21 May 2018

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Monday April 9, 2018 Kabul (BNA) Pashtun Tahafuz Movement's (PTM) grand gathering in Peshawar kicked off on Sunday afternoon with the speakers demanding the release of missing persons as well as provision of basic human rights to the Pakhtun community in Pakistan. People numbering in thousands, from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), participated in the gathering at Pishtakhra Chowk near Ring Road and intermittently chanted the slogan da sang azadi da (what kind of freedom is this) their movement's rallying cry. The families of missing persons arrived at the gathering holding pictures of their loved ones, whose whereabouts remain unknown. The protesters were largely mobilised through social media, as well as pamphlets and PTM workers creating an awareness about the movement among local communities. It is pertinent to mention that mainstream TV channels across the country gave little to no airtime to the Sunday protest. "We are only against the oppressors," PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen told a charged audience as he took the stage. "We are only the 'agents' of our nation," he said, addressing allegations that the movement is being backed by foreign agencies. "What has happened so far for the missing persons?" he asked. "The mothers and elders whose beloveds are missing should not be coerced." Family members of a missing person hold poster demanding his recovery. Photo by Author "In Karachi, money is taken in return for bodies. Even Genghis Khan did not take money after killing people," Pashteen said. "After Rao Anwar (the ex-SSP Malir accused of the extrajudicial murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud), it is now the turn of Ehsanullah Ehsan (former TTP leader)," he said, demanding that the erstwhile TTP spokesperson should be brought to the courts. "After Ehsanullah, we will bring [former president] Musharraf to the courts," he added. He also spoke about how businesses in Fata have been affected by the ensuing violence. "Fruit from Wana and Swat is being sold in Lahore instead of Peshawar." "In Waziristan, the 'good Taliban' are threatening the people," he said. Pashteen demanded that the practice of imposing curfews in Fata should come to an end, and that schools, hospitals under occupation should return to their usual course of action. "We will go to every village until our demands are met," Pashteen announced, adding that more jalsas will be held in Karachi, Hyderabad, Loralai and Bannu, followed by a sit-in in Islamabad. He also announced that a gathering named "Jalsa Raddul Fasaad" will be held on April 22 in Lahore, whereas another one in Swat on April 29 will be called "Raah-e-Raast". Thousands gather to demand basic human rights at PTM jalsa in Peshawar. Photo by Author The Islamabad sit-in would end only after an international guarantee, Pashteen told the audience. He also said that a rally will be taken to Waziristan after Ramazan. "We have to give the coming generations a bright future," he concluded.

Friday March 23, 2018
Kabul (BNA) The highest number of asylum seekers in Bulgaria last year are people from Afghanistan - 1050. For the past 15 years people from Afghanistan who demanded asylum in our country are 25,000. This is evidence from Eurostat's first analysis of the number of asylumseekers for the in EU countries in 2017. In the second position is Iraq, the number of asylum seekers was 955 people, and the third was Syria - 940, according to European statistics, cited by BTA. For the first two months of this year, 224 people sought refuge in Bulgaria, with the number of Syrians being the largest - 150, followed by Iraqi representatives - 35 and Afghanistan - 20. A refugee status has been received by about 60 people, humanitarian status - 98, and a refusal was given to about 180 people.
According to the State Agency for Refugees, for the 15-year period, the largest group of asylum seekers is from Afghanistan with about 25 thousand people. The second largest is the group of people from Syria - about 21 thousand, and third - from Iraq - about 19 thousand.
Nearly 650,000 people have applied for international protection in the EU for the first time in 2017, according to Eurostat. This is close to half of those who applied for asylum in the EU in 2016 when their number exceeded 1.2 million people.
Syrians (102,400 candidates), Iraqis (47,500) and Afghans (43,600) remain mainly those seeking international protection in the EU Member States in 2017. The majority of Syrians have sought shelter in Germany - nearly 50,000, in Greece - about 16,000, and in Austria - over 7,000. Germany is the country with the highest number of asylum seekers last year - more than 200,000 or about 30 per cent of the total number of asylum seekers in the EU. It is followed by Italy - 127,000 (or 20 per cent), France - 91,000 (or 14 per cent), Greece - 57,000 (or 9 per cent), and Great Britain - 33,000 (or 5 per cent).
The Eurostat analysis also takes some interesting details about the nationality of asylum seekers in some EU countries: for example, the most compact group of asylum seekers in Spain is from Venezuela - over 10 000 asylum applications. In France, the largest number of asylum seekers is Albania - about 12,000, in Italy - most are asylum seekers are Nigerian - nearly 25,000, in Poland - the most compact group comes from Russia - over 2000, etc. A total of 222,000 were granted refugee status in the EU in 2017 at first instance, 159,000 were granted subsidiary protection status (as victims of military conflicts) and 63,000 were granted a residence permit for humanitarian reasons, Eurostat reported.
Ansari

Monday January 29, 2018
Kabul (BNA) President Trump condemned the deadly car bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday, calling for all nations to crack down on the Taliban terrorist group behind the attack, The Hill writes.
"I condemn the despicable car bombing attack in Kabul today that has left scores of innocent civilians dead and hundreds injured," the president said in a White House statement Saturday. "This murderous attack renews our resolve and that of our Afghan partners. The Taliban’s cruelty will not prevail." The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. It took place on a busy street lined with old government buildings after the suspected attacker passed a security checkpoint and tried to evade another. The attack killed at least 95 people and injured dozens more. "The United States is committed to a secure Afghanistan that is free from terrorists who would target Americans, our allies, and anyone who does not share their wicked ideology," Trump continued. "Now, all countries should take decisive action against the Taliban and the terrorist infrastructure that supports them."
Novinite
Ansari

Friday January 12, 2018
Kabul (BNA) The Pentagon is planning to send more armed drones and roughly 1,000 new combat advisers to Afghanistan, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
U.S. and military officials told the paper the move is meant to bolster the American military presence in Afghanistan in time for spring, when the traditional fighting season begins.
As soon as February, the Pentagon will send members of an Army security-force assistance brigade from Fort Benning, Ga., to work as combat advisers to Afghan National Security Forces.
The larger fleet of drones, both armed and unarmed, will provide air support and will also be used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
In addition, the Pentagon plans to add more helicopters, ground vehicles, artillery and other equipment. The Defense Department (DOD) is able to do so because of reduced combat operations in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
President Trump announced in August a new plan for Afghanistan that includes sending 3,000 to 4,000 additional troops to the country to help end the stalemate there. The extra forces brings the number of American personnel in the country to about 14,000.
The increase in security-force assistance troops may move the needle past 14,000, but there is the chance the Pentagon could at the same time withdraw another unit.
Gen. John Nicholson, the head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told reporters last month that more advisers would aid their Afghan counterparts, but did not give a number.
There are “well over 1,000 advisers out at any given time,” but in 2018 “this will increase dramatically,” Nicholson said.
The increase stems from a request from Defense Secretary James Mattisthat Army Gen. Joseph Votel, chief of the U.S. Central Command, come up with ways to rethink military capabilities in the countries, The Wall Street Journal wrote.
Mattis didn’t put a deadline on drawing down resources from Central Command.
As ISIS loses more ground in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon has been able to shift some resources east to Afghanistan. Military planners want to reduce the number of ground troops in Iraq and Syria over the next year.
But Pentagon officials plan to be careful in moving forces out of the two countries, as they hope to prevent ISIS or other extremist groups from re-emerging.
The U.S. forces still there would focus on counterterrorism operations and security for diplomats and contractors. There are currently more than 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria, according to the Pentagon.
Thehill
Ansari

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