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Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:59

US assessing risks of Taliban transfer: Petraeus

Kabul, Wednesday 1, February

(BNA)  The Obama administration asked intelligence agencies for additional assessments of the risks of transferring five senior Taliban detainees to a third country as part of efforts to broker peace with Afghan militants, U.S. spy chiefs told Congress on Tuesday.

In testimony before the Senate Intelligence committee, the intelligence officials did not specify which country might be involved. But Reuters and other news agencies have reported that the detainees could be sent to the Gulf state of Qatar, which is acting as an intermediary in peace negotiations.

CIA Director David Petraeus said that analysts from his agency had provided the Obama administration officials with a more recent assessment - the last was done in 2009 - of the security risks of transferring the five Taliban leaders from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

If transferred, the five supposedly would still be subjected to detention or at least heavy surveillance.


"In fact, our analysts did provide assessments of the five and the risks presented by various scenarios by which they could be sent somewhere -- not back to Afghanistan or Pakistan -- and then based on the various mitigating measures that could be implemented to ensure that they cannot return to militant activity," he said.

Petraeus' statement came in response to questions from the committee's vice chairman and ranking Republican, Senator Saxby Chambliss, who has emerged as a leading Capitol Hill critic of the proposed transfer.

Chambliss said that any move to transfer the five specific Taliban detainees who are the focus of discussions within the Obama administration is likely to meet with opposition on Capitol Hill.

 

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:43

Pakistan helping Taliban: secret Nato report

Kabul, Wednesday 1, February

(BNA)  The Pakistani security services are secretly helping Afghanistan's Taliban, who assume their victory is inevitable once Western troops leave, a secret Nato document says, according to reports Wednesday.

The leaked "State of the Taliban" report -- seen by the BBC and The Times newspaper -- was compiled from information gleaned from insurgent detainees and was given to Nato commanders in Afghanistan last month, the media reports said.

It claims that Pakistan and its ISI intelligence agency are aware of the locations of senior Taliban leaders.

The BBC said the report was based on material from 27,000 interrogations of more than 4,000 captured Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives, plus other foreign fighters and civilians.

"Pakistan's manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly," the report was quoted as saying.

"ISI officers tout the need for continued jihad and expulsion of foreign invaders from Afghanistan."

The Times quoted the report as saying the Taliban's "strength, motivation, funding and tactical proficiency remains intact", despite setbacks in 2011.

"Many Afghans are already bracing themselves for an eventual return of the Taliban," it said.

"Once (Nato force) ISAF is no longer a factor, Taliban consider their victory inevitable."

Kabul, which accuses Islamabad of supporting the 10-year Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, put relations on ice after the September murder of its peace envoy Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, which one Afghan minister blamed on Pakistani spies.

The US Department of Defense said it could not comment on the report but set out its fears about Pakistan and its influence in Afghanistan.

"We have not seen the report, and therefore cannot offer comment on it specifically," Pentagon spokesman George Little told AFP.

"We have long been concerned about ties between elements of the ISI and some extremist networks."

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "has also been clear that he believes that the safe havens in Pakistan remain a serious problem and need to be addressed by Pakistani authorities."

In its conclusion, the report said there had been unprecedented interest in joining the Taliban cause in 2011 -- even from members of the Afghan government.


The Times, in an editorial, said Pakistan was "actively hindering reconciliation" between the Taliban and Kabul.

"Islamabad appears to be engaged in a systematic effort to destabilise the Kabul government of (President) Hamid Karzai prior to the withdrawal of Western forces, and to assist those attacking and killing those forces.

"The ISI emerges from this document looking considerably more villainous, even, than the Taliban itself.

"The picture that is painted is very much one of a force that both expects, and is widely expected, to have a big stake in controlling the Afghanistan of the future

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Kabul (BNA) People’s satisfaction on police behavior was increasing, a survey held by the ministry of interior showed. 
“7.278 Afghans were interviewed in 34 provinces which shows 81 percent of them are satisfied of police functions and behaviors,” interior minister Besmellah Mohammadi told reporters. 
“74 percent of people respect police, 78 percent trust in their abilities and eight percent of them have positive opinion to the future of police,” Mohammadi said. 
Also, 58 percent Afghans have said they can get access to police in less than 30 minutes and police services have been improved. 
The survey indicates that 70 percent of 3,167 women interviewed have said police respects them. 
60 percent of the interviewed people have said that police helps them in the solution of their problems. 
The total number of police force reaches to 140,000 that about half of them are professional. 
Meanwhile, the ministry of interior had announced last year that 57,000 policemen are illiterate. 
The government decided to reintegrate the former Mojahedin in the framework of local police two years back. 
There are 11,000 persons now serving as local police ensuring the security of their respective areas.

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:42

Canada Committed To Long-term Afghan Support

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Kabul (BNA) Deputy foreign minister Jawed Ludin received Canadian deputy minister of foreign affairs and International Trade, Morris Rosenberg, at the Foreign Ministry this afternoon. 
Ludin expressed the gratitude of the Afghan government and people for Canada’s support to Afghanistan’s security and development over the past decease. 
“There is an intimate appreciation of Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan over the past ten years among our people and government,” Ludin said. “And this has come at the cost of great Canadian sacrifices for the security and the generous assistance of Canada for the development of Afghanistan.” 
Rosenberg reiterated Canada’s most recent commitment from the international Afghanistan Conference in Bonn to long-term engagement with Afghanistan and continued development support to the country. 
“This is a deep and multifaceted relationship. 
The sacrifices that Canada has borne here speak to our past and present commitment to Afghanistan,” Rosenberg said, “We’ll be here after 2014”. 
A total of 195 Canadian soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan over the year. 
Today, with nearly 1000 soldiers in the country, Canada is the second-largest contributor to NATO’s training mission for the Afghan national army and police. 
Canada has so far provided a total of nearly $ 2 billion to Afghanistan’s reconstruction, with an additional pledge of $ 720 million for the period 2011-1014. 
Morris was accompanied in the meeting by the Charge d’affaires of Canada in Kabul, Shelly Whiting, Graeme Mclntyre, director of the Afghanistan Task Force at the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Lt Gen Stuart Beare, commander of Canadian Expeditionary force command.

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:31

Pak Jet strike kills 20 Taliban in Orakzai Agency

Kabul, Wednesday 1, February

(BNA)  Pakistani warplanes pounded militants’ hideouts in the northwestern tribal area before dawn on Wednesday, killing at least 20 Taliban insurgents, security officials said.

The jets targeted hideouts in the tribal Orakzai district and at least four compounds were hit, they said, in the latest surge of fighting between security forces and militants in the Afghan border areas.

Local intelligence officials confirmed the air strikes killing at least 20 Taliban militants in the bombing.

The hideouts belonged to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commanders Mulla Tufan and Commander Moheyuddin, a security official said. There are reports that Moheyuddin may have been killed in the bombing, he said.

A military official in Peshawar said "four hideouts have been destroyed and the death toll may go up

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:40

Districts Roads Yet To Be Reopened In Badakhshan

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Faizabad (BNA) Residents in 13 districts of northeastern Badakhshan province faced serious problems of road blockade to the capital city of the province, an official said. 
An expert in the provincial management for preparation against the environment, Mohammad Osman said the roads connecting many districts to the capital center had been blocked due to heavy snowfall and avalanche had not still reopened facing them with problems to supply their needed goods via the center. 
They ask the government to help them reopen the roads, but the organ concerned in the province said that the roads connecting districts of Argu and Ishkashem had been reopened, while in 13 other districts had not been reopened due to lack of facilities from both the ground and air.

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:37

Girl Athletes Appreciated

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Kabul (BNA)  Minister of information and culture and head of the Kabul city throughout council, Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen said in a ceremony held to laud the girls engaged in sport that the youths of the country could shine well and succeeded to bring eye-catching victories despites side deprivation and incomparability with the world youths. 
Calling the country’s youths the dignity of the country, Raheen said at the meeting held to praise the boy and girls engaged in sport that defiantly, if the life of the country’s youth was compared with those of other countries with high facilities, our youth had brought high achievements despite many deprivations and deficiencies. 
Meanwhile the great personality of the country, Mohammad Seddiq Afghan addressing the ceremony said he is proud of the country’s going ahead in different fields. 
The meeting was held to appreciate the country’s national football team that had got second position in the football tournament outside the country, the girl football team of girls of the Kabul throughout council who had also won second position among 17 districts of Kabul city and the basketball team with enjoying the first position among 17 districts of the capital. 
The sports persons received their appreciate letters by the Kabul people throughout council.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Kabul (BNA) Army chief of stuff, for the ministry of defense, Gen, Shir Mohammad Karimi said Afghanistan’s National Army (ANA) enjoys special validity in the national and international level. 
Addressing on the fifth conference on the national army personnel and cadres, he said the national army enjoyed high credibility in the national and international sphere and can encounter any critical security mission. 
According to him, it also enjoyed strong support to shoulder critical security task and fully prepared for taking security of the country after the transition process handed over by the internationals forces. 
The deputy defense minister for training and education affairs called holding such conferences too effective in coordination, implementation and procedure in the national army. 
The authorities and heads of the cadres and personnel for the national army take part in the conference.

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:23

CM Economic Committee Holds Session

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Kabul (BNA) Chaired by second vice president, Mohammad Karim Khalili, the economic committee for the council of ministers held meeting discussing support for the domestic industries draft presented by the ministry of commerce and industries. 
According to the draft offered by the ministry of commerce and services of the domestic industries in order to improve the life those society individuals living under poverty line. 
Within the policy, industries such as carpet, Kashmira, processing agriculture materials, precious stones, granite and constructional materials are further paid attention and supporting the domestic industries would help strengthen other industries such as tourism, transport, textile, light industries and transit in the country. 
The members of the committee had also offered some of their viewpoints about the type of effect on draft on the export increase, replacement of imports, creation of employment, and creation of domestic industries supporting banks and easing financial regulations. 
The committee also discussed some other key issues among them increase in import of ill livestock from beyond the country for butchery asking for prevention of importing such cattle and outflow of the country’s capital from the country. 
Different other related subjects had also been discussed among the committee members obliging the related organs among them Kabul municipality, finance ministry to finalize the draft on the review of the presentations about the protection and preservation of the government offices, kindergartens, schools and green areas.

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 07:19

Prophet Birth Anniversary Marked In Kabul

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Kabul (BNA) The auspicious birth anniversary of the great prophet of Islam, Hazrat Mohammad PBUH was marked by the ministry of hajj and endowments in a magnificent meeting attended by the religious ulemas, clergies and personnel of the ministry and held in the National RTA conference hall. 
The minister for hajj and endowments, Dr. Mohammad Yousuf Nayazi said that the time had now reached to renew our commitment with the Allah almighty and his great prophet Mohammad PBUH. 
He asked the whole Mulsims to put into practice what they hear from the Islamic religion, otherwise they would commit great sin. 
A high peace council member, Qazi Mohammad Amin Waqqad also spoke at the meeting as saying that commemoration of the great prophet Mohammad PBUH was renewing of the commitments and putting the entire orders of the Islamic religion into practice.