ARG – Ariana News Bringing Afghan News to the World Wed, 14 Nov 2018 14:48:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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.

Ghani Orders Military Forces to Continue Operations against Taliban Mon, 20 Aug 2018 13:00:12 +0000

President Ashraf Ghani has ordered the defense and security forces to continue their operations against the Taliban until a positive response has not been received from the armed group regarding the government’s three months ceasefire.

According to the Presidential Palace (ARG), the decision came after Ghani spoke via video teleconference with the provincial governors, national defense and security officials, provincial council members, and members of the provincial high peace and Ulemas councils.

ARG said in a statement that the president instructed the national defense and security forces to continue to their operations against the Taliban until the armed group has not shown a positive response to the ceasefire.

As cited in the ARG statement, President Ghani said that the details of the ceasefire and joint instructions of the national defense & security sector and the Directorate of Local Governance have been shared with the provincial administrative offices in the country.

 This comes as President Ghani on Sunday on the occasion of the Independence Day announced three months conditional ceasefire with the Taliban. He said the ceasefire will only be implemented when the Taliban respect it.

Using Biometric Tech in Election Process Is Time-Consuming: ARG Tue, 07 Aug 2018 13:09:24 +0000

Presidential Palace (ARG) has rejected the proposed plan of the political parties on using biometric technology in upcoming parliamentary and district council elections, saying usage of a biometric system is time-consuming and will prevent having timely elections.

 Changing the election system, allowing political parties to oversee the election process and the usage of biometric technology were among the issues being presented in the plan by the political parties for the election which has been rejected by President Ashraf Ghani.

The political parties stressed transparency in the upcoming elections, claiming that the voter and candidate registration process has been triggered by fraud.

They said their plan of having a biometric system in the voter registration process has been proposed six months ago and that the government and election commission have not paid heed in this regard.

Following the matter,  former IEC’s head of Secretariat Imam Mohammad Warimach said that the political parties urging the formation of a temporary government, adding that the election commission is leading the country into deeper crises with its current election plan.

The election observers, however, said that the government and the political parties have no will of holding the elections in the country.

This comes as President Ghani on Tuesday issued a decree on elections to prevent interference and ensure transparency in the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections which are scheduled to be held on October 20, followed by the presidential election on April 20, next year.

Concerns Rise over Delays in Approving List of IECC Provincial Commissioners Sun, 01 Jul 2018 14:16:31 +0000

The Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC) expressed concerns as the commission’s list of 102 provincial commissioners has not been approved yet by President Ashraf Ghani.

It has been 45 days since the IECC has sent the list of its provincial commissioners to the Presidential Palace (ARG) for approval, but the commission is yet to get any response.

“We preserve our independence. If the list is not sensible for ARG, it shows that ARG has not been able to have an influence on the list,” said Abdul Aziz Aryaee, the head of IECC.

The members of the commission, meanwhile, warned of major challenges in the election process, if ARG continues to delay approval of the given list of the IECC provincial commissioners.

“This issue draws concerns for the IECC and it will seriously challenge the commission to register and address the objections and complaints,” said Ali Reza Rohani, a member of the IECC.

The Presidential Palace confirmed it has received the given list of IECC Provincial commissioners, but said that because of the lack in preserving gender, work experience and having a background information of the individuals being presented in the list, its approval has been delayed so far. 

Minister Usmani Faces Travel Ban at Kabul Airport Thu, 24 May 2018 13:31:46 +0000

The Presidential Palace (ARG) has apparently ordered travel ban against Minister of Energy and Water Ali Ahmad Usmani from leaving Kabul.

Based on Ariana News findings, ARG’s travel ban-order against Usmani came after the Minister was about to leave Kabul for inauguration of power stab-station in Khulm district  of northern Balkh province.

The findings indicate that the sub-station was expected to be inaugurated by President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday (May 26), however,  Minister of Energy and Water wanted to take that initiative before the set date,  on Wednesday (May 23).

Prior to the incident, Minister Usmani was told to be part of the team that included the president for inauguration of the sub-station, but  he was apparently opposed to the decision.

“Yesterday (May 23), I wanted to travel to Herat. They [police] prevented Ali Ahmad Usmani Minister of Energy of Water of traveling [at Kabul airport],” said Farhad Majidi, a representative from Herat in parliament.  

Criticizing the apparent move being taken by ARG, Ahmad Sayedi, a political commentator that the president should be “ashamed” of declaring travel ban against his ministers.

This comes as earlier, Minister Usmani has said that ARG had barred him of attending the inauguration ceremony of TAPI project in Herat province.

Gov’t Reaches Closer to Final Settlement with Noor: ARG Wed, 07 Mar 2018 13:46:13 +0000 Atta Mohammad Noor and representatives of the Presidential Palace (ARG) have reached very close to a final settlement, a spokesman for Ghani’s office said Wednesday.

According to Ghani’s office, the result of the negotiations between Noor, the ousted Balkh governor, and the Head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) Masoom Stanekzai and Abdul Salam Rahimi, the head of the office of the president, will be publicized in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Afzal Hadid, the Head of Balkh Provincial Council said the two sides have exchanged proposals with each other.

“Still, no details have been released regarding the agreements made in the meeting. It said that packages from the government and proposals from the governor of Balkh were exchanged,” said Hadid.

He added that Mr. Noor has not shown up to his office since the last four days and has limited his public gatherings.

But, reports suggest that the signature of Mr. Noor is still valid in all government offices in the province.

Afghan politicians also emphasize on a peaceful resettlement of the issue between the central government and Mr. Noor.

“Afghanistan is having a lot of challenges and tensions between political leaders is not in favor of the country,” Nazir Ahmad Ahmadzai, Second Deputy Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, said.

“The political parties and the people of Afghanistan are seriously urging the government to work for the priorities which are elections, security and the livelihood of the people,” Sediq Patman, a senior member of the political party, Jabhi Milli Naween Afghanistan, said.

On December 18, the Presidential Palace said in a statement that the president approved Noor’s resignation and appointed Engineer Mohammad Dawoud as the new governor of Balkh.

Noor defied his ouster and vowed that he won’t allow anyone to oust him from the post, except through negotiation.

Bio-Registration for e-NIC Resumes in ARG Sun, 04 Mar 2018 15:31:46 +0000 Bio registration for electronic Identity Card (e-NIC) resumed in Presidential Palace (ARG) after a week delay, the Population Registration Department said Sunday.

Rohullah Ahmadzai, Spokesman of the department said that 600 people including government officials have completed the biometric process and their names have been entered in the database.

The authority said that the process was delayed due to the inauguration of TAPI project in Herat and Kabul Process II conference in Kabul. 

The process resumed despite a dispute over term Afghan as nationality and Islam as religion in the new cards.

The Chief Executive office had said that the ID card rollout is an important national issue and it requires further discussion and attention. The office had stressed that a national consensus is required in this respect.

Known locally as eTazkira, a reference to the existing paper identity document has been delayed for years because of ethnic sensitivities.

Ahmadullah Alizai, former advisor to the president said that the e-ID card issue has provoked a schism between different ethnic groups in the country.

In parliament, the lawmakers have been divided into two separate parties, with some supporting the e-NIC rollout and some opposed to the process.

“This process should begin based on the law and I urge the government to respect the law and don’t be reluctant in the process,” said MP Helai Ershad.

Last December, a joint parliamentary commission approved a presidential decree to pave the way for the start of the process.

The decree by President Ashraf Ghani was issued to modify the controversial article 6 of the census law which prevented the launch of electronic national ID cards distribution since a long period of time.

The decree stated that the nationality of the ID card holders should be mentioned as Afghan while the religion should also be reflected in the card as Islam.

UN Mediation to End ARG-Jamiat Rifts Fails Wed, 07 Feb 2018 15:03:38 +0000

Sources say that the United Nations mediation to resolve the differences between Jamiat-e-Islami Party of Afghanistan and central government over the dismissal of Balkh governor has failed.

After a two week delay, the Presidential Palace and Jamiat Party resumed their negotiations on Tuesday, but the talks ended with no result.

Delegations from the two sides have discussed the share of political parties in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Reportedly, representatives from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan were also present at the talks.

UNAMA has not made a comment about this report yet.

The distribution of electronic identity cards, the issue of party-based parliament and guarantee of ARG-Jamiat agreement by President Ashraf Ghani and international institutions are the differences which are still existed between the two sides.

“The government either accepts these reasonable recommendations which benefits the government, the people of Afghanistan, the political parties, civil societies and democratic processes in the country or the negotiations will end with no results,” said Hafiz Mansoor, a senior member of Jamiat party.

About two months ago, President Ghani announced that he has approved Atta Mohammad Noor resignation as Balkh governor and has appointed Engineer Mohammad Dawoud as his successor.

Noor who is also the chief executive of Jamiat party, defied his ouster and vowed that he won’t allow anyone to oust him from the post, except through negotiation.

Group of Mediators Visits ARG to Ease Ghani-Noor Political Impasse Wed, 31 Jan 2018 15:38:10 +0000 A mediation group consist of more than 80 people from Balkh province on Wednesday visited the Presidential Palace (ARG) in a bid to ease the ongoing stalemate between President Ghani and the ousted governor Atta Mohammad Noor.

Sayed Jabar Jamal, a member of the mediation group said that during the visit, the president pledged to solve the Balkh issue soon.

Meanwhile, Balkh Provincial Council Chief, Mohammad Afzal Hadid said that talks are still underway between ARG and Jamiat-e-Islami party.

He stressed Balkh tribal elders gathered today to have discussions with the president.

According to Balkh Provincial Council Chief, the ongoing tensions between Ghani and Noor have raised security threats in the Mazar-e-Sharif City.

Hadid claimed that Mazar-e-Sharif is under serious security threats, and there is the possibility of terror attacks in the city.

“We are concerned because it has been said that some terrorists have entered the city and I confirmed that, but our security forces are active [to respond],” he said.

Presidential Palace in a statement on Wednesday state that no one including the president is allowed to act against the national interest, adding that the politicians should to take decisions through a diplomatic process.  

This comes as government and Jamiat party have held several rounds of talks so far; but not yielded the required results to end the rift between President Ghani and Atta Mohammad Noor. 

Negotiations between ARG and Jamiat ‘Ended with No Results’ Sat, 13 Jan 2018 16:11:24 +0000 Jamiat-e-Islami political party has not reached into an agreement with Presidential Palace, following several rounds of negotiations between the two sides, sources told Ariana News on Saturday.

Delegations from Jamiat-e-Islami begins negotiations with the central government after Atta Mohammad Noor who is also the executive director of Jamiet-e-Islami was ousted by the president about a month ago, but he has refused to leave the post.  

Sources told Ariana News on condition of anonymity that the Interior Minister, Wais Ahmad Barmak has revisited Balkh province to convey the President’s Office decision to ousted provincial governor Noor. 

According the sources, the government has not agreed on the issued demands of Jamiat-e-Islami.

Jamiat’s list of demands includes:

  1. Amending the Constitution and formation of a commission with agreement of Jamiat-e-Islami party and their partners in this regard.
  2. Amending the electoral law and allocate share to political parties in parliament before the upcoming election.
  3. Reappointment of members of electoral commissions.
  4. Holding upcoming district councils and parliamentary elections.
  5. Convening Loy Jirga to amend the Constitution after the parliamentary and before next year’s presidential elections
  6. Launch of electronic identity cards program.
  7. Granting share to Jamiat-e-Islami party in the National Unity Government
  8. Extending the duty of Balkh Governor until the implementation of this agreement.
  9. Supervision of U.S. envoy and EU representative on the implementation of this agreement.
  10. Formation of high council of political leaders and political movements.
  11. Government’s clarification report regarding the incident at Salim Izedyar funeral.
  12. Formation of commission for implementation of Jamiat-e-Islami’s agreement with the government.
4th Round of Talks Between ARG, Jamiat Islami Held Behind Closed Doors Tue, 09 Jan 2018 13:12:19 +0000 The fourth round of talks between the Presidential Palace-(ARG) and Jamiat Islami party held behind the closed doors of the Ministry of Foreign (MoF) on Tuesday.

Since it was a closed door talks, what transpired in the talks was not known.

A source on condition of anonymity said the two sides are debating the prospects of Jamiat’s shares in the cabinet.

The Jamiat party has once again warned to take other options unless the government ends the current deadlock and find a final solution for its demands.

“We hope to solve the problems through negotiations; otherwise we would take other options,” said Zabiullah Fetrat, deputy spokesman of Jamiat Party.

Reports suggest that in these talks, the two side exchange views on the implementation of the political agreement on the formation of the National Unity Government (NUG) and the fate of the post of Balkh governor.

In the meantime, the newly-appointed governor of Balkh, Muhammad Dawood is waiting for the Presidential Palace’s final decision with the Jamiat party that he can begin works as the new governor.

“We hope the negotiations between ARG and Jamiat party finalize as soon as possible and President issues a decree that Mr. Dawood begin his works as the new governor,” said Rahmatullah Fetrat, spokesman of the newly appointed governor for Balkh.

Afghan Senators also insisted that the Presidential Palace and Atta Muhammad Noor should end the current deadlock through negotiations.

“Afghan people are seriously concerning over the consequences of these political tensions. We hope the two sides reach an agreement as soon as possible,” said Senator Gulalay Akbari.

The spokesperson of Local Organs, Munira Yousufzad had earlier said Engineer Mohammad Dawood has been appointed as the new governor of Balkh after Ata Mohammad Noor’s resignation was approved by the government.

But Atta Muhammad Noor has rejected his dismissal as illegal and refused to leave a post he has held for 13 years.

Noor admitted that he submitted his resignation but he had a number of demands before stepping down which none of them has been met by the government so far.

‘Political Tensions More Dangerous Than Terrorism to Regime’ – Hekmatyar Thu, 04 Jan 2018 14:15:29 +0000 Referring to the recent tensions between the ousted governor Atta Mohammad Noor and the government, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar says political tensions are more dangerous than terrorism to the current regime.

The leader of Hezb-e-Islami, Hekmatyar said that the tensions between Noor and ARG should be solved through negotiations.

Hekmatyar, meanwhile, said that he will prevent the collapse of the current regime and any attempts to bring changes in it, insisting that any changes should be brought through legal channels and with the consent of all parties involved.

The Hezb-e-Islami leader made the remarks at a news conference on Thursday in Kabul, where he also accused Iran of exporting Islamic state militants of Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan to destabilize northern Afghan provinces.

“Iran is deploying Daesh militants from Syria and Iraq in north of Afghanistan, and they are coming through Iran,” he said, adding that Iran is playing the same game in Afghanistan as it played under the name of Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Iran embassy in Kabul, however, rejects the claims.

In response to the recent claims of Amrullah Salehi, former Intelligence agency Chief who asserted that more than 20 Daesh inmates who are being under imprisonment, have had links with HIG, Hekmatyar said those who claim HIG prisoners had relation with Daesh should prove the allegation by disclosing their names.

1000 Residential Units to Be Built for Families of Fallen Afghan Forces Tue, 28 Nov 2017 13:19:37 +0000 President Ashraf Ghani has launched 1000 residential apartments’ project for families of fallen Afghan security and defense forces.  

Speaking during an event held on Tuesday at the Presidential Palace, Ghani said that the government will never forget the families of “martyred” Afghan security personnel.

He praised the efforts of security forces, and emphasized on further supporting the families of “martyred” soldiers.

The housing project is funded by al-Gharafa – a Qatari charity foundation and will be built in Khushal Khan area of Kabul City.

The Head of al-Gharafa Foundation, Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al-Sani said that Qatar has been supporting the Afghan government and its people, adding that today’s housing project is an indication of his country’s commitment to Afghanistan.

At the event, attended by top government officials and Qatari diplomats, Sayed Sadat Mansoor Naderi, Afghan Minister of Urban Development, said that MoU of the housing project with the al-Gharafa Foundation was signed two years ago, and within this period, designing of the project was completed.

أNaderi said that al-Gharafa Foundation has agreed to assist $100 million in different fields with the Afghan government.

ARG to Introduce 11 Ministerial Nominees to Parliament for Approval Thu, 23 Nov 2017 14:04:09 +0000 The Presidential Palace will introduce 11 ministerial nominees to parliament’s lower house, or Wolesi Jirga on Saturday for a vote of confidence, the President’s Office Deputy Spokesman said Thursday.

“The ministerial nominees will be introduced to Wolesi Jirga for a vote of confidence on Saturday [Qaos 4],” said Dawa Khan Mina.  

The list of 11 candidates include:

  1. –  Wais Ahmad Barmak nominated minister  for Interior Affairs Ministry,
  2. –  Shahzad Gul Aryoubi nominated minister for Communications Ministry,
  3. –  Nargis Nehan nominated minister for Mines and Petroleum Ministry,
  4.  – Gul Agha Sherzai nominated minister for the Ministry of Borders and Tribal Affairs,
  5. – Mujib Rahman Karimi, nominated minister for Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and   Development
  6. – Mustafa Mastoor, nominated minister for economy
  7. – Mohammad Rasool Bawari, nominated minister for Ministry of Information and Culture
  8. – Nasir Ahmad Durani, nominated minister for Ministry of agriculture
  9. – Tariq Shah Bahrami, nominated Minister for Defense Ministry
  10. – Hameed Tahmasi, nominated minister for Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation
  11. – Yama Yari, nominated minister for Ministry of Public Works.

However, among the nominees Mohammad Shah Ibrahim Shinwari, the nominated minister for Education, Najibullah Khwaja Omari, the nominated minister for Higher Education and Salahuddin Rabbani, the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Ministry are not included in the list for this round.

“The issue of ministerial nominees will be our agenda for Saturday’s session, and Second Vice President will introduce them,” said Nazir Ahmad Ahmadzai, the Second Deputy Speaker of Wolesi Jirga.

This comes as the Acting Minister of Higher Education, Abdul Latif Roshan resigned on Wednesday, following series of criticism regarding his education documents on social media.

Ghani Criticizes Services of Afghan Hospitals, Calls for Reform Tue, 03 Oct 2017 13:24:10 +0000 Inaugurating Afghan Medical Council on Tuesday, President Ashraf Ghani criticized the medical services of the hospitals and clinics in the country, called for reform in the sector.

Ghani said that the hospitals and clinics which currently operating in the country do not meet demands of the people.

 “I am not sure who is a doctor and who is not?,” Ghani said during the ceremony held at the Presidential Palace.  “The term ‘Doctor’ should be used for someone who has a degree and proficiency.”  

 He instructed the Public Health Minister to work on reformation of the hospitals and determine adequate wages for the doctors and nurses.

Following the matter, the President also criticized quality of the medicines being provided by the pharmacies to the citizens.

“Some pharmacies and doctors are involved in poor quality drugs deals and this process cannot be tolerated anymore and should be ended,” he said.

He stated that pharmacies should provide quality medicines to the citizens and medicine system in regard should be set up in such way as to gain people’s trust and citizens get access to quality medicines.

The criticism comes as currently, 357 governmental hospitals and more than 2,000 medical clinics are operating in Afghanistan and about 4,000 doctors officially being registered, according to Public Health Ministry’s estimations.

By Shakib Mahmud & Fawad Nasiri.

Supporters of ‘Coalition for Salvation of Afghanistan’ Demand VP Dostum’s Return Tue, 29 Aug 2017 14:59:36 +0000 A number of supporters of “Coalition for Salvation of Afghanistan’ at a gathering in Kabul on Monday asked for First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum’s return to the country.

“General Dostum is being under questions because of his political rival,” said Acting Head of National Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan, Mohammad Natiqi. “He should be returned back to the country,” he added.

Some civil society and political activists, however, said that certain circles in the government attempt to provoke ethnic dissension among the people by targeting their national political figures.

They warned that the ongoing political crisis will continue, if the government does not bring reforms.

“Reforms should be brought in, and it should begin in ARG (Presidential Palace),” said Media Activist, Fazul Rahman Orya.

The Presidential Palace did not react in regard so far, however, it has rejected such allegations in the past.

The Coalition for Salvation of Afghanistan was formed by leaders from three Afghan political parties – Jamiat-e-Islami, the National Unity of Afghanistan and the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan early July. At the time they issued a draft resolution where they made various demands from the government.

Kabul Protest: Son of First Deputy Chairman of Senate died of Wounds Fri, 02 Jun 2017 09:09:49 +0000 Salem Ezadyar, Son of Mohammad Alam Ezadyar, First Deputy of Afghan Parliament’s Upper House, died of wounds sustained during shooting against protesters on Friday.

Hundreds of protesters gathered near the site of this week’s car bombing attack in Kabul, aiming to enter the road leading to the Presidential Palace and Chief Executive’s Office.

Protesters chanted anti-government slogans and were blaming the government of failure to ensure security in the country.  

The protest turned violent when Afghan police used water cannon and tear gas to block the protesters, many angry protesters were throwing stones, from gaining access to the road leading to the Presidential Palace, occasionally firing automatic weapons into the air.

Seven killed and 20 more injured including Salem Ezadyar who was died in a hospital of wounds sustained during the protest. 

President Ghani asked protesters to quit and seek their demands through discussions and negotiation, the Presidential Palace said in a statement, following the protest.

Government is determined to probe the recent terrorist incident and prosecute those who were negligent in their duty, the statement said.  

It comes two days after at least 80 people were killed and 400 more were injured when a sewage tanker packed with explosives blew up near the entrance to Kabul’s secure Green Zone area.

Senators Call ARG, NSC ‘Main Source of Corruption’ Tue, 09 May 2017 13:55:37 +0000 SenaAfghan Senators said the main source of corruption is the Presidential-Palace (ARG) and National Security Council (NSC) and the biggest deals take place in ARG to gain personal interests.

Senators declared that if the real roots of corruption do not eliminate in ARG, fight against this phenomenon would be impossible.

Senator Jamauddin Geyanwal said, “the main source of corruption is ARG and National Security Council. Most of illegal actions take place in there and decision are being taken based on demands.”

Senator Gulalay Akbari said, “we are concerning about the corruption which has a widespread existence in presidential palace.”

Another Senator Farhad Sakhi also said, “President should start fight against corruption from himself that people can trust government’s commitment against corruption.”

The first deputy speaker of the Upper House of Parliament,  Muhammad Alam Izad Yar said the government does not have a honest commitment in fight against corruption and decisions are being taken based on personal interests. “the systematic corruption begins from ARG and continues to other government institutions. Focuses are more on personal interest instead of national interests.”

Afghan Senators stressed that corruption is the main factor for the all current challenges and it caused peoples’ trust reduce from government.