News - Afghanistan
Written by Rafi Sediqi   
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 19:27

Some Afghan lawmakers have criticised the handover of Bagram prison as a hurried decision that President Hamid Karzai declared a matter of national sovereignty without sufficiently consulting the broader government.

In Wednesday's parliamentary session, some MPs accused Karzai of deciding personally to demand the US military transfer the prison to Afghan authority without a consensus from the parliament and security organisations.

"The decision-making for a Bagram prison handover was too hurried. The president did not consult with security organisations and the parliament over the matter," said Shakiba Hashimi, a member of the parliamentary homeland security commission.

"There are many dangerous prisoners in Bagram prison. There are fears they might be released as a result of the broad corruption," she added.

Another MP, Fatima Aziz said that "The people shouldn't fall victim to the behind-the-curtain policies of the government. A number of main organisers of suicide attacks are currently in Bagram prison - their return to the government armed opposition groups is very distressing."

MPs said that any trial of Bagram prisoners needs to be transparent and seriously monitored as any return of the prisoners to battlefields will further threaten Afghanistan's security.

Bagram prison, north of Kabul, was transferred by the US to the Afghans on Monday in an official ceremony after a long-running standoff between the two countries over who controls the detainees.

The handover took more than a year to finalise. Karzai deemed it a matter of national sovereignty and refused to sign any long-term strategic agreement with America until an agreement on Bagram was secured.

Kabul and Washington signed the handover agreement in March 2012, with a six-month deadline for the US to complete the handover. The Americans did hand over most of the prison in September, but retained control of at least 600 out of almost 4000 prisoners.

The matter has plagued diplomatic relations until Monday when the handover was finally completed. This month both the US Secretary of Defence and Secretary of State have visited Karzai in Kabul.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 20:15
News - Afghanistan
Written by Sharif Amiry   
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 17:59

Eight hundred people have been killed in traffic accidents on Afghanistan's roads in the past nine months, the traffic department said Wednesday, highlighting the need for more driving education.

More than 2,000 other people have been injured in the accidents. When combined with the number of deaths, it averages out to be more than 75 casualties per week.

The department said that most of the incidents are happening on the highways because "drivers don't know the traffic laws well and the highways are not standard."

"The non-standard highways, technical problems and driver neglect are the main causes of the accidents," said head of Kabul traffic department Gen. Nezamuddin Dadkhowa.

The Ministry of Public Works confirmed the highways have serious problems including a lack of signs to inform drivers.

This comes as on Sunday night, at least four people died and another person was injured when their car careened into a river in the east of Kabul province.

The incident took place in the Surbe district of Kabul when the car lost control and crashed into the river, district governor Shah Aghasi said.

The passengers were travelling from Kabul to the east parts of Afghanistan, Aghasi said, adding that he believed the incident happened because of driver neglect.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 19:32
News - Afghanistan
Written by Anwar Hashimi   
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 17:50

Central Bamyan province supplied about 60 percent of Afghanistan's potato demand in the past year, local official said Wednesday.

The local officials from Bamyan's Agriculture Department said that the creation of reserves for potato farming, promotion of potato cultivation and aid to farmers are the reasons for the increase of successful potato farming.

Farmers cultivated 12,000 hectares of land last year which yielded 270,000 tonnes of potato, head of the provincial Agriculture and Irrigation Department, Mohammad Tahir Ataaee.

The crop netted farmers a collective of 230 million Afs in the last year.

Bamyan potatoes were also exported to Pakistan and Tajikistan, he added.

Potato produce is expected to increase this year to around 300,000 tonnes, for an income of around 260 million Afs.

According to the statistics of the Agriculture Department, over 2000 potato reserves were created in the province which is able to store and protect up to 50,000 tonnes of potato in the winter.

Provincial officials also said that five centers will be built to wash and packet the potatoes.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 18:11
News - Afghanistan
Written by   
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 14:19

A British soldier has died from wounds sustained in an insurgent attack on a patrol base in southern Helmand province, officials said Tuesday.

Isaf released a statement Tuesday that one of its troops died a day after an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan, but did not provide any further details.

The UK Ministry of Defence later confirmed the soldier was a British troop who was wounded in the insurgent attack on the joint Afghan and Isaf patrol base in Helmand's Nad Ali district on Monday.

The soldier, whose name was not revealed, was one of 10 UK troops injured in the blast on Monday evening, it said.

Five insurgents were killed during the same attack, which Isaf said involved a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device and small arms fire.

Members of the Afghan national security force were also injured.

The death brings the number of British soldiers killed in the Afghan war this year to three and the total killed since 2001 to 441.

News - Afghanistan
Written by   
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 13:11

At least one Afghan civilian and a foreigner residing in Kabul have been injured in a bomb blast in Kabul city, local officials said Wednesday morning.

The blast happened about 10:00am near an office of the Ministry of Interior in Kabul's district 15 when a magnetic bomb which was attached to a car was detonated at the front gate, according to the Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi.

"Two people have been injured in the blast which was not very serious. The blast took place near first gate of an office of the Interior Ministry department of counter-narcotics," he said.

He did not provide more details about the nationality of the foreign resident who was injured in the blast.

He said that the police have started investigating.

No group including the Taliban had claimed responsibility as at the time of reporting.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 17:59
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