Pakistan, Afghanistan will jointly combat extremism, says Karzai

Kabul, Apr. 7: Afghanistan President Hamid KarzaiAfghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has reiterated that he will work closely with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani to fight extremism plaguing both countries.

"There is no doubt that the continuation of the war on terrorism is a priority for Afghanistan. There is no doubt that Pakistan suffers at the hands of terrorism. This is a joint struggle. If either of us comes up short in this struggle, then we will have harmed our people," Karzai told a press conference here soon after his return from a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit in Bucharest.

Taliban commander arrested, over 15 killed in Afghanistan

Kabul - Afghan police arrested a senior Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan, while more than 15 other insurgents were killed and several detained in separate Afghan- and internationally-run operations, officials said Sunday.

Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Jabar was arrested by police forces in southern Kandahar province on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said in statement.

The statement described Jabar as deputy commander for Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, another senior Taliban commander, who was arrested by Pakistan forces in February this year while crossing the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

Hamid Karzai openly hints at running for second term to fulfil "goals"

Kabul - Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai on Sunday for the first time openly hinted that he intended to run for a second term in order to fulfil his unfinished "goals".

Karzai, who was talking to a group of journalists in his fortified presidential palace, said that he was not happy to contest for the next presidential poll, but "the goals that I set some five to six years ago, I have fulfilled some them, but a big portion of that (goals) have yet to be finished."

"Every human being wishes to complete what one starts and does not want to leave things half way," Karzai said, adding, "I hope that the people of Afghanistan are happy with me and let me finish what I have started."

Senior Taliban commander arrested, 15 killed in southern Afghanistan

15 killed in southern AfghanistanKabul  - Afghan police arrested a senior Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan, while 15 other insurgents were killed in Afghan and NATO joint operation in the same region, officials said Sunday.

Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Jabar was arrested by police forces in southern Kandahar province on Saturday, the interior ministry said in statement.

It described Jabar as deputy commander for Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, another senior Taliban commander, who was arrested by Pakistan forces in February this year while crossing the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan

AfghanistanOttawa/Washington - A Canadian soldier fighting with NATO troops in Afghanistan was killed by a bomb Friday, officials and media reports said.

Canada's Defence Minister Peter Gordon MacKay confirmed the death in a statement, but did not give details.

Canadian Television quoted the commander of Canadian forces in Afghanistan, Brigadier General Guy Laroche, as saying the 24-year-old soldier died after a bomb went off next to the tank he was riding in near Kandahar.

Seven Taliban killed, five arrested in separate Afghan incidents

Kabul - Afghan police and international forces killed five Taliban insurgents and arrested five others in southern Afghanistan, while two other militants were killed when the rocket they were firing, exploded in eastern region, officials said on Sunday.

Afghan and US-led coalition forces clashed with a group of Taliban insurgents in Jaldak district of southern Zabul province on Saturday afternoon after the militants attacked a convoy of trucks hauling supplies for foreign forces in the province, office for interior ministry spokesman said.

The militants attacked the convoy on the Kabul-Kandahar highway and took along a vehicle, the press officer said, adding that the combined forces chased the militants and attacked their hideout.

Pakistan crucial for Afghan stability: Karl Inderfurth

Washington, Apr 3: PakistanA South Asia expert, formerly working with the US State Department, has said that Pakistan was crucial for the stability of Afghanistan and the reinforcement of the ability of NATO forces to complete their mission successfully.

In an analysis published in Boston Globe, Karl F Inderfurth, former head of South Asia Desk at the State Department, wrote that both the nations should develop an effective process of devising a successful strategy to counter terrorist organisations Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Taliban plan to dent NATO supplies via Khyber Agency

Islamabad, Apr 2: NATO ForcesIn a bid to launch a successful spring offensive
against the NATO forces in Afghanistan, the Taliban are eyeing to
disrupt supplies of coalition forces via Khyber Agency, say diplomatic
sources in Pakistan.

Khyber Agency is the main supply line for US troops and other forces in
the anti-terror coalition operating inside Afghanistan. Taliban is
learnt to have planned to cause disruption to the area, which they
believe would be of great help to them in their spring offensive
against the foreign troops, The Nation quoted diplomatic sources as
saying citing intelligence sources.

Kabul accuses Pak of dumping nuclear waste during 1996-2001

Islamabad, Apr 2: NuclearNuclear waste from Pakistan was dumped in several Afghanistan provinces when the Taliban was in power for five years, from 1996 and 2001, Afghanistan Parliamentary affairs minister Faruq Wardag has said.

He claimed he had evidence to support his assertion.

The waste was buried in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, said the minister. But, he feigned ignorance about how much waste was dumped or for how long the practice had gone on.

Wardag said he did not know the exact nature of the evidence, and added that the govt was setting up a commission to investigate the matter, reported The Nation.

Afghan farmers selling their daughters to ward off opium debts

Afghan farmers selling their daughters to ward off opium debtsKabul, Mar 31 : Poppy farmers in Afghanistan are being compelled to give away their daughters to local drug traffickers after failing to clear their loans.

According to a report appearing in the Newsweek magazine, these farmers have been involved in this business for decades on the stony hillsides of eastern Afghanistan and in the dusty southern plains.

Taliban set dropping of pro-US stance for dialogue

Taliban set dropping of pro-US stance for dialogueKhar, Mar 31 : The Taliban's Pakistan chapter - Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) - has said that they were ready to hold talks with the new government if the latter reverses the previous regime's pro-US policies.

It, however, said that jihad against America would continue in Afghanistan

At a rally attended by roughly 5000 people, the TTP leaders said that they welcomed new Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani's announcement that the government would negotiate with the Taliban.

Afghan clerics upset as woman makes it to ‘Pop Idol' final

Afghan clerics upset as woman makes it to ‘Pop Idol' finalKabul, Mar. 14: Clerics in Afghanistan have reportedly expressed their anguish and raised objections to an Afghan woman making it to the final three in the country's version of Pop Idol.

Lima Sahar, who hails from the conservative Pashtun belt, will take on two male contestants tonight for a place in the final sing-off on Afghan Star, which has become one of the nation's most popular television shows.

All activities come to a halt in Afghanistan to watch Indian soap operas

Kabul, Mar 7:All activities come to a halt in Afghanistan to watch - Ekta Kapoor The Afghans are so engrossed with the ‘Dari’ versions of Ekta Kapoor’s never ending Hindi family dramas, that all activities come to a grinding halt at 8.30 p. m. in Afghanistan.

In Mazar-e-Sharif one day, thieves removed tyres of a Toyota Land Crusier parked outside a house and put a signboard saying "Thanks Tulsi".

Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi is the most popular of all these Indian soap operas and Tulsi is regarded as the most popular bahu (daughter-in-law) in Afghanistan.

Clerics demand ban on Indian soap operas on Afghan TV channels

Afghanistan TV channelsKabul, Mar. 6: Afghanistan’s self appointed spiritual and cultural guardians feel threatened by the most popular soap operas, Dari dubbed versions of Ekta Kapoor’s never ending Hindi family dramas, being telecast on local Afghan channels.

The Islamic Council of Scholars, referred to as ‘Ulema’ sought a ban on these serials singling out scenes that depict romance and Hindu gods in the homes of soap opera characters as "spreading immorality and un-Islamic culture."

One killed in car bomb blast in Kandahar

One killed in car bomb blast in KandaharKabul, Feb. 19 : At least one person was killed in a car bomb explosion in Kandahar on Tuesday.

Police said the blast, the third in the city in as many days, also injured three people.

In the last three days, 136 people have died in bomb blasts in the area.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has called for an end to attacks on civilians. (ANI)

Karzai hopeful of Pakistan envoy's rescue

Kabul, Feb 12: Afghanistan President Hamid KarzaiAfghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday said he is hopeful about Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan Tariq Azeezuddin’s quick rescuea day after he was feared abducted in Afghanistan's tribal Khyber district.

“May God make it happen that our brother and neighbouring country, Pakistan, is able to rescue him from the abductors, the terrorists,” Karzai said.

“We hope he comes to Afghanistan safely, sound and healthy, to continue his work in Kabul. May he be safe and freed,” the Dawn further quoted Karzai, as saying.

Strengthening NATO forces in Afghanistan

Washington, Feb 5: US Secretary of State Condoleezza RiceUS Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband in London on Wednesday to discuss strengthening efforts to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Rice is of the view that Afghanistan will come back to haunt the NATO countries if the world abandons its military support for the fragile Government in Kabul.

Afghan Women protest against female US aid worker kidnapping

Kandhar49-year-old Cyd Mizell, Jan 29: Calling on the religious leaders to condemn the kidnapping a US woman, hundreds of women on Tuesday protested against the abduction of the burqa-clad American aid worker and her driver from a residential area of southern Afghanistan.

At least 500 women were gathered in an auditorium in Kandhar for the demonstration that was organised by the city's women's association.

“We call on Kandhar religious council to condemn this act and encourage the public to help, call on the abductors to release her without any harm or conditions,” demonstrators said in a resolution passed during their meeting.

Afghan court sentences journalist to death on blasphemy charge

Journalist Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh death blasphemy charge Kabul, Jan. 23: A court in Afghanistan's Balkh Province has sentenced a journalist to death for distributing "blasphemous" material.

Twenty-three-year-old Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, who was arrested in 2007 for downloading material from the internet relating to the role of women in Islamic societies, has confessed to the charge of blasphemy, and therefore, had to be punished.

The court said that it would not entertain any protests against the death sentence on Kambakhsh.

Germany, US to send more troops to Afghanistan by April

London, Jan. 18: Afghanistan violenceWith violence in Afghanistan on the rise, NATO is struggling to fill holes in its fighting force.

Given this scenario, the United States and Germany have announced that both would be sending additional troops to the war-ravaged landlocked country.

Washington has confirmed that it will be sending an additional 3,200 troops, while Germany will replace a departing Norwegian unit.

Some countries are calling it the Afghanistan "surge", but NATO commanders in Afghanistan have spent months begging for additional troops to augment the 41,700 alliance soldiers currently there.

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