13 December 2019

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Friday December 6, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Two decades after fleeing Taliban-ruled Afghanistan with her family, Nadia Nadim is ready to go home.
“I don’t know if it’s ever going be safe,” the Paris Saint-Germain striker said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But I’ll take the chance.”
The risks are worth it for the 31-year-old Nadim, who is planning her first trip back to Afghanistan since leaving the country as a child. She is hoping to change mindsets and inspire girls to follow her onto the soccer field.
“The message I want to deliver to these kids is that everything’s possible and then telling them what they’re doing is not wrong,” Nadim said. “Playing football is not a sin. You’re not doing anything wrong. It’s a sport. It’s something that makes you happy.
“And the people around them, if I can try to teach them or show them that if you love these girls, they can become people like me.”
For Nadim, the chance to become that person only came about because of a family tragedy and a move to Denmark. Her career as an athlete would have been unimaginable in Afghanistan, especially after the Taliban seized control in 1996. Girls were not allowed to go to school, let alone play soccer.
But one day, Nadim’s father — an Afghan military general — was summoned to meet with the Taliban leaders and never returned.
“Growing up in a country where there is war and where girls weren’t really allowed anything, it was extremely hard,” she recalled. “Having my dad killed when I was young and escaping the country was no joke … and I’m just happy that I got a second chance and I made the best out of my second chance.”
The journey to a new life began in 2000 via Pakistan and Italy before being dropped off by a smuggler in Denmark. Asylum was granted after spending six months in a Copenhagen refugee camp, and Nadim discovered her skill for soccer in her adopted homeland.
“I saw the game,” she said, “and I was like, ‘I like it.’”
By 2009, she was playing for the Denmark national team. In 2014, she earned a move to the biggest women’s soccer nation in the world when she was signed by the New Jersey-based Sky Blue.
After spending 2016 and 2017 at Portland Thorns, Nadim spent the following year in England’s top league at Manchester City before securing the move to PSG, which is challenging Lyon for the French title.
“I play in one of the world’s best teams, have people who support me, have brands who support me,” Nadim said, sitting at the London headquarters of her sponsor Visa. “I couldn’t really imagine this when I was younger and one of the reasons is because I’d never seen it before … until I became 15, 16, I realized that’s something I could do.
“But I want this to be something that girls realize that it’s a possibility or have that possibility. It’s not even about being a professional, but about playing football. That’s the day I’m going to be really happy.”
Even in Europe, though, the fight for equality in soccer hasn’t been easy.
A pay dispute in 2017 with the Danish soccer leadership led to the women’s national team going on strike and forcing the cancelation of a World Cup qualifier. The pressure secured a four-year collective bargaining agreement.
“You have to fight for the things you believe in, even though that’s going to cost you,” Nadim said. “That’s what happened with the strike … and us not qualifying for the World Cup. I don’t think we would have done anything differently. I think if you had a chance to redo it, I’ll try to do the same thing, but then try not to miss the World Cup.
“But I think the change we made has been crucial not for me, not for us, but the generations after us. I think everything starts at some point. You have to take a stand and try to change it. I think that’s what we did and I hope that in 10 years, the girls playing are going to be benefiting from it.”
In her homeland, the struggle has been to bring the Afghan soccer leadership to justice after players spoke out about facing repeated sexual abuse.
“They should be proud of themselves, that they came forward and told these stories and took a stand because that’s going to change and help the next generation of girls,” Nadim said. “If they didn’t say anything, the cycle would just continue. That takes a lot of courage. And, for me, they’re really, really brave.”
FIFA this week imposed a five-year ban from soccer on Mohammad Hanif Sediqi Rustam for failing to report complaints over several years. He was a secretarial assistant to Keramuudin Karim, the now-disgraced former soccer federation president, who was banned for life by FIFA in June.
“It’s disgusting that some people would use or abuse their power,” Nadim said.
And Nadim is in awe of the strength of the players taking on figures in authority.
“Sometimes achieving your goals are not supposed to be easy,” she said. “And I hope in the future I can do something for them as well.”
That is part of the reason she is working on organizing that trip back home.
“I’d love to go back and see how everything is, to try to help some of the kids,” she said. “I want this to be something girls realize … you have the access to the game equally as all the boys and then it’s up to you if you want to play or not.”

Friday December 6, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The preparations are in full swing for Rajasthan Royals ahead of the auction for the next year’s IPL. The Royals are still waiting to lay their hands on the IPL trophy since winning the league in the inaugural season in 2008. Since that historic triumph, they have not made it to the final even once and are also one of the most inconsistent teams.
And in a desperate attempt to improve their fortunes, the Royals are leaving no stone unturned in their preparation ahead of the next season. They have already released as many as 11 players ahead of the much-anticipated auction. Left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat leads the list of the released players by the franchise.
Other players that have been released are Aryaman Birla, Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Liam Livingstone, Oshane Thomas, Prashant Chopra, Rahul Tripathi, Shubham Ranjane, Stuart Binny and Sudhesan Midhun. The Royals have also let their former skipper Ajinkya Rahane join Delhi Capitals as a part of a trade deal. In return, they have secured the services of Mayank Markande and Rahul Tewatia.
Fast-bowler Dhawan Kulkarni and batsman Krishnappa Gowtham have been traded to Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab respectively. Ankit Rajpoot has joined the Rajasthan-based outfit from Kings XI Punjab. The Royals already boast the likes of Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and will be looking to further bolster the side in the auction.
Rajasthan Royals have called up a number of players for trials
Ahead of the auction, the Royals have called up a number of players for trials. They recently invited Sussex fast bowler George Garton for trials. And the Royals have also sent their invitation to Afghanistan’s young chinaman spinner Noor Ahmad Lakanwal along with their national team players Naveen ul Haq and Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
Noor Ahmad Lakanwal, who is just 14-year old, made his mark in this year’s ACC U19 Asia Cup. One of his best performances came against India when he picked up 4 for just 14 runs. On the other hand, Naveen and Rahmanullah have already played white-ball cricket for Afghanistan.
Afghani journalist M.Ibrahim Momand revealed the news on Twitter, writing:
“Afghan China-man @LakanwalNoor along with @RGurbaz_21, KarimJanat &  @imnaveenulhaq
are reportedly to feature in a trial match for @rajasthanroyals ahead of @IPL Auction2020.”
Meanwhile, the auction for the next season will take place on December 19 in Kolkata. This is the first time, Kolkata is hosting the auction. All the teams have already announced the list of the players they have retained and released.

The representation office of Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) in Afghanistan has initiated Phase 2 of a project to support education in remote and poor provinces of the country.

Educational aid has been distributed to five schools in Urozgan Province, southern Afghanistan. At a total cost of $180,000, the aid offered included 548 double chairs and desks, 38 classroom tents, 9,500 copies of textbooks, 1,095 school bags with stationery, 300 kits of teaching aids, and five containers to be used as administration offices.
Estimated to benefit up to 1,095 students, the project was co-implemented with the Afghan Welfare Society, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Department of Education. Earlier this year, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the three parties to stipulate partnership in all preparations, logistics, selection of beneficiaries, purchase of aid, delivery to the province, and handover to the target schools in the Chora and Tarinkot Districts, central Oruzgan.
During the handover ceremony, attended by parents council members, school directors, and community leaders, Othman Ghani, from a village Shura Council, said this was the first time they received such educational aid. He noted that the parents were so happy because their children would have healthy seats inside safe tents, instead of sitting on the ground, prone to the sun and rain.
Asadullah Shafiq Saeed, Governor of Urozgan, expressed his great gratitude for QRCS’s diverse humanitarian and development aid across Afghanistan, especially the education supplies to the needy schools. This aid, Saeed asserted, would meet the needs of the students in such difficult conditions, promote the development efforts in Afghanistan, and embody the strong relations between the Afghan and Qatari peoples. “I hope that this support would continue and expand to other fields in the future,” he added.

Friday December 6, 2019
Kabul (BNA) An overwhelming majority of Afghans support the peace process with the Taliban to end an 18-year-long war in the country, according to a new survey published on Tuesday.
The Asia Foundation poll found that 88.7 percent of respondents say that they “strongly or somewhat support” peace talks with the insurgents.
The survey also found that some 64 percent of the respondents shared the view that reconciliation with the Taliban is possible, a 10.5 percentage point increase from 2018. Men (69.6 percent) appeared more optimistic than women (58.5 percent).
The San Francisco-based foundation interviewed 17,812 respondents aged 18 years and above from across the 34 provinces from July 11 to Aug. 7, 2019. The respondents were 51 percent male and 49 percent female.
“In general, peace, reconciliation, security, and economy impacted people’s optimism and pessimism,” Abdullah Ahmadzai, the Asia Foundation’s country representative in Afghanistan said during the presentation of the survey in Kabul.
A little over 36 percent of respondents believed that the country was moving in the right direction while 58.2 percent said Afghanistan was headed in the wrong direction, down from 61.3 percent in 2018.
“One of the main reasons behind the increase in the optimism of the respondents that the country is moving in the right direction was the peace negotiations,” Ahmadzai said.
In a new question added this year, the respondents were asked if they were aware of efforts to negotiate peace with the Taliban. Most of them (77.4 percent) answered in affirmative and almost half of the respondents (48.6 percent) said they felt sufficiently represented in the peace talks.
Despite high levels of unemployment and poor economic conditions, 81 percent Afghans strongly or somewhat agreed that anti-government elements should be given government assistance, jobs, and housing.
A majority of 54.7 percent said protecting Afghanistan’s constitution was “very important,” followed by a strong central government (53.6 percent), freedom of speech (46.0 percent), and freedom of the press (46.4 percent).
Nearly two-thirds of Afghans, 65.1 percent, are either very or somewhat satisfied with the way democracy works in the war-torn country.
The survey launched in 2004 has so far gathered views of more than 129,800 Afghans in its 15 editions, gauging the public perceptions on security, economy, governance, political participation, the role of women and migration.
Some 43.2 percent of respondents said lack of educational opportunities was the biggest problem facing women in the country, followed by rights (34.1 percent), employment opportunities (24.1 percent), violence (18.1 percent), services (13.7 percent), and economic concerns (9.6 percent).
This year, a record number of Afghans (76 percent) supported women working outside their homes, up from 70.3 percent in 2018.
An overwhelming majority (74.5 percent) of respondents said they were increasingly fearful for their safety.
The Taliban continues to be the most dreaded group with 68.9 percent Afghans saying they feared the insurgent outfit the most. Only 12.4 percent of respondents said the Islamic State was a local security threat.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last month said the country’s security forces had defeated the Islamic State in eastern Nangarhar province, considered the main stronghold of the militant network in the country.
The International Criminal Court  judges in April rejected the request of prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to examine atrocities allegedly committed between 2003 and 2014, including alleged mass killings of civilians by the Taliban, as well as prisoner torture by Afghan authorities and to a lesser extent by U.S. forces and the CIA.
On Wednesday, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, speaking as a "friend of the court" in the case, told judges that they should not allow the prosecutor to open a case that targeted American troops when the United States is not a member of the court.
Trump has denounced the ICC, the world's only permanent war crimes court, for its "broad, unaccountable, prosecutorial powers". Washington revoked U.S. travel visas for ICC personnel in response to its work on Afghanistan.
U.S. forces and other foreign troops entered Afghanistan in 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States and overthrew the Taliban government, which had been protecting al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. In what has become the United States' longest war, about 13,000 U.S. troops remain there.
A preliminary examination found there was a "reasonable basis" to believe armed U.S. forces had "subjected at least 61 persons to torture" between May 2003 and December 2014.
Separately, members of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency "appear to have subjected at least 27 detained persons to torture in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania."

Friday December 6, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Afghanistan has been one of the world’s most aid-dependent countries for nearly two decades.
Donors are currently considering future aid commitments, with pledges made at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in 2016 due to expire at the end of 2020. At the same time, recent negotiations have raised the prospect of a political settlement with the Taliban.
In Kabul and in capitals around the world, many are asking if peace will allow Afghanistan to escape aid-dependence and why continued aid support is necessary after so many years.
Substantial aid support will continue to be required not just to sustain services and development outcomes in Afghanistan but also to support and consolidate any political settlement.
While there is scope to significantly reduce overall grants from current levels, substantial aid support will continue to be required not just to sustain services and development outcomes in Afghanistan, but also to support and consolidate any political settlement.
Afghanistan relies on grants to finance basic services and security
Progress towards self-reliance is being achieved. International grants have fallen dramatically since 2012, declining from more than 100 percent of GDP to around 40 percent of GDP today . Government revenues have reached new highs – up to 13.5 percent of GDP (outperforming many countries in the region) from just 8.5 percent of GDP in 2014.
But the gap between government revenues and public expenditure remains large. Grants continue to finance around 75 percent of total public expenditure . The government depends on donor grants to finance basic public services and infrastructure expansions which have driven huge improvements in development outcomes since 2001.
Grants also finance a large majority of security sector expenditures which impose a heavy burden on government finances (security spending is around 30 percent of GDP, relative to just three percent in most countries at Afghanistan’s level of income). Without elevated levels of grant support, Afghanistan would face both a drastic decline in the provisions of vital public services, undermining development outcomes, and a serious reduction in the government’s capacity to finance its security services.
Achieving meaningful progress towards self-reliance will require public investment
Afghanistan’s economy is currently growing at only around 2 percent per year, while the population grows by around 2.5 percent per year . This means that per capita incomes are declining, with more than half of Afghans now living in poverty. With such slow rates of economic growth, there are limited options for raising government revenues without imposing additional burdens on the private sector and investment.
Accelerated economic growth is the only viable path to self-reliance, but this – itself – will require increased public investment. World Bank analysis shows that Afghanistan has substantial growth potential and could achieve growth rates of more than 6 percent per annum if new growth sources could be mobilized – especially in extractives and agriculture.
Afghanistan has substantial growth potential and could achieve growth rates of more than 6 percent per annum
Mobilizing new growth sources, however, will require additional public expenditure to improve human capital and infrastructure. Required public investments are not affordable unless grant support continues. Reducing current public investment in the short-term is almost certain to undermine prospects for strong medium-term growth, leading to deteriorating development outcomes and increased poverty.
A political settlement will not necessarily reduce grant needs in the short-term
A political settlement with the Taliban may generate major new economic opportunities through improved investor confidence and lower costs of business.
But expectations regarding the economic and fiscal impacts of a political settlement need to be realistic. Insecurity and violence may continue long after any political settlement given the difficult political context and presence of other insurgent groups. Political deals involved with settlement may take time to be resolved, leading to continued uncertainty for investors and deterring any influx of investment capital .
Crime and corruption are likely to continue to constrain business activity. International experience shows that security sector expenditures are not easily reduced, and in fact often expand, following peace agreements as insurgent combatants are absorbed into the security forces.
At the same time, a political settlement may also bring additional financing needs. World Bank analysis shows that programs to generate jobs, expand services, and reintegrate combatants following any political settlement could cost up to US$1 billion per year over five years . 
Afghanistan requires the continued support of the international community
Overall, now more than ever, Afghanistan requires the continued support of the international community . Afghanistan is on the path towards self-reliance, but that path is not short or easy. While the international community can and should gradually reduce grant support over time, these reductions need to be carefully calibrated to country needs and fiscal realities.
Continued grant support, even at gradually declining levels, can drive improved development outcomes, support faster rates of economic growth, and help generate the conditions most likely to support and consolidate peace following any political settlement.

Thursday December 5, 2019
JALALABAD CITY (BNA) Military operation has started for annihilating anti-government militias in various parts of eastern Nangarhar province.
Ataullah Khogynai spokesman of Nangarhar governor told BNA reporter, the military operation has started by participation of hundreds Afghan national police and Afghan national army personnel with coordination of Afghan air forces in different parts of Batti Koot and Behsoud districts of the province.
Meanwhile, tribal elders and local officials in Nangarhar support from Afghan security forces during the military operation.
Afghan national defense and security forces are trying to annihilate terrorists in Nangarhar province.

Thursday December 5, 2019
TARINKOT CITY (BNA) At least 11 armed oppositions were killed and six more were wounded following air raid carried out by Afghan air forces in southern Urozgan province.
The insurgents have been targeted in Khas Urozgan district and Tarinkot city the provincial capital of the province last night.
Top commander of Afghan national army in the south of the country told BNA reporter, 11 anti-government militias including their local commander were killed and six others were injured.
There were no damages on civilians at the end of the attack.
According to another report, Afghan national police personnel by discovering and naturalizing 11 round of different type of mines succeeded to prevent several bloodiest incidents in crowded areas of Urozgan province.
Taliban fighters are responsible for the foiled mine plantings, local officials in Nangarhar claimed.

Thursday, 05 December 2019 08:07

Taliban Terrorist Group Killed in Zabul Clash

Thursday, December 05, 2019
Qalat (BNA) Eight Taliban terrorist group were killed in a clash by security troops in Zabul province.
The Taliban were suppressed while transferring weapons to Taliban groups in suburb of Qalat city.
ANA senior commander in Atal army corps in south of the country told BNA, eight terrorists were killed in the conflict.
It is said that no harm and losses incurred to security troops and civilians.
Another report says, police of Zabul province discovered and confiscated eight mines from crowded ways of the province and prevented from a series of explosion.
No one has been detained in connection of failed mine planting.
According to another report, six Taliban were killed in an air strike in Helmand province.
The Taliban were targeted in Nahersaraj District last night.
ANA top commander in Atal army corps in south of the country told BNA, the insurgents were suppressed on their strongholds while making bombs and mines.
A hideout of Taliban with all war equipment has been destroyed.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Kabul (BNA) President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in a meeting with new Agha Khan Ambassador Ms. Shahrzad Hirgi at the Presidential Palace, discussed some issues including economic expansion, restoration of historical monuments and sites and educational programs, a statement from the Presidential Palace said Wednesday.
Welcoming the new Agha Khan Ambassador, the country’s president said he was planned to expand economic programs at the district levels and communities, as he believed the plan would help increase the citizens’ revenues, the statement quoted.
The president reiterated on a shared work between the Agha Khan Foundation and the government institutions as he believed this would remain effective in the projection and design of the historical monuments and places in Afghanistan.
He noted that the government extends serious focus on the education system of the country and asked the Agha Khan Ambassador to share with Afghanistan successful models which the foundation is applying in the region.
The country’s president also reiterated on sharing development projects based on economic strengthening at the regional level, the statement went on as saying.
Ms. Shahrzad Hirji, the new Agh Khan Ambassador welcomed the views and suggestions of the country’s president and added the Agha Khan foundation would continue cooperation with Afghanistan.

Thursday, December 05, 2019
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a message has expressed his sadness over assassination of Dr. Tetsu Nakmora and his four Afghan colleagues in Nangarhar.
With utmost grief and sorrow, the enemies of a prosperous and stable Afghanistan continued their callous acts of terror and criminality and murdered Dr. Nakamura and his colleagues, yesterday morning in Jalalabad province.
The president underlined that such acts of terror, barbarity and cruelty can never deter the determination of the Afghan people and their international partners to work for progress and prosperity in Afghanistan.
The president ordered the relevant authorities to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice.  He also offered his sympathies to the families of Dr. Nakamura’s colleagues, who lost their lives in the incident.
Meanwhile, chief executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah in a message has also expressed his sadness over assassination of Dr. Nakmora.
In his message, chief executive said that Dr. Nakmora and his colleagues were a good example of service for Afghanistan and his targeting was a clear enmity with development and reconstruction of Afghanistan.
The country’s chief executive by strongly condemning the attack on Dr. Nakmora and his Afghan colleagues’ instructed relevant security organs to fully investigate the crime.
Chief executive offered his condolence and sympathy to the families of the victims and asked the country’s security organs for safety of employees working in welfare and development organizations.

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