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No Support if Hilal Quits the Race: HIA

KABUL - A senior member of the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) on Monday warned of withdrawing support to presidential runner Qutbuddin Hilal if he pulled out of the race in favour of another candidate. Eng. Mohammad Amin Karim, a France-based HIA member, made clear the party had extended conditional support for Hilal’s candidacy. In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, he said many candidates h ...

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The Deteriorating Security for Election Campaigns

With the development of the presidential election process, security of the electoral campaigns across the country has been deteriorating. In recent month, the militants have intensified their assaults on the election campaigners and election workers in different provinces. Abdullah Abdullah’s campaign team has been targeted more than every other candidate during recent weeks of the ongoing election campaign ...

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Women Could Play Influential Role in April’s Elections

Kabul- Women make up close to half of the Afghan population, and despite issues in past elections, many of them seem determined to leave their mark on the upcoming presidential and provincial council elections. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) prides itself on the number of female voters it has registered this year, which is said to number around 1.2 million at this point. But that number is less t ...

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Rassoul to Improve Security Environment

LASHKARGAH - Presidential contender Dr. Zalmai Rassoul on Sunday pledged bolstering security across the country and increasing power-generating capacity of the Kajaki dam in southern Helmand province. Addressing a campaign rallies here, he said: “After stepping up security, increasing the capacity of Kajaki power dam will be my second priority. Electricity from the dam will be supplied to other provinces.” ...

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Egyptian Militants Outwit Army in Sinai Battlefield

Cairo - Egypt's army says it is crushing Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula, but in the region's villages and towns a victory for the state feels a long way off. In a rare visit to eight villages in Northern Sinai last week, a Reuters reporter saw widespread destruction caused by army operations, but also found evidence that a few hundred militants are successfully playing a cat-and-mouse game with t ...

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Syrian Forces Fully Control Rebel Stronghold near Lebanon

Damascus - Syrian forces backed by Hezbollah militants took full control of the town of Yabroud on Sunday after driving out rebels, helping President Bashar al-Assad secure the land route linking the capital Damascus to Aleppo and the Mediterranean coast. The fall of Yabroud, the last rebel bastion near the Lebanese border, could choke off a vital insurgent supply line from Lebanon and consolidate governmen ...

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NATO Websites Hit in Cyber-Attack Linked to Crimea Tension

Brussels - Hackers brought down several public NATO websites, the alliance said on Sunday, in what appeared to be the latest escalation in cyberspace over growing tensions over Crimea. The Western military alliance's spokeswoman, Oana Lungescu, said on social networking site Twitter that cyber-attacks, which began on Saturday evening, continued on Sunday, although most services had now been restored. "It do ...

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Police Hunt for Motive as Search for Malaysian Jet Spans Hemispheres

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian investigators are trawling through the backgrounds of the pilots, crew and ground staff who worked on a missing jetliner for clues as to why someone on board flew it perhaps thousands of miles off course, the country's police chief said. Background checks of passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 have drawn a blank, but not every country whose nationals were on board has resp ...

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Crimean’s Vote On Union with Russia as Troops Build up Rapidly

Kiev - Crimeans voted in a referendum on Sunday on whether to break away from Ukraine and join Russia, with Kiev accusing Moscow of rapidly building up its armed forces on the peninsula in "crude violation" of an international treaty. Caught in an East-West crisis reminiscent of the Cold War, Ukrainian acting defense minister Ihor Tenyukh said Russian troop numbers in Crimea were now almost double the level ...

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China Police to Increase Armed Patrols in Crime Crackdown

Beijing - Chinese police will increase armed patrols, especially in densely populated areas like urban centers and transport hubs, in a drive to crack down on violent crime, state news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday. China's stability obsessed ruling Communist Party, always jittery about any threats to its rule, has been alarmed by a series of incidents in recent months, including a knife attack at a trai ...

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Wardak Pulls Out of Presidential Race

KABUL - Former defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak on Sunday announced pulling out of the presidential election slated for April 5. Addressing a news conference in Kabul, Wardak acknowledged his election campaign had been lackluster right from the word go. The ex-minister thanked his choices for first and second vice-presidents, saying that his decision was not in favour of any specific contender. Without g ...

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Wolesi Jirga Elects Assistant Secretary, Deputy Speaker

KABUL - The Wolesi Jirga -- or the lower house of parliament -- on Sunday elected Saleh Mohammad Saljooqi as second deputy speaker and Irfanullah Irfan as assistant secretary, an official said. However, elections for the first deputy speaker and secretary had to be delayed because the candidates failed to get the required number of votes. Under relevant rules, the first and second deputy speakers and secret ...

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Election Materials Transported to 368 Districts

KABUL - The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Sunday announced transporting election materials to 368 districts without any security threat. MoI spokesman Siddique Siddiqui told a news conference in Kabul the materials included ballot papers, ballot boxes, ink, pens, candidate posters and other items. He said the materials would be sent to areas from district centres. As many as 396 polling stations remain clos ...

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Taliban Violence Threatens Polls: HRW

KABUL - Insurgent-linked threats and violence against campaign workers and election officials risk undermining the April 5 presidential vote, a global rights group warned on Sunday. Human Rights Watch (HRW) referred to a March 11 statement, in which the Taliban vowed to use all force to disrupt the vote and to target all workers, activists, callers, security apparatus and offices. The Taliban also warned th ...

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Karzai’s Remarks on Election, Peace and BSA

In his address to the parliament, President Karzai warned foreigners not to meddle in Afghanistan’s election. In his last speech to the parliament, the President addressed some key issues including the forthcoming elections, Afghanistan’s relations with the US, the bilateral security agreement and Pakistan’s role in the peace efforts. President Karzai once again assured that there would be a fair and free e ...

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Lost Airliner Was Diverted Deliberately: Malaysian PM

Kuala Lumpur - A missing Malaysian jetliner was likely steered deliberately to a course that could have taken it anywhere from central Asia to the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysia's prime minister said on Saturday, in a dramatic revelation that intensified scrutiny of the 239 crew and passengers. Minutes after Malaysian leader Najib Razak outlined investigators' latest findings about flight MH370 at a news c ...

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Crimea Prepares For Referendum under Heavy Military Presence

Kiev - Pro-Russian leaders in Crimea made final preparations on Saturday for a referendum widely expected to transfer control of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine to Moscow, despite the threat of sanctions and condemnation from Western governments. Sunday's vote, dismissed by Kiev as illegal, has triggered the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, and ratcheted up tensions not only in Crimea but als ...

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Speaker Urges Free, Fair Elections

KABUL - Wolesi Jirga Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi on Saturday asked the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to use all resources to ensure transparency in the ballot. As the legislature entered the fourth year of its constitutional term, the speaker told the lower house Afghanistan was passing through a critical phase. Afghan forces would take over security across the country by the end of 2014, he said. H ...

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Orderly Troop Drawdown Needs 102 Days: Dunford

WASHINGTON - The US military needs 102 days for orderly withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, NATO top commander in Kabul Gen Joseph Dunford said on Thursday. “The physics of withdrawal will be about 102 days. You'd obviously want to buffer for bad weather, aircraft maintenance issues, enemy gets a vote. And so, as you start getting to less than a 120 days, you start entering a period where your risk of an o ...

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Protestors Seek End to Violence against Women

KUNDUZ - In a rare show of unity, hundreds of women from northeastern provinces on Saturday asked the parliament to approve a draft law for the elimination of violence against females. Women from Kunduz, Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces marched through Kunduz City chanting slogans “Stop violence against women and punish the perpetrators of rights violators.” The protestors alleged no visible steps h ...

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