14 December 2019

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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.

Thursday, December (BNA)  President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a meeting held to mark the International Day of Persons with Disability said to observe the day next year, the capabilities of persons with disability would he appreciated, the Presidential Press Office said Wednesday.
A statement from the Presidential Palace quoted President Ghani as shaking hands with any of the persons with disability during the ceremony held at the Salam Khana Palace and saying their capabilities would be praised and all should join hand to pay attention to the.
“Those who have no hands, they can draw and paint with their mouth and feet,” said the president while closely greeting them at the ceremony.
The president instructed the organs concerned not to remain incompetence before the blood of martyrs and the country’s persons with disability,” Lack of attention to them is unacceptable.”
President Ghani reiterated on the simplification of administrative system in order to tackle the problems facing persons with disability and the heirs of the country’s martyrs and taking in mind facilities for their commutation in buildings structures, the statement added.
He thanked them for their active participation in the society and hoped the songs of the children of the country’s disabled persons could change into a tranquil, stable and legal Afghanistan.

Thursday, December 05, 2019
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a message has condoled the demise of Prime Mutaib bin Abdulaziz Al Saud brother of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
In his message, President Ghani on behalf of the government and people of Afghanistan offered condolence and sympathy over the demise of Prince Mutaib bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to King of Saudi Arabia, the family of Al Saud and the people of the country, wishing paradise to the deceased.

Thursday, December 05, 2019
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a meeting with officials of the country’s fuel and gas enterprise discussed capacity of the enterprise for addressing needs of the country’s defense and security organs (ANDSF).
In the meeting held yesterday at Presidential Palace, head of the enterprise delivered clear image of capacities and reservoirs of the enterprise in a number of provinces.
Afterwards, the country’s President spoke and said by current capacity the enterprise could not meet needs of the country’s defense and security organs.  President Ghani instructed that a delegation should be tasked to review all reservoirs and bases of the enterprise to get an image based on which they could work on a plan for reservoirs and institutions of the enterprise in various areas of the country.  The country’s President added that current reservoir management system, second and strategic reservoir with focusing on addressing the needs of ANDSF should be made.  Stressing on further overseeing the reservoir management, President Ghani said the goal of the respective enterprise should be for addressing needs of government institution.

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