Tuesday March 21, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Illegal poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has surged by 10 percent, the country’s Counter-Narcotics Ministry said Saturday. Ministry spokesman Mohammad Hanif told reporters in Kabul that besides the traditional areas of poppy cultivation in the country’s south and southwest, the northern province of Badghis has fueled much of this year’s surge in illegal poppy cultivation.
Illegal poppy cultivation surging 10 pc, MoCN “The fall in poppy cultivation that we ensured in a number of provinces last year was negatively influenced by up to 17,000 hectares of poppy cultivation in Badghis this year,” he said. Traditionally, the restive southern belt including the Helmand, Kandahar, Farah, and Nimroz provinces contributed immensely to the stockpiles of poppies cultivated in Afghanistan, but with northern Afghanistan growing ever more insecure, large poppy farms are also emerging there in areas under the influence of militants. Last year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said poppy was cultivated on around 201,000 hectares of land across Afghanistan. According to the office, the illicit proceeds of trafficked Afghan opiates total some $28 billion.
Tuesday March 21, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Nawroz Festival, which is the most ancient and historic festivals of Afghanistan, has been celebrated by people from diverse ethno-linguistic communities since Jamshid King, according to most of writers and historians. It was fifth century of Solar Hijri calendar which start of the year coincided with start of spring as days of the year were changing based on calendars in past. Jalal Malik Shah Saljooqi by making use of this opportunity originated Jalali calendar in 467 Lunar Hijri and approved Nawroz as the first day of spring and Hamal, coinciding with 21st of March and as a result Nawroz and New Year festival began to be marked since. Based on some stories, the start of Caliphate of Hazrat Ali coincides with the first day of the year; thus, Nawroz got religious background too and this added to glory and greatness of the day as Iran now celebrates the day with full respect. Nawroz has its particular etiquettes as Haft Mewa and Haft Sin literally translated as ‘Seven fruit’ considered as common traditions during Nawroz among the people.
A couple of days before the New Year and Nawroz, most families buy dried fruit as raisin, pistachio, almond, pea, walnut, senjet (a type of dried cherry), dried apricots and hazelnuts to prepare Haft Mewa. First the walnuts and pistachios are soaked overnight in water. The next night remove the skin for all of the walnuts and pistachio. The pistachio skin comes off easily, but the walnut skin requires a bit more effort. Then enough water is boiled so it will cover all of the dried fruit and nuts. Then cool the boiled water to room temperature. Make sure to rinse all of the nuts in water so they are clean. In a large pot place the walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, blanched almonds, dried apricot, and senjet all together. Pour the cooled boiled water so it covers about two inches above the fruit and nuts. You can add a little bit of rosewater as well, but I think it takes away from the natural flavors of the druit salad. Cover the pot and place in the fridge for about two to three days.
The night before you serve the Haft Mewa, add the raisins both green and black. Let the fruit salad chill overnight, and then serve. Besides preparing Haft Mewa, a number of families prepare Haft Seen ‘The 7 “S” of Nawroz Spread’ and the main items are Somagh (sumac which symbolizes the color of sunrise), Sekeh (vinegar which symbolizes age and patience), Senjed (dried fruit from lotus tree which symbolizes love), Samanoo (sweet pudding which symbolizes affluence), Sabzeh (sprouts which symbolizes rebirth), Sib (apple which symbolizes health and beauty) and Sir (garlic which symbolizes medicine). All the items are put on a table or on Sofreh-e-Haft Seen, called as Sofreh-e-Sall (table of the year’ in different bowls. All members of family sit around the table five or ten minutes prior to start of the New Year and pray for it. In Afghanistan, Nawroz is celebrated as festival of sapling plantation and farmers are appreciated in order to increase their products. Meanwhile, our people go to shrines and graveyards and by hoisting Janda (flag) of the shrine and singing Naat mark Nawroz festival. If children are born in our country on this day, their names are put as Nawroz, while engaged young men send baked fish and dresses besides food and fruits of Nawroz to their fiancés’ families. Common people in particular children wear new clothes and go to hillsides to see various views of nature. In Kabul, capital city of Afghanistan, Nawroz festivals are marked and held in various locations as Khwaja Safa, Shah Shaheed, Sakhi hillside, Karizmir, Astalif hill and Gulghondi of Charikar.
Monday March 20, 2017
Kabul (BNA) About 22 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group have been killed in air and group attacks carried out by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in various parts of eastern Nangarhar province.
Ataullah Khogyani spokesman of Nangarhar governor told BNA, the raids were conducted in different parts of Acheen and Koot districts of the province.
The ISIS adherents were targeted, while they were busy on organizing terrorist activities in the mentioned districts.
Casualties didn’t incur to civilians and Afghan security troops at the end of the assaults.
According to another report, 11 Taliban members were killed following air raids led by Afghan air forces in Khogyani district of the province.
The Taliban rebels were busy on organizing a series of destructive activities, which targeted and killed.
Also Afghan security forces succeeded to discover and seize six weapon depots during separate operations in various parts of Nangarhar province.
The weapon depots belonging ISIS and Taliban terrorist groups have been discovered in Acheen, Koot, Khogyani and Heska Mina districts of the province.
A security official in the province says, dozens heavy and light weapons and ammunitions have been discovered from the depots.
Meanwhile, four rounds of mines that had been planted by enemies of the country to cause deadly events on innocent civilians have been discovered and confiscated by Afghan security personnel in different parts of Nangarhar province.
Tuesday, March 20, 2017
Paroon (BNA) Nine armed Taliban including a Pakistani commander were killed during latest conflicts in Nooristan province this morning.
A border senior police commander in the east of the country told BNA, in the clashes, nine armed Taliban lost their lives.
He added the insurgents while passing from Durand Line targeted on Afghan border policemen.
It is mentionable that there were no harm and losses incurred to security forces and residents in the conflicts.
Tuesday, March 20, 2017
Maimana (BNA) Seven armed Taliban militants were killed and four others were injured in a conflict carried out by security troops in Faryab province late last night.
The clash occurred in suburb of Ghormach district bazaar while armed Taliban stormed on a convoy of security forces.
A local police commander of Faryab province told BNA, in the conflict, seven militants lost their lives and four others were injured.
It is said that no any harm sustained to security forces and residents in the conflict.
Monday March 20, 2017
Kabul (BNA) President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani during telephone conversation with provincial security officials said the country’s security forces needed enough and on-time military supply, a plan he believed would help the forces succeed against enemy.
Besides asking for exact report about the security forces, under any conditions, the country’s more often holds telephone conversations with all security commanders in the center and provinces to assure them that the government leadership was alongside them and ready for support. The conversations take place, when reports reveal the Afghan security troops have no food immunity and lacked on time military supply and equipment, but they are in the frontline of war to fight terrorism and the country’s enemy. The country’s security forces are engaged in war against a coward enemy and such an ignorant group abides by no Islamic and human principles.
The country’s president has been quoted in a statement released by the presidential press office as managing telephone conversations with some security in-charges in Faryab, Kunar and some other key security officials. The officials provided him with reports about their activities and usual preparation in suppressing the enemy, but asked for on-time military supply to help them take measure against the enemy prior to face any possible offensives from the enemy. This is to be noted that the country’s security forces lacked enough military equipment and ammunition and in most security cases waiting for help from the international coalition. They would defeat and face terrorists with irreparable elimination, if they were equipped with modern and sophisticated weapons and the international community should also pay attention to the biggest challenge and provide more equipment, most importantly help powerful air-force for the Afghan forces instead of sending additional troops to fight the stubborn terrorists.
This is while, some donor countries, particularly the US are making excuse that the Afghan forces equipment and modern and sophisticated weapons would be taken by enemy in the battlefield due to their unskillfulness. But, in order to take security of the country and help restore peace, there is a need to equip domestic forces with enough and modern military equipment, as they only familiar with territories, rather to trust in the foreign with heavy strangeness to the Afghan strategic and war zones. The Afghan security institutions should also take measure to prevent unregistered sim-cards use as attack on Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan—the main military hospital was the result of communication between the attackers and ground providers through such unregistered cell phones’ Sims.
Monday March 20, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Aziz Khanzada like many other young Afghans has come back to his home in Kabul from Kandahar where he is a second year medicine student of Kandahar University for celebrating the New Year with his love.
This New Year is different for him and other Afghans; celebrating the New Year with closed Pakistani borders. “I’ve done shopping for myself, my family and for my fiancé,” said Khanzada. “I have not seen any big impact of the closed borders on the Market prices.” He has shopped from Markets which are no longer dependent to Pakistani borders. Afghanistan’s market maintained the stabled prices of goods; specially fuel and foods, which are primary needs of the country, said Spokesman of Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industries Musafer Qoqandi. “We are freed from one way export and import.” Since February 20, two Pakistan’ borders—Chaman and Torkham—have remained closed. Although it has not had big impact on Markets, fruit and vegetable prices have witnessed change. Potato, for instance, price has jumped up to 200 Afghani from around 130 Afghani per 7 kilo. At the same time, the Market does not need only fruit and vegetable.
The Market is busy with mass residents who need clothes, shoes, and other supplies for celebrating the New Year in new dress and at this scene, price of goods have not changed. Even the high price of fruits and vegetable are temporary, says Qoqandi. Afghans have problem with the high prices of fruits and vegetable only for the next month. “We are going to have grapes and other domestic fruit.” said Sayed Mansoor, Shopkeeper in Kabul’s Fruit and vegetable market. However, Pakistan closed its two borders after the Pakistan’ army accused Afghanistan for not targeting extremist inside the country after a suicide bomber had attacked at a Sufi Shrine in the Southern Sindh province which killed at least 88 people. In response, Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar rejecting such accusations condemned the attack. “We must find and execute effective strategies to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries wherever they exist.” Atmar said in a statement.
Although Pakistan accompanies Afghans in the New Year with closed borders, the landlocked country has no more worry of using Karachi seaport to export and import. “In the last two years, our transits have been increased in different ways. We have divided our transits goods into different ports.” Back to Khanzada, the alternative open borders with central Asia and Iran have led him to have normal shopping from Markets that are supplied by the open borders. “People have the ordinary pre-the New Year days like previous years.” Said Khanzada. This New Year is the first ever year that Afghanistan is in state of independency from Pakistan’s borders. Mass residents of Kabul are prepared to celebrate the New Year. Noisy salesmen have good selling time.
Monday March 20, 2017
Kabul (BNA) At least 15 Taliban militants were killed and 12 injured during separate clashes with army in three Afghan Northern provinces within 24 hours, an army source said on Sunday.
“One militant was killed and two others injured in Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz province on Saturday,” Nastraullah Jamshidi, a press officer of army’s Corps 209 Shaheen based in the region said.
In neighboring Baghlan province, seven militants were killed and 10 others wounded after army cleared several villages from militants’ presence in Baghlan-e-Markazi district.
Seven other militants were killed during clashes in Pashton Kot district of Faryab province.
Some four Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and landmines were also defused within the period, Jamshidi noted.
The Kunduz province and neighboring Baghlan and Faryab provinces have been the scene of heavy clashes over the past couple of months as Taliban has been trying to challenge the government forces in the once relatively peaceful region.
The Taliban militant group has yet to make comments.
Monday March 20, 2017
Kabul (BNA) The Ministry of Foreign (MoF) demands White House to confirm the Gen. Nicholson’s plan about increasing the number of US troops in Afghanistan.
The acting foreign minister, Salahuddin Rabbani who left for Washington has warned that Afghanistan would not succeed unless terrorist safe havens destroyed. Rabbani on Sunday left for Washington to participate at Alliance Foreign Ministers Meeting Against Daesh. “Afghanistan’s challenges and terrorism threats will be discussed in this meeting and we will have our talks. We are hopeful about the increasing number of troops and we support Gen. Nicholson’s plan,” said Salahuddin Rabbani, acting foreign minister.
Foreign Minister Rabbani once again stressed on world collaboration for eradicating terrorist groups. “We won’t succeed until terrorist centers activate and exist, we want serious measures to be taken against the state sponsored terrorism,” Rabbani noted. However, Russia is accused of supporting Taliban in Afghanistan, but the acting foreign minister has different idea about it. “Moscow has announced that the Taliban group has no legitimacy for Russia and their contact with them is for encouraging them for negotiations,” Rabbani added. The commander of the American-led international military force in Afghanistan, has previously told Congress that he needed a few thousand additional troops to more effectively train and advise Afghan soldiers. The international force that is helping the Afghans currently has 13,300 troops, 8,400 of whom are American.
Monday March 20, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Deputy Trade Minister Mohammad Qurban Haqjo on Sunday underlined that his country is broadening its trade relations with Iran.
‘Afghanistan has reduced its trade exchanges with Pakistan by half, but it is at the same time boosting its economic ties with Iran,” Haqjo said.
“The value of Iran-Afghanistan trade balance hit $2.579 million in 2015,” he added. He noted that Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce put the value of trade exchanges with Pakistan to hit $3 billion in 2015, while the same figure has hit $1.5 billion in 2016. “China, Iran and India will soon replace Pakistan in Afghanistan’s markets and Islamabad will lose its biggest market soon,” he said. Haqjo added that blocking the paths to Pakistan for Afghan people and businessmen has incurred a loss of $100 million for the merchants.