Government approves contracts for 4 new projects worth 1 billion Afghanis

The Afghan government has approved the contracts for four new projects having a total value of around one billion Afghanis.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said the contracts were approved during the last meeting of the National Procurement Commission chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

The statement further added that the contracts approved during the meeting include contract for the maintenance of VSAT satellites of the Independent Civil Aviation Authority and contract for fiber optic project having a capacity of 16 STM via Turkmenistan crossing from Aqina port to Torghondi.

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Expo opens in Kabul showcasing local products

A four-day expo, jointly organized by the Afghan government and the private sector, opened in Kabul on Tuesday showcasing locally made products.

Goods manufactured by over 170 companies went on display including industrial products, agricultural produce, telecommunication goods and handicrafts.

CEO Abdullah Abdullah attended the opening of the expo and said the lack of land, shortage of electricity and the absence of regulated money lending services were the three main challenges in terms of investment in the country.

Abdullah said government has addressed these challenges to some extent and is committed to supporting the private sector.

“If we want to serve our people and lead our country out of the current situation and bring positive changes to people’s lives, then without supporting the private sector it is impossible,” said Abdullah.

A number of factory owners at the exhibition meanwhile said government has failed to provide the fundamental needs for investors and is unable to even safeguard the lives of business owners.

Organizers of the exhibition said such expos will play a vital role in highlighting and overcoming problems faced by the private sector. They asked government to address their problems and to find solutions.  

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Govt attempts to grant territories to Taliban

A number of Afghan parliament members on Saturday said that the government were attempting to grant some territories to Taliban, insisting that the move was a betrayal to the people and the efforts of Afghan security forces.

“Efforts are underway to grant some areas to the Taliban and it’s a betrayal to the blood of the security forces,” said MP Gulam Hussain Nasiri. “Within a few hours, sixteen security points were collapsed in Jalriz district [of Maidan Wardak province], how it is possible? It has been done deliberately.”

Some members of the Wolesi Jirga or Lower House of the Parliament said that allocating territories to the Taliban should not be part of the deal to facilitate peace talks with the militant group.

“We want peace, but we don’t accept sacrificing everything [in the process]. How we should handover territories to the armed opposition forces and government wants to do this for the sake of ensuring peace talks with the Taliban,” said MP Abdul latif Pedram.

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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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Noor informs of breakthrough in talks regarding Balkh leadership

The Chief Executive of Jamiat-e-Islami Ata Mohammad Noor has informed of breakthrough during the talks with the Afghan government regarding the Balkh political leadership.

In his speech during the ceremony to mark the start of the new Solar Year, Nowruz, Noor said certain agreements have been made during the talks with the government.

Noor further added that talks are underway and a final agreement will be made in coming days.

He said the details regarding the agreement will be shared with the people once the agreement concludes with the government.

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Noor threatens to collect Hairatan’s revenues for employees salaries

Atta Mohammad Noor, the ousted Balkh governor, on Sunday warned that he will collect Hairatan Port revenues and make payments to employees in case central government does not pay government employees salary in the province.

“My signature is valid in all governmental offices. If government try to force me, I will make payments directly from Hairatan revenues. The government is collecting millions of dollars from Hairatan revenues and at that time they will regret and the situation will become worse,” he said.

Speaking to his supporters at a gathering in Mazar-e-Sharif City, Noor emphasized that he was still waiting for the result of negotiations between government and Jamiat-e-Islami Party. He reiterated that he won’t allow anyone to oust him from the post except through negotiation.

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Atta Noor: ‘Pointless’ to hold elections unless IEC being reformed

Atta Mohammad Noor, Former Governor of Balkh province says bringing reforms in Election Commission (IEC) is “essential”, insisting that with the current situation, any kind of election is neglected.

Speaking to his supporters on Sunday in Mazar-e-Sharif City, Noor said: “Any kind of election is pointless and neglected, as long as this commission [IEC] is not being reformed.”

Noor’s criticism on government raised after being ousted from his post as provincial governor, more than three weeks ago.

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Jamiat party negotiates with Arg over implementation of NUG agreement

Jamiat-e-Islami Party of Afghanistan have started negotiations with the Presidential Palace (ARG) over the implementation of the political agreement on the formation of the National Unity Government (NUG) and the fate of Atta Mohammad Noor, the ousted Balkh governor.

Kamaluddin Hamid, a member of Jamiat leadership council, on Friday told Ariana News that talks between Jamiat Party and Arg focused on the split of “important” governmental posts, changes in the electoral commissions members, distribution of electronic ID cards, and preparations for holding a Loya Jirga to amend the Constitution.

Acceptance of conditions set by Jamiat will be a prerequisite for the controversial removal of Atta Mohammad Noor from Balkh province.

The two sides have held two rounds of talks so far, but the presidential palace have not accepted the demands by Jamiat-e-Islami Party yet.

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Karzai urges government to halt further execution of militants

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged the Afghan government to halt further execution of the prisoners charged with the terror offences.

In an online statement issued following the death of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, Karzai has said ‘brotherhood’ and ‘unity’ are the only way to achieve peace in the country.

The statement by Karzai further added that war and violence have been imposed on the Afghan people from abroad, insisting that the Taliban statement proves that the group’s leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was killed on the side of Durand Line in control of Pakistan.

He called on the new leader of the Taliban group Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada to join peace process and return to Afghanistan.

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Govt Again Calls On Taliban to Joint Peace Process

Tawab Ghorzang, a spokesman for the National Security Advisor on Thursday called on Taliban groups to use this opportunity to join the peace process.

This comes just a day after the Taliban announced the appointment of its new leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. This announcement was followed by President Ashraf Ghani’s message to the group to join the peace talks process.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Kabul with security organization spokesmen, Ghorzang warned the Taliban that “if they not join the peace process they will face the same fate as their leaders.”

He said the Taliban’s morale has been affected following the death on Saturday of their former leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour.

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