Afghan President Seeks
Indian Military Aid Amid Pakistan Row
May 19, 2013
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
An aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he will seek
military aid from India during a three-day visit this week to that
Karzai's trip, which begins on May 20, comes amid escalating
border tensions with India's archrival, Pakistan.
Spokesman Aimal Faizi says Karzai will discuss recent
Afghan-Pakistani border skirmishes when he visits New Delhi and
will seek Indian help in the "strengthening of [Afghan] security
Earlier this month, border guards from the two countries
clashed at their disputed frontier on the Durand Line -- the
colonial-era boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Afghanistan said a policeman was killed.
Pakistan said the clashes were the result of unprovoked Afghan
The fresh strains in Pakistan's ties with Afghanistan come as a
new government is set to take office in Islamabad, promising
improved ties with India.
Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
Afghanistan to purchase
An-74 cargo planes for Afghan forces
By SAYED JAWAD - 19 May 2013, 10:31 pm
The national security council (NSC) of Afghanistan on Sunday
instructed Afghan finance ministry provide $100 million to Afghan
defense ministry for the purchase of 5 Russian made transport
According to a statement released by Afghan presidential palace
media office, the decision was taken during the national security
council (NSC) meeting chaired by Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
Afghan defense minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi during NSC
meeting insisted that five An-74 air crafts were needed by Afghan
defense ministry, and urged for immediate financial arrangement to
purchase the required air-crafts.
Afghan presidential palace media office in its statement added
that national security council of Afghanistan instructed finance
ministry to provide the amount from the budget of the Afghan
National security adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta, defense and
interior ministers along with the head of the national directorate
of security also briefed the national security council regarding
the transition of armed militia covered by US troops to Afghan
According to reports around 290 armed militia were transitioned
to national directorate of security formation in Urgon district of
eastern Paktika province, and further steps have been taken to
transfer the remaining armed militia men to Afghan control in
Kandahar, Kabul, Nangarhar, Kunar and Khost provinces of
Karzai says US can
establish military bases in Afghanistan
May 19, 2013
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the United States can
establish military bases in Afghanistan after the two sides sign
US-Afghan bilateral security agreement.
Karzai made the demand during a telephone conversation with US
Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday.
The Afghan president said the agreement could be reached on
condition that the US ensures lasting peace in the country.
"They discussed the joint progress on the bilateral security
agreement, border issues and the status of the ongoing peace
process," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
"Kerry also affirmed that he and President Karzai remain
committed to the same strategy and the same goal of a stable,
sovereign Afghanistan, responsible for its own security and able
to ensure that it can never again be a safe haven for terrorists,"
Meanwhile, Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi said Washington has
confirmed its demands for establishing nine permanent bases in
Faizi added that US officials have sent an email confirming the
American officials previously denied that they had demanded
that Kabul creates the bases, but have now admitted that their
initial denial was mistaken.
Afghan officials say Washington has even picked some cities for
its bases during its latest talks with Kabul.
The United States and its allies entered the war in Afghanistan
in October 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after more than
11 years, the foreign troops have still not been able to establish
security in the country.
The foreign troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the
end of 2014. However, there are still more than 100,000 US-led
troops (67,000 US troops and 37,000 coalition forces) in the
Powerful blast hits governor's
compound in northern Afghanistan
May 19, 2013
Several people are feared dead or injured after a huge
explosion rocked a governor's compound in northern Afghanistan,
Press TV reports.
Afghan security sources said the explosion took place in the
vicinity of the governor's compound in the capital city of Sar-e
Pol Province in the country's north on Sunday evening.
The blast happened in a parking lot located very close to the
Eyewitnesses say thick plumes of smoke were seen rising from
the governor's complex.
There were no immediate reports of casualties from the bomb
attack and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the
Security forces cordoned off the area after the blast, and
launched an investigation.
The Taliban militants have recently announced the start of
their annual "spring offensive" against US-led and Afghan forces,
vowing a new wave of attacks across Afghanistan.
Taliban said it would use "every possible tactic" to inflict
casualties on Afghan and US-led forces.
The announcement prompted the Afghan authorities to beef up
security in major cities across the country, including the capital
city of Kabul.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext
of combating terrorism. The offensive removed the Taliban from
power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country despite
the presence of thousands of US-led soldiers.
ISAF plane makes hard landing,
leaving no casualty
KABUL, May 19 (Xinhua) -- A plane with the NATO-led
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) made hard landing
in Logar province 60 km south of Kabul on Sunday, a statement of
the alliance released here said.
"An International Security Assistance Force C-130 had a hard
landing in Logar province, Afghanistan today," the statement
The statement without providing more details stressed that, "
There are no casualties, and there was no indication of insurgent
activity in the area at the time."
Previously, in a similar incident, a helicopter crashed in
Logar province on April 22, during which Taliban militants
captured nine people including eight Turkish nationals aboard the
chopper and set them free after nearly two weeks keeping in
Report: Obama Trims Afghan War
May 18, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama is trimming his funding request for
the Afghan war.
The Reuters news agency quotes an unidentified White House aide
as saying the president has decreased his request for funding the
war in Afghanistan by 10 percent for the 2014 fiscal year budget.
The report says the president reduced his original request from
$88.5 billion to $79.4 billion.
The White House issued a statement Friday saying the change was
made to account for the drawdown of troops set to begin next year.
The president has set 2014 as the target for withdrawing most
of the troops while maintaining sufficient personnel there to
support Afghan forces and carry out some operations.
A reporter for VOA's Deewa service says the border between
Afghanistan and Pakistan is seeing increased traffic as more
trucks loaded with military hardware are leaving Afghanistan ahead
of the U.S. troop withdrawal.
Meanwhile, the Defense Department is seeking congressional
approval to shift nearly $10 billion of its budget to cover the
increased costs of the war in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon request, made late Friday, is larger than the $7.5
billion limit that Congress set for annual transfers between
It is not clear how Congress will respond to the request.
Today's Afghan News headlines
19 May 2013 - President Karzai sets ensuring peace as main
precondition for signing security pact with US; Lower House
decides to set up a commission to probe allegations made by the
Finance Minister against six lawmakers; Afghanistan and UNHCR in
dispute over delivery of cash for solving Afghan refugee issues in
Pakistan; President Karzai meets UNESCO director. A number of MPs
call parts of EVAW law un-Islamic; Kandahar blasts were planned in
Quetta - officials; Anti Pak-Iran protest staged in Jalalabad;
UNESCO director vows to increase aid in education sector.
AFGHAN PRINT NEWS
Corruption has scaled new heights with the Afghan attaches in
Pakistan denying they received any financial aid from the United
Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Tolo News reports
that the organization pays 14 million Pakistani Rupees each year
to the attaches of the Ministry of Refugee and Repatriation (MoRR)
who operate in three states of Pakistan. An official of UNHCR in
Pakistan told Tolo News that the organization has paid thousands
of dollars in cash to Afghan attaches to solve the problems of
Afghan refugees’ residing in Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and
Quetta. "In all these places, solving the problems of refugees and
their supervision, all is done by UNHCR. To some extent, we
financially help them and I think that in the current year we may
give them US$28,000," an official of the United Nations High
Commission for Refugees in Pakistan Fawad told Tolo News. But the
attaches of MoRR in Pakistan rejected all the claims and said that
they had not received any kind of funding in cash from the UNHCR.
"They have not given any financial aid for the refugees so far,"
said one MoRR’s attaché, Khan Momand.
Pajhwok Afghan News
Fourteen Afghan prisoners who had been languishing in
Tajikistan‘s prisons were handed over to Afghan authorities, said
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday.
Foreigners will not leave Afghanistan until the country stands
on its own feet, said Khost governor Jabar Naeimi in a press
conference held after visiting foreign troops in Khost.
A statement from the President’s Office said that Karzai
briefed his cabinet on the nature of his phone conversation with
Secretary of State Kerry. Karzai told Kerry that Afghanistan would
not sign the security agreement until peace was guaranteed by the
US. Karzai said their phone conversation focused on several
points--- peace and Pakistan's role in peace efforts and the
bilateral security pact. On Pakistan's role in peace process,
Karzai said the country should translate its pledges into a
concrete action and the US has to make further efforts in this
regard. Karzai made it clear to Kerry that the Afghanistan would
never sign a security agreement with the US if the conflict and
violence continues. The US should accept all conditions that the
Afghan Government has proposed for the agreement, including
bringing to a close the current war, the statement added.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Saturday sent
essential materials to nine northern provinces for the
distribution of new voter cards ahead of the April 2014
presidential and provincial elections, an official said.
The Lower House on Saturday decided to set up a commission to
investigate Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal’s allegations against
During his visit with President Karzai, UNESCO’s director said
that instead of spending money rebuilding Buddha statues in Bamyan,
it would be better to set up a museum.
The Afghanistan National Journalists’ Union welcomed the
sacking of the Takhar police chief over his violent and illegal
treatment of local journalists.
Representatives of civil society organizations in Bamyan
expressed concern over the influence exerted by some elites in the
local judicial and legal offices to release people convicted of
murder and theft.
Some 40 students of Laisa-e-Markazi school Ashkamish district
in Takhar were poisoned, said the head of provincial health
Private Media Editorials
Lawmakers should not politicize the approval process of the Law
on Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW). Apparently some
individuals [lawmakers] want to appear themselves as heroes of in
the approval or disapproval process of the EVAW law. Similar
reactions were visible when the Shiite Personal Status Law was
faced with a similar situation. It’s necessary that the
experiences of other countries, which possess cultures similar to
Afghanistan, should be used. Parliament should speed up the
approval process of the election law because the presidential
election should be held next year. The forthcoming elections will
play a vital role in the political and economic destiny of the
country. The EVAW law is currently enforced in the country based
on a presidential legislative decree, even attorneys who practice
EVAW law are active. It’s necessary that the EVAW law should reach
maturity then be approved by the lawmakers.
The foreign cultural invasion through soap operas which aim at
advocating for women’s rights and the extreme performances of some
women’s rights activists have caused obstacles on the way of women
to achieve their rights. These programs are against our Islamic
values and they cause backlashes which threaten the legitimate
rights and freedoms of women. Women constitute half of the
population and they play important roles in politics and society.
If these roles are passed through a logical approach free from any
gender-based discrimination, it will greatly support the women who
have been deprived of most of their rights. It is hoped that no
political deal will take place in approving or rejecting the Law
on Elimination of Violence Against Women.
We should not expect peace to be restored in the country unless
criminal groups whose crimes have been proven [by the court of
law] are punished. Recklessness in relation to the cases of
murderers and terrorists has harmed the prestige of the government
and has threatened the legitimacy of the Karzai administration. If
Kabul wants to restore a minimum of legitimacy, then efforts
should be made to enact capital punishment of criminals.
As the year of presidential election approaches, the concerns
of political parties, the international community, civil society
organizations and media bodies regarding the arrangements made to
conduct free and fair election are escalating. Formerly, Ashraf
Ghani Ahmadzai, Head of Transition Process, said that the
government, political parties and civil bodies should adopt
measures to hold transparent and fair elections. A transparent
poll requires pre-conditions of universal issuance of computerized
identity cards, timely up-grades of old voter lists and the
appointment of impartial polling staff of high integrity. All this
should be held under the oversight of the UN and international
observers. Many international donors, including the US, have laid
down conditions to aid Afghanistan, linked to a legitimate
election. Afghanistan’s weakening economy is highly dependent on
foreign aid and a threatening budget deficit and economical
reversals could occur if foreign aid is disbanded. A smooth
transfer of power through free, fair and transparent elections
must be ensured to avoid any crisis in 2014. Similar issues of
fraud caused a deadlock in 2009. A repeat of that experience will
not pass smoothly next time. It will take the system down. Such a
crisis could derail the entire process and we could plunge into
political instability that is much more serious and threatening
than in 2009.
AFGHAN TV NEWS
Tolo TV Headlines
Two kidnappers involved in the murder of an eight-year-old boy,
Ali Sina, the son of a Herat businessman, were executed on
Saturday in Herat province. President Karzai recently approved the
court verdict on the execution of the two convicts. The family
Sina believe that the hanging of these kidnappers will send a
strong message to all the criminals and may put an end to
kidnapping crimes in Herat.
On Saturday, the Law on the Elimination of Violence Against
Women (EVAW) was dropped from the Lower House's agenda as a result
of harsh reactions by a number of lawmakers. A number of MPs
criticized some articles of the law, calling them against Islamic
teachings and values and demanded the suspension of those
articles. A number of MPs strongly criticized President Karzai and
asked why the President had enforced such a law which was against
Islam. One lawmaker, Mawlavi Abdul Rahmani said: “Allah says that
you [the Muslim men] can marry up to four women if you could
ensure justice among them and if not then you should marry only
one. Shall we amend the law of Allah?” MP Fawzia Kofi, the head of
Women’s Affairs Commission of the Lower House of Parliament, said:
“Today I want the MPs to vote for this law as a national need, in
a time that is already enforced, for sake of their sisters who
have been alongside them at every point." The opposing MPs said
six articles of the law contradict Islamic values including the
establishment of women shelters, the marriage age of girl which is
cited as above 16-year-old, multiple marriages [at the same time],
the selection of husbands by girls and forced marriages. "I am
surprised the President has sent the legislative decrees [for the
enforcement of the EVAW law] which is against sharia and
religion," said MP Abdul Satar Khawasi. The opposing MPs said that
women’s shelters are a place for moral corruption. “If women’s
shelters (are) approved by the law, you should expect the outcomes
[similar] to Sawr 7th [27 April 1979] and millions of martyrs,”
said Qhazi Nazeer Ahmad Hanafi. The Lower House president, Abdul
Rauf Ibrahimi, the law should be shared with all 18 commission of
the house in order to be amended by a special commission and then
should be included in the house agenda. The director of Human
Rights Watch in Afghanistan, Heather Barr, said that if President
Karzai amends the EVAW law it will be a tragedy for Afghan women.
It’s said that some opposing MPs are attempting to collect
signatures of other lawmakers to pressure the president to nullify
the women’s law.
Friday night’s blasts that rocked Kandahar city was planned in
Quetta with the support of Pakistan, said the Kandahar provincial
police chief. A number of civil society activists strongly
condemned recent terrorist incidents in Kabul and Kandahar that
have taken the life of over 20 civilians and inured over 100
others. “Suicide attacks are not acceptable in Islam and has no
legal justification in Islami,” said a religious scholar.
The commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Abdul Nazir,
leads over 1,000 Pakistani Taliban in the eastern parts of
Afghanistan and easily infiltrates across the Pak-Afghan border,
the commander of Pakistani ground troops in the Swat Valley told
the Wall Street Journal. However, US officials said that they have
not found any indication that Mullah Nazir is leading so many
Pakistani Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. The Interior Ministry
spokesperson said that the assertions of the Pakistani military
commander was illogical and said that no terrorist sanctuaries
exist inside Afghan soil.
Over 1,600 acres of state-owned lands are about to be grabbed
in Jabalusaraj district of Parwan and over 300 acres of them have
already been grabbed, said some locals. The provincial governor
said he is informed about the issue and will take appropriate
Shamshad TV Headlines
During his next week trip to India, President Karzai will seek
India’s military cooperation with Afghanistan. The Afghan
delegation and Indian officials will discuss military cooperation,
recent border disputes with Pakistan, regional cooperation and
further strengthening of ties between Kabul and New Delhi, said
President Karzai’s spokesman. No details were provided about the
quantity or type of military gear that Afghanistan would seek from
India, but the spokesman said that Afghanistan’s demands from
India would be on the basis of the strategic agreement between the
A number of MPs called the Law on Elimination of Violence
Against Women anti-Islamic and anti-constitutional principles. The
approval of the law was dropped from the Lower House’s Saturday
agenda after a number of angry MPs called for amendments of some
of its content. “If the law is not discussed today, it will mean
that all the women’s achievements made so far have been symbolic
and that they these achievements lacked any value or basis in the
society and in the Lower House,” said the head of the Lower
House’s Women’s Affairs Committee Fawzia Kofi after the law was
dropped from the House’s agenda. The opposing MPs said that nine
points of the law were against the Quran and that the rest were
not consistent with the Constitution and other values, asking for
a review of the law.
The head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
(AIHRC)’s office in Kunduz, Hayatullah Amir, said that if cases of
violence against women continue as they have for the past two
months in the province, this year would be even worse than the
past year for women. Since the beginning of the Afghan calendar
year eight women have been killed in Kunduz and two women were
mysteriously killed in Takhar last week.
Kandahar’s security officials said that Friday evening’s car
bombs in Aino Mina of Kandahar city were planned in Quetta and
supported by Pakistan.
Summoned by MPs, the director of the Central Bank, Norullah
Delawari, said that not only Afghani’s but also the value of other
foreign currencies had fallen against $US.
Education Minister Farooq Wardak said that if enemies of
education deprive children from education, they would move the
classrooms into the students’ houses. The director of UNESCO who
is visiting Afghanistan said that UNESCO would increase its
assistance in the education sector. Minster Wardak, who was
meeting with UNESCO’s director in a girls’ school in Kabul said
that nearly 3000,000 children were still deprived of education.
Denying reports that recently over 4,000 school students had been
poisoned, Wardak said that studies showed that no student was
affected by any poisonous chemical.
A number of residents of Nangarhar staged a demonstration
against Pakistan and Iran in Jalalabad city, condemning Pakistan’s
border establishments in Goshta and killing of Afghans by Iran’s
border police. They also called for the trial of a local commander
Hakim Shojayee, who is accused of killing and violating human
rights in Uruzgan.
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