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Afghan War in New Phase, with New Team
April 30, 2011
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama Thursday charged his reshaped national security team with managing a "new phase" in the long war in Afghanistan -- the struggle to put Afghans in charge of their own security.
Obama nominated CIA boss Leon Panetta as defense secretary, veteran diplomat Ryan Crocker as ambassador to Kabul and chose Lieutenant General John Allen as the new Afghan war commander, refashioning his security brain...
Kabul Bank’s Corrupt Shareholders Named
April 30, 2011
KABUL - Governor of Da Afghanistan Bank Abdul Qadir Fitrat on Wednesday named some of Kabul Bank shareholders who were allegedly involved in misusing clients' deposits.
Despite risks, the stakeholders were named to resolve the crisis, Fitrat told the Wolesi Jirga -- the lower house of the Parliament, which summoned him to explain the story of Afghanistan's largest...
Russia Supports Afghan Peace Process
April 30, 2011
KABUL - Russia's Special Representative to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulove on Friday supported the ongoing peace effort and pledged his country's cooperation in this regard.
During a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, he agreed with President Hamid Karzai on strengthening trade cooperation between the neighboring counties.
The Afghan president and his Russian counterpart had pledged to boost trade links at a meeting in Moscow five months ago, Karzai's office said...
Mujahidin Victory Day Marked Without Parade
April 30, 2011
KABUL - Despite elaborate preparations, the 19th anniversary of Mujahidin's Victory Day was celebrated without the traditional military parade and other high-profile events in Kabul on Thursday.
A coup by the Soviet-backed Communist Party on April 27, 1978 saw the collapse of President Muhammad Daud Khan's government.
Daud's assassination paved the way...
Afghan Violence Rises Amid Troop Surge: Pentagon
April 30, 2011
WASHINGTON - A surge of foreign troops into Afghanistan has dealt a blow to the Taliban insurgency but total violence has risen since last fall, the Pentagon said on Friday.
The Pentagon, in a twice-annual report to the U.S. Congress, said the increase in overall security incidents, which includes roadside bombs, direct fire and other violent acts, was due in part...
WB Oks $50m for Telecom Sector
April 30, 2011
KABUL - The World Bank (WB) has approved a $50 million grant to help the Afghan government expand connectivity, mainstream the use of mobile applications and support the development of the local information technology industry.
The individual development account (IDA) is meant for the Afghanistan Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Sector Development Project that builds...
Afghan Transition Strategy to Continue: NATO
April 30, 2011
BRUSSELS - NATO is congratulating Gen. David Petraeus on his nomination as CIA head, saying its forces in Afghanistan will continue implementing his strategy of handing control to local security forces.
Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday the 150,000-strong NATO force "has seen many successes under his command."
Petraeus has said advances in Taliban strongholds have given NATO the initiative. The transition to...
EU Envoy, AKDN and MAIL Representatives visit EU-funded Biotechnology Laboratory
April 30, 2011
KAUBL - The European Union Special Representative and Head of the EU Delegation to Afghanistan, Ambassador Vygaudas Ušackas, the AKDN Diplomatic Representative Aly Mawji and the Deputy Minister, Abdul Ghani Ghuriani, of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock paid a visit to the Plant Biotechnology Laboratory in Badam ...
Washington Reviews Pak-Afghanistan Strategy
KABUL - US President Barack Obama reviewed the US strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan with his top national security and intelligence officials.
The review session was attended by Defence Secretary Robert Gates, UN ambassador Susan Rice, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and James Clapper, Obama's director of national intelligence, Vice President Joe Biden, the top US Commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, General David ...
Paktia Governor Survives Blast
GARDEZ - Three policemen and a civilian were injured in a bomb attack on Governor Juma Khan Hamdard's vehicle in the southeastern province of Paktia, an official said on Tuesday.
The roadside bomb went off at 8:30a.m, wounding three gubernatorial guards and a passerby, but the governor escaped unhurt, Khan's spokesman Roohullah Samoon told Pajhwok Afghan...
65 Escaped Prisoners Recaptured
KANDAHAR - Officials say Afghan and international forces have recaptured 65 of nearly 500 inmates who escaped from a jail in southern Afghanistan, in a massive security breach claimed by the Taliban.
The prisoners, mostly Taliban militants, streamed out of Kandahar province's Sarposa prison overnight Sunday through a 300-meter long tunnel built over a five-month ...
Prison Break was Inside Job: Karzai Office
KABUL – President Hamid Karzai's office on Tuesday acknowledged signs of "cooperation and facilitation from inside" in a huge Afghan prison break in which hundreds of Taliban inmates escaped.
"The escape of all inmates through the tunnel is an indicator of cooperation and facilitation from inside the prison," a statement from the palace said, following an initial report from ...
Roshan Plans $100m Spend in 2011: CEO
ABU DHABI - Afghan telecoms group Roshan plans to invest up to $100 million in its home market this year and expects subscriber numbers to grow to 5.75 million as it expands into new areas.
Chief Executive Karim Khoja also said the company planned to offer third-generation (3G) services in the war-battered country and the roll-out was expected to start in the ...
Afghan Govt. Has No Idea of Police Strength: US
WASHINGTON - In the absence of a centralized automated system, the Afghan government has no idea how many policemen are actually are on its rolls, this increasing the prospects of ghost employees, a top US official told lawmakers.
"The risk that we are finding, first of all, is that there is no centralized automated system put in place by the Ministry of Interior...
Key Al-Qaida Figure Killed: NATO
KABUL - A NATO airstrike earlier this month killed a key al-Qaida operative in Afghanistan — a regional commander in charge of suicide bombings and cash flow, the international military coalition said Tuesday.
NATO identified the man killed in the April 13 airstrike in Dangam district of eastern Kunar province as Abu Hafs al-Najdi, also known as Abdul Ghani. The alliance said the strike also killed a number of other insurgents, including ...
488 Prisoners Escape From Kandahar Jail
KANDAHAR CITY - Two of the 488 political prisoners, who escaped after the Taliban tunneled into the high-security Kandahar Central Jail early Monday morning, were killed and 24 others rearrested, officials said.
Hundreds of prisoners, many of them militants, fled the jail in Kandahar City through a 360-metre-long tunnel dug by the fighters, Governor Toryalai Weesa told a news conference. The passage linked a nearby house in the Sarpuza area to a cell...
Karzai’s Office Rejects Receiving Proposal from Pakistan
KABUL - President Karzai's Office on Monday denied having received a proposal from Pakistan consisted of Pakistani government demands.
At a press conference President Hamid Karzai's Spokesperson Waheed Omar called the reports claiming Pakistan submitting a proposal to Afghanistan inaccurate.
Mr Omar told reporters that Pakistan had not offered any ...
WJ Again Rejects Current Year’s Budget
KABUL - The Wolesi Jirga (WJ), lower house of Parliament, once again rejected on Monday the budget for the new financial year that commenced on March 21.
Passed by the Senate, or Meshrano Jirga, the budget had earlier been rejected by the assembly on March 28, despite Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal's appeal for early...
Pepsi Deal Boosts Investment Chances in Afghanistan
KABUL - A huge investment of Alokozay Group of Companies in Pepsi production in Afghanistan will be a big booster of jobs and investment, AISA said on Monday.
Afghan Investment Support Agency (AISA) said establishment of a $60 million beverage plant in Afghanistan could persuade other world investors to work on big projects in the...
Vote Recount Not Transparent: FEFA
KABUL - The recount of votes from last year's parliamentary election lacked transparency, because procedures for the exercise were not put in place beforehand in any province, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) said on Sunday"In most provinces, it was observed that representatives of the organs forming the provincial recount staff constantly changed. For example, a representative attending the recount today was replaced by another the next day," the election watchdog said in a...
No Permanent US Military Bases in Afghanistan: Karzai
KABUL - President Hamid Karzai has refused to accept establishment of US permanent military bases in Afghanistan, Interior Minister said on Sunday.
After the Afghan House of Representatives summoned security officials to brief the house on security situation which is being unprecedentedly worse in recent weeks. Interior Minister and Deputy ...
Insurgent Attacks Hit Records Last Month
KABUL - A total of 440 insurgent attacks have happened nationwide in the past one month, a senior official in Ministry of Interior Affairs said on Sunday. Over 325 militants were killed and 65 others were hurt, Interior Ministry Spokesman Zemarai Bashari told reporters at a press conference.
Around 767 have been arrested and more than 749 roadside bombs ...
India Won’t Back Out of Dam Project: Diplomat
HERAT CITY - A major dam project, which is estimated to cost more than $180 million, (Afs 8.191 billion) Afghanis will be completed in the Chasht Sharif district of western Herat province by end of 2012, the Indian consul general promised on Sunday.
Once completed, the hydroelectric plant will produce 42 megawatts of ...
Dubai’s Alokozay Group Acquires Afghan Bank
DUBAI - Dubai-based Alokozay Group has acquired a bank in Afghanistan and will also open a tissue plant in Dubai in the next three to four months as part of group's diversification plan, a senior company official said.
Speaking to Emirates 24l7, Jalil Alokozay, CEO of Alokozay Group, said: "We have taken over another bank and will rebrand it as Alokozay Bank because central bank ...
MPs Allow Accession to UN Convention
KABUL - The Wolesi Jirga on Saturday approved Afghanistan's accession to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The convention and its Optional Protocol were adopted in December 2006 by the United Nations and accession to began on March 30, 2007.
Syed Alimi Balkhi, head of the commission on disabilities, martyrs and widows, said the Afghanistan's accession to such conventions after three decades of war.
With the ratification of the ...
9,000 Civilians Killed in the Past Three Years: Report
KABUL - More than 9,000 civilians have lost their lives in the past three years in Afghanistan, a joint report by UN and Independent Human Rights Commission said.
There has been a 15-percent rise in civilian casualties in the country, the report said.
In the past three months more than 420 civilians have lost their lives nationwide, it said.
It said most of the deaths have been caused by Taliban...
Band-e-Amir National Park Attract Thousands
BAMYAN - Afghanistan's first national park in Band-e-Amir, is already attracting 2,000 visitors each weekend, three years before it even becomes official
Afghanistan's first national park must wait three years before it is officially recognized, but it is already proving popular with locals who flock to the area on summer weekends.
Situated at Band-e-Amir, near ...
Maliki to Mullen: Iraqi Troops Can Take Over
BAGHDAD – Iraq's prime minister has told the top U.S. military officer that Iraqi forces are able to maintain security in their own country, as discussions intensify over whether to keep any U.S. forces in Iraq past this year.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made the remark during a late Thursday meeting with Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of ...
Govt. to Divide and Sell Kabul Bank
Kabul - Afghanistan’s government will divide and sell the country’s biggest bank, which collapsed last year from losses on loans to its owners, including brothers of President Hamid Karzai and his vice president.
A government commission will take more than $570 million in fraudulent loans from Kabul Bank before the rest of the company is offered for sale, central bank Governor Abdul Qadeer Fitrat told reporters yesterday. He declined to say whether the plan had support from the International Monetary Fund, which has withheld ...
Pepsi Moves into Afghanistan
DUBAI - PepsiCo "signed an Exclusive Bottling Appointment with the Alokozay Group of Companies to manufacture and distribute a broad range of PepsiCo beverages in Afghanistan," the statement said. "The beverages will be produced at ABCo (Alokozay Beverages Company), Alokozay's beverage bottling plant, which will be set up in ...
US Committed to 2014 Transition in Afghanistan: Clinton
WASHINGTON - US and its NATO partners are committed to the 2014 transition in Afghanistan, even though a "lot of work" needs to be done to facilitate greater security and political reconciliation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
"We are committed to the NATO transition as agreed at the ...
Taliban May Be ‘Driven Out’ of Afghanistan By End of 2011: Gates
WASHINGTON - A U.S.-led international coalition in Afghanistan may "turn a corner" in its decade-long war against Taliban as early as at the end of the year, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said. "My own view is that this year is a critical year," the Pentagon chief told journalists in Washington on ...
NATO to Give ASF $10b Equipment Till 2014
KABUL - NATO will donate weapons, vehicles and airplanes worth more than $10 billion (458.1 billion Afghanis) to Afghan Security Forces (ASF) till 2014, an official of the Western military alliance announced on Wednesday.
Weapons and equipment would be provided to 305,000 Afghan security forces, a spokesman for the International...
Tough Year Ahead: Mullen
WASHINGTON - Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the U.S. military is bracing for a tough year in Afghanistan with potentially significant losses.
Mullen made the comments as he visited U.S. bases in Afghanistan, according to the American Forces Press Service affiliated with...
Taliban Planning Afghan Summer ‘Spectaculars’
KABUL - The Taliban are likely to use "large-scale, spectacular attacks" to try to Destabilize the transition process in Afghanistan once the fighting season begins this summer, British military commanders have warned.
They are expecting a change of tactics as insurgents try to regain ground lost...