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Political Parties Warn Karzai against Deals with Taliban

Kabul - Afghanistan's political parties fear that President Hamid Karzai may negotiate away some of the gains made against the Taliban in an attempt to secure a peace deal with the insurgent group. Ahead of Karzai's visit to Qatar this week where he is expected to discuss peace options with the Taliban and the opening of the group's political office, government opposition groups in Afghanistan have called o ...

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Australia to Withdraw Most Troops from Afghanistan by Year-End

Sydney - Australia will withdraw most troops from Afghanistan's south at the end of this year and shut down a major base for NATO-led forces, handing security to Afghan soldiers and police, Defense Minister Stephen Smith said on Tuesday. Western and Afghan commanders, Smith said, had agreed that the major multinational coalition base at Tarin Kowt and its NATO airbase in Uruzgan province would close at the ...

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Pentagon Denies Quran Desecration at GIMTO

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has strongly refuted Taliban allegations of THE desecration of the Holy Quran at the Guantanamo detention centre, an incident that allegedly provoked prisoners to go on hunger strike. "It's nonsense. There's absolutely no mishandling of the Quran. No way has the holy book in any shape or form been abused or mistreated. So their claims are nonsense," said Gen. John Kelly, commander ...

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Revival of Music in Afghanistan – The Afghan Star

Throughout the human history, growth of art, either in the form of painting, architecture, sculpture, dance, theater or music, has been a sign of progress and prosperity. Like the wild birds that move on green gardens and fields, art also grows in a society where its people have the freedom to communicate their inner feelings, creativity and emotions to their outer world through exploring and presenting the ...

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Kerry Visits Kabul to Bolster Alliance

By Nathan Hodge and Jay Solomon Secretary of State John Kerry visited Afghanistan on Monday to shore up a troubled alliance, following concessions by the U.S. that appeared to have quelled President Hamid Karzai's complaints about American respect for Afghan sovereignty. Mr. Kerry's visit to Kabul, his first as secretary of state, coincided with the handover on Monday of the main U.S. detention facility in ...

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Nangarhar Assault and the Unstable Security

Shortly after US Secretary of State John Kerry met President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, a group of suicide bombers assaulted headquarters of the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) in eastern province of Nangarhar, killing at least 13 people. It is the latest of a series of spectacular attacks by Taliban on major security installations and government offices across the country. As the US forces are withdrawing and the p ...

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Karzai’s Remarks, Not News!

By: Malali Bashir Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently has been reported by the media to be repeating himself that the Taliban insurgency benefits the foreign forces in Afghanistan. "The Taliban are serving the foreigners and are not against the foreigners," Karzai, speaking in Dari, said on March 10, 2013 during International Women’s Day celebration. The next hour, media outlets around the world carried ...

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Pakistan Sees Afghanistan’s Karzai as Obstacle to Peace with Taliban

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik Pakistan, seen as critical to efforts to stabilise Afghanistan, is finding it difficult to work with President Hamid Karzai due to mistrust and is reaching out to others to advance the peace process, senior Pakistani Foreign Ministry officials say. Pakistan is uniquely positioned to promote reconciliation in neighbouring Afghanistan because of its long history of ties to militant grou ...

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U.S. restarts plutonium production for space probes

The Department of Energy has produced its first batch of non-weapons grade plutonium, used to power space probes, since a nuclear reactor shutdown 25 years ago, NASA officials said on Monday. The U.S. space agency turned to buying radioactive plutonium-238 from Russia after safety issues prompted the Department of Energy to close its Savannah River Site in South Carolina in the late 1980s. The Russian suppl ...

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Japan Aims to Win New Allies in Africa with Aid

  Tokyo plans to provide extra aid to African states to foster stability on the continent, but also to give Japanese companies a better foothold so they do not slip further behind China in the economic diplomacy stakes. For years, For years, Japan has been one of the most generous providers of Official Development Assistance to developing nations around the world, even in the two decades of relative poor do ...

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Syria’s Alkhatib to Address Doha Meeting Despite Quitting

Damascus - Syrian opposition figure Moaz Alkhatib said he would address an Arab League meeting in Qatar this week, a day after he announced his resignation as head of the Syrian National Coalition. The Arab summit takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Arab foreign ministers met in Doha on Sunday to prepare for the meeting. Alkhatib did not say when he would speak. "I have decided to give a speech in the nam ...

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Kerry backs Karzai’s plans for peace, polls

KABUL- US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday voiced full support for President Hamid Karzai’s plans for reconciliation with the Taliban and holding transparent presidential elections. Speaking at a joint news conference with Karzai after talks at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, the top American diplomat said they were “on the same page” on peace negotiations with the insurgents. On his first visit to ...

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Afghanistan Takes Full Control of Bagram Prison

The US military handed over full control of the only US-run prison in Afghanistan to the Afghan government Monday, easing tensions over one of the longest-running standoffs between Kabul and Washington. In an official ceremony at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, the US military transferred oversight for a group of several hundred prisoners to Afghan control - the remaining detainees who were not handed over ...

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7 Ministers to Appear Before Mps Next Week

KABUL - The Wolesi Jirga has asked seven ministers to appear before it next Monday and Wednesday, an official said on Monday. The decision came at a joint meeting of heads of parliamentary commission a day earlier, Wolesi Jirga Secretary Syed Ikram told reporters on assembly premises. Mines Minister Wahidullah Shahrani, Economy Minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, Commerce Minister Anwarul Haq Ahadi and Informa ...

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Voter Registration Delayed By a Month

KABUL - The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Monday announced delaying the voter registration process for 2014 presidential and provincial council polls was delayed by a month. In line with a revised plan, the campaign would begin on May 26, 2013 rather than Apr 21, a statement from the commission said. The delay will enable the panel to include enhanced security features in a newly-designed voter r ...

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Kandahar Women Denied Rights

KANDAHAR - Announcing welfare schemes, the women's affairs director on Monday said the rights of 159 women were abused in southern Kandahar province last solar year.  Women were subjected to violence during the period that saw 31 women escaping homes, six divorced and 17 denied inheritance rights, Ruqia Achakzai told reporters at the Governor's House in Kandahar City, the provincial capital. She linked viol ...

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Prison Transferred, Kerry Undoing the Damages

After intensified rounds of talks between Kabul and Washington, the Bagram prison was officially handed to the government of Afghanistan during a ceremony held at the detention center north of Kabul. The transfer ended heated debates between the US and the government of Afghanistan, which strained bilateral relations between the two countries. Bismillah Mohammadi, the Minister of Defence, said in the ceremo ...

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Syrian Opposition Leader Alkhatib Resigns

Damascus – The head of Syria's main opposition group resigned on Sunday, saying he had taken the step so he could work with more freedom. Moaz Alkhatib, a former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, was picked to head the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces in November after leaving Syria due to President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on rebels. "I had promised the great Syria ...

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Taliban’s Qatar Office High on Karzai Agenda

KABUL - President Hamid Karzai would discuss with Qatari officials the opening of Taliban’s political bureau in Doha during his upcoming visit to the Gulf country, the foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday. Janan Musazai, who did not give any date of the trip, told a news conference in Kabul the president would be visiting the friendly country in response to the Qatari emir. On the sidelines of the 2nd ...

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Bagram Jail Transfer by Monday: Pentagon

WASHINGTON - The Parwan detention facility would be transferred to Afghan control by Monday, the Pentagon announced on Saturday, after the two countries reached an agreement in this regard, meeting one of the key demands of the Karzai government. When the deal on the Bagram prison handover -- a ticklish issue between the allies -- was concluded, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with President Hamid Ka ...

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