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Default [Afghan News] July 1, 2012 - 07-05-2012, 04:27 AM

Japan conference brings Afghan government peace negotiator face-to-face with Taliban emissary
Associated Press Sunday, July 1, 2012
ISLAMABAD - A Taliban emissary sat face-to-face this week with a senior Afghan government official responsible for peace talks in a rare high-level gathering between the bitter adversaries, an official said Saturday.
The encounter at a peace and reconciliation conference in Kyoto, Japan, was a rare a positive sign in faltering attempts to find a peaceful end to the protracted conflict in Afghanistan. It also provided an unusual opportunity for Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government to sit down with its enemies — the Taliban and the Hezb-e-Islami insurgent group.
Siddiq Mansour Ansari, a peace activist who was invited to attend the meeting this week at Kyoto’s Doshisha University, said it was the third peace and reconciliation conference organized by the school but the first time the Taliban had sent an emissary.
The Taliban’s former planning minister, Qari Din Mohammed Hanif, took part in the conference “to explain the policies of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban spokesman Zabilullah Mujahed told The Associated Press by telephone.
Taliban officials rarely travel abroad for public meetings, and Mujahed didn’t say how Hanif, an ethnic Tajik from Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakhshan province, made the trip to Japan. Although a senior member of the Taliban and a member of the movement’s political committee, Hanif is not on any wanted list.
The Afghan government was represented by Mohammed Masoon Stanikzai, a senior member of the government’s High Peace Council, which is responsible for talks with the insurgency.
Ansari said the conference was not intended to find a peace settlement but to air ideas and differences.
“In this third Doshisha conference all the parties presented their ideas and agendas but there were no concrete agreements,” he said.
Karzai and U.S. officials are trying to draw the Taliban back to negotiations toward a peace deal between the Afghan government and the Pashtun-based insurgency that would end a war that American commanders have said cannot be won with military power alone.
The Taliban have refused to negotiate with the Karzai government, saying the U.S. holds effective control in Afghanistan. The Obama administration has set a 2014 deadline to withdraw forces, and is trying to frame talks among the Afghans beforehand.
Hanif said peace talks with the United States in Qatar were suspended earlier this year after the U.S. reneged on a promise to release Afghans from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and allow them to go where they pleased, according to Ansari.
In an attempt to restart the stalled peace talks, the Obama administration is considering sending several Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay to a prison in Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan officials told The Associated Press.
Under the proposal, some Taliban fighters or affiliates captured in the early days of the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and later sent to Guantanamo under the label of enemy combatants would be transferred out of full U.S. control but not released. It is meant to show more moderate elements of the Taliban insurgency that the U.S. is still interested in cutting a deal for peace.
But Mujahed said the White House’s proposal won’t coax the Taliban back to the negotiating table.
“We want the prisoners to be freed and allowed to go anywhere,” he told the AP Saturday. “But we do not want that they be released from one prison and shifted to another prison, which means from Guantanamo to Bagram. The Americans are not sincere in talks and they are responsible for the stalemate.”
Under the new proposal, Guantanamo prisoners would go to a detention facility adjacent to Bagram Air Field, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, officials of both governments said. The prison is inside the security perimeter established by the U.S. military, and is effectively under American control for now. It is scheduled to be transferred to full Afghan control in September.
Meanwhile, the Taliban and Hezb-e-Islami, despite reports of infighting in Afghanistan, found common ground at the Kyoto conference in their demand that all foreign troops, including trainers, leave Afghanistan after 2014.
“The Taliban insisted on complete withdrawal of foreign troops from the country after 2014 and called the Karzai government a puppet saying they would not negotiate with Karzai or his government,” Ansari said.
Hezb-e-Islami is a radical Islamist militia that has thousands of fighters and followers across the north and east. Its leader, powerful warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, is a former Afghan prime minister and one-time U.S. ally who is now listed as a terrorist by Washington.
Hekmatyar, who has widespread support in parts of Afghanistan and within the Afghan government, wants transitional talks as well as a broad-based government to replace the existing one in Kabul
His party representative, Dr. Ghairat Baheer, has previously held talks with U.S. officials in Kabul, including U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker.
Ansari said the conference will seek to set up an international commission that could act as a peace broker between the Afghan government and insurgents. There was no agreement on this commission at the conference, he said.
“We are proposing an international commission for this because no one trusts each other,” he said. “They didn’t trust the High Peace Council of Afghanistan and now we hope they will agree to an impartial international commission,” made up of Islamic scholars, academics and civil society representatives.
“It’s been 11 years and billions of dollars have been spent and there has been no change and good brought to Afghans,” said Ansari. “We need to stop this war because it is affecting not only Afghanistan but it is a big headache to the international community as well.”
___
Kathy Gannon is AP Special Regional Correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan and can be reached at www.twitter.com/kathygannon . AP writers Anne Gearan contributed to this report from Washington and Deb Riechmann from Kabul.

Afghan Blast Hits Bus, Kills 5
VOA News July 1, 2012
Officials in southern Afghanistan say a roadside bomb blast hit a passenger bus Sunday, killing five civilians, including women and children.
Authorities say the early morning blast wounded at least 18 other people in Ghazni province. The bus was traveling from Kabul to the southern city of Kandahar.
One of the wounded told Reuters news agency that shortly before the explosion, NATO soldiers nearby warned the driver against going ahead but he did not listen.
No one has claimed responsibility for Sunday's bombing, but placing improvised explosive devices along roads is a common insurgent tactic.
According to the United Nations, anti-government forces are responsible for the vast majority of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
U.N. special representative for Afghanistan Jan Kubis said in May that insurgents were responsible for nearly 80 percent of the 579 civilian deaths in the first four months of this year. That is about the same percentage as last year. For the same four months, NATO and Afghan forces were responsible for nine percent of civilian deaths - a drop of five percent from the previous year.
The overall number of civilian casualties dropped by more than 20 percent during the first four months this year as compared to the same period in 2011. This was the first reduction since the United Nations started tracking the figures five years ago.
Last year, a record 3,021 civilians died as insurgents increased their use of indiscriminate weapons, including roadside bombs and suicide bombers.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

Gunmen gun down security official in western Afghan city
HERAT, Afghanistan, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Unknown gunmen shot dead an official with the intelligence agency on Sunday in Herat city, the capital of western Afghan province of Herat.
"Two unidentified gunmen riding a motorbike opened fire on Syed Ismael Qazi Zada, a senior officer with the National Directorate for Security (NDS) in Herat province, and murdered him on the spot," spokesman of NDS in the province Syed Shir Agha told Xinhua.
The incident happened in the morning rush hour when Qazi Zada was on way to office and attackers fled after firing seven bullets on their target, he added.

U.S. nixes larger office for Afghan defense minister
The Washington Post By Joshua Partlow Sunday, July 1, 2012
KABUL - The United States is spending $92 million to build Afghanistan a new “Pentagon,” a massive five-story military headquarters with domed roofs and a high-tech basement command center that will link Afghan generals with their troops fighting the Taliban across the country.
But when Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak asked for a bigger office in the building — a change that would cost about $300,000 — he got a firm “no” in response. These types of changes cost time and money, U.S. military officials said, and in Afghanistan, both are in ever-shorter supply.
“We could do them, but we’re not going to do them,” Col. Andrew Backus, the director of engineering for the NATO command in charge of training and equipping the Afghan security forces, said of the Afghans’ proposed revisions. “What we’re going to do is finish the project with strict change control and turn it over to the Afghans. And if they want to change it, then they can change it.”
The military headquarters building is one of the most prominent public symbols of America’s ongoing financial commitment to Afghanistan. Even at this late stage of the war, with American troops beginning their withdrawal, the U.S. government is still working its way through a $10 billion menu of construction projects aimed at bolstering the Afghan security forces, more than half of which have yet to be completed.
In addition to the Defense Ministry headquarters, the United States is building a $54 million Kabul headquarters for the Interior Ministry, which oversees the Afghan police, as well as a $102 million base for the military’s 201st Corps in eastern Afghanistan.
But with strict timelines and eroding domestic support for the war, U.S. military officials say there’s little room for revising what remains to be done.
“We are taking a firm stance with a set of disciplined business rules on change control,” Backus said. “That’s our approach.”
That policy has already been tested at a high level with Afghanistan’s Pentagon. Rising amid Kabul’s dusty streets, the 516,000-square-foot edifice, still cloaked in scaffolds and cranes, dwarfs other buildings in town.
“Once it’s finished, it will be a permanent and a very significant illustration of the U.S. support for Afghanistan,” Wardak, the defense minister, said in an interview. “And we needed it.”
But Wardak said he asked for two changes to the plan, one involving a conference room and the other his office. The current configuration, with his staff situated in an adjacent room, would require dignitaries to wade through a crowd of people to get to him, he said. “I have 100 or something staff. They wanted all of them to be crowded near my office. I didn’t want them close,” he said. “That was one objection.”
U.S. military officials said the office planned for the minister — which had been agreed to by the Afghans — is about 1,400 square feet, and the proposed changes would have doubled its size, as well as given the minister direct access to an elevator. A more costly proposal, to expand the basement command center from 4,000 to 6,000 square feet, would have cost $4 million and delayed the completion, now expected for early next year, Backus said. “We’re resisting that change as well,” he said.
Wardak said he is not interested in a lavish setting. And after eight years in his job, and more than 30 years as a soldier — fighting the Soviets as an insurgent and the Taliban as a counter-insurgent — he doesn’t envision spending much time in the new building before he retires.
“I’m not somebody to be very luxurious or something like that. I have never sat on that chair,” he said, motioning to a throne-like leather chair behind his desk.
He has had some harrowing moments working here. In the adjacent room, bullet holes are still visible in the walls where a Taliban gunman snuck inside and shot up the ministry last year.
“I think that is not such a major issue, bigger or smaller,” he said. “I would be very happy with a room this size.”

Afghanistan keen to trade with India via Wagah-Attari border
By Gyanendra Kumar Keshri | IANS India Private Limited – Sun 1 Jul, 2012
New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) Afghanistan wants to trade with India through the Wagah-Attari border and has urged Pakistan to work out a mechanism that would spur regional trade and boost economic engagement in South Asia.
"We are very keen to trade with India via Pakistan. Opening of the land route will substantially boost our trade," said Afghanistan's Commerce and Industry Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Ahady.
He said Afghanistan was expecting a positive response from Pakistan.
"We are negotiating. There could be some transit fee. But the important thing is we should be allowed to import and export via Wagah border," Ahady, who was here to participate in Delhi Investment Summit on Afghanistan, told IANS in an interview.
Dry fruits from Afghanistan are very popular in India and it is mostly traded via Iran. If traded through the land route via Pakistan, the transit cost will come down substantially, benefiting both traders and consumers.
Afghanistan has a transit and trade agreement with Pakistan, but India is not covered under it.
In a significant departure from its policy, Pakistan this year has allowed export of 1 lakh tonne of wheat from India to Afghanistan through a port in Karachi.
Ahady said he was hopeful that Pakistan would allow trade between India and Afghanistan.
"If it happens, our bilateral trade can increase to $500 million or even more. Our current trade is insignificant," he said.
He said apart from dry fruits, Afghanistan can also export marble, cement and mineral products to India, while India can supply a whole lot of products from manufacturing to agricultural goods.
Ahady said the recent warmth in India-Pakistan trade relations would also benefit Afghanistan and other countries in the region.
Ahady urged the Indian government and companies to help build productive assets in Afghanistan.
"We are very close to India - both geographically and culturally. We urge Indian companies to come and help in building productive assets," he said, adding return on investment in Afghanistan was substantially higher than most parts in the world.
There is no substantial Indian investment in Afghanistan. Last year, a consortium led by government-run Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) won a contract to develop iron ore deposit in Bamyan Province of central Afghanistan.
The consortium has also got contract to build a 6 million tonne steel plant in the nearby area at a cost of around $11 billion.
Ahady said the proposed investment would play a significant role in development of Afghanistan.
Ahady claimed that security situation has improved in Afghanistan and the government was taking all necessary measures to facilitate investment.
"I and all other concerned ministers pay personal attention to the issues related to foreign investments. We want overseas investments in all sectors including mines, manufacturing and agriculture," he said.
He said that in many ways Afghanistan's company law gives shareholders the same rights that they enjoy in the US.
"We allow 100 percent foreign ownership of enterprises, easy repatriation of profits, treat foreign investors identical to domestic ones, and we allow accelerated depreciation," said Ahady.
(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted at gyanendra.k@ians.in)

Tab for alternate Afghan supply route hits $2.1 billion
USA TODAY By Marcus Weisgerber 30/06/2012
Pakistan's refusal to let NATO access its ports and roads into Afghanistan has cost the Pentagon more than $2.1 billion in extra transportation costs to move supplies and equipment in and out of the country.
The revelation of the huge cost comes as the Pentagon continues to negotiate with Islamabad to regain access to the supply routes.
"The good news is that there continue to be those discussions," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday during a briefing at the Pentagon. "There still are some tough issues to try to resolve, but, you know, I think the important thing right now is that both sides in good faith keep working to see if we can resolve this."
Pakistan closed the ground route to NATO supplies after a U.S. airstrike mistakenly killed 24 of its soldiers last November. The only other access to land-locked Afghanistan is through the Northern Distribution Network, a series of roads through Russia and Central Asia.
Panetta told the Senate Appropriations Committee in mid-June that the closure of the Pakistani routes was costing the U.S. military about an extra $100 million per month. These new costs were disclosed in a Pentagon budget document — called the omnibus reprogramming request — sent to Congress on Friday. In the document, which is traditionally sent to lawmakers at the end of each June, the Pentagon asks for permission to shift already appropriated money within its own accounts.
The Army asked Congress to shift $1.7 billion due to "shortfalls that resulted from increased fuel costs and continued closure of the Pakistan Ground Lines of Communication," the document states.
The other, most expensive, transport option is to airlift supplies and equipment into Afghanistan.
The Air Force has requested the transfer of $369.2 million of airlift, "partially due to the closure of the Pakistan Ground Lines of Communication ," the document states
Contributing: Kate Brannen, Zachary Fryer-Biggs, Christopher P. Cavas and Paul McLeary

Afghan bombers try to 'kill everyone with authority' in district
Los Angles Times June 30, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan - Insurgents made a determined attempt to "kill everyone with authority" in a district in eastern Afghanistan, storming government offices with a team of suicide bombers. The attackers were repelled, but 11 people were killed, Afghan officials said Saturday.
The bombers targeted the compounds of the governor, the police chief and other locales in an assault beginning early Friday, officials in Nuristan province’s Kamdesh district said. At least five civilians, four of them women, and six police officers were killed, provincial authorities said.
After the attacks began with rocket fire, fighting raged for about 12 hours, Afghan officials said.
"They wanted to kill everyone with authority in the district," said the provincial governor, Mohammad Tamim Nuristani.
Eastern Afghanistan has emerged as the focal point of combat during this “fighting season,” which generally coincides with warmer temperatures. This year marks the last major American military offensive in advance of a draw-down that is to bring U.S. troop strength down to about 68,000 in September — from a high of more than 100,000.
In Nuristan, the governor said some of the attackers were thought to have crossed over from Pakistan, an assertion likely to inflame border tensions between the two nations. The governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan have accused each other of allowing combatants to cross the frontier and stage attacks.
Afghan officials said up to three dozen insurgents were killed in the fighting in Nuristan. The U.S. Embassy and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force expressed condolences for the civilian deaths in the attacks.
Elsewhere in eastern Afghanistan, officials in Paktia province said a bomb went off outside a bank in the provincial capital, Gardez, on Saturday, killing two police officers.
The NATO force also reported the deaths of five civilians in two roadside bombings in Helmand province, in southern Afghanistan.

Young Afghans seek solace from war in heavy metal rock
Reuters By Miriam Arghandiwal Sat Jun 30, 2012
KABUL - On a dimly lit stage the godfather of Afghan rock prepares for the next song, as images of the French movie La Haine (Hate) flicker above and his audience is asked what song would they sing if they were lying in the gutter dying.
For "District Unknown", Afghanistan's first heavy metal band, the answer could be "Two Seconds After the Blast", from their soon-to-be recorded first album, "A 24-hour life time".
"We live under the constant fear of sudden death," says Qasem Foushanji, guitarist with "District Unknown", one of a handful of bands to emerge with mentoring from Afghanistan's first school of rock, which opened in May.
The thumping, heavy metal rock and aggressive lyrics which reverberate within the sound-proof walls of Kabul's "Sound Centre" music school allows young Afghans to vent their anger at the violence they have witnessed during years of war before and after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
The District Unknown song "The Beast" has lyrics like: "I scream loud and harsh; For you to run away".
"The beast in the song is fear, and if one can defeat fear then they can make a better reality for themselves," says Pedram Foushanji, Qasem's brother, and band's songwriter and drummer.
Kabul's rock music school, housed inside the small "Venue" restaurant in the Afghan capital, also reflects the return, although sometimes tentative, of social and individual freedoms since the end of the Taliban rule in 1996.
The Taliban's extreme interpretation of Islam banned cinema, TV and most music, except that rooted in religion, and forbid women and girls from working or studying. Under the Taliban, a rock school would have been destroyed and its musicians killed.
Even now, 16 years since Taliban rule ended, Afghanistan's young rock musicians are sometimes forced to wear masks when performing to avoid being attacked by religious conservatives.
And the shadow of the Taliban looms large ahead of the 2014 transition when most foreign combat troops leave and hand security control back to Afghan forces.
The Taliban staged a 12-hour siege at a popular lakeside hotel outside Kabul this month, accusing hotel hostages of drinking and prostitution. At least 20 people were killed.
Women and girls continue to suffer rights abuses at the hands of pro-Taliban conservatives. In April, about 150 schoolgirls were poisoned after drinking contaminated water in an attack blamed on those opposed to female education.
"Our music is not about heartbreak or boy-girl relationships. We don't live that," says Qais Shaghasi, guitarist with District Unknown.
"It's about watching a 15-year-old being married off to a 50-year-old man by her father for money. That's what we see," says Shaghasi, wearing a black T-shirt depicting U.S. trash metal band Slayer.
SEEDS OF ROCK SOWN
After years of Western influences filtering into traditionally conservative Afghanistan, via foreigners associated with NATO-led forces, radio, film, the Internet and a sprinkling of CD music shops, the seeds of rock were sown.
Afghanistan's school of rock was the brainchild of an unlikely trio: Boston cellist Robin Ryzek, who came to teach classical music; former Pakistan refugee Humayun Zardan, forbidden from learning guitar as a youth but determined to see young Afghans rock in his restaurant; and Australian punk rock guitarist Travis Beard, regarded as the godfather of Kabul rock.
"Most Afghans have no clue about what they're hearing, it's just something new and they're drawn to it," explains the pony-tailed Beard.
The school's walls are covered with murals and paintings by local artists, and guitars and speakers have been donated from every corner of the world. Three grungy sound-proof rooms mean restaurant diners and gun-toting neighbors remain unaware of the rock revolution within.
The school has attracted some 20 students, including a handful of girls, seeking refuge in rock.
Pedram and Qasem were living in Iran when they were given an album by the U.S. heavy metal band Metallica, along with a warning about its "harsh" sound, which is in stark contrast to Afghanistan's traditional string and drum music.
The brothers immediately took a liking to the fast-paced, aggressive sound, saying a childhood spent amid war and violence helped them to connect with the music.
"I feel most comfortable playing metal music because you go out there in everyday life and you get a lot of negative energy," Pedram said. "Playing metal makes me feel better. It does for me what meditation does for others."
It was probably no surprise that young Afghan men like the Foushanji brothers picked heavy metal to express themselves, said Mohammad Zaman Rajabi, a Kabul psychologist.
Just like young U.S. soldiers turned to 60s rock when confronted with the horrors of the Vietnam War.
The fast-paced thrash of heavy metal rock is a magnet for youths desensitized to violence, said Rajabi, citing the rock fights and wrestling among Afghan youths on Kabul's streets.
"It gives them an opportunity to express their deepest emotions in a very aggressive, masochistic way," he said.
"It's a smarter way to cope with the reality. In classical music you need a stable state of mind to express yourself through traditional instruments like the sitar, but in rock or heavy metal the kids feel more free."
ROCK REBELLION
Rising above oppression seems a theme within the school.
"La Haine", screened during a performance by the school's founders, depicts the tough lives of three young 20-something migrants in an impoverished French housing project.
During the performance, students also listened to an audio clip from the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line", when famed U.S. record producer Sam Phillips asks Cash if he was lying in the gutter dying what would be the one song he'd sing -- "One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up".
"It's given them attitude. Three years ago they were shy little boys," explains co-founder Beard of the school's impact.
"One of the biggest problems in this country is that there's no way for people to voice their opinions, you can't go out in the street and start saying stuff, people will beat you up. The only place you can really do things freely is on a stage or on a canvas," said Beard.
Pedram juggles a double life of engineering student and rock musician, but Qasem has dropped out of college to pursue art and music full-time. "Pedram got harassed at school with people saying he was a lover of Satan," Shaghasi said.
On a recent Sunday night both the Foushanji and Shaghasi families watched their sons perform for the first time.
"I was always very worried about what he was doing, but now after seeing him perform I feel a lot better about it," Shaghasi's mother said after the show.
Beard said it is a common misconception for rock music to be labeled as Satanic or anti-Islam by conservatives.
"If you come to a show though you'll see it's all just innocent fun, with really loud and sometimes hard-to-listen-to noise," he said.
Nevertheless, Beard said the musicians take safety precautions and sometimes cancel concerts. Kabul might be accepting of the school but it would be unrealistic to play rock music in other parts of the country under Taliban influence.
"Kabul's a bubble, we wouldn't be able to go to Kandahar and do this," he said of the southern province that is the birthplace of the Taliban.
The acceptance of Western music in Kabul has seen the "Rock in Kabul" festival grow to six concerts a year. Organized by Beard, the festival draws in an audience of around 450 people. At first only 10 percent were Afghans, but now the split between foreigners and Afghans is 50/50.
FEMALES STILL STRUGGLE TO BE HEARD
Kabul's school of rock is also allowing young Afghan girls to strut their stuff on stage. Unlike most schools in Afghanistan there is no segregation of sexes here.
"I always wanted to learn to play rock music and tried to learn in other courses, but there were taught by men and had all male students, so they used to harass us," said Sahar Fetrat, wearing a black scarf while strumming her guitar.
Fetrat, a 16-year-old high school student learning to play guitar, said she attends the school with her sister Sadaf, 20, who is learning to play drums.
"The teachers at this school are used to being around women. The students too. They don't make it uncomfortable. I want to learn to play rock because I'm a very active and hyper person, and rock is wild and I can be wild playing it," she said.
Students have to produce mixed-sex performances every week.
"Segregation of sexes causes a lot of unnecessary problems in this country," said Beard, who plans to form a girlband.
"The male population in the music scene here do not even want to give the girls a chance. They laugh at them before they've even started to play music," he said.
"What's really annoying is that these are not the mullahs or the conservatives. We're talking about the Afghan youth who are already playing music here, who are going to parties and living a semi-Western lifestyle. They're still close-minded about women, which is ridiculous."
(Editing by Michael Perry)

Russia Allows Nato to Use Airbase
TOLOnews.com Saturday, 30 June 2012
Russia has allowed the US and Nato allies to used a country airbase for transits to and from Afghanistan.
Moscow had announced plans to create a Nato transit hub in Ulyanovsk city in March, and the decision was taken on June 25.
A respective decree, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, was published on Friday.
The Nato and Russian officials have sought to allay fears that the hub would turn out to be a full-fledged base.
"We have no intention to establish a base in Russia," the Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
"This is a pragmatic arrangement which allows us to transport non-lethal weapons and troops to benefit our operation in Afghanistan."
Meanwhile, the Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement that: "There never has been and never will be a Nato military base in Ulyanovsk."
The hub would see the "transit of exclusively non-lethal cargoes," he added in the statement.
It comes after Pakistan blocked Nato supplies from crossing its territory after an Nato airstrike that Killed 24 Pakistani soldiers November last year.

Nuristan: 10 Killed, 20 Others Injured in Insurgents Attack
TOLOnews.com Saturday, 30 June 2012
Ten were killed and 20 others were injured in an Insurgents attacked three villages in the Kamdesh district of Nuristan Province near the Pakistan border on Friday.
The fighting took place about 12 hours, and more than 50 houses were destroyed, provincial spokesman Mohammad Zareen said.
He said dozens Pakistani Taliban insurgents had stormed the area and started clashed with Afghan police in which ten were killed among five women, three policemen, three local policemen.
He added that the injured taken in an Afghan National Army military based in Kamdesh province and they asked central government for helps.
Local officials said that the Nato has provided some air support for Afghan security forces involved in the fighting.
Reports said that several suicide bombers detonated his explosives at the gate of a government compound.
No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The remote district has bordered with Pakistan and previously also insurgents cross border and targeted Afghan border police checkpoints.

www.afghanistannewscenter.com
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