Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, center, speaks to journalists after arriving to register as a candidate for the presidential election at the Independent Elections Commission, in Kabul, Jan. 20, 2019. (VOA)

The process of submitting nomination papers for the upcoming presidential vote in Afghanistan concluded Sunday, with President Ashraf Ghani and his ruling coalition partner Abdullah Abdullah among the candidates seeking the country’s top office.

Ghani and Abdullah, who was appointed chief executive in a deal mediated by the United States after the disputed 2014 election, filed their nomination papers just hours before the Independent Election Commission (IEC) closed the proceedings.


The election activity comes as an early morning suicide car bombing of a government convoy in eastern Afghan province of Logar killed at least eight security forces, underscoring serious security challenges facing the country in the wake of a raging Taliban insurgency.

The presidential vote, scheduled for July 20, is also under scrutiny because of the lack of serious reforms to prevent a repetition of previous fraud-marred Afghan elections.

IEC officials, however, dismiss concerns and insist their rescheduling of the polls from the original April 20 date has given them enough time to fix the problems and to lay the ground for a better organized vote.

“Our [candidates’] goal should be to work toward ensuring this election process results in a strong government and nation. Whatever consensus regarding any reforms is required must be achieved now to remove any doubts about the election outcome,” Ghani said in televised comments after formally registering his candidacy with IEC.


Afghan security forces inspect the site of a car bomb blast in Kabul, Jan. 15, 2018.(VOA)

The IEC was heavily criticized for failing to prevent mismanagement and alleged rigging in the October parliamentary election. The final results are still awaited, fueling traditional mistrust and suspicions among voters about the upcoming election.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former ethnic Pashtun warlord accused of war crimes and once listed as terrorist by the U.S., has also joined the presidential race.

Hekmatyar stopped his Hizb-i-Islami group from waging insurgent attacks against foreign forces and returned to Kabul from years of hiding in 2016 after signing a U.S.-backed peace deal with President Ghani’s government.

Hekmatyar’s fighters have been blamed for committing atrocities during the Afghan civil war that enabled the Taliban to capture most of Afghanistan in 1996.

Several former officials of the Ghani-led National Unity government are also among the contestants. They include Hanif Atmar, former national security adviser; Rahmatullah Nabil, ex-chief of the Afghan intelligence agency; Zalmai Rassoul, a former foreign minister who came third in the last presidential election; and Shaida Abdali, a former diplomat.


Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, center, shakes hands with his supporters after arriving to register as a candidate for the presidential election, in Kabul, Jan. 20, 2019.

Peace talks with Taliban

The United States, meanwhile, has intensified efforts to seek a politically negotiated settlement to the 17-year-old conflict with the Taliban, which control nearly half of the country and maintain battlefield pressure on U.S.-backed Afghan forces to capture more territory.

Chief American peace negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, and his team spent several days in neighboring Pakistan, where authorities tried to arrange the next round of U.S.-Taliban talks.

Also Read:U.S. Determined To Address ‘Legitimate Concerns’ To Achieve Peace in Afghanistan

A U.S. Embassy statement announced Sunday said Khalilzad visited Islamabad from January 17-20 where he met with Pakistani civilian and military leaders. It said that “both sides reaffirmed their commitment to advance the Afghan peace process.”

Khalilzad highlighted that all countries in the region will benefit from peace in Afghanistan, the statement concluded, though it was not clear whether Pakistani efforts to bring the two sides to the negotiating table succeeded. (VOA)


Popular

Wikimedia Commons

At the recently held Lake Fashion Week X Fashion Design Council of India event which took place in Mumbai, actress Soha Ali Khan was muse for Megha Jain Madaan

At the recently held Lake Fashion Week X Fashion Design Council of India event which took place in Mumbai, actress Soha Ali Khan was muse for Megha Jain Madaan. The festive collection by Madaan for her label Abstract was a luxurious line of creations. Khan dazzled in a sensational, black, will-powered gown with horizontal gold braiding, while the deep olive train added a regal touch. IANSlife caught up with the celebrity on the sideline of the events to discover her take on fashion.

Read Excerpts:

Q: Are you looking forward to on-ground fashion events and the energy that comes with physical shows and appearances?
A: I am I mean, I think that it's been a while that we've all been at home and the livelihood of artisans, designers make-up artist, hairdressers has suffered. Everyone's looking forward to being backed and last but not least me; there's a different energy, of course.

Q: The outfit chosen for you at the show, how does it complement your style?
A: I really think that the outfit complimented my body type because it sort of showed off my arms which are very toned and strong. I've been working on them. So I'm happy that they chose, an off-shoulder outfit. The beautiful train, added length which I require a little bit off. So, I think it was very feminine, and I think the silhouette was a good one for me.

Q: What are your travel essentials?
A: Wetwipes, sanitiser, spare masks and water. I would say a book but I haven't read a book since I've become a mother. I would say iPad, cotton wool for ears, and a lollipop.

Buy less choose well make it last "One should reuse their clothes. You don't need to buy new clothes, all the time." said Soha Ali Khan. | Photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

This total or complete One, is so significant that even if one literally decides to deduct or remove the cosmos and universe from that complete or total energy, it shall remain constant, i.e., total

OṀ SAMPŨRṆABHŨMYAI NAMAH:

OṀ (AUM) - POOR-ṆA-MA-DA-HA-BHOO-MYAI—NA-MA-HA

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

With the baby keeping you busy all day and night, your skincare takes a backseat.

When you become a mother, you tend to forget about your own needs because you are so focused on your child. With the baby keeping you busy all day and night, your skincare takes a backseat. It's not always changes in skin texture and looks post-pregnancy are a bad thing, but not taking care of your skin may lead to acne, melasma, stretch marks, puffy eyes, and even dark circles. Syed Nazim, Dermatologist, Aesthetic and Hair Transplant Surgeon, Royal Lush Skin Clinic Saket, New Delhi, shares simple and easy tips for you to follow, to get a glowing post-pregnancy.

* Cleansing: As you sleep, your skin goes through a renewal cycle, by dispensing toxins and debris. So you only need a light-textured cleanser to wash your face with a face wash that is suitable for your skin type.

* Steam: Take steam for 2-3 days a week, it will help you to open up your clogged pores.

* Scrub & face pack: Use a face scrub, to remove the dead skin cells, scrub your face for like 5 minutes and wash it with normal tap water. It will help you to make your skin softer and radiant, leave the mask until it dries off.

* Toner & moisturizer: Apply toner to your face, look for clarifying toners that rebalance your pH to maintain the pH value of your skin. In the end, you only have to moisturize your face, to give hydration.

* Steal baby products: Baby products are always mild in nature so that the baby's sensitive skin doesn't have to compromise. They are created to lock moisture in babies skin. So, you can also use them. Whether it's a body oil, lotion or cream, apply some on your skin every time you're applying them on your baby. If you do this, you can flaunt your skin, this way, you don't have to dedicate a specific time every day for your skincare.

Keep reading... Show less