About 10 million Afghans have access to Internet this year

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) says the internet users have been increased in the country and that during this year as many as 9.7 percents of citizens have access to the internet.

Minister of CIT, Shahzad Gul Aryoubi on Saturday said that they seek to reduce the price of internet and that increase the number of its users in the country.

“Last year, seven million people had access to interest, and this year the number increased to 9.7 million,” he said.

Though, high price and low-quality services have been the main challenges for internet users in Afghanistan.

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Trump withdraws more than 5,000 troops from Afghanistan

The U.S. President Donald Trump withdraws more than 5,000 U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan amid reports verbal orders have been given to start work on withdrawal plans.

A U.S. official speaking condition of anonymity has told Reuters that a decision had been made and verbal orders had been given to start planning for the drawdown.

The official has further added that timelines were being discussed but it could happen in weeks or months.

This comes as the U.S. President Donald Trump had earlier ordered the withdrawal of the U.S. forces from Syria.

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Afghanistan deadliest place to be a journalist

Afghanistan was the world’s deadliest place for journalists in 2018, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Tuesday.

According to RSF, at least 63 journalists around the world were killed doing their jobs in 2018, with Afghanistan being the deadliest place for journalists worldwide.

The organization reported that violence against reporters rose 15 percent compared to 2017.

“The hatred of journalists that is voiced … by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists,” RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement.

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Policemen among 9 arrested on extortion charges in Kabul city

A group of nine people including four policemen have been arrested on charges of extortion and illegally collecting money from street vendors the in Kabul city, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said Tuesday.

According to a statement released by MoI, the police forces have arrested an individual who was collecting a sum of 4,000 Afghanis daily from street vendors in Pul Kheshti area of the city and was handing over the money to a police officer.

The statement further added that another individual was arrested from Sepahi Gomnam area in the 1st police district of the city who was collecting 9,000 Afghanis daily and was transferring the money to the police officer in charge of the security of the area.

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IEC to begin registering candidates for Presidential election next week

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) says the registration process of candidates for presidential elections will begin next week (Dec. 22).

According to the timeline of the election commission, the registration process of eligible candidates for presidential elections will start on December 22 and will end on January 2, 2019.

Mirza Aqparast, a Deputy Spokesman of the IEC said that they have prepared the operational plan for the presidential poll and that ready to kick off registering the candidates.

Aqparast assured that the delay in declaring the final results of the parliamentary election will not affect the process. The official also informed of the commission’s plan to start the voter registration process for the elections.

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Taliban formulates 10-member negotiating team for peace talks

High Peace Council (HPC) says Taliban has formulated a 10-member negotiating team for peace talks with the Afghan government.

The direct talks between the U.S. and Taliban have raised hopes among many interested parties to ensure peace in war-torn Afghanistan.

Recently, the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad met NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, where the North Atlantic Council expressed support for the U.S. efforts to promote an Afghan-led and owned peace process.

In early October, Khalilzad met with the Taliban representatives in Qatar and then met with the Afghan government officials in Kabul where he has asked both sides to come up with an authorized team of negotiators for peace talks.

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IEC resumes recounting of Kabul votes

Foll Amid tensions with electoral complaints body, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday resumed recounting of the votes of parliamentary elections for Kabul.

The IEC  Deputy Spokesman Zabiullah Sadat said that the commission resumed the recounting process with a new method which includes changes in the number of observers and audit teams.

The electoral complaints commission (IECC), meanwhile, said that the IEC should provide them with evidence and documents regarding Kabul votes and that use a new mechanism in this regard, adding that thereafter, the commission will reconsider its decision of invalidating the votes of parliamentary elections for Kabul.

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President Ghani inaugurates Lapis Lazuli corridor in Herat province

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Thursday inaugurated the Lapis Lazuli corridor during his visit to western Herat province of Afghanistan.

In his speech during the inaugural ceremony of Lapis Lazuli corridor in Herat, President Ghani said Afghanistan was facing a situation in which it was isolated 17 years ago.

President Ghani further added that the goal of Afghanistan,its people, and different sects of the country is connectivity, not isolation, emphasizing that in today’s situation Afghanistan is in a position which acts as a point of connectivity.

He said the Lapis Lazuli corridor’s history dates back to four years ago when Afghanistan’s Lapis stones were transported to Egypt and India via this corridor.

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Taliban’s command and control center eliminated in Helmand province

The local officials in southern Helmand province are saying that the command and control center of the Taliban group has eliminated in this province.

Provincial governor Gen. Mohammad Yasin said Tuesday the command and control center of the group has been eliminated during the night.

He made the remarks during a press conference also attended by military council officials and added that the night operations kicked off in this province over two month sago.

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6 killed, 6 wounded in Kabul explosion

An explosion took place in the vicinity of Paghman district of Kabul earlier today, leaving at least 12 dead or wounded.

The security officials confirm that an explosion has taken place in the vicinity of Bala Chinar area of Paghman district.

The Ministry of Interior spokesman Najib Danish says at least four security personnel have lost their lives in the explosion.

Deputy interior ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi, had earlier said a convoy of the security forces have been targeted in the blast.

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