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Fate of the Crucial Security Pact

The United States is once again trying to persuade the Afghan government to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement between Kabul and Washington that would allow presence of US forces in Afghanistan after 2014. Recently, a US official warned that the Obama administration expected the agreement to be signed as soon as possible. During his visit to Kabul, Ash Carter, the US Deputy Secretary of Defense said that ...

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MoI Vows Election Security, Police Neutrality

KABUL - While insisting on police impartially during next year’s elections, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Sunday promised security of presidential and provincial council candidates. Improved security, especially for the elections in April 2014, remained one of the main goals for the ministry, MoI spokesman Ghulam Siddique Siddiqui told a press conference in Kabul. They were trying to maintain security t ...

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Fighting for Women’s Rights in Shadow of Guns

LASHKARGAH - A determined Bibi Zuhra says she will not stop raising her voice for women’s rights despite hardships being created by her male colleagues and the threats posed by insurgents. The 50-year-old, who is the only female in the 41-member community council in the troubled Sangin town of southern Helmand province, told Pajhwok Afghan News men could not take away her courage and actions in defence of w ...

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Upper House Opposes Ministry Status for IDLG

KABUL - The Meshrano Jirga -- or upper house of the parliament -- on Sunday rejected a suggestion giving the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) the status of a full-fledged ministry. With an overwhelming majority, the Wolesi Jirga voted to convert the directorate into a ministry in December 2012 to enable lawmakers to summon IDLG officials for answering queries on their efficiency, use of fu ...

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Syria’s Assad Vows to Comply With UN Resolution

Damascus - Syria's president says his government will abide by last week's U.N. resolution calling for the country's chemical weapons program to be dismantled and destroyed. Bashar Assad says in an interview with Italy's RAI News 24 TV "of course we have to comply. This is our history to comply with every treaty we sign." He also says he is willing to discuss a political solution to Syria's crisis, but that ...

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Authorities Force Largest Sudan Newspaper to Stop

Khartoum - Sudan's largest daily says authorities forced it to stop printing, the latest newspaper to halt publication after several came under pressure to depict demonstrators in week-long protests against longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir as "saboteurs." Al-Intibah's official website said Sunday that authorities had ordered the halt indefinitely. It did not elaborate. The paper, the country's l ...

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Shanghai Free-Trade Zone Launche

Beijing - A free-trade zone in Shanghai, China's economic hub, has been launched as the world's second-biggest economy prepares to test long-awaited economic reforms. Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng attended the opening ceremony for the zone, which covers 29 sq km (11 sq miles). Mr Gao said the zone would help "implement a more active opening-up strategy". Restrictions on foreign investment will be eased insi ...

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Syrian School Hit in Air Strike, at Least Nine Dead: Monitors

Damascus - At least nine people, most of them students, were killed in an air strike that hit a secondary school in the rebel-held Syrian city of Raqqa on Sunday, activists said. Raqqa in northeastern Syria has been under the control of insurgents fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad since March but the city remains subject to regular aerial bombardment by government forces. Opposition activists based ...

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US Nuclear Commander Suspended over Gambling Probe

Washington - The second-in-command of the US military's nuclear combat forces has been suspended during an investigation into illegal gambling. Navy Vice Adm Timothy Giardina was removed from duty on 3 September, a US official said on Saturday. Admiral Giardina was serving as the deputy in charge of the US Strategic Command, which oversees nuclear assets. He has not been arrested or charged as part of the i ...

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Ruling French Coalition Split over Roma Ejection Call

Paris - President Francois Hollande is battling to heal a rift in his ruling coalition over treatment of France's Roma population after his interior minister said most of them should leave France. Manuel Valls enraged left-wingers in Hollande's government this week by arguing that the vast majority of 20,000 Roma living in makeshift camps outside French cities could never be integrated into society and so s ...

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Gunmen Kill at Least 40 in Attack on Nigerian College

Yobe - Gunmen killed at least 40 people on Sunday in an attack on a college in northeast Nigeria, a Reuters witness said, in a region where Islamist militants have targeted schools and universities. Islamist sect Boko Haram has intensified attacks on civilian targets in recent weeks in reaction to a military offensive against its insurgency. Boko Haram and spin-off Islamist groups like the al Qaeda-linked A ...

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Hagel in South Korea for Security Talks

Seoul - Amid escalating threats from North Korea, U.S. and South Korean defense officials will meet over the next few days and discuss whether to extend America's wartime control over the South's armed forces, 60 years after a truce ended the Korean War. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel flew to Seoul on Sunday, and said there will be conversations about the possible extension of the 2015 deadline, but likely n ...

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Britain Seeks Radical Reform of EU Ties, May Leave Rights Accord: Cameron

London - Prime Minister David Cameron ratcheted up the rhetoric against Europe on Sunday by demanding a radical change to Britain's ties with the European Union and offering the prospect of an exit from the continent's principal treaty on human rights. Europe poses one of the biggest obstacles to Cameron's re-election in 2015 and he is under pressure from Conservative lawmakers to stem the loss of support t ...

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Senators View Insecurity as a Threat to Polls

KABUL - A number of Meshrano Jirga members on Sunday warned holding next year’s elections would be impossible if effective steps were not taken to control the security. Addressing the upper house, a public representative from central Kapisa province said insecurity had sharply increased across the country, including in the capital Kabul, in recent months. Maulvi Mohiuddin Munsef accused the Taliban of makin ...

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Oxfam: Afghan Gov’t Must Do More to Protect New Policewomen

Kabul - As international forces pull out of Afghanistan, the country is busy building up it’s security forces. But according to a report from Oxfam International, the government must do a lot more to protect the growing number of women signing up. These recruits have signed up to serve their country, in a country where their service is not always accepted. For in Afghanistan, a country where many women are ...

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China Quietly Backing Afghan Peace Drive: Karzai

KABUL - President Hamid Karzai says commonality of interests and Chinese leaders' wisdom have contributed to the strength of the Beijing-Kabul relationship. Karzai, who returned from a four-day trip to China, said in an interview: "This visit of mine proved with great certainty that China and Afghanistan have developed a strong relationship, based on commonality of interest.” After meetings with President X ...

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Afghanistan A Bridge between Asia and Europe

Kabul - Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan once again in the session of Europe-Asia Economic Association said that Afghanistan can become a commercial transit road between Asia and Europe. BNA commentator commenting on the issue writes, since the establishment of interim government in Afghanistan, until now the expansion and development of economic and commercial ties between the ...

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A Heavy Blow to the Opposition Alliance

The opposition Electoral Alliance has been unraveling fast after Hajji Muhammad Mohaqqiq, a prominent member of the National Front and the Electoral Alliance, revealed secret and behind-door dealings among the members of the Electoral Alliance. In his message posted on facebook, Mohaqqiq revealed details of the rifts among the members of the Electoral Alliance that finally split the alliance into two parts. ...

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Obama, Iran’s Rouhani Hold Historic Phone Call

Washington - President Barack Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by telephone on Friday, the highest-level contact between the two countries in three decades and a sign that they are serious about reaching a pact on Tehran's nuclear program. The call is the culmination of a dramatic shift in tone between Iran and the United States, which cut diplomatic relations with Iran a year after the ...

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China Supports Afghanistan-US Security Agreement

Kabul - China announced Beijing’s support towards Afghanistan’s strategic relations with the regional countries and United States of America. Officials in presidential palace said China’s president during his meeting with president Hamid Karzai extend his support towards Afghanistan’s strategic foreign relations. Aimal Faizi spokesman for president Hamid Karzai said the president of China extended his suppo ...

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