17 February 2019

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Saturday, 09 February 2019 06:22

President Pays Glowing Tribute to MP Malikzada

Saturday February 9, 2019

Kabul (BNA) President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani during a ceremony, paid rich tribute to Mohammad Ibrahim Malikzada, a House of People member from Ghor province, at the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital, BNA reported the other day.
According to the state-run Bakhtar News Agency, the president said: “This was a hard day and we and the security forces are gravely saddened by the death of Dr. Malikzada.” The president condoled the death of Malikzada to his family and the people of Ghor province, the agency said.
Reminding the efforts of the late Malikzada for suppressing the enemy who wanted to occupy Parchaman district of Ghor province, the president said he could do his best for the security of Ghor province and did much for the country’s national interests at the house of people. In or order to pay tribute to the high personality of the country, Dr. Mohammad Malikzada, the president said he has signed the Major General degree to him, the agency said. Present at the ceremony, CE Dr. Abdullah said late Dr. Malikzada had served much for the country and made effort for the existence of the system and pride of the country. “His work gave us important messages.” Covered with the country’s three-color national flag and being carried by the ceremonial team, the coffin of lawmaker Dr. Ibrahim Malikzada was taken to the certain area and his body laid to rest.
 

Saturday February 9, 2019

Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Thursday expressed serious concerns about the violence against protesters and civil activists in Pakistan.
Fresh protests by Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, which was founded a year ago to protest the death of Pashtun man killed by police, come following the death of PTM regional leader Arman Loni in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province which the group blamed on police. Pakistan authorities arrested 19 Pashtun activists this week. “The Afghan government has serious concerns about the violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters and civil activists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan,” President Ghani wrote on Twitter. “We believe it is the moral responsibility of every government to support civil activities that take a stand against the terrorism and extremism that plagues and threatens our region and collective security. Otherwise there could be long-standing negative consequences,” the president wrote.
 

Saturday February 9, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Addressing a ceremony marking 40th anniversary of revolution at the Iranian embassy in Kabul on Thursday, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said that relations between Afghanistan and Iran always stayed stable despite their many challenges, a statement from CE press office said.
Dr. offered his felicitations to the president and the people of Iran on the 40thanniversary of the Islamic revolution, which he said was a huge change in the region and deeply rooted in the views of Iranian people, the statement added. He said the Iranian government had supported to the government and people of Afghanistan from the Jihad era to the time of resistance and in the new era of development. Dr. Abdullah added the presence of people from different political segments of Afghanistan at the ceremony of the Islamic Revolution of Iran showed that both the countries enjoyed good relationship.
He said the state to state relationship was improving and different committees from both sides were working on a broad range of issues. The Chief Executive said neighbors had to live together and thus they faced similar threats, challenges and opportunities, the statement said. He hailed the Iranian government’s stance on peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and said: “We demand a peace process with the centrality and the sovereignty of the Afghan people and there is no priority beyond the end of the 40-year war,” the chief executive said. Dr. Abdullah hoped for acceptable peace in the country, saying peaceful conditions would enable countries of the region to better avail shared opportunities and ensure a better future, the statement concluded.
 

Saturday February 9, 2019

Kabul (BNA) The government of Afghanistan said on Thursday that the joint declaration issued by the delegates at the end of the Moscow meeting had no “executive” outcome.
The participants of Moscow meeting on Wednesday issued a joint declaration in which they outlined a nine-point approach to promote intra-Afghan dialogue aimed at reaching a political settlement in Afghanistan. In reaction President Ghani’s Spokesman wrote in a tweet: “The meeting of some Afghan politicians with the Taliban which was held in Moscow at the invitation of the Russian Federation, was not about peace talks but a political and academic debate on peace and a statement issued at the end of this meeting is the summary of the two-day talks and has not executive outcome on peace [process].” The joint declaration of Moscow Talks read that ensuring lasting peace, protecting the national sovereignty and promoting social justice, paving ground for complete withdrawal of foreign forces from the country, maintaining national unity, ensuring the principles of Islamic and its national values, preventing the occurrence of dark events of the recent decades in the country and mutual respect and understanding among Afghans were the among issues as the participants have agreed upon in the meeting. According to the declaration, the delegates unanimously agreed to hold the next round of talks in Doha, the capital of Qatar in the near future.
 

Saturday February 9, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Chaired by acting minister of information and culture Hasina Safi, the meeting of national commission on holding Nawroz historical festival of 1398 was held Wednesday with participation of representatives of relevant government and non-government institutions.
In the meeting, acting minister of information and culture spoke and said the respective commission’s meeting was held for coordination of necessary preparations of relevant government and non-government institutions to better mark the upcoming year’s Nawroz festival. Meanwhile, head of the people culture for information and culture Mahbooba Babakarkhil said effort would be made for better holding of the Nawroz festival. Participants in the meeting delivered their visions, suggestions and plans for better marking the day and shared preparations of their relevant institutions with members of the commission. At the end, acting minister of information and culture stressed on coordination and cooperation among relevant institutions, adding that continuous efforts should be made in order that Nawroz historical festival of the New Year should be held in a better way.
 

Saturday February 9, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Acting minister of information and culture, Hasina Safi has strongly condemned the assassination of two journalists in the northern province of Takhar, BNA reported Friday.
Shafiqullah Arya and Rahimullah, two Hamsada local radio staffs were killed, following gunmen raids on their office in the Northern Province, the agency said. Minister Safi said she was deeply saddened by the tragic event and called the incident the work of the enemy of freedom of expression asking the relevant organs to seriously investigate into the case and arrest those involved in the attack, according to the agency. The minister extended her condolence to the assassinated journalists’ bereaved families.
 

Saturday February 9, 2019

Kabul (BNA) “Great nations do not fight endless wars,” President Trump declared in his State of the Union Address.
It was a line that could have been delivered by President Barack Obama, who in 2015 memorably said, “I do not support the idea of endless war.” Just a few days before Trump’s address, his own party delivered the president a stinging rebuke when Senate Republicans passed a resolution opposing his Syrian and Afghan withdrawals by an overwhelming bipartisan 68-to-23 vote. Trump’s defenders say: That’s just the foreign policy establishment advocating “forever war.” When, they ask, will these wars end? When will we be able to declare victory and go home?
These are fair questions, and they deserve serious answers. In traditional wars, defining victory is easy. Victory comes when the enemy surrenders and lays down its arms. But this is not traditional war. We are not fighting nation-states with defined borders and armies, navies and air forces. We are fighting radical Islamist terrorists who are engaged in what Osama bin Laden called “a war of destiny between infidelity and Islam.” There will be no signing ceremony on the deck of the USS Missouri. They will never lay down their arms. In this war, victory for the United States is every day that passes without a terrorist attack on American soil. And that daily victory is made possible because the men and women of the US military are hunting the enemy in faraway lands.
America’s enemies have a very clear definition of victory. For them, victory comes when we give up the fight before they do. We know this because they have told us so. The 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told his CIA interrogator, “Americans don’t realize we do not need to defeat you militarily; we only need to fight long enough for you to defeat yourself by quitting.” That is how the terrorists see Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 and Trump’s planned withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan: America defeating itself by quitting. It is understandable that, after 18 years, Americans want the war to end. But what we want is irrelevant. We don’t get to decide unilaterally that the war is over. The enemy gets a vote. Just because we have tired of fighting doesn’t mean that they have.
Here is the hard truth: We don’t get to choose when the war ends, but we do get to choose where it is fought. It can either be fought over there, in the deserts of Syria and the mountains of Afghanistan, or it can be fought over here — on American streets and in American cities, as it was on Sept. 11, 2001. It’s up to us. Trump deserves enormous credit for taking the gloves off in the fight against the terrorists. He was absolutely correct when he declared in the State of the Union Address, “When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty monsters.” But the Islamic State is not defeated. It still has tens of thousands of fighters under arms and, according to one estimate by the Institute for the Study of War, as much as $400 million it smuggled out of Iraq, money that can be used to sustain its movement and plan attacks across the world.
In Afghanistan, US intelligence estimates there are about 20 terrorist groups — including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State affiliate known as Islamic State Khorasan, or IS-K — that would immediately gain an uncontested sanctuary from which to plan new attacks if America withdraws. On Jan. 28, The New York Times reported that a 2017 intelligence assessment, renewed last year, “says a complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan would lead to an attack on the United States within two years.” Right now, the US military has its boot on the terrorists’ necks. They are focused on survival, not on launching faraway attacks. Take that boot away, though, and the terrorists will get up, dust themselves off, regroup, rebuild and go back to trying to kill Americans in the United States. In his address, Trump praised the heroism of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. “They did not know if they would survive the hour,” he said. “They did not know if they would grow old. But they knew that America had to prevail.” The same is true today. Great nations do not quit before they prevail.
Nypost
 

Thursday February 7, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, Acting Minister of Finance and Chief Advisor on Infrastructure and Technology to the President of Afghanistan, and Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan, today signed a new financial package totaling $325 million in grants.
“The financing Agreement of the three project signed today with the World Bank, totally worth $ 325 million. It will be implemented in line with the requirements and priorities of the government and the people of Afghanistan to support economic empowerment, service delivery and institutional reforms,” said, acting Finance Minister Humayon Qayoumi, Speaking about the new financing package.
“The new financial package includes $200 million grant to the Eshteghal Zaiee - Karmondena (EZ-Kar) Project, $50 million grant to the Cities Investment Program (CIP) and $75 million grant to finance the Tackling Afghanistan’s Government HRM (Human Resource Management) and Institutional Reforms (TAGHIR). I acknowledge the valuable contribution made by the World Bank to fund these major projects,” he added.
The new financial package includes:
·         $200 million grant to the EshteghalZaiee - Karmondena (EZ-Kar) Project, which aims to strengthen the enabling environment for economic opportunities in Afghan cities where there is a high influx of displaced people. The grant includes $150 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for poorest countries; and $50 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), administered by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.
·         To improve the sustainability and livability of nine provincial capital cities by strengthening municipal capacity, management, and infrastructure. The grant comprises $25 million from IDA and $25 million from the ARTF.
·         $75 million grant to finance the Tackling Afghanistan’s Government HRM (Human Resource Management) and Institutional Reforms (TAGHIR) project,which will strengthen the capacity of selected line ministries. The grant includes $25 million from IDA and $50 million from ARTF.
“Access to job opportunities and better services is the most crucial need of Afghan people specially the returnees and internally displaced Afghans at this particular time. These new grants are significant step forward in the path to help the Government of Afghanistan strengthen its service delivery capacities and meet its key policy objectives through boosting institutional reforms, ”said Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

The EZ-Kar Project applies a whole of community approach and aims to increase economic and job opportunities in the cities with a high influx of returnees and internally displaced people. This will be pursued by increasing the returnees’ access to civil documents, providing short-term employment opportunities, improving market enabling infrastructure, and supporting investor friendly regulatory reforms.
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), and Kabul Municipality. The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) will also play a key role. Among other initiatives, the project will support the increase in capacity of MoFA to provide consular services as well as help Afghan refugees in Pakistan access information that will facilitate their economic and social integration in Afghanistan.
The CIP will provide technical assistance to the Government in its implementation of the “Municipal Incentive Fund” under the new Municipal Law for Afghanistan and will instill a culture of “Evidence-Based” municipal investment planning in nine major provincial capital cities in the country. In parallel, the CIP will expand municipal service delivery and rehabilitate basic municipal infrastructure in the selected provincial capital cities. The project complements the ARTF-financed Kabul Municipal Development Program and the IDA-supported Urban Development Support Project.
The TAGHIR project replaces the Capacity Building for Results (CBR) Facility and will assist the Government of Afghanistan to deliver its key policy priorities through merit-based recruitment and administrative reforms in 16-lineministries. The project will support up to 1,500 new civil service positions to enable the ministries to meet objectives and deliver on their priorities. The Independent Administrative and Civil Service Reform Commission will lead the project implementation.

Thursday February 7, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Afghanistan's president spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late Tuesday in an apparent bid to reassert his authority as Washington accelerates its negotiations with the Taliban and as separate talks unfold in Moscow without the government's involvement. In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said his administration is holding "constructive talks" with the Taliban and other Afghan groups, and that "as we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troops' presence and focus on counter-terrorism."
Last September, the White House appointed Zalmay Khalilzad as a peace envoy tasked with finding a negotiated end to America's longest war, but until now he has been unable to get the Taliban to hold direct talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's government, whom the insurgents routinely refer to as a U.S. puppet.
This week the Taliban sent a delegation of 10 to talks underway in Moscow with dozens of prominent Afghan opposition figures, including former Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai appeared to try to deflect Ghani's criticism of the Moscow meeting tweeting: "We understand that the government in Kabul needs to be a part of these negotiations. We wish that they would have been here today." Karzai said he was responding to a question from the media in Moscow.
The deep divisions within the many stakeholders in Kabul highlight the difficulty of finding a negotiated end to a war that has already cost the United States more than 2,400 lives and $1 trillion. Yet 17 years on, the Taliban control or hold sway in roughly 50 percent of the country and carry out near daily attacks, mostly targeting the country's beleaguered security forces. "We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement - but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace," Trump said in his State of the Union address.
Ghani's call to Pompeo seemed an attempt to re-assert his government's role in negotiations he has sharply criticized at times as one-sided. Robert Palladino, deputy spokesman at the State Department, said Pompeo reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to achieving a lasting peace. Pompeo also emphasized the importance of an intra-Afghan dialogue and the role of a cease-fire in ending the violence and making it possible for the Afghan government, other Afghan leaders and the Taliban to negotiate a political settlement, Palladino said.
Ghani tweeted that Pompeo "stressed that our military partnership is unwavering and will remain until a lasting and inclusive peace is achieved." Ghani said that Pompeo also "underscored the central importance of ensuring the centrality of the Afghan government in the peace process" and signaled support for holding Afghan presidential elections in July. "We both agreed that words, rumors, and speculations cannot replace actions and that our partnership and resolve will remain strong in the pursuit of peace," Ghani tweeted.
Dailymail
 

Thursday February 7, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Uzbekistan has reiterated its readiness to host talks between Afghan government officials and Taliban negotiators.
Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry says Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov expressed the offer in Tashkent on February 5 to the United Nations' Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto.
The ministry quoted Kamilov as saying Uzbekistan is prepared to provide all necessary conditions for direct talks between the government of Afghanistan and Taliban negotiators to be organized "at any stage" of an Afghan peace process.
Uzbekistan started actively promoting regional cooperation after President Shavkat Mirziyoev took over power following the death of his predecessor Islam Karimov in 2016.
Rferl
 

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