Parliament to summon security heads

Lawmakers “question” Daesh’s claims of having been behind Monday’s deadly suicide bombing.

The Wolesi Jirga, Lower House of Parliament, will summon the security ministers to answer questions over the recent suicide bombings in Kabul which claimed the lives of dozens of people, lawmakers said on Wednesday.

This comes after Daesh claimed responsibility for a double explosion on Monday that killed 29 people, including nine journalists. Ten days ago, 60 people were killed in an explosion at a population registration center in Kabul.

Some MPs said on Wednesday the recent attacks were “cowardly” and that security organizations are “unable” to ensure the people’s safety. They also said Daesh’s claims of responsibility of such attacks was “questionable”.

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Abdullah sees election as key to solving problems

Abdullah Abdullah said election turnout will show the people’s support of “Jihad values”.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said holding transparent and inclusive elections is the only way to overcome “current problems” in the country.

Addressing an event on the 26th anniversary of Mujahedeen’s victory in Panjsher province on Saturday, Abdullah called on the people to participate in elections.

Members of Jamiat-e-Islami party’s leadership and former Mujahedeen leaders also attended the event at a stadium in the province.

“Taking national identity cards, registering to vote and voting in parliamentary and district council and presidential elections is the duty of all of us and I hope that you fulfill this responsibility,” Abdullah said.

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Ghani: war ‘imposed’ on majority of Taliban

Afghan President Ghani says the majority of the Taliban are not in favor of the war in Afghanistan and that the ongoing conflict has been imposed on them.

Speaking at a ceremony on Saturday in Kabul to mark the 26th anniversary of Mujahidin- 8th of Saur, Ghani reiterated his call for peace.

“The presence of foreign forces [in Afghanistan] is for two reasons; their [the Taliban]’s war against the Islamic government of Afghanistan and second they [the Taliban] having ties with terrorists,” Ghani said.

Emphasizing on his “generous” peace proposal to the Taliban, Ghani said that every member of the Taliban is not in favor of fighting against the Afghan government and that a limited number of individuals have imposed the ongoing on majority of the Taliban.

He reiterated his call on the Taliban to accept the peace proposal if the Taliban count themselves as “Muslim and Afghan”.

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MoE: Afghan forces, insurgents use schools as strongholds

The Afghan security forces and the anti-government insurgent groups are using schools as military bases during offensives against each other, an official from the Afghan Ministry of Education (MoE) said Monday.

“About 67 schools are being used as military bases across the country,” MoE Spokesman Kabir Haqmal said. “Some of these schools are being used by the Afghan national security and defense forces while others by the anti-government forces.”

According to the officials, more than a thousand schools are still closed across the country where millions of students are deprived of education.

But a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior (MoI) rejected the allegations of Afghan forces using schools as their strongholds.

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Paktia governor calls on Taliban to support elections

Shamim Khan Katawazi urged the Taliban to let people take part in the voter registration process.

Speaking at a ceremony to launch the voter registration process in Gardez city on Saturday, Paktia governor called on the Taliban to support the move and to not stop people from going to polling centers.
Paktia governor Shamim Khan Katawazi called on the Taliban to participate in the process and to achieve their goals through the process of voting.

“Taliban claims that they have Zurmat district under their control. They should come and participate in the election and have nominees for parliamentary and district council elections,” said Katawazai.
Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials in Paktia meanwhile said they will open 22 registration centers in Gardez city.

Head of the IEC in Paktia Mohammad Zahir Akbar called on Paktia residents to register in order to become eligible to vote for their chosen candidates in the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections.

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Observers: Voters’ Registration Process Lacks Public Awareness Campaign

Criticizing the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Saturday, the election observers said that the voters’ registration process lacks public awareness campaign.

President Ashraf Ghani formally inaugurated the voters’ registration process for the upcoming parliamentary and district council’s elections today.

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Senators: Police being involved in drug trafficking and selling

The Senate house or Meshrano Jirga says Afghan police are being involved in drug trafficking and selling and that it challenges the efforts to reduce the increasing numbers of drug addicts in the war-torn country.

Head of senate’s defense committee Mohammad Hashim Alokozai said that in many provinces some police commanders are involved in extortion and drug cultivation & trafficking.

Questioning the responsibilities of police forces, he said drugs are being sold publically and police commanders taking money from the drug traffickers.

“No serious actions have been taken against drug traffickers; Police are directly involved in selling drugs and the officials in the Police districts are not taking any action in this regard,” said Senator Nesar Ahmad Haris, chairman of public welfare and environment commission.

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MPs: gov’t plotting to hold rigged election

A number of Afghan parliament members accused the government of plotting to hold a rigged election in the country, asserting that the election commission has not been able to preserve its independence.
“A circle close to the president and his team has instructed the election commission to do not let anyone except a few figures – who support them – to secure parliament seat in [the upcoming] election,” said Humayun Humayun, First Deputy Speaker of Wolesi Jirga, or Parliament’s Lower House.

Questioning the election commission’s Independence, the MPs claimed that the Presidential Palace has been involved in the decision-making process of the election commission.

“The President has ordered the election mission to do not let more than 25 individuals to be re-elected as parliament members, and this is an obvious interference of the government,” said MP Abdullah Mohammadi.

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Nicholson: Taliban to face ‘social, religious pressures’ this year

U.S. commander of international forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson has said that Taliban will face “social and religious pressures” this year.

“Fighting will continue this year. This year we are going to see social pressure applied to Taliban for peace. There will be religious pressure applied to Taliban with the Ulema’s hosted in the Indonesia and elsewhere to strip away their religious legitimacy for Jihad in Afghanistan,” Nicholson said.

Gen. Nicholson also committed to cooperate Afghan forces in providing the security of upcoming elections.

“We and the International Community will support in every possible for holding the election in 2018. We will work closely with the Afghan security forces to provide a secure environment as possible for the conduct of elections,” he said.

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Politicians warn Gov’t over delay in election

Mohammad Omar Daudzai, a senior member of the Council for Protection and Stability in Afghanistan (also known as Shura-ye Herasat wa Sobat-e Afghanistan) on Monday warned National Unity Government (NUG) leaders against any delays in the upcoming presidential elections.

“We will not let you to illegally possess the power even for one day,” Daudzai, head of the council’s political committee who was speaking at a gathering under the name of “National Consensus for Afghanistan” said.

At the same event, Ahmad Wali Massoud, chairman of the National Agenda Process said the current system has been shut down and they will present an alternative to the NUG if the election was not held on time.

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