Breaking News – Ariana News Bringing Afghan News to the World Sun, 21 Oct 2018 12:37:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 IEC Extends Elections to Sunday Due to Issues at Polling Centers Sat, 20 Oct 2018 10:28:49 +0000

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has extended voting in the parliamentary elections to Sunday in some polling centers after technical and organizational problems stopped people casting their vote in some polling centers on Saturday.

Speaking at a press conference, the IEC chief Abdulbadi Sayad said the voting process will continue till Sunday in those voting centers which failed to get opened until 01:00 pm today, adding that the voting was also extended to 8 pm in polling centers which opened late today.

The elections were kicked off in all provinces with the exception of Ghazni and Kandahar provinces due to security threats.

Lack of election materials, late opening of polling stations and IEC staff’s lack of familiarity to properly use the biometric devices at voting centers were the major issue which angered voters and forced the IEC to apologize for the nation.

Government Officials Cast Their Vote in Kabul

President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib and some other government officials on Saturday cast their vote at polling centers in Kabul.

Speaking to journalists President Ghani called on the nation to use their right and vote in the parliamentary elections. He thanked the security forces, IEC staff, and the people for paving the ground for the elections despite security risks.

“I just voted. And I thank the ANDSF, the IEC staff, and the great people of Afghanistan who made it possible to vote despite the risks involved. Today we proved together that we uphold democracy. With casting our ballots without fear we honor the sacrifices of the fallen,” Ghani tweeted.

Chief Executive Abdullah also thanked the security force for their efforts in the election process.

Abdullah said that there have been some issues in the voting process, but he said the IEC is handling it and people are voting despite risks.

‘We are proud of this nation. Our nation is rejecting the enemies by participating in elections,’ he said.

Abdullah also expressed condolences over the death of General Abdul Raziq, former police chief of Kandahar. He said the Afghan people showed that they value the patriotic sons of this country.

After casting his vote, NSA Mohib, meanwhile, said that “enemies” should know that their threats did not deter the Afghan people from determining our own future. 

“Thanks to our brave ANDSF for protecting this critical national process. Long live Afghanistan!,” he tweeted. 

Pakistan FM Phones Afghan Counterpart to Condole Loss of Lives in Kandahar Shooting Fri, 19 Oct 2018 16:03:30 +0000

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday telephoned his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani to condole the death of senior government officials in a shooting in Kandahar yesterday.

The death senior officials included Kandahar police chief Gen. Raziq and the provincial intelligence chief Gen. Momin Hussian Khail. 

According to a statement released from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Qurashi said that he, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the attack.

In his turn, Rabbani said that the assassination of Gen. Raziq and his colleagues has raised questions and that the government has launched an investigation into the incident.

Rabbani stressed that the attack took place ahead of the elections and it indicates that “terrorists” are attempting to challenge this process. He said the government won’t allow them to succeed.

The foreign minister also said the Taliban whose leaders are in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack, therefore, Kabul urges Islamabad to cooperate in “identifying the perpetrators of the incident”.

UNAMA Urges Taliban to Respect, Protect Civilians Participating in Elections Fri, 19 Oct 2018 13:53:40 +0000

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has called on the Afghan citizens to exercise their constitutional right and vote in the parliamentary elections which are set for tomorrow (Saturday).

“UNAMA encourages all eligible Afghan citizens to use this opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” it said in a statement on Friday.

UNAMA also called on relevant institutions to ensure that the elections can take place in a secure and safe environment.

In the statement UNAMA, meanwhile, expressed deep concern at the recent statements of the Taliban especially those that indicate their intention to carry out attacks against schools that will be used as polling centres.

“The elections are a civilian undertaking, and schools used as polling centres cannot be regarded as military targets,” UN said in the statement. “Moreover, civilians working in or attending polling stations cannot under any circumstances be regarded as military targets, as civilians present at polling stations do not lose their status as civilians. International humanitarian law explicitly prohibits attacks against civilians and acts or threats of violence aimed at terrorizing the civilian population.”

UNAMA urged the Taliban to respect and protect civilians and not to threaten them or carry out violence “should they engage in their constitutional right to participate in elections.”

“The UN Mission deplores the level of violence that has taken many lives in the run-up to the elections,” it said in the statement.

UNAMA re-emphasized that attacks directed against polling centres and civilians participating in the electoral process are clear violations of international law, and perpetrators of such crimes must be held accountable.

This comes as the Independent Election Commission (IEC) is set to hold the parliamentary elections on Saturday in 32 provinces of the country except for Ghazni and Kandahar provinces.

Kandahar Incident Won’t Change U.S. Resolve in South Asia Strategy: Pentagon Fri, 19 Oct 2018 11:34:48 +0000

Following the gunfire attack in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan which killed one of the country’s most powerful security officials, Pentagon says the incident will not change the U.S. resolve in its South Asia strategy.

One of the most powerful Afghan commander General Abdul Raziq was killed on Thursday when a bodyguard opened fire following a meeting at the governor’s office in the southern province of Kandahar, officials said.

“This attack will not change U.S. resolve in our South Asia strategy, if anything it makes us more resolute,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner told Reuters.

General Scott Miller, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan who had been at the meeting with Gen. Razeq left the incident uninjured.

With inputs from Reuters.

Parliamentary Elections in Kandahar Delayed After Taliban Attack Fri, 19 Oct 2018 10:56:51 +0000

Less than a day after the deadly incident in Kandahar, the government on Friday postponed the parliamentary elections in the province for one week.

The polling for filling the 249 seats in the lower house of parliament is scheduled for Saturday, top security officials decided in an early-morning meeting in Kabul to pull off the elections in Kandahar for a week, said Shah Hussain Murtazawi, the deputy spokesman for the president’s office.

The official added that the decision was made based on the recommendation of the election commission and suggestion of the Kandahar people.  

The move came after the deadly incident in the province in which the provincial officials including police chief Gen. Raziq and intelligence chief Gen. Momin Hussain Khail were killed and Governor Zalmay Wesa was wounded.

Police Arrest Three Suspects in Connection to Kandahar Deadly Incident Fri, 19 Oct 2018 10:27:37 +0000

At least three people have been arrested in connection to the deadly incident in southern Kandahar province that left the provincial Police Chief and Intelligence Chief dead, the Interior Ministry said in a short statement on Friday.

The statement added that the detained individuals are in the custody of the security forces and an investigation is underway.

The statement did not provide further details in this regard.

The Police Chief of Kandahar Gen. Abdul Raziq and Intelligence Chief of the province Gen. Abdul Momin Hussain Khail were killed on Thursday in a shooting during security meeting which was also attended by the commander of US and NATO forces Gen. Scott Miller, the provincial governor Zalamy Wesa and the commander of the 404th Zone.

Zalmay Wesa and the commander of the 404th Zone have sustained injuries. But Gen. Miller has escaped the incident unhurt.

Following the incident, the Interior Ministry on Friday confirmed that based on the president’s order Tadeen Khan, the younger brother of Gen. Raziq has been appointed as Police Chief of Kandahar.

Traffic Incident in Kabul Leaves At least 20 Killed Fri, 19 Oct 2018 10:09:57 +0000

At least 20 people have been killed in a traffic incident in Qarabagh district of Kabul, officials said Friday.

Qarabagh district governor Mohammad Azim Dil Aqa told Ariana News that the incident took place on Thursday night en route to Kabul-Kapisa.

According to the official, 16 people were also wounded in the incident which happened in Barikab area of Kabul.

Traffic crashes are a common cause of death in Afghanistan. Among the numerous risk factors are excessive speed, drug, talking on cell phones.

Kandahar Police Chief Gen. Raziq Killed in Armed Attack Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:51:37 +0000 The provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq and the province’s intelligence chief Abdul Mohmin were killed on Thursday when a bodyguard opened fire following a meeting in the governor’s compound in the southern province of Kandahar, officials said.

According to the security officials, the governor of Kandahar, Gen. Zalmay Wesa and three Americans; a service member and two civilians’ workers were wounded in the shooting.

It was members of Wesa’s elite guard unit who turned their guns on their colleagues.

In a telephone interview, the spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan’s southern region, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said the Taliban carried out the attack.

He said Washington’s top general in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller was the target and said Raziq, the governor and the intelligence chief were killed.

Officials said Razeq, Miller and the other officials were walking toward a landing zone as the helicopter taking the U.S. general’s party back to Kabul approached to land when the gunman, who was waiting outside, opened fire on the group.

The former head of Afghan intelligence Amrullah Saleh confirmed reports of Raziq’s death.

“Can’t find weighty & dignified enough words to express my grief & pain for the loss of my compatriot & brother Gen. Razeq. He was the architect of stability in Kandahar by establishing a political network deep at grassroots level in support of State & ANDSF. It is a pan Afg loss,” he tweeted.

Razik was a particularly powerful figure in southern Kandahar and a close U.S. ally.

He ruled in Kandahar, the former Taliban heartland, with an iron fist and had survived several attempts to kill him, including one last year that resulted in the death of five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates.

Gunfire Inside Kandahar Governor’s Office Thu, 18 Oct 2018 11:30:16 +0000 Gunfires heard inside Kandahar governor’s office.

A security source tells Ariana News that an assailant has opened fire on participants during a meeting.

The source further said that the meeting was underway between Kandahar governor and UNAMA officials.

(This is a developing story.)

IECC Disqualified Seven More Candidates Thu, 18 Oct 2018 10:16:30 +0000

The Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC) on Thursday announced the disqualification of seven more candidates.

The IECC Spokesman Ali Reza Ruhani said the seven candidates were disqualified for different reasons. Three of the candidates denied to resign from their jobs, two of them were sentenced to imprisonment, one had Iranian citizenship and one doesn’t have the required age to run for parliament.

The disqualified candidates are from six different provinces.

According to Ruhani, these candidates are Robina Walizai from Maidan Wardak, Abdul Karim Shafaq from Farah, Habibullah Ghoryani from and Ahmad Shah Sadat Hussaini from Herat, Abdullah Sahel from Kunduz and Ghulam Nabi Saqi from Ghor.

Earlier, IECC removed the names of 35 candidates from the final list due to different reasons.

The new decision comes two days before the election day in 33 provinces of Afghanistan.

Taliban Suicide Bomber Targets NATO Convoy Near Bagram Airfield Thu, 18 Oct 2018 08:02:44 +0000

A Taliban suicide bomber has targeted a NATO military convoy near Bagram airfield, local officials confirmed.

Waheda Shahkar, spokeswoman for the provincial governor in Parwan, said the attack took place late on Wednesday in Sey Dukan area of Bagram district.

The official further said that at least two Afghan civilians were killed and two others wounded as a result of the incident but denied to make any comment about casualties sustained to foreign forces.

The NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan has not made a comment about the report yet.

However, unconfirmed reports suggest that five Czech servicemen were injured in the blast.

In a statement, the Taliban insurgent group claimed responsibility for the attack.

5 Family Members of Taliban Commander Killed in Own Explosion Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:31:33 +0000 At least five family members of a Taliban commander were killed after a house explosion in Posht Koh district of Herat province on Wednesday, local officials confirmed.

The spokesman of Herat governor, Jilani Farhad said, “The explosion took place during the transfer of unexploded mines and ammunition in Kah village Posht Koh district and five people including one woman were killed and two others were wounded.”

Farhad added that the victims of the incident were the family members of a Taliban commander named Mullah Nematullah known as Afzali.

Reports suggest that the Mullah Nematullah intends to transfer the ammunition to another location to organize and carry out attacks on Election Day.

Gov’t Not Committed to Provide Peace in Afghanistan: Hekmatyar Wed, 17 Oct 2018 14:12:14 +0000 The leader of Hezb-e Islami, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar says the government is not committed to provide peace in Afghanistan and has no comprehensive plan for the talks with the Taliban group.

The High Peace Council (HPC) has held a consultant meeting with national figures and political parties to find a solution for peace talks with Taliban.

“The government is busy with its internal conflicts and the peace talks had no positive result so far,” Hekmatyar said.

He emphasized that government failed in the peace process and there is not a unique idea for peace which is the main demand of people.

Meanwhile, the former National Security Adviser, Ranging Dadfar Spanta noted the International Community did not stand by its commitments and had no honest efforts for the stability of Afghanistan.

The second deputy of Executive Office, Muhammad Muhaqiq also believes that would have no result until an overall discussion took place with Taliban about all issues of the country.

“Everything should be discussed for achieving peace; about government, constitution, withdrawal of foreign troops and etc…,” Muhaqiq added.

This comes as the HPC praised US talks with Taliban representatives but stressed that the main side is Afghanistan and the peace negotiations should be led and manage by Afghans.

Three Arrested in Connection With Assassination of Jabar Qahraman Wed, 17 Oct 2018 13:43:30 +0000 Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the apparent assassination of the parliamentary candidate, Abdul Jabar Qahraman, the Ministry of Interior said on Wednesday.

“Qahraman was among four people killed by the blast, another seven were wounded and three suspects have been arrested,” Wais Ahmad Barmak, the interior minister said.

Qahraman became the 10th election candidate to die ahead of Saturday’s polls when the blast tore through his campaign office.

“Abdul Jabar Qahraman had been meeting with supporters in his campaign office in the southern province of Helmand when a bomb hidden under a sofa exploded,” provincial governor spokesman Omar Zhwak added.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted online.

In the wake of the attack, President Ghani condemned the group, saying they will not undermine citizens’ faith in democracy.

“Such brutal acts of the terrorists and their supporters cannot weaken people’s trust in the peaceful and democratic processes,” said Ghani.

The attacks came as the Taliban warned teachers and students not to participate in the vote and not to allow schools to be used as polling centers.

The insurgents said in a statement that they will target Saturday’s elections, which they view as illegitimate, but that they do not want to harm civilians.

Deputy Foreign Minister Resigns Over Differences of Opinion Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:56:19 +0000 Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday resigned from his position.

In his resignation letter, Khalil Karzai cited differences on foreign policies with the leadership of the national unity government.

He further added that the work spaced was limited for him so he has decided that “it would be better to be with the people”

Meanwhile, reports suggest that Karzai will run in the upcoming presidential elections, but there was no confirmation.

IEC Completes Its Operational, Technical Plans for Upcoming Elections Tue, 16 Oct 2018 16:29:43 +0000

The Independent Elections Commission (IEC) says it has completed its operational and technical plans and that ready to hold to the parliamentary elections next week in all the provinces except Ghazni.

The chairman of IEC, Abdulbadi Sayad on Tuesday that all the necessary election materials including biometric devices and voting papers have been transferred to the provinces. 

He said the IEC staff and security institutions are now trying to move the electoral materials to districts and voting centers.

This comes as more than 30,000 observers have been set to oversee the voting process on Election Day.

Ghani Re-launches Journalists Support Fund, Donates 5M AFN from His Own Money Tue, 16 Oct 2018 16:11:30 +0000

President Ashraf Ghani re-launched Journalists Support Fund on Tuesday in a bid to help journalists financially. 

At the opening ceremony held in Presidential Palace, Ghani announced that he will donate five million Afghanis from his personnel account to the fund. He, meanwhile, asked the Ministry of Finance to allocate 10 million Afghanis from government budget to the fund annually.

The Fund will be administered by an 11- member committee comprised of 10 journalists – representing journalists’ organizations – and one member from Ministry of Information and Culture.

“We are committed to protect freedom of speech from any deterrence,” Ghani said. “The government and media are both accountable to the nation, therefore we intend to partner with media, not confront it.”

The president urged media outlets to exercise due “diligence” to avoid spreading false information and instructed all government authorities to “strictly” comply by Access to Information Law.

He also called on media organizations to protect the rights of journalists and provide them with “life insurance policies” for financial security.

Upcoming Elections

President Ghani said that the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections are a “major constitutional obligation”, and that the government is committed to upholding it.

He also said election debates should transform into a platform addressing economic challenges facing the nation.

Pointing towards the reconciliation process, the president reasserted that peace process will be “inclusive and consensual” of all ethnicities and demographics.

Presidential Advisor Almas, Son of Sayyaf Owe Millions of Afghanis to DABS Tue, 16 Oct 2018 14:11:13 +0000

Senior government officials owe more than seven billion Afghanis to Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherket (DABS) – a firm which manages all the revenue generated from electricity distribution throughout the country.

Based on the documents obtained by Ariana News, Abdul Satar Sayyaf son of Rasool Sayyaf and Almas Zahid presidential advisor have paid their electricity bill only once in last seven years. Both owe 3. 16 million Afghanis and 4.17 million Afghanis to DABS respectively.

Close figures to Zahid, however, told Ariana News on Tuesday that they will pay the amount in 15 installments. DABS did not comment in this regard yet.

Abdul Basir Azimi, former deputy minister of Energy and Water, meanwhile, said that if customers refuse to pay their electricity bills, DABS will face issues in implementing its development projects.

Following the issue, some Kabul citizens criticized the government officials for not paying their electricity bills, urging the DABS to take actions against them.

This comes as last October, DABS revealed a list of entities, government officials and parliament members who owed billions of Afghanis to the firm.

The defaulters included Independent Election Commission (IEC), German Embassy in Kabul, First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum, the Chairman of High Peace Council (HPC) Karim Khalili and many other former and current government officials and parliament members.

Samangan’s Police Security Chief among 11 Killed in Clashes with Taliban Tue, 16 Oct 2018 12:59:01 +0000

Samangan’s police security chief, Khawani Tahari among 11 killed in clashes with Taliban on Monday night in Dara-e-Sof Payeen district of the province, local officials said Tuesday.

Samangan provincial council member, Naqibullah Tatar said that at least 10 security forces were wounded and 30 soldiers surrendered to Taliban, following the clashes.

According to the official, some weapons and ammunition of the Afghan forces were also seized by the Taliban and the militant group has also taken control of Zirakai region where the clashes began.

However, the provincial police’s spokesman Munir Rahimi said that 14 Taliban militants were also killed and 16 others were wounded.

According to Rahimi, only six Afghan forces including the provincial police chief were killed in the incident.
Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident.

NPA introduced Afghanistan Government Electronic & Open Procurement System Mon, 15 Oct 2018 15:54:22 +0000 In a conference on “Supporting Private Sector in Public Procurement”, National Procurement Authority (NPA) introduced Afghanistan Government Electronic & Open Procurement System (AGEOPS) to the representatives of international institutions, construction companies, members of civil society and media.

Addressing media outlets in GMIC, Elham Omar Hotaki General Director of NPA said: “Using AGEOPS, companies are categorized into few sections considering their experiences.”

Using this system, private companies will apply for contracts that they are expert in it. AGEOPS Works are categorized into eleven sections and companies can apply for one or more based on their experiences.

Hotaki gave three months to representatives of companies to apply for AGEOPS membership so that they would be able to enter the system by receiving a certificate number.

“This system is established to provide required facilities for the growth of private sector, to ensure transparency in procurement processes, to evaluate companies and increase their professional capacity, to accelerate offers evaluations process and to provide certificates of companies’ classification,” Hotaki stressed.

Afghanistan is the only country in the region that has established an electronic procurement system.