Afghan President Meets Iranian
Counterpart in Tehran
December 8, 2013
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai Sunday met Iranian
President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran Sunday, as his disagreement
continued with the United States over a security agreement that
would determine the future of US troops in Afghanistan beyond
The meeting between the two presidents came shortly after US
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel arrvied in Kabul. Hagel said he
was told by the Afghan Defense Minister that a security pact would
be signed in a "timely manner" despite Karzai's reluctance.
The Iranian government has said it supports Karzai's position
and has urged Afghanistan not to sign the proposed agreement.
Karzai Says Accord With Iran To
Be Signed Soon
By RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan
December 8, 2013
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Kabul and Tehran will soon
sign a "long-term partnership" pact that focuses on political,
economic, and security cooperation.
A statement predicting approval of the bilateral accord was
issued by Karzai’s office on December 8 after Karzai met in Tehran
with Iranian President Hassan Rohani.
The statement says Karzai and Rohani both stressed the need for
an agreement that guarantees long-term "friendship and
It did not give further details.
Karzai's Tehran visit came as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck
Hagel was on a two-day visit to Afghanistan.
There has been disagreement between Kabul and Washington over a
bilateral security agreement (BSA) needed for some U.S. forces to
stay in Afghanistan after 2014.
Karzai initially endorsed that accord but has since refused to
promptly sign it.
Iran says the BSA agreement with the United States would
destabilize the region.
With reporting by dpa, IRNA, and ISNA
US halts 6 Afghan projects
over security deal delay: Official
December 8, 2013
An Afghan minister says the United States has halted up to six
projects in Afghanistan since President Hamid Karzai delayed
signing a security deal with Washington.
On Sunday, Afghan Minister of Defense Bismillah Khan Mohammadi
said the US has stopped the projects in the country to put
pressure on President Karzai to sign the controversial deal.
The remarks came after Karzai accused the US of not providing
the country with military supplies, stressing that the US is
trying to force Kabul into signing a security deal with Washington
and that that his country will never bow to US pressure.
"There is no doubt that certain elements within the Afghan
government are facing pressure from the US. However, this will not
achieve anything," Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi, said in a
statement on Friday, adding, "If there is a perception in
Washington that certain elements in Kabul can force President
[Hamid] Karzai to succumb to any pressure, it is seriously flawed
Washington has rejected President Karzai's suggestion to delay
signing the deal, saying it will not wait until after the April
2014 presidential vote to seal the agreement.
Washington says if Karzai doesn't sign the deal before the
year’s end, the US-led forces must leave Afghanistan completely.
The deal allows the US to keep thousands of its troops in
Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal date for foreign troops.
Afghan activists say the security treaty between Washington and
Kabul will pave the way for a prolonged US military presence in
the war-ravaged country.
Afghan political figures have heaped scorn on US-led forces for
committing unforgivable crimes against women and children since
invading the country in 2001.
President Karzai and other senior government officials have
also repeatedly warned the United States to end night raids that
fuel anti-American sentiment across the war-torn country.
US and Afghanistan at impasse
over security deal
December 8, 2013
The US and Afghanistan are at an “impasse” over a stalled
security agreement a political commentator told Press TV on
Afghan President Hamid Karzai accuses the US of trying to force
Kabul into signing a security deal with Washington so that US
troops can remain in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal
The security deal would give US troops stationed in Afghanistan
immunity from prosecution in Afghan courts.
“Mr. Karzai for reasons of his own and representing a
significant portion of the Afghan population doesn’t want to go
that far,” said Edward Peck, the former US Chief of Mission in
Iraq and former US Ambassador to Mauritania.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says that he supports a NATO
force in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Hagel made the comment in a
meeting with US troops stationed in Afghanistan.
Currently, the US and its allies have over 80,000 troops, some
46,000 of them Americans, on the ground in Afghanistan.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October
2001 under the pretext of war on terror. Thousands of Afghan
civilians, including a large number of women and children, have
been killed during night raids by foreign forces and CIA-run
assassination drone strikes.
US defense secretary backs
post 2014 stay in Afghanistan
December 8, 2013
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Washington supports the
presence of US military presence in Afghanistan beyond the 2014
deadline for the withdrawal of foreign forces.
Hagel made the remark at a US military base in Afghanistan's
southern province of Helmand on Sunday.
"I believe there is a role for our coalition partners and the
United States, but that depends on the Afghan people," Hagel told
soldiers in a question-and-answer session at Camp Bastion in
Helmand province, adding, "If the people of Afghanistan want to
continue that relationship, then we will."
Hagel is on a surprise visit to Afghanistan as Washington is
frustrated over Afghan president’s refusal to sign a bilateral
The visit comes amid a stand-off between the US and Afghan
leaders over the security agreement.
Hagel acknowledged "uncertainty about what happens next" for
NATO forces after 2014.
"I have hope that the BSA will get signed," he said.
A meeting between Hagel and Afghan president Hamid Karzai is
not on the agenda.
But the US defense minister has already met with his Afghan
counterpart Bismillah Khan Mohammadi in Kabul.
Afghan officials say the US has stopped several projects in the
country to put pressure on Karzai to sign the deal, which allows
US troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
Many Afghans believe the US is envisaging permanent military
bases there. Afghan political groups have also warned that things
will get worse should the US set up permanent military bases in
Afghan political figures have heaped scorn on the US-led forces
for committing unforgivable crimes against Afghan women and
children since invading the country in 2001.
Thousands of Afghan civilians, including a large number of
women and children, have been killed during night raids by foreign
forces and CIA-run assassination drone strikes.
The increasing number of casualties in Afghanistan has caused
widespread anger against the US and other NATO member states,
undermining public support for the Afghan war.
Hagel to Visit Pakistan Monday
December 8, 2013
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he will visit Pakistan
Hagel, who has been in Afghanistan since Saturday, will meet
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the first visit to neighboring
Pakistan by the top Pentagon official in several years.
Earlier, Hagel said Afghanistan's defense minister assured him
a security pact with the United States will be signed in a "timely
manner" despite Afghan President Hamid Karzai's reluctance.
Hagel met with Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammad in
Kabul Saturday. The U.S. defense secretary said he had no plans to
meet with President Karzai.
Afghanistan's grand assembly, or Loya Jirga, has urged Mr.
Karzai to sign the pact.
"The Loya Jirga came forward in a rather overwhelming and
clearly pronounced way, recommending that the bilateral security
agreement with the United States be signed by the president. They
also emphasized in that recommendation to the president that it be
signed very timely."
Mr. Karzai has refused to sign the security pact, which calls
for some U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan after 2014 to help
train Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban.
Mr. Karzai has said he wants his successor to decide on the
security agreement after his country's presidential election in
The U.S. has said Mr. Karzai must sign the pact by the end of
this year, or the U.S. will have no choice but to withdraw all
troops after 2014.
During his visit to Pakistan, Hagel is expected to discuss
Afghanistan, security threats and the blockade of a NATO supply
route to Afghanistan spearheaded by a political party as a protest
against US drone strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan.
Hagel announced his visit to Pakistan during a Sunday meeting
with troops at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan. The last US
defense secretary to visit Pakistan was Robert Gates in January
4 killed in US-led airstrikes in
December 8, 2013
At least four people have been killed in an airstrike carried
out by US-led forces in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of
Kunar, Press TV reports.
Afghan army sources said Sunday that four students were killed
during an aerial bombardment by foreign forces in the town of
Thousands of people have died in US-led airstrikes in
Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion of the country. The Afghan
government has repeatedly called on foreign forces to stop the
Washington claims that its airstrikes target militants, but
local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the
The casualties inflicted by US-led troops have sparked massive
anti-US protests in Afghanistan.
The 2001 invasion of Afghanistan as part of Washington’s
so-called war on terror removed the Taliban from power, but
insecurity remains despite the presence of thousands of US-led
UN Says Landmark Afghan
Law Failing To Protect Women
December 8, 2013
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
A UN report has criticized Afghan authorities for poor
implementation of a landmark law to protect women.
The report, released by the United Nations Assistance Mission
In Afghanistan (UNAMA) on December 8, says that prosecutions and
convictions remained low under the 2009 law, which criminalizes
child marriage, forced marriage, forced self-immolation, rape, and
other violence against women.
Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said
that implementation of the law has been "slow and uneven."
She said that "Afghan authorities need to do much more to build
on the gains made so far in protecting women and girls."
The report said that only seven percent of about 1,670
registered incidents of violence against women in 16 provinces
went through a judicial process using the Elimination of Violence
Against Women Law.
Based on reporting by AFP and dpa
Attorney general launch probe
into controversial racist remarks
By GHANIZADA - Sun Dec 08, 9:12 pm
The Attorney General Office of Afghanistan has launched an
investigation into alleged racial discrimination in a private TV
channel in Afghanistan.
A spokesman for the Attorney General Office, Basir Azizi said
Ismail Yun, Abdul Wahid Taqat and Bismillah Afghan Mal were
summoned to Attorney General Office for their remarks which
sparked furor among the Afghan people.
Mr. Azizi further added that the three individuals who attended
a round table in Zhwandoon TV made comments during the TV program
which were against the national interest of the country.
He said the Attorney General, Mohammad Ishaq Aloko was
disappointed after he was informed of the issue, and he ordered a
delegation to immediately launch investigations in this regard.
Azizi also warned that any media agency which threatens the
national interest and national unity of the Afghan people, will be
In the meantime, reports suggest that the Media Violation
Investigation Commission and the Afghan Attorney General Office
have decided to suspend the operations of Zhwandoon TV and Ansar
The decision was reportedly taken after complaints were
registered against Zhwandoon TV and Ansar Daily, for being
involved in racial discrimination.
Today's Afghan news headlines
8 December 2013 - Pakistan has started helping Afghan peace
drive, Bradar is suffering health problem - HPC official; Karzai
knows that US controls the war in Afghanistan, say MPs; Youth in
Ghazni worry about problems ahead of 2014 poll; Suspension of two
media outlets proposed; Karzai's spokesman says any pressure by US
on Afghanistan to sign BSA will be ineffective; Coalition of
political groups asks Karzai to sign BSA soon; Finance Minister
submits next year's budget for Upper House's approval; New Kabul
housing project to start next week.
Pajhwok Afghan News
Dozens of youth in Ghazni city attended a gathering and
expressed their concerns about some major issues which would
question inclusiveness of the next year’s elections in the
province. They enumerated insecurity and lack of people’s
awareness and bad traditional practices, which could mainly
prevent women’s participation in the elections. A participant of
the meeting said that the Taliban, in some districts of Ghazni,
clearly send out messages to local from the mosques, ordering them
to not participate in the elections. A participant from Andar
district said that only three people had casted their votes in the
Kabul governor on Saturday criticized the Government’s policy
of appointing officials in rural areas, saying selecting officials
from local communities and hiring them to serve in native areas
had negative results. But a spokesman for the Independent
Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) said that all Government
officials were appointed in accordance with the Government’s
standards and criteria and appointments made by IDLG were based on
Afghan journalists unknowingly suffer from stress disorder, an
assessment by Afghanistan Journalists Protection Committee in
eight zones revealed.
The head of Zhwandoon TV Channel, Mohammad Esmaeil Yoon, said
that they never provoked ethnical discriminations. “Zhwandoon is
an Independent TV and we only stand against a number of puppets of
Iran and Pakistan, who wanted to remove the words of Afghan and
Islam from the electronic IDs,” said Yoon. He claimed that some
elements were negative propaganda against the TV and that the
recent protests in Kabul was also provoked by Iran’s Revolutionary
Guards and Pakistan’s spy agency.
Officials of the Interior Ministry said that they were
investigating a plan suggested by Russians to train Afghan forces
In reaction to recent remarks made by the US Special
Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, a number of MPs, Shir
Wali Wardak, Abdul Rahim Ayoubi and Aryoon Yoon, said that
Dobbins’ remarks proved that the US only seeks its goals in
Afghanistan. The MPs added that President Karzai knows that the US
controls the war in Afghanistan and that is why Karzai insists on
his pre-conditions to the BSA. A reliable source told Kabul News
that Dobbins, in his latest meeting with President Karzai, had
said: “There would be no need for the presence of US and western
forces in Afghanistan if peace is ensured in the country.” The
source added that Dobbins had warned Karzai of eruption of civil
war if the BSA was not signed. But Karzai had replied that no
civil war will erupt again if the foreigners were not interfering
in the country.
Based on separate presidential decrees, Simin Hassanzada and
Ghulam Hussain Fakhri were respectively appointed as the Deputy
Information and Culture Minister on Publications/Broadcasting
Affairs and the head of High Office of Oversight and
Based on complaints filed by the some Upper House committees
and the people, the Media Violation Investigation Commission
proposed temporary suspension of Zhwandoon TV and Ansar Daily,
which were respectively accused of waging ethnic differences and
insulting the participants of the Consultative Loya Jirga.
Radio Azadi, Dari page
The head of the High Peace Council (HPC)’s Secretariat,
Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai, told Radio Azadi that Pakistani
officials have started practical measures to cooperate in the
Afghan peace drive. He said that the Pakistan has now realized
that an insecure Afghanistan is not in its interests and that
Pakistan is trying to push the Taliban for peace talks. Stanikzai
claimed that Pakistan has accepted to take action to eliminate
terrorists’ sanctuaries in its soil. Stanikzi cited that Mullah
Bradar had not been fully released and that he was suffering a
disease which does not allow him to play a role in peace talks in
the short-term. “Behind the scene, the Taliban want to put the
Afghan war to an end,” Stanikzai added.
Balkh police said that they had arrested a man, who had shot in
his wife’s face in the provincial capital of Baghlan.
Independent Election Commission (IEC)’s spokesman said that the
ballot papers for the next year’s election will be printed in
abroad before 15 January 2014. He justified that the IEC decided
to print the ballot papers outside of the country in order to
avoid any fraud. “If the ballot papers are printed inside the
country, the printing company should pledge that the papers will
not be put at the disposal of people. If this happens, it will
harm the elections,” said spokesman said.
Private Media Editorials
Afghan media are facing financial challenges ahead of 2014. The
Ministry of Information and Culture has done nothing to take
measures to avert the collapse of media in the country. It was
expected that the ministry would meet media representatives and
media funding organizations to take practical steps for supporting
the media during the transformation decade, but the meeting did
not happen so far despite the request by media. With the
appointment of the new deputy Minister of Information and Culture
on publication/broadcasting affairs, we expect that she will do
her best to help media in their development and should not become
the Government instrument against the media.
Media that insult [broadcasts insulting programmes] ethnic
populations are puppets of enemies of our people and want to
disrupt the security and stability of the country. We believe that
Afghanistan is the common home of all ethnics. Instead of
provoking ethnical discriminations, we should work for development
of the country to let our future generations be proud of our
Pressure on President Karzai is increasing day by day, but
Karzai is emphasizing on his Afghan interests-saving stance.
Karzai has rightly reacted to all pressure and warnings of the US.
Karzai knows that his stance would threat his presidency, but he
defies all the threats in order to ensure the country’s interests.
That much US’ hidden goals in Afghanistan would be revealed as
much as Karzai sticks to his stance towards the BSA. The US has no
any other option but to accept Karzai’s conditions for the BSA.
AFGHAN TV NEWS
Tolo TV Headlines
Artificial and fake pressures by Washington on Afghanistan to
sign Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), like we witnessed in the
past, would not be effective, said a presidential spokesperson,
Fayeq Wahidi. If Washington believes that it could make
Afghanistan sign the accord by pressures, it would be a
miscalculation, he added. The US embassy spokesperson in Kabul
said that Washington would not be able to conduct its training,
advising and assistance mission in Afghanistan after 2014, unless
the agreement is signed ahead of next spring’s elections.
On Saturday, the US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel arrived
in Kabul. It was mentioned that his visit was aimed at visiting US
troops in Afghanistan, however reportedly he would also meet with
On Saturday, the cooperation council of political parties and
coalitions, during a press conference, urged President Karzai to
swiftly sign the security pact. They said that if the accord is
not signed, due to ambiguous and irresponsible preconditions by
the Kabul Administration, it will have negative impacts on
security, economic and political situation of the country. “BSA
guaranties just, inclusive and long lasting peace and development
in Afghanistan. Voices raised against the accord are not the
voices of the people of Afghanistan,” said National Coalition
spokesman, Fazil Rahman Oria. While Abas Noeyan a member of Right
and Justice Party said that the government should deal
irresponsibly with the accord and the government should not put
the future of the country on risk my delaying signing the accord
through its ambiguous preconditions.
On Saturday, the Finance Minister submitted draft annual budget
for the year 1393 [2014-2015], which is estimated Afghani 444.192
billion, to the Lower House for approval. Criticizing lack of
balance in the development budget for provinces, MPs called for
amendments in the draft budget. The Finance Minister said that
though the Budget doesn’t meet all needs of the people, it has
been prepared based on priorities set by the government.
A number of residents staged peaceful demonstrations in front
of the Parliament building in Kabul against ethnic
discriminations. The protesters demanded trial of those causing
ethnical discriminations. In a declaration, they voiced their
support to the stance of the parliament on civil registration law,
decision of recently held Consultative Loya Jirga in relation to
BSA and demanded transparent elections.
Afghanistan’s first astronaut, Abdul Ahad Momhand, in an
exclusive interview with Tolonews, called on the government to
sign BSA. He said that currently the country seriously need
international assistance, therefore Afghan leaders should sing the
accord. According to Momand, some progress has been made in the
aerial infrastructure of the country, but Afghanistan needs
professional and fully-trained pilots and both fighter jets and
The US Defense Secretary arrived in Kabul late on Saturday. It
is said that he will meet Afghan officials as well as leaders of
some political circles in Kabul during his trip. It is the third
US official who comes to Afghanistan after a deadlock on the
Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington.
Delay in signing the BSA is disrespect to the Loya Jirga
decision and dishonour to people who participated in the Jirga,
said a number of presidential candidates. “I believe the current
Government will sign the BSA and let the next government to
address other problems that Afghanistan faces,” said Hedayat Amin
Arsala, a presidential candidate. “What is the issue that Karzai
cannot explain to people? It is his responsibility to sign it,”
said Daud Sultanzoy, a presidential candidate. Some MPs also
called on President Karzai to ink the BSA and lift the anxiety
President Karzai must sign the BSA without delay, said at least
20 political parties and political coalitions in a gathering on
Saturday. They said the President should not put the security of
the country in danger by ambiguous preconditions.
A number of MPs strongly criticized the Government over
insulting of ethnics in some TVs by a number of political figures.
They said the Government must act according to the law and bring
the people spreading hatred among ethnics to justice. In the
meantime, the Lower House said the Government budget for next year
which was presented to the House by the Finance Minister was not
fair. “The next fiscal year budget is estimated US$ 7.9 billion
which US$ 4.9 billion is operating budget and the rest is
development budget,” said Omar Zakhilwal before the House.
The construction of New Kabul housing project in Dehsabz
district will start in the next two weeks, said the officials in
charge of the project. People in the area also called on the
Government to start the national project as soon as possible.
An international company is to invest in gas and oil basin in
northern Afghanistan, said the company representative in a trip to
The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
(SIGAR) said much of the money the US Defense Department given to
Datron company for providing communication equipment to Afghan
security forces were embezzled.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) arrested a would-be
suicide bomber who intended to kill Ghazni governor, said a source
in the NDS on condition of anonymity. The source said the bomber
was a body guard of the governor but Musa Khan Akbarzadah strongly
rejected the report. In the meantime a member of the provincial
council said the NDS searched Akbarzadah house two weeks ago as it
was said that the governor had links to the Taliban.
A number of people in Kabul demonstrated on Saturday against
figures spreading hatred among the people and insult ethnic
Shamshad TV Headlines
The US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday paid an
unannounced visit to Kabul. According to Western media reports,
Hagel is not planning to meet with President Karzai and to discuss
the signing of the Kabul-Washington Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA).
He is scheduled to hold talks with Afghan Defence and Interior
Ministers and to meet with US officials in Afghanistan.
Officials of the Government Media and Information Centre (GMIC)
said that the Government would not sign the BSA if the US ignores
Government’s conditions. Chairperson of the GMIC said that the US
should guarantee ensuring of peace and stability in Afghanistan
before signing of the BSA.
At a press conference in Kabul, officials of the Council of
Political Parties and Coalitions seriously asked the Government to
sign the BSA. They added that signing of the BSA is beneficial for
ensuring peace and stability in the country and warned that in a
four-article declaration that even the upcoming presidential
election would be affected if the BSA is not signed.
After the approval of the Upper House of Parliament, Finance
Minister Omar Zhakhilwal on Saturday presented the next fiscal
year’s budget to the Lower House for approval. Zhakilwal said that
his ministry allocated additional 95.9 billion Afs to education,
health and security sectors in the budget and pointed that the
budget totally amounts US$ 7.9 billion.
The Lower House of Parliament on Saturday approved the
Authority and Structure Law of Special Courts.
A number of local businessmen on Saturday complained that the
Finance Ministry had imposed double taxation on their goods and
merchandises. They warned that they would stop investing in the
country if the ministry does not ease double taxation.
The Women’s Affairs Minister signed an agreement with
Indonesian officials for training of Afghan businesswomen and
promoting their handicrafts products in Indonesia.
Speaking at the Islam and Birth Spacing/Family Planning
Regional Conference in Balkh province, religious scholars of nine
northern provinces emphasized on family planning and birth spacing
and said that Islam does not consider birth spacing as obstacle.
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