Sunday, April 30, 2006

Karzai's Holiday Pardons Set an American Free

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 30 — An American imprisoned here after being found guilty of running a private jail and torturing detainees was released Sunday under a presidential pardon.

Army Moving to Secure Data at Afghan Base

WASHINGTON — The Army's chief of staff said Wednesday that he was frustrated by security lapses at Bagram air base in Afghanistan that led to the loss of potentially sensitive data, and that the military must learn how to be more careful with new technology.

UN envoy calls for action on Afghanistan Compact development plan

“Much hard work lies ahead if progress is to be assured, if peace is to prevail, if human rights are to be strengthened, if friendly relations with neighbours are to flourish, and if economic growth is to start benefiting all Afghanistan's citizens,” Tom Koenigs told a meeting of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, which was set up to resolve strategic issues and provide high-level political support for the Compact's implementation over the next five years.

Tracking Nuclear Proliferation | International Treaties

Iranian Ambassador to the U.N. Javad Zarif Defends His Country's Nuclear Ambitions

The question that needs to be asked is whether Israel and the United States are prepared to make the same statement that Iran has repeatedly made, and that is: We have not and will not attack or threaten to attack another country.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Afghanistan's new militant alliances

"It was just very, very exciting to be in that room with those men with their huge white teeth."

Leaks of Military Files Resume-- By Paul Watson

Rice Warns Against Russian Gas Monopoly

Italian woman ticketed for wearing a burqa

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bush Begins Push for Immigration Deal With Congress

Britain's Prince Harry May Be Kept From Action

Harry, whose mother Princess Diana died in a Paris car crash when he was 12, is a Second Lieutenant in the Household Cavalry. The regiment is due to go to Iraq next year and British soldiers are also deployed in Afghanistan.

In Immigration Remarks, Bush Hints He Favors Senate Plan

He added: "Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic. It's just not going to work. You can hear people out there hollering it's going to work. It's not going to work."

Afghanistan should make room for its female leaders

Denying women positions of influence is fundamentally undemocratic.

Friday, April 21, 2006

U.S. faulted on efforts to rebuild nations

The nearly 400-page report by the government-funded RAND Corporation compared the successful rebuilding of post-World War II Germany and Japan with more recent nation-building efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans.

Afghan Lawmakers Back Karzai Choices

But five of Karzai's nominees, including the incumbent information and economy ministers and the sole woman, were rejected.

Japan to Extend Support in Afghanistan

Queen Elizabeth Celebrates 80th Birthday

WINDSOR, England -- Her gifts included a 21-gun salute, a Union Jack baseball cap, a tea set and a birthday tribute Friday from Prince Charles to his "darling mama," 80-year-old Queen Elizabeth II.

Parliament rejects five of the 25-member cabinet

KABUL, Apr 20 (Pajhwok Afghan News): The lower house of parliament Thursday rejected five ministers-designate of the 25-member cabinet approved by President Hamid Karzai about a month back.

Analysis: New Afghan Foreign Minister Steps Out Of Obscurity

Spanta has sought to portray himself as a force for moderation and pragmatism in the proposed government -- a self-described "Muslim democrat" who wants to stay the course in Afghan foreign policy.

Afghanistan's Uncertain Transition from Turmoil to Normalcy-- By, Barnett Rubin

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Place for Both the Pen and the Sword

Professors Teach College Courses for U.S. Troops Stationed in Afghanistan

Bush Speaks Out for Rumsfeld

'My Full Support' For Defense Chief

Baby Boomers Stay Active, and So Do Their Doctors

Muslim Film Festival in NY Is Shouting to Be Heard

Friday, April 14, 2006

Bushes Pay $187,768 in Taxes for 2005

The Bushes contributed $75,560 - about 10 percent of their income - to churches and charitable organizations. Those included the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army's funds for hurricane relief in the United States and earthquake aid in Pakistan.

Reviewing The Alternative Minimum Tax

Taxpayers who are subject to it have to calculate their regular income tax, compare that to the AMT, and pay whichever amount is larger.

Ahmed Rashid interviewed by David Barsamian

What we've seen over the last five years in Afghanistan is the fact that because reconstruction has not taken place, nor job creation, investment in agriculture, by which 17% of the population live, people have grown back to growing what is the simplest and most lucrative crop, which is poppy. With poppy comes, of course, massive corruption. Poppy is outside the formal economy. It's part of the black economy, and a lot of the profits are taken out of Afghanistan. But those that remain form an enormous bank, if you like, for corruption and corrupt practices.

Afghans must balance foreign policy: minister nominee

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan must have a balanced foreign policy, with good relations with the United States and India as well as immediate neighbors Pakistan and Iran, the nominee for foreign minister said on Thursday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Afghanistan's Lost Convert: The Troubled Odyssey of Abdul Rahman

SPIEGEL, The case of Afghan Christian convert Abdul Rahman captured the world's attention for two weeks. Now his German asylum file and statements by his brother paint a picture of a seriously troubled man.

U.S. Military Secrets for Sale at Afghan Bazaar - Los Angeles Times

Afghan Shops Searched for Stolen Files

BAGRAM, Afghanistan -- A shopkeeper outside the U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Afghanistan was selling computer memory drives Wednesday containing seemingly sensitive military data stolen from inside the base _ including the Social Security numbers of four American generals.

Rice Urges U.N. to Take 'Strong Steps' on Iran

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Afghan drugs barons flaunt their wealth and power

"Many smugglers don't even bother hiding their wealth," said a British diplomat in Kabul "It's their way of saying 'screw you' to authority."

Berlusconi refuses to concede Prodi win

Silvio Berlusconi’s ruling centre-right coalition yesterday refused to concede defeat in Italy’s general election and demanded a recount in the hope of overturning the victory claimed by Romano Prodi and the centre-left opposition.

European Ministers Consider Possible Actions Against Iran

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, who drafted a confidential options paper for the 25 ministers, and the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, said that the discussion here on Monday was just a contingency-planning exercise and that sanctions were not imminent.

Bush Insists on Diplomacy in Confronting a Nuclear Iran

"One of the decisions I made early on was to have a multinational approach to sending messages, clear messages, to the Iranians, that if they want to be a part of the — an accepted nation in the world, that they must give up their nuclear weapons ambitions," he said. "And we're making pretty good progress."

Iran Marks Step in Nuclear Development

"Iran has joined the nuclear countries of the world," he later added. "This is a starting point for more major points of success for the Iranian nation."

Iranian President Confirms Uranium Enrichment

"I'm announcing officially that Iran has now joined the countries that have nuclear technology," Ahmadinejad said in a carefully staged speech carried live across Iran. "This is a very historic moment, and this is because of the Iranian people and their belief. And this is the start of the progress of this country."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Italian elections 2006 - Prodi claims win in knife-edge Italian election

Romano Prodi and his centre-left opposition claimed victory early Tuesday morning after the closest election in modern Italian history, but the ruling centre-right coalition of Silvio Berlusconi refused to concede defeat.

Karzai signs accords with India

Afghanistan and India have signed three agreements on education and rural development during a visit to Delhi by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Tight Election Race in Italy

A dramatic shift in Italian vote projections Monday indicated Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may defy all predictions and cling to power in both houses of parliament.

U.S. Envoy to Iraq Says Talks With Iran Delayed

"We do not want to give the impression that the United States is sitting with Iran to decide about the Iraqi government. The Iraqis will decide that," Khalilzad said on "Fox News Sunday."

Bush Dismisses Attack on Iran as 'Wild Speculation'

Regarding Iran, Bush said, "We do not want the Iranians to have a nuclear weapon, the capacity to make a nuclear weapon, or the knowledge about how to make a nuclear weapon."

French Government Withdraws Controversial Job Law

PARIS, April 10 -- French President Jacques Chirac's government Monday withdrew a controversial youth employment law that had ignited more than a month of protests and violence on the streets of Paris and other cities.

France Drops Labor Law That Led to Protests

Exit Polls Show Italian Election Is Too Close to Call

Full results were not expected until late into the night, and possibly not until Tuesday, and neither Mr. Berlusconi nor his opponent, former Prime Minister Romano Prodi, made any public statements.

Immigration Advocates Rally Around U.S.

The marches took place in big cities like Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta, and in smaller communities like Hyde Park, N.Y., Garden City, Kan., and Belle Glade, Fla.

Bush Calls Reports of Plan to Strike Iran 'Speculation'

WASHINGTON, April 10 — President Bush today dismissed reports that his administration is accelerating plans for a possible military strike against Iran, calling them "wild speculation."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Karzai in India to boost ties, Pakistan wary

NEW DELHI, April 9 (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in India on Sunday to boost ties with New Delhi that have blossomed after the fall of the Taliban regime, in a trip a nervous Pakistan will be closely watching.

Italians Vote in Ballot Seen As Referendum on Premier

ROME, April 9 -- Italians voted Sunday in a two-day election that could oust Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the media tycoon who promised prosperity but failed to lift Italy's flagging economy during five years in power.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

U.S. Is Studying Military Strike Options on Iran

"The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally, Israel," Bush said. "That's a threat, a serious threat. . . . I'll make it clear again that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel."

U.N.: New Rights Council Needs U.S. Support

(New York, April 6, 2006) – The United States decision not to seek election to the new United Nations Human Rights Council undermines its claims to leadership in promoting human rights, Human Rights Watch said

Outgoing FM says change in ministry's structure needless

In an interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, the minister warned against drastic changes in foreign policy and said it was not the job of the new FM. Rather, he added, it was the leadership (President Karzai) to take a decision if needed.

Afghanistan's first open heart operation gives little Elaha new life

Thirteen-year-old Afghan girl Elaha lies in The French Medical Institute for Children hospital in Kabul, April 4, after a life-saving open-heart operation by French surgeons, the first-ever in Afghanistan. AFP


Indeed, most of Afghanistan’s ambassadors are relatives of high-ranking officials.

Wife of French president visits Kabul

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Interview: Afghan President Karzai Talks To RFE/RL

RFE/RL: If the parliament rejects some of your cabinet proposals for any reason, do you have alternative proposals in mind?

Senate Deal Set for Immigration, but Then Falters

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Senate Panel Passes Emergency Funding Bill

Europe | Amnesty accuses US on rendition

"The US administration is manipulating commercial arrangements in order to be able to transfer people in violation of international law"

Europe | Chirac to sign France's job law

French President Jacques Chirac will sign a youth employment law which has sparked mass protests, he has declared.

Govt's investment policy comes under fire

JALALABAD, Apr 3 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Majority of investors will withdraw from Afghanistan if the government failed to bring positive changes in its trade and investment policies.

Monday, April 03, 2006

International occupation isn't helping Afghanistan

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER-- Only 98 U.S. troops died in Afghanistan last year but the ratio of casualties to overall troop levels makes Afghanistan as dangerous as Iraq. While Iraq's violent disintegration dominates the headlines, President Bush touts Afghanistan as a success.

U.S. Warns Afghan Violence Will Worsen

"We will probably see a rise in violence this year as NATO spreads into areas in a more dense fashion, as the insurgents try to test the new forces (and) as the government takes on the narcotics traffickers in new areas," Boucher told reporters in Kabul.

US Sees More Afghan Violence as NATO Expands