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Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Yamin Zakaria: There is no Honour in Honour Killing
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The election that never ended
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The Pashtun factor in Pakistan's insurgency
The Warlord Who Defines Afghanistan
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Afghanistan’s first female taxi driver a disgust to male passengers
Police officer sentenced to death for shooting, killing AP photographer
Afghanistan: the myth of the ethnic divide
U.S. troops in Afghanistan sent waste to open burn pits, report finds

UN Warns Against Further
Delays In Afghan Vote Audit

July 31, 2014
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The United Nations has urged both Afghan presidential candidates to fully engage in the audit of election ballots, which restarts on August 2.

Jan Kubis, the top UN official in Afghanistan, said on July 31 the audit was important to "complete the process of the elections," and that "any delays, any uncertainties have a major, negative impact on both the political and economic situation in Afghanistan."

The audit of the approximately eight million votes cast in the June 14 second round of the presidential election was halted last weekend due to technical differences.

Election officials said the two candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, had finally agreed on how the audit would separate fraudulent ballots from genuine ones.

Originally plans called for inaugurating the new on president on August 2 but that has been postponed to as yet unspecified date.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

Kerry urges Abdullah and Ghani
to work cooperatively on critical issues

Khaama Press / July 31, 2014

The US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged the presidential contenders Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai to work cooperatively on the critical issues facing Afghanistan as audit continues.

Kerry, in an op-ed published by Tolonews, appealed to both candidates to translate the broader power-sharing agreement they reached with him earlier this month into a strong working relationship in the new government, “whoever wins.”

“The time for politics is over. The time for cooperation is at hand. There is no time to waste,” Kerry wrote.

The agreement to form a national unity government was reached between the two candidates following talks brokered by Kerry earlier this month.

The visit by Kerry to Kabul last month, came amid fears that the disputed presidential election could endanger the stability of the country.

Kerry also responded to concerns regarding the formation of parliamentary system in Afghanistan, and conflicting reports suggesting that the winning president will have little power over a new prime minister or vice versa.

He wrote, “I was there in the room, and I can tell you what is not in that one-page document. “It respects Afghan institutions and the role of the president as the head of government. It does not establish a parliamentary system.”

Kerry said, “It creates a new position of chief executive who will report to the president until the president convenes a loya jirga to determine whether a permanent change is in the best interests of the country.”

“What the agreement does provide is a critical opportunity for both candidates to move beyond political competition to real statesmanship,” Kerry, said adding that, “Every democracy reaches a decisive moment where the interests of the country must outweigh the interests of politicians. Afghanistan is at that critical point today.”

Pakistan fires 118 rockets in Kunar province

Khaama Press / July 31, 2014

The Pakistani military fired at least 118 rockets in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan, local officials said.

The officials further added that the shelling started on Wednesday night from the other side of the Durand line.

Provincial security chief, Gen. Abdul Habib Syed Khel, said the rockets landed in Shegal, Dangam and Marwara districts.

Gen. Syed Khel confirmed that no casualties were incurred to the local residents, but some houses and other properties were damaged following the shelling.

Cross-border attacks have been the main source of diplomatic tensions between the two countries, with Islamabad and Kabul regularly complaining to each other about the incursions.

The Pakistani officials claim that many Pakistani Taliban including their chief Mullah Fazlullah are based in the Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan and regularly carry out attacks on Pakistani check posts.

Pakistan on Wednesday lodged a strong protest with Afghanistan regarding an alleged cross-border attack by terrorists from the Afghan soil and summoned Afghanistan’s charge d’affaires.

However, the Afghan officials rejected Pakistani claims that the attack on Pakistani check posts were carried out militants who crossed the border from the Afghan soil.

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