the hippie-era
group s most recognizable member who died in 1995.
John Textor, the chairman of
Pulse Evolution which spearheaded the Tupac and Michael Jackson holograms, said it was critical
to design real shows, not just to
rely on holograms.
He expected the Elvis musical
to run 90 minutes and feature live
dancers and actors, in the fashion
of a Broadway show. I don t believe in digital performance concerts. By the time you get to the
third song, you re done. The novelty is gone, Textor said in an interview.
Textor sees concerts not as an
end in themselves but as one application for virtual reality. Digital
Domain, the company he ran from
2006 to 2012, made its name in
cinema and won several Oscars,
most notably for 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in
which the hero, played by Brad
Pitt, ages backwards.
Virtual reality technologists
have long warned of the dangers of
the uncanny valley
a theory
that, the more perfectly an image
resembles a real being, the more
the audience will notice the imperfections.
But for Textor, that bridge has
been crossed. In the first part of
Benjamin Button, he recalled
that audiences believed they were
watching Pitt, when in fact it was
a virtual image.
University of Southern California professor Paul Debevec, a
pioneer in the field, said that creating holograms of dead people
was much more challenging than
the actual concert design.
Manuscript of song that inspired Happy Birthday found
The technology that is new
and interesting is the ability to create a human likeness to someone
that is dead
Tupac, Michael
Jackson, he said.
The technology of putting it
on stage is completely uninteresting.
REALITY CHECK: WHAT'S THE FUTURE OF HORROR IN BOLLYWOOD?
For most of us, Bollywood is all
about mushy, fairytale romances
ending on a happily ever after note.
In recent times, however, the industry has been experimenting
with a variety of genres, especially horror, which had long been
treated with disdain. While an increasing number of filmmakers
seem to be realisising the potential
of a haunting, the market for scary
movies largely remains untapped.
On the occasion of Halloween, we
track the scope of the spooky
genre in India.
Scream and shriek
Last year, Anurag Kashyapled Phantom Films tied up with
international production houses,
Blumhouse Production and Ivanhoe Pictures to exploit the horror
genre. Now, Neeraj Pandey and
Shital Bhatia have launched Friday
Fearworks which will produce
only freaky movies. They believe
the film category has a lot of offer
in terms of scripts and concepts.
"The market has always been there,
but hasn't been utilised to its capacity. The return on investment
(RoI) in this genre is much larger
than conventional big starrer films.
Even in overseas market, 'Conjuring' and 'Insidious 2' had bigger RoIs
than 'Iron Man 3' and 'Prometheus'.
In Bollywood, films like 'Raaz' and
'Ragini MMS' and its sequel have
been extremely successful.
The youth has always been
attracted to horror movies and
watches them irrespective of the
cast," says Shital.
He believes the genre has a
bright future with many filmmakers and production houses trying
to tap into it. "Steadily, we will
come up with more horror films to
match Hollywood. We have the
technology at hand, and with creative concepts, we can do great
work. In fact, we are planning to
make two to three horror movies
every year. Our first film, 'Missing', stars Tabu and Manoj Bajpayee which will release next year,"
she adds. Filmmaker Vikram
Bhatt, whose name is synonymous
with scary movies, believes that
makers should be creative enough
to satisfy the wants of today's audience. "We have an Indian idiom
of horror. There is love story, songs
mixed with supernatural elements.
But, lately that has also stopped
working because the multiplex audience is demanding the American
kind of horror films. They don't
want songs or drama. So, we are
working on giving our next, Raaz
Reboot a new look. There will not
be any unnecessary scene or
songs," he says. The director feels
that big stars and producers look
down on horror films, affecting its
rise: "Big stars don't want to be
scared of anybody and the heroine
doesn't want to look ugly.
These days, film theatres and television are not the only medium
providing people their daily dose
of entertainment. One can witness
the increasing number of audiences for content released on the Internet through several digital platforms or channels. While All India
Bakchod (AIB), East India Comedy (EIC) and The Viral Fever
(TVF) have become the most popular groups producing online content, it is also interesting to see
how established Hindi film studios
and music labels are steadily exploring the medium.
New players
Bhushan Kumar's music label,
T-Series, has released a number of
music videos online, the latest one
being Dheere Dheere, featuring
Hrithik Roshan and Sonam
Kapoor. The video received a
favourable viewership and thus, it
has only pushed the music company to produce and release more
online content. "Dheere Dheere is
the fastest video to reach 50 million views on Youtube in India.
Internet penetration in India is
growing at an exponential rate.
Music and videos consumption on
digital platforms and especially on
mobile handsets, has increased tenfold. Easy accessibility and affordable data pack prices is helping this
medium grow," says the T-Series
head honcho.
The latest music single is by the
band, Jumbo Jutts from Hrishikesh. The revenue from advertising is minimal as of now. But, we
are getting sponsors and partners.
United Nation funded Man's
World and Uniliver has come on
board for Bang Baaja Baaraat.
Also, we are getting good views
which will eventually help us in
getting more sponsors. We plan to
release feature films too in future
as we grow," reveals Ashish.
Ask if what keeps them interested in producing more content,
if there's not much return on investment as of now, and he explains, "Here we see an opportunity to extend out story telling
skills set into other devices and
stay relevant to today's audience,
who are always consuming content online. Also, it requires lesser
budget than a feature film. This
medium allows you to experiment
and tell stories that you may not
be able to tell in the big format. We
can also find new talents like actors, directors, stylists and also
producers. Also, at some stage, one
will be able to monetise the medium in a much smarter way.
We are a new channel but we
have gone from 18,000 subscribers to 100,000 subscribers in three
weeks. Advertisers and sponsors
are realising that they can earn a
lot through the medium.
He also believes that Bollywood stars have now understood
the way the digital market works
and are taking a keen interest in it.
"Our stars are very proactive as
far as their online and social media
presence is concerned. We have
always been a supporter of a digital India, hence we have a lot of
exciting releases lined up, which
won't be limited to digital platforms, but definitely digital will be
the major avenue for the consumption of this content," adds Bhushan.
In the meanwhile, major film
production houses are also steadily trying to create a mark on the
Internet. Eros International has
been uploading films on their website and Yash Raj Films, under the
Y Films banner, has been releasing
web series and music videos online. While they have received great
response so far to their content,
Ashish Patil, Vice President of Y
Films, hopes to strengthen their
standing even more.
Kalki Koechlin
"We have not only released
web series like Man's World, which
starred Parineeti Chopra, Richa
Chaddha, Kalki and other celebs
in cameo appearances, and another new show, Bang Baaja Baaraat,
but also a couple of music singles.
The director of Kahaani
(2012), Sujoy Ghosh recently tasted success with his debut online
Bengali short film, Ahalya. However, he had not imagined such a
mass acceptance for the regional
film. The director quite candidly
explains that he was trying to figure out how the medium functions.
"When we did Ahalya, it was
more of a stepping stone. We were
then still trying to gauge how to
master the medium. Digital is a
great medium but we didn't know
how do we market the product or
how do we monetise it. We wanted to make a short film but treat it
like a feature film, in terms of production value and cast," says
Ghosh, and adds that he wanted a
bigger audience for the film and
thus released it online.
He says, "I wanted to know
how a Bengali film or any regional
film can move away from the region and know how people in
Mumbai or any other city will react to a Bengali short film. The
problem with regional cinema is
that it is not screened at many places, but if we figure out a window
like this, it helps the film reach a
wider audience."
Sujoy is trying to find sponsors to create more content for the
digital market.
LOS ANGELES: Priyanka Chopra s international TV series Quantico has run into a legal cauldron. A lawsuit has been filed against producer
Mark Gordon, claiming that the idea for the American series was lifted from a 1999 documentary that aired on CNN.
Filmmakers Jamie Hellman and Barbara Leibovitz Hellman, and business executive Paula Paizes filed a 35-page complaint on Thursday in
Los Angeles Superior Court that says Gordon took the show s premise from Quantico: The Making of an FBI Agent.
According to the complaint, the filmmakers were granted unprecedented access to the FBI Academy for their project, which followed a
class of trainees through their 16-week programme. It read that Paizes and Gordon formed a business relationship in 2001 and introduced him
to the filmmakers, later saying in an email that they have a ton of research and can get us inside Quantico and the FBI.
In 2002, Leibovitz and Hellman signed a deal with the Mark Gordon Company and their Leibovitz-Hellman Productions and provided
MGC with the film from the documentary, information that was not included in the documentary, including all of their notes and transcripts
related to the film.
The complaint further alleged that initially, the Quantico Project was discussed as a movie, with a storyline that included a conspiracy
inside the FBI Academy. It added that the series substantially resembles the plot lines created and moulded by Paizes. The Mark Gordon
Company had not commented on the suit.
Priyanka forayed into the small-screen fiction space through the ABC action-thriller series, in which she plays Alex Parrish, a rookie FBI
recruit with a mysterious past. The Quantico series follows a group of young FBI recruits battling through training, inter-cutting between their
hidden pasts and present training.
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MONDAY NOVEMBER 02, 2015
AFGHANISTANTIMES
Ruthless New
Zealand retain
Rugby World Cup
American Pharoah caps off historic career
with storybook ending at Breeders' Cup
In art, in sports, in life, the perfect
ending is always sought but rarely
achieved. You can script it and plan
it, but the devil is in the delivery.
John Elway did it, walking
away from football after consecutive Super Bowl victories. F. Scott
Fitzgerald wrote it, finishing "The
Great Gatsby" with an artistic last
page of prose. Mike Nichols directed it in the closing scene of
"The Graduate."
And now here came American
Pharoah, nailing the ending.
Here came the best horse on
the planet, flying over the dirt
stretch at Keeneland Race Course
on Saturday evening in the Breeders' Cup Classic, running toward
the wire one last time, running
away from the overmatched com-
petition, galloping gloriously into
history. Here came the only living
Triple Crown winner, bringing
50,155 fans to their feet, bringing
hair on the back of the neck to attention, bringing tears to the eyes.
"C'mon, boy!" trainer Bob
Baffert shouted, looking up at the
big screen in the Keeneland paddock as his colt of a lifetime drew
off. "C'mon! C'mon, big boy!"
Before he even got to the wire,
Baffert's wife, Jill, cried and turned
to give Bob an embrace. Emotion
surged through American
Pharoah's connections owner
Ahmed Zayat was reduced to a
puddle as the reality and finality
hit.
"What a horse," Baffert said.
The Hall of Fame trainer said
he felt a ton of pressure to send
American Pharoah into retirement
the right way, but when prime
Classic competitor Beholder
scratched midweek, this 1 ¼-mile
race became less a competition than
a coronation. If there was tension
in the Pharoah camp, it was hard
to detect.
The bandwagon had bloated
hysterically since the colt won the
Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. Then, Baffert
watched the race with his wife,
some of his children, friend Bernie
Schiappa and a couple of reporters. Now, he was surrounded by
so many people that Baffert had
to move away before the horses
reached the starting gate to get
some space.
"I need to breathe," he
quipped. But beneath those trademark sunglasses, Baffert was choking up. "I've never been so damn
emotional about running a horse,"
he said.
"Stop crying," Jill said.
He stopped crying and started joking. Waiting for the horses
to load, Baffert thought back more
than 20 years, to when he was new
on the thoroughbred scene after
coming up through the quarterhorse ranks. These were races he
dreamed of just being part of.
"I remember just hoping I'd
have one Breeders' Cup horse," he
said.
His first Cup horse was a filly
named Soviet Sojourn, in 1991.
Minutes before this Classic 24
years later, Baffert recounted that
cold day at Churchill Downs. He
was wearing a cheap, heavily
starched shirt and it chafed his
nipples raw.
Then he talked about the 1996
Breeders' Cup in Toronto, when
he had a horse named Zippers Up.
When someone told him his zipper was down, Baffert laughed it
off, thinking it was a reference to
his horse. But later someone told
him, hey, your fly really is down.
Yes, this is what Bob Baffert
was talking about in the minutes
before American Pharoah's last
race. This is why he is a unique
personality in sports.
Oh, there was a little bit of
race talk, too. The break from the
starting gate would be key.
New Zealand cemented their status as the greatest team in rugby
history when they overwhelmed
Australia 34-17 at Twickenham to
become world champions for a
record third time, and the first nation to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.
Tries from Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ma'a Nonu had the All
Blacks cruising 21-3 early in the
second half before Ben Smith's
yellow card opened the door for
Australia, who got back to within
four points with tries by David
Pocock and Tuvita Kuridrani.
But flyhalf Dan Carter, who
missed most of the 2011 tournament through injury and who is
retiring from international rugby
after Saturday's match, stepped
up with an exquisite drop goal and
a 50-metre penalty to put the result beyond doubt.
Replacement wing Beauden
Barrett applied the black icing to
the Kiwi World Cup cake with a
late try which Carter converted to
take his personal tally to 19 points
New Zealand have lost just
three times in 54 matches since
their triumph on home soil four
years ago, and have won every
World Cup match since losing to
France in the 2007 quarter-finals.
"I'm pretty grateful to be
where I am considering what happened four years ago," said manof-the-match Carter, who was also
part of the unsuccessful 2003 and
2007 campaigns.
"I'm so proud of the team. To
win back-to-back World Cups is a
dream come true. It's a pretty
strong group of guys. We try to do
things no other team has done before... it's a special feeling to be
part of such a great team."
The previous six World Cup
finals had produced seven tries
between them and Saturday's total of five was a record, eclipsing
the four of the inaugural final when
New Zealand beat France.
The sport's superpower won
the cup for a second time four
years ago, also on home soil, and
Saturday's victory was their first
overseas.
Justin Thomas
wins CIMB
Classic for first
PGA Tour title
KUALA LUMPUR: Justin Thomas won the CIMB Classic on
Sunday for his first PGA Tour title, holing a 6-foot par putt on the
final hole for a one-stroke victory
over Adam Scott.
The 22-year-old American
closed with a 6-under 66 for a tournament-record 26-under 262 total
at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Thomas had a double bogey
on the 14th after hitting into the
water, then rallied with three consecutive birdies to take the outright lead.
Scott had an eagle and seven
birdies in his closing 63. Kevin Na
and Brendan Steele tied for third
at 24-under. Na had a 67, and Steele
shot 68.
Thomas opened with rounds
of 68, 61 and 67 to share the thirdround lead with Steele.
Rafael Nadal reached the final of the Swiss Indoor tournament when he beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-6(7), a result that was good news for fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.
Gasquet could still have denied Ferrer a place in the ATP World Tour Finals next month, but his defeat means Ferrer, along with Japan's Kei Nishikori, complete the eight-man line-up for the season-ending showpiece.
Nadal was a break down in the opening set but hit back from 2-4 to win four consecutive games. He also trailed 6-4 in the second-set tiebreak before reeling off the last four points.
Standing in the way of Nadal in his 98th career final will be top-seed and home favourite Roger Federer who beat American Jack Sock 6-3 6-4 in little over an hour.
Federer is looking for a seventh title in his home city. Ferrer and Nishikori join three-time defending champion and 2008 winner Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, six-times former winner Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas
Berdych and Nadal in London.
Ronda Rousey wore a Roots of
Fight T-shirt with a photo of Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley on
the front with the sleeves torn off,
a pair of shorts and boots.
She grinned, seeming almost
embarrassed, after finishing her
makeup and coming to the mats at
the Glendale Fighting Club to greet
a phalanx of reporters, microphones and cameras.
Those covering the event made
a horseshoe around her and cameras whirred as she took her seat.
We ve probably dealt with
similar situations, Rousey said of
Ali and the media crush he would
regularly attract during his heyday
when his was the most recognizable face on Earth.
Rousey s not there yet
though if her popularity keeps
growing exponentially the way it
has over the last year, she could
come close.
In the last three months, she s
announced her next fight on Good
Morning America; had the promo
for that bout debut on The Ellen
DeGeneres Show; hosted SportsCenter; did a guest spot on The
Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon;
appeared on the covers of Self and
Ring magazines; and was on the
Fox NFL pregame show on Sunday.
She s far and away the biggest
draw in combat sports, and no one
else right now is close.
Her appearance on the Ring
cover was special to her, and not
just because in doing so she became the first mixed martial artist
to appear on the cover of the venerable boxing magazine.
I ve really fallen in love with
boxing, Rousey said.
She s worked hard on her box-
ing in preparation for her women s bantamweight title defense
Nov. 14 in Melbourne, Australia,
against former boxing champion
Holly Holm in the main event of
UFC 193.
Her coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, raved about Rousey s boxing
and said he doesn t believe Holm
will stand in front of Rousey.
She s going to run, Tarverdyan said, dismissively, of Holm.
Rousey has developed from a
one-trick pony who used her incredible judo skills to carry her in
the early stages of her MMA career. She s developed her game so
well in the last five years that she s
arguably the best fighter in the
sport s short history.
She runs through opponents
so fast the fight with Holm will
be her third of 2015, though defenses against Cat Zingano at UFC
184 and Bethe Correia at UFC 190
failed to last a minute combined
that she has to set goals other than
simply winning in order to stay
motivated.
To be honest, my goals are
so crazy that, what I d really like
to do, and I don t know if I have
the time because I want to do so
many things, but I want to be remembered as one of the greatest
fighters of all time, any sport, she
said. What I would love to do, I
mean, I got an Olympic medal [in
judo in 2008], I would want to retire from MMA as one of the
greatest of all time.
I would love to have a chance
to be the boxing world champion.
I would love to have a chance to be
a jiu-jitsu world champion. I would
love the chance to be the [WWE]
Divas world champion and be the
best of everything at one point.
Rousey is a once-in-a-generation type of athlete and she may
defy the normal conventions of age,
but she s nearly 29 and is at the
age where fighters tend to start to
decline physically.
Her body has been battered
from nearly two decades of physical abuse, and she s not certain of
how long it will allow her to do
what she does.
It s not simply the fights but
the hours of practicing that may
ultimately be her downfall.
Technically, I feel my level s
increasing all the time, Rousey
told Yahoo Sports after her media
scrum Wednesday had concluded.
Physically, I m very much at my
peak right now.
But that s because of an incredibly high pain tolerance and a will
to win that is such that she ignores
the aches and pains that sideline
others.
UFC president Dana White
called her the most durable athlete
he s ever known, but she s not
Marvel Girl, even if she dreams
about it. I ve had arthritis since I
was 19 years old and I had my
first knee surgery when I was 16,
she said. I ve had four knee surgeries to this point. I don t know
how much longer I can go. I don t
want to give away too many of
my injuries, but those are the ones
I know. I have some things that are
degenerative over time. I can t do
this forever. I wish I could, but it
is what it is.
Rousey is a far better athlete
than most of her competition, but
she s also extremely technical. She
manages to turn negatives into
positives. She said in some ways
she is a better fighter because she
tore up her knee as a teenager.
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.
MONDAY NOVEMBER 02
.
2015-Aqrab 11, 1394 H.S
Vol:X Issue No:94 Price: Afs.15
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