21 October 2017

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Saturday July 29, 2017
Kabul (BNA) NATO spokesperson says, if foreign forces withdraw Afghanistan terrorist and extremist groups further strengthen. The statements expressed in a time, Afghan war has escalated, and concern on its expansions to other countries has become more serious. In the mid of these developments what would be the role of the courtiers that support Afghanistan militarily? Some people believe, withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan means surrendering the country to terrorist groups who threat every country including superpowers of the world. However, some other people believe that the existence of foreign forces in Afghanistan is a factor for dispute in the country who have sparked the war for achieving their strategic goals.  So-called terrorist groups such as IS and Taliban just the names to cover those objectives. In this regard, Hamid Karzai the then president of Afghanistan has clear words. He insists that Afghanistan requires the international community’s support not the presence of their forces.
From the presence of US troops in Afghanistan, has passed 16 years. So far about 2400 of their troops have lost their lives and spent a staggering sum of 700 billion dolars but still the war has not ended in the county. Earlier a senior American journalist wrote in Washington Post that Afghan war has no end, while America has no the capability to emerge victorious, also cannot sustain the defeat. The daily asks, what would happen in Afghanistan in absence of foreign forces especially the American troops in the country?
The spokesperson of NATO forces in Afghanistan responding the question has said that If the NATO’s and American forces withdraw Afghanistan, a gap created from which terrorist groups and extremist organizations in the region would get benefit for destabilizing Afghanistan and planning for carrying attacks on US and other western countries. He added, the terrorist groups for instability of Afghan legitimate government of Afghanistan would resort in to destructive activities. In the meantime, some American media have talked about tendency of foreign ministry of that country on holding talks with Taliban. The spokesperson of US foreign ministry has said that Trump’s administration has given special importance to Afghan issue, and senior authorities of that country were seeking a way of solution to the problem.
The spokesperson of US secretary of state regarding to the persistence delay on new strategy of US on Afghanistan said that the delay was due to special importance of Afghan issue to Mr., Trump’s administration, because in addition to relevant generals, the senior authorities of US  were seeking for a better way for solution of Afghan conflict. He made it clear that since Afghan problem is very complicated, for this reason the assessments would continue until finding a proper and reasonable way of the problem. He said, that on finalizing the time of US strategy on Afghanistan would not say anything, but it would possible to be announced very soon,  or take a longer time. The spokesperson insisted that military option was a part of US army’s strategy, but it is not obligatory to lead to victory. Therefore, in long term, US try to bring the sides of the conflict on to negotiation table to decide about their own future.
This American diplomat reacting to the recent Taliban attack on Kabul said that Taliban have become more dangerous than ever by carrying terrorist attacks this caused  a great concern for America. Afghan political experts say, war in Afghanistan has reached stalemate, Taliban who have been strongly supported by Pakistan and now by Russia and Iran, were not capable to achieve their objectives in Afghanistan militarily; on the other hand Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was suffering problems to ensure security to its nationals. Therefore, access to peace and stability in a way is an urgent need. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and people trying their best to reach a national understanding but will never acquiesce in to impose peace. Taliban who are carrying a proxy war against Afghanistan, the Afghan people consider them as a means used by foreigners to achieve their evil goals in the region. For ensuring peace in war torn Afghanistan, at the first place, Taliban should desist violence, observe Afghan constitution, and honor Afghan national interests. In addition, it is required for foreign countries and friends of Afghanistan to revere to  Afghans’ will and help in holding inter Afghan dialogue and keep in view that inter Afghan dialogue is the right of Afghans.
Abdul Khalil Menawi

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Kabul (BNA)  Eklil Hakimi, Minister of Finance has expressed concern over decreasing of incomes from the country’s mines and told media that Afghanistan government should implement necessary programs for prevention of embezzlement in incomes of mines.
He said that a part of mines’ incomes where were national properties of the country were still embezzled by individuals; therefore, mines’ incomes have considerably decreased in the country.
Previously, civil society organizations overseeing the natural resources of the country had repeatedly expressed their concern over embezzlement of mines’ incomes , but it is the first time that minister of finance has been considering various problems as cause of losing mines’ incomes in the country.
He said he hoped that the new leading body for ministry of mines would improve the incomes condition, asserting that government institutions should seriously work for protection of national properties.
“Our mines are facing with lots of challenges and problems – mines’ incomes are being embezzled by powerful figures in the country as these incomes are national properties and should be prevented”, Hakimi said.
On the other hand, a spokesperson to ministry of mines Abdul Qadir Mustafa while accepting that incomes in mines sector have decreased due to postponement of work on mines contracts and existence of big debts on big contractors, adding that the ministry was trying to increase mines incomes by specification of debts’ balances and reviewing mines contracts.
“We are trying to collect first our debts by launching key programs which are currently underway and later take step towards providing facilities for signing mines-related contracts”, Mustafa added.
Previously, officials of Transparency Initiatives Organization for Afghanistan Resources Excavation had said in consideration to big mines resources in the country, Afghanistan should have up to $ 3.5 billion incomes annually from its mines.
Related to embezzlement of mines’ incomes and decreasing incomes in mines sector, economical expert Azarakhsh Hafizi said “Undoubtedly Afghanistan mines are national investment of the people, but unfortunately all mines of Afghanistan have been embezzled by a number of warlords and local powerful figures for the past few years and Afghanistan government has also paid no attention to overseeing mines excavation in the country”.
“Our people need to legally make use of their mines because Afghanistan is rich of big natural resources. If the government principally invest on the country’s mines, the people will have good economic future”, Hafizi asserted, adding that Afghanistan government should make effort to give excavation of mines to companies so that their incomes could not be embezzled, but controlled and collected by the government.
It is said that illegal excavation of mines has unprecedentedly increased in recent years in the country and currently illegal excavation of mines are continuing in Kabul, Panjshir, Badakhshan, Laghman, Kunar, Nangarhar and a number of other provinces of the country.
Thus, it is believed that most of money coming from illegal excavation of mines will fund armed insurgents who can use the money for destroying the country if national unity government does not take action for prevention of illegal excavation of mines in the country.
Shukria Kohistani

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Following recent insecurities in the capital Kabul, the government leaders said security challenges were one of the Afghans’ serious concerns. The government leadership asks the people to be patient and cooperate with it until the security plan is finalized.
Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah in his recent remarks said, “Insecurities have seriously concerned the people and the National Assembly is working on how to improve security situation and would soon codify the security strategy.”
He added the people of Afghanistan has the right to be unsatisfied of the government, adding the government of national unity is making effort to decrease the insecurities’ rate in the country.
At the same time, lawmakers asked the government to come up with a single security strategy based on which security is fundamentally ensured in the country and the national interests are not endangered.
A lawmaker, Niazi believes that as spring arrived, terrorists from different countries have gathered and they would be once again a serious threat to the people of Afghanistan, adding I ask the government to retake the taken districts and make effort to soon codify a security strategy, based on which the security entities ensure security throughout the country.
Ali Akbar Qasimi, Ghazni people representative at the lower house of the parliament said, “Afghanistan’s security council in cooperation with lawmakers should work on a ‘Solo Security Strategy’ to save the national interests. He added if there is no security in a country, there won’t be anything by the name of national interests.
Another lawmaker, Shahidzada said Afghanistan’s security and political situation was getting worsened by each passing day.
Mohammad Radmanish, the deputy spokesperson to the ministry of defense told The Kabul Times that every day, the Afghan security forces successfully conduct mopping up operations in turbulent provinces.
He added if the regional and world countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China and the U.S. don’t even cooperate with us, we would do our best to ensure security and fight terrorism.
He said, “The Afghan security forces are now more equipped and making effort to properly manage the military operations.” Muzhda, a Kabul resident said, “The government of national unity should prioritize ensuring security and doesn’t let the terrorist factions to shed the blood of innocent people anymore.” Rahmatullah, a veteran said, “I expect the international community to pay serious attention on further equipping of the Afghan security forces on one hand and pressure the terrorists’ supporting countries on the other.”

Suraya Raiszada

Saturday July 29, 2017
Kabul (BNA) In a meeting held the other day, the challenges and problems before the provincial departments of the ministry for information and culture were discussed, Bakhtar News Agency (BNA) reported. The deputy minister of information and culture on publication affairs, Sayed Aqa Fazel Sancharaki said his ministry planned to print the state-run newspapers with high circulation and colorful simultaneously in seven zones, BNA added. A number of the ministry’s provincial directors presented their suggestions on printing state-run newspapers in private printing presses to speed up the works, appointment of newspapers’ distribution in-charges in provinces, establishment of provincial commission on access to information and establishment of a specific page in government newspapers to reflect the provincial incidents, the agency continued.  
The deputy minister of information and culture on publications said the suggestions would be addressed. Furthermore, acting minister of information and culture, Prof. Mohammad Rassoul Bawari said those historical monuments needed repairing would be repaired and his ministry was making effort to increase the number of libraries in provincial areas. He added to encourage the artists, the ministry of information and culture plans to establish the Artists High Council, the agency added.

Saturday, 29 July 2017 04:14

SAARC to Improve Regional Tourism

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Kabul (BNA)  The 70th executive committee meeting of SAARC CCI which began on July 23rd and ended on July 25th in Thimphu of Bhutan, discussed lack of connectivity and information sharing among the countries of South Asia, which hinders the development of tourism sector in the region.
Lack of connectivity makes travelling difficult for tourists, which affects the tourism sector in South Asia region.
President with South Asian Association Regional Cooperation Chamber for Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI), Suraj Vaidya, said that South Asia is the least connected region in the world and the focus of the meeting has been to make travelling easier in the region.
It was pointed out that dis-connectivity in the region has resulted due to lack of cooperation between private sectors and government, and the political situations in the region. It was discussed that to improve tourism sector in South Asia inter-regional tourism needs to improve which could be done by improving visa availability.
Addressing the meeting, Afghanistan’s deputy minister of information and culture Sayeda Mojgan Mostafavi said it was a pleasure for her to be in Bhutan, as this country is no ordinary place, calling the country last great Himalayan kingdom and magic, where a traditional Buddhist culture carefully embraces global developments.
“Tourism is one of the most important and largest industry in the world. Tourism is a key driver of socio-economic progress through export revenues, the creation of jobs and enterprises, and infrastructure development in many countries. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), inbound tourism has become one of the world’s major trade categories,” she added, saying South Asia possesses many valuable tourist resources and attractions, which could be important vehicles for reducing the widespread persistent poverty in South Asia.
Mostafavi went on saying since past few years, several organizations, including the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), have focused on promoting intra-regional tourism by utilizing common resources, shared culture and common physical infrastructures.
“Declaring Bamyan as the first ever SAARC cultural capital in 2015 and holding of many festivals, aiming to further introduce the province to the people of not only South Asia, but the world, could be an example,” she recalled.
The deputy minister said despite several initiatives, tourism’s contribution to regional national economies, in terms of employment generation, foreign exchange earnings and national revenue, has remained minimal. “Complicated travel procedures, inadequate infrastructure and transport facilities and the poor quality of management and service, together with a negative image arising from safety and security concerns, have constrained intra-regional tourism across the region, in particular Afghanistan,” she said, adding inadequate political commitment and bureaucratic meandering are also the primary obstacles in promoting tourism and economic integration in South Asia.
“Afghanistan can thank its geographical position for its wealth. It sits at the heart of Central Asia, at the meeting point of ancient trade routes – known together as “The Silk Road” – that go out to all parts of Asia. Some lead east to China; some north to the great cities of Bokhara and Samarkand and then to the nomadic steppe; some south-east into India; and others east into Iran, which then lead to the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. Goods wanting to pass between any of these places had to go through Afghanistan, and thus Afghan cities, strategically placed on these trade routes, were able to benefit massively as places of mercantile exchange,” she said.
Afghanistan’s impact on world trade can be seen very far back in history, Mostafavi added, saying the blue lapis lazuli stone was exported from Badakhshan in Afghanistan to Egypt in 1300 BC. Even and around 2500 BC, lapis lazuli was exported from Afghanistan to Iraq for the harps buried with the kings of the ancient city, some of which can now be seen in the British Museum. “This shows how long the trade routes have been in operation, and how far they reached.”
According to her, Silk Road traditions, such as leaving scraps of clothing on roadside shrines, still persist, and the main element of Afghan custom, hospitality, can still be owed to the glory days of the Silk Road, when the merchant from the foreign land had to be received with courtesy, since he might not only bring wealth, but a revelation of faith as well.
“Tourism in Afghanistan was at its glorious best in the 1970s. Over 90,000 tourists visited Afghanistan from all over the world to see the unique beauty of the Country and experience the treat of one of the most hospitable group of people. Today, despite decades of war, Kabul remains a fascinating city that embraces both the old and the new. With the ever increasing presence of the international community and the ongoing redevelopment projects, Kabul has been given a touch of modern architecture that gives the city hope of a peaceful and prosperous future,” she noted.
Mostafavi told the meeting that Afghanistan has a history of more than six thousand years, with many historical sights and attractions, among these are the more than two thousand year old famous Buddha Statues, the tomb of Hazrate Ali) in Mazare Sharif, the, lakes of Band-e Amir and so many other places
“Afghanistan has also been of great strategic importance for invading armies, from Genghis Khan to Alexander the Great. All these armies have left astonishing trails behind, trails that have been forgotten due to decades of war but are yet to be discovered. The Government is working to rebuild the war torn infrastructure of Afghanistan, a major project to develop transport links and a nationwide telecommunication link between Kabul and the other provinces has being established.”
Pointing to Tourism activities in Afghanistan and to assist the Tourism Industry of Afghanistan, Mostafavi said the Government of Afghanistan, in particular the ministry of information and culture was working hard and strongly encouraged and offered its full support to the private sector to invest into the Tourism Industry. “With ever increasing global tourism, the Afghan Tourist Industry has tremendous potential to become profitable and now we registered around 1000 tourists companies.”
“Recently in this week a two day seminar entitled “Threats of terrorism before tourism in Afghanistan” was held and inaugurated by the President of Afghanistan, attended by a number of officials and guests from the neighboring countries, aiming to explore ways to boost the tourism industry and to tackle insurgency and militancy in war-torn Afghanistan,” she added, saying there are still strong reasons and developments enhancing regional tourism in South Asia. “The region is thriving economically led by the high growth South Asia is experiencing some dynamic changes conducive for a regional tourism. Therefore, the policymakers and strategists in tourism in South Asia should consider these macro dimensions in promoting South Asian regional tourism in 21st century.”
Mostafavi believes that tourism is an industry which encourages people to people interaction and enhances regional peace, saying the understanding among people that travel and tourism bring about is the best recipe for ensuring that conflicts are resolved through discussion and compromise, rather than through violent means.
The deputy minister went on saying the South Asia Chamber of commerce role was key in boosting the connectivity and tourism in the region, asking the organization to make strategies to promote multi-country tourism in a more cooperative mode.
“This should be done using appropriate marketing strategies with integrated pricing, products, promotional and distributional strategies to enhance intra-regional tourism.
Concluding her speech in Thimphu, Mostafavi said improvements should be made in air travel, road and land travel and also possible sea and river based transportation. “This will also include facilitation of simplified visa regimes, reduce the other entry barriers and easiness in transaction, taxation and also exchange control,” she added.
The Kabul Times

Saturday July 29, 2017
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a meeting with members of the Youth Parliament at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday evening, thanked the youth for playing an active role for promotion of democracy and called them the ‘key to the national unity”, a presidential statement said. President Ghani has said the Afghan youth should be aware of their country’s natural resources, particularly water, as they would manage them in future. The president was quoted as saying in a statement from the Presidential Palace said a special amount of money would be also allocated to the fund for the youth parliament. He asked members of the parliament to share their suggestions with the government. President Ghani said youths’ meetings should be coordinated with relevant organs and their problems heard across the country on a monthly basis and then shared with the Presidential Palace.
A high-level youth counseling section would be also created at the Presidential Palace to follow and implement youths’ plans and programs, the president added. President Ghani said a high council would be created to work for changes to academic and higher education curriculums. “Youth’s role is important in this area and they should share their suggestions and plans”, he added. He said the youth should attend High Economic Council meetings and learn about planning and programming.
“The current developments are not enough and there is a need for change, particularly in the health and sports sector”, said the president, who called for elections in the Olympic committee and federations through the Independent Election Commission (IEC). The government also allocated budget for Afghan athletes competing in 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, he said.
Ghani said economic situation of the country was improving and stressed changing mind from consumption to production and asked the young Afghan generation to become regional specialists. He added the youth should be aware of their natural resources, particularly of water as they would be managers of the resources in future. He stressed sustained job opportunities for the youth and said Afghanistan was bestowed with massive natural deposits and their exploitation would generate jobs. The president termed national unity a huge asset for the country and said there was the need for deep social relations irrespective of tribe and ethnic affiliations because everyone was Afghan in this country. He said the government would not allow social divisions and the young generation as future representatives of Afghanistan would keep the national unity intact.
“Our enemies despite their all efforts to divide us would not be able to send us back to the dark age and it is our mission,” Ghani said. He said Afghanistan did not belong to a single tribe and a handful of individuals who wanted to impose own agenda should not succeed.
Khaleda Khelwat, deputy head of the Youth Parliament, thanked the president for his attention to the youth affairs and asked him to implement youth-related programs. She highlighted various issues the youth faced and stressed their solution. Dr. Kamal Sadaat, deputy minister of youth affairs at the Ministry of Information and Culture, thanked President Ghani for his support to the youth and hailed the creation of learning parliament and offered best wishes to the youth for good governance. He said a five-year strategic plan requested by the youth had been prepared and some parts of the plan were being implemented.

Saturday July 29, 2017
Kabul (BNA) A meeting chaired by Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, attended by IEC and other officials, discussed preparations for the democratic exercise on Wednesday night. The IEC has taken steps to prepare the voter list, set up polling stations, train polling staff and put in place technological arrangements for categorization of voter. In a statement from the CE office, IEC Chairman Najibullah Ahmadzai said the commission had no problem in the financial area and the voter registration process had been finalized. “The Independent Election Commission (IEC) will have no financial problems conducting Wolesi Jirga and district council polls in September 2018,” he added.
Population Registration Department (PRD) head Hamayoon Mohtat promised full cooperation with the IEC in preparing the voter list. A number of foreign ambassadors and the United Nations (UN) political representative also briefed the meeting on their responsibilities and activities, the statement added. Dr. Abdullah appreciated the IEC and other relevant organs’ preparations and ordered government institutions concerned to cooperate with the commission. He said finalization of election zones by the government was still underway and would be shared soon with the IEC.

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Kabul (BNA) NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative Ambassador Cornelius Zimmermann has held a meeting with Second Vice President Sarwar Danish here the other day, a statement from the VP office said.
During the meeting, Zimmermann offered his condolence to the vice president over the July 24 attack in Kabul, adding he was shocked by the death of 28-year-old government employee Najiba Hussaini and other educated Afghans, whose services to their country had been cut short by the terrorist attack.
He assured Danish of NATO’s continued commitment to supporting the Afghan forces in bringing security and stability to the people.
Both sides agreed on the necessity of a negotiated political solution to the conflict. They also discussed the importance of the peace agreement with the Hezb-i-Islami. The SCR assured Danish of the support of the international community, and NATO in particular, for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Kabul (BNA)  A leader of the kidnapping gang has been arrested during an operation of the Afghan intelligence operatives in capital Kabul.
The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), said the detained gang leader has been identified as Mohibullah son of Azizullah.
A statement by NDS said Mohibullah was leading a group of kidnappers consisting fifteen members and had recently abducted a man from the 4th police district of the city.
The statement further added that hostage was kept for a period of 15 days by the gang and was released during the operation of the intelligence operatives.

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Kabul (BNA)  An important hideout of the militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group was eliminated in an airstrike carried out in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
According to the local officials, the airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Achin district of Nangarhar.
The officials further added that the terror group also lost at least eight militants in the airstrike.
The provincial government media office in a statement also confirmed the airstrike and said the main hideout of the terror group was targeted in Wach Kot area.
The statement further added that the hideout of the terror group was totally destroyed in the airstrike but no casualties or property damage was incurred to the local residents.
It is yet not clear if the airstrike was carried out by the Afghan forces or the US forces based in Afghanistan.
The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.

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