Written by Abdul Wali Arian   
Monday, 24 December 2012 15:39

The Afghan Taliban have shown a more lenient face at the Paris meeting, indicating they're open to more rights for women and recognizing the Afghan army.
According to reports, Taliban may accept the US-funded Afghan National Army. However, they have asked for amendments in the Constitution and emphasized the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
“We saw positive signs from Taliban at the Paris meeting. We hope such negotiations continue in the future and Taliban realize that negotiation is the main solution to the Afghan conflict,” Sayed Fazel Sancharaki, spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Front, told TOLOnews.
The government also expressed optimism after the Paris talks, welcoming the presence of Taliban in the meeting.
“We welcome the Paris negotiations as well as the participation of Taliban at the meeting. We hope such negotiations continue,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Janan Mosazai said Sunday at a press conference.
Meanwhile, some civil society activists slammed the claims of a softer Taliban, alleging that Pakistan is trying to infiltrate Afghanistan’s politics and vastly influence the upcoming elections.
“Pakistan, in coordination with Taliban, are trying have a major role in the Afghan peace process and influence Afghan elections to re-establish the Taliban Emirates,” activist Ajmal Balochzada said, adding that the Taliban are benefiting from the government's weakness and trying to regain power.

Written by Saleha Sadaat   
Monday, 24 December 2012 15:08

Senate summoned the head of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) Sunday about lingering concerns over air pollution in the capital, which is causing respiratory problems and, in some cases, death.

Senators criticised NEPA and said that if pollution across the country is not reduced, Afghanistan will confront a man-made disaster. Senators believe most of the steps taken by NEPA are symbolic and relentlessly grilled the NEPA chief, Mustafa Zahir.

“Mr. Zahir, as you see, people with different illnesses go to hospitals as a result of air pollution, and you see that many people are hospitalized. What programmes have you planned to reduce pollution?” said senator Bashar Samim.

“In most of the provinces, people are not even familiar with the name of the National Environmental Protection Agency. This shows that your activities for reducing pollution are trivial. You should plan large-scale programmes in this regard,” said senator Mawlawi Ghulam Muhiuddin Munsef.

Mustafa Zahir, grandson of Afghanistan's late King Zahir Shah, was clearly incensed at the grilling and referred to his background in his defending remarks.

“Dear senators, you know that I am grandson of the person who founded the parliament [in Afghanistan]. I am a prince, not a bum -- history has proved this matter. My activities have mostly been practical, not just theoretical. I have myself planted 4,000 saplings,” said Mustafa Zahir.

Reacting to Zahir’s remarks, Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said: “Well, Mister Prince, it is correct that you are the grandson of the Father of the Nation. We know enough of the history of your grandfather. But we called you here today to learn what, as the head of the National Environmental Protection Agency, your responses are regarding pollution reduction.”

Although the government has frequently talked of serious efforts to  reduce air pollution in the capital, experts believe effective programmes for saving Kabul from this lethal threat have not yet materialized.

News - Afghanistan
Written by   
Monday, 24 December 2012 12:23

A US Navy SEAL commander died after apparently committing suicide in the southern Uruzgan province, US military officials said on Sunday.

Navy SEAL Commander Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pa., died Saturday of a non-combat-related injury while supporting stability operations in southern Uruzgan Province.

The death "appears to be the result of suicide," a Defense Department statement said.

"The Naval Special Warfare family is deeply saddened by the loss of our teammate," said Capt. Robert Smith, Commander of Naval Special Warfare Group Two, which manages all Virginia-based Navy SEAL teams.

FOX News reports that a US military official confirmed Price was from Virginia Beach, Va.-based SEAL Team 4, which is part of the mission to train Afghan local police.

Price is survived by a wife and a daughter.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 12:42
News - Afghanistan
Written by AFP   
Monday, 24 December 2012 12:06

Egypt's opposition said on Sunday that it will appeal the results of a referendum that ruling Islamists said approved a new constitution, claiming that voting was riddled with "fraud and violations".

The announcement was made by the opposition National Salvation Front the day after the second and final round of the referendum that President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood said passed with 64 percent support, according to unofficial early tallies.

"The referendum is not the end of the road. It is only one battle," said the statement, read by Front member Abdel Ghaffer Shokr at a Cairo news conference. "We will continue the fight for the Egyptian people."

Another Front member, Amr Hamzawy, said: "We are asking the (electoral) commission to investigate the irregularities before announcing official results."

The results had been due to be announced on Monday.

"Our struggle is peaceful to bring down an invalid constitution" by having the commission recognise the alleged fraud and low turnout, Hamzawy said.

Opposition to the new constitution, drafted by an Islamist-dominated panel, fuelled weeks of protests in the run-up to the vote.

Some of them degenerated into clashes between rival demonstrators, including on December 5 outside the presidential palace in Cairo, when eight people were killed and more than 600 injured.

Morsi and Islamists backing the charter say it is necessary to restore stability after the early 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

But the opposition sees the new constitution as a wedge to usher in creeping Islamic law through a weakening of human rights, particularly women's rights, and undermine the independence of the judiciary.

News - Afghanistan
Written by   
Monday, 24 December 2012 11:44

An Afghan policewoman opened fire on a US adviser in the Kabul police chief's compound Monday morning, senior police officials said.

The adviser later died in hospital. Isaf has confirmed the death, saying the victim was a civilian.

This is the first so-called green-on-blue attack by a female member of the Afghan security forces.

The shooter has been identified as Nargis. She has been arrested by security forces, said Mohammad Zahir, head of the police criminal investigation department.

Police have started investigating the incident, he said.

Insider attacks have increased dramatically over the past few years, with the greatest number of Isaf fatalities coming in 2012. Nato had suspended the training of Afghan security forces and stopped joint patrols with Afghan forces earlier this year.

The Pentagon said in a recent report that most of the insider attacks were motivated by personal grievances and cultural differences, downplaying insurgent infiltration.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 18:37
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