Wednesday, April 30, 2014

پوهنتون امریکایی در ننگرهار گشایش می یابد --- رئیس پوهنتون امریکایی افغانستان می گوید که آن پوهنتون برعلاوۀ فعالیت در کابل، کورس هایی را در کندهار و بلخ دایر کرده و عنقریب در ننگرهار نیز آن برنامه را آغاز می کند. مایکل سمیت، رئیس پوهنتون امریکایی در افغانستان می گوید که در میان ٢٠٠٠ محصل آن نهاد تحصیلی، افغان ها از تمام مناطق افغانستان حضور دارد. داکتر سمیت می گوید برای اینکه اکثر جوانان افغان از اقتصاد خوبی برخوردار نیستند، پوهنتون کوشیده است مصارف را پایین نگهداشته و از محصلین پول کمتری بگیرد. -- به گفتۀ رئیس پوهنتون امریکایی در افغانستان، همین اکنون ٧٠ درصد محصلین شامل در آن نهاد، بورسیه تحصیلی دریافت می کنند یا اینکه محصلین همین اکنون از طریق اشتغال مصارف شان را پوره می کنند. میکل سمیت می گوید که برای فارغان پوهنتون امریکایی افغانستان که نه تنها به لسان انگلیسی بلدیت کامل داشته و در ساحات محاسبه، تکنالوژی معلوماتی، کمپیوتر ساینس وغیره مهارت عالی دارند شرایط کاری مهیا می شود. به گفتۀ آقای سمیت، نصف محصلین آن پوهنتون حتا پیش از فراغت، پیشنهاد کار را دریافت می کنند. زیرا به گفتۀ وی نیروی کاری توانا به سطح ایالات متحده امریکا در این جا تربیت می یابد. -- پوهنتون امریکایی در افغانستان توامیت هایی با پوهنځی حقوق پوهنتون کابل و برنامه ماستری پوهنتون تعلیم و تربیه در کابل دارد. آقای سمیت گفت که این نهاد غیرانتفاعی و کاملاً افغانی بوده، بیشتر استادان و محصلین آنرا افغان ها تشکیل داده و مطابق به مقررات وزارت تحصیلات عالی افغانستان فعالیت داشته و درین جا ثبت می باشد. آقای سمیت می گوید این پوهنتون در کنار معاونت های ایالات متحده از نهاد های افغانستان و افغان ها به پیمانۀ زیاد حمایت می شوند. او بر اهمیت تحصیلات عالی تاکید کرده و آن را زمینه ساز پیشرفت و رفاه کشور می داند. -- به گفته مسؤولین، پوهنتون امریکایی در افغانستان با اعمار تاسیسات جدید، ظرفیت پذیرش و ساحات تحصیلی آن چندین برابر افزایش داده و فضای پوهنتون را از هر گونه زد و بند های سیاسی به دور نگهداشته اند - صدای امریکا

India turns to Russia to help supply arms to Afghan forces --- (Reuters) - India has signed an agreement under which it will pay Russia to supply arms and equipment to the Afghan military as foreign combat troops prepare to leave the country, in a move that risks infuriating Pakistan. -- Under the deal, smaller arms such as light artillery and mortars will be sourced from Russia and moved to Afghanistan. -- But it could eventually involve the transfer of heavy artillery, tanks and even combat helicopters that the Afghans have been asking India for since last year. -- India has already been training military officers from Afghanistan, hosted a 60-member Special Forces group last year in the deserts of Rajasthan and supplied equipment such as combat vehicles and field medical support facilities. -- But the decision to meet some of Afghanistan's military hardware demands - albeit sourcing them from Russia - points to a deepening role in Afghanistan aimed at preventing it from slipping back into the hands of the Taliban and other Islamist groups that are hostile to India. -- It comes as China, another big player in the region which borders Afghanistan via a small, remote strip of land, is preparing for a more robust role in Afghanistan, also concerned that the withdrawal of NATO troops will leave a hotbed of militancy on its doorstep. -- Like China, India is unlikely to put boots on the ground to reinforce its strategy in Afghanistan. -- "We can't commit troops on the ground, we can't give them the military equipment that they have been asking us for, for all sorts of reasons including the lack of surplus stocks," said an Indian foreign ministry official, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. --"Involving a third party is the next best option," the official said, referring to plans to source military supplies from Russia for Afghan forces. - The lack of direct access to Afghanistan poses additional hurdles to arms transfers. -- An Indian team visited Moscow in February to firm up the deal, the official said. -- The two countries will also help Afghanistan restart an old armaments factory near Kabul and prepare an inventory of Russian military equipment in Afghanistan that could be refitted for use. That dates back to the Soviet invasion of 1979-89, although much of the hardware is beyond repair. - More, Sanjeev Miglani, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/30/us-india-afghanistan-arms-idUSBREA3T0J320140430

غیبت مجاهدین افغان در مذاکرات ژنو، شوروی چگونه بیرون رفت؟ --- با فرارسیدن بیست و دومین سالگرد هشتم ثور ۱۳۷۱، سالروز پیروزی مجاهدین، خیلی‌ها به فکر بازنگری نقش مجاهدین در جنگ با شوروی و شکست ارتش سرخ افتاده‌اند. -- مجاهدین همواره "شکست" ارتش سرخ را دستاورد نه سال "جهاد" مسلحانه خود می‌دانند، اما در موافقتنامه های ژنو که براساس آن نیروهای شوروی افغانستان را ترک کردند، اصلا نامی از مجاهدین برده نشده است. --- توافقنامه‌ ژنو (۱۴ اپریل ۱۹۸۸) در پی ۴۱ دور مذاکره بین مقام‌های دولت وقت افغانستان، پاکستان، شوروی و آمریکا با میانجیگری دیه‌گو کوردوویز نماینده ویژه سازمان ملل در امور افغانستان به امضا رسید. -- این توافقنامه‌ها را دولت‌های وقت افغانستان و پاکستان به عنوان طرف‌های اصلی و آمریکا و شوروی به عنوان "ضامن" و "ناظر" امضا کرده‌اند. -- عنوان کلی این توافقات "موافقتنامه دو جانبه بین جمهوری افغانستان و جمهوری اسلامی پاکستان درباره اصول روابط دوجانبه، به‌ویژه درباره عدم دخالت و عدم مداخله" است. -- موضوع خروج نیروهای شوروی در یکی از موافقتنامه‌های فرعی این توافقات زیر عنوان "موافقت درباره روابط متقابل برای حل وضعیت مرتبط با افغانستان" مطرح شده است. --- در بخشی از بند پنجم این سند آمده که جمهوری افغانستان و اتحاد جماهیر شوروی توافق کردند که "نیروهای خارجی" در ظرف نه ماه بیرون شوند. -- در این توافقنامه هیچ نامی از مجاهدین نیست و حتی به صورت مستقیم نامی از ارتش شوروی برده نشده و اشاره صریحی به حضور نیروهای شوروی در افغانستان هم نشده است. آنچه گفته شده این است که "نیروهای خارجی بیرون شوند"، اما گفته نشده که کدام نیروهای خارجی، از کجا و چرا؟ -- همچنین سوال‌های زیادی دیگر مطرح است. چرا نیروهای شوروی از افغانستان براساس توافقات مربوط به "روابط دوجانبه" بین افغانستان و پاکستان بیرون می‌شوند؟ آیا پاکستان طرف اصلی میدان جنگ افغانستان بود؟ آیا تصمیم‌گیرندگان جنگ افغانستان دولت‌های وقت افغانستان و پاکستان بودند؟ -- سوال دیگر این است که چرا آمریکا و شوروی به عنوان "ضامن" و "ناظر" در پای این موافقنامه‌ها امضا کردند؟ امضای شوروی در توافقات ژنو، این کشور را در موقعیت یک جانب بی‎طرف قرار می‌داد، در حالی که هزاران سربازش در افغانستان می‌جنگیدند. از سوی دیگر آیا مجاهدین کسانی نبودند که در میدان‌های نبرد با این نیروها می‌جنگیدند؟ چرا آنها به عنوان یکی از اطراف اصلی مطرح نیستند؟ -- واقعیت این است که جنگ افغانستان میدان اصلی جنگ سرد بین آمریکا و شوروی بود. شوروی عملا در افغانستان حضور نظامی داشت و دولت بر سر اقتدار افغانستان هم مورد حمایت آن بود. -- اما پاکستان از سالها قبل بخشی از کمربند دفاعی در برابر پیشرفت کمونیسم بود که از آن به عنوان "خط مقدم" جنگ سرد تعبیر می‌شد. --- از جانب دیگر پاکستان محل استقرار رهبران گروه‌های عمده مجاهدین و مرکز جمع‌آوری کمک‌های غرب و کشورهای اسلامی به این گروه‌ها بود. اهمیت سیاسی پاکستان در این جنگ آن بود که کانال اصلی سازماندهی جنگ افغانستان شمرده می‌شد. عبدالعزیز دانش استاد حقوق بین‌الملل می‌گوید که این موقعیت فرصت طلایی را در اختیار پاکستان قرار داده بود. -- به نظر آقای دانش، این موقعیت پاکستان را در حد "پدرخواندگی" گروه‌های مجاهدین قرار داد. او می‎گوید: "اصلا مجاهدین هیچ‌گاه به عنوان طرف اصلی در نظر گرفته نشدند. جالب است که پاکستان در مذاکرات ژنو هم از طرف خود حرف می‌زد و به نیابت از مجاهدین هم حرف نزد. مجاهدین از روند این گفت‌وگوها خیلی اعتراض هم نداشتند." --- بنابراین، اگر سرنوشت جنگ افغانستان در پشت میز گفتگوهای چهارجانبه ژنو تعیین شده باشد، نقش مجاهدینی که به گفته آقای مهدی از نظر آمریکا "ابزاری بیش نبودند"، هرچند در میدانهای نبرد عملاً می‎جنگیدند، در شکست شوروی تا چه حدی تعیین‌کننده بوده است؟ - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140428_k02-mojaedin-genve-talks.shtml

Pentagon Finds, Afghanistan Corruption Report - More, Bloomberg, http://media.bloomberg.com/bb/avfile/rNlR5mTAOPek

Afghanistan Corruption Fostered by U.S., Pentagon Finds --- The U.S. government “created an environment that fostered corruption” in Afghanistan by supporting warlords, relying on private trucking contracts and providing billions of dollars in aid, according to a previously undisclosed Pentagon report. -- “Corruption directly threatens the viability and legitimacy of the Afghan state” after a “large-scale culture of impunity” took hold, analysts for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a 65-page assessment obtained by Bloomberg News. American forces dependent on Afghanistan-based trucking companies found themselves “trapped in a warlord protection racket,” according to the report dated Feb. 28. -- The Afghan war has cost 2,314 Americans their lives and wounded 19,701 as of April 21, and the report threatens to undercut any remaining support for the dwindling mission from lawmakers, as well as taxpayers and U.S. allies who’ve spent billions to support the Afghan government. The war has cost the U.S. more than $710 billion since 2001, according to the National Priorities Project, which studies federal spending. -- As the Obama administration withdraws the last U.S. combat forces by the end of this year, allies may use the report as a benchmark for assessing Afghanistan officials’ promises to crack down, or whether fighting corruption is a lost cause. --- Pentagon officials previously have acknowledged the effects of corruption in Afghanistan at all levels of its government and military. The issue has been cited in the Pentagon’s biannual “Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan.” -- The newly disclosed assessment by the Joint and Coalition Operational Analysis division of the Joint Staff provides a more candid assessment of the underlying causes, including the role of U.S. strategy. It was commissioned last year by Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, the commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan --- The assessment is based on a review of more than 500 documents, including many from Sopko’s office, and interviews with 66 people, including 11 senior military officers. -- The assessment found that the initial U.S. focus in late 2001 on defeating the Taliban and al-Qaeda “created mutually dependent relationships” that “empowered” warlords, “expanded their opportunities for financial gain and impeded later” efforts to counter corruption. -- “Once ensconced within ministries and other government posts,” Northern Alliance warlords that the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. military special forces teams came to depend on often “used their positions to divert” government resources, sometimes “transforming them into what came to be known as ‘criminal patronage networks.’” -- The networks became entrenched in Afghan business and government as President Hamid Karzai “remained politically dependent” on them, the assessment found. --- Karzai, who’s due to step down after a runoff election for his successor, resisted U.S. and allied “pressure to prosecute corrupt” network members, according to the report -- The widespread use of Afghan trucking companies, which employed security contractors, became a primary engine of corruption, according to the report. -- “Many of the private security companies” were “of a dubious nature” and were paid protection money, the analysts said. In 2010 alone, the U.S. awarded $2.16 billion to eight Afghan trucking companies that “exercised weak oversight.” --- The U.S. federal acquisition system is “more suitable to Peoria than Kabul,” according to a military officer quoted in the assessment who wasn’t identified. - More, Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg, at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-29/afghanistan-corruption-fostered-by-u-s-pentagon-found.html

Afghan and foreign forces kill 60 near Pakistan border: spy agency --- KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan troops backed by Western air power killed at least 60 militants near the Pakistan border, Afghanistan's intelligence agency said on Wednesday, in one of the biggest single assaults against the Taliban-linked Haqqani network -- U.S. officials say Washington has intensified its drive against the network in an attempt to deal a lasting blow to the militants in Afghanistan before foreign combat forces depart this year. -- About 300 Haqqani insurgents and foreign fighters came under intensive fire on Monday when they tried to storm Afghan bases in Ziruk district of Paktika province, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement. --The NATO-led international force declined to comment. -- The Haqqani network, which professes obedience to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, is believed to have been involved in some of the most deadly attacks of the Afghan war. -- The group has been blamed for attacks on hotels popular with foreigners in Kabul, the bombing of the Indian embassy in the capital, a 2011 attack on the U.S. embassy and several big attempted truck bombings. -- The United States blacklisted the group as a terrorist organization in 2012. It also accuses Pakistan's powerful spy agency of supporting the network and using it as a proxy in Afghanistan to gain leverage against growing influence of its arch-rival India. Pakistan denies that. -- Monday's battle occurred in the southeast province of Paktika which shares a long and porous border with lawless areas in Pakistan where foreign fighters and the Haqqani network are believed to be based. -- Insurgents pledged to disrupt this month's presidential election with a campaign of violence, but the vote passed off relatively peacefully. As the country readies for an expected second round run-off in June, there is concern the conditions will be more favorable for militant attacks.

درود به روان شهدای هفت ثور و نفرین به کودتاچیان کمونیست - با تصحیح مجدد، تغییرات و اضافات - ولی احمد نوری - http://www.afghan-german.net/upload/Tahlilha_PDF/walinouri_drood_ba_rawane_shohadaye_7_saor.pdf

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mystery surrounds move of Afghan ‘torturer in chief’ to U.S. amid allegations of spy agency abuse --- In Afghanistan, his presence was enough to cause prisoners to tremble. Hundreds in his organization’s custody were beaten, shocked with electrical currents or subjected to other abuses documented in human rights reports. Some allegedly disappeared. -- And then Haji Gulalai disappeared as well. -- He had run Afghan intelligence operations in Kandahar after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 and later served as head of the spy service’s detention and interrogation branch. After 2009, his whereabouts were unknown -- Because of his reputation for brutality, Gulalai was someone both sides of the war wanted gone. The Taliban tried at least twice to kill him. Despite Gulalai’s ties to the CIA and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, United Nations officials and U.S. coalition partners sought to rein him in or have him removed -- Today, Gulalai lives in a pink two-story house in Southern California, on a street of stucco homes on the outskirts of Los Angeles. -- How he managed to land in the United States remains murky. Afghan officials and former Gulalai colleagues said that his U.S. connections — and mounting concern about his safety — account for his extraordinary accommodation. -- But CIA officials said the agency played no role in bringing Gulalai into the country. Officials at the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security would not comment on his relocation or immigration status, citing privacy restrictions. Gulalai and members of his family declined repeated inquiries from The Washington Post. -- As the United States approaches its own exit from Afghanistan, Gulalai’s case touches on critical questions looming over that disengagement. What will happen to thousands of Afghans seeking to accompany the American exodus? And how will U.S.-built institutions in that country — particularly its intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) — treat those left behind? -- Despite a substantial record of human rights abuses, Gulalai was able to bypass immigration barriers faced by Afghans whose work for the United States made them potential targets of the Taliban. Many have been turned away because of security objections submitted in secret by U.S. spy agencies. -- Since its inception, the NDS has depended on the CIA to such an extent that it is almost a subsidiary — funded, trained and equipped by its American counterpart. The two agencies have shared intelligence, collaborated on operations and traded custody of prisoners. -- Gulalai was considered a particularly effective but corrosive figure in this partnership. He was a fierce adversary of the Taliban, officials said, as well as a symbol of the tactics embraced by the NDS. -- “He was the torturer in chief,” said a senior Western diplomat, who recalled meeting with a prisoner at an NDS facility in Kabul to investigate how he had been treated when Gulalai entered unannounced. The detainee became agitated and bowed his head in submission. “He was terrified, which made sense,” the diplomat said. Gulalai was “a big wheel in a machine that ground up a lot of people.” -- U.S. officials said the CIA has taken measures to curb NDS abuses, including training its officers on human rights and pushing the organization to allow access to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other monitoring groups. But even after Gulalai’s departure, U.N. reports have documented widespread mistreatment of prisoners by the NDS. -- Retired Marine Gen. John R. Allen, who was commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan until last year, warned that “human rights is going to be a weakness for some period of time.” Allen, who suspended prisoner transfers to the NDS after reports of abuse, said the organization has made progress but described its reliance on torture as an institutional “reflex.” --- A ‘cruel position’: In Southern California, Gulalai is surrounded by a network of Afghans, some of whom have known him since childhood. “We see each other every weekend, we play cards together,” said Bashir Wasifi, who attended school with Gulalai in Kandahar in the 1960s before moving to the United States in 1979. -- Wasifi said Gulalai showed up unexpectedly with a dozen or more relatives several years ago, after the Taliban had killed two of his brothers and a son. The circumstances convinced local Afghans that Gulalai had received special U.S. help. “He was brought here by your government,” Wasifi said. --- The stature that came with his high-ranking position and powerful clan connections in Afghanistan are gone. But Wasifi said that Gulalai also left behind the violence associated with that life and is attempting to make the best of his new circumstances. -- “His position was a cruel position so he did cruel things, but he is not like that,” Wasifi said. “He worked with your government for 10 years. He hunted al-Qaeda for 10 years. What [more] would you want?” - More, Greg Miller, Julie Tate and Joshua Partlow, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mystery-surrounds-move-of-afghan-torturer-in-chief-to-us-amid-allegations-of-agency-abuse/2014/04/28/0916144a-ca4b-11e3-93eb-6c0037dde2ad_story.html

Ending Asia Trip, Obama Defends His Foreign Policy -- MANILA — President Obama, stung by criticism of his response to turmoil from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, defended his approach to foreign policy as a slow but steady pursuit of American interests while avoiding military conflict, and he lashed out at those he said reflexively call for the use of force. -- Standing next to the Philippine president, Benigno S. Aquino III, a visibly frustrated Mr. Obama said on Monday that his critics had failed to learn the lessons of the Iraq war. -- On a day in which he announced new sanctions against Russia for its continued threats to Ukraine, Mr. Obama said his foreign policy was based on a workmanlike tending to American priorities that might lack the high drama of a wartime presidency but also avoided ruinous mistakes -- “You hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference with Mr. Aquino. “But we steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with folks around the world.” -- Mr. Obama’s statement, delivered at the end of a weeklong trip to Asia, was a rare insight into a second-term president already sizing up his legacy as a statesman. By turns angry and rueful, his words suggested the distance he had traveled from the confident young leader who accepted a Nobel Peace Prize with a speech about the occasional necessity of war. -- While he flatly rejected the Republican portrait of him as feckless in the face of crises like Syria, Mr. Obama seemed to be wrestling with a more nuanced critique, that aside from one or two swings for the fences — the nuclear negotiations with Iran, for example — his foreign policy had become a game of small ball.- More, NYTimes

دافغانستان په ختيځ کې دپاکستاني پوځيانو په نويو راکټي بريدونوکې څلور تنه ټپيان شول -- د افغانستان په ځينو ختيځو سيمو کې د پاکستاني پوځيانو راکټي بريدونه هماغه شان دوام لري -- تيره شپه د دغو بريدونو په بهير کې په نورستان اوکونړکې يوه ښځه يو سپين ږيرى او دوه تنه کوچني ماشومان ټپيان شول -- تيره شپه او نن سهار د کونړ ، پکتيکا او نورستان دولايتونو په ځينوسيمو د ډيورند له کرښې اخوا څخه په لسګونو توغول شوي توغندي لګيدلي دي . -- د افغانستان په ختيځ کې دسرحدي پوليسو يوه قوماندان دباختراژانس خبريال ته وويل ددغو بريدونو په بهير کې تيره شپه دنورستان ولايت په کامديش ولسوالۍ کې داستوګنې په دوو کورونو او دډيورند کرښې ته څيرمه په کونړ کې په يوې سيمې توغندي لګيدلي دي چې دغه پيښه د يوې ښځې ديوه سپين ږيرى او دوو تنو کوچنيو ماشومانو دټپي کيدو سبب شوه . -- په دغو بريدونوکې د ډيورند کرښې ته څيرمه دپکتيکا ، کونړ او دنورستان دولايتونو په ځينوسيمو په لسګونو توغندي لګيدلي دي . -- دافغانستان په ختيځ دپاکستاني پوځيانو بريدونه درې کاله مخکې دوري په مياشت کې پيل شول او تراوسه پورې دپخوا په شان دوام لري . -- ددغو راکټي بريدونو قربانيان او ټپيان ملکي وګړي او دسيمې اوسيدونکي دي .-- پاکستاني پوځي او ديپلوماتيکي مقاماتو تراوسه پورې زموږ په هيواد دخپلو دغو يو اړخيزو راکټي بريدونو علتونه نه دي روښانه کړي .-- دپاکستان پوځيانو دغو يو اړخيزو راکټي بريدونو تراوسه پورې دافغانستان ددولت او دبشر دحقوقو اودمدني ټولنې دبنسټونو غبرګونونه راپارولي دي خو دغو غبرګونونو مثبتې نتيجې نه دي ورکړي . - باختر

Afghan Panel Claims to Find Secret Prisons --- KABUL, Afghanistan — A commission appointed by President Hamid Karzai to investigate detention facilities run by American and British forces in southern Afghanistan claimed Saturday to have uncovered secret prisons on two coalition bases, an allegation that could not be immediately confirmed but that was likely to further complicate relations between the Afghan government and its allies. -- “We have conducted a thorough investigation and search of Kandahar Airfield and Camp Bastion and found several illegal and unlawful detention facilities run and operated by foreign military forces,” said Abdul Shakur Dadras, the panel’s chairman. -- Mr. Dadras offered no evidence to support his assertion, though he promised to release more details after presenting his report to Mr. Karzai. -- Lt. Col. J. Todd Breasseale, a spokesman for the Defense Department, wrote in an email, “Every facility that we use for detention is well known not only by the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, but also by the I.C.R.C.,” a reference to the International Committee of the Red Cross, a nonpartisan organization that provides humanitarian care for victims of conflict. -- The International Security Assistance Force, or I.S.A.F., as the coalition is known, said in a statement on Saturday that it was “aware of their investigative team looking into the detention facilities in Kandahar and Helmand and we are cooperating fully with the investigation on this matter.” -- The accusations are the latest salvo in a dispute over the detention of Afghans by foreign forces. The issue reached a climax early this year, when the Afghan government released from the former American prison at Bagram dozens of prisoners the coalition claimed had killed American soldiers. -- Before that, the transfer of the prison itself called attention to the deteriorating relationship between the Afghans and their American allies in a public way. -- The Americans have accused the Afghan government of using the issue to score political points. The Afghans say the foreigners have unfairly imprisoned people without credible evidence and insist that they run all detention facilities in the country. -- Before that, the transfer of the prison itself called attention to the deteriorating relationship between the Afghans and their American allies in a public way. -- The Americans have accused the Afghan government of using the issue to score political points. The Afghans say the foreigners have unfairly imprisoned people without credible evidence and insist that they run all detention facilities in the country. -- Mr. Dadras said that his team was sent to the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand to review the prisons on two coalition bases, Kandahar Airfield, run by the Americans, and Camp Bastion, run by the British. -- He said his team reviewed the number of prisoners as well as the details of their detention. The issue at Camp Bastion has been aired before. The British military must abide by rules that prohibit the transfer of prisoners to facilities where torture is believed to occur. For now, that concern is unresolved, and the sites where these detainees are held by the British forces could be the locations Mr. Dadras is referring to. -- In Kandahar, the details are less clear. American forces are allowed to detain combatants seized on the battlefield for up to 96 hours before turning them over to the Afghan government. It was unclear whether Mr. Dadras was referring to such detainees or whether his commission had uncovered evidence of prisons that were illegally holding Afghans. --- Early on Saturday, a coalition helicopter crashed after it malfunctioned in Kandahar Province, killing five service members. The coalition did not release the nationalities of the soldiers. Britain’s Defense Ministry said that the helicopter was British and confirmed that all of the dead were as well, according to The Associated Press. --- Officials on Saturday also identified two of the three Americans killed on Thursday when an Afghan police officer shot a group of Americans at a hospital in Kabul. The third victim was identified on Thursday. --- The two men identified on Saturday were John Gabel, who was a health clinic administrator at Kabul University, and his father, Gary, who was visiting. They were killed alongside Dr. Jerry Umanos, a pediatrician who worked at the Cure International Hospital in Kabul. The officials said John Gabel’s wife was wounded in the attack. - More, NYTimes

Monday, April 28, 2014

Shahed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan شهید سردار محمد داود خان . --- More, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en_TyCTegEk

دشواری و بی تکلیفی پناهجویان افغان در ترکیه --- شماری از پناهجویان افغان در ترکیه اعتراض دارند که کمیشنری حمایت از پناه گزینان ملل متحد )یو ان اچ سی آر) در ترکیه با آنها همکاری ها را متوقف نموده است. -- نمایندگان این پناهجویان به رادیو آشنای صدای امریکا گفتند، پناهجویان از ۵۲ شهر ترکیه در مقابل دفتر نمایندگی سازمان ملل متحد در ترکیه در اعتراض به عدم توجه آن سازمان به دوسیه های پناهجویان افغان جمع شده و مدت ۱۵ روز دست به اعتصاب غذایی زدند. زینب موسوی، یک پناهجوی معترض گفت علاوه بر اینکه برای آنان کمکی صورت نگرفت، از سوی پولیس ترکیه مورد حمله نیز قرار گرفتند. خانم موسوی گفت: "شصت و دو ساعت دست به اعتصاب غذایی زدیم. هیچکس به داد ما نرسید، حالت کودکان و زنان خراب شد، ولی کسی حتی به آمبولانس زنگ نزد تا آنان را به شفاخانه انتقال دهد. روز گذشته پولیس به ما در مقابل سازمان ملل حمله کرد، همه تقصیر سازمان ملل است، چرا به دوسیه های افغان ها رسیدگی نمی شود، اما به دوسیه های ایرانی ها و مهاجران سوری رسیدگی می شود؟" -- امید، یک پناهجوی دیگر افغان مقیم ترکیه می گوید که دوستش در جریان اعتصاب تهدید کرد که اگر سازمان ملل به دوسیه های ما رسیدگی نکند، خود را خواهد کشت. اما سازمان ملل در برابر این تهدید بی تفاوت باقی ماند. امید گفت: "رئیس {دفتر نمایندگی} سازمان ملل متحد به ما توهین می کند و می گوید خود را بکشید که از این زندگی راحت شویند. شما اصلا زندگی ندارید. نمی توانید که در این کشور زندگی کنید، خارج شوید. دوستم گفت خود را می کشم، گفت بکش به ما فرقی نمی کند. دوستم بالای خود بنزین ریخت و آتش زد، اما سازمان ملل گفت، بکش خود را به ما فرقی نمی کند." --- شکیب مستغنی سخنگوی وزارت خارجه افغانستان گفت که دفتر کمیشنری پناهندگان ملل متحد در انقره از ماه جون سال 2013 به این سو، به سه دلیل رسیدگی به دوسیه های پناهجویان را به حالت تعلیق در آورده است. آقای مستغنی می گوید دلیل نخست این است که دفتر ساحوی ملل متحد در امور پناهندگان در انقره در بخش مهاجران سوریه، عراق و ایران مسوولیت دارد. شکیب مستغنی گفت: "دلیل دوم اینکه سازمان ملل کشور های سومی را که پناهجویان را در آنها می فرستند مانند ایالات متحده امریکا، کانادا، بریتانیا و یک عده از کشور های اروپایی، به آسانی حاضر به پذیرش مهاجران افغان نیستند. زیرا در گذشته در 101 مورد دیده شده که این مهاجران مطابق معیار های مهاجرت نیستند. یعنی به تفریح و خوش گذرانی رفته اند و درخواست پناهندگی کردند." آقای مستغنی می افزاید: "دلیل سوم اینکه ترکیه خود کانوانسیون مهاجرین را پذیرفته و قرار است در آینده نزدیک مهاجر بپذیرد و این مهاجرین میتوانند در همان کشور درخواست پناهندگی بدهند." -- شمار دقیق افغانهای پناهجو در ترکیه مشخص نیست، اما بسیاری آنها به این کشور بحیث گذرگاهی برای رسیدن به کشور های اروپایی سفر می کنند. سازمان های حامی پناهجویان می گوید که با بیرون شدن نیروهای خارجی از افغانستان، شمار افغان هایی که در کشور های دیگر درخواست پناهندگی میدهند افزایش یافته است. - More, http://www.darivoa.com/content/turkey-afghan-refugee/1902393.html

Killer Tornadoes Rip Through Arkansas, Oklahoma --- Emergency officials were searching Monday for survivors after tornadoes tore through parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma overnight, killing at least 14 people and leveling entire neighborhoods. -- "We don't have a count on injuries or missing. We're trying to get a handle on the missing part," Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said at a news conference Monday. "Just looking at the damage, this may be one of the strongest we have seen." -- Brandon Morris, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, said crews were looking for survivors and were assessing the damage. -- "Right now, the main focus is life safety," he said. "We're trying to make sure everyone is accounted for." -- Meanwhile, the National Weather Service warned of more tornadoes, high winds and hail on Monday in parts of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. -- An earlier toll of 16 was revised downward to 14; officials said two victims were counted twice. Still, an aide to Beebe said the overall death toll was likely to rise. - More, NPR

U.S. Tells Users To Stop Using Internet Explorer For Now --- The Department of Homeland Security is warning Americans to stop using the web browser Internet Explorer because it has a bug that could allow hackers to install malicious software without the user knowing it. -- The vulnerability, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team says, has already been exploited in the wild. Essentially, all a user has to do to become a victim is view a "specially crafted HTML document," which means a webpage or even a rich email or attachment. -- "We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem," CERT said. --- USA Today reports that users can avoid the bug by using another browser for now, or by disabling Adobe Flash. -- The paper adds: - "Microsoft confirmed Saturday that it is working to fix the code that allows Internet Explorer versions six through 11 to be exploited by the vulnerability. As of Monday morning, no fix had been posted. -- "About 55% of PC computers run one of those versions of Internet Explorer, according to the technology research firm NetMarketShare. -- "The bug works by using Adobe Flash to attack a computers memory." --- Krebs on Security, a blog that specializes in these types of stories, reports another way around the bug is to run Internet Explorer in "Enhanced Protected Mode" and "64-bit process mode, which is available for IE10 and IE11 in the Internet Options settings as shown in [this] graphic." - More, Eyder Peralta, NPR

U.S. imposes new sanctions on Russia --- The Obama administration on Monday imposed new asset freezes and visa bans on seven Russian government officials and sanctions on 17 companies linked to President Vladi­mir Putin’s “inner circle,” saying that the measures were a response to Russia’s failure to cease provocative acts in Ukraine. -- The sanctions, which President Obama previewed during a visit to the Philippines, include additional restrictions on 13 of the Russian companies, imposing licensing requirements “with a presumption of denial” for the export or transfer of any U.S.-made items to those enterprises. -- The new sanctions were imposed under executive orders Obama signed last month following Russia’s incursion into the Ukrainian region of Crimea. In a statement, the White House noted that a separate order authorizes the president to sanction “key sectors of the Russian economy” and said he would move to do so “if there is further Russian military intervention in Ukraine.” -- “The international community has been unified in its position that Russia must cease its illegal intervention and provocative actions in Ukraine,” the statement said. “The United States, working closely with its partners, remains prepared to impose still greater costs on Russia if the Russian leadership continues these provocations instead of de-escalating the situation.” -- The seven officials sanctioned on Monday are all close friends or key supporters of Putin, including Igor Sechin, president of Rosneft, Russia’s leading state-owned petroleum company. -- U.S. officials have described their strategy as an attempt to pressure key Putin associates into pushing their leader for a more conciliatory Ukraine policy. - More, Washingtonpost

Afghan presidential hopefuls rally supporters ahead of run-off --- (Reuters) - The two leading candidates in the race to become Afghanistan's next president rallied supporters and urged election officials to come clean on fraud on Sunday as the country readied for an expected grueling run-off in June. -- Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, both ministers in the transition government after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power in 2001, shared over three-quarters of the nearly 7 million votes cast, but neither clinched an absolute majority. -- If, as expected, the final results due next month show no outright winner, a second round will be held on June 7. -- After decades of war and foreign occupation, Afghanistan is being left to stand on its own feet this year with the political change-of-guard and the withdrawal of foreign combat troops by December 31. -- More than 12 years after U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan to capture al Qaeda militants blamed for the September 11 attacks on the United States, a potent Islamist insurgency is still the biggest problem confronting the government. -- With an eye on a run-off, the two frontrunners rallied their supporters on Sunday, applauding them for coming out in record numbers to vote. The turnout in the first round was 50 percent higher than the 2009 vote. -- "If round one was a new beginning then round two is the maturity of democracy and an opportunity to strengthen national unity," Ghani told a news conference. "We expect our supporters will have a widespread participation in the runoff." - More, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/27/us-afghanistan-election-idUSBREA3Q0E420140427

دثور اتمه دمجاهدینو بریا او ناخوالې --- له اوس نه دوه ویشت کاله مخکې دثور په اتمه نیټه په افغانستان کې دډاکټر نجیب الله کمونست پلوه حکومت ړنګ او مجاهدین بریالي شول. مجاهدینو له څوارلس کاله جګړو، تلفاتو او دډیرو ستونزو نه وروسته کابل ونیوه. که څه هم دثور اتمه په افغانستان کې دمجاهدینو دبریا ورځ ده خو په کابل کې دمجاهدینو دخپل منځیو جګړو له امله دې ورځې ته هم لکه څنګه چې لازمه ده ټول خلک په ښه سترګه نه ګوري. -- خلک او ان سیاسي څیړونکي وایي، چې په ۱۳۷۱ لمریزکال کې دډاکټرنجیب الله دحکومت له نسکوریدو وروسته یو شمېر جهادي مشرانو دواک دترلاسه کولو پر سر په کابل کې سخت جنګونه وکړل. له اوس نه دوه ویشت کاله مخکې مجاهدینو دصبغت الله مجددي په مشرۍ اسلامي دولت رامنځ ته کړ او له څو میاشتو وروسته له ښاغلي مجددي نه برهان الدین رباني ددولت مشري ترلاسه کړه او جنګونه پیل شول. په کابل کې دمجاهدینو ترمنځ د خپل منځیو جګړو په ترڅ کې کابل په کنډوالو بدل شو او لسګونه زره ملکي وګړي مړه او ټپیان شول. -- دثور اتمه یا دمجاهدینو دبریالیتوب ورځ په لومړیو کلونو کې دځانګړو جشنونونو او پوځي مراسمو په ترڅ کې ددولتي چارواکو او پخوانیو جهادي مشرانو په حضور کې په کابل او ځینو ولایتونو کې نماځل کیده. خو کله چې په ۱۳۸۷ لمریز کال کې وسله والو مخالفانو په کابل کې پر دې مراسمو حمله وکړه له هغې وروسته یوازې دارګ په انګړ کې دا ورځ په مختصرو مراسمو کې نمانځل کیږي. یو شمېر پخواني جهادي مشران سره له دې چې دا ورځ تاریخي او له ویاړه ډکه بولي خو وایي، چې جدي ستونزې او ناخوالې یې هم رامنځ ته کړې. --- دسیاسي مسایلوڅیړونکي دافغانستان شپږدیرش کلنې کشالې اوستونزې ته په پام وایی چې په دې هیواد کې د حل یوازینې لارسیاسي روغه جوړه اوسوله ده. ددوی په باور که چیرې په افغانستان کې ښکیلې خواوې له تیرو تجربونه سمه استفاده ونکړي نواوسنۍ جګړه به همداسې روانه وي لکه چې دثور داومې له خونړۍ کودتا پیل او دثورتراتمې اوله هغې وروسته تراوسه یې دوام کړی. - More, دآزادی رادیو

Egypt sentences 683 to death in mass trial --- MINYA, Egypt — A judge in Egypt sentenced to death 683 alleged supporters of the country’s ousted Islamist president on Monday over acts of violence and the murder of policemen in the latest mass trial in Egypt that included the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, defense lawyers said. -- Under the law, Monday’s verdicts in the southern city of Minya have to be referred to Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the top Islamic official, said one of the attorneys, Ahmed Hefni. -- Such a move is usually considered a formality but the same judge in the trial on Monday also reversed most of the death sentences out of 529 that were passed in a similar case in March, and commuted the majority of them to life imprisonment. -- Monday’s case is linked to deadly riots that erupted in Minya and elsewhere in Egypt after security forces violently disbanded sit-ins held by Brotherhood supporters in Cairo last August. -- Hundreds were killed as part of a sweeping campaign against supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who was removed by the military last July. -- Among those convicted and sentenced to death on Monday was Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood’s spiritual guide. If his sentence is confirmed, it would make him the most senior figure in the Brotherhood to be sentenced to death since one of the group’s leading ideologues, Sayed Qutb, was executed in 1966. -- After Mufti’s decision, the same court will hold another session on June 21 to issue the final verdicts. -- Monday’s stunning decision sparked an outcry among families of the defendants, with women fainting and relatives wailing and crying out “Why? This is unfair!” - More, Associated Press, Washingtonpost

U.S., Philippines to sign 10-year defense agreement amid rising tensions --- KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The United States and the Philippines will sign a 10-year defense agreement Monday, officials said, one of the clearest signs yet of renewed American engagement in the region at a time when tensions between China and its neighbors have been rising. -- The announcement — the biggest policy achievement to come out of President Obama’s week-long trip to Asia — is likely to generate criticism from Chinese officials, who have made it clear they oppose a heightened U.S. presence in the area. But the pact may reassure several Asian countries embroiled in territorial disputes with China, especially in the South China Sea. It also gives the United States greater flexibility to respond to threats and natural disasters in the region. -- “This is the most significant defense agreement that we have concluded with the Philippines in decades,” said Evan Medeiros, the National Security Council’s senior director for Asian affairs, adding that the United States wants “a constructive relationship with China” but also is determined to pursue policies based on its strategic objectives and those of its allies. “And as those threats evolve, the nature of our alliances and security partnerships will evolve as well, whether it’s Japan or South Korea,” Medeiros said. -- At least four other countries in the region — Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam — also are feuding with China over control of parts of the South China Sea. Those territorial claims have both security and economic implications, because the country that controls those areas can access fisheries and underwater oil and gas deposits. -- Rommel Banlaoi, executive director of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, wrote in an e-mail that the defense cooperation agreement will not only increase the United States’ presence in the region but also will “justify an increase of U.S. military assistance to the Philippines as a major non-NATO ally.” - More, Juliet Eilperin, Washingtonpost

Sunday, April 27, 2014

روزسیاه هفت ثور 1357هـ ش، یک پارچۀ منحوس از تاریخ افغانستان - دیپلوم انجنیر کریم عطایی - http://www.afghan-german.net/upload/Tahlilha_PDF/attaie_rose_ziahe_hafte_zaure_1357_lektoriert.pdf

At last, a ray of hope for Afghanistan --- Whatever the final outcome, voters in Afghanistan's presidential election have delivered a powerful mandate -- Provisional results from the first round of Afghanistan's presidential election look as if they will stand the test of tortuous fraud checks and complaint processes. Decisive margins make them robust. Although Abdullah Abdullah, who emerged in the lead, has raised serious concerns about fraud, the first round should leave him facing Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister, in a run-off. -- Both Abdullah, a veteran of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, and Ghani say they are ready for the second round, as electoral law requires. But a winner-takes-all contest is not the only way this contest could end. Abdullah set a precedent in 2009 by pulling out of the second round. That allowed Hamid Karzai to be declared elected unopposed. This time, many Afghans expect a deal between the two leading candidates to form a unity government and avoid a second round. This would entail Abdullah and his running mates taking the presidential and vice presidential slots but drawing on the other campaign teams to form the new administration. --- There are powerful reasons why a hybrid administration might be best for Afghanistan. It would be a case of collectively quitting while you are ahead. The Taliban, after failing to disrupt the first round are delighted to get a replay in which they can inflict more damage. Countless election workers and security personnel will pay with their lives if Abdullah and Ghani fail to reach a deal --- The purpose of the election was to allow Afghans to choose a legitimate successor to Karzai. If Ghani endorses Abdullah, together they can claim the support of 75% of voters, far more than any sole candidate will ever obtain. There is a pluralism argument also. Afghanistan has four main ethnic groups, the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks. Both candidates deserve credit for campaigning in all regions, seeking cross-community support and articulating reform programmes. But on polling day, broadly speaking, Tajiks and Hazaras backed Abdullah and Pashtuns and Uzbeks backed Ghani. A run-off would become more divisively ethnicised, with Ghani obliged to rally the Pashtuns, undermining the idea of an inclusive administration with which all Afghans can identify. -- Either candidate has the right to insist on the run-off – Ghani because he believes he can win or Abdullah to avoid coalition politics. Abdullah would start favourite. On a similar turnout he would need under 400,000 extra votes, attainable by attracting the supporters of either the number three or number four candidates. Ghani would need one million extra votes, equivalent to the total of both numbers three and four. For either of them and for the country as a whole, round two is a gamble. - More, Michael Semple - Guardian, at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/27/afghanistan-voters-presidential-election-islamists

.د اشرف غني احمدزي ۶۵ کلن ژوند --- ډاکټر اشرف غني احمدزی د ۱۳۹۳ کال په روانو ټاکنو کې د دوو مخکښو نوماندانو په ډله کې دی. -- اشرف غني احمدزی د شاه جان احمدزی زوی دی او د ۱۳۲۸ لمريز کال د غويي مياشت کې يې په پلازمېنه کابل کې نړۍ ته سترگې غړولې دي. -- اشرف غني په قوم پښتون دی او پلرنی ټاټوبی يې د افغانستان سویلي ولایت لوګر دی. لوړې زده کړې یې په لبنان او امریکا کې ترسره کړي دي او د امریکا په یو شمیر پوهنتونو کې استاد پاتې شوی. -- لومړنۍ ماسټري یې د سياسي علومو په څانگه کې، دويمه يې په نړيوالو اړيکو او وگړپوهنه کې او درېيمه ماسټري يې هم په نړيوالو اړيکو کې کړې ده. -- تر دې وروسته يې د وگړپوهنې په څانگه کې د امريکا د کولمبيا له پوهنتون نه دوکتورا ترلاسه کړې ده. -- د نړېوال بانک د پاليسۍ او ستراتيژۍ جوړولو په برخه کي مهم مشر و. -- د بهرنۍ تگلارې په نامۀ د متحدو ايالاتو مشهورې مجلې اشرف غني احمدزى په ژونديو شخصيتونو کې د نړۍ شلم پياوړى مفکر وبالۀ. -- ښاغلي غني ۳۰ کاله له افغانستان نه بهر په بیلابیلو هیوادونو کې تیر کړي او کله چې په افغانستان کې د طالبانو واکمني ړنګه شوه هیواد ته راستون شو. -- د راتګ په لومړیو شپو ورځو کې د ملګرو ملتونو له ټیم سره په کار بوخت و، بیا له ولسمشر حامد کرزي سره په موقت حکومت کې یو ځای شو. -- له دې وروسته دی د افغانستان په کابینه کې د مالې د وزیر په توګه وګومارل شو. -- نوموړی د ولسمشر کرزي په دویمه دوره کې له بهرنيو ځواکونو افغان ځواکونو ته د امنيتي مسووليت د لېږد د بهير مشر وټاکل شو. -- ښاغلي غني د افغانستان د ۲۰۰۹ کال په ټاکنو کې هم ځان ولسمشرۍ ته نوماند کړی و، خو چانس ورسره ياري ونه کړه.-- اشرف غني د ۱۳۹۳ کال ولسمشریزو ټاکنو لپاره د جنبش د ګوند مشرعبدالرشید دوستم او د افغانستان د عدليې پخوانی وزیر سرور دانش خپل مرستيالان غوره کړي دي. -- اشرف غني د ریاستي نظام پلوی او ساتونکی دی. -- د افغانستان د اقتصادي پیاوړتیا لپاره علمي تګلارې لري، خو نوموړی وایي افغانستان له دوه لویو ګواښونو چې يو يې د امنيت او بل يې د تلپاتې سولې نشتوالی دي مخامخ دی. -- ښاغلی غني وايي دا يې د خپلو کارونو په لومړيتوبونو کې دي - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pashto/afghanistan/2014/04/140426_as_ashrafghani_profile.shtml

Afghanistan helicopter crash 'a tragic accident' --- A fatal helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan which killed all five UK personnel on board appears to have been a "tragic accident", the MoD has said. -- An investigation has begun into how the Lynx helicopter came down in Kandahar province on Saturday morning. -- Commander Joint Helicopter Command Maj Gen Richard Felton said it was a reminder of the risks UK troops still face as they withdraw from Afghanistan. -- The prime minister paid tribute to the men, whose families have been told -- Three of the servicemen, from the Army Air Corps, and an airman, from the Royal Air Force, were stationed at RAF Odiham, in Hampshire, the Ministry of Defence said. -- The fifth serviceman, an Army reservist from 3 Military Intelligence Battalion, was based in London. Their names have not been released. -- "Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families at this difficult time," Maj Gen Felton said outside RAF Odiham. -- "The investigation into this accident is ongoing but this is not the time now for speculation or comment." - More, BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-27177103

Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan | Facebook --- Some people live forever . . . in our hearts. -- Shaheed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan, Pride of Afghans and Afghanistan. --- Did you know? -- In 1935, Afghan government declared education, compulsory and free for both sexes. -- Sources: http://countrystudies.us/afghanistan/71.htm...

عواقب و زیان های کودتای 7 ثور؟! --- در نتیجهء کودتای هفت ثور، 36 سال پیش از امروز نظام جمهوری در افغانستان سقوط داده شد. --- شماری از چهره های سیاسی افغانستان و مردم عام بدین باور اند که سر آغاز همه بدبختی های موجود در کشور کودتای هفت ثور سال 1357 بوده است. آنان می گویند، طرفداران نظام کمونیستی با کودتای خونین سردار محمد داود خان بنیان گذار نظام جمهوری افغانستان را به قتل رساندند و زمینه را برای تجاوز نظامی شوروی سابق مساعد ساختند. -- سی و شش سال قبل، صبح روز پنجشنبه هفتم ثور خبر مرگ سردار محمد داود خان از طریق رادیوی ملی توسط اسلم وطنجار افسر خلقی قوای زرهدار منتشر گردید. -- با آنکه نشر این اعلان، خلقی های طرفدار کمونیست ها را خوشنود ساخت اما این مساله با عوض کردن رنگ تاریخ معاصر کشور مشکلات زیاد را در افغانستان ایجاد کرد و عکس العمل های را به دنبال داشت. --- « سال 1357 و هفت ثور یک کودتای بدون مقدمه و به شکل خاص در نتیجه احتمام حزب خلق دیموکراتیک و حمایت اتحاد جماهیر شوروی وقت به وقوع پیوست و رژیم سردار داود خان از بین رفت و اینها قدرت را در دست گرفتن، آنها نه تجربه داشتن و نه مشروعیت و نه حمایت ملت و نه ظرفیت و قابلیت کاری، بناءً خونریزی آغاز شد، مملکت به تباهی مواجه شد و مردم را همین حکومت دست نشانده ضربه زدند و مردم مجبور به هجرت شدند.» -- کودتای خونین هفتم ثور از سوی خلقی های طرفدار کمونیزم به رهبری نور محمد تره کی صورت گرفت. -- در این کودتا سردار محمد داود خان رئیس جمهور افغانستان و 17 عضو خانواده اش پس از مقاومت شدید کشته شدند. -- پس از کودتای خونین هفت ثور و تجاوز نظامیان اتحاد جماهیر شوروی سابق بر افغانستان، صد ها هزار افغان کشته شد و صد ها هزار معلول و میلیون ها تن دیگر به کشور های مختلف جهان مهاجرت کردند. -- با آنکه طرفداران کودتای هفت ثور می پذیرند که پس از این کودتا مشکلات جدی به میان می آید اما آنها این کودتا را انقلاب دانسته و آن را یک حلقهء قانونی تکامل تاریخ افغانستان می خوانند. --- سلیمان لایق که خود را از حامیان کودتای هفت ثور عنوان می کند در این مورد نظر مشابه دارد: -- « حادثه هفت ثور تنها یک حادثه بود که مشکلات را هم به وجود آورد و در مساعد ساختن زمینه خون ریزی هم همکاری کرده است. -- زمانی که شما یک نظام سیاسی را به نظام دیگر سیاسی تبدیل می کنید، تقابل به وجود می آید و در این صورت جنگ، مظاهره و فعالیت های سیاسی به میان می آید. -- انقلاب هفت ثور برای تکامل تاریخ افغانستان یک حلقه قانونمند بود.» --- در همین حال آگاهان امور سیاسی می گویند ، سردار محمد داود خان طرفدار پیشرفت و تکامل بود و تلاش می کرد تا افغانستان را در منطقه به حیث یک کشور قدرتمند مطرح نماید. -- به باور آنان، سردار محمد داود خان یک شخص سیاستمدار و یک شخصیت ملی بود و در تلاش تقویت نیرو های امنیتی و دفاعی کشور بود. -- برخی از مردم عام نیز در مورد کودتای هفت ثور سال 1357 نظریات مختلف دارند. --- « کودتای هفت ثور که یکی از سیاه ترین دوره های تاریخ افغانستان است و ما همه داشته های خود را از دست دادیم از لحاظ، سیاسی، اقتصادی، اجتماعی و فرهنگی. -- اول از فامیل خود شروع می کنم کاکایم بعد از هفت ثور تا امروز لادرک است و به علیه داود خان کودتا شد و نظام را از بین بردند و هزار ها جوان ما تا حالا گم نام است و آدرس از ایشان نیست.» -- « پیامد منفی هفت ثور همین بود که همه مردم آواره و در بدر شدند، یک تعداد محدود این کودتا را براه انداختن اما خواست تمام مردم نبود تا این کار شود.» -- اعضای باقی مانده جسد سردار محمد داود خان و اجساد سایر اعضای خانواده اش در منطقه پولیگون پلچرخی کابل پیدا شد که سپس در یک مراسم خاص در تپه تاج بیک به خاک سپرده شدند. -- شماری از چهره های سیاسی، مردم عام و طرفداران سردار محمد داود خان می گویند که باید قاتلین اعضای خانواده سردار محمد داود خان مجازات شوند. -- با آنکه از کودتای خونین هفت ثور 36 سال می گذرد اما هم اکنون دیده می شود که در افغانستان هنوز هم جنگ جریان داشته و هر روز در مناطق مختلف کشور از کشته و زخمی شدن مردم خبر داده می شود. - رادیو آزادی

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Abdullah Chides Commission, Won't Accept Fraudulent Result --- Just a few hours of the Independent Election Commission's (IEC) preliminary announcement, leading candidate Abdullah Abdullah criticized election officials and their management of the process. He said his team would not accept a fraudulent election. --- Abdullah suggested that a vote widely perceived to be rigged could cause major issues for Afghanistan's tenuous political stability. He accused election officials of muddling up the complaints, vote audit and recounting processes. --- Although most experts have forecasted a runoff given the most recent figures provided by the IEC, Abdullah said he and his team had done their own math, and that it is unlikely there will be a second round of voting. The winning candidate must get an outright majority of votes to forgo a runoff. - More, tolonews

New Government should respect Freedom of speech: Correspondents --- International Press Day was observed today and a large number of correspondents, analysts, cultural figures and governmental officials participated in the program organized at the main auditorium of the Ministry of Culture and Information. -- During the ceremony many correspondents were appreciated for their outstanding performance. -- The Ministry of Culture and Information has declared the safety of correspondents as the Government’s responsibility and criticized the Government for not investigating cases of violence and crime targeting correspondents. -- An official in the Ministry however said, “There is a special committee set up by the President, to follow through on cases of crime against correspondents and journalists in the country.” -- Meanwhile correspondents and journalists have highlighted some of the challenges they face during the course of their duty in the country. -- Political expert Ahmad Saiedi expressed his concerns saying, “I believe there are no measures adopted to protect the lives of our brave journalists in this country.” -- Minister of Culture and Information praised the department’s performance for the past 13 years but criticized some of the serials and episodes that are broadcast in the country. - ariananews.af

Thousands homeless after floods kill more than 100 across Afghanistan --- More than 100 people have been killed and thousands left homeless by flash floods in north and west Afghanistan, officials said on Friday, prompting desperate pleas for help from the impoverished provincial authorities. -- Thousands of homes have been engulfed by flood waters in four provinces after three days of heavy rain in what is traditionally a wet period at the start of spring. -- In the northern province of Jawzjan, the police chief, Faqer Mohammad Jawzjani, said 55 bodies had been recovered, and that the number of dead would increase over the coming days. -- "Providing aid or help from the ground is impossible," he told Reuters. "We have carried 1,500 people to safe areas of neighbouring districts by helicopter. We need emergency assistance from the central government and aid agencies." -- The governor of neighbouring Faryab province said 33 people had died there and 80 others were missing. "Ten thousand families have been affected and more then 2,000 houses have been destroyed," Mohammadullah Batazhn said. -- Officials said 13 people were killed in the provinces of Badghis and Sar-e Pol. - Reuters in Kabul / Guardian

نارضایی نامزدان پیشتاز از نتایج ابتدایی انتخابات --- ستادهای انتخابات عبدالله عبدالله و اشرف غنی احمدزی دو نامزد انتخابات ریاست جمهوری افغانستان که به ترتیب بیشترین آرای انتخابات را به‌دست آورده‌اند، گفته‌‌اند از اعلام نتایج ابتدایی توسط کمیسیون انتخابات و عملکرد کمیسیون‌های انتخاباتی افغانستان ناراضی هستند. -- محمد محقق، معاون عبدالله عبدالله به بی‌بی‌سی گفت:"ما دعوای خود را در چارچوب قانون شروع می‌کنیم و از آرای مردم افغانستان دفاع خواهیم کرد. ارزیابی ما نشان می‌دهد که بخشی از آرای ما در هرات، کابل و غزنی قرنطین یا باطل شده و ما این را مهندسی انتخابات می‌دانیم." -- آقای محقق افزود:" اگر به درستی به شکایت‌های ما رسیدگی شود، در دور اول ما برنده هستیم و نیاز به برگزاری دور دوم انتخابات نیست." --- از سوی دیگر حمیدالله فاروقی از اعضای ارشد ستاد انتخاباتی اشرف غنی احمدزی به بی‌بی‌سی گفت:"متاسفانه این آرا که اعلام شده، آرا مشکوک است و کمیسیون‌ها به تقلب گسترده که در انتخابات صورت گرفته، رسیدگی نکرده‌اند. کمیسیون کماکان رای فاسد، رای غلط، رای تقلبی و جعلی را وارد سیستم کرده‌است." -- آقای فاروقی افزود که "اگر در ۲۰ روز آینده که وقت قانونی برای رسیدگی به شکایت‌ها و تقلبات انتخاباتی است، کمیسیون شکایات به صورت شفاف و قانونی به شکایت‌ها رسیدگی کند و در آن صورت نیز نتیجه انتخابات رفتن به دور دوم باشد، تیم تحول و تداوم آماده رفتن به دور دوم انتخابات خواهد بود." -- کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان امروز نتیجه ابتدایی کل آرا انتخابات ریاست جمهوری ۱۶ حمل/فروردین را اعلام کرد که براساس آن هیچ یک از نامزدان نتوانسته‌اند بیشتر از ۵۰ درصد آرا را بدست آورند و در صورتی که این نتیجه از سوی کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی نیز تایید شود، انتخابات به دور دوم خواهد رفت. --- کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی ۲۰ روز وقت دارد تا به بیشتر از ۲ هزار مورد شکایت رسیدگی کند. از این میان ۹۰۰ مورد آن شکایاتی است که اگر ثابت شود، منجر به ابطال آرا می‌شود. -- واکنش حمیدالله فاروقی عضو ستاد انتخاباتی اشرف غنی احمدزی, BBC

Opinions - It is time for the West to move ahead without Russia --- We recently visited Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldova. In each country, our allies want a stronger immediate response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its ongoing subversion of Ukraine. They also believe, as we do, that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest acts of aggression require an enduring strategic response from the United States, Europe and NATO. It should be clear to all that Putin’s Russia has taken a dark turn. There is no resetting this relationship. We cannot return to business as usual. -- Western countries had high hopes for our relationships with Russia after the Cold War and acted on that basis. We provided billions of dollars to help Russia’s transition from communism. We created new mechanisms for consultation. We expanded trade. NATO committed not to deploy significant military capabilities onto the territory of new alliance allies, even as it expanded. In short, the West sought to include Russia in the promise of a Europe whole, free and at peace — a vision we still believe would benefit all participants. -- Unfortunately, hope of a constructive relationship with Russia under Putin has vanished. A friendly rival has become, at best, an unfriendly adversary. Putin will not compromise his quest to dominate Russia’s sovereign neighbors (not least as a cynical way to build support at home for his corrupt and autocratic rule). He may play along with Western diplomats eager to avoid conflict, as happened recently in Geneva, but only as a way to consolidate his gains, divide the United States and Europe, play for time and prepare to push further. Western weakness emboldens Putin. The only thing he respects, and that can change his calculus, is greater strength.-- We must make policy on this basis. In the short term, the United States must expand sanctions to major Russian banks, energy companies and other sectors of Russia’s economy — such as the arms industry — that serve as instruments of Putin’s foreign policy. We should also expose the most egregious corruption of Russian officials and cut off those people, their business associates and relatives from Western economies and travel. Some of our European allies may hope to avoid tough sanctions, but weak measures will not stop Putin, and the costs of doing so will only grow with time. -- Ultimately, Putin’s actions in Ukraine require a strategic response. This does not mean a new Cold War. But it does require recognizing Putin’s geopolitical challenge to the post-Cold War order in Europe and preparing for a more competitive relationship with Russia. -- NATO must recommit to its core missions of deterrence and collective defense. This requires a rebalancing of the alliance’s force posture and presence. NATO military capabilities must be increased and more evenly distributed across the alliance, including a more robust and persistent presence in Central Europe and the Baltic countries. Some steps in this direction are underway; these actions must be sustainable and enduring. -- More, John McCain, John Barrasso, John Hoeven and Ron Johnson, Washingtonpost

Runoff set for June 7 to settle Afghanistan presidential election ...- More, LATimes, at: http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-afghanistan-presidential-election-results-runoff-set-for-june-20140426,0,6999278.story#axzz3026Ugx9c

Pentagon says Russia has violated Ukraine’s airspace multiple times in last 24 hours --- The Pentagon said late Friday that Russian aircraft had entered Ukrainian airspace “on several occasions in the last 24 hours” and called on Moscow to take “immediate steps” to de-escalate rising tensions. -- The air incursions, which officials said may have been part of an effort to test Ukraine’s radar, took place as tens of thousands of Russian troops, massed on Ukraine’s southern and eastern borders for weeks, began “military drills” announced Thursday. -- As skirmishing continued in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russia militants, the halting U.S.-European effort to impose additional sanctions on Russia picked up speed amid a flurry of calls among top government leaders and agreement that last week’s deal with Moscow to calm the situation was all but dead. -- European Union foreign ministers planned to meet Monday in Brussels to approve new asset freezes and visa bans on at least 15 prominent Russians close to President Vladi­mir Putin and deemed responsible for the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, a European official said. -- The United States, which has its own target list, held off announcing new sanctions as President Obama called the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy to confirm they were on the same page. -- “We will have to act,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “and I think this will be a common European action and a joint action of the G7 states.” The Group of 7 leading world economies also includes Canada and Japan. - More, Karen DeYoung and Michael Birnbaum, Washingtonpost

دقربانيانو کورنۍ: جنايتکاران بايد محاکمه سي --- دثور داوومې او اتمې نیټې دقربانیانو کورنۍ په کابل کې دیوې غونډې په ترڅ کې په دغو نیټو دجنگي جنایتونو دعاملینو دمحاکمې غوښتونکې شول. دغو کسانو وویل چې په دغو نیټو په افغانستان کې «هولناک ناورینونه» رامنځ ته شول. ویل کیږي چې دثور پر اوومه او اتمه نېټه په افغانستان تر انقلاب وروسته په زرونو افغانان په بیلابیلو نومونو ورک شول. ددغو قربانیانو کورنیو په کابل دورکو شوو کسانو ښخولو نمایشي مراسمه تر سره کړل. -- دقربانیانو دکورنۍ یوه غړې طاهره، وایي چې دکمونيستي نظام پر وخت افغانانو ټول وخت دعا کوله چې په هیواد کې یې یو اسلامی حکومت رامنځ ته شي. خو دهغې په خبره کله چې په افغانستان کې دمجاهدینو حکومت واک ته ورسید، نو افغانانو بیا د ژوند تر ټولو بدي ورځي تجربه کړي. «هغه عام وژني چې ما پخپلو سترگو لیدلي دي، لوی جنایتونه ول. داسې یوه ورځ باید را ورسیږي چې په خپله خلک دخپلو شهیدانو او قربانیانو دویني قیمت له جنایتکارانو څخه وغواړي.» په دغه غونډه کې د هر قرباني کورنۍ دهغه دانځور مخې ته ددرناوي ددود له مخې گلان کښېښودل. -- اوس په افغانستان کې دډیرو کسانو په منځ کې دثور اوومه نېټه یوه توره ورځ گڼل کیږي. په دې ورځ دکمونیزم پلوي گوندونه په افغانستان کې دیوې کودتا په پایله کې واک ته ورسیدل او ویل کیږي چې ډیر شمیر کسان چې دهغوی مخالف ول، یې ووژل. له بلې خوا بیا په افغانستان کې دثور اتمه نېټه پر کمیونیزم باندي دمجاهدینو دبریا دورځې په توگه لمانځل کیږي. دا په داسې حال کې ده چې ډیر شمېر عادي افغانان دغه ورځ هم نه لمانځي، ځکه دافغانستان پر کمونیستي حکومت باندي دمجاهدینو تر بریا وروسته، په دې هیواد کې کورنۍ جگړه پیل شوه. -- ډیر شمیر عادي افغانان هم د ثور اوومه او هم اتمه نېټه د افغانستان په تاریخ کې دوې توري ورځي گڼي چې له کبله یې د هغوی په خبره ډېرو افغانانو خپل ژوند له لاسه ورکړ. طاهره وایي چې تر اوسه پوري په افغانستان کې داسې یو نظام نه دی حاکم شوی چې وکولای شي عدالت تطبیق کړي: «له بده مرغه چي دولسمشر کرزي حکومت په دې توانیدلي نه دی چې دغو مسایلو ته توجه وکړي. یوازي د افغانستان عادي خلک کولای شي دخپلو عزیزانو غچ واخلي.» ددغو دوو ورځو د قربانیانو دکورنۍ یو غړی مختار احمد، وایي: «دهغه وخت رژیم او دپخواني شوروي اتحاد ملگرو یې په نیمه شپه کې زموږ پر کور باندي برید وکړ او زموږ دکورنۍ پنځه غړي یې له ځان سره بوتلل. څو ساعته وروسته له یوې محکمې پرته په ډیر ظالمانه توگه په پلچرخي زندان کې هغوی ووژل شول.» -- دقربانیانو دکورنۍ غړو یوه اعلامیه خپره کړه چې په هغه کې یې د «ملي مصالحې دقانون» دلغو کیدو غوښتنه وکړه. دغه قانون چې دافغانستان دپارلمان له خوا تصویب شوی دی، پکښې ټول هغه کسان له قانوني تعقيبه خلاص دي چې په تیرو درو لسیزو کې یې جنایتونه ترسره کړي دي. په دې اعلامیه کې هم له حکومت څخه غوښتل شوي دي چې د«منازعې دترسیم رپوټ» خپور کړي. دغه رپوټ د افغانستان دبشري حقونو خپلواک کمیسیون له خوا جوړ شوی دی. په رپوټ کي ټول هغه جنایتونه انځور شوي دي چې دکمونيستي حکومتونو، مجاهدینو او طالبانو له خوا ترسره شوي دي. په دې اعلامیه کې دغه راز دافغانستان له راتلونکې حکومت څخه غوښتل شوي دي چې په جنگي جنایتونو تورن کسان په لوړو پوستونو کې مقرر نه کړي. - دویچه ویلی

If it's Saturday, it's time for Obama to talk up the minimum wage --- (Reuters) - For the fifth Saturday this year, the White House used the president's weekly address to exhort Republicans to support an increase in the minimum wage, a key part of President Barack Obama's voter-friendly economic agenda aimed at keeping Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate. -- Obama has been pushing Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, up from the current level of $7.25, a move that would lift wages for almost 28 million people and is supported by more than 70 percent of Americans. -- "While not all of us always see eye-to-eye politically, one thing we overwhelmingly agree on is that nobody who works full-time should ever have to live in poverty," Obama said in his address, which airs on radio stations and is posted online. -- The measure is unlikely to pass Congress. Republicans argue it would kill jobs, pointing to a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimate that it would cost about 500,000 people their jobs even as it lifted 900,000 people out of poverty. - More, Roberta Rampton, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/26/us-usa-obama-minimumwage-idUSBREA3P08520140426

.انتخابات ریاست جمهوری افغانستان به دور دوم رفت --- کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان با اعلام نتایج اولیه انتخابات ریاست جمهوری گفته که هیچ یک از نامزدها برنده نشده‌است. -- احمدیوسف نورستانی آمار کامل نتایج اولیه را در حضور ناظران انتخاباتی و خبرنگاران اعلام کرد که براساس آن آقای عبدالله (۴۴.۹) درصد و آقای غنی (۳۱.۵) درصد کل آرا را کسب کرده‌اند. -- شش نامزد دیگر با فاصله زیاد در ردیف‌های بعدی قرار گرفته‌اند: زلمی رسول (۱۱.۵) درصد، عبدرب‌الرسول سیاف (۷.۱) درصد، قطب‌الدین هلال (۲.۷) درصد، محمدشفیق گل آقا شیرزی (۱.۶) درصد، داوود سلطانزوی (۰.۵) درصد و هدایت امین ارسلا (۰.۲) درصد. -- براساس قانون، نامزدی که بیش از ۵۰ درصد آرا را به دست آورد، برنده شناخته می‌شود. حالا که آرای هیچ یک از نامزدها به این میزان نرسیده، دور دوم انتخابات با شرکت دو نامزدی بیشترین آرا را به دست آورده‌اند، در روز هفتم جوزا/خرداد برگزار خواهد شد. -- با وجود این، آقای نورستانی گفت که درصدی اعلام شده، نهایی نیست و کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی تا کمتر از بیست روز دیگر فرصت دارد که به شکایت‌های احتمالی نامزدها درباره این نتایج رسیدگی کند و به این ترتیب احتمال تغییر نتایج اولیه انتخابات منتفی نیست. -- در زمان شمارش نتایج اولیه انتخابات آرای صدها صندوق باطل اعلام شد. ابتدا در ولایت غربی هرات حدود صد هزار رای از سوی دفتر ولایتی کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی باطل اعلام شد و به دنبال آن، دفتر مرکزی این نهاد از ابطال هزارها رای دیگر خبر داد. -- رسیدگی به شکایت‌ها در خصوص تقلب و تخلف در شانزدهم حمل/فروردین پس از اعلام نتایج اولیه آن هم ادامه خواهد یافت. -- به دنبال رسیدگی به این شکایت‌ها، نتایج نهایی انتخابات در ۲۴ ثور/اردیبهشت اعلام خواهد شد. اگر با اعلام نتایج نهایی تغییر عمده‌ای در نتایج انتخابات نیامد، دور دوم انتخابات دو هفته بعد از آن برگزار می‌شود. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140426_k02-af2014-primery-results.shtml

Afghan election set for run-off --- The Afghan presidential election will go to a second round, after no candidate reached the 50% needed for an outright win, preliminary results show. --- Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah won most votes with 44.9%. Former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani came second with 31.5%. -- They are now expected to face a run-off vote on 28 May. -- Final official results are due to be announced on 14 May after a period for adjudication of complaints. -- The BBC's David Loyn in Kabul says there are increasing claims of fraud. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27173423

Afghanistan on the Bounce: Reflections on Life on Deployment --- As a documentation/production specialist in Afghanistan, photographer Robert L. Cunningham accompanied soldiers of 40 different units on 132 combat missions, following them during their typical on-base routines as well as into hazardous situations. In Afghanistan: On the Bounce (Insight Editions), a book he produced with writer Steve Hartov, he examines the service members’ weapons, uniforms, vehicles, and gear, along with reflections on duty, insights and life on deployment. He shares some of his photos and his observations here: - More, National Geographic - at: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/24/afghanistan-on-the-bounce-reflections-on-life-on-deployment/

"حکومت آینده از تقرر جنایتکاران در پُست های دولتی جلوگیری کند" --- گروه عدالت انتقالی، فعالان مدنی و خانواده های قربانیان جنگ های سه دهه گذشته در افغانستان از حکومت آینده این کشور خواسته اند تا از تقرر جنایت کاران بشری در پُست های دولتی جلوگیری کرده و زمینه محاکمه شان را فراهم بسازد. -- تا حالا روشن نشده است که چه کسی بر اریکه قدرت تکیه خواهد زد، اما شماری از فعالان مدنی، گروه عدالت انتقالی و خانواده های قربانیان جنگ های سه و نیم دهه گذشته در کشور از حکومت آینده افغانستان خواستار تطبیق عدالت انتقالی شدند. -- آنان روز جمعه به یاد بود از قربانیان هفت ثور سال 1357 و هشتم ثور 1371 با تجمع در قصر دارالامان شهر کابل گفتند که رییس جمهور آینده افغانستان باید برای جلوگیری از تکرار رویداد های گذشته مانع تقرر جنایت کاران در پُست های دولتی شود. -- گروه هماهنگی عدالت انتقالی، فعالان جامعه مدنی و خانواده های قربانیان، یک قطعنامه هشت ماده یی را هم به رییس جمهور آینده کشور به خوانش گرفتند. -- حبیب رهیاب عضو جامعه مدنی، قسمتِ از این قطعنامه را چنین بیان کرد: --- « از حکومت جدید بعد از انتخابات می خواهیم که باید گزارش ترسیم منازعه که توسط کمیسیون مستقل حقوق بشر افغانستان تهیه شده است را نشر کند، باید گور های دسته جمعی در سراسر کشور را شناسایی، ثبت و حفاظت کند، باید از تقرر افراد که متهم به جنایت علیه بشریت و جنگی اند در پُست های کلیدی جلوگیری کند، باید جرایم بین المللی مانند، جنایت علیه بشریت، جنایت جنگی، نسل کشی و شکنجه در قوانین جزایی کشور را تعریف و تصویب کند.» -- در قطعنامه همچنان آمده است که حکومت جدید باید قانون عفو و مصالحه ملی را باطل اعلان کند و مرتکبین جنایات بشری و جنگی را مجازات نماید. -- مسوولان جامعه مدنی و گروه عدالت انتقالی می گویند که در هفت ثور سال 1357 حزب دیموکراتیک خلق قدرت را از طریق یک کودتای خونین به دست گرفت و هزاران تن را به اتهام اعتقادات مخالف با دولت زندانی، شکنجه و اعدام کرد و در هشتم ثور سال 1371 در جنگ های داخلی میان گروهای جهادی ده ها هزار تن در این کشور کشته شدند، اما عاملین آن هنوز هم مورد محاکمه قرار نگرفته اند. --در عین حال شماری از خانواده های قربانیان جنگ های سه و نیم دهه گذشته در کشور از رییس جمهور آینده می خواهند تا جلو تکرار همچون حوادث را در افغانستان بگیرد. --- سه تن از این افراد به رادیو آزادی چنین گفتند: -- « از حکومت آینده می خواهیم که به بازمانده گان قربانیان توجهء خاص داشته باشد.» -- « من جمیله هستم، آنان که جنایت کرده اند باید محاکمه شوند.» -- « اسم من فریده است و پدر، کاکا و بچه کاکای خود را در جنگ های سه دهه گذشته از دست داده ام، هر نامزد محترم ما که به چوکی قدرت می رسند، اگر به خواست های ما توجه نکند، ما آرام نه نشسته و راه های دیگری را در پیش خواهیم گرفت.» --- این بازمانده گان از یونما یا دفتر معاونیت سازمان ملل متحد در افغانستان نیز خواستند که در فراهم آوری زمینه محاکمه جنایت کاران جنگی و بشری با حکومت آینده قاطعانه همکاری کند. -- تا حالا نتیجه ابتدایی و نهایی انتخابات از سوی کمیسیون های انتخاباتی اعلان نشده است و این هم معلوم نیست که چه کسی رییس جمهور آینده افغانستان می شود و آیا او خواهد توانست تا به خواست های بازمانده گان قربانیان پاسخ مثبت بدهد؟ --- اما برخی از تحلیلگران گفته اند که برای از میان برداشتن فاصله میان مردم و حکومت رییس جمهور آینده باید در کابینه اش افراد متخصص، متعهد و پاک را به کار بگمارد. - رادیو آزادی

Friday, April 25, 2014

U.S. Says It Built Digital Programs Abroad With an Eye to Politics --- WASHINGTON — The United States built Twitter-like social media programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan, like one in Cuba, that were aimed at encouraging open political discussion, Obama administration officials said Friday. But like the program in Cuba, which was widely ridiculed when it became public this month, the services in Pakistan and Afghanistan shut down after they ran out of money because the administration could not make them self-sustaining. -- In all three cases, American officials appeared to lack a long-term strategy for the programs beyond providing money to start them. -- Administration officials also said Friday that there had been similar programs in dozens of other countries, including a Yes Youth Can project in Kenya that was still active. Officials also said they had plans to start projects in Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Some programs operate openly with the knowledge of foreign governments, but others have not been publicly disclosed. -- The Kenya project, like the Cuba program, is the work of the United States Agency for International Development. The projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan were run by the State Department. All such programs have come under greater scrutiny since the administration acknowledged the existence of the Twitter-like program in Cuba, which ran from 2008 to 2012, when it abruptly ended, apparently because a $1.3 million contract to start up the messaging system ran out of money. -- The Associated Press, which first published a detailed article about the Cuba program, reported that it was set up to encourage political dissent on the island. But administration officials, while acknowledging that they were discreet about the program when it existed, said it was set up to provide Cubans with a platform to share ideas and exchange information. -- Administration officials provided no information about the purpose and scope of the Afghan program, which had not been previously disclosed. In contrast, in 2009, Hillary Rodham Clinton, then secretary of state, announced the Pakistani program during a meeting with students in Lahore, Pakistan. The State Department worked with Pakistani telecommunications companies to create the network. -- Called Humari Awaz or Our Voices, the program was run out of the office of Richard C. Holbrooke, President Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, who died in 2010. The purpose of the program, according to people who worked on it, was to provide a platform that used messaging to help Pakistanis build mobile networks around their shared interests. -- At its peak, State Department officials said, the program cost about $1 million and connected more than a million people who sent more than 350 million messages. Users of the service could sign up using their personal information or remain anonymous. --- Administration officials would not say when the Pakistani program ended or what it ultimately accomplished. --- The State Department and the United States Agency for International Development have actively pushed for the use of social media programs after seeing their successful use during the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia in 2010. Messaging was also used by protesters during the 2009 Iranian presidential election. - More, RON NIXON, NYTimes, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/world/us-ran-social-media-programs-in-afghanistan-and-pakistan.html?_r=0

Ukraine crisis: Pentagon says Russian jets violated airspace --- The US says Russian military aircraft have entered Ukrainian airspace on several occasions, amid rising tension in the east of the country. -- A Pentagon spokesman called on Russia to "de-escalate the situation". -- The statement came as the G7 group of industrialised countries agreed on Saturday to "swiftly" impose fresh sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. -- Meanwhile, talks are under way to secure the release of international observers seized by separatists. -- Russia has tens of thousands of troops deployed along its side of the border with Ukraine as pro-Moscow separatists continue to occupy official buildings in a dozen eastern towns, defying the government in Kiev. --- Russia has accused the West of wanting to "seize" Ukraine. --- In a statement on Friday, Pentagon spokesman Col Steven Warren said Russian aircraft had entered Ukrainian airspace several times in the past 24 hours. -- He gave no further details, but called on Moscow to take "immediate steps to de-escalate the situation". -- US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel earlier described Russian activity along the Ukrainian border as "dangerously destabilising" and "very provocative". - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/27167187

سیل جان دست‌کم ۵۴ نفر را در شمال و غرب افغانستان گرفت --- مقامات محلی در ولایتهای جوزجان در شمال و بادغیس در غرب افغانستان تایید کردند که جاری شدن سیل در این دو ولایت جان ۴۶ نفر را در ولایت جوزجان و ۸ نفر را در ولایت بادغیس گرفته است. -- صبح روز جمعه، ٥ ثور/اردیبهشت فرمانده پلیس ولایت جوزجان مرگ دست کم ۲۸ نفر را تایید کرده بود، ولی بایمراد قوینلی، والی ولایت جوزجان به بی‌بی‌سی گفت که تاکنون ۴۶ نفر در این حادثه جان خود را از دست داده اند. -- مصعب حامدی رئیس اداره مبارزه با حوادث ولایت بادغیس نیز به بی‌بی‌سی گفت که جاری شدن سیل در شهر قلعه نو مرکز ولایت بادغیس باعث کشته شدن دست کم ۸ نفر شده و ۲۰۰ مغازه را نیز تخریب کرده است. -- فقیرخان جوزجانی، فرمانده پلیس ولایت جوزجان در شمال افغانستان صبح امروز اعلام کرده بود که به دلیل جاری شدن سیل در این ولایت دست کم ۲۸ نفر کشته و ده‌ها خانه ویران شده است. -- به گفته آقای جوزجانی، قربانیان این واقعه زنان، مردان و کودکان بوده‌اند. -- این مقام محلی تاکید کرد که در زمان جاری شدن سیل بسیاری از مردم محل در خواب بودند و احتمال دارد که تلفات بیشتر از این باشد. -- در همین حال نهادهای امدادرسان گفته اند که در هماهنگی با هم سعی دارند به قربانیان و خانواده های آسیب دیده کمک های فوری برسانند. -- زبیده اکبر سخنگوی دفتر حمایت از کودکان "Save the Children"، به بی‌بی‌سی گفت که تعداد قربانیان این سیلاب ها نسبت به آن چه توسط مقام های محلی اعلام شده، بیشتر است و آمار شان نشان می دهد که بیش از صد نفر جان خود را از دست داده اند. -- خانم اکبر گفت که این موسسه با تعدادی از نهادهای بشردوستانه هماهنگی کرده اند و آماده اند که به پنج هزار نفر چادر و مواد خوراکی توزیع کنند. آمار این موسسه نشان می دهد که در کنار ولایت جوزجان ۳۰۰ خانواده نیز در فاریاب متاثر شده اند. -- با این حال فرمانده پلیس جوزجان گفته است که طوفان شدید و بارش سنگین باران از ساعت ۸ دیشب آغاز شد و تا ۴ صبح امروز ادامه داشت و علاوه بر تلفات جانی، خسارات وسیعی هم برجای گذاشته است. -- فقیرخان جوزجانی گفت که بیشترین خسارات جانی و مالی به ساکنان دو ولسوالی قوش تپه و درز آب این ولایت وارد شده و در ولسوالی خواجه دو کوه نیز مردم پنج روستا در محاصره سیل قرار دارند. -- او گفت که جریان این واقعه را با محمدکریم خلیلی معاون دوم رئیس جمهور و رئیس کمیته ملی اضطراری افغانستان در میان گذاشته وخواستار ارسال کمک هوایی برای نجات افراد گرفتار در سیلاب شده است. -- افغانستان یکی از کشورهای مستعد برای وقوع حوادث طبیعی است. -- زلزله، سیل، رانش زمین، برف‌کوچ (بهمن)، طوفان، زمستانهای سرد، تابستانهای خشک و خشکسالی هر ساله باعث خسارت‌های زیادی در این کشور می‌شود. -- براساس اعلام نهادهای دولتی افغانستان از سال ۱۹۷۰ تا ۲۰۱۲ میلادی فقط جاری شدن سیل در حدود ۳۹۶ الی ۵۹۷ میلیون دلار به این کشور صدمه زده‌است. -- آمار نشان می‌دهد که تنها در سال ۲۰۱۲ حدود ۳۸۳ مورد حادثه طبیعی در ۱۹۵ ولسوالی این کشور رخ داد که باعث مرگ ۴۷۸ نفر و خسارات مالی گسترده شد. - BBC

Huffpost -- Afghanistan Special Investigator Drops Hammer On State Department Waste --- ISTANBUL -- The special investigator tasked with assessing America's deployment of resources in Afghanistan over the past decade launched a trio of damning new reports this week, slamming the State Department for its shortcomings and waste in a slew of projects. -- One of the reports, which were released on Thursday by the office of the Special Investigator for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), points out that the State Department has distributed nearly 70 percent of its development funds to a single, controversial American contractor, DynCorp. ---- The new audit doesn't specifically fault DynCorp for any of its efforts, but the company has a long history as a target of criticisms for its handling of security-related projects, particularly in Iraq, where an independent investigator repeatedly cited the company for improper billing and weak oversight. -- Nevertheless DynCorp has continued to land massive government projects in Afghanistan over the years, including, according to SIGAR, some $2.8 billion in U.S. funding between 2002 and 2013, or nearly three-quarters of the $4 billion spent by the State Department on reconstruction over that period. -- Ashley Burke, a spokeswoman for DynCorp, defended the company's contracting work, noting that much of the inspector general's reports were focused on the U.S. government's failures of oversight, not on DynCorp's performance. "These programs involve complex and challenging work in a difficult environment, and our personnel have done an outstanding job," she said. "The company has proudly supported a variety of training and mentoring efforts in Afghanistan." -- Another report released this week took a closer look at an 8-year, $580 million effort by the State Department's Agency for International Development to renovate Afghanistan's water and sewage infrastructure, and found that the agency did not meet its stated goals, or even bother to track how well it was doing. -- In a response to The Huffington Post, a spokesman for USAID disputed the inspector general's claims, saying that water projects "are subject to comprehensive performance reviews" and that the agency has shifted priorities for various projects "based on realities on the ground." -- The third document, a letter to USAID concerning the long-delayed and troubled Kajaki Dam project, added to previous independent evaluations that judged the effort to have been far too expensive and unproductive. The letter describes State Department claims about the dam's economic viability as "questionable." -- The USAID spokesman said the calculations used by SIGAR regarding the dam project were "based on a misunderstanding of USAID's cost estimates." -- The State Department had no immediate comment. -- The Huffington Post has reported on several instances of waste and squandered resources by American development agencies and their private contractors during their more than 10 years of involvement in Afghanistan. -- Many projects intended to benefit the Afghan economy or population have been busts, or else have cost vastly more than they were expected to. And a much-touted "hearts and minds" campaign -- that would ostensibly have Afghan popular support for the U.S. occupation rise with every new schoolhouse or hospital -- never materialized. -- More, Joshua Hersh - at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/25/sigar-afghanistan-dyncorp_n_5212156.html

Wife of doctor killed in Afghanistan: No ill will toward gunman --- Jerry Umanos, the Chicago pediatrician gunned down in Afghanistan, would have wanted people to respond to his death by opening their hearts to those who live in the war-torn nation, his wife said in a tearful statement. --- "Our family and friends have suffered a great loss and our hearts are aching," Jan Schuitema told reporters in front of the couple's Kenwood home this afternoon. "While our hearts are aching for our loss, we're also aching for the loss of the other families as well as the loss, the multiple losses, that the Afghan people have experienced. -- "And I know Jerry would also really like everybody to know about his love for the Afghan people and our love for the Afghan people and that we don't hold any ill will towards Afghanistan in general, or even the gunman who did this. We don't know what his history is," she added. --- Umanos was among three Americans killed when a police officer working as a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital funded by a U.S. Christian charity. He was gunned down along with a father and son visiting the Cure Hospital, which specializes in children's and maternal health, according to Afghan officials. -- "As they were walking out of the hospital, the security guard opened fire on them, killing three and wounding another one," an Interior Ministry official said. -- A friend and colleague said Umanos had become more worried about his safety. He had been shot at while jogging, and a dentist who lived in a neighboring compound had been killed in January. --- “He was obviously concerned,” said Dr. Art. Jones. "At the same time, you can’t count the number of children that Jerry’s impacted, the lives he’s saved on his own, and with the doctors he trained. That’s who he was. He was driven by the kids.” -- Umanos had worked as a pediatrician at Lawndale Christian Health Center on the West Side for more than 16 years when he and his wife moved to Afghanistan. Umanos worked at a community health center and at a children's hospital in Kabul, helping train Afghan doctors.-- "Jerry always wanted to serve under-served populations" his wife said. "Afghanistan was just one of them. He always had a desire to be the hands and feet of Christ. He had a love and commitment that he expressed for the Afghan people because of that love for Christ. -- "He saw the need. He went, as did I for several years. And that need continues," added Schuitema, who is a special needs teachers for Chicago Public Schools. --- Umanos was one of the first doctors hired at the Lawndale clinic, and it took little convincing to recruit him despite the fact that his salary would be the same as when he was a medical resident, according to Jones, one of Lawndale Christian Health Center’s founders. -- “He was just the fourth doctor we had, and he was with us ever since,” Jones said. “He was committed to his faith and to helping the poor.” -- About seven years ago, Umanos took a brief trip to volunteer at the Cure clinic in Afghanistan, and within a few years he was spending most of the year in the war-torn country, training doctors and living in spartan conditions. -- While “Dr. Jerry” was less frequently on hand at the Lawndale clinic, a wall in the lobby was covered with pictures and statistics about conditions in Afghanistan, Jones said. -- “I don’t know anyone who went as often or stayed as long as Jerry. He sort of realized that how he was spending his time, the magnitude of impact he could have in a place like Afghanistan, even compared to the inner-city in Chicago, was just so much greater,” Jones said. -- “He basically came back here for a few months each year, to make enough money so he could go back,” he added. -- Jones visited Umanos in Afghanistan twice, spending a few weeks each time. -- “I was there for a few weeks five years ago. It was winter, and the house was so cold, they didn’t need a refrigerator. They could just leave the food out in the kitchen,” Jones said. --- The Lawndale Christian Health Center provides affordable health services. Founded in 1984 by a local church on the site of a former Cadillac dealership, the health center has expanded to offer a fitness center, and has satellite clinics in Homan Square, Farragut Career Academy and Archer Heights. - More, Mitch Smith, Andy Grimm and Rosemary - chicagotribune

آرمان ملی - دریای هیرمند هلمند یا نیل افغانستان --- رودخا نه هیرمند یا نیل افغانستان موجب ایجاد مدنیت های بزرگ شده ودر سرسبزی ولايت هاي اطراف خود نقش تاریخی در افغانستان داشته و به حیث سبد غذا و کندوی غله منطقه به حساب رفته است، بنابرین خاک نیمروز از نوع خاک وادی های نیل و دجله، سند وغیره دره های حاصل خیزاست. مکما هون انگلیسی که در تعیين سرحدات غربی نقش داشته درباره اراضی نیمروز چنین نوشته است: (حاصل خیزی اراضی نیمـــروز بی مانند و فراوانی آب رودخا نه هیرمند این ایالت را غنی ترین از حیث محصولات زراعتی قرار داده است.) --- لارد کرزن انگلیسی نایب سلطنه هند برتانوی در اواخر قرن 19 میلادی به اهمیت آبادانی ولایت نیمروز چنین گفته است: (زمانی ولايت نيمروز امروز و سيستان ديروز معروف جهان و حاصل خیزی آن مشهور آفاق بود، سکنه زیاد داشت و نهر های مجلل و پر جمعیت داشته سکنه غنی و با ثروت بودند.) شکي نیست که در صورت جلوگيري از مداخله ايران كه خود را در زير شعار (اسلام مرز ندارد) پنهان ساخته است و بيشرمانه و علني مانع اعمار سد (كمال خان) روي درياي هلمند مي شود، بار دیگر به همان اندازه آباد و معمور خواهد شد. اگر به ولايت نیمروز از طرف حكومات ملي و مردمي در پلان هاي انكشافي حق اولويت داده شود و توسط واليان با وجدان كه از منافع علياي كشور بدون تعلقات و وابستگي به ايران و به همكاري مردم آن والا و آبیاری درست، آیا شهرت(کندو و غله و سبد غذا) تاریخی خود را باز بدست نخواهد آورد؟ آینده آباداني ولایت نیمروز بسته به ايجاد حكومت ملي كه از وابستگي ايران بتواند خود را نجات دهد و به اعطاي حق السكوت كه در طول حيات نظام هاي غيرمردمي و ضد منافع علياي مردم حق شــــــناس افغانستان، از ديروز تا امروز توسط دولت ايران به اشكال مختلف تأديه شده و فعلاً به شكل علني به ارگ نشينان پرداخته مي شود تداوم يافته است، خاتمه داده شود و در غير آن حاكميت ملي و تماميت ارضي ما مورد سوال قرار مي گيرد! --- اصطخری و ابن حوقل دو جغرافیه نویس معروف اسلامی در یک هزار سال قبل نوشته اند که: (بین زرنج مركز ولايت نيمروز و بست مركز ولايت هلمند کانال کشیده شده بود به نام (سنارود) هنگام طغیان آب مال التجاره توسط کشتی ها میان دو شهر رفت و آمد داشت و حمل و نقل مي شد). در سی میلی شهر زرنج مركز ولايت نيمروز یک سلسله بند ها روی هیرمند وجود داشت که از اینجا مقدار زیاد آب در پنج نهر به طرف شهر زرنج مي رفت. --- در تاريخ سيستان راجع به درياي هلمند اين نيل افغانستان نقل قول شده است: (در تاریخ گذشتۀ وطن نام هیرمند به نام (هیتومنت) یعنی هیتوبه پل وسد (منت) و یامند به معنی رودخانه یاد شده است. اين رودخانه که بعد از پیچ و خم ها، سنگلاخ هاي عظیم عبور مي کند، مي توان گفت پهنایش در بعضی از نقاط کم شده که اسب هم قدرت عبور از عرض ده متری آن را ندارد. طول این رود خا نه در حدود 1200 الی 1400 کیلومتر و بزرگـــــترین رودخا نه در میان سند و فرات در شرق حسا ب شده است.) --- نظر به قول مکماهون انگلیسی که در مورد رودخا نه هیرمند می گوید: (رودخا نه هیرمند یا هلمند که در اوقات عادی، در هر ثا نیه 2000 فت مکعب آب به ولایت نیمروز مي دهد، در موقع سیلاب های فوق العاده مانند سیلاب سال 1885 م این میزان 600 –700 هزار فت مکعب آب در ثا نیه می کشد)، نظر به قول مؤرخین: رودخانه عظیم همان قدر که در دره های سهمگین کوه پایه های مرکزی کشور، خشمگین است همین که از بند کجکی می گذرد از غریوش می کاهد و به صورت یک رودخانه بسیار پر فیض و سودبخش در مي آيد، دلتای هیرمند که امروز نیمروزش مي خوانند، ظاهراً از بند کمال خان آغاز می گردد. باید گفت که فاضلاب هر یک از شاخه های هیرمند در هامون صابري می ریزد و از همین فاضلاب است كه يك بخشي نهايت كوچك ساحه (میان کنگی) ایران از آن بهره برده است، در حالي که با تأسف در موقع کم آبی به صورت مشکل می تواند ولسوالی های خود ما را چون ولسوالی چاربرجک، کنگ و مرکز ولایت را آبیاری کند. -- More, - at: http://armanemili.af/detail.php?pid=5000

Girl gives Michelle Obama her unemployed father’s résumé --- A young girl who was a guest at the White House's annual "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" did her father a favor. -- She handed Michelle Obama his résumé. -- When Obama called on a girl, identified by the Associated Press as 10-year-old Charlotte Bell, during a question-and-answer session, the girl stood up and walked toward the first lady. -- "My dad's been out of a job for three years and I wanted to give you his résumé," Charlotte said. -- Obama seemed surprised, then invited the girl on stage and gave her a hug. "Oh my goodness," Obama said while hugging Charlotte. -- The two briefly spoke and Obama held up the résumé. -- "Well it's a little private, but she's doing something for her dad. Alright?" Obama said. She held up the résumé in her hand and shook it. "Got it." - More, Katie Zezima - Washingtonpost

Obama visit to South Korea tinged by mourning --- SEOUL, South Korea — President Barack Obama is sitting down with South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, whose attention is unavoidably split between her economic agenda with Obama and the unfolding aftermath of a tragic ferry disaster. -- Arriving on Friday afternoon at the Blue House, South Korea’s presidential residence, Obama presented Park with an American flag that flew over the White House on April 16 — a day of growing infamy for South Korea. Sitting down for meetings with Park, Obama expressed his condolences over the sunken ferry incident, which has consumed Park’s government for more than a week as divers discover yet more bodies. -- “As allies, but also friends, we join you in mourning the missing, and especially the young people,” Obama said before the two leaders bowed their heads for a moment of silence. -- The vast majority of the 300 dead or missing victims attended a high school near the capital of Seoul. Most of the ferry’s 29-person crew survived, but 11, including the captain, have been arrested on suspicion of negligence or abandoning people in need as the ferry sank. Park recently blasted their actions as “tantamount to murder.” -- Accepting the flag from Obama, Park drew a parallel between the way Americans pulled together after 9/11 and the resilience of South Koreans in the aftermath of their own tragedy. -- “The Korean people draw great strength from your kindness,” she said. -- The president’s overnight stay here is his second stop on a four-country Asia swing that also includes visits to Malaysia and the Philippines. Obama flew to Seoul from Japan, a major U.S. ally whose relationship with South Korea has deteriorated over historical resentments stemming from World War II. -- Playing something of a mediator, Obama brought Park and her Japanese counterpart together for a trilateral meeting last month in Europe, and the president was expected to follow up on those discussions while in South Korea. -- After arriving on Friday afternoon, Obama headed first to the National War Memorial, where he laid a wreath in honor of victims of the Korean War and led a naturalization ceremony for 20 military service members and their spouses from 14 countries. He used the occasion to call for a comprehensive immigration overhaul in the U.S., saying he’s going to “keep pushing to get this done this year.” -- Obama’s motorcade later rolled through downtown Seoul, past a stream lined with yellow ribbons in honor of the ferry victims. He arrived at the Gyeongbok Palace, a sprawling compound with an imposing pagoda-like structure in the center where the president got a tour. -- In an interview with the South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo, Obama acknowledged that he is arriving at a difficult time for the country but said the visit will give him a chance to express the American people’s sympathies. He noted that U.S. military personnel, who number about 28,500 in South Korea, are part of the search and rescue operation. - More, Associated Press, Washingtonpost

Obama says U.S. will stand by treaty obligations to Japan --- TOKYO — President Obama affirmed Thursday that U.S. treaty obligations to Japan extend to a chain of contested islands in the East China Sea, even as he emphasized that Japan and China should seek a peaceful resolution to the dispute. -- Speaking at a news conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama said the United States does not take a position “on final sovereignty over the islands,” which are called the Senkaku by Japan and the Diaoyu by China. But he noted that a long-standing treaty dictates that the United States would defend against any attack aimed at Japan. -- “We don’t take a position on final sovereignty determinations with respect to Senkakus, but historically they have been administered by Japan, and we do not believe that they should be subject to change unilaterally,” he said. “And what is a consistent part of the alliance is that the treaty covers all territories administered by Japan.” -- “At the same time,” Obama said, he has told Abe directly “that it would be a profound mistake to continue to see escalation around this issue rather than dialogue and confidence-building measures between Japan and China.” -- Obama emphasized that the position he was articulating “is not new.” He noted at one point, “First of all, the treaty between the United States and Japan preceded my birth, so obviously, this isn’t a ‘red line’ that I’m drawing.” -- But the president’s statement highlighted a broader theme in his week-long Asian trip: The United States remains focused on Asia and will deepen its economic and security ties in the region even as it contends with unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East. - More, Juliet Eilperin, Washingtonpost

Three Americans from one family among casualties in Kabul attack --- Afghan police officer at Kabul's Cure hospital opens fire on group of foreigners, killing three men and wounding a woman -- Three Americans belonging to one family were among the casualties of a deadly shooting at a Kabul hospital on Thursday morning. -- An Afghan police officer who had recently started working as an armed guard at Kabul's Cure hospital opened fire on a group of foreigners entering the hospital, killing three men and wounding a woman, local officials said. -- Of the three men killed, one was a paediatric specialist who had worked at the hospital for the past seven years. His father was also killed in the attack, and the specialist's wife was the woman wounded, according to a friend of the doctor who asked not to be named. -- The third man has not been identified, but the US embassy confirmed that the three men killed were American citizens. -- The hospital, run by US-based Christian medical charity Cure, specialises in surgery and maternal and child health, treating 37,000 patients annually and hosting one of Afghanistan's largest premature birth wards. -- The police officer, who like many Afghans uses one name – Ayunullah – started his new role about ten days ago, according to local people who knew him. -- Abdul Waseem, a taxi driver stationed outside the hospital, said Ayunullah was a Pashtun from Laghman province. -- "He looked about 25 or 28 years old, a young man. He was good, but looking a bit nervous," he added. -- Waseem said that about 10 minutes after a van carrying the Americans had driven through the gates he heard a volley of gunshots. - More, Guardian, at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/24/americans-one-family-kabul-afghan-hospital-attack

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tony Blair: west must take sides against growing threat of radical Islam --- In keynote speech on Middle East, former PM blames Islamic extremism for failures of western intervention in region -- Western military intervention in the Middle East has so far failed due to the distorting impact of an Islamic extremism so opposed to modernity that it could yet engender global catastrophe, Tony Blair warned on Wednesday in a keynote speech on the state of politics in the Middle East. -- With support for intervention ebbing fast, especially in Britain, Blair urged a wilfully blind west to realise it must take sides and if necessary make common cause with Russia and China in the G20 to counter the Islamic extremism that lies at the root of all failures of western intervention. -- He admitted there was now a desire across the west to steer clear at all costs following the bloody outcomes in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan, but said the extremism still represents the biggest threat to global security in the 21st century, saying it is holding back development across Africa and the Far East. -- In a speech to Bloomberg in London on Wednesday, the former Labour prime minister claimed the west was reluctant to look unflinchingly at Islamic extremism because the world of politics is uncomfortable talking about religion. -- He said: "For the last 40 to 50 years, there has been a steady stream of funding, proselytising, organising and promulgating coming out of the Middle East, pushing views of religion that are narrow minded and dangerous. Unfortunately we seem blind to the enormous global impact such teaching has had and is having.-- "Within the Middle East itself, the result has been horrible, with people often facing a choice between authoritarian government that is at least religiously tolerant; and the risk that in throwing off the government they don't like, they end up with a religiously intolerant quasi-theocracy." -- Insisting that the west had to take sides, he described Islamic extremism as "not about a competing view of how society or politics should be governed within a common space where you accept other views are equally valid. It is exclusivist in nature. The ultimate goal is not a society which someone else can change after winning an election. It is a society of a fixed polity, governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable but which are, of their essence, unchangeable." -- The region's chaos was not a battle between Sunni or Shia, or primarily due to the lack of economic opportunity, but due to "a common struggle around the issue of the rightful place of religion, and in particular Islam, in politics". --- He argued: "There is a Titanic struggle going on within the region between those who want the region to embrace the modern world – politically, socially and economically – and those who instead want to create a politics of religious difference and exclusivity. This is the battle. This is the distorting feature. This is what makes intervention so fraught but non-intervention equally so. This is what complicates the process of political evolution. This is what makes it so hard for democracy to take root." - MORE, Patrick Wintour, at: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/23/tony-blair-west-take-sides-growing-threat-radical-islam

Spencer Ackerman in New York : - No-fly list used by FBI to coerce Muslims into informing, lawsuit claims --- Case highlights plight of people wrongfully added to database who face lengthy, secretive process to clear their names --- Naveed Shinwari hasn’t seen his wife in 26 months. He suspects it’s because he refused to become an informant for the FBI. -- In February 2012 Shinwari, who has lived in the US since he was 14, flew to Afghanistan to get married. He says that before he could get home to Omaha, Nebraska, he was twice detained and questioned by FBI agents who wanted to know if he knew anything about national security threats. A third FBI visit followed when he got home. -- The following month, after Shinwari bought another plane ticket for a temporary job in Connecticut, he couldn’t get a boarding pass. Police told him he had been placed on the US no-fly list, although he had never in his life been accused of breaking any law. Another FBI visit soon followed, with agents wanting to know about the “local Omaha community, did I know anyone who’s a threat”, he says. -- “I’m just very frustrated, [and I said] what can I do to clear my name?” recalls Shinwari, 30. “And that’s where it was mentioned to me: you help us, we help you. We know you don’t have a job; we’ll give you money.” --- Shinwari is one of four American Muslims in a new lawsuit who accuse the FBI of placing them on the no-fly list, either to intimidate them into becoming informants or to retaliate against them for declining. -- Filed on Tuesday night in the US district court for the southern district of New York, the case accuses the US attorney general, Eric Holder, the FBI director, James Comey, the homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson, and two dozen FBI agents of creating an atmosphere in which Muslims who are not accused of wrongdoing are forbidden from flying, apparently as leverage to get them snitching on their communities. -- Their lawsuit seeks not only the plaintiffs’ removal from the no-fly list but also the establishment of a more robust legal mechanism to contest placement upon it. -- “This policy and set of practices by the FBI is part of a much broader set of policies that reflect overpolicing in Muslim-American communities,” said Diala Shamas, one of the lawyers for the four plaintiffs. --- In recent years Muslim community leaders in the US have stated that they feel law enforcement at times considers them a target, particularly thanks to mosque infiltrations and other surveillance practices. Material demonizing Muslims and Islam has been present in FBI counter-terrorism training, which the bureau has conceded was inappropriate. The New York police department recently shut down a unit tasked with spying on Muslim businesses, mosques and community centers in New York and New Jersey. -- Like his co-plaintiffs Shinwari does not know for sure that the FBI deliberately placed him on the no-fly list as either a punitive measure or a pressure tactic. -- Their four stories differ in important respects. --- The FBI declined to comment on the allegations in the new lawsuit, which was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility project at the City University of New York. - More, Guardian, at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/23/no-fly-list-fbi-coerce-muslims

Jobless Claims Bounce Up From Earlier Weeks' Low Levels --- After two straight weeks in which the figures tracked near their lowest levels in seven years, the number of first-time applications for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week. -- The Employment and Training Administration says there were 329,000 such claims filed, up by 24,000 from the previous week's slightly revised figure. -- Reuters says that even though the latest number was above expectations, "the rise probably does not suggest a shift in labor market conditions as the underlying trend continued to point to strength. ... The increase probably reflects difficulties adjusting the data for seasonal fluctuations given a late Easter this year and the timing of school spring breaks." -- Bloomberg News makes much the same point: "The Easter holiday period made it more difficult to adjust the data for seasonal variations. ... Looking beyond the swings, firings have slowed, which probably means employers are gaining confidence the world's largest economy is strengthening." - More, Mark Memmott, at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/24/306425825/jobless-claims-bounce-up-from-earlier-weeks-low-levels

Three Americans killed in Kabul hospital attack --- (Reuters) - Three Americans were killed on Thursday when a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital funded by a U.S. Christian charity, the latest in a spate of attacks on foreign civilians in Afghanistan. -- Attacks on security forces, Afghan civilians and Westerners have been on the rise since the beginning of the year as Western forces prepare to leave the country and Afghans choose a new president. -- "We can confirm three Americans were killed," said a U.S. Embassy official, without providing further details. A fourth American was wounded, the Afghan Health Ministry said. --- Those killed included a doctor, and a father and son visiting the hospital, Health Minister Suriya Dalil said. -- "As they were walking out of the hospital, the security guard opened fire on them, killing three and wounding another one," an Interior Ministry official said. -- Among the dead was Dr. Jerry Umanos, a Chicago pediatrician who volunteered for nearly a decade in Afghanistan training medical residents and seeing patients, according to the Chicago health center where he worked for more than a quarter century. -- "He was a loving, caring physician who served all of his patients with the utmost of respect," said Dr. Bruce Rowell, a pediatrician at Chicago's Lawndale Christian Health Center. -- The security guard shot himself after the attack and was treated at the hospital before being transferred to Afghan custody, Mark Knecht, chief financial officer of Cure International, said in a televised statement. -- Knecht said two other people were injured, but did not elaborate. -- The shooting occurred in the grounds of the Cure Hospital, which specializes in children's and maternal health. It is considered one of the country's leading hospitals, in addition to being a training institution. -- "They were not the people carrying guns, they did not have military uniforms, they came here under immense pressure and were here only to serve the people of Afghanistan," Dalil said of the victims. -- "This was an inhumane and brutal action, and unfortunately will impact our health services." -- The White House condemned the attack as "despicable and cowardly" and said it would continue to support Afghans who are committed to building a peaceful future. -- The Cure organization began operating the hospital in 2005, at the invitation of the Afghan government, and 27 doctors and 64 nurses work there, according to Cure's website. - More, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/24/us-afghanistan-violence-hospital-idUSBREA3N0EM20140424

Afghan presidential election set for Abdullah-Ghani run-off --- (Reuters) - The Afghanistan presidential vote is poised to go to a run-off, the election chief said on Thursday, after the latest tally of ballots showed neither Abdullah Abdullah nor Ashraf Ghani securing an outright majority. -- Former foreign minister Abdullah and ex-World Bank official Ghani have taken an insurmountable lead, but both are polling well under 50 percent with just over 82 percent of the vote counted, setting the stage for a second round between the pair in late May. -- "With the 17.5 percent of the votes that are going to be counted, it is doubtful that anyone will win in the first round," Independent Election Commission (IEC) chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani told a news conference in Kabul. -- The final preliminary results are due to be released on Saturday, but that figure will exclude votes being investigated for fraud, numbering up to half a million ballots. Final results are due on May 14. - More, Hamid Shalizi and Jeremy Laurence, at: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=11200490#editor/target=post;postID=1188232923596118310

رئیس کمیسیون انتخابات افغانستان: شک دارم دور اول برنده‌ای داشته باشد --- کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان نتایج اولیه ۸۲.۵۹ درصد آرای انتخابات ریاست جمهوری افغانستان را اعلام کرده که بر اساس آن عبدالله عبدالله با کسب ۴۳.۸ درصد رای همچنان پیشتاز است. -- اشرف غنی احمدزی نامزد دیگر انتخابات ریاست جمهوری که تا حالا در مقام دوم قرار دارد، از میان حدود نود درصد آرای شمرده شده اولیه ۳۲.۹ درصد رای کسب کرده است. -- به همین ترتیب زلمی رسوال با کسب ۱۱.۱ درصد، عبد‌ رب‌ الرسول سیاف با ۷ درصد، قطب الدین هلال با ۲.۸ درصد، محمد شفیق گل آغا شیرزی با ۱.۶ درصد، محمد داوود سلطانزوی با ۰.۵ درصد و هدایت امین ارسال با ۰.۲ درصد به ترتیب در جایگاه‌های بعدی قرار دارند. -- محمد یوسف نورستانی، رئیس کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان گفت که این درصدی حاصل شمارش بیش از پنج میلیون و هشتصد هزار رای است. -- رئیس کمیسیون انتخابات افزود: "شک دارم که در مرحله اول یکی از نامزدان برنده انتخابات باشد." -- آقای نورستانی گفت که تا دو روز دیگر بیش از ۱۷۰۰ محل رای‌گیری تفتیش و ۷۸۹ محل دیگر در سراسر افغانستان بازشماری می‌شوند و انتظار دارند نتایج ابتدایی صد درصد آرا روز شنبه اعلام شود. - More, BBC

سه آمریکایی در تیراندازی پلیس افغان در بیمارستان کیور در کابل کشته شدند --- در تیراندازی در بیمارستان کیور در غرب کابل، سه شهروند خارجی کشته اند و یک کارمند زن زخمی شده است. -- روز پنجشنبه، ٤ ثور/اردیبهشت، وزارت امور داخله/کشور افغانستان تایید کرده که فرد تیرانداز از ماموران امنیتی این بیمارستان بوده است. -- صدیق صدیقی سخنگوی وزارت داخله گفت که مهاجم سرباز پلیس محافظ عامه است که در بازداشت به سر می‌برد. آقای صدیقی گفت که این سرباز پلیس به طرف یک گروه چهار نفری شهروندان خارجی آتش گشود. -- در خبرنامه این وزارت آمده که رویداد حوالی ساعت ده صبح به وقت محلی اتفاق افتاد. فرد زخمی دیگر این رویداد از کارمندان زن شفاخانه "کیور" است. --- سفارت آمریکا در کابل در صفحه تویتر خود نوشته که افراد کشته شده در این رویداد شهروندان آمریکا بودند و این سفارت از وقوع این رویداد ابراز ناراحتی کرده است. -- شفاخانه کیور از بیمارستان‌های بین‌المللی در کابل است و تعدادی متخصصان خارجی به ارائه خدمات درمانی در آن اشتغال دارند. -- گزارش شده که دو نفر از کشته‌شدگان زن بودند. -- مسئولین حوزه ششم پلیس کابل هم گفته اند که فرد مهاجم عضو پلیس محافظت عامه بوده که برای تامین امنیت شفاخانه کیور در این بیمارستان مستقر شده بود.-- BBC News

Report: Poor planning led to River Forest diplomat's death in Afghanistan --- A U.S. mission to deliver books to a school in Afghanistan that ended in the death of a young foreign service officer from River Forest was plagued by poor planning that “failed at all levels,” according to a scathing Army report obtained by the Tribune. -- Anne Smedinghoff, 25, three U.S. soldiers and an interpreter died on April 6, 2013 when a suicide bomber’s car exploded outside the walls of a U.S. military base in Zabul province in southern Afghanistan. -- The Army report for the first time criticizes civilian and military leaders for not following security protocols in the lead-up to the mission. -- But the State Department, in an emailed response to questions, said full blame for the incident rests with the attackers. The statement also noted that security for its personnel at war zone military bases is the responsibility of the military. -- “The only people responsible for this tragedy were the extremists opposed to the mission,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said. -- A classified internal review of the day was conducted, Psaki said, and the department determined no State rules were broken, but it has established a “checklist of security measures” that are now coordinated at the operational level. -- “If for some reason the US military unit is unable to meet the provisions of the checklist, State Department personnel will not participate,” Psaki said. -- The report said soldiers tasked with safely escorting Smedinghoff and other State Department civilians to a local school never received vital information for what was described in military briefings as a “Media Extravaganza.” --- “The platoon did not know the exact number of people they were escorting, they did not conduct a formal risk assessment, they did not have a specific threat analysis, and they had the wrong location for the school,” the report states. -- The Army report notes that insurgents likely attacked the group — which included Jonathan Addleton, a top State Department official for southern Afghanistan — because they thought such a high-profile incident would garner widespread attention. -- “The purpose of this attack was to make a powerful statement that would be broadcast throughout the country,” the report states. “Because local and national media were gathered for the school event, many images and stories would be released immediately.” -- The report was initially commissioned after the attack and approved in June. But in July, new evidence concerning Smedinghoff’s death and the medical treatment she received was added. -- The report, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act this week after it was requested in August, also found that: - More, Geoff Ziezulewicz, Chicagotribune

In Afghanistan, childhood is often a full-time job --- It's estimated that at least a quarter of Afghan children work, despite labor laws that forbid it. Some, like Sami, support their entire family. - More, David Zucchino, Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan - LATimes, at: http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-afghanistan-child-workers-20140420-dto,0,5621273.htmlstory#axzz2zn85XMZG

3 American Doctors Killed by Guard at Afghan Hospital --- KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan policeman shot and killed three American doctors at a hospital here on Thursday, according to Afghan police officials. -- The attack took place at the Cure International Hospital in Kabul, a 100-bed facility that specializes in treating disabled Afghans, and has a maternal care unit with support for premature births. The policeman had recently been assigned to guard the hospital. -- Sediq Seddiqi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said the Afghan guard was shot and wounded in the incident, and was being treated in the hospital and was under guard. However, another Afghan official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the policeman tried to shoot himself with his own weapon after the attack. -- Cure, a Christian-based charity, runs hospitals in 10 countries. -- Mr. Seddiqi said the motive for the attack was unknown. A police official identified the killer as Ayudin, from Laghman Province, a two-year veteran of the police force in Kabul; like many Afghans, he goes by only one name. - More, ROD NORDLAND and HABIB ZAHORI, NYTimes

کابل کې د روغتون ساتونکي درې بهرنیان وژلي --- د افغانستان پلازمېنې کابل 'کیور' په نامه یوه خصوصي روغتون کې یوه ساتونکي پر بهرنیانو ډزې کړې، چې درې بهرنيان په کې وژل شوي او د روغتیا برخه کې یوه بهرنۍ کارکوونکې ټپي شوې ده. -- د افغانستان د کورنیو چارو وزارت ویلي، برید د پنجشنبې پر ورځ (غویی څلورمه) شاوخوا لس بجې د روغتون د یوه امنیتي کس له خوا شوی دی. -- دغه وزارت په یوه خپره کړې اعلامیه کې ویلي، برید کوونکی د امنیتي سرتېرو له خوا نیول شوی دی. -- خو تر اوسه د برید د انګیزې او لامل په اړه څه نه دي ویل شوي. -- کیور روغتون د کابل په لوېديځ کې د شپږمې امنیتي حوزې اړوند د دارالامان پر سړک پروت دی. -- کیور نړیوال روغتون له ۲۰۰۵ کال راهیسې کابل کې فعالیت پیل کړی دی. -- دغه روغتون هر کال شاوخوا د ۸۰۰۰ ناروغانو درملنه کوي او د بېلابېلو ډاکټرانو او نرسانو لپاره د زیږون، پلاستیکي جراحۍ او ارتوپیدي برخو کې روزنیز پروګرامونه چمتو کوي. -- وروستیو میاشتو کې افغانستان کې مرګوني بریدونه شوي. - BBC

Foreigners killed in Kabul attack --- Three foreigners have been shot dead by a policeman at a hospital in the Afghan capital, Kabul, officials say. -- A spokesman for Afghanistan's interior ministry described the foreigners as "medical staff". -- The policeman is reported to have shot himself after the attack. --- Afghanistan has seen a spate of deadly attacks in the run-up to presidential elections held on 5 April, including a restaurant bombing in January and an attack on a hotel in March. -- Police say that the attack happened when a policeman at a nearby checkpoint opened fire on a group of five or six foreigners who were entering the hospital in western Kabul. -- The hospital itself has not confirmed whether any of those shot were killed, but a spokesman for the interior ministry said that three had died, including two women. -- Others are being treated for their injuries, officials say. -- The policeman, who was named as Ayunullah, shot himself after the incident, officials say. -- The hospital is run by Cure, a small US Christian charity that took it over seven years ago and restored it to specialise in providing healthcare for women and children. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27138240

Obama reassures Japan as he begins Asian visit --- TOKYO — President Obama started his week-long tour of Asia by conducting serious policy discussions with Japan’s prime minister as well as delivering ceremonial greetings to the Japanese royal family, emphasizing the significance of the ties between the two nations. -- Speaking at a bilateral meeting in the Akasaka Palace, an elegant edifice built in a European style, the president described the U.S.-Japan alliance as “the foundation not only for our security in the Asia Pacific region but also for the region as a whole.” -- “We are looking at a whole range of issues that are challenging at this time, including the threats posed by North Korea and the nuclearization that has been taking place in that country,” Obama said, adding that the two countries’ “shared democratic values” will help them as they “try to make sure we are creating a strong set of rules that govern the international order.” -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for his part, said the fact that Obama was making a state visit to Japan showed that the president was committed to making Asia a top priority in U.S. foreign policy. -- “This greatly contributes to regional peace and prosperity, and Japan strongly supports and also certainly welcomes this,” Abe said. “My administration intends to continue to contribute to regional peace and prosperity more proactively than ever.” -- Before arriving in the country, Obama told the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper that the defense treaty the United States has with Japan applies to a dispute between Japan and China in the East China Sea over a set of islands. In a written response to the newspaper, he said the United States opposes “unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands.” -- On Wednesday, right after Obama’s arrival in Tokyo, the president and Abe dined together at Sukiyabashi Jiro, one of the finest sushi restaurants in the world, along with the U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and National Security Adviser Susan Rice. The restaurant’s owner and sushi master, Jiro Ono, was featured in David Gelb’s 2011 documentary, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” -- “That’s some good sushi right there,” Obama remarked as he emerged from the restaurant after the hour-and-a-half dinner with the prime minister. -- The president met with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace on Thursday before conducting private talks with Abe. During the meeting with Akihito, Obama noted the last time the two of them had been together he did not have any gray hair. -- “You have a very hard job,” the emperor replied. - More, Juliet Eilperin, Washingtonpost

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dostum, a former warlord who was once America’s man in Afghanistan, may be back --- KABUL — He was America’s ally, a stocky, gray-haired warlord who fought on horseback alongside U.S. Special Forces to overthrow the Taliban government in 2001. But within three years, Gen. Abdurrashid Dostum had so antagonized U.S. officials that they sent a B-1 bomber to buzz his house. -- Now, after several years out of the spotlight, Dostum may again assume a central role in Afghan politics. He is a vice-presidential candidate on the ticket of former finance minister Ashraf Ghani, one of two front-runners in the election. -- The return of a strongman known for brutal, reckless behavior would be a troubling development for the U.S. government, which has spent billions of dollars trying to build a stable democracy in Afghanistan. As recently as 2009, American officials tried to block Dostum from returning to Kabul from a stint abroad. Then-U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry warned that Dostum’s presence would “endanger much of the progress made in Afghanistan.” -- This time around, U.S. officials are taking no public stance on the swaggering former militia leader, hoping to avoid the appearance of meddling in Afghanistan’s election. People close to Ghani’s campaign say U.S. officials did not try to prevent him from choosing Dostum. --- Such a hands-off approach is a stark departure from past U.S. policy. Interviews with former American and Afghan officials, along with presidential palace documents and State Department cables released by WikiLeaks, have revealed the lengths to which the U.S. government has gone to influence and then sideline Afghanistan’s “quintessential warlord,” as the State Department once described Dostum. -- As the senior of two vice presidents, Dostum would exert considerable power. When the Afghan president travels overseas, the vice president becomes acting president and can make decisions and sign decrees.- More, Joshua Partlow, Washingtonpost

Income Inequality Is A Major Barrier To Attending College --- Morning Edition co-host David Greene talks to Suzanne Mettler of Cornell University, author of the new book, Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream. --- Steve Inskeep. - We're continuing our look at how Americans pay for college. Income inequality is a greater barrier to college than in years past. --- DAVID GREENE, HOST: - We've heard about skyrocketing tuition, and also we've heard from college grads who are saddled with debt. This morning, another voice: Suzanne Mettler from Cornell University. In her new book, "Degrees of Inequality," she says government aid once helped make college an engine of upward mobility. - MORE, NPR, at: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/23/306102467/income-inequality-is-a-major-barrier-to-attending-college

Carrie Johnson -- 4 Muslim Men To Sue Feds Over No-Fly List --- They say they were placed on the list for refusing to inform on other Muslims. The suit is part of a broad wave of cases challenging the secretive no-fly list and U.S. counterterrorism strategies. --- Renee Montagne: Here's the eternal debate in a free country: How to protect the nation while also protecting our rights. -- INSKEEP: More than a dozen years after the 9/11 attacks, we are still debating who should be on security watch lists. --- MONTAGNE: Today, four men with no criminal records are suing FBI and Homeland Security officials. -- INSKEEP: They say they were put on the no-fly-list after refusing to act as informants on other Muslims. --- NPR's Carrie Johnson reports. --- CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: At 30 years old, Naveed Shinwari has spent more than half of his life on American soil, growing up in Omaha. But when he made a religious pilgrimage two years ago and then married a woman in his native country, Afghanistan, he got stopped in the airport on the way home and was directed to meet with FBI agents stationed overseas. .... - MORE, CARRIE JOHNSON, NPR, at: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/23/306102446/4-men-suing-feds-over-no-fly-list

دولت افغانستان در کابل شهرک دیپلوماتیک می سازد -- وزارت خارجه افغانستان میگوید که تلاش ها برای ساخت شهرکی برای اماکن دیپلماتیک در کابل آغاز شده است. --- این وزارت با نشر خبرنامه ای اعلام کرده است که سنگ تهداب این شهرک دیروز از سوی ضرار احمد عثمانی وزیر امورخارجه گذاشته شد. شهرک دیپلوماتیک به مساحت ۳۷۰ هزار مترمربع در غرب قصر دارالامان در غرب کابل ساخته می شود. منطقه ای که در آن شهرک دیپلماتیک ساخته می شود از جاهای تاریخی شهر کابل است و در نزدیکی آن ساختمان جدید پارلمان افغانستان نیز ساخته می شود. -- در دوازده سال گذشته٬ روابط دیپلماتیک با بسیاری از کشورها از سر گرفته شد و این کشور ها نمایندگی های سیاسی خود را در افغانستان فعال کردند. در حال حاضر افغانستان با اغلب کشور ها روابط دپیلماتیک دارد و ده ها سفارت کشور های خارجی در افغانستان فعالیت می کنند. با این حال٬ وزارت خارجه افغانستان اعلام کرده است پس از موافقت ریاست جمهوری و شورای وزیران افغانستان٬ تهداب شهرک دیپلماتیک گذاشته شده است. -- این وزارت اما نگفته است که ساخت این شهرک چه مدت زمان طول می کشد. -- وزارت خارجه افغانستان می گوید که اماکن ساخته شده متعلق به ملکیت همان کشور خواهد بود و افغانستان نیز در تفاهم انجام شده میتواند در این کشور ها نمایندگی های سیاسی خود را اعمار کند. در شهرک دیپلوماتیک یک مکتب بین المللی نیز برای دیپلومات ها و اعضای خانواده آنها ساخته می شود. - خبرگزاری بخدی

Afghan economy faces serious revenue shortfall as state undertakes transition --- When the next president of Afghanistan takes office later this year, he will inherit a growing budget shortfall that could leave tens of thousands of civil servants unpaid and force key public programmes to shut down. -- After more than a decade of western aid projects designed to make the Afghan economy self-sustaining, government revenue continues to fall short of projections, leaving the country in dire economic straits just as foreign funding begins to dry up. -- The current budget shortfall – roughly 20% of overall Afghan expenditures – has worsened as the country navigates a tenuous political transition, sending a shockwave through Afghanistan's nascent economy. --- Afghan officials plan to request additional funds from foreign donors, but as the US and Nato draw down financial and military assistance this year, those emergency funds are far from guaranteed. "If we do not receive extra funds in the next two months, we will face a problem with the operating budget, which is mostly salaries," said Alhaj Muhammad Aqa, director general of the treasury at the finance ministry. Aqa said the government has roughly $400m less than the $2.5bn it was projected to spend this year, leaving officials to weigh potential cuts. That hole is expected to deepen as the country prepares for a divisive second-round election and an active fighting season in the war against the Taliban. -- Afghanistan will need more than $7bn annually for the next decade to sustain a functional government and infrastructure and fund the army and police, according to the World Bank. But there are signs that foreign donors might not relish such a commitment. The Obama administration requested $2.1bn in financial assistance for Afghanistan this year, but Congress has approved only half that amount. -- US officials acknowledge the gravity of Afghan economic problems, but argue that the country should be able to steady the budget without halting government salaries. They also suggest that revenue could increase if key reforms are implemented. "It is not a matter of providing more donor funding. Certain actions by the government need to be taken which will have a quick impact on their ability to generate more revenue," said Ken Yamashita, co-ordinating director at the US embassy in Kabul. -- "There's definitely that significant economic contraction that's coming with the transition," Yamashita said. But he said the Afghan government should be able to cut other expenditures so employees continue being paid. -- In spite of dozens of western-funded programmes aimed at increasing domestic revenue,the government is still almost entirely dependent on foreign donors to shore up its budget. Taxes and customs tariffs are the only significant sources of revenue, but those collection processes are still riddled with problems. According to a report released last Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar), "corruption impacts all levels of the customs process". - More, Kevin Sieff , Guardian, at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/22/afghanistan-economy-revenue-budget-shortfall

On Mother Earth Day, UN urges protecting planet from ‘heavy hand of humankind’ --- 22 April 2014 – On International Mother Earth Day, the United Nations is urging greater efforts to promote sustainable development and use of renewable energy sources, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealing for worldwide changes in attitude and practice to curb the negative impact of human activity on the planet. -- “From tropical deforestation to depleted ocean fisheries, from growing freshwater shortages to the rapid decline of biodiversity and increasingly polluted skies and seas in many parts of the world, we see the heavy hand of humankind,” said the UN chief. -- As a part of the Organization’s efforts to drive home the importance of respecting and protecting the planet towards ensuring ‘the future we want’, the General Assembly is convening an interactive dialogue on “Harmony with Nature” to commemorate the International Day, marked annually on 22 April. -- Following a high-level segment this morning, Member States, UN agencies and independent stakeholders will discuss in a series of roundtables ways to promote a balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. -- In his message on the Day, which gives an opportunity to reflect on humankind’s relationship with the planet, Mr. Ban said: “The air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil that grows our food are part of a delicate global ecosystem that is increasingly under pressure from human activities.” -- As such, and with a growing population, everyone must recognize that consumption of the planet’s resources is unsustainable. “We need a global transformation of attitude and practice. It is especially urgent to address how we generate the energy that drives our progress,” said the Secretary-General, emphasizing that burning fossil fuels is the principal cause of climate change, which increasingly threatens prosperity and stability in all regions. - More, UN, at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47620&Cr=Climate+change&Cr1=

ليکوال: استاد پوهيالى رباني وحدت -- ولسمشرکرزى هڅه کوي چې د ډاکتر اشرف غني دبرياليتوب مخه ونيسي --- ولسمشرحامدکرزي د١٣٩٣ لمريزکال دوري د١٦ نيټې په ولسمشريزو او دولايتي شورا په ټاکنوکې داسې رول ولوبوه چې ډيرو افغانانويې تمه نه درلوده اودخپلې نسبتاً اوږدې ولسمشريزې دورې په وروستيوشپو او ورځوکې يې په افغاني ټولنه کې خپل درنښت ته دروند زيان ورساوه. که څه هم کرزي په وار وار ويلي چې ده او حکومت به يې په ټاکنوکې بې طرفه وي خو په خپله ژمنه کې رښتيني نه وو او دپردې ترشا په پخپله کرزي او دحکومت يوشمېر کارکوونکو په پراخه کچه دځينو نوماندانو په ځانګړي ډول دډاکټرزلمي رسول او ډاکترعبدالله په ګټه په ټاکنوکې لاسوهنه وکړه. -- سره له دې کرزې پدې پوهيدو چې زياتره افغانان ددوکتور غني له طرحو اوپلانونو څخه ملاتړ کوي خوپه خپل ټول توان اوځواک يې هڅه وکړه چې ددوکتور غني دبرياليتوب مخه ونيسي او په ټاکنوکې دډاکټرزلمي رسول څخه په پټه کلک ملاتړ وکړ ترڅو ترڅو ډاکټرزلمى رسول ديوسمبول په توګه دولسمشرى په چوکى کينوي او په غيرمستقيم ډول يوځل بيا دهيواد دچارو واګي په خپل لاس کې واخلي خو دده دتمې برخلاف زلمي رسول په ټاکنو کې کوم ټل ونه وهه (توره يې ونه کړه) يوازې دومره يې وکړل چې په لومړي پړاو کې يې ددوکتور غني دبرليتوب مخه ډب کړه. ځکه له ټاکنو وروسته څرګنده شوه چې دوکتور غني او ډاکټرعبدالله ترټولو ډير رايې خپلې کړيدي اوډاکټرزلمى رسول په دريمه درجه کې قرار لري. خو داسې اټکل کيږي چې شايد په لومړي پړاو کې يو نوماند هم پنځوس جمع يو رايې پوره نه کړي او ټاکنې ددوو مخکښو نوماندانو يانې دوکتور غني او ډاکټرعبدالله ترمنځ دوهم پړاو ته لاړې شي. -- له ټاکنو وروسته ډاکټرعبدالله له بې بي سي سره په خپله لومړنى مرکه کې وويل چې دټاکنو ددوهم پړاو پرځاى بايد جوړ جاړى وشي خو دوکتور غني دجوړجاړي او ايتلافي حکومت سره مخالفت وښود. داچې ولې دوکتور اشرف غني دجوړجاړي اوايتلافي حکومت مخالفت کوي او دټاکنو ددوهم پړاو پلوي دى؟ بېلابېل لاملونه لري چې يوڅويې په لاندې ډول دي. --- ١- دوکتور اشرف غني غواړي چې خدمت وکړي نه حکومت خوډاکټرعبدالله يوازې دحکومت کولو وږي دي نه دخدمت ځکه چې دوي پخوا ازمايل شوي او په عمل کې يې په ډاکه کړيده چې دافغانستان لپار ددوي نسخې ګټورې نه وې. --- ٢- دوکتور غني پدې پوهيږي چې ايتلافي حکومت دافغانستان په خير اوګټه نه دى، تاريخ په ثبوت رسولي چې ايتلافي حکومت ډيرى وخت دتصميمونو په نيولو او پلي کيدو کې دستونزو سره مخامخ کيږي ځکه چې هلته بیلابیلې سليقې، ليدلورې اوپاليسى پالل کيږي نو دوکتورغني دا ډول ايتلافي حکومت دخپلو وړاندې شويو پلانونو دفرماندهى اوسازماندهى پروړاندې خنډ اوګواښ بولي او نه غواړي چې خپل لاسونه په خپله وتړي. --- ٣ - دوکتوراشرف عني دا درک کړيده چې ولس بدلون غواړي دهمدې مثبت بدلون په تمه ولس دده ملاتړکړى، دابدلون هغه مهال شوني دى چې په حکومت کې داسې کسان راټول کړي چې ملي ګټو او ارزښتونوته ژمن وي، دملت دسرلوړى دهيواد دپرمختګ لپاره کاروکړي، دپلانونو په پلي کيدوکې ورسره مرسته وکړي دډاکټر عبدالله او دکرزي يو شمیر مفسد وزيران په څیر کسان يې په حکومت کې نه وي. --- ٤ - دوکتور اشرف غني پدې پوهيږي چې په دوهم پړاو کې ډاکټرعبدالله ته په اسانى سره ماتي ورکولاى شي ځکه په تيرو ټاکنوکې دپښتانو رايې داتو (٨) نوماندانوترمنځ ويشل شوى وې، اوپه دوهم پړاو کې به دپاتې شپږو نوماندانو پلويان چې اکثريت يې پښتانه دي هغې رايه ورکوي. --- داچې دکرزي لومړى پلان ناکام شو نو اوس هڅه کوي چې دجوړجاړي او ايتلاف له لارې په راتلونکي حکومت کې خپل موقف او اغيز وساتي اوپه دوکتور غني فشار راوړي ترڅو جوړجاړي او دايتلافي حکومتجوړولو ته غاړه کيږدي. ځکه کرزي په دې پوهيږي چې که ټاکنې دوهم پړاو ته لاړې شي نو دوکتور غني يې حتماً ګټي، که دوکتورغني ولسمشرشي نودده مصلحت پالنې او معامله کولوسياست ته به دپاى ټکى کيږدي. اوکرزى نه غواړي چې له ده په پرتله په هيواد کې يو ځواکمن او پياوړى حکومت او ولسمشر رامنځته شي. په همدې موخه يې دټاکنو دلومړنيو قسمي پايلو په ښودلو سره غني ته سيګنال ورکړترڅو په خپله پريکړه له سره غور وکړي خو غني دغره په څېر په خپله پريکړه ټينګ ولاړدى نو درايو ددوهم ځل دقسمي پايل په ښودلوسره يې دلومړي په پرتله نږدې څلور برابره ځواکمن سيګنال ورکړ، ترڅو دوکتور غني له خپل دريځ څخه تيرشي. -- دټاکنو نننى پايلو داغلان څخه وروسته چې ډاکټرعبدالله نږدې ددکتور غني په پرتله ١٢سلنه وړاندې دى په افغانانو کې دکرزي په اړه بېلابېل شکونه پيدا کړيدي ځکه هغې په خپله ولسمشريزه دوره کې دشوراى نظار او پنجشيريانو څخه دولتي امتيازات، لوړ اوکليدي پوستونه، لوړ او درنه القاب نه دي سپمولي. او هروخت يې خپله وفاداري په عمل کې ورته ښودلې، خلک ويره لرې چې خداى مه کړه کرزى دخپلو شخصي موخو لپاره يوځل بيا دا ځوريدلى اوکړيدلى ملت او جنګ ځپلى هيواد دهمدې کسانوپه واک کې ورکړي او دخلکو هيلې په ناهيلى بدلى کړي. -- دخوست پوهنتون دحقوقو او سياسي علومو پوهنځى استاد - هندوستان پلازمينه ډهلى - تاند

Amnesty International's Recommendations for Afghanistan's Next President --- Amnesty International released a list of recommendations for Afghanistan's next president on their website Monday evening addressing the basic human rights of the country. --- In the recommendation to the future president, Amnesty International asks that he support human rights by implementing international treaties to bring justice to the nation. --- Amnesty International's recommendations were retrieved from their website and the list is as follows: - More, at: http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/14621-amnesty-internationals-recommendations-for-afghanistans-next-president

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

عفو بین الملل: هفت پیشنهاد برای رییس جمهور آیندهء افغانستان --- سازمان عفو بین الملل (امنستی انترنیشنل) پیشنهاد کرده است که رئیس جمهور آیندهء افغانستان باید در بخش حقوق زنان و عموماً حقوق بشر توجه بیشتر نماید. به نظر امنستی انتخابات 16 حمل در افغانستان مهمترین حادثهء تاریخی بعد از سقوط طالبان در افغانستان بود و این انتخابات تنها تعیین کنندهء رئیس جمهور آیندهء افغانستان نیست، بلکه آغاز یک مرحلهء نو را برای افغانستان نشان می دهد. -- سازمان عفو بین المللی یا امنستی انترنیشنال تامین حقوق زنان و دختران را برای امنیت آینده افغانستان بسیار مهم می شمارد. این سازمان از کاندیدان ریاست جمهور افغانستان می خواهد در ساحهء تامین حقوق زنان بیشتر تلاش نمایند و در تلاشهای تامین صلح نیز به زنان نقش بدهند. در این راستا سازمان عفو بین المللی در راپور اخیر خود برای رهبر آینده در ساحه تامین حقوق زنان در افغانستان هفت پیشنهاد دارد: -- اول: - سازمان عفو بین المللی می گوید، رئیس جمهور نو افغانستان باید حقوق زنان و دختران را با مشارکت آنها در تمام مسایل کشور، تامین نماید و در دورهء انتقال زنان باید نقش داشته باشند و در حاشیه قرار نگیرند. -- دوم: - رئیس جمهور نو افغانستان باید اعدام را از بین ببرد. به نوشته امنستی محاکم افغانستان از ستندرد های بین المللی خیلی پایین تر است. در سال گذشته دست کم 300 نفر انتظار اجرای حکم اعدام در افغانستان بودند. علاوه بر آن در سال گذشته 174 مجرم دیگر به اعدام محکوم شدند. از متهمین با زور و شکنجه اقرار گرفته می شود و بر همین اساس بر آنها حکم صادر می شود. -- سوم: - رهبر نو افغانستان برای تامین حقوق در کشورش باید تعهدات بین المللی را بجا آورد. افغانستان اعلامیه جهانی حقوق بشر را امضا کرده و برای انجام این تعهد باید به کمیسیون مستقل حقوق بشر این کشور کمک کند. -- چهارم: - رئیس جمهور نو افغانستان باید به مردم اطمینان بدهد که افغانان و خارجیانی که در این کشور دست به جنایات جنگی زده اند به کرسی عدالت کشانده می شوند. -- پنجم: - رئیس جمهور نو افغانستان باید به افراد بیجا شده کمک کند. نظر به معلومات اداره مهاجرین سازمان ملل متحد در حدود 600 هزار نفر بخاطر جنگ ها، بی امنیتی، بیکاری و خشکسالی در داخل این کشور بیجا شده اند. این افراد در بسیار موارد از سرپناه، آب آشامیدنی و مواد خوراکی کافی محروم می باشند. امنستی انترنیشنل پیشنهاد می کند که حکومت باید به این افراد کمک کند. -- ششم: - رئیس جمهور نو افغانستان باید به معافیت جنایتکاران جنگی سابق خاتمه دهد و علاوه بر آن در مورد جنایتهای قبلی آنها تحقیق نماید. -- هفتم: - رئیس جمهور نو افغانستان باید از آزادی بیان حمایت کند به نوشته امنستی انترنیشنل فشار بر ژورنالستان در افغانستان هر روز بیشتر می شود و خبرنگاران نمی توانند در مورد جنایت های که مقامات حکومتی در آن دست دارند به آزادی خبر نشر کنند. ژورنالستان هم چنان در مورد پامال گردیدن حقوق بشری مردم توسط طالبان هم نمی توانند به وضاحت نشرات کنند. - به نوشته امنیستی انتخابات افغانستان یک موقع خوب برای رئیس جمهور نو می باشد تاحقوق بشری و به طور مشخص حقوق زنان را در صدر اجندای کاری خود جا بدهد. -- رادیو آزادی

Weekly Standard -- Snatching Failure From Victory In Afghanistan --- Media reports suggest that President Obama is looking to declare victory and withdraw from Afghanistan, as he did from Iraq. The military commander in Afghanistan, General Joe Dunford, has said that he needs 10,000 US troops to accomplish the missions the president has said he wants to accomplish after this year. That number is probably half of what is actually required, by our estimates, but enough to keep options open for the next president. -- But who cares what General Dunford says when you have "General" Joe Biden, who has consistently been pressing for numbers in the 3,000 range that are militarily unrealistic. That many troops can hardly defend themselves, let alone do anything to the enemy. The claim that the successful Afghan elections justify this irresponsibility was as inevitable as it is ludicrous—the White House long ago put itself in the happy position of being able to use any event to justify what it wants. If Afghanistan is going well, then we declare victory. If it’s going badly, we declare that it’s hopeless. In either case, General Biden and the man who really seems to be running our foreign policy—Ben Rhodes—get their wish. Within a short time, the U.S. will be out of Afghanistan. - More, at: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/snatching-failure-afghanistan_787250.html

روایت دو کودتا از زبان ژنرالی که در هر دو نقش کلیدی داشت --- ژنرال عبدالقادر در تاریخ افغانستان چهره‌ای است آشنا و خیلی از کسانی که با سیاست سر و کار دارند نام و نقش او را در تاریخ سیاسی افغانستان می‌دانند. -- عبدالقادر در کودتای سردار محمدداوود (۱۳۵۲ خورشیدی) فرد کلیدی بود و در کودتای نیروهای کمونیستی در هفتم ثور سال ۱۳۵۷ خورشیدی نیز رهبری نظامی این کودتا را به عهده داشت. به قول خودش در کودتای هفت ثور او فرد پیشتاز بود و تلاش‌های او بود که کودتا به پیروزی رسید. -- او از گذشته هایش فقط یک عکس به یادگار دارد. عکسی همراه با ژنرالی که در روز کودتای هفتم ثور بیشترین مقاومت را علیه نیروهای او در جاده دارالامان در غرب کابل کرد و حتی یک هواپیمای تحت فرمانش نیز توسط این ژنرال سرنگون شد. --- وزیر دفاع سابق افغانستان از آنچه که انجام داده پشیمان نیست و می‎گوید: "انقلاب هفت ثور تغییر بزرگی در جامعه افغانستان ایجاد کرده بود، ولی تندروی و قشری‌گرایی هم‌رزمان ما باعث شد که روند عمومی تحولات افغانستان به سمت دیگری برود." -- عبدالقادر می‌گوید: " ۲۵ میزان/ مهر ۱۳۵۰ در رستورانی با داوود قرار گذاشتیم. او با یک موتر تویوتا آمد و حیدر رسولی، که رابط ما با داوود بود، نیز همراهش بود. ما بر سر یک دیوار سمنتی (سیمانی) نشسته بودیم و داوود بعد از احوال‎پرسی گفت که: این وطن شماست." --- ژنرال قادر می‌گوید: "به نظر ما هاشم میوندوال گزینه مناسب بود، ولی وقتی با او دیدار کردیم، پیشنهاد او این بود که منتظر تاریخ باشیم و باید خود را به مسیر تاریخ بسپاریم تا مردم افغانستان با سواد شوند و بعد تغییر خواهد آمد." --- به گفته عبدالقادر، گزینه بعدی برای نیروهای تحصیل‎کرده سردار داوود بود: "سردار داوود که از حکومت پادشاهی در افغانستان ناراضی بود، می‎توانست راه این قشر را به درون سلطنت باز کند." --- عبدالقادر می‌گوید: " ۲۵ میزان/ مهر ۱۳۵۰ در رستورانی با داوود قرار گذاشتیم. او با یک موتر تویوتا آمد و حیدر رسولی، که رابط ما با داوود بود، نیز همراهش بود. ما بر سر یک دیوار سمنتی (سیمانی) نشسته بودیم و داوود بعد از احوال‎پرسی گفت که: این وطن شماست." --- او می‎گوید که در این دیدار درباره تغییر در نظام صحبت شد: "وقتی از داوود پرسیدم که اگر این کار با شکست مواجه شد چه کنیم. با خشم جواب داد که چرا شکست؟" -- او می‌افزاید: "بعد از این دیدار، من به پایگاه هوایی شیندند در جنوب افغانستان اعزام شدم ولی به تاریخ ۱۰ سرطان / تیر ۱۳۵۲ به من خبر داده شد که کوچ‌کشی می‎کنیم. من آمادگی حرکت به طرف کابل را گرفتم ولی بعد برنامه تغییر کرد. بعد فهمیدم که در آن روز سردار ولی در سفارت انگلیس مهمان بوده و شب دیر هنگام به خانه‌اش آمده است." --- او می‌افزاید: "بعد از این دیدار، من به پایگاه هوایی شیندند در جنوب افغانستان اعزام شدم ولی به تاریخ ۱۰ سرطان / تیر ۱۳۵۲ به من خبر داده شد که کوچ‌کشی می‎کنیم. من آمادگی حرکت به طرف کابل را گرفتم ولی بعد برنامه تغییر کرد. بعد فهمیدم که در آن روز سردار ولی در سفارت انگلیس مهمان بوده و شب دیر هنگام به خانه‌اش آمده است." --- وزیر دفاع پیشین افغانستان با اشاره به اینکه شاه در این زمان در سفری به ایتالیا رفته بود، گفت: "چند روز بعد دوباره به من گفته شد که به کابل برگردم، وقتی به تاریخ ۲۵ سرطان به کابل رسیدیم، افسران و هم‌کلاس‌هایم را در اطراف ارگ ریاست جمهوری دیدم. با دستگیری خان‌محمد خان یکی از افسران ارتش کودتا بدون جنجال پیش رفت." -- بعد از این کودتا سردار محمد داوود پسر عموی ظاهر شاه قدرت را به‌دست گرفت و رئیس جمهوری افغانستان شد. -- قادر درباره اینکه چرا از داوود روگردان شد، می‌گوید: "که داوود وعده داده بود تا حکومت از طبقات مختلف جامعه تشکیل شود ولی بعدها به سمت قوم‌گرایی حرکت کرد." -- به نظر او عامل دیگر که باعث جدایی نیروهای چپ از داوود شد، "گرایش داوود به سمت کشورهای اسلامی" بود.-- احمد شفایی, BBC

Afghan economy faces serious revenue shortfall amid tenuous political transition --- KABUL — When the next president of Afghanistan takes office later this year, he will inherit a growing budget shortfall that could leave tens of thousands of civil servants unpaid and force key public programs to shutter. -- After more than a decade of Western aid projects designed to make the Afghan economy self-sustaining, government revenue continues to fall short of projections, leaving the country in dire economic straits just as foreign funding begins to dry up. -- The current budget shortfall — roughly 20 percent of overall Afghan expenditures — has worsened as the country navigates a tenuous political transition, sending a shock wave through Afghanistan’s nascent economy. -- The current budget shortfall — roughly 20 percent of overall Afghan expenditures — has worsened as the country navigates a tenuous political transition, sending a shock wave through Afghanistan’s nascent economy. -- “If we do not receive extra funds in the next two months, we will face a problem with the operating budget, which is mostly salaries,” said Alhaj Muhammad Aqa, director general of the treasury at the Finance Ministry. -- Aqa said the government has roughly $400 million less than the $2.5 billion it was projected to spend this year, leaving officials to weigh potential cuts. That hole is expected to deepen in the coming months as the country prepares for a divisive second-round election and an active fighting season in the war against Taliban insurgents. --- Afghanistan will need more than $7 billion annually for the next decade to sustain a functional government, maintain infrastructure and fund the Afghan army and police, according to the World Bank. But there are already signs that foreign donors might not have an appetite for such a commitment. The Obama administration requested $2.1 billion in financial assistance for Afghanistan this year, but Congress approved only half that amount. -- While U.S. officials acknowledge the gravity of Afghanistan’s economic problems, they argue that the country should be able to steady the budget without halting government salaries. They also suggest that revenue could increase if key reforms are implemented. - More, Kevin Sieff and Joshua Partlow, Washingtonpost

Saudi Arabia woos Pakistan with $1.5 billion grant. Why now? --- As US president Barack Obama looks to mend ties with Saudi Arabia in Riyadh today, the Saudis hope to shore up regional support. Their $1.5 billion gift has raised suspicions among Pakistanis. -- Pakistan announced last week that it received a $1.5 billion grant from Saudi Arabia, which it termed a “friendly gift” and an “unconditional grant.” -- Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have long had warm ties, but the no-strings-attached gift sparked immediate concern from Pakistani journalists, security experts, and opposition politicians, who question whether the grant is part of a behind-the-scenes deal for Pakistan to provide weapons for Syrian rebels. -- “There are no free lunches in foreign diplomacy,” says Baqir Sajjad, a journalist at Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, which has published articles questioning the deal. -- The grant was confirmed at a briefing by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s advisor on national security and foreign affairs, who also said that Saudi Arabia had agreed to purchase weapons from Pakistan. -- The Pakistan government declined to specify what kind of weapons the Kingdom was looking for and denied that any arms purchased by Saudi Arabia will be sent to Syria. Pakistan, which has the sixth-largest army in the world, is known as a major arms importer, but it also sells fighter jets, anti-tank missiles, armored personal carriers, and small arms to Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Malaysia. - More, Taha Siddiqui, csmonitor

Obama's Asia trip: a balancing act, amid doubts about US resolve --- On an eight-day, four-nation tour of Asia, beginning Tuesday, President Obama aims to boost credibility of his US 'pivot' to Asia, while reassuring Beijing that the goal is not to contain China. -- Mr. Obama, whose signature “Asia pivot,” announced in 2009, was supposed to redirect American foreign policy emphasis away from the Middle East to the economically dynamic Asian-Pacific region, will confront deepening concerns in the countries he’ll visit – Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and, to a lesser degree, the Philippines – that the turn to Asia never got much beyond words. -- America’s Asia partners worry that, despite Obama’s intentions, US foreign policy interests have remained largely focused on the Middle East – the Syrian conflict, pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace, Iranian nuclear talks, even the drawdown from Afghanistan – and are, more recently, centered on the crisis in Ukraine. -- But at the same time, China remains suspicious that, under Obama, the US is reasserting itself as a “Pacific nation,” in large part as a means of containing a rising China and limiting what China sees as its legitimate assertiveness in the region. Although China is not on Obama’s itinerary – he does plan to visit China in the fall – there is little doubt that Beijing will be watching the trip closely. - More, Howard LaFranchi, csmonitor

Despite Joy Over Vote in Afghan District, Reports of Fraud --- ANDAR, Afghanistan — The turbulent district of Andar has been caught in one kind of crossfire or another for years: between American forces and insurgent leaders, between warring militant factions, between those hostile to the national government and those courting it. -- Over the past year, it has become clearly divided. One side is controlled by the government, which found a foothold here after an anti-Taliban uprising began in 2012; the other is still ruled by the Taliban, which operates openly. -- On Election Day, April 5, votes were cast in high numbers throughout Andar. Government officials hailed the news as a triumph for Afghan democracy in a place where only three valid votes were recorded across the whole district in the 2010 parliamentary elections. -- To a degree, that judgment was justified. Many residents in this remote corner of Ghazni Province said they felt marginalized in the last election, and were determined to see their votes count this time, despite the risks. -- “People outside of Afghanistan may think that Afghans don’t know how important a vote is,” said Khial Hussaini, a former member of Parliament from Andar. “But this time we proved that we know the importance of democracy.” - AZAM AHMED, NYTimes, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/world/asia/afghan-district-reports-of-fraud.html?_r=0

تاند - -د ثور دکودتا یو اصلي عامل ومړ --- دشهید سردار محمد داوود خان دروغتون سرچینو نن /سې شنبه/ وویل چې دافغانستان ددفاع پخوانی وزیر جنرال عبدالقادر دورپیښې ناروغۍ له امله مړ شوی دی. -- جنرال عبدالقادر په کابل کې دسردار داوود خان په روغتون کې له یوې مودې راهیسې بستر و. -- جنرال قادر په ۱۳۵۲ لمریز کال د ثور په اوومه د سردار محمد داوود د حکومت پرضد په کودتا کې اساسي رول لوبولی و. ده هغه وخت پر ارګ بمونه غورځولي وو. د ثور له کودتا وروسته دفاع وزیر وګومارل شو خو څو میاشتې وروسته د کودتا په تور بندي او شل میاشتې یې په پلچرخي کې تېرې کړې. خو د شوروي پوځونو له یرغله وروسته له زندانه راوایستل شو او بېرته دفاع وزیر وټاکل شو. -- په ۱۹۸۶ م کال په پولنډ کې سفیر شو او دډاکتر نجیب الله دواکمنۍ په مهال دوطن ګوند دمرکزي کمېټې غړی شو. جنرال قادر دهرات دغوریان ولسوالي او دخلق ددیموکراتیک ګوند د پرچم د ډلې غړی و. -- ده حربي ښوونځي لوستی و او بیا یې په حربي پوهنتون کې خپلې لوړې زده کړې بشړې کړې وې او پېلوټې یې دپخواني شوروي اتحاد په قرغیزستان کې زده کړې وه. دببرک کارمل دواکمنۍ پر مهال دی د دفاع وزیر شو. -- جنرال قادر ته ډېر خلک په دې بد وايي چې په هغه مصیبت کې یې اساسي رول لوبولی چې تراوسه پوري افغانان ورڅخه ځورېږي. -- خو ده تېر کال په یوه مرکه کې وویل:«څه چې مې کړي له هغه پښېمانه نه یم. دثور انقلاب دافغانستان په ټولنه کې لوی بدلون و خو توندلاري او ډلبازي سبب شوه چې دانقلاب په وجه تحولات بل لور ته مخه کړي.» -- دثور په کودتا کې داوود خان دخپلې کورنۍ له ډېرو غړیو سزره ووژل شو او وروسته په لسګونو زره تعلیم یافته افغانان په دې خاطر بندیان او په ظالمانه ډول ووژل شول چې د خلق او پرچم دغړیو په شان یې فکر نه کاوه.

ګارډین: دګوانتانامو دزندانیانو برخلیک به څه وي؟ --- بریتانوي ګارډین ورځپاڼې په افغانستان کې دناټو په مشری دنړېوالو ځواکونو دمحارب ماموریت له پای ته رسیدو سره دګوانتانامو دزندان دبندیانو دبرخلیک او امریکایي کریسچین سیاینس مونیتور ورځپاڼې هم ددغې جګړې دافغان ژباړونکو دبرخلیک پر مسالو لیکنې خپرې کړي دي. -- ګارډین لیکي، په ډسمبر میاشت کې چې کله بارک اوباما او دهغه دناټو متحدین رسما په افغانستان کې محارب ماموریت پای ته رسوي، امریکایي چارواکو داسې نښې ښودلي، چې ګومان نه کیږي، دګوانتانامو دزندان بندیان به چې دامریکا داوږدې جګړې په جریان کې نیول شوي، خوشې شي. --دورځپاڼې په وینا داوباما دادارې وروستی کورنی بحث هم پر همدې مسالې څرخیده چې په نتیجه کې یې دامریکا دزندانونو دراتلونکې پالیسۍ په اړه پراخ بحث راپورته شو. -- دګارډین ورځپاڼې له دې لیکنې سره سم، په افغانستان کې داکثرو زندانونو مسولیت اوس افغان امنیتي ځواکونو ته سپارل شوی خو دشاوخوا پنځوسو بندیانو سرنوشت چې دبهرنیو هېوادونو اتباع دي، تراوسه دامریکا په لاس کې دی. دا نه ده څرګنده چې له ډسمبر میاشتې وروسته به ددغو بندیانو برخلیک څه کیږي. -- پردې سربیره دامریکا تر ولکې لاندې په ګوانتانامو زندان کې هم تراوسه پورې ۱۵۴ بندیان ساتل کیږي چې ۱۴ یې افغانان دي. -- دورځپاڼې په وینا یو شمېر دغه افغان بندیان چې دالقاعده دغړیتوب شک پرې نه کیږي بلکه دطالبانو په شک یا ورسره دتړلو ډلو سره دتړاو په تور نیول شوي، هغه ډله بندیان دي چې په ډسمبر کې دامریکا دجګړې له پای ته رسیدو سره نور به رسما دا هېواد دهغوی له لوري سره په جګړه کې ښکیل نه وي. -- ګارډین لیکي، دلږ تر لږه پنځو تنو د خوشې کیدو مساله په هغې معامله کې مطرح شوې ده چې له طالبانو سره دیواځیني برمته شوي امریکایي عسکر باو بیرګدال دخوشې کیدو په بدل کې له ګوانتانامو څخه دخوشې کیدو لپاره په پام کې نیول شوې وه. -- یو شمېر وکیلانو او پخوانیو امریکایي چارواکو ګارډین ته ویلي، چې په افغانستان کې دامریکا دجګړې له پای ته رسیدو سره سم دغه ۱۴ بندیان هم باید خوشې شي. - دآزادی رادیو

Guantánamo Bay detainees' release upon end of Afghanistan war 'unlikely' --- US officials indicate fate of inmates captured during the country's longest conflict will continue to complicate Obama administration's efforts to close wartime detention complex --- Typically, when a war ends, so does the combatants’ authority to detain the other side’s fighters. But as the conclusion of the US war in Afghanistan approaches, the inmate population of Guantánamo Bay is likely to be an exception – and, for the Obama administration, the latest complication to its attempt to close the infamous wartime detention complex. --In December, when President Barack Obama and his Nato allies formally end their combat role in Afghanistan, US officials indicate there is unlikely to be a corresponding release of detainees at Guantánamo who were captured during the country's longest conflict. --- The question has been the subject of recent internal debate in the Obama administration, which is wrapped up in the broader question of future detention policy. -- Already human rights groups and lawyers for the detainees say they anticipate filing a new wave of lawsuits challenging the basis for a wartime detention after the war ends – the next phase in more than a decade of attempts to litigate the end of indefinite detention. -- For the White House, the Justice Department and the Pentagon, the complicating factor is the unique legal authority undergirding the Afghanistan war. -- Passed by Congress days after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the Authorization to Use Military Force cleared the legal path for the invasion of Afghanistan – and much more. -- Known as the AUMF, its broad language blessed not only the Afghanistan war, but a global battle against al-Qaida without an expiration date. Subsequent interpretations of the AUMF broadened the definition of the adversary to include al-Qaida’s “associated forces”. -- Effectively, the AUMF unties wartime operations, including detention, from a time or a place and hinges them on membership or association with al-Qaida. In a speech in May 2013, Obama announced his intention to “ultimately repeal” its mandate, although tangible progress toward that goal is difficult to discern. -- Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, pointed to both the AUMF and Congress’s defense authorization for the 2012 fiscal year as providing the necessary authorities for future detentions, while noting Obama’s desire to repeal the AUMF. - More, Spencer Ackerman, Guardian - at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/19/guantanamo-bay-detainees-release-unlikely-end-afghanistan-war

US troop numbers in Afghanistan may drop below 10,000 --- United States presence in Afghanistan could fall as low as 5,000 - well below number military believe necessary -- The number of US troops in Afghanistan may drop well below 10,000 - the minimum demanded by the US military to train Afghan forces - as the longest war in American history winds down, White House officials have briefed. -- Since Afghanistan’s general election on April 5, White House, State Department and Pentagon officials have resumed discussions on how many American troops should remain after the current US-led coalition ends its mission this year. -- The decision to consider a small force, possibly less than 5,000 US troops, reflects a belief among White House officials that Afghan security forces have evolved into a robust enough force to contain a still-potent Taliban-led insurgency. The small US force that would remain could focus on counter-terrorism or training operations. -- That belief, the officials say, is based partly on Afghanistan’s surprisingly smooth election, which has won international praise for its high turnout, estimated at 60 percent of 12 million eligible votes, and the failure of Taliban militants to stage high-profile attacks that day. - The Obama administration has been looking at options for a possible residual US force for months. --- Military leaders, including American General Joe Dunford, who heads US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has identified 10,000 soldiers as the minimum needed to help train and advise Afghan forces fighting the insurgency, arguing a smaller force would struggle to protect itself. -- During a March visit to Washington, General Dunford told lawmakers that without foreign soldiers supporting them, Afghan forces would begin to deteriorate “fairly quickly” in 2015. The Afghan air force, still several years away from being self-sufficient, will require even more assistance, he said. - More, By Reuters, Telegraph

Biden arrives in Ukraine to show U.S. support for Ukraine --- KIEV, Ukraine — Vice President Biden arrived here Monday at a crossroads moment in Ukraine’s conflict with Russia, bringing U.S. economic assistance and warnings to Russian President Vladimir Putin that future intervention in the country’s volatile east will come at new costs. -- Biden will meet here with Ukraine’s political leadership, civil society groups and U.S. diplomats over two days. He is the most senior administration official to visit Kiev since Ukraine’s crisis with Russia began two months ago, leading to Moscow’s annexation in March of Ukraine’s autonomous Crimea region. -- A senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the trip in advance, said the vice president would announce a new U.S. support package to benefit Ukraine’s economy, energy sector and political reform efforts in the run-up to national elections next month. --- The official said Biden will emphasize national unity as Ukraine heads into the May 25 vote, which may help settle a constitutional crisis over the presidency, as violence between pro-Russian groups and Ukraine’s security forces in the east remains a threat to the country’s “territorial integrity.” The visit comes just four days after Russian and Ukrainian officials agreed in Geneva to defuse the standoff in the east, although its viability remains uncertain on the ground. -- “He will call for urgent implementation of the agreement reached in Geneva last week while also making clear, as we have done in recent weeks, the cost to Russia if it fails to de-escalate,” the official said. “There are currently ongoing threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the most effective response to that is for all of Ukraine to pull together.” -- Biden in recent weeks has become the administration’s highest-ranking emissary to Eastern European governments worried suddenly over Putin’s ambitions in the region. Last month, he visited Poland and Lithuania, NATO member nations, where he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the pact’s essential collective security pledge. - More, Scott Wilson, Washingtonpost

S. Korean president: Ferry captain’s actions ‘tantamount to murder’ --- MOKPO, South Korea — South Korean President Park Geun-hye castigated the captain and some crew members of a sunken ferry Monday, saying their actions in abandoning a vessel with hundreds of passengers aboard were “tantamount to murder.” -- Park’s comments came amid steady criticism about her government’s response to the disaster and a growing sense of fury in South Korea about alleged criminal incompetence aboard the ferry Sewol. -- The captain, Lee Joon-seok, was arrested Friday with two other crew members, and prosecutors said Monday that four additional crew members — two first mates, one second mate and an engineer — also have been detained. All face charges stemming from the quick abandonment of the ship and their failure to first assist passengers in evacuating. -- Officials said 104 had been confirmed dead by early Tuesday and 198 remained missing. -- As South Korea mourns and prepares for a long series of funerals, it is also grappling with an emerging criminal case that could sort out some of the responsibility for the disaster. Some South Koreans, though acknowledging the apparent irresponsibility of the crew, said Park’s comments were made prematurely and could complicate the already emotional proceedings. - More, Chico Harlan, - Wshingtonpost

وخت -- عقد قرارداد های معادن و پروژه های بزرگ شهرسازی الی روی کار آمدن حکومت جدید ممنوع شد --- شورای وزیران عقد قرارداد های بزرگ معادن و پروژه های بزرگ شهرسازی و خانه سازی را الی روی کار آمدن حکومت جدید ممنوع قرار داد. -- جلسة نوبتی شوراي وزیران که تحت ریاست حامد کرزی قبل از ظهر دیروز در قصر گلخانهٔ ارگ ریاست جمهوری دایر گردید، عقدر قرار داد های بزرگ معادن و پروژه های بزرگ شهرسازی و خانه سازی را الی روی کار آمدن حکومت جدید ممنوع قرار داد. --- پیش از این طبق اجندا وزیر معادن طرح قراردادهای اکتشاف و تقسیم تولید برای اکتشاف و تولید هایدروکاربن ها در بلاکهای احمد آباد – بلخ و محمد جان دگر حوزه نفتی افغان – تاجک، طرح عقد قراردادهای معدنکاری مس بلخاب ولایت سرپل، مس و طلائی زرکشان ولایت غزنی، مس شیدائی ولایت هرات و طلای بدخشان را مطرح نمود. -- در این نشست وزارت اطلاعات و فرهنگ موظف شد تا آثار گنجینهٔ باختر را که همین اکنون در کشور استرالیا به معرض نمایش قرار دارد، بعد از ختم نمایش و قبل از آغاز کار حکومت جدید طور مصؤن دو باره به افغانستان انتقال دهد. -- در جلسه شورای وزیران ضرار احمد عثمانی وزیر امور خارجه در حالیکه معاون ادارهٔ جیودیزی و کارتوگرافی به جلسه حضور داشتند، طبق فیصله ی دوسال پیش شورای وزیران مبنی بر اختصاص مبلغ نه ملیون دالر غرض مدرنیزه سازی اسناد و علایم سرحدی بین افغانستان و ایران و پیشنهاد ادارهٔ جیودیزی و کارتوگرافی را به منظور انتقال مبلغ یک اعشاریه شش ملیون دالر امریکائی جهت تحقق فاز اول این پروژه، به جلسه مطرح نمود. -- شورای وزیران وزارت مالیه را موظف نمود تا معادل مبلغ یک اعشاریه شش ملیون دالر را غرض مدرنیزه سازی علایم سرحدی بین دو کشور از سرجمع بودجه ملی سال ۱۳۹۳ به بودجه انکشافی ادارة جیودیزی و کارتوگرافی انتقال دهد. -- در جلسهٔ شورای وزیران وزیر اطلاعات و فرهنگ پیشنهاد آن وزارت را مبنی بر تغییر نام مرکز ولایت غور از چغچران به فیروزکوه به جلسه مطرح و خاطر نشان نمودند که شهر فیروزکوه در زمان امپراتوری غوریان پایتخت آن ها بود و بر مبنای صبغۀ تاریخی نام فیروزکوه، اکنون بعضی از اعضای شورای ملی، نهاد های جامعه مدنی، فرهنگیان و جوانان ولایت غور نیز پیشنهاد تعدیل نام مرکز ولایت غور را مطرح نموده اند. -- هم چنان وزارت اطلاعات و فرهنگ و اداره مستقل ارگان های محل هم چنان موظف شد تا طبق فیصله های قبلی آن شورا پروسه استملاک منزل احمدشاه بابا درانی را در ولایت کندهار در مدت دو هفته طی مراحل نموده به شورای وزیران ارایه نمایند. -- متعاقباً، وزیر احیأ و انکشاف دهات از پیشرفت حدود ۸۰ فیصد کار پروژۀ آب آشامیدنی ولایت نیمروز به جلسه معلومات ارایه و افزودند که اخیراً کار این پروژه توسط مسؤولین ارگانهای محل آن ولایت متوقف گردیده است. -- شورای وزیران وزارت احیأ و انکشاف دهات و ادارة مستقل ارگان های محل را موظف نمود تا هر چه عاجل چگونگی کار این پروژه را از نزدیک بررسی و کار پروژهٔ متذکره را توسط شرکت قراردادی مجدداً آغاز نمایند. -- در اخیر جلسه دو مورد معاهدات بین المللی پروتوکول الحاقیه افغانستان به موافقتنامه عقد شدهٔ ترانسپورت عبور سرحدی اشخاص و موافقتنامه همکاری میان وزارت امور داخله کشور و وزارت امور خارجه ناروی در عرصه اعمار تاسیسات آموزشی پولیس قطعه ۲۲۲ رسیده گی به حالت بحرانی ریاست عمومی قطعات خاص، توسط وزیر امور خارجه به جلسه مطرح و مورد تائید قرار گرفت.

Afghanistan calls on Iran to stop execution of Afghan nationals --- Officials in the ministry of foreign affairs of Afghanistan said Monday that the government of Afghanistan has conveyed its objection and serious concerns regarding the execution of Afghan refugees to the Iranian government. -- Foreign ministry spokesman, Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni said that the government of Iran continuous to execute Afghan refugees despite an agreement between the two nations which would prevent the execution of Afghans in Iran. -- Mostaghni said the government of Afghanistan has continuously urged Iran not execute Afghans. -- He said the government of Iran has agreed to stop the execution of 50 Afghan prisoners based on the agreement reached between the two nations. -- According to Mostaghni, around 3000 Afghans are serving in Iranian jails however the exact number of prisoners who are facing death penalty is not known. -- This comes as local authorities in northeastern Takhar province of Afghanistan said at least six Afghan nationals including a number of Takhar residents were hanged in Iran, however Mostaghni said four Afghans were executed. - More, Khaama Press (KP) |

Huma Naseri -- Afghanistan needs good leadership post 2014 --- Since the fall of Taliban regime in Afghanistan the International community has eagerly worked with Afghan authorities to implement the Liberal Democratic Constitution. The main values of liberal democracy encompass, protecting individual liberties, equality, and rights of minority groups, election competition, free market, and the rule of law. With the help of International community, the afghan government has quite well in terms of Freedom of speech - Measured Growth in the media outlets - Ensuring the Rights of minority groups - Measured with the inclusion of minority in state and nonstarter institution - Election competition - Measured by the Independent candidate and three terms of election --- Free market economy has made the market very competitive yet at the same time very monopolist. The rest mentioned values of liberal democracy require more time to be strengthened, but when an agriculturally gifted country such as Afghanistan becomes an importer of the basic food; it means there is something fundamentally and internally wrong. That fundamental problem is in the leadership, where as in discourse related to Afghanistan the ‘phenomenon of leadership has not been give much attention and consideration’. According to John P. Kotter “leadership is dealing with changes by setting a direction, i.e. vision creating, goal setting, value promotion, formulating strategy, mobilizing people, managing change, developing other leaders, strategic problem solving and decision making” -- The above definition of leadership brings us to the ultimate point that it is the performance of the leader, which leads to the development of the nation. Subsequent to the topple down of the Taliban Afghanistan had potential prospects to take the country gradually out of economic dependency and war towards a post-conflict developing country, but due to corrupt leader and bad leadership Afghanistan continued to meander the path of failed and weak state. Thus it is generally acknowledged that the failure of institutions in Afghanistan is due essentially to weak leadership and corrupt leaders. --- The two terms democratically elected government was unable to take advantage of all opportunities that Afghanistan had in last 13 years, however on 5 April 2014 Afghanistan had its third term democratic presidential election. The election allows Afghanistan to enter a new area of Post-2014. Due to the withdrawal of troops and dramatic drawdown of financial assistant the post 2014 political scenario seems to be gloomier with very less chances of survival in case the upcoming administration turns to be similar to the existing leadership which marked as corrupt and incompetent. -- Without a doubt the upcoming administration will be faced with harrowing situation since there is a lot to be done and a lot to be completed. Currently the state is characterized by corruption, poverty, fragile economy, broken infrastructure, rising unemployment, and weak law enforcement. Status-quo demands the upcoming administration to be instrumental in facilitating good governance in the country by implementing great reforms. The hardships in the daily lives of the people were the result of poor leadership and a lot of problems are still arising. The desire for a better life was seen on the day of election when despite all sorts of threats the nation went and casted their votes. The final result of current election has not been announced yet however, looking at the partial announced result it seems elections might go to the second round. -- Without a doubt the upcoming administration will be faced with harrowing situation since there is a lot to be done and a lot to be completed. Currently the state is characterized by corruption, poverty, fragile economy, broken infrastructure, rising unemployment, and weak law enforcement. Status-quo demands the upcoming administration to be instrumental in facilitating good governance in the country by implementing great reforms. The hardships in the daily lives of the people were the result of poor leadership and a lot of problems are still arising. The desire for a better life was seen on the day of election when despite all sorts of threats the nation went and casted their votes. The final result of current election has not been announced yet however, looking at the partial announced result it seems elections might go to the second round. --- Given the above scenario it clear that Afghanistan is in dire need of a good leader. A leader who has clear strategy for turning political visions into reality; who understands the basic problem and can apply their personal attributes and professional skills to solve those problems. Poor leadership will possess a serious threat to the development of all the sectors; Political, Economical, and social that undermines democracy and good governance. -- Afghanistan is a case of failed leadership, until the right kind of leadership is emplaced; Afghanistan will continue to move back and forth between long period of instability, confusion, chaos and rampant corruption. Consequently, good leadership will be constructor for 2014 and beyond and bad leadership will be spoiler of every gain made over the last 12 years which cost millions of dollars and countless lives. - Khaama Press (KP) - at: http://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-needs-good-leadership-post-2014-6017

Monday, April 21, 2014

Exclusive: U.S. force in Afghanistan may be cut to less than 10,000 troops --- (Reuters) - The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan may drop well below 10,000 - the minimum demanded by the U.S. military to train Afghan forces - as the longest war in American history winds down, Obama administration officials briefed on the matter say. -- Since Afghanistan's general election on April 5, White House, State Department and Pentagon officials have resumed discussions on how many American troops should remain after the current U.S.-led coalition ends its mission this year. -- The decision to consider a small force, possibly less than 5,000 U.S. troops, reflects a belief among White House officials that Afghan security forces have evolved into a robust enough force to contain a still-potent Taliban-led insurgency. The small U.S. force that would remain could focus on counter-terrorism or training operations. -- That belief, the officials say, is based partly on Afghanistan's surprisingly smooth election, which has won international praise for its high turnout, estimated at 60 percent of 12 million eligible votes, and the failure of Taliban militants to stage high-profile attacks that day. -- The Obama administration has been looking at options for a possible residual U.S. force for months. -- "The discussion is very much alive," said one U.S. official who asked not to be identified. "They're looking for additional options under 10,000" troops. - more, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/21/us-usa-afghanistan-idUSBREA3K1DS20140421

اشرف غنی احمدزی: اعلام نتایج قسمی متوقف گردد --- اشرف غنی احمدزی یک تن از نامزدان ریاست جمهوری یک روز بعد از اعلام دور دوم نتایج قسمی انتخابات ریاست جمهوری، خواهان متوقف شدن اعلام نتایج قسمی شد. کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات روز گذشته دور دوم نتایج قسمی را اعلام نمود که در آن داکتر عبدالله عبدالله با اخذ ۴۴.۴ درصد در جایگاه نخست و داکتر اشرف غنی احمدزی با گرفتن ۳۳.۲ فیصد در جایگاه دوم قرار گرفتند. -- آقای احمدزی که امروزدر یک نشست خبری صحبت میکرد، گفت که کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات باید قبل از اعلام نتایج قسمی انتخابات، آرای پاک و ناپاک را از هم جدا می نمود و بعد نتایج قسمی را اعلام میکرد. وی افزود که اعلام هم چو نتایج اذهان عامه را مغشوش میسازد و این نتایج قابل قبول برایش نمی باشد. این نامزد ریاست جمهوری گفت: "خواست ما از کمیسیون این است تا وقتی که آرا را تفکیک نکرده آرای قسمی دیگر را اعلام نکند و این کار اذهان مردم را مغشوش کرده و بهتر است که مردم ما به اساس اعتبار به این کمیسیون پیش بروند زیرا رای هر فرد امانت ملی است." -- آقای احمدزی بار دیگر تاکید کرد که اگر انتخابات در دور اول خاتمه یابد و یا به دور دوم هم برود تیم آنها برنده است. وی بار دیگر خاطرنشان ساخت که به هیچ صورت خواهان تشکیل دولت ایتلافی نیست. این نامزد ریاست جمهوری از نامزدان خواست تا با هم بنشینند و برای جدا نمودن آرای پاک از ناپاک با هم مشوره نمایند تا رئیس جمهور آینده به اساس آرای پاک انتخاب شود. وی تاکید کرد که در صورت پیروزی به همه وعده های که به مردم در جریان مبارزات انتخاباتی اش داده است عمل خواهد کرد. آقای احمدزی افزود که اگر برنده انتخابات ریاست جمهوری شود با سایر نامزدان هم مشوره می نماید. -- اشرف غنی احمدزی در اعلام نتایج قسمی اول و دوم در جایگاه دوم قرار دارد و در این دو بار رقیب انتخاباتی وی داکتر عبدالله عبدالله از وی پیشی گرفته است. از سوی دیگر نورمحمد نور سخنگوی کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات میگوید که این کمیسیون در صدد این است تا هرچه زودتر یک رقم دیگر نتایج قسمی را اعلام نماید. آقای نور گفت: هر زمانیکه کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی نتیجه بررسی های شانرا روان کند ممکن در سیستم نتایج تغییراتی بیاید. وی در مورد اینکه انتخابات به دور دوم خواهد رفت، گفت که هنوز خیلی زود است که کمیسیون مشخص نماید که انتخابات در دور اول خاتمه مییابد و یا به دور دوم میرود. -- اما سخنگوی کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات گفت که این کمیسیون از لحاظ تخنیکی و مالی آمادگی برای دور دوم انتخابات را نیز دارد. به گفته وی، کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات بیشتر از ۱۴ صد محل را تفیش و بیشتر از ۶۶۶ محل را شمارش مجدد مینماید. آقای نور گفت که در ۱۳ ولایت بررسی ودر۶ ولایت بازشماری آرا مکمل گردیده است و تا اخیر امروز و یا فردا تفیش و بررسی محلات تکمیل خواهد شد و آنها اوراق نتایج را به دفتر مرکزی میفرستند تا داخل سیستم نتایج گردد و به اساس آن فیصدی دیگر اعلام گردد. به اساس تقویم انتخاباتی کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات باید نتایج ابتدایی نامزدان ریاست جمهوری را سه روز بعد به تاریخ ۴ ثور اعلام نماید و نتایج نهایی را به تاریخ ۲۴ ثور اعلام کند. -- صدای امریکا

Op-Ed -- America’s Last Task in Kabul --- WASHINGTON — Until now, fighting the Afghan war has been an American project, and Americans have feared most that their withdrawal will be followed by chaos. That’s why they have focused on handing over the fighting to Afghanistan’s military. -- But the first round of the presidential election on April 5 opened a new prospect. Just by turning out in large numbers in defiance of Taliban denunciations, Afghans showed that they craved a stable future — and would need friends in the neighborhood to help broker their differences. That creates an incentive for every nearby country to collaborate on holding Afghanistan together after the Americans leave. -- With that in mind, it might be best for the United States to focus first on handing over the peacemaking to Afghanistan’s neighbors, as the most credible strategy for ending the war quickly. Ever since 9/11, Washington demanded that the region’s powers support its strategy in Afghanistan. But the region was split: India and Russia were content to see America seek outright victory over the Taliban and pursue the war to its end; Pakistan and Iran, which share ethnic roots with groups in Afghanistan, have long wanted America to end the fighting by negotiating its way out. -- Because the neighbors’ interests never coincided in clear support of America’s view, the region watched America experiment — with mixed results — at counterinsurgency and state-building, and later at peacemaking with the Taliban. -- Now it will be up to the neighbors, who — despite all their differences — share an interest in seeing Afghanistan avoid a new bloodletting. They question the Afghan Army’s ability to defeat the Taliban in battle; the force is still largely made up of ethnic Tajiks and Hazaras from Afghanistan’s north and west, leaving it likely to provoke resistance among the Pashtuns of the embattled south and east, from whom the Taliban spring. The neighbors remember the collapse of an earlier Afghan army soon after the Soviets who had trained it left, as well as the decade of civil war that followed in the 1990s. No neighbor wants that experience repeated, and a regionally supported peace deal would be the surest way to dissuade outsiders from supporting any Afghans who did. --- So how does the United States proceed? -- It should keep reminding everyone that it is about to leave, and that it is in their own best interest to build a regional consensus for an Afghan peace. That means joining hands with the Americans to ensure that a strong president emerges from the messy election process. -- On Election Day, the first reaction was relief at the turnout. But now there is concern that the final ballot count will prompt claims that the margin of fraud exceeds the margin of victory. The early first-round results point to a tight runoff race between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, and a need for America to help broker a fair outcome, since a disputed outcome could divide the country. -- America should call on Afghanistan’s neighbors to assist. Any political wrangling would draw in Iran as well as America, since the two nations have had the most influence on Afghan politics. They should take a page from their quiet cooperation in 2001, when they supported a conference of Afghan leaders in Bonn, Germany, that prepared Afghanistan for its transition to a constitution and elected government. --- Once in office, Afghanistan’s next president will face myriad problems, not least that the Afghan economy will shrink as American funding for the war ends. Meanwhile, the most important task will remain keeping the Taliban at bay. If Afghan forces are not up to the job, Afghanistan will need a strong president with American and regional backing all the more. His job will be to negotiate a reconciliation with the Taliban. Which raises the question of how his disparate neighbors might find common ground to help. They should, because chaos in Afghanistan would threaten all of them. -- Moscow still sees extremism in Afghanistan as a threat to Muslim regions of Russia like Chechnya, and to the Muslim-populated former Soviet republics of Central Asia. China similarly worries that upheaval in Afghanistan could exacerbate Islamic extremism in Xinjiang; India thinks the same could happen in Kashmir. And Shiite Iran almost went to war with the Taliban, an extremist Sunni movement, in 1997; its leaders do not want a repeat of that crisis. Iran is already home to over two million Afghan refugees, and to a huge number of addicts dependent on heroin trafficked from Afghanistan. War next door would aggravate the first problem, and lawlessness would compound the second. --- Pakistan may be the most problematic — and important — neighbor. It has long looked to the Taliban to protect its interests in Afghanistan, but lately its government has been challenged by its own violent Islamist groups, including the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistanis have opposed Indian influence in Afghanistan on the ground that India might turn Pashtun nationalism against Pakistan. But that hypothetical fear has to be balanced with the tangible threat that, in the absence of American troops, Pakistan’s own ascendant Taliban could feel free to join hands with Afghanistan’s Taliban. -- In other words, these days even Islamabad is interested in putting the Taliban in a cage — or a peace agreement. In fact, Islamabad has favored a negotiated reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban all along, if Kabul would agree to include a role for Pakistan and its interests. --- The United States is now talking to Iran. Its relations with Pakistan have stabilized. Its withdrawal from Afghanistan is in the works. All of this could make possible the kind of regional dialogue that could give Afghanistan a chance for a future.-- Afghanistan had a good election, but the war is not over. America will not be fighting that war, but it can help bring about a peace. - More, Vali R. Nasr, the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies - NYTimes

What is Easter? --- On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches. -- Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after his death on the cross. As part of the Easter season, the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, always the Friday just before Easter. Through his death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, thus purchasing for all who believe in him, eternal life in Christ Jesus. --- In Western Christianity, Easter marks the end of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline in preparation for Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. Eastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday and Ash Wednesday is not observed. --- In Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon. - More, Mary Fairchild - at: christianity.about.com

دافغانستان بشري حقونه په ایران کې دافغانانو اعدام په کلکه غندي --- په ایران کې دافغانونو پرله پسې اعدامولو دافغانستان دبشري حقونو دسازمان زغم پای ته رسولی. دغه کار په افغانستان کې دننه دایراني چارواکو په اړه منفي لید لوري رامنځته کړي. دافغانستان دبشري حقونو دسازمان مشر لعل ګل لعل له آزادي راډیو سره په خبرو کې دافغانانو داعدام له کبله په کلکه پر ایراني چارواکو انتقاد وکړ. بل خوا دتخار دوالي ویاند سنت الله تیمور وایي، چې ددغه ولایت شپږ تنه اوسیدونکي په ایران کې اعدام شوي، خو دافغانستان دبهرنیو چارو وزارت داعدام شویو کسانو شمېر څلور تنه یادوي. -- ددغه وزارت ویاند شکیب مستغني پرون آزادي راډیو ته ویلي وو چې دغه افغانان دسه شنبه په ورځ په اصفهان کې اعدام شوي دي. دښاغلي مستغني په خبره پر دغو افغانانو دمخدره موادو دقاچاق تور و. دافغانستان دبهرنیو چارو وزارت وایي، څو ځله یې په دې اړه خپله اندیښنه له ایراني چارواکو سره شریکه کړې ده. دغه وزارت له ایران څخه غوښتي چې دافغانانو داعدام سزا عمري بند ته راکښته کړي. خو دافغانستان دبشري حقونو دسازمان مشر وایي، ددغو ستونزو ریښه باید په جدیت سره و څیړل شي. -- لعل ګل لعل دغه راز له ملګرو ملتونو وغوښتل چې په ایران کې دافغانانو داعدام موضوع دخپلو کارونو په سر کې و ارزوي. تردې وړاندي هم په ایران کې دمخدره موادو دقاچاق په تور دلسګونو افغانانو داعدام راپورونه ورکړل شوي دي. اعدام شوي افغان له بیلابیلو ولایتونو لکه هرات، نیمروز او تخار اوسیدونکي ښودل شوي دي. افغان چارواکو هم وړاندې منلې وه چې زرګونه افغانان په ایران کې بندیان دي چې ویل کیږي، سلګونه تنه یې دمخدره موادو دقاچاق په تړاو تورن دي. دبشري حقونو مدافع ټولنې دا مني چې په ایران کې عدالت ته دلاسرسي په برخه کې دافغانانو حقونه نقض شوي او پر دوی له مدافع وکیل پرته داعدام حکمونه شوي دي. - دآزادی رادیو

During Asia trip, Obama will renew effort to ‘rebalance’ U.S. relationship with the region --- President Obama departs Tues­day for a week-long, four-nation tour of Asia, where he and his top aides will be less focused on any big policy announcements than on reassuring jittery allies that America remains committed to bolstering its security and economic ties to the region. -- The trip — rescheduled from October, when Obama canceled his plans because of the government shutdown — includes two of the countries on his original itinerary, Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as Japan and South Korea. -- On one level, the president has a long list of tasks awaiting him: He will try to make headway on trade negotiations with Japan, work to ease tensions between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, foster a closer alliance with the government in Muslim-majority Malaysia, and shore up support for Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. -- But it is also, by its very nature, an interim step in the administration’s larger project of seeking to “rebalance” its relationship with the most economically and socially dynamic region of the world at a time when China continues to expand its influence there. -- In a briefing Friday, senior administration officials detailed the president’s plans to hold bilateral talks and visit sites, including the national mosque in Malaysia and a science and technology museum in Japan. National security adviser Susan E. Rice emphasized that she and other top officials “increasingly see our top priorities as tied to Asia, whether it’s accessing new markets or promoting exports or protecting our security interests and promoting our core values.” -- “And at a time of ongoing regional tensions, particularly with regard to North Korea and territorial disputes, the trip offers a chance for the United States to affirm our commitment to a rules-based order in the region,” she added. - More, Juliet Eilperin, Washingtonpost

The Post’s View -- The presidential election in Afghanistan offers a welcome result --- THE FIRST round of Afghanistan’s election this month delivered a resounding, three-part defeat to the Taliban. More than 7 million voters — some 60 percent of those registered — turned out in defiance of the Islamists’ threats. Afghan security forces effectively beat back 286 reported insurgent attacks, killing 141 attackers while losing only 17. And early vote counting is showing a decisive and welcome result: Two front-runners have emerged, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, who are moderate, pro-Western and committed to the fight against extremism. --- The Afghan candidates, election officials and security forces must still run a gantlet of challenges to complete a successful election. The vote count is due to be completed by April 24, and the elections complaint commission has pledged to investigate every fraud report. A second round would be held by May 28; that would provide the Taliban with another opportunity to attack. -- The Post’s Joshua Partlow reports that U.S. and other Western officials are hoping that a runoff might be avoided through a deal between the front-runners. Such a bargain could speed the day when a new president could sign a pending security agreement with the United States — the key to leaving some U.S. forces in the country after 2014, and thus to preserving the state built since 2002. But Mr. Abdullah and Mr. Ghani are so far saying they don’t want such a deal, and they shouldn’t be pushed. Afghanistan needs a new president broadly accepted as legitimate. If that takes another vote, Afghans have demonstrated that they can pull it off. - More, Editorial Board, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-presidential-election-in-afghanistan-offers-a-welcome-result/2014/04/19/da0e5820-c4bd-11e3-b195-dd0c1174052c_story.html

تلاش عبدالستار سیرت برای تامین صلح در افغانستان --- ۸صبحٰ، کابل:‌ عبدالستار سیرت فعال سیاسی افغانستان که در کنفرانس بن از جریان ظاهرشاه نمایندگی می کرد در راس هیاتی به کابل آمده و جریانی را به نام “جبهه ملی صلح” تشکیل داده است. آقای سیرت می گوید تامین صلح در افغانستان تا زمانی که یک جریان بی طرف آن را به پیش نبرد، ممکن نیست. -- به باور این فعال سیاسی تیمی که او برای تامین صلح آماده کرده متشکل از افرادی است که در جنگ های افغانستان نقشی نداشته اند و دست آن ها به خون مردم آلوده نیست. آقای سیرت روز گذشته در یک کنفرانس خبری در کابل گفت صلح را جریانی آورده می تواند که بی طرف باشد و هردو طرف جنگ به آن اعتماد داشته باشد. -- آقای سیرت همچنین از کمیسیون های انتخاباتی خواست تا بی طرفانه عمل کنند و زمینه بحران را با مداخله در آرای مردم مساعد نکنند. او گفت به آرای مردم احترام دارد اما نباید افغانستان بار دیگر بحران و مشکلات را تجربه کند. او افزود در صورتی که کمیسیون های انتخاباتی نتوانند به درستی پروسه انتخابات را به پیش ببرد، بهتر است تا دو نامزدی که بیشترین را به دست آورده اند، ایتلاف کنند و دست به کشمکش و اختلاف نزنند. -- این در حالیست که کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی مصروف بررسی و رسیدگی به شکایت های انتخاباتی است و کمیسیون انتخابات نیز گفته است تلاش می کند که تا تاریخ ۴ ثور مطابق زمان بندی انتخاباتٰ نتایج ابتدایی را اعلام کند. - More, at: http://8am.af/1393/01/31/abdulsatar-sirat-endeavor-for-peace/

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Diplomat - Why a Regional Security Force Will Not Work in Afghanistan --- As NATO-led coalition forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan, we are increasingly hearing the idea that a multinational regional security force (MN-RSF) would be a viable option for Afghanistan. The reality on the ground, however, suggests otherwise. -- In short, the deployment of an MN-RSF is simply not feasible. To begin with, China is unlikely to change its policy of non-intervention anytime soon. Nor does it want to get involved in a war of attrition at a time when it is seeking to modernize its security forces for a larger possible showdown in the Pacific. --- Next, the deployment of troops to Afghanistan by Pakistan and Iran would be highly sensitive, even if it were made within the framework of an MN-RSC. Both countries and the international community acknowledge this, which is why at the Bonn Conference in 2001, Iran and Pakistan’s names were kept off the table when the idea of a U.N.-led multinational security force was discussed. -- Not only does that perception of Iran and Pakistan persist, but with the growing Pakistan and Iran interference in Afghanistan’s affairs, Afghans are becoming ever more sensitive towards these countries. In fact, the logic behind the endorsement of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) by Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga was curbing Iranian and Pakistani influence in Afghanistan—let alone allowing them to deploy troops. Afghanistan’s Pashtuns are already accusing Iran of stirring linguistic and cultural tensions, which makes it more than difficult for Iran to put boots on the ground. --- India, meanwhile, is not interested in getting involved on the battlefields of Afghanistan. Any Indian involvement would provoke Pakistan, which in turn would further destabilize the entire region. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has already bombed the Indian Embassy in Kabul in response to India’s growing presence in Afghanistan. New Delhi itself acknowledges the ramifications of provoking Pakistan, and has to date rebuffed President Hamid Karzai’s requests that India sell heavy weapons to Afghanistan. -- An MN-RSF involving the five Central Asian countries (CAR) seems very unlikely for several reasons. First, the CAR themselves have faced threats of extremism since the fall of the Soviet Union. They are in no position to get involved in Afghanistan, which might further provoke extremists into striking at their countries directly. Second, a significant element of the military in today’s CAR fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Neither commanders nor politicians in these countries want to repeat the experience. -- Third, given their weapons and techniques, which resemble those of the former Soviet Union, troops from the CAR would likely encounter even more ferocious resistance from the insurgents. They could even provoke the general public. Fourth, the CAR have at any rate evinced no interest in joining a multi-national force at any point in the last 12 years. -- Fifth and finally, the ethnic component of CAR troops could also be unwelcome in Afghanistan. For instance, Tajik troops may be viewed as having been deployed to help their fellow Tajiks in Afghanistan. The same could be true for Uzbek and Turkmen soldiers. These forces would be met by a much fiercer response from the Pashtun-dominated Taliban. - MORE, Arwin Rahi, at: http://thediplomat.com/2014/04/why-a-regional-security-force-will-not-work-in-afghanistan/

Dr. Sebastian Gorka -- Obama Has No Plan in Afghanistan and the War Against Al Qaeda --- The US commander of the ISAF coalition in Afghanistan, General Jospeh Dunford USMC, recently stated: “We are not leaving. We are transitioning – there’s a big difference.” -- While it is doubtful that the Taliban could parse said difference, the statement has led to comments of Operation Enduring Freedom having led to a defeat. Since the reason we are in Afghanistan is the 9/11 attacks, this is more than a throw away comment. -- Although the provision of education for females and the establishment of an accountable government in Kabul are laudable objectives, these are not the reasons for our invasion of Afghanistan. It is crucial to note that it is now impossible for al Qaeda to mastermind mass-casualty attacks against US targets from the territory of that nation. -- The fact that, according to Director of National Intelligence General Clapper, al Qaeda now has operational centers in 12 nations around the world does not mean OEF has failed. -- The strengthening of al Qaeda in areas outside of Afghanistan is not a function of the failure of our combat troops in theater. It has to do with the absence of strategy at the highest levels of the administration. -- “Obama has emphasized bureaucratic efficiency over ideology, and approached foreign policy as if it were case law, deciding his response to every threat or crisis on its own merits.” Does this sound like a Fox News commentary or National Review? It is neither. -- The quote comes from a 9,000 word 2011 piece in the New Yorker titled "The Consequentialist." I recommend this in-depth piece, based on access to top members of the administration including the president, to all the national security types I work with and anyone who wishes to understand why America is where it is today. -- The article is an attempt by a leftwing organ supportive of the administration to reveal to the world President Obama’s global vision and how he sees America’s role. After all the background details and interviews with his most influential advisers (Power, Rice, etc) -- none of whom have military experience and who almost exclusively are academics or political activists -- the most striking moment comes in an interview with the president himself. -- MORE, Breitbart News - at: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/04/19/Obama-Has-No-Plan-in-Afghanistan-and-the-War-against-Al-Qaeda

Please find from the below map the partial results of the 5 April 2014 Presidential and Provincial Council Elections. - More, Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan, at: http://www.iec.org.af/results/en/elections

Abdullah leads in Afghan presidential vote --- (Reuters) - Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah has opened a lead in the Afghan presidential race, the latest official tally of votes released on Sunday showed, although half of the votes have yet to be counted. -- Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission said initial results based on almost 50 percent of the vote out of 34 provinces showed Abdullah in the lead with 44.4 percent, followed by ex-world bank official Ashraf Ghani with 33.2 percent of the votes it said were not fraudulent. -- "These statistics that we shared with you are partial and are changeable," Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani, chairman of the election commission, told a news conference on Sunday. -- To win, a candidate must secure more than 50 percent of valid ballots. Failing that, the top two candidates go into a run-off. Final results are due on May 14, and a run-off, if needed will take place in late May. -- A run-off is seen as a risky proposition in Afghanistan, given high security concerns, the prospect of a low turnout and the cost - the bill for the first round was put at more than $100 million. - More, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/20/us-afghanistan-election-idUSBREA3J0B720140420

نتایج حدود پنجاه درصد آراء در انتخابات افغانستان اعلام شد --- کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان نتایج اولیه شمارش نزدیک به ۵۰ درصد آراء شمرده شده را اعلام کرد. که بر اساس آن عبدالله عبدالله با کسپ ۴۴.۴ درصد پیشتاز است. -- احمدیوسف نورستانی رئیس این کمیسیون در یک نشست خبری گفت که این آرا شامل ۴۹.۶۷ درصد نتایج انتخابات ریاست جمهوری شانزدهم حمل/فروردین می شود و اشرف غنی احمدزی با ۳۳.۲ درصد در ردیف دوم قرار دارند. -- همچنین زلمی رسول ۱۰.۴ درصد، عبدرب الرسول سیاف ۷ درصد، قطب الدین هلال ۲.۷ درصد، محمدشفیق گل آقا شیرزی ۱.۶ درصد، محمدداوود سلطان زوی ۰.۵ درصد و هدایت امین ارسلا ۰.۲ درصد آراء را به خود اختصاص داده اند. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140420_k02-af2014-2nd-partial-results.shtml

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ehsan Azari Stanizai -- Afghanistan's Murky Choice --- The euphoria over Afghanistan’s April 5 elections has begun to evaporate amid allegations of widespread electoral fraud. This weekend’s partial result indicated no clear winner. The two front-runners—Abdullah Abdullah, a leader of the old Northern alliance and ex-foreign minister, with 41.9 percent of the vote, and Ashraf Ghani, ex-finance minister, with 37.6 percent—might head for a run-off. The tally was based on half a million ballots of the estimated seven million that were cast. --- Abdullah’s leading role signals that the initial announcement was politically motivated. It has to be viewed as a warning that the political elite or the old Northern Alliance—propelled to power after the United States defeated the Taliban in 2001—will continue to rule Afghanistan. Afghan observers blame the outgoing President Hamid Karzai and his allies for horse trading behind the partial result. The partial result also may be calculated to address the demands of Abdullah Abdullah’s powerful supporters, who threatened that in case Abdullah isn’t the ultimate winner, Afghanistan could be awash with new waves of bloodshed. --- Afghanistan’s ground realities and political history suggest that if a runoff takes place or a backstage deal wins Abdullah the presidency; he is unable to deliver. He is a man with a history. He was actively involved in the Afghan civil war (1992-1995). Following the fall of the Russian-installed communist regime in an internal coup in 1992, the Northern Alliance and its proxies ruled Afghanistan for almost four years, leaving a dark legacy of gross human-rights violations, rape, and looting. Fighting between the Northern Alliance—with Abdullah as one of its key advisers—and its radical Islamic rivals (led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar), devastated the Afghan capital even before the Taliban came. More than fifty thousand civilians were killed in the civil war. -- The American military intervention in 2001 in Afghanistan was something of a lottery for the new political elites and Abdullah Abdullah, who’s shown a fondness for bespoke European suits allegedly worth several years of an average Afghan’s income. He served as foreign minister in Karzai’s regime (2001-2005) and filled the ministry from top to bottom with his own fellow Panjshiris. Panjshir is a provincial district, though the NA and Karzai elevated it to the rank of a province in recent years, his birthplace. With strong bonds with Karzai’s family, Abdullah and other warlords of the NA created a multi-billion dollar mafia that dominates the economy and politics in Afghanistan. -- An Abdullah presidency would be a gift for the Taliban, which already benefits from the growing marginalisation and disenfranchisement of the Pashtuns south and east. Seen as a radical sectarian among Pashtuns, Abdullah will deepen ethnic division just as the international community is shrinking its financial support once foreign troops leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. --- The domination Northern Alliance in Afghanistan has powerful implications for Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as well. He will be an outsider within an exceptionally corrupt government centered around the NA. In his campaign, Ghani said that when he was the finance minister, he refused the demand of the warlords of the NA to pay for an imaginary seven-hundred-thousand-man defense force. He continued to reject such extortionist demands despite real threats to his life when warlords surrounded his ministry with tanks and armoured vehicles. -- Ghani has the potential to be Afghanistan’s version of former Czech president Válcav Havel, who played a decisive role in post-Communist era of his country, but it would be too hard for him to overcome the endemic corruption, nepotism and drug syndicates linked to the country’s power elites. He doesn’t have the skills of Karzai to work as a puppet for the NA. However, Ghani as the president of Afghanistan could weaken the Taliban and their grip on the Pashtuns. In the event of strong Pashtun support behind Ghani, the Taliban might soften its stance and become willing to participate in negotiation and reconciliation. --- This is crucial for the future of Afghanistan, as America and its NATO partners, in thirteen years of war, have failed to either defeat the Taliban or bring them into effective negotiations. They also failed to target the Pakistani military for actively abetting insurgents killing the Western troops and Afghans. Pakistan remains the Taliban’s enabler, and its role in Afghanistan makes it a mortal threat to peace. One major factor in these failures has been the amorphous vision of the international community vis-à-vis Afghanistan that has helped undercut the Afghan internal dynamics. -- By all indications, the present phase of the Afghan presidential election is in a troubled state. The final results are to be declared in mid-May once thousands of complaints of fraud are fully investigated. Hot conspiracy theories in Kabul suggest that at the last minute, the Embassy of the United States in Kabul will cherry-pick the new president. Uncertainties looms and the anxiety is that like in the past, the election would be used to rubber-stamp the control of someone acceptable to the power brokers. - More, National Interest

هند پول سلاح های خریداری شده افغانستان را می پردازد --- هند و روسیه توافق کردند تا دهلی نو، پول سلاح هایی که روسیه به افغانستان صادر می کند، را پرداخت کند . -- روزنامه اندین اکسپرس، در شماره دیروزی خود نگاشته است، در حالی که کشورهای ناتو در آستانه خارج کردن نیروهایش از افغانستان است ، هند با روسیه به توافق رسیده تا پول سلاح و مهماتی را که به افغانستان ارسال می کند، پرداخت کند. -- هند بر اساس قرارداد استراتژیک با دولت افغانستان متعهد به تامین سلاح و مهمات افغانستان با هدف تقویت ارتش ملی این کشور است که توافق با روسیه به دهلی جدید فرصت میدهد تا تعهد خویش را در راستای تقویت اردوی ملی افغانستان انجام دهد. -- در این گزارش آمده است که این موضوع در این مدت چندین بار در جلسات کابینه هندوستان مورد بحث قرار گرفته فیصله بران شد که هند حضور نظامی در افغانستان نداشته باشد؛ و سلاح های کوچک نیز فراهم نمی کند حتی اگر برخی از آنها در داخل کشور تولید شده باشد. -- بنا بر این گزارش، هند خود بسیاری از مهمات مورد نیاز افغانستان را در داخل تولید می کند اما از این جهت خواستار ارسال سلاح از سوی روسیه به افغانستان است که سلاح های تولیدی خود هند به دست مخالفان این کشور در کشمیر نیافتد. -- اندین اکسپرس میگوید در حالی که روسیه امکان دارد به طور جداگانه سلاح جنگی کلاشینکوف را به افغانستان عرضه کند، اما هند تا حد زیادی بالای تجهیز اسلحه توپخانه ی، پشتیبانی هوایی و حتی وسایل نقلیه زره پوش، از جمله تانک ها تمرکز خواهد کرد. -- منبع می افزاید که امکان دارد در این لیست بنا بر ضرورت افغانستان، اقلام غیر کشنده شامل شود. همچنان ترمیم مهمات روسی که سالهاست در افغانستان باقیمانده نیز ضم این قرار داد بوده و در مورد تحقیقات نیز انجام شده است. -- تجهیز اردوی و پولیس ملی افغانستان یکی از دغدغه ها و نگرانی های اصلی دولت و مردم در افغانستان می باشد. -- با خروج نیروهای خارجی از افغانستان مسئولیت نیروهای دولتی کشور افزایش می یابد. اگر این نیروها به اندازه کافی تجهیز و تسلیح نگردند، پیشبرد وظیفه های محوله شان که روز به روز افزایش خواهد یافت کار ساده و آسانی نخواهد بود. -- از همین خاطر است که هم رییس جمهور و هم مردم این خواهش را دارند که جامعه جهانی به تسلیح و تجهیز اردوی ملی و پولیس افغانستان توجه نشان دهند اما تا اکنون از سوی کشورهای عضو ناتو و امریکا در مورد پاسخ مثبت گفته نشده است. -- از سوی دیگر دهلی جدید بزرگترین کمک کننده افغانستان در منطقه است و تا به حال دو میلیارد دالر در پروژه های زیربنایی و بازسازی افغانستان سرمایه گذاری کرده است. -- در سال ۲۰۱۱ هندوستان و افغانستان یک سند مشارکت استراتژیک را امضا کردند. براساس این سند، هندوستان افسران افغان و نیروهای پولیس را آموزش می دهد. -- اما رییس جمهور کرزی در سفر اخیر خود به هند از آنکشور خواست، فراتر از کمک های بازسازی در عرصه تجهیز و تسلیح اردوی ملی افغانستان نیز سهم فعال داشته باشد تا جنگ علیه طالبان را پس از خروج اکثر نیروهای خارجی در سال ۲۰۱۴ ادامه داده بتواند. - وخت

India to pay Russia for arms, ammo it sells to Afghanistan --- India, is committed to provide arms and ammunition to strengthen the Afghan National Army. -- Ahead of NATO troops downsizing their presence in Afghanistan, India has firmed up a far-reaching deal with Russia to supply arms to the troubled country under which New Delhi will pay for the military equipment that will be sourced from Moscow. -- The deal, which had been under intense negotiations for the past few months, was clinched after a high-level Indian team made a quiet trip to Moscow in February and stitched up the loose ends even as Russia was bracing for the challenge in Ukraine. -- The first order under this deal, sources said, is already being executed. -- India, through the strategic partnership with Afghanistan, is committed to provide arms and ammunition to strengthen the Afghan National Army. The arrangement with Moscow allows New Delhi to fulfill this commitment, an issue on which Kabul has been sending reminders including detailed lists of its requirements. -- The issue was debated at length on various occasions in the Cabinet Committee on Security, which eventually arrived at two conclusions — that India will have no troop presence in Afghanistan; and that India will not provide small arms even though some are manufactured domestically. --- A range of non-lethal items could also make it to the list depending on the nature of the requirement. Also part of the arrangement is an exercise to refit some old Russian-made equipment lying with Afghanistan for years, sources said, adding that a survey of such equipment has been carried out. -- As of now, the ANA is a predominantly infantry force as the US, sources said, limited its access to long-range guns largely due to Pakistani concerns. But over the past of couple of years, Afghanistan has been pressuring countries such as India and Russia to properly equip the ANA if it has to repel Taliban offensives on its own. --- Besides, India has also held preliminary conversations with China on jointly improving the connectivity infrastructure in Afghanistan’s mining belt so that the resources can be better exploited. Both countries already have interests in specific mining projects and are looking to expand their presence, which would aid Afghanistan’s economy. - More, Indian Express, at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/india-to-pay-russia-for-arms-ammo-it-sells-to-afghanistan/

Hamid Mir wounded in Pakistan gun attack --- Gunmen have shot and wounded one of Pakistan's best known television presenters in the city of Karachi. -- Police said the attackers opened fire on Hamid Mir's car near the airport. -- The presenter for Geo TV received three bullets, but was in a stable condition, the officials added. --- There have been previous attempts on the life of Mr Mir, the first journalist to interview Osama bin Laden after 9/11. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for the media. -- The attack has been strongly condemned by Pakistani politicians, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. -- Last month, Mr Sharif pledged to do more to protect journalists in Pakistan. -- Mr Mir had just landed in Karachi and was on his way to the studios of Geo TV, a private Pakistani news channel, when unidentified gunmen in a car and on motorcycles reportedly tailed him before opening fire. -- Police said he sustained three gunshot wounds, but that his life was not in danger. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27089646

Trailing candidates in Afghan election hold power in deciding next president --- KABUL — Some of the influential politicians who competed in Afghanistan’s recent — but still undecided — presidential election have begun to accept their failure to win. And with that acknowledgment, their power has grown. -- It appears likely that the April 5 election will produce a runoff between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. That has left the six remaining candidates to decide whom they will endorse — a choice that could determine the next president. -- Ghani and Abdullah have begun quests to garner that support, crisscrossing Kabul to recruit their former rivals and, with them, the voters whose loyalty they command. In a country still torn by ethnic and political tensions, coalition building is as crucial as it is delicate. -- “They ask, and we will decide,” said candidate Abdurrab Rasul Sayyaf, a former mujahideen leader who is not expected to win a significant portion of votes but wields significant power, particularly in traditional ethnic Pashtun communities. -- For now, the public’s focus remains on the results of the first round and the Afghan election commission’s ability to resolve hundreds of formal complaints of fraud. The commission is due to assess those complaints and release official results in mid-May, and it’s unlikely a second round would take place for several weeks afterward. -- But already, there are early signs that the six candidates are trying to come together as a single, powerful bloc. Earlier this week, they met as a group at Sayyaf’s office. -- Publicly, each of the eight presidential candidates has expressed confidence that he might still win the election if fraud is eliminated. But several have quietly conceded that the race is between Ghani and Abdullah, and it’s now time to go about the complicated effort of choosing sides without causing harmful political or social rifts. -- “Who we decide to support will be crucial,” said a top member of Zalmay Rassoul’s campaign team. -- Those decisions are part of a larger effort to build a coalition that would resolve the election peacefully, either before or after an electoral runoff. -- A runoff between the two top finishers is legally mandated if no candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round, an outcome that looks likely based on preliminary results. According to those results, gleaned from less than 10 percent of overall ballots, Abdullah received 41.9 percent of the vote and Ghani 37.6 percent. Rassoul had 9.8 percent to Sayyaf’s 5.1 percent. - More, Kevin Sieff, Washingtonpost

‘The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014’ by Carlotta Gall --- In 2012, I rode in a white Toyota Corolla past upscale villas and cafes to the outskirts of Islamabad, arriving at a hidden complex that was home to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the country’s chief intelligence agency. In my many previous trips to the country, including several in 2010-11 while working at the White House National Security Council, I had witnessed a drastic deterioration in security. This trip revealed a Pakistan under siege by Islamist militants. Militants had recently shot 14-year-old schoolgirl and education activist Malala Yousafzai. Mullah Fazlullah, the Pakistani Taliban commander who ordered the attack, had found safe haven in Afghanistan. The shooting underscored what many Pakistanis increasingly believed to be true: Afghanistan was complicit in Pakistan’s destabilization. -- The driver skillfully navigated through at least a dozen jersey barriers and multiple checkpoints to the building’s entrance, where I met an ISI general who had another take on the crisis facing Afghanistan and Pakistan. He told me that “the U.S. cannot win in Afghanistan” and should look to Pakistan to be America’s guarantor of security there. -- Journalist Carlotta Gall shreds the Pakistani general’s blueprint in her book “The Wrong Enemy” by arguing that Pakistan is “perfidious, driving the violence in Afghanistan for its own cynical, hegemonic reasons.” She writes of a Pakistan that is more an active participant in the conflict than an invisible hand governing by proxy, the more common perception among most of those who have followed the diplomatic wrangling in the region. -- Journalist Carlotta Gall shreds the Pakistani general’s blueprint in her book “The Wrong Enemy” by arguing that Pakistan is “perfidious, driving the violence in Afghanistan for its own cynical, hegemonic reasons.” She writes of a Pakistan that is more an active participant in the conflict than an invisible hand governing by proxy, the more common perception among most of those who have followed the diplomatic wrangling in the region. -- In November 2001, American planes bombed Taliban front-line positions in northwestern Afghanistan while, according to Gall, “hundreds of Pakistanis: scores of military advisors and trainers, members of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence” secretly assisted the Taliban. As many as 3,000 Pakistani troops and advisers were trapped at the Kunduz airfield, a 12-hour drive from the Pakistani border. Pakistani military airlifts evacuated most of them, while “nearly a thousand low-level Pakistani fighters were left to fend for themselves.” -- Gall’s attention to detail partially lifts the veil on the shadowy operations of the ISI, best known for its clandestine support of anti-Soviet Afghan fighters during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. But “The Wrong Enemy” reduces a decades-long national security strategy to a tactical level, oversimplifying the psychology of Pakistan’s relations with the Taliban and distracting from the real question at hand: Why does Pakistan want to influence Afghanistan? --- Gall rightly says that Pakistan supports the Taliban as a hedge against pro-India Afghan groups but neglects to provide important context for such actions. For example, she does not mention major Indian investments in the Afghan economy and the proliferation of consulates in Afghanistan since 2001 that serve to provoke Pakistan. Nor does she consider the cash and arms being exported to Afghan groups by Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region. Thus, she misses the critical role that regional dynamics have played in the 13-year, NATO-led campaign in Afghanistan and most certainly will play in the country’s future. - More, Shamila N. Chaudhary, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-wrong-enemy-america-in-afghanistan-2001-2014-by-carlotta-gall/2014/04/18/1811a10a-c189-11e3-bcec-b71ee10e9bc3_story.html

Friday, April 18, 2014

Long-term unemployed struggle to find — and keep — jobs --- For the long-term unemployed, finding a job is hard — but keeping one may be even harder. -- New research tracking people who have been out of work for six months or longer found that 23 percent of them landed a job within a few months of the study. But a year later, more than a third of that group was unemployed again or out of the labor force altogether. -- The findings are the latest in a bleak but growing body of literature suggesting long-term unemployment has become a trap that is difficult to escape. -- Economists say that means the long-term unemployed could become a permanent underclass, left behind by the nation’s broader economic recovery. -- “It’s not like when you get back to work you’re safe,” said John Fugazzie, who founded Neighbors-­Helping-Neighbors, a mentoring group for the jobless, and is in the midst of his second bout of unemployment since the recession. “The economy is a lot worse than people want to admit.” -- Several factors are blamed for perpetuating the vicious cycle. Some economists argue that workers’ skills deteriorate during long spells of joblessness, making them less employable. Others counter that desperate workers are accepting jobs that are unstable or a poor match for their abilities, often for less money than they were making before. -- In a paper for the Brookings Institution, former White House chief economist Alan Krueger looked at data on the long-term unemployed from 2008 to 2013 and documented the incidence of repeat joblessness. About 36 percent of those workers were in a job 15 months later, according to his analysis. A closer look at the data revealed something even more disheartening: Only 11 percent were in steady, full-time jobs. -- “It appears that reemployment does not fully reset the clock for the long-term unemployed,” Krueger, now at Princeton University, wrote with two colleagues there. --- Other economists have demonstrated just how difficult it can be for the long-term unemployed to land a job in the first place. In research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Northeastern University economist Rand ­Ghayad sent nearly 5,000 mock applications in response to job postings. He found that résumés showing unemployment lasting more than six months were uniformly rejected — even when those applications listed significant work experience. In other words, Ghayad said, companies were more willing to hire people with little experience who were recently unemployed than they were to hire long-jobless candidates with relevant experience. -- Ghayad said this dynamic creates what he called “the jobless trap,” in which those who are unemployed are increasingly likely to remain that way. He places the blame solely on the businesses doing (or not doing) the hiring. --- Others worry that the longer workers are unemployed, the less employable they become. The concept is known as hysteresis in economic circles and historically has referred to countries such as Japan that got mired in years of slow growth. A study of Swedish workers in the 1990s found that a full year of unemployment translated into a five-percentile move downward in a distribution curve of skills. Some economists are worried the United States could be entering a similar period. -- “Good evidence shows that both skill depreciation and stigma effects matter,” said James Sherk, senior analyst at the Heritage Foundation. “Workers do become less productive . . . and employers view long-term unemployment as a negative signal of employee quality.” -- The resolution of this debate could have a profound impact on the biggest policy battles in Washington. Congress is fighting over whether to extend unemployment benefits to the long-term jobless. Democrats argue that the payments are necessary to tide over workers during a difficult job search, but Republicans say the strengthening recovery is all the help they need. - More, Ylan Q. Mui, Washingtonpost

Obama signs into law a measure aimed at blocking visa for Iran’s proposed U.N. envoy --- President Obama on Friday signed a law barring the U.S. government from providing a visa to any nominee to the United Nations deemed to have engaged in terrorist activity, a measure aimed at blocking Iran’s preferred ambassador to the world body. -- The move came a week after the Obama administration said it would not grant a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran’s choice as envoy. -- The measure unanimously passed the Senate this month. In a statement, Obama said he shared Congress’s concern that individuals who have engaged in terrorism “may use the cover of diplomacy” to gain entry to the United States. But he added that he believes “curtailing by statute my constitutional discretion to receive or reject ambassadors is neither a permissible nor a practical solution.” -- As a result, he said, he would treat the ban as “advisory in circumstances in which it would interfere with the exercise of this discretion.” -- The law is sure to escalate tensions between Iran and the United States. Iran formally complained about the denial of Aboutalebi’s visato the United Nations, sending a delegation to meet with its office of legal affairs earlier this week. -- In a letter sent to the United Nation’s 19-nation Committee on Relations with the Host Country, Iran said the United States is violating its option under a treaty that allows diplomats to enter the country. -- Aboutalebi has admitted that he worked with an organization that stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days as part of the Iran hostage crisis. But he has said he served in a minor role, as a translator. -- The White House described Aboutalebi’s nomination to the U.N. post by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as “extremely troubling.” -- The law Obama signed Friday amends part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for the Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991, which was signed by President George H.W. Bush. - Katie Zezima, Washingtonpost

'Double dealing': How Pakistan hid Osama Bin Laden from the U.S. and fueled the war in Afghanistan --- What if the United States has been waging the wrong war against the wrong enemy for the last 13 years in Afghanistan? -- Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Carlotta Gall, who spent more than a decade covering Afghanistan since 2001, concludes just that in her new book, “The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014.” -- Gall told “On the Radar” that Pakistan – not Afghanistan – has been the United States’ real enemy. --- “Instead of fighting a very grim and tough war which was very high in casualties on Afghans, as well as NATO and American soldiers, the problem wasn't in the Afghan villages,” Gall said. “The source of the problem, the radicalization, the sponsoring of the insurgency, was all happening in Pakistan.” -- Gall said she first had the realization that Pakistan was fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan “very soon” after the Sept. 11 attacks. -- “I went to Quetta and found Taliban resting up there and regrouping,” she said. “They had assistance, some of them talked about being forced and threatened and told to go in and fight the Americans … and when you're there, on the ground, seeing every bombing, the suicide bombing had started, the insurgency that grew, and you investigate where it's coming from, it kept leading back to Pakistan.” -- Gall said that Pakistan’s leaders, and especially former President Pervez Musharraf, were “very clever” and tricked the United States into believing that Pakistan was an ally. --- “I think the politicians, not all of them, but the diplomats … it took ages for them to understand that actually the persuasion wasn't working; the engagement wasn't bringing them on board; they were actually double dealing,” she said. “And now diplomats will tell you very plainly, ‘Yes, Musharraf was double dealing.’” -- Perhaps the biggest betrayal of all in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship, and one that came as no surprise to Gall, was the fact that bin Laden found shelter in Abbottabad, Pakistan, for six years before he was killed in a Navy SEAL raid in 2011. And, according to Gall, Pakistan’s government was orchestrating his protection. -- “Pakistan did know,” Gall said, speaking about bin Laden’s location. “They were hiding him, they were handling him. Someone on the inside told me this. They had a special desk that knew where bin Laden was. -- “Not only that, but put him there, protected him, oversaw him, handled him in the terms of the secret intelligence services,” she added. “And it's all deniable, but I’m told the top bosses knew.” --- Despite the awareness of Pakistan’s “double dealing” today, Gall said that relations with Pakistan are no better now than in the past. -- “Our relations with Pakistan have gone back to the same thing, and the thing that concerns me is that Zawahiri is still out there, in Pakistan, I believe,” she said. “He is also probably being hidden the same way and protected.” -- For more of the interview with Gall, including her concerns for the future of Afghanistan as foreign military assistance is withdrawn, check out this episode of “On the Radar.” -- yahoo.com

حامد کرزى: د ټاکنو وروستۍ پايلې دې په خپل وخت اعلان شي --- کابل: جمهور رئیس حامد کرزی وایی د تاکنو وروستۍ پایلې دې په خپل وخت اعلان شئ . -- جمهور رئیس زیاتوی، په انتخاباتو کې د هیوادوالو پراخ ګډون وښووله چې د افغانستان په خلکو کې پر خپل ځان د اعتماد روحیه خورا پیاوړې ده او زموږ خلک بشپړه وړتیا لري چې خپل ځان، خپل کور او خپل هیواد د نن ورځې له غوښتنو سره برابر جوړ او بسیا کړي. -- اوس چې زموږ په هیواد کې د څښتن تعالی په استعانت او زموږ د خلکو په هر اړخیزه همکارۍ د جمهوري ریاست او ولایتي شوراوو د انتخاباتو لومړۍ او اساسي مرحله په موفقیت سرته ورسیدله، زموږ ټولو دا هڅه ده چې د دې انتخاباتو نور مراحل هم په بري سرته ورسیږي.--- خویندو او ورڼو!: زموږ د انتخاباتو بله مرحله د رایو شمیرل، د شکایاتو ثبتول او څیړل دي. د انتخاباتو مستقل کمیسیون او د انتخاباتي شکایاتو کمیسیون د دې مرحلې چارې هم پیل کړي او په بیړه روانې دي. - امید دی چې د انتخاباتو نهایي نتایج خلکو ته په ټاکل شوی وخت اعلان شي. او نوی جمهوررییس له نوي حکومت سره د هیواد د ترقۍ، آرامۍ، سولې او سوکالۍ لپاره لا زیات بریالي ګامونه پرمخ واخلي. -- د انتخاباتو مستقل کمیسیون او د انتخاباتي شکایاتو له کمیسیون څخه زموږ هیوادوال دا هیله لري چې د انتخاباتي پروسې پاتې مراحل هم له قانون سره سم، مستقل او شفاف وي، څو د خلکو اراده تمثیل شي. --- درنو هیوادوالو! موږ ټول باور لرو چې زموږ محترم کاندیدان به هم د ولس رایو ته په احترام د انتخاباتو مشروع نتایج ومني، څو هیواد د ثبات، اعتماد او ولسواکۍ یو بل روښانه پړاو ته داخل شي. نوي انتخاب شوی جمهور رئیس به د افغانستان د ټولو خلکو جمهور رئیس وي او ګران افغانستان به د ملي وفاق تر سیوري لاندې لا آباد او بسیا شي . - گران افغانستان

Powerful Mexico earthquake triggers panic in capital --- MEXICO CITY -- A powerful earthquake shook a wide area of Mexico on Friday, terrifying residents and sending many fleeing into the streets. There were no… - latimes at: http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-mexico-city-earthquake-20140418,0,3724191.story#axzz2zHBvbEVD

To quash depression, some brain cells must push through the stress --- The nature of psychological resilience has, in recent years, been a subject of enormous interest to researchers, who have wondered how some people endure and even thrive under a certain amount of stress, and others crumble and fall prey to depression. The resulting research has underscored the importance of feeling socially connected and the value of psychotherapy to identify and exercise patterns of thought that protect against hopelessness and defeat. -- But what does psychological resilience look like inside our brains, at the cellular level? Such knowledge might help bolster peoples' immunity to depression and even treat people under chronic stress. And a new study published Thursday in Science magazine has made some progress in the effort to see the brain struggling with -- and ultimately triumphing over -- stress. -- A group of neuroscientists at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine in New York focused on the dopaminergic cells in the brain's ventral tegmentum, a key node in the brain's reward circuitry and therefore an important place to look at how social triumph and defeat play out in the brain. In mice under stress because they were either chronically isolated or rebuffed or attacked by fellow littermates, the group had observed that this group of neurons become overactive. -- It would logically follow, then, that if you don't want stressed mice (or people) to become depressed, you would want to avoid hyperactivity in that key group of neurons, right? -- Actually, wrong, the researchers found. In a series of experiments, they saw that the mice who were least prone to behave in socially defeated ways when under stress were actually the ones whose dopaminergic cells in the ventral tegmental area displayed the greatest levels of hyperactivity in response to stress. And that hyperactivity was most pronounced in the neurons that extended from the tegmentum into the nearby nucleus accumbens, also a key node in the brain's reward system. - More, Melissa Healy, latimes, at: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-depression-stress-20140417,0,1963948.story

Pentagon extends deployment of fighter jets to Poland amid Ukraine crisis - Washington Times

Pentagon extends deployment of fighter jets to Poland amid Ukraine crisis - Washington Times

دشمن غلط : امریکا در افغانستان از سال 2001 تا 2004 --- کارلوتا گال گزارشگر روزنامهء نیویارک تایمز که سال های طولانی را در افغانستان و پاکستان سپری کرده در مورد نقش پاکستان در جنگ افغانستان کتابی نوشته است. کارلوتا گال می گوید، در کتاب اش روی اینکه پاکستان چطور تروریزم را در افغانستان دامن زده است روشنی اندخته و در مورد مداخله پاکستان در امور داخلی افغانستان نیز توضیح داده است. خانم گال در مصاحبهء اختصاصی با رادیو آزادی گفت، دشمن اصلی امریکا، پاکستان است و افغانستان در جنگ در مقابل دشمن غلط قرار دارد. -- عنوان این کتاب است: دشمن غلط: امریکا در افغانستان از سال 2001 تا 2004 -- "هدف اساسی کتاب من از عنوان اش پیداست. مدت طولانی که در افغانستان کار کردم برایم روشن ساخت که جنگ تا حدی زیاد در موقعیت غلط در مقابل دشمن غلط قرار دارد. در بسیاری از ولسوالی ها و قریه های افغانستان حمله شد، بسیاری از افغانهای ملکی رنج دیدند، عساکر خارجی کشته شدند، در آنجا همه یک گپ را می گفتند و آن اینکه ریشه همهء مشکلات در پاکستان است. به نظر من، ما همه خبرنگاران میدانستیم که آشکار کردن این موضوع مهم بود و باید در مورد وضعیت مناطق مرزی صادقانه گپ زده میشد. من سفر های به آن مناطق داشتم، و با طالبان دیده ام، من با آنعده هم ملاقات کردم که در مورد دست داشتن پاکستان و استخبارات آن کشور در دامن زدن تروریزم در افغانستان توضیح میدادند. بلاخره برایم واضح شد که اسامه بن لادن آنجا بوده و در واقعیت پاکستان آنرا پنهان کرده بود. و بلاخره به این نتیجه رسیدم که باید حقایق را آشکار بسازم تا بی عدالتی موجود در این جنگ برملا شود." --- در کتاب گال در مورد اینکه حلقاتی در پاکستان چگونه دسیسه قتل آنعده رهبران افغان را که احتمالاً به پاکستان گوش نمی دادند طراحی می کردند نیز گفته شده است. داکتر محمد تقی آگاه سیاسی که کتاب خانم گال را نقد کرده می گوید، نام کتاب: دشمن غلط از سخن مشهور ریچارد هولبروک دیپلومات سابق امریکایی گرفته شده که گفته بود، "ما در موقعیت غلط بر علیه دشمن غلط می جنگیم." --- داکتر تقی در صحبت با رادیو آزادی از واشنگتن گفت، هدف هولبورک این بود که امریکا با وجود قربانی ها و مصرف زیاد در افغانستان نتوانست به دشمن اصلی خود برسد و پناه گاه های تروریستان در آنطرف مرز به حال خود باقی ماندند. وی هم چنان می گوید: "قسمی که من در نقد خود در باره این کتاب گفته ام، تروریستان آنجا مراکز دارند، از آنجا حملات را طرح می کنند و در آنجا تمام خدمات لوژستیکی برایشان آماده می گردد. بدون آن ادامه شورش مسلحانه علیه افغانستان و تعداد کشور های جهان نا ممکن بود. -- بنابرین تا زمانیکه منابع تروریزم در پاکستان از بین نرفته کامیابی در جنگ افغاستان بی فایده است. کارلوتا بر اساس تاریخ، رویداد های را مثال داده که پاکستان غیر مستقیم تلاش کرده که توسط گروه های جهادی و افراطی خواست خود را بالای افغانستان تحمیل کند. " -- کتاب کارلوتا گال با عکس العمل شدید برخی از سیاستمداران و آگاهان پاکستانی روبرو شده است. ضیا الدین مدیر مسوول روزنامه ایکسپرس تریبیون می گوید، خانم گال برای اثبات ادعا های که در کتاب اش نموده، شواهدی ارایه نکرده است. اما کالوتا گال در پاسخ می گوید: -- آنها برایم معلومات میدادند و من برای اثبات آن به مناطق مختلف سفر می کردم. من با آنعده قوماندان های طالب صحبت کرده ام که برایم نام های را می گفتند اما من نمی توانم آن نام ها را افشاء کنم چرا که پاکستان برای خبرنگاران جای خطرناک است و آنها در مورد فشارهای موجود از سوی استخبارات آنکشور بخوبی آگاهی دارند." --- وی می افزاید که هدف از نوشتن این کتاب می خواهد دریچهء را باز کند تا مردم با یک دیدگاه جدید به وضعیت نگاه کنند. به باور گال، حتی اعضای کانگرس، عساکر و مردم امریکا نیز حقیقت را نمی دانند. کارلوتا گال می گوید، ممکن با خواندن این کتاب سیاستمداران و حکومت ها، بالای موضوع دقت کرده و قضاوت متفاوتی داشته باشند. خانم گال می گوید، احتمال دارد که بالاخره غرب بالای آن سخنان رییس جمهور کرزی و مردم افغانستان که گفته اند جنگ علیه تروریزم در موقعیت نا درست برانداخته شده است غور کنند: "کرزی از مدت ها همین را می گفت، و به نظر من از اینکه غرب بالای این موضوع غور نکرده و برای ریشه کن ساختن آن کار صورت نگرفته افغانها مایوس شده اند." - در حال حاضر کتاب خانم گال در نیویارک چاپ شده و تا هنوز به افغانستان و پاکستان نرسیده است. - رادیو آزادی, http://da.azadiradio.org/content/article/25353717.html

Powerful earthquake rattles Mexico, shakes buildings --- (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake struck Mexico on Friday, shaking buildings in the capital and sending people running out into the street, although there were no early reports of major damage. -- The magnitude 7.2 quake was centered in the southwestern state of Guerrero, close to the Pacific beach resort of Acapulco, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. -- Some residents of the capital ran outdoors in their pajamas after the quake. Electricity was cut off in parts of the city and some residents said paintings fell off the walls while small parts of masonry crumbled inside apartment buildings. -- Luis Felipe Puente, head of the Mexican government's emergency services, said there were no immediate reports of damage and the U.S. Pacific Warning Center said it did not expect the quake to trigger a destructive tsunami. -- Nevertheless, residents of the capital were shaken by the quake, one of the biggest to hit Mexico in several years. -- "I had to hold on to a tree, like a drunk," said Pedro Hernandez, 68, a doorman working in central Mexico City. -- The USGS said the quake, was centered some 37 km (23 miles) north of the municipality of Tecpan de Galeana in Guerrero. -- The earthquake was relatively shallow, at a depth of about 24 km (15 miles), and was felt as far away as the states Puebla and Tlaxcala in central eastern Mexico. - More, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/18/us-mexico-earthquake-idUSBREA3H0FY20140418

Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own - Washington Times

Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own - Washington Times

Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East --- As the war in Afghanistan begins to wind down, the Air Force foresees its resources shifting to Africa. Col. Kelly Passmore of the 449th Air Expeditionary Group commander at Camp Lemonnier said he believes it's already happening. -- More, Washington Times, at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/16/air-force-sees-resource-shift-as-us-exits-afghanis/

Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own --- More, Guy Taylor, Washington Times, at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/15/secret-us-assessments-show-afghanistan-not-ready-g/

اگر عدم شایسته سالاری و ضعف استعداد کماکان ادامه یابد، افغانستان به سقوط مواجه خواهد شد --- کابل: برخی ارزیابی‌های محرمانه دولت امریکا که وزارت امور خارجه این کشور تلاش داشته آن‌ ها را از چشم مردم پنهان کند، مشخص کرده که تقریبا همه وزارتخانه ‌های دولت افغانستان به طرز اسفناکی برای مدیریت این کشور پس از خروج نظامیان امریکایی در پایان سال 2014 آمادگی ندارند. به گزارش روزنامه واشنگتن تایمز، این ارزیابی‌ ها کاستی‌ های موجود در زمینه دانش، قابلیت و تدابیر حفاظتی در این وزارت ها را حاد توصیف کرده و هم چنین زیرساخت‌ های افغانستان را در صورتی که به حال خود رها شوند، با خطر سقوط همراه دانسته‌اند. -- ادارهٔ توسعه بین‌المللی امریکا وابسته به وزارت خارجه این کشور این ارزیابی‌ ها را انجام داده که اسناد مربوط به آن دورنمای تیره‌ای را در خصوص بازدهی میلیارد ها دالر پول مالیات دهندگان امریکایی که در یک دهه گذشته برای ساخت افغانستان هزینه شده‌اند ترسیم کرده است. این گزارش عنوان کرد که هزینه ‌های امریکا هنوز نتوانسته‌اند در افغانستان یک دولت غیرنظامی پایدار به وجود آورد و در برخی موارد به سمت سیاستمداران فاسد و یا افراط گرایانی که به دنبال از بین بردن ثبات هستند، منحرف شدند. -- مقامات این اداره به واشنگتن تایمز گفتند که مدت‌هاست خطر فساد و اسراف علیه پولی که برای توسعه یک دولت در افغانستان مصرف شد، شناخته شده است و مالیات دهندگان امریکایی برای مشاهده بازگشت سرمایه خود باید صبور باشند. مقامات این اداره گفتند که امریکایی‌ها باید قدردان باشند که 12 سال پیش دولت افغانستان وزارت خانه‌ای نداشت. این مقامات تاکید کردند که دولت افغانستان طی سالیان گذشته پیشرفت چشمگیری داشته و این به واشنگتن اطمینان داده که دستاوردهای ما در افغانستان از بین نرفته و به امنیت ملی امریکا طی سال‌های آینده آسیب وارد نخواهد است. -- مت هریک، سخنگوی اداره توسعه بین‌المللی امریکا اظهار کرد که ما این ادعا را که اطلاعات درست را پنهان کاری کرده‌ایم، رد می‌کنیم. وی گفت که اداره توسعه بین‌المللی وظیفه خود برای ارائه اطلاعات درباره عملیات‌هایش به کانگریس، حساب رسان و مردم امریکا را بسیار جدی می‌گیرد. اما پرسش‌ هایی وجود دارد که چرا این ارزیابی‌ های محرمانه که در سال‌های 2012 و 2013 توسط‌ مقام‌ های امریکایی انجام شدند تاکنون محرمانه بودند و اکنون منتشر شدند. این اسناد به طور خاص به روی هفت وزارت دولت افغانستان که در بخش های مالیه، معدنکاری، تاسیسات برق، ارتباطات، آموزش، صحت و زراعت نظارت دارند متمرکز بوده است. -- ادارهٔ توسعه بین‌المللی امریکا نتیجه گرفت که شش وزارت از میان این وزارت ها برای آنکه پول مالیات دهندگان امریکایی را مدیریت کرده و آن را با خطر تقلب، اسراف، سوءاستفاده و دزدی رو به رو نکنند قابل اعتماد نیستند. در این گزارش گفته شده که تنها یکی از این وزارت ها یعنی وزارت مالیه افغانستان در ماه مارچ سال 2013 حساب رس ‌ها را متقاعد کرد که سیستم‌های این وزارت برای مدیریت صحیح و ثبت پولی که از واشنگتن منتقل می‌شود کافی است. اما این حساب رس‌ ها به رغم این نتیجه 26 مورد خطر دزدی و اسراف را در وزارت مالیه افغانستان شناسایی کردند که سه مورد از آن‌ها زیاد تلقی شده و مابقی آن ‌ها حاد عنوان شده است. -- گران افغانستان -- Washingtontimes - Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy --- Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she and her husband, Marc, are expecting their first child later this year. -- The announcement came during a joint event with her mother, Hillary Clinton, for the Clinton Foundation's "No Ceilings: The Full Participation" project. -- "I have one more thing to say very quickly," Chelsea Clinton said near the conclusion of the event. "I just want to thank all of you for being such an inspiration to us and to me in particular. Marc and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year." -- "And I certainly feel all the better, whether it’s a girl or a boy, that she or he will grow up in a world with so many strong, young female leaders," she said. -- Chelsea Clinton wed husband Marc Mezvinsky, a hedge fund trader, in 2010. -- Former secretary of state and probable 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has made no secret of hoping to become a grandmother soon. -- In an interview last year with Glamour magazine, the younger Clinton said she hoped to make 2014 “the Year of the Baby.” -- “And please," she added, "call my mother and tell her that. She asks us about it every single day." --- After the announcement Thursday, Hillary Clinton said she is "really excited" about Chelsea's pregnancy. - More, at: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/chelsea-clinton-announces-pregnancy-n83451

Did Pakistan cause Afghanistan's lack of economic development? --- Carlotta Gall's recent book squarely blames Pakistan for Afghanistan's and Pakistan's misfortunes. Pakistan, at least since the late 70s, has been instrumental in the wars waged in and on Afghanistan. An important question to ask though, is how Afghanistan was performing before that. --- The post-Soviet invasion Afghanistan has been the subject of extensive scholarship and academic curiosity. Ms. Gall’s The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014 is the latest in a rich and productive series of books on the region that started to appear after the attacks in the US in 2001.While thousands of academic articles, professional reports, and books have been published on Afghans, Afghanistan, and its neighbours, yet little, if any, details are available in the current discourse about the economy of pre-war Afghanistan. More importantly, one is hard-pressed to find any discourse on the economic indicators and trends for Afghanistan from the 50s and the mid-to late 70s. --- The poor state of Afghanistan's economic development in the past four decades could very much be attributed to violence and wars that have killed several hundred thousand and forced millions more into refuge across the world. Pakistan, the United States, Saudi Arabia and other Jihad-infatuated Arabs share the blame with the Afghans who took part in the destruction of their homeland. But how did Afghanistan's economy fare before the foreigners extended their unwelcome reach? Was Afghanistan on a road to socio-economic salvation that got interrupted by Pakistan-based jihadis? -- The answers to the above-mentioned questions are hard to find. The academic and professional literature is rather sparse on the economic and human development of pre-Soviet Afghanistan. While many an anthropologist and social scientist studied the land and people, Afghanistan’s economy, however, failed to attract local or global scholarship. Academic literature and data covering Afghanistan's economy in the 50s and 60s is riddled with holes and gaps making it difficult to knit a complete portrait of the socio-economy. ---- The land of insolence - It is true that Afghanistan as a State and an entity existed for longer than Pakistan has. Still, its current geography and the heterogeneous mix of ethnicities is not the result of deliberate state building, but rather an outcome of successful conquests by the British backed Amir Abdur Rahman, who ruled parts of present day Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901. -- The British helped him set up the Emirate of Kabul (not Afghanistan) and supported him with an annual stipend (Lieberman, 1980). Over the years, Abdur Rahman subdued Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras and others, and founded ‘Yaghestan’, the land of insolence. Abdur Rahman also agreed, rather reluctantly, with the British in 1893 to have Durand Line as the de facto border with British India. -- But cobbling together a country with diverse ethnic groups – who shared neither culture nor history, and who only had age-old mutual contempt for each other in common – meant that these groups were bound to struggle in sharing geography. Lieberman (1980) rightly points out to the historic origins of the Afghan crisis when he states: --- … [T]he tensions [were] built into the Afghan state from its inception; the divisive geographic and ethno-demographic features; the demographic regime of exceptionally high fertility and mortality and rapid population growth; and the limited gains resulting from a strategy of ‘guided’ development and reform that was adopted in the 1950s. --- By April 1980, the Afghan crisis forced 680,000 refugees into Pakistan. The number of refugees over the years swelled to almost 4 million. However, the origins of this crisis were hidden in the painful creation of Afghanistan and in the rule by subsequent regimes who transitioned only with blood-stained coups staged by palace insiders. Habibullah (1901-1919), Abdur Rahman’s younger son, who succeeded him, also failed in finding a narrative that would keep various tribes and ethnicities from staging rebellions. Amanullah (1919-1929), who succeeded Habibullah, faced rebellions from Pakhtuns and Tajiks. His reign ended up in anarchy until Nadir Khan (1929-1933), a former army commander, took over and restored order. Nader Khan (Shah) called himself the king, but was soon assassinated in 1933. -- Nadir Shah’s brothers, Hashim Khan (1933-46) and Shah Mahmud (1946-1953), acted as regents for his son, Zahir Shah, whose reign lasted from 1933 to 1973. Zahir Shah, however, remained overshadowed by regents and other proxies who ruled on his behalf. One of the key players who enjoyed two stints during that period was Mohammed Daud Khan who first became the prime minister of Afghanistan from 1953 to 1963, and later served as President of Afghanistan in 1973 after he overthrew the monarchy of Zahir Shah, his first cousin and brother-in-law. - MORE, Murtaza Haider, Dawn - at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1100289/did-pakistan-cause-afghanistans-lack-of-economic-development

Obama budget would boost U.S. tax revenue, cut deficits: CBO --- (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget request would boost U.S. tax revenue by nearly $1.4 trillion over 10 years if fully enacted, slashing deficits by $1.05 trillion while funding new spending, the Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday. -- The likelihood that Congress will advance Obama's plan in its entirety is virtually nil, but the CBO's latest analysis will feed campaign messaging by Democrats and Republicans ahead of congressional elections in November. -- The analysis by the nonpartisan agency compares Obama's request with a new CBO "baseline" estimate released last week that assumes no changes to current tax and spending laws. -- But Obama's budget plan is loaded with policy changes, including an assumption that sweeping immigration reforms will be enacted, producing a net 10-year deficit reduction of $158 billion. -- It proposes to boost revenue by limiting tax breaks for wealthy Americans and businesses, imposing a new tax on millionaires, raising tobacco taxes, and restoring estate and gift taxes to their previously higher, 2009 levels. -- At the same time, it would boost spending by expanding cash tax credits for low-income Americans, canceling the "sequester" automatic spending cuts to military and domestic programs, and increasing funds for job training programs, among other changes. --- The Republican Party's leading voice on budgetary matters, Representative Paul Ryan, said the report shows that Obama's budget plan "keeps getting worse" because of the tax and spending increases it proposes. -- In a statement, Ryan said that the Obama budget would never reach balance and would run a $746 billion deficit in fiscal 2024. By contrast, Republicans in the House of Representatives last week passed a Ryan budget that envisions a small surplus that year after deep cuts to domestic programs, especially those that aid the poor. That budget contains no tax increases. - More, David Lawder, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/17/us-usa-fiscal-obama-idUSBREA3G1AW20140417

U.S. releases $450 million of frozen Iranian funds after IAEA report --- (Reuters) - The United States has taken steps to release a $450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds following a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying that Iran is living up to its part of a landmark nuclear pact with world powers, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. -- State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that "all sides have kept the commitments made" under the agreement. She said that "as Iran remains in line with its commitments," the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union "will continue to uphold our commitments as well." -- The report by the U.N. nuclear agency showed that Iran had - as stipulated under the November 24 agreement - diluted half of its higher-grade enriched uranium reserve to a fissile content less prone to bomb proliferation. Tehran has also continued to convert the other half of its stock of uranium gas refined to a 20 percent fissile purity, the IAEA report said. -- "Based on this confirmation and consistent with commitments that the United States made under the Joint Plan of Action (November 24 pact), the Department of Treasury took the necessary steps pursuant to the JPOA to facilitate the release of a $450 million installment of Iran's frozen funds," Harf told reporters. -- Under the agreement, Iran halted some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for a limited easing of international sanctions. - at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/17/us-iran-nuclear-usa-idUSBREA3G1W620140417

Turkish ruling party wants Erdogan presidential bid: officials --- (Reuters) - Turkey's ruling party would overwhelmingly back Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's candidacy in the nation's first direct presidential election, senior officials said on Thursday, a move his opponents fear would feed his autocratic instincts. -- The president has until now been chosen by parliament and played a largely ceremonial role. But Erdogan has said the popular vote will give the post more authority, and he has vowed to exercise its full powers if elected. -- A majority of the 300 deputies in Erdogan's AK Party voted in a secret ballot on Wednesday in favor of him running in the August presidential election, party officials told Reuters. -- The vote was meant as an informal test of the level of support within the party for a bid by Erdogan, which would mean him stepping down as party leader. The prime minister alone will decide on his candidacy, his aides have said. -- Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade, has made little secret of his ambition to run for the job. His party's strong showing in local elections last month, despite a corruption scandal dogging his inner circle, has strengthened expectations he will do so. - More, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/17/us-turkey-erdogan-idUSBREA3G0IL20140417

Four-way talks call for end to Ukraine violence --- (Reuters) - The United States, Russia, Ukraine and European Union together called on Thursday for an immediate halt to violence in Ukraine, where Western powers believe Russia is fomenting a pro-Russian separatist movement. -- Washington immediately warned Moscow that it would face further sanctions if it did not carry out the agreement, reached in four-party crisis talks in Geneva. -- Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking in Moscow, accused Ukraine's leaders of committing a "grave crime" by using the army to try to quell unrest in the east of the country, and did not rule out sending in Russian troops. --Putin said he hoped he would not need to take such a step, and that diplomacy could succeed in resolving the standoff, the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War. -- The comments came hours after separatists attacked a Ukrainian national guard base overnight and Kiev said three of them were killed in the worst bloodshed yet in a 10-day pro-Russian uprising. -- Ukrainian, Russian and Western diplomats held emergency talks seeking to resolve a confrontation that has seen pro-Russian fighters seize official buildings across eastern Ukraine while Moscow masses tens of thousands of troops on the frontier. -- "All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions," a joint statement issued after the Geneva talks said. -- "All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated," it added. - More, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/17/us-ukraine-crisis-idUSBREA3A1B520140417

Taliban negotiator under house arrest in UAE, says Afghanistan --- (Reuters) - A leading Taliban peace negotiator has been placed under house arrest in the United Arab Emirates, officials said on Thursday, dealing a blow to President Hamid Karzai's efforts to jump-start a nascent Afghan peace process before leaving office. -- Agha Jan Mutassim, a finance minister during Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, has been missing for over a week, according to the Afghan government, disappearing after arranging a meeting in Dubai between Afghan and Taliban officials in February. -- "Mutassim ... one of the key Taliban leaders and who supported Afghan peace initiative, was put under house arrest in the UAE where he lived," the Afghan High Peace Council, a body formed by Karzai to engage in peace talks with the Taliban, said on Thursday. -- "The Afghan government has made requests to the UAE authorities to lift all the restrictions," it said in a statement. -- A Western security source in Kabul confirmed Mutassim had been put under house arrest, and that the UAE was considering deporting him to Afghanistan. -- It was not immediately clear why Mutassim was confined to his home, or who was behind his arrest. -- Authorities in the UAE declined to comment. - More, Hamid Shalizi, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/17/us-afghanistan-peace-idUSBREA3G12120140417

یونس قانوني وايي هڅه کوي چې د ملي مشارکت حکومت جوړ شي --- تاند - د ولسمشر کرزي لومړی مرستیال یونس قانوني، چې د ډاکتر عبدالله عبدالله په انتخاباتي ټیم کې شامل دی، وايي د دې لپاره چې هیڅ کاندید د ماتې احساس ونه کړي، ټولو ته به په راتلونکي حکومت کې ونډه ورکړای شي. -- ښاغلي قانوني ټینګار کړی، هڅې کېږي چې د انتخاباتو د پایلو له اعلانه وروسته کاندیدان تفاهم او جوړجاړي ته ورسېږي. -- ښاغلي قانوني په کابل کې د افغانستان لپاره د ملګروملتو له خاص استازي یان کوبیش سره په کتنه کې وویل:«موږ هڅه کوو چې د انتخاباتو د پایلو له اعلانه وروسته په راتلونکي حکومت کې د تفاهم په نتیجه کې د ولسمشرۍ د ټولو کاندیدانو ګډون ممکن شي او په هغه کې څوک ماته او ناکامي احساس نه کړي.» --- د ښاغلي قانوني دا څرګندونې د ډاکتر اشرف غني احمدزي د انتخاباتي ټیم له مخالفت سره مخامخ شوې. -- د ښاغلي غني د انتخاباتي کمېټې یوه ویندوی او غړي صدیق پتمن وویل چې د حکومت دا ډول «فرمایشونه» د منلو نه دي. -- پتمن زیاته کړه:«د افغانستان د حکومت دنده دا ده چې انتخابات وکړي او پایلې یې په شفاف ډول اعلان کړي، هر کاندید چې انتخابات وګټل په خپله به پرېکړه وکړي چې څه باید وکړي.» --- خو د عبدالله عبدالله انتخاباتي کمېټې د یونس قانوني له څرګندونو سره موافقه وښوده. -- د عبدالله عبدالله د انتخاباتي ټیم غړي مجیب الرحمن رحیمي 1 تلویزیون ته وویل:«خلکو ته زموږ ډاډ دا دی چې زموږ حکومت به انحصاري نه وي او د افغانستان د ودانولو لپاره به ټول استعدادونه پکې شامل وي.» --- د ولسي جرګې ځینو غړیو هم د یونس قانوني پر څرګندونو متفاوت غبرګونونه وښودل. -- د دایکنډي وکیل اسد الله سعادتي، چې ویل کېږي د ډاکتر غني ملاتړ کوي، وویل چې د اوسني حکومت په غوښتنه د مشارکتي حکومت جوړول ښايي مثبت کار نه وي او که داسي وشي پر انتخاباتو به د خلکو باور ختم شي. -- خو د ولسي جرګې یوه بل غړي میرداد نجرابي، چې عبدالله عبدالله ته تمایل لري، وویل چې که مشارکت د لیاقت او مسلکي توب پر اساس وي ورسره موافق دی

India election: Voting starts on biggest polling day --- Indians are voting in the biggest day of the general election pitting the ruling Congress party against the main opposition BJP. -- Nearly 200 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots in 121 seats in 12 states, including Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. -- The nine-phase vote began on 7 April and will conclude on 12 May. Votes will be counted on 16 May. -- More than 814 million Indians are eligible to vote in the polls. -- Polling has been already completed in 111 seats, and voter turnout in most states has been higher than in 2009. -- Thursday is one of the most critical days of voting spread across 12 states, from Indian-administered Kashmir in the north, to the information-technology hub of Bangalore in the south, Rajasthan in the west and the tea-growing Himalayan town of Darjeeling in the east, says the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder. -- "I want a clean government. One that is corruption free and that can take decisions in the interest of our country," a young woman voter in Rajasthan's Jaipur city told our correspondent. -- A young man said he was voting for BJP as its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi "represented change". -- A Muslim voter, however, said people should vote for a "leader who will represent all communities, one who will take everyone along". -- With over 40 million voters eligible to cast their ballots in all of its 28 seats on Thursday, the southern state of Karnataka is a key battleground. -- Bangalore South is one of the keenly contested seats in the state with Congress party's Nandan Nilekani, BJP's Ananth Kumar and the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Nina Nayak as candidates. -- Mr Nilekani is the billionaire co-founder and former CEO of Infosys, one of India's largest IT services firms, while Mr Kumar is a former federal minister. --- The main contest in the elections is between the Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, and the BJP, led by the charismatic and controversial Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi. -- The Congress party has promised "inclusive growth" if it returns to power, with a raft of welfare schemes, including a right to healthcare for all and pensions for the elderly and disabled - More, BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-27045770

THE EDITORIAL BOARD -- Spying at the N.Y.P.D.--- Commissioner William Bratton took an important step toward restoring trust in the New York Police Department this week when he disbanded a unit used by his predecessor, Raymond Kelly, to conduct an indefensible program of spying on law-abiding Muslims in neighborhoods and houses of worship. -- The “Demographics Unit” undermined the fight against terrorism by alienating innocent Muslims who knew full well that they were being singled out for surveillance, not based on illegal activity, but because of religious affiliation. -- Having dispensed with the unit, Mr. Bratton as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio must now deal with the underlying problem: the Police Department’s longstanding tendency to trample on people’s rights during investigations of groups engaged in political activities. -- This problem dates back to the 1960s and ’70s, when the department’s infamous “Red Squad” conducted what civil rights lawyers described as illegal surveillance of groups like the Black Panthers, who were acquitted on charges of conspiring to blow up department stores and police stations. The case became a class-action suit that included other political groups and was named for a plaintiff, Barbara Handschu. --- Under a 1985 settlement, the city agreed to court-supervised investigation guidelines that were then loosened after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The altered agreement gave the department the flexibility it needed to uncover terrorists plots. But it was also intended to prevent the police from unfairly targeting entire religious or political groups — or intruding into the private affairs of innocent people. It allowed the department to keep records on groups or individuals only when there were “reasonable indications” of potential law breaking. -- After Sept. 11, however, the Police Department embraced the view that constitutionally protected activity could itself be seen as a precursor to terrorism and an excuse for peering into people’s lives. This led inevitably to a broad spying program that seemed to make Muslim groups subject to surveillance and infiltration even when there were no grounds for them or any connection to illegal conduct. --- A court motion filed last year by the Handschu lawyers included stark declarations like the one from a man who was paid by the police to spy on a Muslim student group even though he said the police did not think the group was “doing anything wrong.” The paid agent said his handler told him that the department viewed “being a religious Muslim a terrorism indicator.” --- Despite sending out waves of spies, the department never uncovered the “incubators” or radicalism it set out to find. Instead, it put innocent people on notice that they were regarded as terrorism suspects until proved otherwise. And, as a representative of the Arab American Association of New York told The Times earlier this week, the Demographics Unit “created psychological warfare” in the Muslim community by charting where people worked, shopped and prayed. --- Mr. Bratton did the right thing by dissolving the unit. To prevent similar illegal practices from being used in the future, the city should agree to reinstate a provision of the original Handschu agreement that calls for an authority that includes high-level Police Department officials and a citizen appointee to review investigations into individuals or groups engaged in political activity. The point is not to obstruct those investigations, but to ensure that they are warranted and consistent with the Constitution. - NYTimes

California Governor Brown wants rainy-day fund in constitution --- (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday stepped up his efforts to enshrine a rainy day fund in the state's constitution, stealing some thunder from Republicans backing a similar measure as he seeks an unprecedented fourth term. -- Brown, a Democrat who has followed a path of fiscal restraint since returning as governor in 2011 from two previous terms of office in the 1970s and '80s, is widely credited with restoring stability to California's battered budget after years of multibillion-dollar deficits. -- "We simply must prevent the massive deficits of the last decade, and we can only do that by paying down our debts and creating a solid rainy day fund," Brown said. -- On Wednesday, he called a special session of the Legislature for next week to discuss his plan for requiring the state to set aside money earned from volatile investments such as those in the stock market in flush years for use later during lean times. -- "The reason you have a rainy day fund is to put money away in good times, so that in those bad times when they come - and we know they will come - we'll have more money," Michael Cohen, Brown's chief financial adviser, said in a briefing with reporters. -- Cohen said pushing a state constitutional amendment for a rainy day fund would be a top priority in advance of spending negotiations with the Legislature for next year. -- Brown's plan would require approval of two-thirds of state lawmakers and ratification by voters in November. If passed by the Legislature during the special session, it would knock a similar proposal, backed by Republicans, off the ballot. -- In a nod to concerns raised by more liberal Democrats, whose votes he needs to reach a two-thirds majority, Brown's plan allows more flexibility in spending than the Republican-backed measure already on the ballot, and preserves a portion of the fund for spending on education. -- Democrats in California control both houses of the Legislature as well as all statewide offices. But a recent series of scandals has cost the party its two-thirds majority in the state Senate, so Brown will also have to reach out to Republicans if he wants his proposal to pass. -- On Wednesday, Republicans in the Legislature applauded Brown's call for the special session but said they were skeptical of provisions giving lawmakers more flexibility to spend the money than their proposal would allow. -- "It's just common sense for California to put away money during the 'boom' years to avoid future tax increases and spending reductions in the 'bust' years," said Senate Republican leader Bob Huff. "However, we are mindful that legislative Democrats have undermined similar efforts in the recent past." -- Left on the sidelines when the Democrats held a two-thirds super-majority that allowed new taxes and proposed constitutional amendments to be passed without consulting them, Republican lawmakers said they were pleased that Brown would have to work with them to get his measure through. --- "We are certainly open to talking about this with the governor," said Huff's spokesman, Peter DeMarco. -- The Republican-backed plan, drawn up during the administration of Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of a compromise with Democrats, would require the state to set aside a portion of its overall revenues in a fund that could only be touched during a natural disaster or fiscal emergency. -- Brown's plan, by contrast, only requires the state to set aside money for the fund during years when income spikes from investments - so-called capital gains - amounts to more than 6.5 percent of its revenue. Such investments are projected to make up about 7.7 percent of the state's general fund revenue this year. -- California set up a rainy day fund in 2004, but contributions were not enshrined in the constitution, and the state has not contributed to it since 2007.

Afghan woman MP shot, deputy minister kidnapped in Kabul --- (Reuters) - A woman Afghan member of parliament was shot and wounded shortly after several gunmen kidnapped a deputy minister in separate incidents in the capital Kabul, officials said on Wednesday. -- The two attacks, along with a spate of deadly violence in the capital in recent weeks, have raised questions about the ability of Afghan forces to maintain security as international troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of the year. --- Mariam Koofi was shot in one of Kabul's upscale districts late on Tuesday after an argument with a member of the security forces, the interior ministry said in a statement. Her injury was not life threatening. -- A man was arrested and an investigation was under way. -- Earlier on the same day, gunmen kidnapped Ahmad Shah Wahid, the deputy minister of public works, as he was travelling in his car to work, officials said. --- No group has taken responsibility for Wahid's kidnapping, but abduction is a lucrative business in impoverished Afghanistan and scores of Afghans and foreigners have been captured and money demanded in return for their release. -- The kidnap of such a high profile politician, however, is rare. - More, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/16/us-afghanistan-politics-idUSBREA3F0UX20140416

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

کاهش چشمگیر رشد اقتصادی افغانستان در سال گذشته --- مسوولین بانک انکشاف آسیایی در افغانستان می گویند که رشد اقتصادی افغانستان در سال ۲۰۱۳ در مقایسه با یک سال پیش از آن بالاتر از هشت در صد کاهش داشته است. --- جوجی توکیشی، رئیس بانک انکشاف آسیایی روز چهار شنبه در مراسم نشر گزارشی در مورد رشد اقتصادی افغانستان در سال ۲۰۱۳ گفت که در سال ۲۰۱۲ رشد اقتصادی افغانستان به ۱۱.۹ فیصد رسیده بود اما در سال ۲۰۱۳ این رقم به ۳.۳ در صد کاهش یافت. -- رئیس بانک انکشاف آسیایی در افغانستان گفت که در سال ۲۰۱۳ سرمایه گذاری در بخش های زراعت، خدمات و صنعت کاهش قابل ملاحظه داشت. -- آقای توکیشی گفت: "بطور مثال سرمایه گذاری های شخصی به حساب تولیدات ناخالص داخلی از ۴.۹ در صد سال ۲۰۱۲ به ۳.۶ فیصد در سال ۲۰۱۳ کاهش یافت، تورم مجموعی در سال ۲۰۱۳ به ۷.۴ فیصد می رسد که بلند تر از ۶.۲ در صد سال ۲۰۱۲ است، این رقم خوب به نظر نمی رسد." -- مسوولین بانک انکشاف آسیایی می گویند فضای به وجود آمدۀ سیاسی و عدم ثبات سیاسی به دلیل تحولات سال ۲۰۱۴، از عوامل اساسی کاهش رشد اقتصادی در سال ۲۰۱۳ در افغانستان بوده است. -- اما مسوولین این بانک سه سال پیش رو را بسیار مهم و سرنوشت ساز خوانده می گویند که این سال ها فرصت خوبی برای خود کفایی افغانستان از منابع داخلی آن کشور خواهد بود. -- رحمن گل، اقتصادان افغان که در تهیه گزارش بانک انکشاف آسیایی همکاری کرده است گفت به اساس پیش بینی بانک انکشاف آسیایی، در صورتیکه نتیجه انتخابات برای گروه های سیاسی قابل قبول باشد، با نهایی شدن پروسه سیاسی و برقراری حکومت جدید تغیرات مثبتی در روند رشد اقتصادی این کشور به وجود خواهد آمد. -- رحمان گل افزود "رشد تولید نا خالص ملی در سال ۲۰۱۴ حدود ۳.۵ فیصد، یعنی تقریبا سفر اشاریه دو فیصد زیاد خواهد بود، یعنی نسبت به سال ۱۳۹۲و این رشد هم در شش ماه اخیر سال خواهد بود، طوری که می بیند هنوز هم سرمایه گذاران جرات نمی کند که سرمایه گذاری کند." -- مسوولین بانک انکشاف آسیایی همچنان می گویند که از سال ۲۰۰۲ به این طرف که این بانک فعالیت اش را در افغانستان آغاز کرده است الی پایان سال ۲۰۱۳ بانک آسیایی ۳.۸ میلیارد دالر به افغانستان پرداخته است که عمدتاً در پروژه های انکشافی مانند انرژی و انکشاف سرک ها به مصرف رسیده است. -- رئیس بانک انکشاف آسیایی در افغانستان در نشست امروز همچنان گفت، از مجموع پولی که بانک انکشاف آسیایی در کنفرانس توکیو برای افغانستان تعهد کرده بود در سال ۲۰۱۳ مبلغ ۵۸۵.۱ میلیون دالر یعنی حدود نصف مجموع پول کمک شده را پرداخته است و قرار است در سال پیش رو نیز ۴۰۰ میلیون دالر دیگر را هم بپردازد. - darivoa

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan --- ISLAMABAD — With the political situation in Afghanistan in flux and international forces due to leave the country by the end of the year, the debate in neighboring Pakistan is focusing on prospects for increased cooperation with Afghanistan and Iran. -- In just eight months the last of the international forces are due to leave Afghanistan, ending a 13 year battle against the Taliban and other militants. --- Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country. -- Pakistani Senator and Chairman of the Defense Committee Mushahid Hussain Sayed recalls the last proxy war played out in Afghanistan between Pakistan and Iran, which destabilized the region in the 1990s. -- “Pakistan and Iran must avoid making the mistakes of the past. We tried to overreach, we had outsized ambitions, the times have changed, there are new realities, in Afghanistan the elections have shown that there is a supremacy of the ballot over the bullet,” he said. -- But because of the competing and overlapping interests of the four main regional players -- Pakistan, Iran, India and China -- as well as the United States, it is unclear if a strong, coherent regional consensus will emerge any time soon. -- Rifaat Hussain, a professor of public policy at the National University of Sciences and Technology, is not optimistic. -- “That you are a contiguous state, you want to implement non-interference, non-intervention doctrines, but the developments inside Afghanistan, particularly the growing influence of your rival powers, does not allow you to exercise that option. So non-interference is not a viable option in my judgment,” said Hussain. -- But regional dynamics are changing. A lot will depend on the strategic decisions taken by the new political leadership in Iran, Pakistan, China and after the ongoing elections in India and Afghanistan. -- There are questions as to what extent traditional rivals Pakistan and India, and Iran and the United States, will be able to overcome past animosities and mistrust. -- Islamabad is also seen by Kabul as siding with the Afghan Taliban in order to keep a hand in Afghanistan’s political direction. - More, at: http://www.voanews.com/content/analysts-warn-of-regional-proxy-conflict-in-afghanistan/1894770.html

Foreign Policy -- Bob Blackwill's bad, bad Afghan Plan B: Let's surrender but then keep fighting! --- I was curious about what my CNAS colleague General David Barno, who was commander in the war in Afghanistan a few years ago, thought of the article in the new issue of Foreign Affairs by Robert Blackwill proposing a new approach in the war there. -- Barno has some issues with Blackwill's suggestions, as you can see here. Basically, he gives this Plan B a big fat F: -- Ambassador Bob Blackwill's recent piece ("Plan B in Afghanistan") in Foreign Affairs is a stunner. Not wanting for bold formulations, it is most notable for the inconsistent logic that permeates the piece -- and a lack of understanding of war. It is indicative, most of all, of the degree of desperation with which far too many in the Washington establishment view Afghanistan. -- Blackwill's essay is best read in tandem with the companion piece in the same issue "Finish the Job" by Paul Miller, formerly Afghanistan director on the NSC staff. The truth, if there is such a beast in Afghanistan, lies somewhere in between these two widely divergent outlooks. -- Miller argues that, "The United States is not yet winning the war in Afghanistan, but it is not losing as swiftly or as thoroughly as the current crisis of confidence would suggest." Blackwill asserts: "The United States and its allies are not on course to defeating the Taliban militarily." -- Miller notes, with some solid facts to support him, that, "Although Afghanistan remains poor, violent, and poorly governed, it is richer, freer and safer that it has been in a generation." -- Yet Blackwill contends, "With all these individual elements of the United States' existing Afghanistan policy in serious trouble… [the] time has come to switch to the least bad alternative -- acceptance of a de facto partition of the country." --- This desperate leap to a de facto partition of Afghanistan -- echoes of Senator Joe Biden in Iraq in 2006 -- makes absolutely no sense, either as a "least worst case" option or as an odd adjunct to Blackwill's other (surprising) suggestion: "The administration should stop talking about exit strategies and instead commit the United States to a long-term combat role in Afghanistan of 35,000-50,000 troops." -- While the argument for sustained and substantial U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan is a sound one (and one that Andrew Exum and I recently proposed in our CNAS report "Responsible Transition: Securing U.S. Interests in Afghanistan Beyond 2011"), to argue for such a sustained combat role while at the same time preemptively surrendering the Pashtun southern half of the country simply fails the common sense test. --- The Afghan people are pretty much left out of Blackwill's formulation. Although Afghanistan has existed as a country longer than the United States (1747 vs. 1776), little regard is given to the reality that most Afghans want to remain a unified state of diverse ethnic groups - existing as Afghans, not as a collection of independent ethnic fiefdoms tied to neighboring states. To carve out a Pashtunistan separately from the current Afghan state not only shatters the reality of 250-plus years of Afghan history, but could well upend the regional balance of power -- especially regarding Pakistan. A Pashtun mini-state on the Pakistani border could rapidly threaten to undermine Pakistan's tenuous hold on its significant internal Pashtun minority. Blackwill also notes oddly that his plan would not be supported by any of the neighboring states, but breezes over this serious chasm. - More, Thomas E. Ricks, at: http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/01/06/bob_blackwills_bad_bad_afghan_plan_b_lets_surrender_but_then_keep_fighting

Robert D. Blackwill, Plan B in Afghanistan - Why a De Facto Partition Is the Least Bad Option - More, Foreign Affairs, at: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/67026/robert-d-blackwill/plan-b-in-afghanistan --- Opinion: A de facto partition for Afghanistan - Robert D. Blackwill - More, POLITICO, at: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/39432.html

Afghanistan's Elections: What Comes Next? --- Last Saturday, Afghanistan held the first round of its historic presidential elections. CSIS experts Anthony Cordesman and Stephanie Sanok Kostro will present their assessment of the elections as well as what this means for the Afghan people and the future of U.S. engagement in the region. -- For more information on the Afghanistan elections, view Dr. Cordesman's presentation -- "The Challenges to Transition in Afghanistan: 2014-2015" - More, CSIS, at: http://csis.org/event/afghanistans-elections-what-comes-next

داکتر مرادیان - دموکراسی افغانستان، افسانه یا واقعیت؟ --- پنداشت‌هایی که در مورد افغان‌ها و چشم‌انداز دموکراتیزاسیون جوامع مسلمان، جنگ‌زده و چندقومی مطرح می‌شد، با صف‌های دراز رای‌دهندگان مرد و زن افغان در انتخابات ۵ اپریل به چالش کشیده شده است. -- مشارکت گسترده افغان‌ها در انتخابات، که تا حد زیادی نامنتظره بود، تحسین رییس‌جمهور امریکا را برانگیخت. او این مشارکت گسترده را تاریخی خواند. شهامت مدنی افغان‌ها به ندرت مورد ستایش قرار می‌گیرد و این یکی از همان موارد نادر بود -- افغان‌ها با خصلت ستیزه‌جویی‌شان در جهان شناخته می‌شوند. ویلیام فاکس، وزیر دفاع پیشین بریتانیا، بر مبنای همین دید به‌صورت موجز افغانستان را کشور ورشکسته‌ی قرن سیزدهمی توصیف کرده بود. این تفسیر کل‌گرا از هویت و کرکتر افغان‌ها، محدود به پایتخت‌ها و افکار سیاست‌سازان غربی نیست. --- رییس‌جمهور پیشین پاکستان، جنرال ایوب‌خان، در مورد افغانستان نوشته است که این کشور هیچ نقطه قوت ذاتی ندارد و به‌دلیل تضاد منافع امپراتوری‌های بریتانیا و روسیه تزاری در قرن ۱۹، ساخته شده است. جالب این است که ایوب‌خان حتا نسبت به دین‌داری افغان‌ها شک دارد. او نوشته است «افغان‌ها آن‌قدر که فرصت‌طلب‌اند، مسلمان نیستد.» افغانستان هم‌چنان از میراث فرهنگی گراسنگش هم محروم نگهداشته شده است. این کشور خانه بیشتر هنرمندان، آفرینشگران، دانشمندان و صوفیان بزرگ ایران باستان است. تهران حالا همه این مفاخر را به‌صورت انحصاری به خود منسوب می‌کند. -- این نظریات با آن‌که هیچ مبنای انسان‌شناسی و تاریخی ندارد، در سیاست‌سازی در قبال افغانستان نقش دارد. بحث‌های مربوط به چگونگی پذیرش نهادهای مدرن و دولت دموکراتیک در افغانستان و هویت‌شناسی طالبان، با همین دیدگاه‌های ذات‌باورانه در مورد افغان‌ها جمع‌بندی می‌شود. خوش‌بینی‌های گذشته در مورد ایجاد یک دولت مدرن و دموکراتیک افغان، تحت شعاع نظریات کسانی قرار گرفته است که تصور می‌کنند، دولت‌سازی مدرن در افغانستان امری بیهوده است و سبب دوام جنگ می‌شود. --- سلمان خورشید، وزیر خارجه هند، این دیدگاه‌های بدبینانه را نظریات «کارشناسان بین‌المللی برج عاج‌نشین» توصیف می‌کند، کارشناسانی که تصور می‌کنند مشکل افغانستان «کراکتر نامتجانس، جامعه قبایلی و تنوع قومی آن می‌دانند.» -- امتناع واشنگتن از تروریست خواندن طالبان و سرمایه‌گذاری دوامدار اسلام‌آباد بر طالبان، بیشتر با نظریه «بومی بودن جنبش طالبان» ربط داده می‌شود. در حلقات مهم غربی، در پایان سال ۲۰۱۳ گفته می‌شد که اعمال تغییر در قانون اساسی افغانستان و تاخیر در زمان برگزاری انتخابات سال ۲۰۱۴، باید بخشی از «بسته تشویقی غرب» برای طالبان باشد. -- فساد فراگیری اداری در دولت افغانستان و در میان نخبگان سیاسی، یک مشکل فرهنگی تلقی شد و به همین خاطر، حکومت‌داری خوب از آجندای غرب، در سال ۲۰۱۰، بیرون شد. --- انتخابات اخیر افغانستان، بحث چشم‌انداز دموکراتیزاسیون کشورهای مسلمان‌نشین را بار دیگر به‌میان آورد. تصور می‌شود که در حاضر موج ضد دموکراتیزاسیون، در این کشورها قوت می‌گیرد. خاورمیانه در خشونت‌های فرقه‌ای غرق است، در آسیای میانه اقتدارگرایی بیداد می‌کند و پاکستان به سمت طالبانی شدن می‌رود. این وضعیت فصل مشترک دیدگاه‌های متضاد سلفی‌ها و خاورشناسان غربی است. هر دو گروه باور دارند که دموکراسی با جوامع مسلمان‌نشین، ناسازگار است. --- دموکراسی کنونی افغانستان، این دیدگاه را که دموکراسی در جهان اسلام پا نمی‌گیرد، به چالش کشیده است. وقتی کشور محافظه‌کار، جنگ‌زده و قبایلی مثل افغانستان، بتواند گام‌های مهم در راستای دموکراسی‌سازی بردارد، کشورهای مرفه و باثبات دیگر به یقین که فرصت‌های زیادی برای تقویت دموکراسی دارند. -- دموکراسی‌سازی در جهان اسلام، با نظریه پایان تاریخ فوکویا ربطی ندارد، بلکه با این سخن چرچیل قابل تبین است که گفت: «دموکراسی بدترین نظام است، اما تاکنون نظام بهتر از آن، در هیچ جای جهان، تجربه نشده است.» --- افغانستان چندبار تلاش برای دموکراسی‌سازی را تجربه کرده است. افغانستان اولین کشوری در دنیای اسلام بود که حکومت مبتنی بر قانون اساسی را، ایجاد کرد. افغانستان هم پیشتاز برخی از اصلاحات اجتماعی در قرن بیست بود، در زمان پادشاهی شاه امان، اولین قانون اساسی افغانستان که در آن زمان به آن نظام‌نامه می‌گفتند، در سال ۱۹۲۳ تصویب شد. در این قانون حقوق برابر و آزادی‌های فردی، تضمین شده بود. -- تجربه دوم دموکراسی در افغانستان یک دهه دوام کرد. در این دوره ]۱۹۶۴ تا ۱۹۷۳[ نوعی شاهی مشروطه بر افغانستان حاکم بود. قانون اساسی این دوره، بهترین قانون در سطح منطقه بود. دموکراسی افغانستان در هر دو دوره، به‌وسیله نخبگان و مداخله‌های خارجی از میان رفت، نه توسط فرهنگ قبایلی و هویت اسلامی این کشور. در واقع میراث‌های گوناگون فرهنگی و مذهبی افغانستان، سبب تقویت ارزش‌های جهانی و سیاست همه‌شمول شده است. --- کابل از گذشته‌های دور، نمونه‌ای از یک شهر چندفرهنگی جهانی بوده است. این شهر خانه زردشتی‌ها، بودایی‌ها و بعد مسلمانان و کلیمی‌ها بوده است. تمدن یونانی- باختری نخستین آمیزه‌ای از نظام‌های شرقی و غربی، در دوهزار سال پیش بود. -- شهبانو گوهرشاد، در عصر تیموری‌ها در قرن میلادی را، هرات را به مرکز هنر، ادبیات، معماری و شعرسرایی بدل کرد. بنیان‌گذار مکتب مهم فقه حنفی در تاریخ اسلام، ریشه کابلی دارد. دولت- ملت کنونی افغانستان، از دل مدنیت خراسان برآمده است. --- دموکراسی کنونی افغانستان را هم همان دو مانع، ]مداخله بیرونی و نخبگان[ تهدید می‌کند. اما تلاش‌های کنونی برای دموکراسی‌سازی را میلیون‌ها شهروند پشتیبانی می‌کنند، میلیون‌ها شهروندی که به رغم تهدید انتحاری‌های طالبان، بی‌اعتمادی ژرف به دولت و آینده ناروشن کشور، در پنج اپریل به پای صندوق‌های رای رفتند. با وجود همه تهدیدها، امکان پیروزی تجربه سوم دموکراسی افغانستان، بسیار بالا است، اگر محیط بیرونی مساعد باشد و نخبگان سیاسی در کابل، مسوولانه و متحدانه عمل کنند، در این صورت، افغانستان می‌تواند، الهام‌بخش دموکراسی‌های منطقه باشد. --- یادداشت: داکتر داوود مرادیان، رییس کنونی انستیتوت مطالعات استراتژیک، رییس پیشین بخش برنامه‌ریزی دفتر رییس‌جمهور حامد کرزی بود و مدتی هم سرمشاور وزارت امور خارجه افغانستان در امر پالیسی‌سازی بود. - روزنامه هشت صبح

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Afghan minister abducted by gunmen in Kabul --- The highest ranking official to be kidnapped in years, Ahmad Shah Wahid's abduction is a reminder of the insecurity still plaguing the country as international forces prepare to leave -- Gunmen abducted the Afghan deputy public works minister in Kabul on Tuesday, officials said, a grim reminder of the insecurity plaguing Afghanistan as most foreign troops prepare to withdraw from the country at the end of the year. -- Ahmad Shah Wahid was on his way to work when five gunmen ran his car off the road in northern Kabul, dragged him into their 4-wheel-drive vehicle and sped away, said Gul Agha Hashim, the city's police chief of investigations. -- The armed men shot and wounded Mr Wahid's driver when he tried to drive away to safety, said Soheil Kakar, the public works ministry spokesman. -- It was not immediately clear who was behind the abduction. Mr Kakar said there has so far been no ransom demand. -- Mr Wahid, who is in his mid-50s, studied engineering and road construction in Italy and has been deputy minister for four years. Before that, he worked in the ministry overseeing road reconstruction, Mr Kakar said. -- "He is a very professional man and had no disputes with anyone," the spokesman added. --- A Taliban spokesman said by telephone that he was not aware of Tuesday's abduction but would check to see if the insurgents were involved. -- Criminal gangs also target wealthy Afghans in the capital to collect ransoms, though it's impossible to know how common abductions are because most go unreported to police. - More, Associated Press / Telegraph

John Boehner and seven GOP lawmakers back from secret Afghanistan trip --- House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, this past weekend with seven other House Republican lawmakers to get a first-hand look at the political situation in the country after the recent democratic elections, Boehner's office announced Monday. -- The trip was not announced until now to maintain security, according to a spokesman. -- The message from lawmakers was “that the House of Representatives wants to maintain a right-sized presence in Afghanistan” following the years-long war and American involvement in the country to steer it toward democracy. --- The other GOP lawmakers who accompanied Boehner were Reps. John Kline of Minnesota, Doc Hastings of Washington, Dave Camp of Michigan, Tom Latham of Iowa, Devin Nunes of California, Greg Walden of Oregon and Steve Womack of Arkansas. --- Here is Boehner’s statement about the trip: -- “Since shortly after 9/11, our troops have fought to bring peace and security to Afghanistan and to ensure it can never again be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States. Many Americans have sacrificed to secure these goals, and far too many have made the ultimate sacrifice or suffered life-changing wounds in the past twelve years of fighting. Now, the Afghans are poised to elect a new government for the first time in their history. We must honor the sacrifices of the Americans and Afghans who have given so much to reach this point and continue our work together. I appreciated hearing from Ambassador Cunningham and General Dunford about the status of those efforts. More than that, it was an honor to meet with so many members of the American Armed Forces and civilians who work to protect our nation every day. I thank them all for their service and hope that political leaders in Washington and Kabul will always prove worthy of their trust.” - More, Susan Ferrechio, at: washingtonexaminer

John Boehner: Some U.S. Troops Should Stay In Afghanistan --- WASHINGTON -- As vote-counting continued in Afghanistan's presidential election, House Speaker John Boehner met yesterday with U.S. officials in Kabul and said the U.S. should maintain enough troops in the country to stabilize the government after more than a decade of conflict. -- Boehner, R-West Chester, led a delegation of seven senior House Republicans. The group mingled with some of the American forces stationed in Afghanistan. -- In a statement, Boehner said U.S. forces have "fought to bring peace and security to Afghanistan and to ensure it can never again be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States." -- "Now, the Afghans are poised to elect a new government. We must honor the sacrifices of the Americans and Afghans who have given so much to reach this point and continue our work together." -- Afghans voted this month for a new president to replace Hamid Karzai. Early returns indicate a close race between former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. -- Boehner's delegation met yesterday with U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunningham and Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan. More than 30,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, and President Barack Obama has not decided whether any will remain there by next year. -- Boehner was making his fourth trip to Afghanistan. He previously visited the country in 2007, 2009 and 2011. - Jack Torry, Huffingtonpost

Prominent Afghan Taliban Figure Missing After Peace Overture to Kabul --- A prominent Afghan Taliban figure who recently launched a peace overture with the government in Kabul has disappeared in the United Arab Emirates, Afghan officials and Pakistani-based militants said. -- More, WSJ. at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303887804579503503005195842?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303887804579503503005195842.html

.معاون وزیر فواید عامه افغانستان ربوده شد --- وزارت فواید عامه افغانستان تایید کرده که افراد مسلح ناشناس، احمدشاه وحید، معاون امور حفظ و مراقبت زیربناهای ترانسپورتی این وزارت را از نزدیک خانه‌اش ربوده‌اند. -- ساحل کاکر، سخنگوی این وزارت، به بی‌بی‌سی فارسی گفت که این اتفاق ساعت ۷ صبح روز سه شنبه، ٢٦ حمل/فروردین، به وقت محلی و زمانی رخ داد که آقای وحید عازم محل کارش بود. -- آقای کاکر افزود که براساس گزارش‌های اولیه، آدم‌ربایان چهار نفر بودند که به سوی موتر/خودرو حامل آقای وحید شلیک و راننده او را زخمی کردند. -- سخنگوی وزارت فواید عامه گفت که معاون وزیر، در زمان حادثه محافظ شخصی همراه خود نداشته است. -- آقای وحید در منطقه خیرخانه که از محلات پرجمعیت در شمال شهر کابل است، زندگی می‌کند. -- خیرخانه از مناطقی است که ساختمان‌های مجلل، تالارهای عروسی و مراکز خرید در آنجا بیشتر از دیگر نقاط شهر کابل به چشم می‌خورد. -- در چنین محله‌هایی معمولا تدابیر امنیتی گسترده‌تری به اجرا در می‌آید و حضور پلیس مسلح، ماموران امنیتی و ایستگاه‌های بازرسی در خیابان‌ها و کوچه‌های اصلی این منطقه همواره بیشتر است. -- ساحل کاکر گفته است که هنوز از وضعیت و محل نگهداری معاون وزیر فواید عامه اطلاعی در دست نیست و نیروهای امنیتی در جستجوی پیدا کردن سرنخی در این رابطه هستند. -- سخنگوی وزارت فواید عامه گفت که هنوز زود است در مورد هویت ربایندگان آقای وحید ابراز نظر کرد و این موضوع بعد از تحقیقات نیروهای امنیتی روشن خواهد شد. -- آقای کاکر تاکید کرد که معاون وزیر فواید عامه دشمنی شخصی با کسی نداشت و پیش از این نیز در مورد تهدید احتمالی با مسئولان امنیتی وزارت سخن نگفته بود. -- مقام‌های ارشد دولتی، وزیران و معاونان وزیران در افغانستان، معمولا محافظ شخصی دارند، اما این‌ که آقای وحید با خود محافظ امنیتی نداشته، احتمالا تصمیم شخصی او بوده است. - BBC

To get better sleep, which foods should you seek and which should you avoid? --- Sleep. Oh, to sleep. A good night’s sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults. And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription. --- We’ve all heard about home remedies such as warm milk, chamomile tea with honey, or a shot of bourbon or brandy as a nightcap. On the Internet you can find claims about all kinds of foods that help with sleep: fish, cherries, lettuce, miso, yogurt, bananas, almonds, eggs, edamame, pineapple, jasmine rice, potatoes, cereal, to name a few. Is this just click-bait for insomniacs staring at their screens at 11:30 p.m.? What does the science say? -- Michael Grandner, a sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, says the best way to start adjusting your diet is to eliminate foods that interfere with sleep. “The obvious one is caffeine,” he says, “but people forget about it.” They’ll drink a soda at dinner or have a cup of coffee with dessert. Caffeine typically stays in the body for four to six hours, he says, “but some people are more sensitive and the effect might last twice that long.” -- Alcohol is also bad for sleep. While it may make it easier to doze off, it makes your sleep more shallow, Grandner says. “It suppresses REM sleep early in the night, which can lead to REM rebound later,” which can wake you up. Also, as alcohol is metabolized, one of its byproducts has stimulant action. Grandner also says to avoid nicotine, large meals and spicy foods at dinnertime. -- Are there any foods that promote sleep? There is some science behind these supposed dietary sleep aids, but it’s piecemeal at best. For example, turkey contains tryptophan, which is a building block for serotonin, a chemical involved in sleep. But there’s nothing special about turkey, as all meat contains tryptophan — as does warm milk. -- Further, tryptophan is a big molecule that has trouble crossing into the brain, so improving your sleep is not as simple as eating a tryptophan-rich food and getting more serotonin. And, serotonin has multiple functions in the brain, including some that promote wakefulness, so more serotonin does not automatically mean better sleep.-- Studies that found a tryptophan effect relied on doses that would require eating a pound of meat at a sitting, Grandner says. “If you’re eating so much food to get the tryptophan effect, you might suffer the too-much-food effect.”. --- Other foods, most notably tart cherries, contain melatonin, which does affect sleep. Still, melatonin is not necessarily a sleep aid, says Wilfred Pigeon, a sleep researcher at the University of Rochester. “Studies show it has a very minimal impact on insomnia,” he says. “On the other hand, melatonin is a wonderful circadian rhythm shifter.” - More, Jill U. Adams, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/to-get-better-sleep-which-foods-should-you-seek-and-which-should-you-avoid/2014/04/14/a1350ab8-be7c-11e3-bcec-b71ee10e9bc3_story.html?hpid=z4

Afghan economy faces serious revenue shortfall amid tenuous political transition --- KABUL — When the next president of Afghanistan takes office later this year, he will inherit a growing budget shortfall that could leave tens of thousands of civil servants unpaid and force key public programs to shutter. -- After more than a decade of Western aid projects designed to make the Afghan economy self-sustaining, government revenue continues to fall short of projections, leaving the country in dire economic straits just as foreign funding begins to dry up. -- The current budget shortfall — roughly 20 percent of overall Afghan expenditures — has worsened as the country navigates a tenuous political transition, sending a shock wave through Afghanistan’s nascent economy. -- Afghan officials plan to request additional funds from foreign donors to make up for the shortfall. But as the United States and NATO draw down financial and military assistance this year, those emergency funds are far from guaranteed. -- “If we do not receive extra funds in the next two months, we will face a problem with the operating budget, which is mostly salaries,” said Alhaj Muhammad Aqa, director general of the treasury at the Finance Ministry. -- Aqa said the government has roughly $400 million less than the $2.5 billion it was projected to spend this year, leaving officials to weigh potential cuts. That hole is expected to deepen in the coming months as the country prepares for a divisive second-round election and an active fighting season in the war against Taliban insurgents. --- Afghanistan will need more than $7 billion annually for the next decade to sustain a functional government, maintain infrastructure and fund the Afghan army and police, according to the World Bank. But there are already signs that foreign donors might not have an appetite for such a commitment. The Obama administration requested $2.1 billion in financial assistance for Afghanistan this year, but Congress approved only half that amount. -- While U.S. officials acknowledge the gravity of Afghanistan’s economic problems, they argue that the country should be able to steady the budget without halting government salaries. They also suggest that revenue could increase if key reforms are implemented. -- “It is not a matter of providing more donor funding. Certain actions by the government need to be taken which will have a quick impact on their ability to generate more revenue,” said Ken Yamashita, coordinating director at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. -- “There’s definitely that significant economic contraction that’s coming with the transition,” Yamashita said. But he said the Afghan government should be able to cut other expenditures so employees continue being paid. --- In spite of dozens of Western-funded programs aimed at increasing domestic revenue, the government is still almost entirely dependent on foreign donors to shore up its budget. Taxes and customs tariffs are the only significant sources of revenue, but those collection processes are still riddled with problems. According to a report released Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), “corruption impacts all levels of the customs process.” -- In documents obtained by The Washington Post, the Afghan Finance Ministry recorded the performance of several would-be revenue sources developed by the United States and other donor countries at great cost: lumber production, railway fees, copper mining and oil transit. Cumulatively, those projects have yielded almost nothing, according to the documents. - More, Kevin Sieff and Joshua Partlow, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/afghan-economy-facing-serious-revenue-shortage/2014/04/15/6ddce38a-5be9-46ad-8f3b-1eb2ef4ed9bd_story.html?hpid=z2

تاند -- د ټاکنو کمیسیون باندې شدید فشارونه --- د ټاکنو او شکایتونو کمیسیونونو ته د نږدې سرچینو له خولې خبر شوم چې د نظار شورا او د ډاکټر عبدالله عبدالله پورې اړوند مشهورو کسانو د دواړو کمیسیونونو په چارواکو او کارکوونکو فشارونه زیات کړي، څو هغه رايې چې په اړه يې ښکاره شواهد موجود دي قرنطین یا هم باطلې نه کړي. -- د ټاکنو کمیسیون کې د ډاکټر عبدالله پلوي دوه تنه کمیشنران په ډېرې سپین سترګۍ ددغه کمیسیون د کمیشنرانو په جلسه کې د تقلبي رایو نه دفاع کوي او د هغو رایو د باطلیدو مخه نیسي، چې په اړه يې ښکاره اسناد او شواهد موجود دي. که د کمیسیون کمیشنران داسې شخصي، عقدیي، ژبنیو او تنظیمي مسالو ته کش ورکړي دا اداره به دمسلکي توب پرځای په یوې تنظیم پلوې ادارې بدله شي. -- ویل کېږي دا کمیشنران د مارشال په فرمایش مقرر شوي و، چې یو يې برمک او بله يې لیلا احراري نوميږي. دوی حتا په داسې حال کې لیدل شوي چې د کمیشنرانو د غونډې پر مهال يېډاکټر عبدالله سره مسیجونه تبادله کول او ددغې مهمې ادارې له رازونو او هلته د نیول شويو تصامیمو نه يې شیبه په شیبه خبر ساتي. دا د ټاکنو کمیسیون په څير یوې ملي ادارې ته چې د اوسني نظام او ډیموکراسۍ ممثله اداره ده د شرم ځای دی او په دې خبره د کمیسیون اکثره لوړ پوړي چارواکي او کمیشنران خبر دي. --- سیستماتیک تقلب: - د افغانستان غوندې د درېیمي نړۍ په هیوادونو کې ټاکنې اکثره د تقلب سره ملګري وي، خو دا تقلبونه او درغلۍ کاندید ته د وفاداره افرادو، وړو ډلو او نږدې پلویانو له خوا کېږي. چې د افشا کېدو په صورت کې يې عاملان د قانون منګولو ته سپارل کېږي. خو سیستماتیک یا سازمانی شوی تقلب بیا یو ګوند، سازمان او خپله کاندید لاس لري په حکومتي اداره او د ټاکنو په کمیسیون او نورو اړونده ادارو کې د خپلو مشخصو افرادو په ګومارنې او هغوی د پیسو او نورو لارو دې ته اړباسي چې ددوی په ګټه تقلب وکړي. د سازماني یا سیستماتیک تقلب سزا په قانون کې ډېره درنه ده او که ثابته شي حتا هغه کاندید چې دا کار کړی وي محاکمې ته راکش کېدای شي. د باوري سرچينو د معلوماتو له مخې د عبدالله د تقلبي رايو شمېر تر يو ميليون اوړي. -- په اوسنیو ټاکنو کې د عبدالله په ګټه د سازماني تقلب مشري د ټاکنو د پخواني رییس فضل احمد معنوي په غاړه وه. مولانا معنوي د خپل شناخت او رسوخ له امله د ټاکنو د کمیسیون په کارکوونکو فشارونو راوستي او د شمالي ولایتونو ولایتي مسولین چې تر ډيره د معنوي د بانډ خلک دي د هغوی په مرسته یې پراخ تقلب ته لار اواره کړې ده. ښاغلیمعنوي چې په تقلب او ټاکنو کې تجربه لري دا ځل یې د ټاکنو ډيری مامورین په پيسو اخیستي دي. هغه اکثره پولیس، ملي امنیت او ملي اردو کسان چې د پنچشیریانو پورې تړلي په دیری ولایتونو کې مستقیما دعبدالله په ګټه صندقونه ډګ کړي دي او د کمیسیون کارکوونکي یې ګواښلي چې ښه ثبوت یې په میدان وردګو کې د هزاره میشتو په ځایونو کې د کمیسون کارکونکو وهل دي. دغه شان په ننګرهار او کنړ کې هم د ملي اردو افسرانو له خوا د تقلب پیښې ثبت شوي دي چې د عبدالله په ګټه يې کار کاوه. حتا د کابل په ځينو ناحیو کې د ملي امنیت کارکوونکي لیدل شوي او د ټاکنو مشاهدینو او ناظرینو يې په اړه رپوټونه ورکړي چې هڅه يې کوله د عبدالله په پلوۍ تقلب وکړي یا د ټاکنو په ورځ به يې په محلونو کې په خورا سپین سترګۍ له خلکو غوښتل چې عبدالله ته رایه ورکړي. -- په دې اړه د ټاکنو او شکایتونو له کمیسیونونو سره ګڼ شواهد هم شته، زموږ هیله له ولسمشر کرزي داده چې د ټاکنو کمیسیون پريږدي چې د قانون سره سمې خپلې رايې وشماري او هغه چې د تقلب رايې دي که هغه د هر کاندید وي باطلي دي کړي. د مدني ټولنې له فعالانو او نورو مستقلو اشخاصو هم هیله ده چې دا مساله جدي ونیسي. ځکه زموږ خلکو په ډېرو سختو شرایطو کې خپله رایه استعمال کړه اوس چې د هغې ځای خیالي او تقلبي رايې نیسي دا به په هیواد کې یو لوی بحران ته لار هواره کړي.

Rising food, housing costs push up U.S. inflation --- (Reuters) - U.S. consumer prices firmed a bit in March, as food and housing rental costs rose in a possible sign that a disinflationary trend had run its course. -- The increase should allay concerns among some Federal Reserve officials that inflation was running too low, although the rise was mild enough to suggest the central bank could keep benchmark interest rates near zero for quite some time. -- "The sharp upswing in housing costs could be an early signal of a more sustained push higher in inflation," said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York. -- The Consumer Price Index increased 0.2 percent in March after gaining 0.1 percent in February, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. Shelter and food accounted for most of the rise, which beat economists' expectations for a 0.1 percent advance. -- While prices for many items tend to swing from month to month, housing costs generally follow a steadier path. -- The so-called core CPI, which strips out volatile energy and food components, also rose 0.2 percent. -- In the 12 months through March, consumer prices increased 1.5 percent, accelerating from a 1.1 percent rise in February. The core CPI advanced 1.7 percent, up from 1.6 percent. -- The Fed targets 2 percent inflation and it tracks an index that is running even lower than the CPI. But with domestic demand picking up and the labor market slowly tightening, inflation is expected to drift back toward its target this year. -- The U.S. central bank has kept overnight rates near zero since December 2008, and it is not expected to start raising them before the second half of next year, even though it has begun to ratchet back on a separate bond-buying stimulus program. -- With inflation stirring, consumers felt a bit of a pinch last month. Separate data from the Labor Department showed average hourly earnings fell in March when adjusted for prices. -- "While increases in consumer prices are a good sign for many concerned about disinflation, it is not positive for the overall economy unless wages rise in tandem," said Jay Morelock, an economist at FTN Financial in New York. --- HOUSING STRUGGLES - Despite firming domestic demand, housing is struggling and manufacturing activity continues to be lackluster. -- Another report on Tuesday showed confidence among homebuilders remained dour in April. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose only a point to 47. -- Readings below 50 mean more builders view market conditions as poor than favorable, and April's reading was the third in a row below that threshold. - More, Lucia Mutikani, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/15/us-consumer-prices-idUSBREA3E0V220140415

Afghanistan says U.S. air strike kills three civilians --- (Reuters) - A U.S. air strike in eastern Afghanistan has killed three civilians, the Afghan president's office said on Tuesday. -- The bombing took place in Khost on Monday night, a statement said. The U.S.-led military coalition ISAF said it was looking into the incident. -- Air strikes that have killed or wounded hundreds of Afghan civilians are a serious source of tension between the two countries and one of the main reasons President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign an agreement that would allow U.S. forces to stay beyond 2014. -- "The Afghan President called the strike a violation of agreements between the two countries and strongly condemned it," the statement said. - More, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/15/us-afghanistanblast-idUSBREA3E17L20140415

بینوا -- اشرف غني: کمېسيون دې تقلبي رايې بېلې کړي --- د ولسمشرۍ د ټاکنو کانديد ډاکټر اشرف غني احمدزي د ټاکنو د قسمي پايلو د اعلان په غبرګون کې وويل، چې د دې لوبې نوي دقيقې لا پاتې دي. -- نوموړي دغه څرګندونې نن د وري په ٢٤مه، په يوه خبري کنفرانس کې وکړې. -- د ټاکنو خپلواک کمېسيون د اعلان له مخې، د ټاکنو په قسمي پايله کې ډاکټر عبدالله عبدالله د ٤١،٩ او ډاکټر اشرف غني احمدزى د ٣٧،٦ سلنه رايو په لرلو سره، تر نورو کانديدانو مخکې دي. -- د دغه کمېسيون چارواکي وايي، تراوسه يې په ټاکنو کې د ٢٦ اړوندو ولايتونو له کارېدلو رايو لس سلنه، چې ٥٠٦٨٤٣ رايې کېږي، شمېرلي، چې د ټولو ١٠ سلنه رايو له ډلې، ډاکټر عبدالله عبدالله د ٢١٢٣١٢ رايو يا د ټولو رايو د ٤١،٩ سلنې په لرلو، د کانديدانو په سر کې دى؛ ورپسې ډاکټر اشرف غني احمدزى دى، چې د ١٩٠٥٦١ رايو يا د ټولو رايو ٣٧،٦ سلنه رايې اخيستې دي. -- ډاکټر اشرف غني احمدزي په دې اړه وويل، چې د ټاکنو د قسمي پايلو په اړه د نن ورځې د اعلان ستاينه کوي او هيله لري، چې د ټاکنو کمېسيون په راتلونکي کې هم خپل کارونه له قانون سره سم ترسره کړي. -- د هغه په وينا، د ټاکنو او احصايې توپير دادى، چې په انتخاباتو کې هره رايه ارزښت لري او دلته اته ولايتونه لا نه دې شمېرل شوي. -- ده څرګنده کړه: "لومړۍ نتيجې داسې دي، لکه د فوټبال تر لوبې مخکې چې لوبغاړي لوبې ته ځان چمتو کوي او نوي دقيقې لوبه پاتې ده؛ تفاوت اوس هم کم دى، ډېر نه دى، چې څومره ژر کېداى شي کمېسيون دې تقلبي رايې بېلې کړي، څو ولس ته مسئله واضح شي. په ځينو ولايتونو کې الف شکايتونه ډېر دي، هيله ده چې دواړه کمېسيونونه په يوه وخت پر دې کار وکړي، څو ولس ته موضوع ژر واضح شي." - خو د ولسمشرۍ ياد کانديد وايي: "کمېسيون وايي چې دا لس فيصده ده؛ که داسې وي، نو نن په دې حساب خو پنځه ميليونه خلکو رايې ورکړې دي. هيله ده چې کمېسيون دا ژر معلومه کړي، چې څومره کسانو په انتخاباتو کې رايي اچولې دي." -- د ټاکنو کمېسيون د اټکل له مخې، په تېرو ټاکنو کې تر اوو ميليونو ډېرو خلکو برخه اخيستې وه. -- More, http://benawa.com/

Social Security stops trying to collect on old debts by seizing tax refunds --- The Social Security Administration announced Monday that it will immediately cease efforts to collect on taxpayers’ debts to the government that are more than 10 years old. -- The action comes after The Washington Post reported that the government was seizing state and federal tax refunds that were on their way to about 400,000 Americans who had relatives who owed money to the Social Security agency. In many cases, the people whose refunds were intercepted had never heard of any debt, and the debts dated as far back as the middle of the past century. -- “I have directed an immediate halt to further referrals under the Treasury Offset Program to recover debts owed to the agency that are 10 years old and older pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law,” the acting Social Security commissioner, Carolyn Colvin, said in a statement. -- Colvin said anyone who has received Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits and “believes they have been incorrectly assessed with an overpayment” should contact the agency and “seek options to resolve the overpayment.” -- The effort to collect on old debts began with a single line in the 2008 farm bill that lifted the statute of limitations on debts to the government that are more than 10 years old. The Treasury Department then set up rules that allowed the government to settle such debts by intercepting taxpayers’ refunds. The department has collected about $2 billion in intercepted tax refunds this year, $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years. -- More, Marc Fisher, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/social-security-stops-trying-to-collect-on-old-taxpayer-debts/2014/04/14/9355c58e-c40f-11e3-bcec-b71ee10e9bc3_story.html?hpid=z1

Editorials from Across the Country Call on Congress to Extend Unemployment Insurance --- USA Today -- Extend unemployment benefits: "The surest way to re-employ people who lost jobs during the worst downturn since the Great Depression is for the economy to regain its feet. One way to make that less likely is to hurt more than a million people who have been struggling to find work. Congress would do well to extend benefits quickly. - More, at: http://democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/editorials-across-country-call-congress-extend-unemployment-insurance

Violence data show spike during Afghan presidential election --- KABUL — The days leading up to Afghanistan’s presidential election this month were full of headline-grabbing Taliban attacks: Gunmen and bombers assaulted the election commission headquarters, the luxury Serena Hotel and the American charity Roots of Peace. -- But on voting day, the country seemed unusually calm, prompting Afghan politicians to speculate that the Taliban had intentionally allowed the election to proceed. --- “I don’t think the other side put too much pressure,” said Hedayat Amin Arsala, a presidential candidate. “They even prevented some people from attacking.” -- The statistics tell another story. Data released Monday by the U.S. military in Kabul show that April 5 was, in fact, an unusually violent day, spiking far above the norm, although falling 36 percent short of the peak number of attacks during the 2009 election, one of the bloodiest days of the war. -- Of the 286 insurgent attacks during this election, the vast majority (226) occurred in eastern Afghanistan, followed by 21 in the Kandahar area of southern Afghanistan, 17 in the west, 14 in the north, seven in the Helmand region and just one in Kabul. -- Because the U.S. military does not have the footprint across the country it once had for first-hand reporting, it collected those figures from Afghan authorities. -- Of the serious violence, most was what is known as “direct fire” or gun fights. There were 38 of those incidents. Sixteen attacks were by “indirect fire,” meaning rockets or mortar shells, and five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) exploded. -- These figures do not include violence that occurred during operations by Afghan special forces, which are not tracked by the U.S. three-star command in Kabul. --- The violence took a toll on the Afghan soldiers and police officers who deployed in force to guard polling centers and protect voters. Seventeen members of the Afghan security forces were killed and 58 others were wounded. -- But the highest losses were suffered by the Taliban. The insurgency lost 141 fighters, and 33 others were wounded in action, according to these reports. There were no U.S. casualties. --- The violence did not prevent voters from turning out in large numbers. The election commission estimates that 7 million people voted, more than in the 2009 election but fewer than in 2004, the first presidential election after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. - More, Joshua Partlow, Washingtonpost

کمیسیون انتخابات افغانستان: نامزدان باید منتظر شمارش تمام آرا باشند --- کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان از نامزدان انتخابات ریاست جمهوری این کشور خواست تا آرامش خود را حفظ کنند. -- روز گذشته نتایج ده درصد آرای شمرده شده انتخابات ریاست جمهوری افغانستان اعلام شد. -- عبدالله عبدالله و اشرف غنی احمدزی دو نامزد پیشتاز در این نتایج، از اعلام نتایج قسمی انتخابات استقبال کردند اما شش نامزد دیگر از اعلام نتایج ابراز نارضایتی کردند. --- زلمی رسول، عبدرب الرسول سیاف، داوود سلطان زوی، قطب الدین هلال، هدایت امین ارسلا و گل آغا شیرزی دیروز یک اعلامیه مشترک منتشر کردند. -- در این اعلامیه آمده کمیسیون انتخابات باید پیش از اعلام نتیجه قسمی، آرای ناپاک یا تقلبی را از آرای پاک جدا می‌کرد و به شکایت‌ها رسیدگی می‌کرد و بعدا نتیجه را اعلام می‌کرد. -- به باور این نامزدان، نتیجه قسمی انتخابات بدون تصفیه آرا اعلام شده و عواقب آن متوجه کمیسیون انتخابات خواهد بود. -- اما کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات می‌گوید به تمام شکایت‌ها رسیدگی صورت می‌گیرد و به هیچ کسی اجازه دستبرد در آرا داده نخواهد شد. - More, BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140414_k04_afg2014_election_latest_roundup.shtml

Monday, April 14, 2014

Unemployment-Insurance Extension's Problems Go Past House Republicans --- It's been two days since the Senate sent a five-month extension of unemployment-insurance benefits to the House and, counter to some optimistic Democratic thinking, Republican leadership hasn't moved a muscle. -- But even as Democrats ramp up the pressure on Speaker John Boehner and his colleagues, it is becoming increasingly clear that even if the legislation clears the House, many problems still lie ahead. --- For one, the bill expires on May 31, when the long, winding congressional debate over insurance for jobless Americans will begin once again. The chances of an extension passing the House this week before members leave for a two-week Easter recess are near zero, meaning that at best the long-term unemployed are looking at five weeks of benefits. -- But the real problem is the retroactive benefits. The current bill, which passed the Senate on Monday, also includes retroactive benefits for those who stopped receiving their checks on Dec. 31. But, according to The Washington Post, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies has some real concerns about whether it will be possible to get those lump-sum checks out to the unemployed. -- Many states have stopped keeping track of people in the unemployment-insurance program, and finding them—much less assuring that they continued to look for work after their benefits expired, as is required under the program—will be nearly impossible, NASWA Executive Director Richard Hobbie told The Post. And even if they clear that hurdle, it could be up to three months before those people get their checks, Hobbie said. -- Democrats disagree, and point to a letter Labor Secretary Thomas Perez sent to senators last month. "In prior iterations of [emergency unemployment compensation] where there has been a gap in the program, we have successfully overcome this challenge, and the Department already has guidance on how to carry out such a directive," Perez wrote. "We are confident that we could successfully address this challenge again." -- Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., who led unemployment talks in the Senate, pointed out that Perez once served as the labor commissioner for Maryland and has seen the implementation of retroactive unemployment benefits first-hand. "I think this is something well within the capability of the states," Reed argued. -- But even Democrats admit that implementing retroactive pay will be difficult and time-consuming. And House Republicans are not letting the NASWA's concerns go: Boehner's office circulated the Washington Post story outlining those worries on Tuesday. -- In response to those concerns, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer posed the prospect last week of merely renewing the emergency unemployment-benefits program beginning in May and forgetting about retroactive pay altogether. -- "There are three times as many people looking for jobs as there are jobs available—and we are adding 72,000 people on a weekly basis to the unemployed roles," Hoyer told Majority Leader Eric Cantor on the House floor Friday. "So if we made it prospective [rather than retroactive], that would save an awful lot of people the pain and suffering that they are experiencing because they can't find a job." -- Hoyer added for clarity that he does not "accept [the] premise" of the NAWSA's letter to members of Congress outlining their concerns about implementation. -- Cantor didn't directly answer the question but argued, as Boehner has on numerous occasions, that the House should focus on creating more jobs for the long-term unemployed, rather than on paying them benefits. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said Tuesday that even without retroactive pay, Republicans are still concerned about the fact that the Senate bill lacks specific job-creation provisions. -- Of course, doing away with retroactive benefits would pull the teeth out of the Senate's legislation unless the renewed unemployment insurance benefits were extended beyond the current May 31 deadline. -- Democrats are not discussing the possibility of doing away with retroactive benefits at the moment, said Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan and other Democratic lawmakers and aides involved in the process. Hoyer's comments were aimed more at getting Republican leadership on the record opposing another solution—and concession from Democrats—rather than offering a new Democratic proposal, one aide speculated. --- "I think we're open to doing anything that gets the Republicans in the House to move," Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., said Tuesday. "But we've got something that's passed bipartisan in the Senate and I think a lot of us believe that unless the House Republicans tell us that they're ready to do something that we can live with, it's better to try to go with what the Senate proposed." --- In response to House Republicans' concerns, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who supported the unemployment-insurance bill in the Senate, called on her colleagues in the House to pass their own version of the unemployment bill and send it back. "If they believe that that is an insurmountable problem, then I would encourage them to send us a bill that perhaps causes people to have to reapply and show that they're still unemployed and go forward," Collins said, noting that she would have to look at any such House proposal before saying whether she could support it. -- "But my point is that I think there are solutions to the problem," she added. --- However, last week Heller dismissed Boehner's characterization of the bill—and the retroactive benefits specifically—as unworkable. "I think it's workable. The Labor secretary says it's workable, Nevada says it's workable. If some states can do it, then all states can do it. So, anyway, that'll be the topic of conversation," Heller said. - More, Sarah Mimms, National Journal, at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/unemployment-insurance-extension-s-problems-go-past-house-republicans-20140409

John Boehner Punts Unemployment Extension To White House- -- WASHINGTON -- What would make House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) support a Senate-passed bill to restore long-term unemployment insurance to more than 2 million Americans? Ask the White House. -- It's no secret that Boehner opposes Senate legislation reauthorizing long-term unemployment benefits, as he has previously stated that the bill is "unworkable." But when asked on Thursday whether he would heed calls from the bill's Republican co-sponsors to take up the measure in the House, Boehner said that the next steps were up to Obama. -- Listen, I made clear to the president last December that if he wanted us to consider an extension of emergency unemployment benefits, it would have to be paid for and it would have to include things that would help get our economy going," Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill. "They have not put forward anything with regard to how we would create more jobs. And so the ball's still in their court." -- Pressed further on what specific jobs provisions he would like to see, Boehner again punted to the White House. -- "You'll have to ask the administration," he said. "I made it clear what it would take for me to consider it. They've not had any suggestions." -- The White House did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment. -- The Congressional Budget Office says federal unemployment extensions boost the economy and create jobs, since unemployed people tend to spend their benefits immediately, but Boehner has tended to ignore the CBO's analysis on this. It's not entirely clear what the House GOP would like to see in the bill, though Senate Republicans had sought to amend the Senate-passed bill with a measure that included approving the Keystone pipeline, blocking new environmental regulations and giving tax breaks to businesses. -- House Republicans have reportedly been weighing their own legislation that would tie the extension of unemployment benefits to job creation and the extension of tax breaks. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel acknowledged that the House GOP had not coalesced around any one proposal. -- "A lot of members have proposals on economic growth and jobs provisions," Steel said in an email. "No decisions have been made at this point on how we’ll proceed." -- It's unlikely that the House will address the issue until Congress returns from its two-week Easter recess on April 28. If the House changed the Senate bill, the Senate would have to vote on it again. Lawmakers are set to leave town on Thursday. -- Congress let federal benefits for the long-term jobless expire in December, immediately cutting off 1.3 million people who'd been out of work for six months or longer. Each week since then, another 70,000 workers who used up their state-funded benefits would have been eligible for federal compensation, bringing the total missing out to almost 3 million. --- While the benefits would expire again in less than two months, everyone who has missed checks since December would receive retroactive lump-sum payments. For some, that would mean catching up on bills, while for others, it would be too late. -- "If I don't land a job this week or the unemployment bill doesn't pass, I'm going to have to move out of my apartment," Vincent Oviedo told HuffPost this week. The 44-year-old facilities manager said he lost his job last June and has had interviews but no offers. -- "I haven't paid rent since March," he said. "I've been telling my landlord that this unemployment bill is going to pass, and then I'll pay them rent. Well, she's watching as much as I'm watching and it doesn't look like it's going to pass. Next Friday, I'll be living in my car." - More, hUffingtonpost, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/10/house-unemployment_n_5126634.html

Fred Kagan: Obama Flirts With Losing the 'Must Win' War -- Withdrawal from Afghanistan will be a defeat for America and a victory for al Qaeda. --- The Soviet-installed government of Najibullah fell three years after the last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan—and mere months after the Soviets stopped supporting it financially. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved against his Sunni political opponents within 24 hours of the departure of the last American soldier, starting to set the conditions for the loss of all the gains purchased with much American and Iraqi blood. Yet Washington is full of leaks that the Obama administration is planning to end America's military presence in Afghanistan in 2016. And Congress has already slashed U.S. financial assistance to... - More, Frederick W. Kagan, Wall Street Journal

Anxious China emerges as diplomatic player in Afghanistan --- (Reuters) - China is quietly preparing for a more robust role in the future of Afghanistan, concerned that the withdrawal of NATO troops will leave a hotbed of militancy on its doorstep. -- The two countries are connected by a narrow mountainous corridor that is almost impassable, which meant Beijing could focus on mining and mineral deals in Afghanistan as Western forces battled Taliban insurgents. But officials say that China is emerging as a key strategic player. -- In August it will host a "Heart of Asia" conference on Afghanistan, which may have a newly elected president by then, inviting leaders from regional nations including India and Pakistan. A Western diplomat said China has already held discreet trilateral talks with Afghanistan and other countries. -- One of its chief worries is that Uighur militants who want a separate state in western China's Xinjiang region will exploit the security vacuum left after the bulk of NATO forces withdraw by the end of the year to step up their fight. -- Hundreds of Uighur fighters are believed to be holed up in rugged, lawless tribal areas straddling Afghanistan and Pakistan. -- In a rare interview from an undisclosed location last month, their leader told Reuters that China would be made to pay for its crackdown on separatists in Xinjiang. -- "In the past we said: 'The Americans are there, and the Americans don't want anyone else, especially not another great power, taking their place'," said Hu Shisheng, a South Asia expert at a government-backed think tank, the China Institute of International Relations in Beijing. -- "Now with the U.S. strategic focus shifting, neighboring countries cannot just let Afghanistan descend into chaos. -- "The Pakistan and the Afghanistan Taliban are sympathetic towards the Uighurs. So we absolutely have to pay attention to this, in a way that perhaps we did not before," he said. --- FOCUSED ON ECONOMICS -- So far, China's commitment to Afghan reconstruction since the ouster of a hardline Islamist Taliban regime in 2001 has been around $250 million and its security support has been mostly limited to counter-narcotics training. -- China has a $700 million agreement to drill for oil in the Amu Darya Basin and a $3 billion deal to develop the Aynak copper mining project. But insiders say security concerns, not investment, are the primary driver of China's new focus. --- Officials believe, however, that, with the West's attention on the region set to fade, Beijing has an opportunity to flex its diplomatic muscle, using warm relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan to ease suspicion between the two neighbors. -- Kabul has long accused Islamabad of providing havens for militants and sponsoring attacks inside Afghanistan, and now Pakistan believes Afghanistan is doing the same. A decade of U.S. diplomacy has failed to reconcile the two sides. - More, Katharine Houreld and Ben Blanchard, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/14/us-china-afghanistan-diplomacy-idUSBREA3D0H120140414

اعلیحضرت بابای ملت در۴۰ سال حکومتش چه کرد؟ بخش چهارم --- داکتر نجیب الله بارکزی - More, at: http://www.afghan-german.net/upload/Tahlilha_PDF/barakzai_n_alahazrat_babay_melat_dar_40_sal_saltanat_04.pdf

U.S. lawmakers visit Afghanistan to press case for troops to stay --- (Reuters) - The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, is leading a delegation of Republican lawmakers on a trip to Afghanistan to underscore their call for U.S. forces to remain there and also to review the country's presidential election, Boehner's office said on Monday. -- Boehner and seven other House Republicans met with U.S. troops, the U.S. ambassador and the commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan during the two-day visit that began on Sunday. -- The April 5 vote is meant to usher in Afghanistan's first democratic transfer of power as President Hamid Karzai steps down after 12 years and Western forces prepare to depart after more than a decade of war. -- Democratic President Barack Obama plans to withdraw most, or possibly all, U.S. forces from Afghanistan this year, winding down a conflict that began following the September 11, 2001, attacks. Obama would like to leave about 8,000 troops to train Afghan forces and for a counter-terrorism mission. Karzai, however, has declined to sign an agreement allowing this. -- Many Republican lawmakers have pressed for more U.S. forces to stay and say they want to avoid a duplication of the instability in Iraq, where they blame Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. troops in 2011 for a wave of sectarian violence. -- Boehner's office said the visit aimed to send "a strong, unequivocal message that the House of Representatives wants to maintain a right-sized presence in Afghanistan." - More, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/14/us-usa-afghanistan-congress-idUSBREA3D1BU20140414

د افغانستان حکومت د اغا جان معتصم بې درکي تایید کړه --- د افغانستان د بهرنیو چارو وزارت په متحده عربي اماراتو کې د طالبانو د یوه مشر اغا جان معتصم بې درکه کېدا تایید کړه. -- تر دې مخکې ځینو رسنیو ویلي و چې اغا جان معتصم بې درکه شوی دی خو د رسنیو د ادعاوو په اړه رسمي سرچینو څه نه و ویلي. -- د افغانستان د بهرنیو چارو وازت ویندوی شکیب مستغني نن په یوه خبري غونډه کې تایید کړه چې مولوي معتصم بې درکه شوی او د افغانستان حکومت په دې اړه د متحده عربي اماراتو له حکومت سره خبرې پیل کړي دي. -- اغا جان معتصم د طالبانو له لوري د افغانستان د سولې د عالي شورا له غړیو سره په وروستیو کې په دوبۍ کې خبرې وکړې او ټاکل شوې وه چې د دواړو خواوو ترمنځ خبرې دوام وکړي. -- سره له دې چې د طالبانو یوه ویاند د افغانستان د سولې له عالي شورا سره د مولوي معتصم خبرې د طالبانو له تحریکه سره بې ارتباطه بللي دي خو ویل شوي چې اغا جان معتصم یو شمېر مهم طالب مشران او قومندانان په ځان راټول کړي دي. -- د ده یو پلوی طالب مشر مولوي ثاقب په پېښور کې ترور شو. -- مولوي معتصم د طالبانو په منځ کې یو متعدل شخصیت دی چې د خبرو له لارې د افغانستان د لانجې د حل کولو غوښتونکی دی او باور لري چې که افغانان د بهرنیو په تېره بیا ګاونډیو له اغېزه خلاص شي په خپل منځ کې روغه کولی شي. -- د افغانستان د بهرنیو چارو وزارت ویندوی ښاغلي مستغني وویل:«د افغانستان حکومت هڅه کوي چې د ښاغلي معتصم د برخلیک د څرګندېدو په هکله د متحده عربي اماراتو له چارواکو سره تماسونه زیات کړي.» -- ځینو سرچینو ویلي چې اغا جان معتصم په داسي حال کې چې له یوې بهرنۍ خبریالې سره یې په خپل هوټل کې مرکه کوله د ناپېژندل شویو کسانو له لوري نیول شوی او بل ځای ته بېول شوی دی خو د متحده عربي اماراتو په پولیسي حکومت کې له دولتي ځواکونو او پولیسو پرته ګومان نه کېږي چې بل څوک دې داسي کار وکړای شي. - تاند

Pro-Russian gunmen take over eastern Ukrainian city’s police headquarters --- MOSCOW — Violence flared in eastern Ukraine on Saturday as pro-Russian gunmen occupied a police headquarters in a small city and attacked government buildings in several towns nearby. -- The government convened an emergency meeting late in the day to discuss the unrest, which the country’s acting interior minister said was evidence of “aggression from Russia.” -- To Ukrainian officials it looked like the beginning of a replay of the Crimea takeover by Russia, which began with men in unmarked uniforms storming the regional parliament, then spreading their control throughout the peninsula. -- Saturday’s action involved only a few dozen men, but the simultaneous assaults in various places — and the modern weapons the men were carrying — suggested a coordinated operation. -- A senior State Department official said that during a call Saturday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Secretary of State John F. Kerry “made clear that if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine’s border, there would be additional consequences.” --- The spokesman said Kerry expressed strong concern to Lavrov that Saturday’s attacks were orchestrated and synchronized and that “militants were equipped with specialized Russian weapons and the same uniforms as those worn by the Russian forces that invaded Crimea.” - More, Will Englund, Washingtonpost

ردپای نمایندگان پارلمان در تقلب‌ های انتخاباتی --- ۸ صبح، کابل: کمیشنران کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی در ولایات گفته‌اند که شماری از نمایندگان که در تقلب ‌ها و تخطی ‌های انتخاباتی دست دارند، در جلسات رسیدگی به شکایات حاضر نمی‌ شوند. این کمیشنران گفته‌اند در صورتی ‌که این تعداد از نمایندگان در جلسات رسیدگی به شکایات حاضر نشوند، کار رسیدگی به شکایات صدمه می ‌بیند و مانع کلانی در برابر شفافیت انتخاباتی ایجاد می‌کند. -- در حال حاضر تهدید های امنیتی از سوی مخالفان مسلح دولت، زورمندان و فرماندهان مسلح غیرمسوول در ولایات، مشکل اصلی دفاتر ولایتی کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی است. کمیشنر های ولایات نگرانند که پس از رسیدگی به شکایت‌ ها و باطل کردن آرای تقلبی، ممکن است مورد آزار و اذیت و تهدید زورمندان قرار گیرند. این در حالی است که کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی به مردم افغانستان اطمینان داده است همه رای‌ های ناپاک را از آرای پاک جدا خواهند کرد. مسوولان این کمیسیون روز گذشته در یک کنفرانس خبری گفتند که مردم افغانستان با وجود تهدید های امنیتی و دشواری ‌های ناشی از سردی هوا به پای صندوق ‌های رای رفتند و رئیس‌ جمهور آینده را انتخاب کردند، اما کسانی هم هستند که دست به تقلب زده‌اند و آرای تقلبی را در صندوق‌ ها ریخته‌اند. -- نادر محسنی، سخنگوی کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی، روز گذشته در یک کنفرانس خبری در کابل گفت صندوق‌ هایی وجود دارند که کتابچه‌ های رای‌دهی به‌ صورت مکمل و بدون این ‌که رای ‌دهندگان در آن ‌ها رای داده باشند، به‌ صورت تقلبی در صندوق ‌ها ریخته شده است. آقای نادری گفت که به همه این موارد رسیدگی خواهد شد. او اطمینان داد که آرای بی ‌صاحب از شمارش خارج خواهد شد: «خواهش ما از همه دوستان ملی و بین‌المللی، ارگان ‌های مختلف نظام جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان این است که پیش از پیش - بدون این‌ که روند رسیدگی به شکایات را از نزدیک مشاهده کنند - نسبت به کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی از هرگونه پیش ‌داوری جدآ خودداری کنند.» -- در همین حال نمایندگان پارلمان نیز می ‌گویند که کمیشنر های ولایاتی کمیسیون شکایات انتخاباتی باید نام مشخص نمایندگانی را که در تقلب دست دارند و در جلسات رسیدگی به شکایات حاضر نمی‌ شوند، اعلام کنند. صدیق عثمانی، نماینده ولایت پروان و عضو هیات اداری پارلمان در گفتگو با ۸ صبح گفت که تاکنون شکایتی مبنی بر این ‌که نمایندگان در تقلب و تخلف دست داشته‌اند، به پارلمان نرسیده است. آقای عثمانی گفت در صورتی ‌که چنین موضوعی وجود داشته باشد، رسما موقف خود را برای کمیسیون‌های انتخاباتی ارسال خواهد کرد. او گفت که نمایندگان پارلمان افغانستان در تمام نشست ‌های عمومی مجلس از شفافیت انتخابات طرفداری کرده و با هرنوع تقلب در انتخابات مخالفت کرده‌اند. - هشت صبح - at: http://8am.af/1393/01/25/spoor-parliman-in-sharpen-in-election/

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Syria's Assad says war turning in his favor --- (Reuters) - President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday that Syria's three-year conflict was at a "turning point" due to his forces' military gains against rebels, state media said. -- Assad's allies have portrayed him as confident and in control and they expect him to run for and win a presidential election in July - a turnaround from last year when he looked on the verge of defeat as rebels advanced towards Damascus, struck in the heart of the capital and took control of key areas. -- Addressing graduate students and staff of the political science department in Damascus University: "(Assad) pointed out that there is a turning point in the crisis in Syria in terms of the continuous military achievements ... by the army and armed forces in the war against terror and in ... terms of national reconciliation," state news agency SANA reported. -- In recent months, government forces, backed by Lebanon's Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah fighters, recaptured several rebel-held areas and border towns, closing off rebel supply routes from Lebanon and securing the main highway leading north from Damascus towards central Syria, Homs and the Mediterranean. -- The government has also struck localized truces in districts in and around Damascus, ending sieges on rebel-held areas, many of which lasted for more than a year, causing severe hunger and death. --- Assad is preparing to run for a third term in an election expected in July which international powers that back the rebels have described as a "parody of democracy". -- Last week, a former Russian prime minister quoted Assad as saying that he expected much of the fighting to be over by the end of the year. On the same day, the leader of Hezbollah was quoted as saying that the president no longer faced a threat of being overthrown. -- The civil war, which started as a peaceful protest movement, has killed over 150,000 people, forced millions more from their homes, and seen the government lose control of swathes of northern and eastern Syria to Islamist rebels and foreign jihadis. --- U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told ABC's "This Week" that the attack was so far "unsubstantiated". - More, Mariam Karouny, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/13/us-syria-crisis-assad-idUSBREA3C0K120140413

Trial of Gaddafi's two sons, former officials gets underway --- (Reuters) - Saadi Gaddafi and Saif al-Islam, two of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's sons, are expected to appear in court on Monday, facing charges of corruption and war crimes alongside more than 30 other Gaddafi-era officials. -- The mass trial will be seen by the international community as a barometer for Libya's progress in establishing a democratic state after the chaotic 2011 revolution that ended four decades of Gaddafi's one-man rule. -- Post-Gaddafi Libya has so far been defined by a weak interim government and growing unrest as former revolutionary fighters refuse to give up their weapons, and armed protesters blockade the country's crucial oil exports. -- The North African state's nascent democracy is struggling to establish basic institutions and rule of law as Gaddafi left behind only a husk of a government after absorbing all the power into his own hands. -- The trial will begin a day after interim prime minister Abdullah al-Thinni announced his resignation after an attack on his family and following the ousting of former prime minister barely one month ago. -- "If they don't get fair trials then it casts doubt over whether the new Libya is not about selective justice," Hanan Salah, Libya researcher in the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch said. -- "So far, there have been problems with legal representation. Many of those on trial did not have a lawyer from the beginning - a cornerstone of a fair trial." -- The International Criminal Court and other human rights organizations are concerned over the fairness of Libya's justice system although the government won the right last year to try Gaddafi's former spy chief domestically instead of at the ICC. -- Saadi Gaddafi, known as a playboy with a brief career in professional soccer, was extradited to Libya from Niger in early March. He may appear in a Tripoli court for the first time to hear charges. But that may depend on whether investigators have finished gathering evidence. -- The head of the government investigations could not confirm details about the trial. -- "I think Saadi will not appear in court tomorrow, as investigations are still on-going," Libya's state prosecutor Abdelqadir Radwan told Reuters by phone late on Sunday. -- Gaddafi's more prominent son, Saif al-Islam, long viewed as his heir, is expected to appear by video-link inside the courtroom. He is being held by the powerful western Zintan militia group, who have refused to hand him over to the central government they believe cannot provide a secure trial. -- Gaddafi's ex-spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi will also appear in court on Monday along with the former foreign minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi. -- "We have had many cases where the defendants' lawyers were not allowed to review evidence and get access to court documents in the pre-trial phase (the pre-trial chamber)..." Salah said. -- "In some other unrelated cases, judges and lawyers were harassed and there are allegations of forced confessions." - More, Julia Payne and Feras Bosalum, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/13/us-libya-trial-gaddafi-idUSBREA3C0QD20140413

2014 Elections Results: Please find from the below map the partial results of the 5 April 2014 Presidential and Provincial Council Elections. - More, Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan - at: http://results.iec.org.af/en/elections

په کومو ولایتونو کې رایې نه دي شمېرل شوي او څوک په کوم ولایت کې وړاندې دی --- تاند - د انتخاباتو خپلواک کمیسیون اعلان وکړ چې د ننګرهار، پکتیا، پکتیکا، نیمروز، بادغیس، نورستان، وردک او لغمان ولایتونو هیڅ رایه یې نه ده ګڼلې. -- تراوسه پوري تر ټولو ډېرې رایې د دایکنډي شمېرل شوي چې پنځوس زرو ته رسېږي. تر ټولو لږ رایې د فاریاب شمېرل شوي چې شاوخوا زرو ته رسېږي. --- تر دې مخکې ویل شوي و چې د بدخشان، بغلان، غور، نورستان، دایکنډي، پکتیکا، وردک، غزني هغه ولایتونه یاد شوي و چې رایې یې نه دي شمېرل شوي. --- باور نه شي کېدای چې اشرف غني احمدزی دې په پنجشېر کې، زلمی رسول دې په جوزجان کې او عبدالله عبدالله دې په کندوز کې د رایو د شمېر له پلوه تر نورو مخکښ پاتې شي. -- له همدې کبله هماغه راز چې د انتخاباتو د خپلواک کمیسیون ريیس یوسف نورستاني وویل د انتخاباتو وروستۍ پایلې ښايي له هغه څه سره چې نن اعلان شوې، ډېر توپیر ولري. -- د انتخاباتو خپلواک کمیسیون ویندوی نور محمد نور ویلي چې د ثور تر څلورمې پوري به هره ورځ په خپله ویبپاڼه کې شمېرل شوې رایې اعلانوي. --- په دې خبر کې ذکر شوې شمېرې د انتخاباتو د خپلواک کمیسیون له ویبپاڼې څخه اخیستل شوي. د کمیسیون د ویبپاڼې په شمېرو کې پر له پسې بدلون راځي. مثلاً د خبر د خپرېدو په مهال د فاریاب ۱۰۰۰ رایې شمېرل شوې وې خو اوس ۲۸ زره شمېرل شوي دي. بادغس مخکې صفر و خو اوس د دغه ولایت ۱۰ زره رایې شمېرل شوي ښودل کېږي. همداراز په پنجشېر کې اشرف غني وړاندې ښودل شوی و خو اوس عبدالله عبدالله وړاندې دی --- د انتخاباتو د خپلواک کمیسیون نن د ۲۶ ولایتونو د ۱۰ فیصده شمېرل شویو رایې نتیجه اعلان کړه. کمیسیون د لاندې ولایتونو رایې شمېرلي دي - More, at: http://www.taand.com/archives/23309

Partial Afghan Election Results Show Runoff Likely --- KABUL, Afghanistan — In the first official report of partial results from the Afghan presidential election, the candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani appeared to be leading a race in which a runoff election was increasingly certain, according to data released by the Independent Election Commission on Sunday. -- The commission warned that these early results, accounting for 10 percent of the votes cast in 26 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, could well change as tabulating continued over the coming weeks. The votes will be fully counted by April 24, and a runoff election would be held no sooner than May 28, officials have said. --- The results could well be affected, possibly significantly, by widespread fraud at the polls. The election complaints commission said on Sunday that it had received so many serious fraud complaints that it might have to extend the time needed to adjudicate them. The commission said 870 incidents of fraud had been classified as serious enough to affect the outcome of the April 5 election, more than the 815 recorded in 2009. -- The early results prompted an outcry from the six candidates who did not rank among the top two. After meeting privately to discuss the figures, they issued a joint statement rejecting the partial results as premature, and described the election commission’s decision to release them as an “unforgivable crime.” --- Later, the campaign of Zalmay Rassoul, a former foreign minister who was believed to have the quiet support of President Hamid Karzai, issued a separate, and far milder, statement calling on the commission to “transparently distinguish valid votes from fraudulent ballots and not compromise the actual votes of the Afghan people.” --- With about half a million votes counted, Mr. Abdullah was leading with 212,312, or 41.9 percent of the total, followed by Mr. Ghani with 190,561, or 37.6 percent. Mr. Rassoul had 9.8 percent, and Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf, a warlord and former member of Parliament, had 5.1 percent. -- Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani, the head of the election commission, warned that “these results are changeable — it is possible that one candidate is the front-runner in today’s announcement but the next news conference may be another candidate as the front-runner.” -- In addition, some votes may be disallowed. “We are investigating fraudulent votes very carefully, and there’s a strong possibility that some of the vote will be disqualified,” Mr. Nuristani said. --- Even before the results were in, the apparent losing candidates were negotiating with Mr. Abdullah in an effort to form coalitions in a runoff. -- Mr. Ghani’s and Mr. Abdullah’s campaigns each had confidently predicted that it would win at least 50 percent of the vote in the first round. -- After the results were announced, Mr. Abdullah seemed in no mood to start celebrating, despite being the front-runner. “It’s the beginning of the counting process,” he said at his house and campaign headquarters. “Whether the remaining part of the process works in a transparent and fair manner remains to be seen.” -- Mr. Abdullah and President Karzai met on Thursday to discuss the election. “He said that whatever the outcome, the winner will be congratulated by him,” Mr. Abdullah said. - More, NYTimes, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/world/asia/partial-afghan-election-results-show-runoff-likely.html?hp&_r=0

Abdullah, Ghani lead in partial Afghan vote tally --- KABUL, Afghanistan — Two clear front-runners emerged in Afghanistan’s presidential election as partial results released Sunday showed a tight race that increasingly appears destined for a runoff vote. -- Both candidates promise a fresh start with the West, vowing to sign a security pact with the United States that has been rejected by President Hamid Karzai, but their fierce rivalry has raised the possibility of divisive campaigning in what so far has been a relatively peaceful vote. -- With 10 percent of the ballots counted, Abdullah Abdullah, who was Karzai’s main rival in his fraud-marred re-election in 2009, had 41.9 percent of the vote. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a former finance minister and World Bank official, followed with 37.6 percent. Zalmai Rassoul, another former foreign minister widely considered as Karzai’s pick, was a distant third with 9.8 percent. -- Officials cautioned the vote count could change as full preliminary results won’t be due until April 24, but the early numbers suggest none of the eight candidates likely will get the outright majority needed to avoid a runoff. -- Shortly after officials announced the results, Abdullah told The Associated Press he has held talks with Rassoul but it was premature to discuss a possible alliance. The 53 year old said he will seek a unity government if elected, but he only saw one role for Ghani. -- “Dr. Ghani could serve as a loyal opposition. That’s also a service to the nation,” Abdullah said in an interview at his home in Kabul. --- Ghani, however, remained confident that he would be in first place at the final tally. He dismissed talk of a political deal to avoid a runoff, saying he would run in a second round if needed. -- “We are in a 100-minute game and we’ve only done 10 minutes,” he said. He noted that he and Abdullah are only a little over 21,000 votes apart and millions of votes remain to be counted. -- The chairman of the Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani, also said it was too soon to predict the outcome. “Maybe today one candidate looks strong. Tomorrow, maybe another will pull ahead,” he said. -- Final results are to be declared in mid-May once complaints of fraud are fully investigated. --- Ahmadzai, who chaired a commission overseeing the transition of responsibility for security from the U.S.-led coalition to Afghan forces, also has said he would sign the agreement shortly after taking office. -- The 64-year-old academic also ran for president in 2009 but received just 3 percent of the vote. He has gained popularity among many Afghans looking for a candidate who is not tied to the country’s troubled past and promises change. --- Rassoul issued a statement later Sunday saying he had met with the other five candidates. -- “Our team has confidence in the electoral process while calling on the electoral commissions to transparently distinguish valid votes from fraudulent ballots and not compromise the actual votes of the Afghan people,” Rassoul said. --- “These elections and their results are not legitimate. The country is occupied and there is fighting in the big cities. The winner and the loser are both criminals,” Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said. --- The results released Sunday were from 26 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and represented just over 500,000 ballots, Nouristani said. Abdullah, who came in second to Karzai in the disputed 2009 election, had 212,312 votes. Ghani had 190,561 and Rassoul trailed with 49,821 votes. Numbers for the other five candidates were not announced. - More, Associated Press, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/nearly-1900-fraud-complaints-in-afghan-election/2014/04/13/6c111e60-c2f7-11e3-9ee7-02c1e10a03f0_story.html

عبدالله و اشرف غنی پیشتاز نتایج مقدماتی انتخابات افغانستان --- کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان نتیجه شمارش ۱۰ درصد از آرای انتخابات ریاست جمهوری افغانستان را اعلام کرد. -- این نتایج از شمارش آرای ۲۶ ولایت افغانستان به دست آمده است. -- یوسف نورستانی، رئیس این کمیسیون گفت که نتایج اعلام شده امروز، ممکن است پس از بررسی شکایت‌های انتخاباتی و شمارش مابقی آرا، تغییر کند. -- بر اساس آمار اعلام شده، عبدالله عبدالله، وزیر خارجه پیشین و رهبر اپوزیسیون و به دنبال او اشرف غنی احمدزی، وزیر مالیه/دارایی پیشین، دو تن از هشت نامزد شرکت کننده در انتخابات ۵ آوریل، تا کنون بیشترین رای را از آن خود کرده‌اند. -- مقامات کمیسیون انتخابات افغانستان امروز در نشست خبری در کابل اعلام کردند که از مجموع ۱۰ درصد آرای انتخابات افغانستان که تا کنون شمرده شده است، عبدالله عبدالله ۴۱.۹ درصد و اشرف غنی ۳۷.۶ درصد را به دست آورده‌اند. -- بر اساس همین آمار، زلمی رسول وزیر خارجه پیشین ۹.۸ درصد و عبدالرب رسول سیاف، از رهبران جهادی افغانستان ۵.۱ درصد آرا را به خود اختصاص داده‌اند. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140411_zs_afghan_elections_result.shtml

Tax nightmare: What if you can't pay the IRS? --- (Reuters) - There are many tax-time nightmares, but here's one of the most common: You don't have the cash to pay what you owe on April 15. -- "A couple of weeks ago, I ended up talking a young woman off a ledge, as it were, because she discovered she had screwed up on her withholding and owed a bunch of tax," says Melody Thornton, a certified public accountant in Cardiff, California. -- If you find yourself in that situation, don't ignore the problem. The worst thing you can do is put off filing your return, without at least requesting an extension, because you're afraid of the bill. The penalties for not filing a tax return are far harsher than those for not paying what you owe. -- How bad could it get? The penalty for not filing a tax return normally runs 5 percent per month that your return is late, up to a maximum of 25 percent. That means if you owe $2,000, and don't pay it until the fall, you could owe a $500 penalty. -- The penalty for not paying is just a fraction of that, at 0.5 percent a month of the unpaid tax at April 15. -- Either way you'll also owe interest, though the current rate is a modest 3.0 percent a year. --- FILE AN EXTENSION -- The simplest thing to do is to file for a six-month extension, using Form 4868, to get some breathing room. If you can, send in a partial payment to reduce the penalties and interest due. -- "The most important thing is making sure that you have a valid extension," Thornton says. "If you file an extension and say, 'I owe nothing,' and then you do owe, that extension is not a valid extension." --- HOW TO PAY -- You'll need to decide whether to pay the Internal Revenue Service first - the standard advice - or to swallow the penalties and interest. -- What's ideal for you depends on what your options are for coming up with the funds. If you can scrimp a little to find the cash, borrow from friends or family, or have access to cheap credit (through a home-equity loan, for example), your best option is to pay the tax bill first. - More, Amy Feldman, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/10/us-column-feldman-taxes-idUSBREA3916P20140410

German Minister: 'US Operating Without any Kind of Boundaries' --- In an interview, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, 60, warns that American spying has become "boundless" and expresses sorrow that approval ratings for the United States have plummeted in Germany. --- SPIEGEL: Minister de Maizière, nine weeks ago at the Munich Security Conference you demanded that the United States provide detailed information about its spying activities in Germany. Have you received anything from them yet? -- De Maizière: The information we have received thus far is insufficient. That remains my opinion. The US' surveillance measures are largely a result of its security needs, but they are being implemented in an excessive, boundless fashion. - More, Spiegel Interview, at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-interior-minister-warns-us-spying-has-no-boundaries-a-963179.html

Can New Prime Minister Deliver 'Changement'? --- Prime Minister Manuel Valls' job is to save François Hollande's presidency. The new government has committed to some changes. But will it push through the painful reforms the country needs or will it chart a political collision course with Brussels? --- With his deep voice, prominent chin and black hair, Manuel Valls is a man who exudes an aura of authority. As France's new prime minister, it's an authority he will also have to put to the test. -- Valls, 51, is the Socialist Party's last hope. His problem is that many members of his party don't consider the son of a Catalan painter and a Swiss woman, who only became a French citizen at age 20, to be a true Socialist. At best, he's seen as a right-wing Social Democrat, if not Nicolas Sarkozy reincarnated. -- It's no surprise: Valls, after all, once stunned his party by stating that it should remove the word "socialist" from its name, because "it doesn't mean anything anymore." When he ran in the 2011 internal party primary, he advocated "unlocking the 35-hour work week" and a lowering of payroll taxes. He didn't even make it to 6 percent. He later became a popular interior minister by focusing on law and order -- targeting the Roma to the approval of the majority of the French public and the dismay of the left-wing establishment. -- Only two years ago, right after François Hollande's election as president, it was barely imaginable that Manuel Valls would someday become the prime minister of a Socialist government. But the president had no other option left: He had to appoint Valls out of sheer necessity. Although Hollande's popularity was recently pegged at 25 percent, 61 percent of voters approved of his selection of Valls. - More, Mathieu von Rohr in Paris - Der Spiegel, at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/french-prime-minister-manuel-valls-faces-tough-job-in-shadow-of-president-a-963271.html

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Anja Niedringhaus remembered for her ability to capture humanity amid chaos --- HOEXTER, Germany (AP) — Hundreds of mourners packed a church in central Germany on Saturday to remember Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed on assignment in Afghanistan last week after a life spent between the chaos of war and the serenity of her rural birthplace. -- Friends, family and colleagues of Niedringhaus packed Corvey Abbey in a medieval monastery in Hoexter. She was remembered for her ability to find humanity amid terrible events. -- A priest read out a letter from AP special correspondent Kathy Gannon, who was wounded in the April 4 attack that killed Niedringhaus. Gannon, 60, and Niedringhaus, 48, often teamed up on assignments. -- Gannon recalled some of Niedringhaus' last words: "I am so happy." -- "You were so happy," the letter read. "Your heart knew no bounds. You wanted to help everyone." -- A black casket topped with a row of white flowers was surrounded by wreaths near steps leading up to the altar, where a large photograph of Niedringhaus was placed. Bells pealed before the start of the service, and mourners sang "We Shall Overcome" and heard a rendition of "Somewhere over the Rainbow." -- After the service, a procession of mourners walked a few kilometers along the Weser River to the local cemetery for her burial on a bright, sunny day. -- AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said Niedringhaus loved to capture calm when there was chaos all around her. -- "And I believe that is why her pictures from terrible places resonated with so many people around the world," Carroll said. "She found their dignity. She found the quiet human moments that connected people in great strife to all the rest of us around the world." -- The Rev. Berndt Mueller's sermon highlighted the two worlds between which Niedringhaus moved: major world events from wars to summits and sporting contests, and the tranquil farm life of central Germany. -- "Restless Anja, spending her life between extreme poles," Mueller said. -- That same duality was present during the service, with family and townspeople sitting alongside reporters and photographers who travelled from around the world to remember Niedringhaus from shared assignments. --- Niedringhaus started her career as a freelance photographer for a local newspaper in Hoexter at the age of 16. Her coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall led to a staff position with the European Pressphoto Agency in 1990. Based in Frankfurt, Sarajevo and Moscow, she spent much of her time covering the brutal conflict in the former Yugoslavia. -- She joined the AP in 2002, and while based in Geneva worked throughout the Middle East as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan. She was part of the AP team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of Iraq, among many journalistic awards and honors for her work. In 2006-07, she studied at Harvard University under a Nieman Fellowship. -- Niedringhaus was killed when an Afghan police unit commander walked up to the car where she was sitting in the back seat and opened fire after yelling "Allahu Akbar," or "God is Great." She and Gannon were traveling in a convoy of election workers delivering ballots in the eastern city of Khost, under the protection of security forces, when the shooting happened. - More, at: http://ap.org/Content/AP-In-The-News/2014/AP-photographer-Anja-Niedringhaus-remembered-for-her-ability-to-capture-humanity-amid-chaos

ArticleComments (3)Gunmen kidnap 100 Pakistani villagers in northwest, government says --- (Reuters) - Gunmen stormed a village gathering in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday and kidnapped around 100 men, Pakistani government officials said. -- Officials said they suspected that the gunmen are Taliban who attacked because the villagers supported the government. -- Three local government officials told Reuters that the gunmen had initially taken around 100 villagers from a gathering in the remote region on the border of Orakzai and Khyber tribal areas, both of which border Afghanistan, but had later released around 40 of them. -- The officials all asked to remain anonymous because negotiations for the men's release were ongoing. -- "The government has no writ in those areas between Orakzai and Khyber tribal region but we are hearing from the local people that tribal elders had sent (elders) to the Taliban to release the kidnapped villagers without any condition," one official said. -- "Yes they kidnapped over 100 villagers but later released some of them. I hope they will free others as well as the tribal elders have been working on," the senior official said. - More, Jibran Ahmad, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/12/us-pakistan-taliban-kidnapping-idUSBREA3B0GL20140412

Libyan oil at heart of conflict with roots in country’s east --- AJDABIYA, Libya — For nine months, a Libyan militia has occupied massive oil compounds in the desert and along the eastern Mediterranean coast, obstructing this nation’s lifeblood. Last week, after days of negotiations, the armed group struck a deal with the government in Tripoli to open one of the ports. -- The group depicted its seizure of the ports and fields as a bid to bring oil revenue and more autonomy to Libya’s long-neglected east. But by crippling oil exports, the militia also exposed how little authority Libya’s U.S.-backed transitional government has over this fragile nation’s land, resources, institutions and — more broadly — its political future. -- The ongoing battle for power in Libya is also a battle for oil, the resource that made dictator Moammar Gaddafi, ousted in August 2011, famously wealthy. Whoever controls Libya’s oil could decide whether the country’s weak post-war government grows stronger or the country fractures into militia-governed territories. -- Libya’s energy sector accounts for 99 percent of the government’s income, according to U.S. government data, and the siege and other unrest — which caused oil output to fall by more than 83 percent — has jeopardized the government’s ability to pay state salaries and subsidies that it has used to keep its well-armed citizenry in check. -- Last month, the United States intervened, deploying Navy SEALs to seize a tanker that the militia had loaded with more than $30 million worth of Libyan crude and steered into international waters to try to sell. As the fiasco unfolded, the country’s elected congress ousted Prime Minister Ali Zeidan for his failure to stop it. - More, Abigail Hauslohner, Washingtonpost

The US Is Dragging Its Feet When It Comes to Helping Afghan Translators --- As the U.S. prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, Ibrahim Khan is just one of thousands of Afghan interpreters who helped U.S. forces, often under fire, and are still waiting for visas. -- As the United States brings tens of thousands of troops home from Afghanistan this year and attention shifts from the battlefield to care for the wounded, there is another group of veterans the country must not forget. -- Thousands of Afghan interpreters who have risked their lives alongside U.S. forces in Afghanistan now face death threats from the Taliban and other insurgent groups—and so qualify for U.S. visas. But the U.S. government has proved disappointingly slow in granting those visas. -- For the past three years, my husband and I have worked to try to secure U.S. visas for three courageous Afghan interpreters who worked with the U.S. military for much of the past decade, Ibrahim “Abe” Khan and his younger brothers, Ismail (“Ish”) and Imran. -- We’ve written letters, completed paperwork, and spent hours on the phone with visa offices to push through bureaucratic obstacles. When the process stalled, we appealed for help from State Department officials, to no avail. So we contacted Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose staff’s inquiries at the State Department were more fruitful. McCain’s interest helped put Ish and Imran on a fast track. But Abe’s more complicated case went nowhere. -- The bottom line: it appears that in many cases the visa applications languish in a labyrinthine security review process—and nothing short of the glare of media publicity and high-level intervention can pry them loose. The irony is that the Afghans have already proven their reliability and trustworthiness in the heat of battle. -- Abe, for example, is one of the bravest men I know. He risked his life alongside U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2012, including a firefight that earned one of his U.S. comrades the Medal of Honor. - More, Ann Scott Tyson, Daily Beast

The British army doesn’t want you to know what it did in Afghanistan --- The Defense Ministry's own report describes flaws in its Afghanistan operation. Now they want to keep it quiet -- Three years ago, the Defense Ministry commissioned a young officer to write a book about British military operations in Helmand Province, the volatile region in Afghanistan that has claimed hundreds of British casualties. -- This week, the book’s publishers handed out fliers instead of hardbacks at book launches as the ministry made a last-ditch effort to keep its own history from going to press. -- The author, former reserve Captain Mike Martin, 31, was forced to resign from the army to publish an account that offers unsparing criticism of the intelligence flaws and institutional failures he found in the Helmand operations. --The military fought publication of “An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict” on the grounds that it includes classified materials, such as cables previously published by WikiLeaks. -- Nonsense, one retired army colonel says. -- “I read every word of every draft of each chapter,” said Alexander Alderson, who as head of counterinsurgency in Helmand was Martin’s boss in Afghanistan. -- “I was very conscious of the Official Secrets Act,” he said. “I’m satisfied, as someone who holds the very highest security clearance, that there’s absolutely nothing in what he’s saying that transgresses the Official Secrets Act.” -- “I don’t think embarrassment and institutional failure is covered by it,” he added. -- The book highlights devastating flaws in the army’s approach in Helmand. Its ignorance of the province’s language, culture and history stymied the mission and led to tribal leaders — “the greatest natural politicians I’ve ever come across,” Martin said — manipulating coalition forces to settle their own scores. -- “Our biggest failure was a failure to understand,” he said at a promotional event for the book Wednesday at London’s Royal United Services Institute. -- Western forces tend to view Afghanistan’s recent history as a series of distinct conflicts — the Soviet war, civil war, Taliban rule — whereas locals in Helmand see those decades as a single ongoing battle over land, water and other resources. -- Coalition forces paid dearly for failing to appreciate that history. More than 400 of Britain’s 448 casualties in Afghanistan died in Helmand. - More, GlobalPost. at: http://www.salon.com/2014/04/12/the_british_army_doesnt_want_you_to_know_what_it_did_in_afghanistan_partner/

حمید ګل وايي: بېنظیر راته وویل چې جلال اباد ونیسئ --- د پاکستان د آی ایس آی پخوانی مشر متقاعد جنرال حمید ګل په یوه تازه مرکه کې د یو شمېر اعترافونو ترڅنګ د افغانستان د راتلونکې په اړه وړاندوینې کړي دي. -- ده د پاکستان یوه خصوصي تلویزیون ته په مرکه کې وویل:« په ۱۹۸۹ میلادي کال بېنظیر بوټو راته وویل چې جلال اباد ونیسئ خو ما ورته وویل چې دا زموږ پالیسي نه ده، موږ پر کابل یوازې فشار راوړو.» --- حمید ګل، چې د افغانانو په منځ کې ډېر بد نام دی، دا څرګندونې وروسته له دې وکړې چې د پاکستان د پوخ د هماغه وخت لوی درستیز اسلم بېک اعتراف وکړ چې بېنظیر بوټو د پاکستان پوځ ته ویلي و چې جلال اباد ونیسي او د پاکستان بیرغ پکې نصب کړي. -- حمید ګل په دې مرکه کې، چې پاکستاني ورځپاڼو خپره کړې ده، د افغانستان په اړه وویل:« د افغانستان ټولې ډلې به په خپل منځ کې یووالی راولي، د افغانستان له انتخاباتو وروسته که هرڅوک واک ته ورسېده له امریکا سره به دوه اړخیزه امنیتي موافقه لاسلیک نه کړي، شورا به راوبولي چې د ټولو افغان ډلو استازي پکې برخه ولري ځکه چې درستې افغان ډلې جهادي افکار لري.» -- حمید ګل ادعا وکړه چې طالبانو قصداً نه غوښتل چې د افغانستان انتخابات ګډوډ کړي او حملې پرې وکړي کنې طالبانو حتي په کابل کې هم انتخابات ګډوډولی شوای. -- د متقاعد جنرال حمید ګل په وینا په افغانستان کې انتخابات د یوې معاملې په نتیجه کې وشول او که جوړجاړی نه وای شوی انتخابات نه شوای کېدای. -- د پاکستان د آی ایس آی دغه پخواني مشر په عین حال کې وویل چې د امریکایانو له وتلو وروسته به ژر په افغانستان کې د طالبانو حکومت جوړ شي. -- ده همداراز وویل چې د طالبانو د حکومت د جوړېدو هدف یوازې افغانستان ته د ملا عمر بېرته ستندا نه ده بلکې د شریعت بېرته ستنېدا ده. -- حمید ګل وویل چې د افغانانو یوه ځانګړتیا دا ده چې په خپل منځ کې جنګېږي خو په عین حال کې له یو بل سره اړیکې هم ساتي، دوی به ژر یوه ملي شورا وروبولي او دا شورا به د جرګې په نوم نه یادوي. -- ده همداراز وویل چې د امریکا له لوري په افغانستان کې جوړ شوی نظام به کاملاً ختم شي. --د حمید ګل اشاره هغه وضیعت ته وه چې د نجیب الله د رژیم له پرزېدو وروسته په افغانستان کې رامنځته شو. - تاند

Pay gap: How salaries compare by gender for federal employees --- Women working for the federal government earn less than men overall but the gap is shrinking and most of the difference is due to women being more concentrated in occupations that are lower-paying, a government report issued Friday found. -- The report from the Office of Personnel Management shows an overall gender pay gap for white-collar occupations of 12.7 percent as of 2012, down from 19.8 percent in 2002 and 30 percent in 1992. However, it added that all but 3.8 percentage points of the 2012 gap can be explained by differences in occupation and certain other factors. -- “The differences in the distribution of males and females across occupational categories appear to explain much of the pay gap,” the report says. -- OPM’s report — which shows a closing gap but still significant work to do — caps a week of intense debate over the issue of gender pay equity. On Tuesday, President Obama issued two executive orders meant to push federal contractors on pay equity, a move that drew praise from advocates and criticism from conservatives who debated the legitimacy of a pay gap between men and women and accused the administration of pandering to female voters for the November midterm elections. -- Also, the Senate this week failed to muster the needed 60 votes to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act that would have strengthened employee protections under the Equal Pay Act. Obama’s orders require government contractors to report on salaries they pay by gender and bar them from retaliating against employees who discuss salaries among themselves. -- The raw pay gap number for the federal workforce falls well below the 23 percent figure that the White House and some outside groups commonly use as the overall difference between male and female salaries, a figure that some others criticize for not taking into account differences such as work experience and hours of work. -- OPM said that while its study “shows that some portion of the male-female pay gap is unexplained—that is, not explained by the factors included in our analysis—that does not mean that the unexplained gap is necessarily attributable to discrimination.” - More, Eric Yoder, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/04/11/how-salaries-compare-by-gender-for-federal-employees/

اعلام نتایج قسمی انتخابات افغانستان به تعویق افتاد --- نتایج به دست آمده از شمارش بخشی از آرای انتخابات ریاست جمهوری افغانستان که قرار بود امروز شنبه ۲۳ حمل/فروردین اعلام شود، تا فردا به تعویق افتاد. -- نور محمد نور، سخنگوی کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان روز گذشته در یک نشست خبری در کابل گفته بود که تاکنون حدود ۲۰ الی ۲۵ درصد از آرای شمرده شده، وارد سیستم مرکزی این کمیسیون شده است. -- قرار بود امروز نتیجه ۵ تا ۱۰ درصد این آرا اعلام شود. -- اما گفته می‌شود اعضای کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان، بعد از بیشتر از ۷ ساعت جلسه در پشت درهای بسته، نتوانستند به توافقی در زمینه اعلام این نتایج دست پیدا کنند. -- هنوز هیچ دلیل مشخصی برای تاخیر در اعلام این نتایج از سوی مسئولان کمیسیون ارائه نشده است. -- خبرنگار بی‌بی‌سی در کابل می‌گوید در تماس‌هایی که با منابع غیررسمی در داخل کمیسیون انتخابات افغانستان داشته به او گفته شده که احتمالا اختلاف نظر میان مدیران این کمیسیون در مورد چگونگی برخورد با آرای تقلبی و صندوق‌هایی که ادعا می‌شود به صورت غیرقانونی پر شده و مطرح شدن احتمال دخالت‌های بیرونی در امور کمیسیون، باعث به تاخیر افتادن اعلام این نتایج شده است. -- با این حال مقام‌های کمیسیون انتخابات افغانستان گفته‌اند که از آرای مردم حفاظت خواهند کرد. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140412_fm_afg2014_election_part_result_delayed.shtml

U.S. blocks Iran’s pick as envoy to U.N., setting up new confrontation --- The Obama administration said Friday that it would block Iran’s nominee as ambassador to the United Nations from entering the United States, setting up a new confrontation with Tehran just as relations with the Islamic republic appeared to be improving. -- The decision to bar entry to the diplomat, who was allegedly involved in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, followed intense political pressure on the administration from Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. But it also marked a rare instance in which Washington has effectively vetoed another country’s preferred choice as envoy to the United Nations. -- Iran quickly condemned the move. -- “It is a regrettable decision by the U.S. administration, which is in contravention of international law, the obligation of the host country and the inherent right of sovereign member states to designate their representatives to the United Nations,” said Hamid Babaei, spokesman for Iran’s U.N. mission in New York. - More, Anne Gearan, Washingtonpost

Putin’s official income took a hit in 2013 --- On Friday, the Kremlin released Vladimir Putin's annual income report, and there's some bad news for the Russian president: His income took a hit in 2013. -- The report says that Putin earned 3.6 million rubles last year (approximately $101,000), and declared relatively modest assets including apartments and Russian cars. That's far from nothing, of course (it would be around the 82nd percentile for households in the U.S.), but it is 1.6 million rubles less than 2012, when he earned almost 5.8 million rubles (about $187,000). It's also rather low for a Russian politician: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earned 4.26 million rubles ($119,288). -- What explains the drop? "In 2012 he did receive compensation for unused leave, but in 2013 there was no compensation," Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Interfax. He has also lost the income of his now ex-wife Ludmilla, who had earned a little less than $4,000 in 2012. --- Even in 2012, Putin's salary was no match for Barack Obama's: U.S presidents usually have a salary of about $400,000 a year, and Obama's estimated net worth was between $2.8 million and $11.8 million in 2010. But don't feel too sorry for Putin yet. Rumors of vast wealth have followed him for years, with one report in 2007 suggesting that he was worth $40 billion, and an even more outrageous one in 2012 that suggested he was worth $70 billion – that figure would almost certainly place him among the wealthiest people on Earth. -- There's certainly a lot of circumstantial evidence that Putin has money stashed away – as Maeve McClenaghan of the Bureau of Investigation noted in 2012, to all appearances he seems to live a luxurious life of yachts, palaces and pricey watches. And declaring a low income is no doubt politically advantageous for the Russian leader: Corruption is widely seen as a big problem in Russia, and Putin himself directs campaigns against it. --- The finances of world leaders have proven to be fascinating to the average reader, though rarely without controversy (a recent WorldViews post on the wealth of Nepali Prime Minister Sushil Koirala prompted a number of e-mails disputing Koirala's assets declaration). But do they actually matter? In the case of Russia at least, it's food for thought. Last month, when asked whether U.S. sanctions could target the Russian president, prominent sanctions supporter and fund manager Bill Browder told The Post "I don't see why not." After the last round of sanctions, the Kremlin was forced to deny any links between Putin and Bank Rossiya, the only company sanctioned. -- Putin decided to show solidarity by moving his own salary to the bank, according to Russian media reports. - More, Adam Taylor, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/04/11/putins-official-income-took-a-hit-in-2013/

General Elections in Afghanistan - Possible Portents --- It seems to be the season for general elections. The one in Afghanistan has just concluded; the one in India will take nine days of polling to conclude, while the legislative elections in Indonesia have also been initiated. This blog will therefore focus on the presidential elections in Afghanistan and what it portends for that country, for its neighbors, and for the U.S.-led coalition coming to the end of an exhausting war with the Taliban elements. Both sides have battled each other for over 12 years without either side having won or lost. -- The first noteworthy and heartening feature of the elections to elect a president in Afghanistan is the fact that it passed off relatively peacefully, notwithstanding Taliban threats to disrupt it. Considering that such an exercise has been conducted only twice before, in 2004 and 2009, both times when Hamid Karzai was elected president, the Afghans can rightly revel in this achievement. Also, unless something really untoward happens, the election will be the precursor of a peaceful transfer of power which is a new phenomenon in modern Afghan history which has had its share of coups and assassinations. - More, S. Azmat Hassan - Huffpost, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/s-azmat-hassan/afghanistan-elections_b_5126996.html?utm_hp_ref=afghanistan

دورنمای اقتصادی افغانستان پس از انتخابات --- پس از برگزاری انتخابات ریاست جمهوری، فعالیت های اقتصادی در افغانستان بهبود یافته و نگرانی سرمایه گذاران رفع شده است. این مطلب را معین انکشاف سکتور خصوصی و صنایع وزارت تجارت و صنایع افغانستان به صدای امریکا گفت. متصل کومکی می گوید که در دو - سه روز گذشته، ارزش افغانی در برابر اسعار خارجی بلند رفته و "سرمایه گذاران که به دلیل تبلیغات مخالفین تشویش داشتند، اکنون اطمینان حاصل کردند که اتفاقی نمی افتد و روشن است که سرمایه گذاری در آینده افزایش پیدا می کند." آقای کومکی هم چنین اضافه کرد که شرایط برای سرمایه گذاری در افغانستان مساعد است و هیچ تبعیضی برای سرمایه گذاران خارجی و داخلی وجود ندارد. -- اما خانجان الکوزی، معاون اتاق های تجارت افغانستان، به این باور است که برای ایجاد تغییر در عرصۀ سرمایه گذاری افغانستان، هنوز بسیار زود است. در این حال، شماری از سرمایه گذاران فساد و ناامنی را دلیل عمدۀ بازدارندۀ تغییرات در بخش خصوصی عنوان می کنند. شفیع نورزی رئیس نورزی گروپ، به رادیو آشنا گفت که در موجودیت فساداداری و نبود امنیت، متشبثین جرات سرمایه گذاری را در افغانستان نخواهند کرد. -- به باور رئیس نوروزی گروپ، با تهدید های همه روزه و نبود امنیت "بالای دولت اعتماد نشده و بین دولت و مردم اصلا اعتماد وجود ندارد." پس از سقوط طالبان در سال ۲۰۱۱ میلادی، فعالیت های اقتصادی افغانستان چشم گیر بوده است، ولی رشد اقتصادی در آن کشور بیشتر متکی به کمک های جامعه بین المللی می باشد. -- شماری از تحلیلگران اقتصادی به این باورند که حکومت افغانستان به منظور افزایش سرمایه گذاری توجه لازم به خرج نداده و این امر سبب شده تا افغانستان به یک جامعه مصرفی مبدل شود. بر اساس احصائیه که از سوی مقامات حکومتی و سازمان های بین المللی فعال در افغانستان ارایه شده، صادرات آن کشور در سال ۲۰۱۳ میلادی، به کمتر از ۵۰۰ ملیون دالر میرسد، در حالیکه وارادات آن به بیش از ۶ ملیارد دالر امریکایی تخمین شده است. یعنی واردات افغانستان ۱۲ برابر صادرات آن کشور است. -- علاوه بر مشکلات امنیتی و فساداداری، موجویت پروسه های پیچیده و طولانی اداری حکومت افغانستان، از دیگر عواملی است که سبب دلسردی سرمایه گذاران به خصوص سرمایه گذاران خارجی شده است. بر اساس گزارش شاخص های تجارت و سرمایه گذاری بانک جهانی، در بین ۱۸۵ کشور، افغانستان در رده ۱۶۲ قرار دارد، که خود نماینگر وضعیت نا مساعد برای سرمایه گذاران است - صدای امریکا

Moscow turns off Voice of America radio --- MOSCOW – In an unusually sharp and public rebuke, the U.S. Embassy criticized Russia Thursday for cutting off Voice of America radio transmissions in Moscow, which it described as part of an effort to limit independent media here. -- The refusal to renew an AM broadcasting license for VOA comes as Russia has been assailed by officials in neighboring Ukraine for using state-controlled media to present what they say is inflammatory and distorted coverage of the new government there. -- Voice of America, financed by the U.S. Congress and overseen by an agency called the Broadcasting Board of Governors, was forced off the air at the end of March after Dmitry Kiselyov, the head of Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) Information Agency, wrote a terse refusal to a request for a license renewal saying, “We are not going to cooperate.” -- Kiselyov also has a Sunday evening television show recapping the week’s news that has presented Ukraine as overrun by Fascists bent on the destruction of Russian speakers in the eastern part of the country, where small but well-organized groups of pro-Russian protesters have taken over government buildings in three cities this week. He also has described Russia as the only country capable of reducing the United States to “radioactive ash.” -- In March he was put on a sanctions list, barring him from travel in European Union countries, because of what the EU called his role in “the government propaganda supporting the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine." -- VOA had been broadcasting news in Russian and English lessons on 810 AM in Moscow. It plans to continue operating digitally and by satellite. In 2012, the other U.S.-financed station, Radio Liberty, lost its AM license. It also broadcasts by satellite and on the Internet now. -- “In the last year, the Russian Government has passed laws imposing unprecedented censorship and restrictions on media and online publications,” the U.S. Embassy statement said, adding that the Kremlin had turned "the respected news wire service Ria Novosti into a propaganda service." - More, Kathy Lally, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/moscow-turns-off-voice-of-america-radio/2014/04/10/9c184fd8-8362-43fd-9dc0-26a80f849a0e_story.html

US refuses visa for Iran's UN envoy choice Hamid Aboutalebi --- The White House has refused to issue a US visa to Iran's nomination for UN ambassador, who was involved in seizure of the US embassy in 1979. -- The decision in effect bars Hamid Aboutalebi from taking up the role at the UN, which is based in New York. -- Mr Aboutalebi was linked to the student group that took dozens of people hostage at the embassy in Tehran. -- President Barack Obama has come under intense pressure from the US Congress not to allow him to enter the country. -- Earlier this week, the White House told the Iranian government its selection of a one-time student revolutionary to be UN ambassador was "not viable". -- A spokesman for Iran's mission to the UN, Hamid Babaei, described the decision as "regrettable" and said it contravened international law. --- The US House of Representatives and the Senate have both voted in favour of a bill barring Mr Aboutalebi from the US. It still requires the signature of the president before it can become law. -- Iran says Mr Aboutalebi is one of its most experienced diplomats and stands by his nomination. -- White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Friday the UN and Iran had been told "that we will not issue a visa to Mr Aboutalebi". -- He did not say whether President Obama would sign the bill but said the president shared the sentiments of Congress. --- In an interview with an Iranian news site last month, Mr Aboutalebi said he was not part of the group that took over the US embassy and was only later asked to translate for the students. -- The 52 Americans were held for 444 days during the crisis. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26994936

An Afghan girl injured by a stray grenade returns home --- A young girl, badly wounded by a stray grenade in Afghanistan, has finally returned home after treatment in the United States. -- Seven-year-old Shah Bibi took the full force of the blast in an area where villages are frequently caught in the crossfire between the Taliban and Afghan Army. -- It is the same region where just last week two western female journalist were shot - one of them fatally. -- The BBC's Karen Allen has been following Shah Bibi's progress. - Moire, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26991036

Friday, April 11, 2014

روزنامه‌های کابل: چهارشنبه،۲۰ حمل --- روزنامه دولتی انیس کنکور را چالش فرا روی جوانان افغانستان خوانده و نوشت که در سال ۱۳۹۳ خورشیدی ۲۲۵ هزار نفر در آزمون سراسری کنکور افغانستان شرکت کرده بودند که ۵۵ هزار به مراکز آموزش عالی و ۵۵ هزار دیگر نیز به مراکز آموزش نیمه عالی راه یافتند. -- این روزنامه افزوده که ۲۵ هزار نفر نیز به دانشگاه های خصوصی راه یافته‌اند. -- انیس تاکید کرده که مشکلات زیادی فراروی جوانان کشور قرار دارد که می‌توان به کمبود مواد درسی، نبود آزمایشگاه‌های مجهز و کمبود استادان دارای آموزش عالی و فنی اشاره کرد. --- روزنامه جامعه باز نیز نوشت که دانشگاه در افغانستان نزدیک به یک سده عمر دارد؛ اما دستاوردهای علمی آن در مقایسه با این پیشینه چندان در‌خور توجه نیست. دانشگاه امروز، از بسیاری جهات شباهت زیادی با دانشگاه ندارد و دچار مشکلات بنیادی است. -- این روزنامه افزوده است که در سال‌های اخیر، زیاد از اصلاح و دگرگونی نظام آموزش عالی کشور سخن گفته‌ شد، در واقعیت امر هیچ دگرگونی امیدوارکننده‌ای در این حوزه حساس و سرنوشت‌‌ساز صورت نگرفته است. -- نویسنده جامعه باز معتقد است که در قدم اول دانشگاه‌های افغانستان از حیث کادر و نیروی علمی در سطح بسیار نازلی قرار دارد. در قدم دوم متون و مواد آموزشی مشکل دیگر این دانشگاه ها است، زیرا تاکنون در دانشگاه‌های افغانستان تولید متون علمی و آموزشی نه رایج بوده است و نه ممکن. - More, BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140409_k05_kabul_press.shtml

Controversy flares as Condoleezza Rice joins Dropbox board --- The appointment of ex-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the board of technology firm Dropbox is being criticised by some service users. -- Protests on social media say she is a controversial figure after revelations of widespread wiretapping on US citizens during her time in office. -- A petition has been launched inviting supporters to boycott the firm. -- However some analysts claim the bigger concerns for the file-sharing company are competing services. -- Following the launch of Mailbox for Android and the wider implementation of Dropbox for Business, the company also announced the addition of Condoleezza Rice as a new board member. --- Ms Rice, who served as former President George W Bush's Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009 and National Security Adviser 2001 - 2005, was appointed by the company to expand its global footprint, according to its official blog. -- However, this has been condemned by some Dropbox users who have launched a campaign. -- Voicing concerns on social media, some have said it is inappropriate for the file-sharing company to hire Ms Rice, accusing her of being involved in widespread wiretapping during her time in office. --- Those pressing Dropbox to revoke Ms Rice's appointment are using the hashtag #DropDropbox in an attempt to boycott the company. A petition has also been created which amassed approximately 3,000 signatures in its first few hours. -- Another site said: "This is deeply disturbing, and anyone - or any business - who values ethics should be concerned," before listing a number of Dropbox alternatives for those who wish to boycott the company. -- It also says Ms Rice should not hold power at Dropbox because of her role in the Iraq war. --- However, Chris Green, Principal Technology Analyst of Davies Murphy Group, told the BBC that most users probably wouldn't be concerned over Ms Rice's appointment. -- "The vast majority of the company's 275 million users are unlikely to be swayed or concerned by the short-term negative PR that Condoleezza Rice's appointment is generating for Dropbox," he said. -- "The backlash is fuelled far more by pent-up anger at the administration she served in than a genuine concern for the security of Dropbox users' data. -- The bigger concern for Dropbox, says Mr Green, is the growing competition it faces, which includes big names such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon. -- All of them "are offering competing services with either more free storage or more compelling commercial packages than Dropbox offers." -- The company has yet to release an official statement addressing the backlash, but a recent Dropbox blog post said: "We're honoured to be adding someone as brilliant and accomplished as Ms Rice to our team." - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26987980

Jeb, the Ambivalent Bush -- 'Dynasty' may prove a lesser complication than his views on education and foreign policy. --- Early in the 2012 presidential cycle, a friend and former staffer of Jeb Bush observed to me, bitterly, that this smart, capable man wasn't included in the names of potential GOP nominees for only one reason: His name was Bush. I said that's true, but it's also true that he got his chance in politics because his name was Bush. He inherited the fame, the money lines and support, and made a career of them. There's a rough justice in life, you have to roll with it. - More, Peggy Noonan, WSJ, at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303603904579493743795056058?mod=Opinion_newsreel_1

آریا: زمین ها در افغانستان از سوی افراد سرشناس غصب شده اند --- اداره مستقل اراضی افغانستان می گوید، اکثر شهرک های موجود در این کشور بالای زمین های غصب شده اعمار شده اند. مسوولین اداره مستقل اراضی افغانستان می گویند، اسناد بیش از سه صد و پنجاه و پنج شهرک اعمار شده در کشور، خالی از نواقص نیستند. آنان می گویند، این شهرک ها بالای دو صد و شصت و دو هزار و پنج صد و سی و هفت جریب زمین اعمار گردیده اند. -- عبدالحمید آریا سرپرست اداره مستقل اراضی افغانستان در صحبت با رادیو آزادی گفت، این شهرک ها باید در محدوده یک صد و نو هزار و دوصد و شصت و نه جریب زمین ساخته می شدند. آقای آریا گفت اکثر این زمین ها از سوی افراد مسلح غیرمسوول، زورمندان و افراد با نفوذ محلی غصب گردیده اند: «شهرک ها تا یک حدی اسناد آن تکمیل شده، اما در آن اضافه ستانی وجود دارد و بالای زمین دولت پیشروی کرده اند، اگر داشتند 10 جریب، 15 جریب گرفته اند. این شهرک ها از طرف اشخاص سرشناس غصب می گردد. اشخاصی که افراد مسلح بیشتر داشته، کسانیکه با استفاده سلاح دولتی یا غیردولتی از آن استفاده می کند، دقیق گفته نمی توانیم در کل همه شهرک ها مشکل دارند.» -- آقای آریا موجودیت ناامنی را عامل عمده غصب زمین در افغانستان عنوان کرد. وی هم چنان افزود صد ها قطعه مکتوب را به هدف رسیده گی قضایای غصب زمین به ارگان های مربوط فرستاده اند اما تا کنون جوابی دریافت نکرده اند. در عین حال آقای آریا گفت، در نتیجهء تلاش های اداره مستقل اراضی افغانستان ظرف چهار سال گذشته چهارصد هزار جریب زمین از نزد غاصبان استرداد شده است. -- به اساس معلومات ادارهء مستقل اراضی افغانستان، سه صد و پنجاه و پنج شهرک موجود در کشور در ولایات کابل، قندهار، قندز، تخار، پکتیکا، خوست، هلمند، غزنی، پروان، ننگرهار، بلخ و هرات اعمار شده اند. در عین حال رئیس پیشین ادارهء عالی مبارزه با فساداداری می گوید، در خصوص غصب زمین ها در افغانستان چور ملی روان است. عزیزالله لودین در صحبت با رادیو آزادی گفت، در دورهء کار اش دوسیه های زیادی را در رابطه به قضایای غصب زمین به لوی څارنوالی فرستاده بود، اما هیچ جوابی در خصوص آن دریافت نکرد. وی موجودیت فساداداری را عامل عمده افزایش غصب زمین در کشور خواند: «در افغانستان از این ناحیه یک چور ملی روان است، هر کس که قدرت داشت تلاش می کند تا زمین به دست بیاورد و آن را بفروشد و از آن ناحیه خود را پولدار بسازد و آن را به خارج از افغانستان بفرستد کاش در داخل افغانستان سرمایه گذاری می کردند، دوسیه های زیادی به ما ارسال گردیده بود ما همه دوسیه ها را بررسی کرده بودیم، اسناد شان را تکمیل کرده و به مراجع مربوطه ارسال کردیم متاسفانه تا حال در هیچ جای بررسی نشده است.» -- آقای لودین افزود در افغانستان بر علاوه زمین های زراعتی و دولتی، زمین سرتپه ها و سطح دریا ها نیز غصب شده اند. وی از حکومت خواست تا این مساله را به طور جدی بررسی کرده و زمین های دولتی و غیردولتی را از نزد غاصبین استرداد نماید. خواستیم تا در این رابطه با مسوولین لوی څارنوالی افغانستان نیز صحبت کنیم اما موفق نشدیم. در عین حال مسوولین شاروالی کابل در خصوص اعمار شهرک ها بالای زمین های غصب شده در شهر کابل نیز حاضر به تبصره نگردیدند. به اساس معلومات اداره مستقل اراضی افغانستان، در حال حاضر بیش از نه صد و هشتاد و شش هزار جریب زمین از سوی حدود شانزده هزار تن در سی و چهار ولایت کشور غصب شده است. -- مسوولین این اداره هم چنان گفته اند که نزدیک به سی و یک هزار جریب زمین از سوی یک صد و سی و نه ارگان دولتی غصب گردیده است. به اساس گزارش ها، موجودیت فساد گسترده اداری و نفوذ غاصبان در حکومت زمینه را برای غصب زمین های دولتی و غیردولتی مساعد ساخته است.گفته می شود که در سه دهه گذشته در افغانستان معضل غصب زمین در این کشور سیر صعودی اش را پیموده است. برخی از افراد بلندرتبه حکومتی، زورمندان محلی، شماری از قوماندانان جهادی و سرمایه‌ داران بزرگ، افرادی اند که بیشتر به غصب زمین در افغانستان متهم شمرده می شوند. - رادیو آزادی

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Egypt's Tahrir Square dream fades as Sisi builds power --- (Reuters) - In a courthouse near Cairo, a peremptory message hangs above the judge presiding over one of a series of trials involving Egypt's briefly powerful and now almost impotent Muslim Brotherhood. -- "In the name of God the Merciful", it reads, "Allah commands you to render trust to whom it is due, and when you judge between people to judge with justice". -- The chaotic scenes in the court do not appear to measure up. -- A metal cage held 33 members of the Brotherhood - outlawed as a terrorist organization after the army last July deposed Mohamed Mursi, the elected president who ruled in the Brotherhood's name for one tumultuous year. -- Among them was Mohamed Badie, supreme guide of the Brotherhood. It is the most influential mainstream Islamist organization in the world and its confrontation with the army-backed authorities in Cairo has created a country more divided than at any time since the group was founded in Egypt in 1928. -- Dressed in white robes and facing a string of charges, some of which carry the death penalty, the Brothers kept up a barrage of chants, from Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest) to "Down, down with military rule". -- The judge, heavily moustached and wearing black sunglasses, looked bored as he scornfully dismissed pleas from lawyers asking for more respectful treatment of their clients. -- The judge brusquely ordered defendants and lawyers to be shut up. Scuffles broke out. A phalanx of policemen separated the caged Brothers from lawyers and journalists. -- Badie then rose to proclaim that "the people will not accept an army tyrant", referring to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who carried out last July's coup after mass protests against the divisive Mursi and who recently resigned from the military to contest a presidential election on May 26-27. -- Before the curtain came down on this judicial mayhem, the Brotherhood's spiritual leader forecast the inevitable demise of Sisi, despite forecasts that he will win next month's election. --- It was thought scenes like this had been brought to an end when President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in the 2011 Tahrir Square revolt. But now history seems to be repeating itself, with the army bent on eradicating the Islamists militarily. -- Mubarak's army-backed dictatorship, the continuation of a police state established by Gamal Abdel Nasser with the ousting of the monarchy in 1952, had faced down an Islamist insurgency that targeted him, his ministers and tourists in the 1990s. --- In 30 years of Mubarak rule, military tribunals with scant respect for civil law sentenced 90 Islamist militants to death, of whom 68 were executed. In nine months of Sisi's army-led government, courts have condemned 529 Islamists to death. -- Nor was Egypt so polarized then as it is now. Over 1,000 Mursi supporters were shot dead after last July's coup, and some 16,000 Brothers, and leaders of the secular youth movement that sparked the Tahrir revolt, have been rounded up and jailed. --- Officials privately agree that Egypt needs not just the iron fist but a whole new outlook from its rulers, including an overhaul of the nation's religious and political institutions. -- The pent-up anger among the Tahrir Square youth, close watchers say, is likely to explode again if Sisi or his future government fail to create jobs in the Arab world's most populous country of 85 million people. -- "This country is known to turn on a sixpence very quickly. Sisi is now a total hero, he can be tomorrow's villain. He knows that," said a European diplomat. "I wouldn't want to be in his shoes." -- Sisi's security establishment has already destroyed nearly all opposition, Islamist and secular. Besides the 529 Islamists sentenced to death, almost 1,000 more have been brought before the courts. -- Defense lawyers say Egypt's judiciary is handing down politically motivated sentences to wipe out the Brotherhood, which won a series of elections after the fall of Mubarak. - MORE, Samia Nakhoul, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/11/us-egypt-brotherhood-insight-idUSBREA3A0E820140411

Hillary Clinton dodges shoe during Las Vegas speech --- (Reuters) - A woman hurled a shoe at Hillary Clinton on Thursday as the former secretary of state was delivering a speech at a Las Vegas hotel, but Clinton dodged it and continued with her remarks, a U.S. Secret Service spokesman said. -- Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie said the protester was not a ticketed guest for Clinton's speech at the Mandalay Bay hotel and had been spotted by Secret Service agents and hotel security guards before the incident. --- "As agents and hotel security approached her she threw a shoe and was immediately taken into custody by the Secret Service and hotel security," Ogilvie said. -- Footage of the incident broadcast by KTNV-TV showed Clinton, 66, crouching to dodge an object as she stood on stage. -- The Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reported that the former first lady joked about the incident as she continued her speech to some 1,000 people attending a metal recycling conference "Is that somebody throwing something at me?" Clinton asked, according to the Review-Journal. "Is that part of Cirque du Soleil?" -- The newspaper quoted Clinton as saying, "My goodness, I didn't know that solid waste management was so controversial." --- Mark Carpenter, a spokesman for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, which hosted the speech, said that the woman was not affiliated with the event. -- "Our staff denied her access before she later rushed past security. An ISRI staffer then stopped her as she approached the stage. She was then handed over to law enforcement," Carpenter said. --- The throwing of shoes at political figures is a form of protest in many parts of the world. In 2008 a shoe was hurled at then-President George W. Bush when he appeared at a Baghdad press conference with the Iraqi prime minister. -- Clinton, who lost the Democratic presidential nomination to then-Senator Barack Obama, said at a marketing conference in San Francisco earlier this week that she was thinking about running for president again in 2016. -- She has been giving speeches across the country since leaving the State Department last year. -- A hotel spokeswoman told Reuters she had no information on the episode, and a spokesman for Clinton did not immediately reply to a request for comment. - More, Dan Whitcomb, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/11/us-usa-clinton-protester-idUSBREA3925P20140411

امریکاییان بخاطر انتخاب رئیس جمهور افغان صبر کرده حقیقت ها را بپذیرند --- قوماندان سابق نیرو های امریکایی و ناتو در افغانستان می گوید، برگزاری انتخابات صلح آمیز در افغانستان نشان میدهد که مداخله امریکا در این کشور موثر بوده اما با آن هم نیاز است تا از تحمل کار گرفته شود. جنرال دیوید پیترویس در تبصره اش که در روزنامه وال استریت ژورنال چاپ شده اشتراک هفت میلیون افغان در انتخابات روز شنبه را موثر خوانده و گفته است: در انتخابات سال 2010 میلادی پنج صد رویداد امنیتی در سرتاسر افغانستان گزارش شده بود اما این بار تعداد رویداد های امنیتی یک صد و پنجاه بود. --- وی افزوده است که برگزاری انتخابات در افغانستان یک گام مهم بوده و نشان داد که در آن کشور قدرت بطور صلح آمیز می تواند از یک رئیس جمهور به رئیس جمهور دیگر منتقل شود. پیترویس با اشاره به اینکه ممکن برنده انتخابات ریاست جمهوری افغانستان به زودی معلوم نشود می گوید، مهم این است که امریکایی ها باید از تحمل کار گرفته و حقیقت ها را بپذیرند. -- دیوید پیترویس در ضمن اشاره به پروسه باقی ماندهء انتخابات افغانستان می نویسد، نتایج این انتخابات را یا اینکه کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان اعلان می کند، یا اینکه این انتخابات در بین دو کاندید پیشتاز به دور دوم می رود. وی افزوده که پروسه باقی مانده انتخابات آهسته و یقیناً که با اشتباهات همراه خواهد بود اما گفته است دلایل وجود دارند که بر اساس آن میتوان برای کامیابی این پروسه امیدوار بود. -- قوماندان سابق نیرو های امریکایی و ناتو در افغانستان تاکید کرده که انتقال قدرت بطور دیموکرات از یک رئیس جمهور به رئیس جمهور دیگر در افغانستان بدون قربانی 2300 عسکر امریکایی که در نقاط مختلف این کشور کشته شده اند ممکن نمی بود. به باور جنرال پیترویس قربانی های عساکر امریکایی، افغانستان را از یک دولت ناکام بسوی دیموکراسی سوق داده است. - رادیو آزادی

Crimea-happy Russians want Gorbachev to pay for loss of Soviet empire --- MOSCOW — Still radiant over their annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, some members of Russia’s parliament are more nostalgic than ever for the Soviet Union — and on the prowl for someone to blame for its loss. Why not 83-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev? -- Five deputies of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, have asked the nation’s prosecutor general to investigate Gorbachev, who was the president of the Soviet Union when it collapsed in 1991, and bring him to account, Russian media reported Thursday. -- Many Russians — especially the older and the poorer — have long harbored wistful feelings for their Soviet past. The acquisition of Crimea, however, has begun to change the national narrative, whetting the appetite for restoration of empire among the well-educated and informed, and even making the idea respectable. --- Yevgeny Fyodorov, a Duma deputy who belongs to the dominant United Russia party, told the Izvestia newspaper that the end of the Soviet Union had been a troublesome but unexamined issue for 23 years. The situation in Ukraine, he said, meant the effects of the Soviet demise could no longer be ignored — a reference to Moscow’s assertions that Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine are under threat. An investigation, he said, would shed light on “fifth columns” at work today. -- “And finally this will give an impetus to national liberation movements on the territory of the former Soviet Union,” Fyodorov said. -- Gorbachev, a hero in the West for allowing the peaceful fall of the Berlin Wall, has not been so loved here, where many people do indeed hold him responsible for the loss of empire. But talk of prosecution was more than the former president, who has had periodic health problems, was prepared to tolerate. -- He called Novaya Gazeta, a liberal newspaper he has helped support financially, and offered caustic comment Thursday on the investigation request. -- “Since all problems in Russia have apparently been solved, only one little case remains,” he said. “That is to jail Gorbachev.” -- There is little likelihood that Gorbachev will actually be prosecuted. President Vladimir Putin has shown scant interest in the idea of going after former presidents. One day, after all, he will become one himself. - More, Kathy Lally, washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/crimea-happy-russians-want-gorbachev-to-pay-for-loss-of-soviet-empire/2014/04/10/ffa0f545-8923-4acd-a016-4a25a937b32a_story.html

U.S. needs to plan for the day after an Iran deal --- David H. Petraeus is a former director of the CIA and a former commander of U.S. Central Command. Vance Serchuk is an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. -- Advocates of the effort to reach a negotiated settlement with Iran over its illicit nuclear activities have emphasized the benefits an agreement could bring by peacefully and verifiably barring Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. Skeptics, meanwhile, have warned of the risks of a “bad deal,” under which Iran’s capabilities are not sufficiently rolled back. -- Largely absent from the debate, however, has been a fuller consideration of the strategic implications a nuclear agreement could have on the U.S. position in the Middle East. -- Such an assessment must begin by considering the consequences of lifting the majority of sanctions on Iran — and of Iran resuming normal trade with the world’s major economies. This prospect is what provides our strongest leverage to persuade the Iranian government to abandon key elements of its nuclear program. -- But lifting sanctions would also lead to the economic empowerment of a government that is the leading state sponsor of terrorism. Indeed, even under crippling sanctions, Iran has managed to provide robust support to extremist proxies as part of its broader geopolitical agenda across the Middle East and beyond — activities antithetical to U.S. interests and to those of our closest allies. -- It is possible that a nuclear deal would pave the way to a broader detente in Iran’s relations with the United States and its neighbors. It is, however, more plausible that removing sanctions would strengthen Tehran’s ability to project malign influence in its near-abroad, including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, the Arabian peninsula and the Palestinian territories. -- Rather than marking the end of our long struggle with Iran, therefore, a successful nuclear deal could result in the United States and our partners in the Middle East facing a better-resourced and, in some respects, more dangerous adversary. -- This does not mean we should abandon diplomacy with Tehran. Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons ought to be our foremost priority, and a diplomatic agreement that truly bolts the door against that danger is worth potential downsides. Moreover, the alternative to successful diplomacy — military action — carries its own set of costs and risks to regional stability and the global economy. And military action holds less promise for decisively ending the nuclear threat than does a good negotiated accord. -- But we need to recognize there are genuine trade-offs involved in even the best possible nuclear deal — and start laying the groundwork for mitigating them. To that end, five actions should be considered. - More, David H. Petraeus and Vance Serchuk, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/us-needs-to-plan-for-the-day-after-an-iran-deal/2014/04/09/056ff992-bf4b-11e3-b195-dd0c1174052c_story.html?hpid=z3

Democracy Dividends from the Afghanistan Investment -- American sacrifices of 13 years paid off in a successful election. By late summer we may know how well. --- With an enthusiastic election turnout on Saturday, the Afghan people took a major step toward electing a new president—a crucial step for a young democracy seeking to demonstrate that it can peacefully pass power from one leader to another. This will be a first for Afghanistan, a country where most transitions have been violent. But we need to be patient and realistic as we watch and support this process as it plays out over the spring and summer. - More, David H. Petraeus And Michael E. O'Hanlon - WSJ, at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304640104579487573980641800

Four blood moons: Total lunar eclipse series not a sign of apocalypse --- There has been a lot of interest in an upcoming series of lunar eclipses that begins April 15. These are usually described as 'four blood moons' and taken by some to prophesy upcoming disasters. -- The total lunar eclipse of April 15 will begin a so-called tetrad series of eclipses that is making the rounds online as a potential harbinger of doom, due in part to a recent book on the four blood moons that makes the dubious claim. --- Astronomers rarely if ever use the term blood moon. When they do, they are usually using it as an alternate name for the Hunter's Moon, the full moon that follows the Harvest Moon, usually in late October. The Hunter's Moon, like the Harvest Moon, rises slowly on autumn evenings so that it shines through a thick layer of the Earth's atmosphere, and is colored red by Rayleigh scattering and air pollution. [Four Blood Moons: Lunar Eclipse Tetrad Explained (Video)] --- A lunar eclipse is something quite different. It occurs when the moon passes through the Earth's shadow.The Earth's shadow consists of two parts: a dark inner core called the "umbra," and a lighter outer part called the "penumbra." Rather than being truly dark, the inner shadow is usually tinted orange or red by light passing through the ring of atmosphere surrounding the Earth. -- Depending on the atmospheric conditions on Earth in the band of atmosphere through which the sun's light is passing, the umbra may take on a range of colors from light coppery-red to almost total black. The light illuminating an eclipsed moon is coming from thousands of sunsets and sunrises around the Earth. During some eclipses, these sunsets and sunrises are clear, and much light passes through; during others, clouds may block the light, causing a dark eclipse. --- On rare occasions, the light reaching the moon is exactly the color of blood, but there is no way of predicting this in advance. So there are no grounds to call any particular lunar eclipse a blood moon until it actually shows its color. --- Because the moon's orbit is slightly tilted with respect to the sun's path across the sky, most of the time the moon passes above or below the Earth's shadow, and no eclipse occurs. Sometimes it passes only through the penumbra and produces what is called a penumbral eclipse, a moon so lightly shaded that the casual observer might not even notice a difference. There were two such penumbral eclipses in 2013, on May 25 and Oct. 18. [Total Lunar Eclipses: Blood Red Moon Explained (Video)] -- Sometimes the moon only dips slightly into the central shadow, and it produces a partial lunar eclipse. One of these occurred last year, on April 25. -- The rarest of all lunar eclipses are those in which the moon passes through the darkest part of the shadow, a true total lunar eclipse. This last happened on Dec. 10, 2011. --- Four Blood Moons: The lunar eclipse tetrad - What is unusual about this month's lunar eclipse is that it is the first of a series of four total lunar eclipses in a row. Called a tetrad, such a series of four total eclipses in a row is a fairly rare event. The last such series happened in the years 2003 and 2004. It will only occur seven more times in the current century. -- So while a tetrad of total lunar eclipses is somewhat rare, it is not extraordinarily so, and probably nothing to make a fuss about. After all, the only thing that happens during a lunar eclipse is that the moon spends a couple of hours passing through the Earth's shadow, hardly something to be concerned about. -- Unfortunately, there are still many superstitious people in the world. Such is the case in the book "Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change" (Worthy Publishing, 2013) by John Hagee, which suggests a link between the new total lunar eclipse tetrad and biblical prophecy about the end times. - More, Geoff Gaherty , Starry Night Education, Space.com - at: http://local.msn.com/blood-moons-eclipse-series-not-a-sign-of-apocalypse

Frontrunner in Afghan vote rules out coalition government --- (Reuters) - A frontrunner to succeed Hamid Karzai as Afghanistan's president voiced the possibility of teaming up with a rival on Wednesday but ruled out forming a coalition government in order to avoid a second-round runoff. -- Preliminary tallies put former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah in the lead in parts of the capital Kabul. But it could be weeks before a countrywide winner emerges from the field of eight candidates because Afghanistan's rugged terrain and weak infrastructure make tallying all the ballots so difficult. -- Speaking to Reuters at his home on Wednesday, Abdullah said he met his rival, another ex-foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul, shortly after the April 5 election to discuss possibilities. -- "I had asked for that meeting. We had a good discussion. I will not go into the details of it but you can imagine that at this stage we are not talking about the weather or leisure," he said. -- "We have been in the same government in the old days, we have been friends for many years. So that is the personal part of it. The rest of it depends on the common understanding of certain subjects and certain policies." -- Abdullah has been noticeably more critical of the other frontrunner, ex-finance minister Ashraf Ghani. Asked if he could work with Ghani, he said with a tinge of sarcasm: "Mr Ghani has declared himself the winner. So let him absorb the victory." -- If none of the candidates gets more than 50 percent, a runoff will have to be held, at the earliest in late May, considerably prolonging the wait for a winner to be declared. --- Foreign donors, who are hesitant about bankrolling the Afghan government after the bulk of NATO troops leaves, will also closely scrutinize the composition of the country's future government to decide if they can work with the new team. - More, Maria Golovnina, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/09/us-afghanistan-election-idUSBREA381SC20140409

فیننشل ټایمز -- اشرف غني بې له کوم شکه د فغانستان راتلونکی ولسمشر دی --- دبریتانیا فیننشل ټایمز معتبرې ورځپاڼې نن په یوه راپور کې ویلي، سره له دې چې د شنبې د ورځې د انتخاباتو د رای شمېرلو په بهیر کې ځیني ستونزې شته خو په دې کې هیڅ شک نشته چې اشرف غني احمدزی به د افغانستان راتلونکی ولسمشر وي. -- فیننشل ټایمز وايي، درایو په اړه یو شمېر مسایل لا څرګند نه دي او دا هم معلومه نه ده چې په افغانستان کې به دلومړي ځل لپاره دیموکراتیک واک لېږد شفاف وي خو له دې سره سره اکثره خلک باور لري چې ښاغلی غنی غالباً دافغانستان نوی ولسمشر دی. -- ورځپاڼه له افغانستانه د نړیوالو ځواکونو وتلو او ورپسې ستونزمن پړاو ته، چې په اثر به یې په افغانستان کې د لوېدیځوالو پوځي رول او مالي پانګونه کمه شي، د ښاغلي غني راتلونکو ستونزو ته اشاره کوي او وايي که نوموړي دغو ستونزو ته اوږه ورکړه نو دا به لوی تحول وي. -- دفیننشل ټایمز دراپور له مخې، د یوه بهرني هیواد یوه حکومتي چارواکي، چې ښاغلی غني له کلونو راهیسي پېژني، وویل:«ده هیڅوک نه دي وژلي، پیسې یې نه دي غلا کړي او ډېر ارژتمن شخصیت دی. زما په نظر اشرف غني هغه څوک دی چې دا هیواد (افغانستان) ورته اړتیا لري.» -- ښاغلی غني او د ټیم ملګري یې وايي چې د انتخاباتو له ابتدايي پایلو داسي ښکاري چې خلکو په تېره بیا په ښاري سیمو کې زیات ګډون کړی خو د رای ورکولو په یو شمېر مرکزونو کې رایپاڼې کمې شوي او په یو شمېر ولسوالیو کې، چې امنیتي ځواکونو له وسله والو مخالفانو سره نښته کړې، د رای ورکولو مرکزونه ژر بند کړای شوي دي. -- دفیننشل ټایمز په باور داسي ښکاري چې د اشرف غني احمدزي په بري کې نه یوازې تواضع او د وینا قوت مرسته کړې بلکې د ګڼ شمېر افغان رای ورکوونکو په منځ کې دې احساس هم ورسره کومک کړی چې دتاریخ په دې پړاو کې افغانستان یو ه غښتلي او کارزماتیک شخصیت ته اړتیا لري چې د تېرو کلونو شخړې او کړکېچونه شاته پرېږدي. -- فیننشل ټایمز لیکلي، سره له دې چې ځیني خلک وايي چې اشرف غني ژر عصبي کېږي خو ده ویلي په بریالیتوب به مغروره نه شي او دا حوصله لري چې په قومي او سیمه ییزو شخړو کې ښکېل افغانان سره یو لاس کړي. -- ده ویلي:«زه له ځوانانو یا ښځو یا د دې پېچلې ټولنې له هرې بلې پرګنې سره خبرې کولی شم ځکه چې ما خپله کورنۍ دنده بشپړه کړې ده.» -- More, Ashraf Ghani displays winning swagger after Afghanistan pollclose by Michael Peel, at: FT.com

Afghan probe begins in attack on AP journalists --- KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan central government authorities on Wednesday began questioning the police commander who killed an Associated Press photographer and wounded an AP reporter, a day after he was transferred by helicopter to the capital — a rare case in which an Afghan officer or soldier who shot a foreigner was captured alive. -- Local security officials who spoke with the suspect after he was first detained said he seemed a calm, pious man who may have come under the influence of Islamic extremists calling for vengeance against foreigners over drone strikes. Witness and official accounts so far have suggested the shooting was not planned. -- But the Afghan Interior Ministry, which is overseeing the investigation, told the AP it won't speculate about a motive so early in its probe into the attack, which killed AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus and seriously wounded senior correspondent Kathy Gannon. --- The suspect, identified as a unit commander named Naqibullah, surrendered immediately after the attack Friday in front of dozens of security forces and election workers on a heavily guarded government compound in eastern Afghanistan. The shooting was the first known case of a security insider attacking journalists in Afghanistan, part of a surge in violence targeting foreigners. --- Niedringhaus and Gannon were traveling in their own car with an AP freelancer and a translator in a convoy of workers transporting election materials from Khost, the capital of the province of the same name on the border with Pakistan, to the outlying district of Tani. -- The convoy went first to the district government's headquarters. The two foreign correspondents spoke to and photographed Afghan policemen and soldiers in the area, witnesses said, but it started to rain and they were worried about their equipment so they got back into the backseat of their car to wait for the convoy to move to deliver ballots to a nearby village. -- The shooter, who was wearing his police uniform, approached the car and stuck the barrel of the AK-47 in the backseat window, shouted "God is great!" and started firing, according to the witnesses and officials. --- "The good thing is that he is alive in this case because usually in these kinds of incidents the shooter either is killed or he escapes from the scene," Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said Wednesday in an interview, referring to attacks by Afghan police or soldiers on foreigners. "But this time our police acted professionally and he was immediately arrested." - More, AMIR SHAH and KIM GAMEL, Huffpost, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20140410/as-afghanistan-shooting-investigation/?utm_hp_ref=world&ir=world

SETH G. JONES -- Books -- A Reporter Analyzes the Driving Role of Pakistan in the Afghan War --- On July 7, 2008, insurgents detonated a huge suicide car bomb outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 54 people, including an Indian defense attaché. The attack destroyed the embassy’s protective blast walls and front gates, and tore into civilians waiting outside for visas. -- On one level, the attack was merely one among many that occur across this war-torn country, terribly unfortunate but numbingly frequent. But there was something particularly insidious about this one. According to United States intelligence assessments, agents from Pakistan’s chief spy organization, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, were involved in planning the attack. After being briefed by American intelligence officials, President George W. Bush dispatched Stephen R. Kappes, the C.I.A.’s deputy director, to Pakistan. -- The involvement of the ISI in such a high-profile attack illustrates one of the most ignominious undercurrents of the war in Afghanistan and the subject of Carlotta Gall’s new book, “The Wrong Enemy”: the role of Pakistan. Ms. Gall, a reporter for The New York Times in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than a decade, beginning shortly after Sept. 11, is in an extraordinary position to write this important and long overdue book. -- At its core, “The Wrong Enemy” is a searing exposé of Pakistan’s involvement in the Afghan war, which Ms. Gall drives home in the book’s opening salvo. “Pakistan, not Afghanistan, has been the true enemy,” she pointedly writes. -- The book opens with the Taliban’s November 2001 defeat in Afghanistan, a striking blow to a group that had initially seized Kabul in 1996 with aid from the ISI and other Pakistan government agencies. By December 2001, however, some Pakistani officials began conspiring against the nascent Afghan government. In the Pakistan frontier town of Peshawar, more than 60 prominent insurgents and several well-known Pakistan military and intelligence figures met and plotted their revenge. -- “The Taliban leaders divided Afghanistan into separate areas of operations,” Ms. Gall notes. “The Taliban comeback was underway.” -- The Taliban then turned to the weighty task of building a base of operations. Many of their leaders settled in the bustling Pakistan city of Quetta, once an outpost of the British Empire that guarded the southern gateway to India from Afghanistan through the Bolan Pass. Eager to find Quetta’s newest squatters, Ms. Gall trekked there and found Taliban fighters willing to talk. -- Over the next several years, a sordid mix of Pakistan government officials, political parties and militant groups provided refuge and aid to the Taliban and other Afghan insurgents. According to Ms. Gall, the ISI even ran a special desk assigned to handle Osama bin Laden, a damnable accusation if true. (Ms. Gall credits an “inside source” and says she ran it by two United States officials who told her it was consistent with their conclusions.) This amalgam of support proved to be a lethal combination for the growing insurgency in Afghanistan that confounded United States policy makers. --- With its focus on Pakistan, “The Wrong Enemy” is a valuable contribution to a hefty body of work on the American war in Afghanistan that has become stale and somewhat hackneyed. It provides a raw, unvarnished and important look at one of the darkest and least understood parts of the Afghan war. -- “The Wrong Enemy” is not the first book to grapple with Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan. Others have done so, including Ahmed Rashid’s “Descent Into Chaos” (2008) and Barnett R. Rubin’s “Afghanistan From the Cold War Through the War on Terror” (2013). --- Still, “The Wrong Enemy” arrives at an auspicious time, just as the United States is ending its combat mission in Afghanistan. In a passionate plea, Ms. Gall argues in the final chapter that the United States is turning its back on Afghanistan because American leaders are tired of war and mistakenly view Afghanistan as lost. “That is the wrong way to look at the problem,” she writes with palpable emotion. “Pakistan is still exporting militant Islamism and terrorism, and will not stop once foreign forces leave” Afghanistan. --- These words have a nostalgic ring. In 1979, the Pakistani leader Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq tellingly remarked to the director-general of the ISI that “the water in Afghanistan must boil at the right temperature.” As the United States ends its combat mission, the cold reality is that Afghanistan’s future hinges just as much on Pakistan as it does on what happens inside Afghanistan’s borders. -- THE WRONG ENEMY, America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014, By Carlotta Gall -- MORE, NYTimes, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/10/books/the-wrong-enemy-by-carlotta-gall.html

اداره امور: آماده انتقال قدرت به حکومت بعدی هستیم --- اداره امور و دارالانشای شورای وزیران اعلام کرده است که کار روی انتقال قدرت به حکومت بعدی که در نتیجه انتخابات روز شنبه ۱۶ حمل روی کار خواهد آمد٬ به شدت جریان دارد. --- این اداره در گزارشی که به جلسه کابینه ارایه کرده گفته است که روند انتقال قدرت در وزارت ها و ادارات دولتی به شدت جریان دارد و به گفته این اداره٬ قرار است به زودی این پروسه تکمیل شود. انتخابات ریاست جمهوری و شورا های ولایتی به روز شنبه ۱۶حمل در سراسر کشور برگزار شد. نتایج ابتدایی این انتخابات نشان می دهد که عبدالله عبدلله٬ اشرف غنی احمدزی و زلمی رسول سه نامزدی پیشتاز این انتخابات هستند. -- قرار است به زودی نتایج ابتدایی انتخابات اعلام شود و یکی از این سه نامزد به کاخ ریاست جمهوری راه یابد. این برای نخستین بار است که یک رئیس جمهور در افغانستان بدون خونریزی و به شکل دموکراتیک٬ قدرت سیاسی را از رئیس جمهوری برسر قدرت تحویل می گیرد. بر اساس ماده صد و شصتم قانون اساسی افغانستان٬ رئيس جمهور منتخب، سی روز بعد از اعلام نتايج انتخابات، مطابق به احکام قانون اساسی به کار آغاز می کند. با این حال٬ در ماده شصت و يکم قانون اساسی کشور آمده است که رئيس جمهور با کسب اکثريت بيش از پنجاه فی صد آرای رأی دهندگان از طريق رأیگيری آزاد، عمومی، سری و مستقيم انتخاب می گردد. بر اساس قانون٬ وظيفه رئيس جمهور در اول جوزای سال پنجم بعد از انتخابات پايان می يابد. --- دستور حامد کرزی -- با این حال٬ اداره امور و دارالانشای شورای وزیران اعلام کرده است که بر اساس تصمیم قبلی شورای وزیران تمامی مراحل انتقال قدرت در حال تکمیل شدن است. بر اساس دستور حامد کرزی٬ معینان تمامی وزارت ها و ادارات مستقل دولتی موظف شده تا کمیته کاری را برای انتقال قدرت ایجاد و برای انجام این پروسه آمادگی بگیرند. اداره امور اعلام کرده است که گزارش نهایی از انتقال قدرت را به تاریخ ۲۷ حمل (هشت روز بعد) به جلسه کابینه ارایه خواهد کرد. -- به دستور حامد کرزی٬ تمامی وزارت ها و ادارات مستقل دولتی گزارش کاری خود را باید به اداره امور تحویل دهند. وزارت ها و ادارات کاری موظف هستند تا تمامی اسناد٬ طرح ها٬ تجارب و مشکلات فراروی شان را بر اساس اسناد و شواهد به حکومت بعدی انتقال دهند. انتقال قدرت از موارد مهم و جنجالی سال جاری در افغانستان خوانده شده است٬ موردیکه بیشتر ناظران از انجام آن به دیده شک و تردید می نگریستند. --- اعلام حمایت جامعه جهانی از حکومت بعدی افغانستان -- سازمان ملل و شماری از کشور ها از جمله ایالات متحده امریکا از برگزاری انتخابات در افغانستان استقبال کرده و گفته اند که نامزدان و مردم افغانستان باید به نتایج این انتخابات احترام بگذارند. جان کری، وزیر امور خارجه ایالات متحده امریکا اعلام کرده است که کشورش هم چنان آماده همکاری با رئیس جمهوری بعدی افغانستان است. آقای کری گفته است که امریکا به حمایت خود از مردم افغانستان در حالی که برای ایجاد یک آینده دموکراتیک تلاش می کنند ادامه می دهد. -- واشنگتن اظهار امیدواری کرده است که پیمان امنیتی میان افغانستان و امریکا را با رئیس جمهوری بعدی امضا کند٬ پیمان که حامد کرزی سخت با امضای آن مخالفت کرد. در مناظره های تلویزیونی که قبل از برگزاری انتخابات در افغانستان برگزار شد٬ بیشتر نامزدان اعلام کردند که پیمان امنیتی با امریکا را امضا می کنند. عبدالله عبدالله٬ اشرف غنی احمدزی و زلمی رسول سه نامزد مطرح و پیشتاز در انتخابات٬ امضای این پیمان را ضرورت جدی برای افغانستان خواندند. -- خبرگزاری بخدی

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Suspect identified in high school stabbings --- A 16-year-old Pennsylvania boy was charged Wednesday evening with two dozen felony counts after 20 students and a security guard were stabbed or slashed at a suburban Pittsburgh high school. -- The boy, identified as Alex Hribal, a sophomore at Franklin Senior Regional High School in Murrysville, was held without bail on four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor count of carrying a prohibited weapon. -- At least four people remained in intensive care with life-threatening injuries after the rampage Wednesday morning at Franklin Senior Regional High School in the town of Murrysville. -- Hribal was remanded to juvenile detention pending a preliminary hearing April 30 in Westmoreland County Magisterial Court. -- Prosecutors told Judge Charles R. Conway that Hribal "randomly and indiscriminately" wielded his knives in a hallway at the school and indicated that "he wanted to die." -- They said it was unclear whether he was competent to stand trial. -- Attorneys for Hribal — who sat head-down in court in a hospital gown, bearing numerous bandages and stitches with his hands and feet shackled — asked for a psychiatric evaluation. - More, M. Alex Johnson, at: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/school-stabbing-spree/teen-held-26-counts-high-school-bloodbath-n76266

Ukrainian parliament trades punches --- As communist party leader Petro Symonenko spoke at the podium, he was seized by members of the right-wing Svoboda Party as he criticized nationalists' taking of public buildings in protests earlier this year. Symonenko linked that to pro-Russian supporters' seizure of property in eastern Ukraine, Reuters reported. -- Symonenko's party members joined the scuffle in his defense, and the situation quickly devolved into a brawl. No member was seriously injured but one deputy was reportedly seen with scratch marks when order returned. - More, Casey Capachi - Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/04/08/ukrainian-parliament-trades-punches/

A rising number of children are dying from U.S. explosives littering Afghan land --- Kabul — As the U.S. military withdraws from Afghanistan, it is leaving behind a deadly legacy: about 800 square miles of land littered with undetonated grenades, rockets and mortar shells. -- The military has vacated scores of firing ranges pocked with the explosives. Dozens of children have been killed or wounded as they have stumbled upon the ordnance at the sites, which are often poorly marked. Casualties are likely to increase sharply; the U.S. military has removed the munitions from only 3 percent of the territory covered by its sprawling ranges, officials said. -- Clearing the rest of the contaminated land — which in total is twice as big as New York City — could take two to five years. U.S. military officials say they intend to clean up the ranges. But because of a lack of planning, officials say, funding has not yet been approved for the monumental effort, which is expected to cost $250 million.-- “Unfortunately, the thinking was: ‘We’re at war and we don’t have time for this,’ ” said Maj. Michael Fuller, the head of the U.S. Army’s Mine Action Center at Bagram Airfield, referring to the planning. -- There are a growing number of tragedies at these high-explosives ranges. -- Mohammad Yusef, 13, and Sayed Jawad, 14, grew up 100 yards from a firing range used by U.S. and Polish troops in Ghazni province. The boys’ families were accustomed to the thundering explosions from military training exercises, which sometimes shattered windows in their village. -- But as those blasts became less common — a function of the U.S. and NATO withdrawal — the boys started wandering onto the range to collect scrap metal to sell. They did not know that some U.S. explosives do not detonate on impact but can still blow up when someone touches them. - More, Kevin Sieff, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/a-rising-number-of-children-are-dying-from-us-explosives-littering-afghan-land/2014/04/09/dea709ae-b900-11e3-9a05-c739f29ccb08_story.html?hpid=z1

Mideast Frustration, the Sequel --- WASHINGTON — For those who suspect that the Middle East peace process has become a diplomatic drama, playing on an endless loop, Secretary of State John Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday could serve as Exhibit A. -- Explaining to the senators why his latest efforts to bring together the Israelis and the Palestinians had almost broken down last week, Mr. Kerry could have been channeling Secretary of State James A. Baker III when he explained a similar impasse to House members 24 years ago. -- While Mr. Kerry said both sides bore responsibility for “unhelpful” actions, the precipitating event, he said, was Israel’s announcement of 700 new housing units for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. That came three days after a deadline passed for Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, and it undercut an emerging deal to extend the negotiations. -- “Poof, that was sort of the moment,” Mr. Kerry said. “We find ourselves where we are.” -- “I hope the parties will find a way back,” he added. “But, you know, we have an enormous amount on our plate.” Mr. Kerry warned that there were limits to the time that he and President Obama would devote to the peace process, “given the rest of the agenda, if they’re not prepared to commit to actually be there in a serious way.” - More, MARK LANDLER, at: NYTimes

Tarek Fatah ,Toronto Sun -- Speaking frankly about Pakistan --- Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has whipped up a diplomatic storm with his unambiguous statement Pakistan is a state sponsor of international terrorism. -- Speaking on CBC TV’s Power and Politics about Canada’s legacy in Afghanistan, the minister who was once Canada’s ambassador in Kabul, said the world has only recently caught up with Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan. -- “This is state sponsorship of terrorism. It’s covert. It’s been denied. Not even Western analysts agree that it’s happening on the scale we know it to be happening,” he told host Evan Solomon. --- Predictably, the Pakistan government lashed back, accusing Alexander of pursuing a “personal and prejudiced agenda.” In a statement, the High Commission for Pakistan said Alexander’s remarks reflect “a lack of any objective appreciation of the ground realities in our region.” The Pakistan-Canada diplomatic spat came in the wake of a deadly shooting attack on a Kabul hotel in which four Taliban gunmen killed nine civilians, including AFP reporter Sardar Ahmad, his wife and two of their three children. -- Immediately after the attack the Afghanistan government accused Pakistan’s intelligence service of having planned and executed the massacre. -- The Afghan statement said, “(Our) investigations and findings after the tragic incident reveal that Pakistani intelligence services were involved in planning this heinous attack.” In addition, outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai spoke with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry by phone, urging Washington to put pressure on Pakistan’s spy agency to stop sponsoring Taliban attacks meant to disrupt the Afghan elections. --- Alexander seems to have the integrity to not gloss over issues that stare us in our face. Yet most of our intelligentsia are either oblivious to the threat of Islamism and jihadi terrorism that Pakistan exports, or choose to not rock the boat. -- Attacking journalists is a time-tested Pakistan ISI method used to intimidate the media into silence. --- In Pakistan-occupied Balochistan, many journalists have been killed with little notice from the public. -- Lyse Doucette, a Canadian who is the BBC’s chief international correspondent, told me she couldn’t enter the territory because the Pakistan government won’t permit her. -- Will Chris Alexander’s voice echo around the world or will we choose to appease one of our worst enemies again? - More, at: http://www.torontosun.com/2014/04/08/speaking-frankly-about-pakistan

Pakistan market bomb 'kills at least 20' in Islamabad --- A deadly bomb blast has struck a busy market on the outskirts of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, killing at least 20 people, police and medics say. -- The high intensity blast at the fruit and vegetable market left as many as 100 injured, reports say. -- The Pakistani Taliban denied involvement. No other group has said it carried out the attack. -- There is currently a ceasefire between the Pakistani Taliban and the government as part of peace efforts. -- Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned Wednesday's bombing. -- In comments released by his office, he said it was an effort by Pakistan's enemies to destabilise the country, but that the government would remain resolute in its efforts for peace --- The bombing happened in the Sabzi Mandi area of the capital about 08:00 local time (03:00 GMT), one of the busiest times of day for the wholesale fruit and vegetable market. -- Police said about 5kg (11lb) of explosives were hidden in a fruit box. -- Police said about 5kg (11lb) of explosives were hidden in a fruit box. -- The BBC's Mike Wooldridge, at the scene, said the bomb left a deep crater in the thick concrete in the fruit section of the wholesale market, with boxes of guavas scattered all around. - More, BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26949797

کمیسیون‌های انتخاباتی افغانستان: شکایت‌ها جدی است --- نهادهای انتخاباتی افغانستان گفته‌اند که شکایت‌های مطرح شده در این دوره از انتخابات و آرای تقلبی به اندازه‌ای هستند که اگر به آنها به درستی رسیدگی نشود، می‌توانند مشروعیت انتخابات را زیر سوال ببرند. -- یوسف نورستانی، رئیس کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات و عبدالستار سعادت، رئیس کمیسیون مستقل رسیدگی به شکایت‌های انتخاباتی در یک نشست مشترک خبری در کابل، تاکید کردند که به این شکایت‌ها رسیدگی می‌کنند. --- آقای سعادت در این نشست گفت: "اگر به شکایات رسیدگی نشود، اگر آرای خراب، بد و تقلبی از آرای واقعی جدا نشود، جدا مشروعیت انتخابات زیر سوال می‌رود، اما اگر پاکش کردیم، بر مشروعیت انتخابات هیچ اثری ندارد." -- او گفت شکایت‌های انتخاباتی به چهار دسته الف، ب، ج و د تقسیم شده است. -- به گفته آقای سعادت، بیشترین و مهم‌ترین شکایت‌ها نوع الف هستند که می‌تواند بر نتیجه انتخابات تاثیر بگذارد. -- او افزود که ثابت شدن شکایت‌های نوع الف، می‌تواند منجر به باطل شدن بخشی از آرا شود. -- آقای سعادت گفت که اگر شکایت‌های نوع ب ثابت شود، ممکن است به مجازات فردی بیانجامد. -- شکایت‌های فاقد اسناد و مدارک در گروه ج طبقه‌بندی می‌شود که این نهاد آنها را بررسی نمی‌کند و شکایت‌های نوع د شامل موارد جرمی می‌شود که بررسی آنها خارج از صلاحیت این نهاد است. --- رئیس کمیسیون رسیدگی به شکایت‌های انتخاباتی افزود که بیشترین تعداد شکایت‌ها علیه کارمندان کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات ثبت شده است. -- او گفت که این کارمندان در حفاظت از آرای مردم کوتاهی کرده‌اند، اما این‌که چه کسی آنها را "تحریک و تشویق" کرده، بعدا مشخص می‌شود. -- یوسف نورستانی، رئیس کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات هم تایید کرد که گزارش‌هایی در مورد "تخلفات، تقلبات و تخطی‌ها" علیه کارمندان این نهاد و همچنین کارمندان دولت، زورمندان و بعضی مردم رسیده است. -- او با تاکید بر این که کمیسیون متعهد به شفاف بودن روند انتخابات است، گفت که جای آن عده از کارمندان کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات که علیه آنها با اسناد و شواهد شکایتی مطرح شده، "دادستانی" است. --- کمبود برگه‌های رای در مراکز رای‌گیری در روز انتخابات، از شکایت‌های مهمی بود که از نیمه آن روز به رسانه‌ها درز کرد و شماری از نامزدها خواستار پاسخگویی کمیسیون انتخابات در این مورد شدند. -- اما مسئولان نهادهای انتخاباتی در نشست خبری امروز گفتند که این ادعا، سوال برانگیز است.-- آقای نورستانی گفت که بیشتر این درخواست‌ها از سوی نامزدها مطرح شده بود و نه کارمندان کمیسیون. -- آقای سعادت نیز گفت که آرزو می‌کند این ادعاها "دروغ" باشد. -- عبدالستار سعادت گفت که طرح این ادعا از چند حالت خارج نیست: "یا دروغ می‌گفتند، یا شش‌صد برگه در آنجا نبود، یا آن رای پیش از آنها (رای‌دهندگان) به شکل غیرقانونی استعمال شده بود، یا این که می‌خواستند کمیسیون را اغفال کنند تا آرای اضافی و احتیاطی را که در نظر گرفته بود، به طرف خود بکشانند و در شب آینده زمینه تقلب را آماده کنند." -- او افزود که مطابق استاندارد، ریختن یک برگه رای به صندوق ۴۵ ثانیه وقت می‌گیرد و اگر در مراکز رای‌گیری رای‌دهندگان زود هم رای داده باشند، دو برگه رای را در یک دقیقه به صندوق‌ها ریخته‌اند که در آن صورت شش‌صد دقیقه (۱۰ ساعت) وقت می‌گیرد. -- کمیسیون در هر مرکز رای‌گیری حداقل شش‌صد برگه برای محل رای‌گیری زنان و شش‌صد برگه دیگر برای محل رای‌گیری مردان قرار داده بود. -- روسای کمیسیون‌های انتخاباتی گفتند که ادعای تمام شدن برگه‌های رای در ساعات پیش از ظهر روز انتخابات منطقی نیست. -- آقای سعادت گفت که او خودش در آن روز به برخی از مراکز رای‌گیری سر زده و همه چیز عادی بوده و برگه‌های رای هم پیش از ساعت ۳:۳۰ بعد از ظهر تمام نشده بود. -- او گفت که نهادهای انتخاباتی این موضوع را به صورت جدی بررسی می‌کنند. -- با این حال به گفته آقای سعادت در برخی از ولایت‌ها از جمله هرات، برگه‌های رای به جای این که به مراکز رای‌گیری منتقل شود، به "جاهای دیگر" منتقل می‌شد که برای "تقلب" از آنها استفاده شود. -- عبدالستار سعادت با اشاره به فیلم‌های پخش شده از برگه‌های آرایی که به صورت غیرقانونی توسط عده‌ای علامت‌گذاری و به صندوق انداخته می‌شود، گفت که این برگه‌ها شاید بخشی از آرایی باشد که به مراکز رای‌گیری نرسیده بود. --- یوسف نورستانی هم با تاکید بر این که نهادهای انتخاباتی به وظیفه اساسی خود مبنی بر تشخیص آرای واقعی و حفظ آنها عمل خواهند کرد، از نامزدهای انتخابات ریاست جمهوری و هواداران آنها خواست که از پیش‌داوری خودداری کنند و با انتشار آمار زود هنگام، "اذهان مردم را مغشوش نکنند". -- در روزهای پس از انتخابات برخی از نامزدها ادعای پیروزی کرده‌اند و در صفحه‌های فیس‌ بوک و وبسایت‌های خود آماری پخش کردند که نشان می‌داد آنها پیشتاز انتخابات هستند. -- اما به دنبال درخواست کمیسیون، این آمار را از شبکه‌های اجتماعی و وبسایت‌های نامزدان حذف شد. -- آقای نورستانی ضمن "بی‌اعتبار" خواندن این آمارها، گفت که کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات از هفته آینده تا چهارم ثور/اردیبهشت بخشی از نتایج اولیه انتخابات ریاست جمهوری را اعلام خواهد کرد. -- به دنبال آن، کمیسیون رسیدگی به شکایت‌های انتخاباتی به شکایت نامزدها در رابطه با روند شمارش آرا و نتایج اعلام شده رسیدگی می‌کند و نتایج نهایی در روز ۲۴ ثور منتشر خواهد شد. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140409_k02-af2014-frauds-complaints.shtml

Prince George's first meet and greet --- Prince George's only official engagement in New Zealand has taken place as he crawled around with other babies. -- The visit to a nursery in Wellington was part of the the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's 19 day tour of the country. --- The BBC's Royal Correspondent Nicholas Witchell reports. -- Read more, Prince George appears at first engagement of royal tour - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26950949

Major bug called ‘Heartbleed’ exposes Internet data --- A newly discovered security bug nicknamed Heartbleed has exposed millions of usernames, passwords and reportedly credit card numbers — a major problem that hackers could have exploited during the more than two years it went undetected. -- It’s unlike most of the breaches reported over the past few years, in which one Web site or another got hacked or let its guard down. The flaw this time is in code designed to keep servers secure — tens of thousands of servers on which data is stored for thousands of sites. -- That’s why some experts were calling Heartbleed the worst bug yet, something that should worry everyone who frequents the Internet or does business on it. -- It’s as if someone went on vacation not knowing the lock on the front door was broken. Could someone walk in? Yes. Will they? Did they? Who knows. --- Codenomicon, the Finnish security firm that helped discover the bug offered a chilling illustration of its danger: --- While companies were scrambling to implement a fix this week, nobody seemed to know whether any damage had been done. -- The bug was found in a type of software called OpenSSL, which is used on servers to encrypt sensitive information to protect people’s privacy. At least 500,000 servers were reportedly vulnerable. - More, Lindsey Bever, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/04/09/major-bug-called-heartbleed-exposes-data-across-the-internet/?hpid=z3

Afghanistan's surprises --- (Reuters) - In a nation more associated with calamity than consensus, the initial results of Saturday's Afghan presidential election are startling. -- Despite Taliban threats to attack polling stations nationwide, the same percentage of Afghans turned out to vote - roughly 58 percent - as did Americans in the 2012 U.S. presidential race. Instead of collapsing, Afghan security forces effectively secured the vote. And a leading candidate to replace Hamid Karzai is Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank technocrat who has a PhD in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, a Lebanese Christian wife, and an acclaimed book and TED talk entitled "Fixing Failed States." -- "Relative to what we were expecting, it's very hard to not conclude that this was a real defeat for the Taliban," Andrew Wilder, an American expert on Afghanistan, said in a telephone interview from Kabul on Monday "And a very good day for the Afghan people." --- Two forces that have long destabilized the country - its political elite and its neighbors - could easily squander the initial success. Evidence of large-scale fraud could undermine the legitimacy of the election and exacerbate long-running ethnic divides. And outside powers could continue to fund and arm the Taliban and disgruntled Afghan warlords, as they have for decades. -- "None of it means it's over, Afghanistan is a democracy and we've won,'" said Ronald Neumann, a former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. "But I don't think you can look at this turnout - in the rain and against death threats - and say nothing much has been achieved, as critics like to say." --- After the vote, Afghan police were a "sensation" on social media, garnering wide praise, according to Wilder. Their popularity also extended to the street: one election observer reported seeing a group of young Afghans buy scores of roses and distribute them to police officers the day after the vote. -- Barnett Rubin, an expert on Afghanistan who served a senior adviser to the State Department from 2009 to 2013, cautioned that the Taliban will retaliate. -- "There will be a test of strength this year and next year," Rubin said, referring to Taliban attacks. But "an election that goes well can only strengthen the morale of the security forces and reduce the morale of the Taliban." -- And in terms of candidates, it was Ghani, the technocrat turned effective campaigner, that most surprised observers. --- Despite wide praise for Ghani's 2002-2004 tenure as Afghanistan's finance minister, he was seen as lacking political skills or a large electoral base. Afghans who remained in the country during the 1980s Soviet occupation and 1990s civil seemed to resent Afghans who, like Ghani, had fled the country and flourished. In 2009, Ghani ran for president and won about four percent of the vote. -- After his 2009 defeat, Ghani remained in Afghanistan, built a home and took a position overseeing the transition of security operations from foreign forces to Afghan units. Visiting every province in the nation, he developed a vast network of supporters. Criticized in the past for being too haughty, abrasive and Western, he donned local clothes and grew a short beard. -- In a maneuver that surprised many, he forged an electoral alliance with Abdul Rashid Dostum, a former Uzbek warlord long accused of gross human rights violations. Having Dostum as an ally delivered a large block of votes to Ghani. In debates and on the campaign trail, Ghani vowed to end corruption and modernize Afghanistan. -- "He has been exciting to young people," said Neumann, the former ambassador. "He is really the change candidate." -- Numerous dangers lie ahead. Karzai can exert his sizeable influence on whoever wins. Warlords and others who have benefited from years of corruption may resist change. And the Taliban remain the largest wild card of all. --- After years of supporting the Afghan Taliban and undermining Karzai's government, Pakistan's army may decide to undermine Afghanistan's new leader as well. Rubin, the former State Department official, described a more alarming scenario. He argued that Pakistan's military has tried for years to influence the Afghan Taliban but their ability to do so has diminished in recent years.-- "The fundamentals haven't changed that much," he said. -- Wilder expressed caution as well but called Afghans' enthusiasm on Saturday "infectious." The question, he said, was whether a new group of Afghan leaders would respect it. -- "Voters have done their part," he said. "Now, it's up to the candidates to behave responsibly." - More, David Rohde, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/08/us-afghanistan-election-analysis-idUSBREA371WQ20140408

عبدالله و غنی: آماده رفتن به دور دوم هستیم --- در حالی که آماری رسمی از نتایج رای گیری در افغانستان اعلام نشده است، دو نامزد ریاست جمهوری که در منابع غیر رسمی به عنوان پیشتازان انتخابات مطرح هستند، می‌گویند اگر برنده انتخابات در مرحله اول مشخص نشود، آماده رفتن به دور دوم هستند. -- عبدالله عبدالله و اشرف‌غنی احمدزی، در گفتگوهای جداگانه به بی‌بی‌سی گفتند که مردم انتظار دارند انتخابات ریاست جمهوری یک برنده روشن داشته باشد. -- سه روز پس از انتخابات شانزدهم حمل/فروردین که حدود هفت میلیون نفر در آن شرکت کردند، برخی این احتمال را مطرح کرده‌اند که شاید هیچ‌ کدام از ۸ نامزد این انتخابات نتواند برنده قطعی دور اول باشد. -- در پایان رای‌دهی روز شنبه، اشرف غنی احمدزی و عبدالله عبدالله هر دو ادعا کردند که پیروز این انتخابات هستند اما این دو نامزد، حالا می‌گویند ترجیح می‌دهند کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات نتیجه رسمی را اعلام کند. در همین حال، این کمیسیون امروز اعلام کرد که نتایج اعلام شده در منابع خبری و شبکه‌های اجتماعی، "درست نیست" و نتایج هنوز نهایی نشده است. -- کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات در حال شمارش آرائی است که از ولایات به مرکز می‌رسند. --- 'ائتلاف نمی‌کنیم' -- این دو نامزد انتخابات که منابع غیررسمی بیشترین شانس را برای پیشتازی آنها قائل هستند، گفته‌اند در صورتی‌ که به دور دوم انتخابات بروند، با رقیب احتمالی خود ائتلاف نخواهند کرد. -- آقای عبدالله به هارون نجفی‌زاده خبرنگار بی‌بی‌سی گفت: "مردم افغانستان باید از حق‌شان محروم نشوند. اگر انتخابات برود به دور دوم، مردم حق دارند باز بروند پای صندوق‌های رای و رای خود را به نامزد خود بدهند. ولی ما در باره یک احتمال صحبت می‌کنیم." --- آقای غنی به ندا کارگر دیگر خبرنگار بی‌بی‌سی گفت: "ما خبرهای خوبی دریافت می‌کنیم. از مردم تشکر می‌کنیم که به ما اعتماد کردند. ولی ترجیح می‌دهیم که کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان نتیجه نهایی را اعلام کند و این صلاحیتی است که قانون به کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات داده است." --- کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان در کلیک اعلامیه کوتاهی که در وبسایت رسمی خود منتشر کرده، گفته است آماری که از سوی منابع خبری و یا کاربران شبکه اجتماعی در مورد نتیجه انتخابات اعلام می‌شود نادرست است. -- این کمیسیون گفته که "تا حال هیچ فیصدی نتایج در دفتر مرکزی کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات طی مراحل نگردیده" است. -- این اعلامیه افزوده که ثبت نتایج رسیده از مراکز رای‌گیری از روز دوشنبه ۱۸ حمل/فروردین آغاز شده اما اعلام نتایج تدریجی به دست آمده، وقت بیشتری را خواهد گرفت. ---کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات افغانستان همچنین گفته است صفحه‌ای که به نام این کمیسیون روی شبکه اجتماعی فیس‌بوک ایجاد شده، جعلی است. -- در یکی دو روز گذشته، آمار و ارقامی به عنوان نتایج اولیه انتخابات روی این صفحه منتشر شده است و بسیاری از کاربران فیس بوک و هواداران نامزدهای مختلف اقدام به بازنشر این آمار کرده‌اند. --- زلمی رسول، یکی دیگر از نامزدان مطرح در این انتخابات نیز دیروز در یک کنفرانس خبری گفته که نتیجه رسمی انتخابات را خواهد پذیرفت اما پیش‌بینی کرده که اگر نتیجه انتخابات در مرحله اول مشخص نشود، او یکی از دو نامزد حاضر در مرحله دوم خواهد بود. -- بسیاری از مردم افغانستان، موضوعات مربوط به انتخابات را با دقت دنبال می‌کنند؛ انتخاباتی که سرنوشت سیاسی افغانستان را مشخص خواهد کرد. -- انتظار می‌رود تا چند روز دیگر و مشخص شدن نتایج اولیه انتخابات، صف‌بندی‌های سیاسی هم روشن‌تر شود. --- کارشناسان بر این باور هستند که در صورت کشیده شدن انتخابات به دور دوم، احتمالا بحث ائتلاف‌های سیاسی هم بیشتر مطرح خواهد شد و ممکن است نامزدانی که از دور حذف می‌شوند، برای حضور در نظام آینده، ناگزیر به ائتلاف با یکی از دو نامزد باقی مانده شوند. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140408_k02-af2014-abdullah-ghani-roundoff.shtml

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Ariana News 08 April 2014 DARI - More, Ariana NewsLive - at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_UmJka9b_w

رادیو آزادی - سیرت: جبهه صلح ملی بزودی ایجاد خواهد شد --- یکی از فعالان سیاسی در افغانستان میگوید به زودی جبههء را به هدف تامین صلح در کشور ایجاد خواهد کرد. -- عبدالستار سیرت یکی از فعالان سیاسی در کشور تاکید می ورزد که حکومت جدید باید تحقق پروسه صلح و ایجاد تفاهمات سیاسی را در اولویت برنامه هایش قرار دهد. -- آقای سیرت می گوید پیشرفت افغانستان در صلح و ترقی ممکن است نه در جنگ و نا امنی. -- وی که به روز سه شنبه در یک نشست خبری در کابل صحبت می کرد گفت به هدف دریافت راه حل به مشکلات سیاسی، امنیتی و اقتصادی کشور به زودی جبههء را ایجاد خواهد کرد. -- آقای سیرت گفت، این جبهه زیر نام جبهه ملی صلح افتتاح خواهد شد: --- « ما به این نیامده ایم که مساعی صلح را از کسی اختطاف نمایم، آوردن صلح از سوی طرف های جنگ صورت نمی گیرد صلح حق ملی یک کشور است پس یک مرکز ملی که از یک جبهه وسیع ملی ساخته می شود او می تواند که صلح را هماهنگ بسازد، می رویم در داخل خانه خود با افراد ملت خود در مورد اعاده صلح و تحکیم صلح مساعی بخرچ می دهیم.» -- عبدالستار سیرت تحصیلات اش را در رشته علوم اسلامی به پایان رسانده است. -- وی در بین سال های 1348 تا 1350 بحیث وزیر عدلیه و لوی څارنوال افغانستان ایفای وظیفه کرده است -- عبدالستار سیرت یکی از نامزدان ریاست ادارهء موقت در نشست بن بود. --- در عین حال آقای سیرت انتخابات ریاست جمهوری و شورا های ولایتی افغانستان را مهم خوانده و گفت انتخابات بهترین راه انتقال قدرت سیاسی است. -- وی ابراز امیدواری کرد که نتایج انتخابات افغانستان بدون تخطی و تاخیر در وقت و زمان آن اعلان گردد.--- عبدالستار سیرت که سال ها در بیرون از کشور زنده گی کرده می گوید در حال حاضر صلح در افغانستان تامین نبوده و وحدت ملی کمرنگ است. -- به گفتهء آقای سیرت شماری از نهاد های دولتی و غیر دولتی تعهد کرده اند که از جبهه ملی صلح حمایت کنند. - More, at: http://da.azadiradio.com/content/article/25325892.html

U.S. and China Argue Over Contested Islands --- BEIJING — The United States and China clashed over Japan on Tuesday, as the Chinese defense minister asserted that Beijing had “indisputable sovereignty” over a group of islands in the East China Sea and that his country’s military stood ready to protect its interests in territorial disputes. -- The minister, Gen. Chang Wanquan, said that China would not be first to launch an attack over the territorial dispute. But he accused Japan of “confusing the right with the wrong” in its assertion of control over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, which are known as the Senkaku in Japan and as the Diaoyu in China. -- “China has indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands,” General Chang said. He added that on the issue of what he called “territorial sovereignty,” China would “make no compromise, no concession, no treaty.” -- He continued, “The Chinese military can assemble as soon as summoned, fight any battle and win.” -- General Chang made his comments at a news conference with the United States defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, after a morning of meetings at the Ministry of National Defense. It is Mr. Hagel’s first trip to China as defense secretary. -- While both men sought to present their meetings as constructive, they espoused divergent views on a number of issues, particularly the territorial dispute in the East China Sea, and a similar dispute between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. -- At one point, Mr. Hagel appeared impatient, wagging his finger. “The Philippines and Japan are longtime allies of the United States,” he said. “We have mutual self-defense treaties with each of those countries” he continued, adding that the United States was “fully committed to those treaty obligations.” -- Mr. Hagel accused China of adding to tensions in the region by unilaterally declaring an air defense zone in the East China Sea with “no collaboration, no consultation.” Such moves, he warned, could “eventually get to dangerous conflict.” -- The exchange punctuated a visit that American defense officials had sought to present as a long-awaited deepening of military relations between the two countries. On Monday, Mr. Hagel became the first foreign dignitary allowed on board a Chinese aircraft carrier, and on Tuesday the United States and China announced a series of modest steps toward improving communications. --- Mr. Hagel, for instance, called on China to be more open about its cyberwarfare capabilities, which American officials have said Beijing uses for commercial espionage. -- Mr. Hagel portrayed the United States as transparent about its own capabilities in telecommunications security, pointing to a recent briefing that the Defense Department gave to Chinese officials on the Pentagon’s doctrine for defending against cyberattacks. -- “More transparency will strengthen China-U.S. relations,” Mr. Hagel said. “Greater openness about cyber reduces the risk that misunderstanding and misperception could lead to miscalculation.” --- Beijing, American defense officials said, still has not responded to Mr. Hagel’s invitation to reciprocate with a briefing of its own. -- General Chang stood impassively next to Mr. Hagel during his call Tuesday for more openness on cybersecurity. When it was his turn to talk, he said that “the defense activity of the People’s Liberation Army in cyberspace abides” by Chinese law. “It will not pose a threat to others,” he added. - More, HELENE COOPER, NYTimes

Op-Ed Contributor -- Afghanistan’s Soft Targets --- NOVI SAD, Serbia — As Afghans await the results of the April 5 presidential poll, policy makers in Washington are fretting about whether a new president in Kabul will help clear the way for a long-deferred bilateral security agreement, which would keep a small contingent of American troops in Afghanistan beyond the end of 2014. -- The real issue, however, is not whether the new Afghan president will endorse the agreement (all candidates have indicated their intention to sign it), but whether those troops will help protect the many increasingly endangered aid workers who remain. -- More than 12 years after America’s longest war began, tens of billions of dollars have been spent on aid and reconstruction projects designed to shore up support for the government of Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai. But for those of us who have worked there — and have seen too many colleagues killed or wounded — the safety of aid workers is just as important a gauge of America’s legacy in Afghanistan as any security agreement. The troops that stay must help secure ongoing development efforts; anything else would be a dereliction of America’s responsibilities. --- March marked the first month in over seven years in which America suffered no military casualties in Afghanistan. But there has been an alarming rise in attacks on international aid workers and their Afghan colleagues, who continue to be “soft targets” of a violent campaign designed to erase any trace of America’s presence. -- This recent wave of violence against civilians bodes ill for both the people of Afghanistan and for regional stability. -- All of this comes as Mr. Karzai — whose personal security was once handled by American special forces — is voicing support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea and praising Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s rejuvenation of Soviet-era investments in Afghanistan. This snub to President Obama, consistent with White House struggles to negotiate the security pact, makes Mr. Obama’s Afghan exit strategy seem naïve at best. A pillar of that strategy is the presence of aid workers beyond the troop drawdown; reduced American leverage in Afghanistan means exposing these men and women to lethal violence. --- What’s at stake is not only security for aid workers, but American credibility in the region. In December 2009, Obama promised to focus American assistance in Afghanistan on “areas, such as agriculture, that can make an immediate impact in the lives of the Afghan people.” But with programs like Roots of Peace being attacked even in the relatively secure environs of Kabul, there is little hope that American aid will reach those who need it most. -- American leaders understand that inaction is not an option in Afghanistan. Doing nothing would echo America’s disengagement after Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan over two decades ago, which helped speed the country’s spiral into extremism and its rebirth as a haven for Al Qaeda. -- As it plans its military exit strategy, America must craft a human development strategy that accounts for the constraints facing aid programs in Afghanistan. Aid workers who remain must be afforded enough security to do their jobs. Without that, no amount of American assistance will be worth the risk, and the real cost of development after the troops leave — or severely restrict their mission — could be too high to sustain. --- I’ve often wondered what would have become of us that day in Kunduz had American troops not been nearby. This isn’t an argument for using more military force in Afghanistan. But I know all too well what so many victims of extremism have known for decades: Good will alone cannot protect against those determined to wreak havoc for ideological ends. Defending against those who would sabotage the needed humanitarian work of mine-clearing, say, or improving educational opportunities for girls is a different kind of mission. -- What that mission would look like is a question for military planners, but front-line aid workers should be part of the conversation. Policy makers who recognize the vital importance of development to Afghanistan must not underestimate the perils of assistance in a country still wracked by poverty and instability. That would only endanger more lives. --- Biljana Hutchinson worked on development aid projects in Afghanistan from March 2009 to July 2010. - More, NYTimes, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/09/opinion/afghanistans-soft-targets.html?_r=0

Afghanistan: Ban welcomes polls as important step forward in first democratic transition of power --- 7 April 2014 – United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has congratulated the Afghan people for Saturday’s historic presidential and provincial elections, which marked “an important step forward” in the country’s path to democracy. -- “The millions of women and men who cast their ballots are a testament to the courage and the commitment of Afghans to exercise their rights and shape their future,” said the Secretary-General in a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, highlighting a “momentous achievement,” despite threats and intimidation. -- Noting the strong participation of women in the polls, as election workers, observers, candidates and, above all, as voters, Mr. Ban said the elections marked “another step forward for Afghan women in taking their rightful place in society and having a say in their country's future on an equal basis with Afghan men.” -- “The Secretary-General commends the Afghan national security forces for their professionalism and dedication that enabled citizens to vote on 5 April in the face of serious security threats,” said that statement, in which the UN chief also encouraged all Afghans to continue to support their electoral institutions whose ongoing efforts in ensuring that the final results reflect the will of the voters are critical. -- On Saturday, in the immediate wake of the elections, the Secretary-General's Special Representative in the country, Ján Kubiš, hailed the polls as essential “for the future of a stable and unified Afghanistan.” --- “Ordinary Afghans turned out to vote in remarkable numbers, defying Taliban attacks and threats. Often in long queues and bad weather, voters patiently waited to exercise their basic human right to vote. They chose to determine the future direction of the country by political means and resolutely rejected the enemies of peace and democracy,” said Mr. Kubiš, who is also the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). - More, UN, at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47519

Senate votes to restore federal funding for extended unemployment benefits --- The Senate voted 59 to 38 Monday in favor of a bill that would restore federal funding for extended unemployment benefits for 2.8 million Americans who are considered “long-term unemployed.” -- The deal, carried by Democratic senators but struck with the support of several prominent Republicans — including Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) — came on the Senate’s fourth vote on a bill to renew the benefits. --- The measure, which would restore the federal funding that pays for unemployment insurance after state-sponsored insurance ends after 26 weeks, easily passed the Senate on Monday evening and now heads to the House — where Republican House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) has repeatedly signaled that it is unlikely to come up for a vote. --- “If our bill was put up for a vote in the House, there is no question it would pass. Contrary to right-wing talking points, many of the people who would benefit [from] this bill are out of work through no fault of their own, and have been knocking on doors and going online looking for a job for months or even years,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement before the Senate vote. “The House needs to extend unemployment benefits to millions of Americans right now, without attaching extraneous issues that are merely an attempt to score political points.” -- Republican House leaders have repeatedly stated their opposition to the Senate bill, noting that they do not want to bring any unemployment legislation to the floor for a vote unless it includes job-creation provisions. -- But House Democrats say they intend to force the issue. --- The starting point for Democrats is reenlisting the support of a group of moderate Republicans — Reps. Joseph J. Heck (Nev.), Christopher P. Gibson (N.Y.), David Joyce (Ohio), Frank A. LoBiondo (N.J.), Michael G. Grimm (N.Y.), Peter T. King (N.Y.) and Jon Runyan (N.J.) — who in December signed a letter to Boehner asking the Republican House leadership to consider a temporary extension to the unemployment benefits. -- House Democrats and Republican allies have also begun wearing stickers while they are in the Capitol that include the number of long-term unemployed in their state. House aides say LoBiondo is leading an effort to send another letter, which could include new co-signers. --- One of the major variables is what, if any, political capital President Obama is willing to expend toward passage of unemployment insurance extension in the House. -- In a statement after the Senate vote, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez urged the House to act. --- “Every day of congressional inaction is another day of struggle for the 2.2 million people who are out of work through no fault of their own,” Perez said. “I’ve heard from governors and labor secretaries from both parties who are ready and able to implement this vital program for their residents. I encourage the House to vote and send this legislation to President Obama’s desk for his signature.” -- Were Obama to commit to pressing the issue — perhaps through a series of speeches like the ones he has given around the country in recent weeks about minimum wage legislation — it could ramp up pressure on House Republicans, especially those facing reelection in states with high unemployment. -- Republican aides agree that an aggressive campaign by the White House has the potential to drastically change the legislative dynamic. -- Democratic aides say that the executive branch could force the issue even without a full-on effort by the president. They say that a series of speeches by top Obama administration officials on employment, the economy and a need to strengthen the social safety net could be enough. --- Another option is that House Republicans could take up a bill like one proposed by Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) that would link the unemployment insurance extension to issues including the 40-hour workweek, the Keystone pipeline, and medical-device tax measures. -- But Dent said he had no commitment from the House leadership to move the bill. - MORE, Wesley Lowery, Washingtonpost

Impatient Afghan candidates are counting their own votes --- KABUL — In this rugged country where ballots are counted by hand and election results are viewed with suspicion, impatient presidential candidates are not willing to wait for official numbers and have started counting votes themselves. --- Since Saturday’s presidential election, tens of thousands of volunteers for the candidates have been visiting polling stations across the country to call in results that have been taped on the walls of mosques and schools. The team of former finance minister Ashraf Ghani has created a slick Web site with pie charts and bar graphs that show partial returns as they come in, three weeks ahead of the expected announcement of the winner. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his Web site is projecting that he will be the victor (by a margin of 57 percent, with a quarter of the ballots counted). --- The days after the vote have transformed campaign offices into command centers where candidates’ staffs are calling around the country collecting photos and videos and complaints about alleged fraud, calculating vote totals and positioning themselves for a possible runoff election if no candidate passes the 50 percent threshold. --- The other main activity among the candidates’ teams is collecting allegations of voting fraud or coercion that might help tip the scales in a close race. The staffs are manning call centers and collecting complaints from around the country and filing them with election officials. At an office in Kabul run by a political party supporting Ghani, young men made calls to the provinces, watched videos on their laptops of alleged fraud and wrote up complaints to be submitted for review. - More, Joshua Partlow, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/impatient-afghan-candidates-are-counting-their-own-votes/2014/04/07/82945665-dc9a-4719-9f9f-9e626724f970_story.html

Abuse of women 'most serious worldwide challenge' - Carter --- False interpretation of religious texts partly to blame for intolerance, says former US president --- Jimmy Carter doesn’t sugar-coat it – the number of females either aborted or strangled at birth in countries where the subjugation of women is at its most horrific is estimated to amount to four times the number of lives lost in the second World War. -- A champion of peace and equality during his presidency and after, the former US leader and 2002 Nobel Peace laureate offers this shocking statistic first to make his point on the violence against women. Mr Carter, who turns 90 this year, has tackled the subject of inequality and violence towards females in a new book, his 26th to be published since leaving the White House in 1981. -- Mr Carter states boldly in A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power that the “most serious and unaddressed worldwide challenge is the deprivation and abuse of women and girls”. -- He blames a “false interpretation of carefully selected religious texts and a growing tolerance of violence and warfare, unfortunately following the example set during my lifetime by the United States”. - More, at: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/us/abuse-of-women-most-serious-worldwide-challenge-carter-1.1752191

Monday, April 07, 2014

White House warns Russia about overt or covert action in Ukraine --- (Reuters) - The White House on Monday warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against moving "overtly or covertly" into eastern Ukraine and said there was strong evidence that pro-Russian demonstrators in the region were being paid. -- The Ukraine government in Kiev said the overnight seizure of public buildings in three cities in eastern Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking industrial heartland were a replay of events in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula Moscow seized and annexed last month. -- "We saw groups of pro-Russian demonstrators take over government buildings in the eastern cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. "There is strong evidence suggesting some of these demonstrators were paid and were not local residents. -- "If Russia moves into eastern Ukraine either overtly or covertly this would be a very serious escalation. We call on President Putin and his government to cease all efforts to destabilize Ukraine and we caution against further military intervention," Carney said. -- Carney said the United States was concerned about Russia's moves and said Washington was studying whether to impose more sanctions. --- "The president and his team will continue to assess Russia's actions and whether or not to impose those further sanctions," Carney said. "We also have the authorities to impose further sanctions for the transgressions already made by Russia when it comes to Crimea." - More, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/07/us-ukraine-crisis-usa-idUSBREA361CF20140407

Putin says West may use NGOs to stir unrest in Russia --- (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin told his security chiefs on Monday to ensure Russia does not follow what he said was Ukraine's example by letting the West use local civil rights groups to foment unrest. -- In a speech to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the KGB's main successor, the former spy called for more vigilance and better counter-intelligence to fight threats ranging from Islamist militants to computer hackers. -- Accusing the West of funding radical groups in Ukraine that helped to topple President Viktor Yanukovich, he expressed concern that Russia also faced a threat from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) "serving foreign national interests". -- "We will not accept a situation like what happened in Ukraine, when in many cases it was through non-governmental organisations that the nationalist and neo-Nazi groups and militants, who became the shock troops in the anti-constitutional coup d'état, received funding from abroad." ---Western leaders have dismissed such criticism, mainly aimed at the United States and the European Union, and blame Putin for causing the crisis in East-West relations by annexing the Crimea region from Ukraine on March 21. --- Putin, who ran the FSB in the late 1990s and served as a KGB agent in East Germany, said 46 employees of foreign secret services had been uncovered by the FSB in Russia last year. That was an increase of almost one-third on 2012. -- He also called for the FSB to step up operations on the southern border as U.S. and other troops leave Afghanistan, and said allies in Central Asia may need help to prevent destabilisation in the region. - More, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/07/us-russia-putin-security-idUSBREA3619X20140407

What it pays to know about Social Security -- 10 things you should know about Social Security --- Every week the government takes money out of your paycheck, with plans to return it to you when you're retired. If that's all you know about Social Security, read on. --- For many Americans, Social Security benefits are the bedrock of retirement income. Yet future retirees could find themselves on shaky ground. The Social Security Board of Trustees, in its latest annual report, estimated that the retirement program would only be able to pay out 77 percent of scheduled benefits starting in 2033. -- You can't control how the government might fix that problem. But you can educate yourself about Social Security to ensure that you claim the maximum amount of benefits to which you are entitled. Here are ten essentials you need to know. --- Your age when you collect Social Security has a big impact on the amount of money you ultimately get from the program. The key age to know is your full retirement age. For people born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66. It gradually climbs toward 67 if your birthday falls between 1955 and 1959. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67. You can collect Social Security as soon as you turn 62, but taking benefits before full retirement age results in a permanent reduction of as much as 25 percent of your benefit. --- Besides avoiding a haircut, waiting until full retirement age to take benefits can open up a variety of claiming strategies for married couples. (More on those strategies later.) Age also comes into play with kids: Minor children of Social Security beneficiaries can be eligible for a benefit. Children up to age 18, or up to age 19 if they are full-time students who haven't graduated from high school, and disabled children older than 18 may be able to receive up to half of a parent's Social Security benefit. --- To be eligible for Social Security benefits, you must earn at least 40 "credits." You can earn up to four credits a year, so it takes ten years of work to qualify for Social Security. In 2014, you must earn $1,200 to get one Social Security work credit and $4,800 to get the maximum four credits for the year. --- Your benefit is based on the 35 years in which you earned the most money. If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, each year with no earnings will be factored in at zero. You can increase your benefit by replacing those zero years, say, by working longer, even if it's just part-time. But don't worry -- no low-earning year will replace a higher-earning year. The benefit isn't based on 35 consecutive years of work, but the highest-earning 35 years. So if you decide to phase into retirement by going part-time, you won't affect your benefit at all if you have 35 years of higher earnings. But if you make more money, your benefit will be adjusted upward, even if you are still working while taking your benefit. --- There is a maximum benefit amount you can receive, though it depends on the age you retire. For someone at full retirement age in 2014, the maximum monthly benefit is $2,642. You can estimate your own benefit by using Social Security's online Retirement Estimator. - MORE, Rachel L. Sheedy, Kiplinger, at: http://money.msn.com/retirement/10-things-you-should-know-about-social-security

The Daily Beast -- How Obama Lost Afghanistan --- He said it was ‘the right war.’ Then he did everything he could to screw it up.--- Despite the violence and uncertainty surrounding this Saturday’s election for a new Afghan President, there’s one positive —Hamid Karzai, the sitting president and the architect of much of the country’s unrest, is not on the ballot this time. But while Karzai must cede power under the rules of the Afghan constitution, the other leader whose mismanagement helped tank Afghanistan abandoned his influence in what he once called “the right war” a long time ago. That leader is President Barack Obama. --- Some level of corruption is to be expected in a post-conflict war zone, but the rancorous back and forth between Karzai and the Obama administration was a disastrous turning point. Dismissing voting irregularities as “totally fabricated,” Karzai dedicated his next five years to severing his relationship with the United States. Always a pacifist—a nuance neglected when drafting plans for a more aggressive war strategy—Karzai went increasingly public with his anger over civilian casualties, night raids and what he saw as American rejection to take the fight to Pakistan. -- Over the last year, Karzai refused to sign a security pact setting the terms for a long-term American troop presence, leaving the decision of keeping American forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to the next president. Only a month ago, Karzai told the Washington Post, “There is no war to be fought in Afghanistan. I believe that much of the conflict is a creation in which the Afghans suffer.” --- Yet for all of Karzai’s failings, the Obama administration’s craven politics and unrealistic expectations hastened the decline. Immediately after Obama’s election, administration officials stressed the need for a “credible partner” in Afghanistan, ignoring the reality that Karzai would likely win even without widespread cheating. To make good on his strong campaign condemnation of the Bush administration failures in Afghanistan, Obama ordered an additional 20,000 troops, then another 30,000, almost doubling the size of the American forces in Afghanistan to nearly 100,000. Obama actually didn’t want to surge the troops—he took over three months to make the decision to do so—but feared political fallout for denying the request of the brass.The additional troops were supposed to “create the space for governance.” The strategy depended on Karzai’s potential as a leader, but Obama would not play the role of mentor and would not speak with Karzai directly. It didn’t work. Already before the contested election, Obama outsourced ‘the job against Al Qaida in Afghanistan’ to deceased Special Envoy Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry. Though the commander-in-chief should delegate as much as possible, wartime relationships matter. It was a slight from which Karzai would never recover. --- Obama made clear where he stood when he quickly undercut his $120 billion investment by announcing a drawdown. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates observed a preoccupation with exit over strategy. “The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his,” wrote Gates in his memoir. “For him, it’s all about getting out.” -- Afghanistan today is much more violent than when Obama came into office. Fewer Americans may be dying. But many more Afghan civilians are being killed, according to U.N. statistics. More guns, more warlords, more militias—that’s Obama’s probable legacy. It’s what happens when you can’t deal with reality and commit one way or the other in wartime—you lose. - MORE, Elise Jordan - at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/05/how-obama-lost-afghanistan.html

Susan Mubarak to be paid $1m for TV interview --- The former Egyptian first lady Susan Mubarak has agreed to a $1 million offer to appear on Al-Nahar TV channel, Kuwait's Al-Watan newspaper reported. -- The paper quoted informed sources as saying that Al-Nahar TV host Mustafa Feki was in charge of convincing Mubarak to be interviewed for two consecutive episodes for $1 million. The same sources claimed that Mubarak had agreed to the offer based on the channel agreeing to all her conditions. -- According to the paper, Mubarak put several conditions forward most importantly avoiding talking about sensitive issues in her life including the health of former President Hosni Mubarak or the mental state of her sons Jamal and Ala, her current place of residence or any details about her personal life since the January 25 revolution. -- The sources claimed that Mubarak also asked to read the questions in advance to prepare for the answers and refused to talk about her current source of living or any details that took place inside the presidential palace during the January revolution. -- The Kuwaiti newspaper said the interview with Mubarak will be limited to discussing projects she helped run during the former president's rule including the Reading For All project, the establishment of a number of schools and housing projects and her life with the former president as well as his achievements at the regional and international level. - More, Middle East Monitor - at: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/10761-susan-mubarak-to-be-paid-1m-for-tv-interview

Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani: Parliamentary system would destabilize country --- Kabul, Asharq Al-Awsat—The world’s attention once more turned to Afghanistan as its citizens headed to the polls Saturday in presidential elections. -- Thirteen years after an international coalition led by the United States ousted the Taliban government, Afghanistan remains troubled by violence and a weak economy. --- Q: What do you think is the best system of rule for Afghanistan? A presidential or parliamentary system? -- We are not ready for a parliamentary system yet, because we don’t have major political parties. Once 2 to 4 major political parties are established you can have a parliamentary system. We have hundreds of political parties, but no major ones, and without major democratic parties you cannot run a parliamentary system. Otherwise you would have coalition governments until the end of the world, and that would destabilize Afghanistan. --- Q: What do you think of the future of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US forces? -- Our security forces have done a remarkable job. I was in charge of the security transition over the last three years and I am very proud of our security forces. They need ten more years of sustained attention. They began from scratch. They are like our soccer and cricket team: they began very low, but they have developed. Over the next ten years, they are really going to become excellent professional forces. I hope to be leading them as their commander-in-chief, in addition to investing in them, earning their trust and making sure that the use of force is diminished and does not increase. The best army is an army that is not used. --- Do you have a message for the Arab world? -- Of course, the Arab world is a circle that we’ve been bound to since the reign of Caliph Uthman. We share an enormous heritage. People of this country have contributed enormously to the Arab Muslim civilization, from Ghazali to Ibn Sina, and equally Arabic is fundamental for us to grasp the Holy Qur’an and Sunna of the Prophet. -- More importantly, the Arab world has now become one of the largest centers of capital accumulation in the world. We seek a multi-dimensional relationship [with the Arab world]. Hajj is the duty of every Muslim, and Afghans are standing in line to perform it. Our knowledge of Arabic has increased phenomenally; I would like to see a major investment in the learning of Arabic. Our religious scholars need to be connected to Al-Azhar [in Egypt], the UAE, Jordan, and the rest of the Arab world. This is a binding relationship and it will endure. - More, Mohammed Al-Shafey, Asharq Alawsat English - at: http://www.aawsat.net/2014/04/article55330859

Afghan Presidential Candidate Ashraf Ghani Garners Strong Support in the North --- MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan—Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani's choice of Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum as his running mate is looking increasingly like a masterstroke, with Mr. Ghani's supporters confident of a strong showing in the country's north as voting-fraud accusations mount. -- With counting continuing amid claims of ballot stuffing and intimidation, Mr. Ghani's deputy campaign manager, Abdul Momin Makret, said his team was certain of making it into the runoff among the two top vote-getters. About 80% of polling stations in northern Afghanistan's biggest province of Balkh put Mr. Ghani in either first or second place, he said. - More, Rob Taylor, WSJ, at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304819004579485542790315768

انتخابات افغانستان و آینده حضور نظامیان امریکا --- بارک اوباما رئیس جمهور، جان کری وزیر خارجه و چک هیگل، وزیر دفاع ایالات متحده امریکا از انتخابات افغانستان که به روز شنبه برگزار شد، استقبال کردند - انتخاباتی که توقع می رود تا برای اولین بار در تاریخ آن کشور قدرت به شکل شفاف و دیموکراتیک، انتقال بیابد. -- نتایج انتخابات تا چند هفته آینده معلوم نخواهد بود، ولی اداره بارک اوباما امیدوار است که رهبر جدید افغانستان توافق نامه دو جابنه امنیتی میان دو کشور را نهایی خواهد کرد و از این طریق شماری از نیروی امریکایی در آن کشور مستقر خواهند بود. افغان ها با نادیده گرفتن تهدیدات امنیتی آرای شان را به صندوق ها رای ریختند، شمارش آرا هم ادامه دارد. اشرف غنی احمدزی، یکی از نامزدان ریاست جمهوری می گوید که مردم افغانستان، اهل رای هستند، نه خشونت. احمدزی گفت به اثبات رسانیدیم که ما مردم رای هستیم، نه مرمی. عام مردم از دیموکراسی ستایش می کنند، به آن اعتقاد دارند و می خواهند تا آن کارگر واقع شود. عبدالله عبدالله، یکی دیگر از نامزدان ریاست جمهور از روند رای دهی در روز اننخابات شاکی بوده گفت، ما شکایات خود را به مراجع مربوطه که کمیسیون سمع شکایات است ارجاع کردیم و امیدواریم که به این شکایات به موقع رسیدگی شود. -- در بیش از ۱۲ سال گذشته، امریکا طولانی ترین جنگ را در افغانستان سپری کرده است. رئیس جمهور اوباما تعهد کرده که جنگ درافغانستان را خاتمه دهد و دست آورد ها را در این کشور، حفظ کند. اداره اوباما انتقال قدرت را در افغانستان که امنیت روند انتخابات توسط نیرو های افغان تامین شد، به نظر موفقیت می بیند. جاش ایرنیست، سخنگوی قصرسفید می گوید که تفاوت بین انتخابات افغانستان و امریکا وجود دارد. به گفته او نتایج انتخابات در امریکا در همان شب و یا روز بعد آن اعلام می شود. ایرنیست اظهار امیدواری کرد که انتخابات افغانستان صلح آمیز و همه شمول بوده، و به طور گسترده مورد قبول افغان ها قرار گیرد. او گفت انتقال سیاسی به شکلی که قابل قبول باشد برای ادامه حمایت بین المللی برای افغانستان، یک مسله جدی است. -- بر خلاف حامد کرزی، رئیس جمهور فعلی افغانستان، همه نامزدان ریاست جمهوری گفته اند که توافق نامه دو جانبه امنیتی را با ایالات متحده امضا خواهند کرد تا چند هزار نیروی امریکایی در آن کشور باقی بماند. هدف حضور نیروی های امریکایی، آموزش عساکر افغان می باشد. تیم کینی، سناتور از حزب دیموکرات، از کاهش نیرو های کشورش در افغانستان حمایت می کند، ولی می گوید که پیشرفت ها در آن کشور نباید برباد برود. کینی میگوید تقریبا حدود ۲۳۰۰ تن از نیرو های امریکایی جان های شان را در افغانستان از دست دادند. و ایالات متحده ۶۰۰ ملیارد دالر در افغانستان مصرف کرده است. کینی می گوید در حالیکه نمی توان چلنج های را که امروز و فردا در افغانستان باقی می ماند پوشانید، اما دست آورد های که بعد از سقوط طالبان در اکتوبر ۲۰۰۱ به دست آمده، فراموش نشود. -- حالا می توان تا نفس آرام را در قصرسفید تا کانگرس امریکا شنید که انتخابات افغانستان با حداقل خشونت به پیش رفت و تا ماه آینده، رئیس جمهور منتخب در افغانستان، اعلان خواهد شد. - صدای امریکا

The Faces of Power, From the Portraitist in Chief -- George W. Bush’s Art Exhibition at Presidential Center --- DALLAS — Former President George W. Bush is a something of a natural when it comes to making oil paintings, a decent amateur. Although he picked up a brush only in 2012, this naturalness emerged as a definite possibility barely a year later. That’s when images of two strange, seemingly introspective paintings by Mr. Bush went viral, hacked from the email of a Bush relative, very discreetly showing the former president bathing. -- Now Mr. Bush’s unsettling talent is confirmed by “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” a hagiographic soup of an exhibition that opened Saturday at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University, and includes — amid quite a bit else — 30 of the former president’s oil-on-board paintings of world leaders. The exhibition starts with a presidential self-portrait that seems still to need work and a far more affecting depiction of his aging father, former President George Bush. -- These are followed by heads of state like Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, looking suitably stony faced and ruthless. There are portraits of Tony Blair of Britain and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia that resemble paintings by Luc Tuymans (a well-known Belgian artist who, like Mr. Bush, works from photographs) and of Angela Merkel of Germany looking open and optimistic (and girlishly nonthreatening). President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is depicted uncharacteristically concerned. Ehud Olmert of Israel appears to be reading from a speech — an appealing work that can bring to mind a self-portrait by another, visionary amateur painter, the composer Arnold Schoenberg. -- Mr. Bush has an uncanny ability to translate photographs into more awkward images enlivened by distortions and slightly ham-handed brushwork. His skill may be disconcerting for people who love painting and dislike the former president, but still, everyone needs to get a grip, especially those in the art world who dismiss the paintings without even seeing them. -- When asked about the bathing paintings in interviews ramping up to the exhibition, Mr. Bush distanced himself from them — and indirectly ridiculed anyone who took them seriously — by saying that he had only painted them to shock his teacher, the noted Dallas painter Gail Norfleet. -- When asked about the bathing paintings in interviews ramping up to the exhibition, Mr. Bush distanced himself from them — and indirectly ridiculed anyone who took them seriously — by saying that he had only painted them to shock his teacher, the noted Dallas painter Gail Norfleet. - More, ROBERTA SMITH, NYTimes, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/arts/design/george-w-bushs-art-exhibition-at-presidential-center.html?hp&_r=0

تردې دمه احمدزي تر نیمايي زیاتې رایې ګټلي --- دولسمشرۍ دانتخاباتو له لس فیصده شمېرل شویو رایو سره سم تقریباً نیمايي ډاکتر اشرف غني احمدزي ترلاسه کړي او پاتې ۶ نورو کاندیدانو ته په برخه شوي دي. درایو شمېرنه دوام لري او هره شېبه دکاندیدانو درایو په فیصدي کې بدلون راتلای شي. لکه چې وویل شول، دانتخاباتو په پایلو کې هره شېبه بدلون راځي. دتېرې شپې تر پایه پوري داشرف غني احمدزي رایې ۴۰۶۵۲۳ ته ورسېدې. دعبدالله عبدالله رایې تر ۳ لکو یو څه واوښتې. --- اوس دعبدالله عبدالله دټولو رایو شمېر ۳۰۳۶۶۷ دی. دزلمي رسول درایو شمېر ۵۸۸۶۳، دقطب الدین هلال ۸۹۹۲، دګل آغا شېرزي ۲۹۶۳، دعبدالرب رسول سیاف ۳۳۸۸۳ او دهدایت امین ارسلا ۲۸۵ دی. پردې اساس داشرف غني احمدزي درایو فیصدي اوس (ددوشنبې دسهار تر ۸ بجو پوري) ۵۳ ده. دعبدالله عبدالله عبدالله دټولو رایو فیصدي ۳۵ او ورپسې دزلمي رسول ۷ اعشاریه صفر ده. -- نن به دیو شمېر نورو ولایتونو درایو پایلې هم څرګندې شي او ګومان کېږي چې دانتخاباتو خپلواک کمیسیون هم ابتدايي پایلې اعلان کړي. - تاند

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Afghanistan’s leading presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani vows to sign security agreement --- “I find the instrument to guarantee Afghanistan’s sovereignty,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “My commitment is to sign the agreement so that the intentional forces that are needed to support the building, equipping and training of Afghan security forces are in place.” -- You can watch Amanpour's full interview with Ghani here. - More, CNN, at: http://amanpour.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/02/afghanistans-leading-presidential-candidate-ashraf-ghani-vows-to-sign-security-agreement/?iref=obinsite

Afghanistan’s presidential election got high turnout, but many still voted along ethnic lines --- KABUL — As ballots were tallied Sunday from Afghanistan’s presidential election, many voters hoped that the country was moving into a new era marked by its first democratic handover of power. But early returns in Kabul pointed to the enduring power of ethnic politics. --- The presidential candidates had tried to market themselves as post-ethnic leaders, promoting economic and political reform rather than the kind of sectarianism that fed the civil war in the 1990s. An electoral result that breaks down along ethnic lines could complicate the formation of the next government, requiring negotiations and compromises to create a broad-based coalition. -- Saturday’s election drew a surprisingly large turnout despite threats from the Taliban to disrupt the balloting. At least 23 people were killed on election day and the prior day, mostly soldiers and police officers, the government announced. -- Three more people were killed Sunday, including at least one election worker, when a government vehicle struck a roadside bomb in northern Kunduz province, according to Afghan officials. -- But there were no large-scale attacks in Kabul, and the death toll was lower than many had expected. --- As votes were counted, the country’s electoral complaints commission started processing about 1,000 formal allegations of fraud. The last presidential election, in 2009, was plagued by irregularities, and many Afghans pointed fingers at election staffers thought to be acting on the basis of tribal or ethnic loyalties. -- Afghans have keen memories of the brutal war that raged among ethnically based militias, killing tens of thousands of people and destroying large parts of the capital. -- Eighteen years after it ended, tensions among those groups have diminished. Saturday’s election was celebrated in many quarters as a moment of national unity and collective opposition to the Taliban. But Kabul is still divided into neighborhoods reflecting the country’s largest ethnic groups. --- In several predominantly Tajik neighborhoods, for example, the ethnic Tajik presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, was the clear winner based on preliminary results. He received about 75 percent of the vote, out of a total of about 3,000 ballots cast at four polling stations. Ashraf Ghani, who is a Pashtun, thought to be Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group, was the second-highest vote-getter, receiving about 18 percent. -- In several Pashtun neighborhoods, the results were reversed, with Ghani winning about three-quarters of the vote. -- In ethnic Hazara neighborhoods, Abdullah was the overwhelming winner. His vice- presidential pick, Mohammad Mohaqiq, is a Hazara warlord. -- “Our whole people voted for Abdullah because of Mohaqiq,” said Mahram Ali, 48, a Hazara. “We want a change in leadership from Pashtun to Tajik — and afterwards, our turn will arrive.” -- The lopsided results are based on a fraction of preliminary tallies posted outside polling centers, but they paint a picture of a trend expected to emerge across the country as votes are counted over the coming weeks. --- “Pashtuns vote for Pashtuns,” said Nangullah, a resident of Kabul’s Arzan Qemat neighborhood, where about 90 percent of the community is Pashtun and where Ghani won an overwhelming number of the votes. --- Although Karzai’s presidency was criticized for corruption and poor relations with Washington, he proved adept at building a coalition with strongmen from across Afghanistan’s ethnic spectrum. For more than a decade, that approach kept ethnic flare-ups to a minimum. In universities and in some ministries, an ethnically diverse meritocracy appeared to take form. - More, Kevin Sieff, - Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/afghanistans-presidential-election-got-high-turnout-but-many-still-voted-along-ethnic-lines/2014/04/06/6b3a6a1e-bdb6-11e3-b195-dd0c1174052c_story.html

Getting the gang back together: Bush family, friends convene in Texas to celebrate H.W. --- COLLEGE STATION, Tex. — About 600 of George H.W. Bush’s closest friends, administration officials, political allies and family members headed to his presidential library in Texas this past weekend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his presidency. Familiar faces such as former secretary of state James Baker, ex-chief of staff John Sununu, and onetime vice president Dan Quayle spent the time reminiscing about their glory days, eating heaping plates of barbecue and listening to live country music played by Clay Walker and Garth Brooks. -- “It’s like a combination between a college reunion and ‘The Big Chill,’ ” said Ron Kaufman, a longtime political director for the 41st president. -- And no reunion would be complete without people falling into obvious tropes. -- “This is going to be a conversation among a group of old dutters drinking vodka, scotch, Jack Daniel’s or, in [former national security adviser Stephen] Hadley’s case, slurping green tea.” — Robert Gates, former CIA director/defense secretary/class clown. -- “Sorry, I’d love to talk, but I’m at Table One, and you know who sits there.” — Karl Rove, mastermind GOP operative/climber. -- “Where did everybody go? I know they are around somewhere.” — Joe Trippi, token Democrat/dweeb. -- Of course, 41, the man of honor, would have to be the class president. But it was his son Jeb who may have earned the best title of all: most likely to succeed. -- At a packed town-hall meeting Sunday morning in College Station, Jeb said he would make a decision by the end of the year on jumping into the 2016 presidential race. Among the factors he was weighing: whether a candidate in this day and age could “run with a hopeful, optimistic message, hopefully with enough detail to give people a sense that it’s not just idle words and not get back into the vortex of the mud fight.” He added, “In my case, that means, can one do it joyfully without being tied to all the convention of the here and now?” --- The Bushes are going through a renaissance of Matthew McConaughey-like proportions. The 89-year-old elder Bush has gone from a badly defeated one-term commander-in-chief to one of the most popular former presidents in decades. His son George W. reemerged into the public this past weekend as a painter (which of course doesn’t whitewash his presidency, but at least people aren’t talking about Iraq for a moment). - More, Ben Terris, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/getting-the-gang-back-together-bush-family-friends-convene-in-texas-to-celebrate-hw/2014/04/06/30f917d6-bda9-11e3-b574-f8748871856a_story.html?hpid=z2

.خط جدید شاهراه جلال آباد - کابل احداث می شود --- مسئولین ولایت جلال آباد روز گذشته از شروع احداث خط جدید شاهراه جلال آباد – کابل خبر دادند. این جاده که با هزینه ی کم، نزدیک ترین و کم خطرترین راه اتصال شرق افغانستان به پایتخت محسوب می شود، به طول یک صدوشش کیلومتر و عرض نه متر از شهر جلال آباد مرکز ولایت ننگرهار آغاز و با گذر از ولسوالی سرخرود، از راه موسوم به لته بند و ولسوالی بگرامی به پایتخت وصل می شود. -- نجیب الله اوژن وزیر فواید عامه ی افغانستان درمراسم گشایش کار این جاده به گلستان غالب خبرنگار آژانس خبری باختر گفت که شاهراه جدید جلال آباد - کابل، به هزینۀ یک صد و ده ملیون دالر از کمک های بانک انکشاف آسیایی ظرف سه سال ساخته خواهد شد. محل هایی که این شاهراه از آن می گذرد از نظر اقلیمی گرمای زیادی دارد از این رو در ساخت این جاده قیر نه بلکه سمنت و آهن استفاده خواهد شد. وزیر فواید عامه می گوید که نظر به وضع جوی محل های مسیر شاهراه کابل - جلال آباد ، ساخت آن با سمنت و آهن مقاوم و متداوم تر نسبت به قیرریزی خواهد بود. این جاده برابر با معیار های ترانزیت جهانی ساخته خواهد شد. -- به گفته وزیر فواید عامه در مسیر این راه یازده پل، دوصد و بیست و شش پلچک و هشت هزار متر دیوار های استنادی ساخته خواهد شد تا جاده را در برابر حوادث طبیعی وغیرطبیعی محافظت کند. این جاده با نه متر عرض دو سرک رفت و برگشت خواهد داشت و گفته می شود از آن بیشتر برای موتر های باربری و کاروان های تجارتی استفاده خواهد شد. در حال حاضر راه کوتل پرخم و پیچ و مرتفع ماهیپر تنها راه نزدیک برای اتصال ولایت های شرقی به پایتخت است، راهی که به نسبت تراکم زیاد کاروان های تجارتی و مسافران مخصوصآ در موسم سرما، گواه رویداد های ترافیکی و بندش جریان ترافیک است. -- افغانستان به عنوان یک کشور بیشتر مصرفی، بیشترین کالا های خود را از پاکستان وارد می کند که این همه کالا ها از مسیر گذرگاه تورخم و همین شاهراه جلال آباد – کابل داخل کشور می شود. عطاالله لودین والی ننگرهار می گوید با ساخت راه جدید، از فشار جریان ترافیکی بر خط فعلی شاهراه جلال آباد - کابل و میزان روزافزون رویداد های خونین راننده گی می کاهد. خط جدید شاهراه کابل - جلال آباد نسبت به راه ماهیپر ده ها کیلومتر کوتاه تراست و در هر زمان و فصل آماده ی فشار های ترافیکی می تواند باشد. -- داکتر عمر زاخیل وال وزیر مالیه افغانستان در مراسم گشایش کار ساخت خط جدید شاهراه جلال آباد – کابل گفت که بهره برداری از این راه کم هزینه، به رشد اقتصادی کشور کمک بیشتر می کند. او از شرکت های مجری ساخت این شاهراه خواست تا کیفیت را در نظر داشته باشند. درین حال نجیب الله اوژن وزیر فواید عامه می گوید که از جریان کار ساخت این شاهراه نظارت خواهد شد. -- مسیری که خط جدید شاهراه جلال آباد - کابل از آن می گذرد در چند سال اخیر گواه حضور و فعالیت گروه های تروریستی از جمله طالبان مسلح بوده است. والی ننگرهار می گوید که به زودی عملیات های نظامی در این مسیر راه اندازی می شود تا با از بین رفتن مخفیگاه های گروه های تروریستی، فضا مناسب برای ساخت این راه مساعد شود. - افغانستان.رو

Afghanistan election: Presidential poll ballots counted --- Vote counting is well under way in Afghanistan after Saturday's landmark poll to elect a new president. -- More than seven million Afghans turned out to vote, defying Taliban militant threats to the poll. -- The election marks the country's first democratic transfer of power. -- It will take at least another week before the winner is confirmed. If none of the eight candidates gets more than 50% of the vote, Afghans will vote again in a second round. -- But the BBC's Lyse Doucet in Kabul says many Afghans feel their country has already won by holding a relatively peaceful poll. -- Turnout was double that of the last presidential election in 2009, despite major Taliban attacks in the run-up to voting and a cold, rainy polling day. -- Complaints are now coming in about alleged irregularities, including shortages of ballot papers in some areas, but our correspondent says there is greater confidence in the electoral machinery than before and a hope that all the candidates will accept the result. -- Electoral officials have urged patience, saying partial results could come as early as Sunday, but it is likely to be at least a week before a complete picture emerges. -- More than 1,200 complaints had been received by the Election Complaints Commission (ECC) by Sunday morning, spokesman Nadir Mohsini said. -- "Complaints include late opening of polling centres, shortage of ballot papers, encouraging of voters to vote for certain candidates and mistreatment of some election officials," he added. --- The UN Security Council has issued a statement applauding preparations for the vote, and urging the candidates and their supporters to "respect the electoral institutions and processes". -- Thijs Berman, the head of the European Union's election assessment team in Kabul, praised the courage of Afghan voters. -- US President Barack Obama said in a statement: "We commend the Afghan people, security forces, and elections officials on the turnout for today's vote." -- UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement: "It is a great achievement for the Afghan people that so many voters, men and women, young and old, have turned out in such large numbers, despite threats of violence." -- Nato military alliance chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the elections were "a historic moment for Afghanistan". --- Nato has co-ordinated much of the work of foreign forces in Afghanistan - most of them US and British troops - in a mission that will end this year. - More, BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26912153

Jeb Bush says he'll make decision on bid this year --- WASHINGTON (AP) — Jeb Bush says all the speculation about whether he'll run for president in 2016 is actually getting him more attention than if he had already entered the race. -- The former Republican governor of Florida said that's not by design, and that he'll make his decision before year's end. -- He told Fox News Channel in an interview airing Sunday that the state of politics is "crazy right now." -- Bush says one factor in his decision will be whether he can deliver an optimistic, hopeful message without getting drawn into a political "mud fight." He says the other main factor in his decision will be whether it's OK with his family if he ran. -- Bush has antagonized many Republicans by supporting an immigration overhaul and educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade known as Common Core. -- On immigration, he said that those who come into the country illegally generally do so because they had no other means to provide for their family, and what they did is "not a felony." -- "It's an act of love. It's an act of commitment to your family," Bush said. "I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime. There should be a price paid, but it shouldn't rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families." -- The interview with Bush occurred at his father's presidential library during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of George. H. W. Bush's presidency. - More, KEVIN FREKING of Associated Press

By Alice Speri --- The US Just Can’t Stop Blowing Billions in Afghanistan --- You might have heard that the US spent some $102 billion trying to develop Afghanistan over the last decade — and that’s in addition to the estimated $6 trillion it spent going to war there in the first place. -- You also might have heard that a lot of that money vanished into thin air, went to shady contractors, corrupt politicians, or, occasionally, the Taliban. -- But if you thought that getting out of Afghanistan would save us some cash, you’re wrong. The troops might withdraw, if things go as planned, by the end of the year, but US dollars are going to have to keep flowing into the country for years to come to keep it afloat. If things go bad, the US might feel compelled to start the war all over again. --- As VICE reported in its recent HBO documentary “Afghan Money Pit,” monitoring the billions in aid has been a huge challenge so far. And with the security situation in the country taking a sharp turn for the worse, that’s about to get a lot harder. --- “Our concern is that as we continue with the drawdown, it’s going to be more difficult to manage and oversee the billions of dollars of programs that we’ll continue to do. It’s going to be harder, and it’s going to be more expensive,” John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), told VICE News. --- Sopko will testify about wasteful spending in Afghanistan before a Congress subcommittee on Thursday. -- “What you need is to look at how much money it is going to cost to monitor those programs and then sit back and say, well, is it worth spending, for example, $1 million on monitoring a $500,000 program? Maybe you want to look at some of the programs you’re doing and not do them because it’s not cost effective. But there may be some programs you still have to do.” --- Both executing and monitoring development projects is going to be tough with no troops on the ground, as SIGAR expects less than 21 percent of Afghanistan to be accessible to US civilian employees by the end of the year. Military officials also said they won’t allow civilians to travel anywhere further than 30 minutes away from advanced medical facilities. -- If the plan is to follow the money, this doesn’t bode too well. -- That at least is the concern of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which has put some $14.4 billion towards the country’s reconstruction, and which earlier this month opened a call for bids on a new monitoring project contract — making up for a lack of access through technology. -- The agency hopes to step up its use of smartphones, satellite imagery, and GPS cameras to oversee tax-funded programs it won’t be able to access once the troops are gone. --- “The American people have been very generous in pursuit of our national security objectives in Afghanistan, and we’re absolutely intent on making sure that that funding is used as effectively and as accountably as possible,” Kathleen Campbell, USAID’s Deputy Assistant to the Administrator in the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, told VICE News. “If we don’t have the monitoring and oversight that we want, if we’re not comfortable with our access, with our sources, with what we’re hearing, or if we’re not able to get enough data, then we’ll close the project down.” -- Campbell, who said the agency made “huge progress” in Afghanistan, said that technological oversight has already proved that it works, and that it is worth the cost. --- “When somebody goes and visits the project they can bring a camera, which is GPS and time-stamped, they can use mobile technology to upload data,” she said, explaining that the agency will tap local government, civil society, and sub-contractors to help in a “multi-tiered” approach to oversight. --- “If you’re at the point where that’s one of your only sources of evaluation, you really have to ask the question whether or not you should be doing it in the first place,” Ashley Jackson, a researcher with the Overseas Development Institute's Humanitarian Policy Group who spent years working on aid effectiveness in Afghanistan, told VICE News. “The further you put yourself away from your project, the greater the risk of fraud. And it doesn’t really matter if you have GPS or satellite technology.” --- Did we spend too much money in Afghanistan? -- Jackson criticized donor agencies and larger NGOs for repeatedly employing contractors with “atrocious track records,” for spending too much money, and for not seeking the input of the local population. The battle to buy the hearts and minds of the Afghan people through development projects, she added, was “naive.” -- “You can’t buy off the Afghan population by paving a road,” she said. “We tend to think of people who receive aid as passive victims who are so grateful for our support, but if you have a western government coming into your country saying ‘This is how you should do things,’ you’re going to take your piece and exploit it, you’re going to be active in that process.” -- The projects that did work in Afghanistan were small-scale and long-term, Jackson said. -- “The question wasn’t asked, ‘What do people need, what’s going to be sustainable?’ It was, ‘We have a lot of money to burn,'” she explained. “You don’t need to spend that much money to have an impact, you just need to spend it well. It’s not rocket science.” -- MORE, VICE, at: http://news.vice.com/articles/the-us-just-cant-stop-blowing-billions-in-afghanistan

Exclusive interview: Former defense chief Robert Gates on wars and Washington --- Stripes: You said in your book that Obama hasn’t spoken publicly enough about the importance of the mission in Afghanistan. Having talked with a lot of troops during your visits to Afghanistan and elsewhere, did you get a sense that they don’t believe that their commander-in-chief is fully supportive of them and their mission? -- Gates: I basically would hear that indirectly. And frankly, as much as anything, it was my own perception that if you’re going to send troops in harm’s way, you need to be vocal about why the mission is important, why the cause is just, and … why it’s worth the potential sacrifice for the troops who are carrying out the mission … I agreed with all of his decisions in Afghanistan, but on several occasions told his White House chief of staff that [Obama] needed to take ownership of the war in Afghanistan in light of his decision to send 60,000 additional troops there. --- And you felt Obama didn’t take ownership of the war? -- Gates: Correct. Most of the time when he would speak about Afghanistan, it was when he was announcing a new strategy or a decision to deploy more troops or to begin drawing down troops; in other words, his public statements were linked to actions he was taking as opposed to appearing in groups – in front of groups of troops, or… [sending] a message to the American people of why the war was important. He would make these courageous decisions, and then nobody from the White House, including him, would go out to defend those decisions and say why they were important and why they were the correct decisions. --- Do you think that Obama’s seeming reluctance to speak out about the importance of the mission had a negative impact on the morale of the troops? -- Gates: All I have is just anecdotal information. I think based on everything I saw that they were committed to the mission and they did their jobs and often with great courage. But I think that it just can’t help but have an impact if the person who is asking you to make the sacrifice isn’t telling you why it’s worth doing. - More, Stars and Stripes, at: http://www.stripes.com/exclusive-interview-former-defense-chief-robert-gates-on-wars-and-washington-1.276401

اوباما افغانانو ته د ټاکنو مبارکي ويلې ده --- امريکا ولسمشر بارک اوباما وويل له راتلونکي افغان حکومت سره به د دوه اړخيز درناوي او دوه اړخيزې حساب ورکونې پر بنسټ کار وکړي. -- ښاغلي اوباما د يوې خبرپاڼې په خپرولو سره دغه ټاکنې د افغانستان د دموکراتيکې راتلونکې د شونې کېدو په لاره کې خورا مهم ګام بللی. -- اوباما په ټاکنو کې د پراخې ونډې اخيستو له امله افغانان، امنيتي ځواکونه او ټاکنيز چارواکي وستايل. -- ده زياته کړه چې دغه ټاکنې د واک د سوله ييز لېږد په برخه کې خورا ستر ګام دی، چې د ده په وينا په ترڅ کې يې افغانان په داسې حال کې چې متحد ايالتونه او ملاتړي يې په تدريجي ډول له افغانستان نه وځي د خپل هېواد د چارو مسووليت په لاس کې اخلي. -- امريکايي ولسمشر د افغانستان د دموکراتيکې راتلونکې او د بهرنۍ مرستې د دوام لپاره د دغو ټاکنو ترسره کول اړين وبلل او هیله يې څرګنده کړه چې اړوندې ادارې به خپلې دندې ترسره کړې او پايلې به اعلان کړي. -- خبرپاڼه زياتوي چې متحد ايالتونه به د يوه خپلواک باثباته يو موټي او دموکراتيک افغانستان ملاتړ ته ادامه ورکړي. -- افغانستان د امريکا له متحد ايالتونو سره ستراتيژيک تړون لري او اوس هڅه دا ده چې د دواړو هېوادونو ترمنځ امنيتي تړون هم لاسليک شي -- که څه هم په کابل کې جوړې شوې مشورتي جرګې له امريکا سره د امنتي تړون لاسليکولو ته مثبته رايه ورکړې، خو ولسمشر حامد کرزي د دغه تړون د لاسلکېدو لپاره ځينې شرطونه وړاندې کړل. -- د ده مهم شرطونه په افغانستان کې د امنيت راوستل، د افغان ځواکونو تجهيزول او د سولې د خبرو پيلېدل دي. --اوس ښايي دغه تړون د افغانستان له نوي حکومت سره لاسليک شي. - BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pashto/afghanistan/2014/04/140406_as_election_reaction.shtml

Afghanistan presidential poll hailed as a 'success' --- Afghan and Western leaders have praised the turnout in Afghanistan's presidential election, describing the exercise as a success. -- The votes of more than seven million Afghans estimated to have taken part - out of an electorate of 12 million - are now being counted. -- The poll was accompanied by sporadic violence, reports of ballot-paper shortages and complaints of fraud. -- It marks the strife-torn nation's first transfer of power via the ballot box. -- Eight candidates are seeking to succeed President Hamid Karzai. A second round run-off between the top two contenders may be needed to decide the winner, correspondents say. -- Three million more people voted in this presidential election than in the previous one, in 2009. -- Mr Karzai, barred by the constitution from seeking a third term, said after the polls closed: "Despite the cold and rainy weather and possible terrorist attack, our sisters and brothers nationwide took in this election and their participation is a step forward and it is a success for Afghanistan." -- US President Barack Obama, in a statement issued by the White House, said: "We commend the Afghan people, security forces, and elections officials on the turnout for today's vote - which is in keeping with the spirited and positive debate among candidates and their supporters in the run-up to the election. -- "These elections are critical to securing Afghanistan's democratic future, as well as continued international support." -- UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement: "It is a great achievement for the Afghan people that so many voters, men and women, young and old, have turned out in such large numbers, despite threats of violence, to have their say in the country's future." -- Nato military alliance chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the elections were "a historic moment for Afghanistan". -- Nato has co-ordinated much of the work of foreign forces in Afghanistan - most of them US and British troops - in a mission that will end this year. -- "I congratulate the millions of Afghan men and women from across the country who have cast their votes in presidential and provincial council elections with such an impressive turnout and enthusiasm," Mr Rasmussen said in a statement. -- Although there are eight candidates for president, only three are considered frontrunners - former foreign ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmai Rassoul, and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. -- However, no candidate is expected to secure more than the 50% of the vote needed to be the outright winner, which means there is likely to be a second round run-off on 28 May. --- Afghanistan's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani said its latest estimates were that more than seven million people had voted by 17:00 local time, when the polls had officially closed and counting began. -- Two-thirds of those who voted were men and one third women, the commission believes. Some polling stations stayed open for another four hours to allow everyone queuing to vote. -- "This election was a message to the enemies of Afghanistan," Mr Nouristani said. "With this determination of the honourable people of Afghanistan, the enemies were defeated." --- IEC secretary Ziaul Haq Amarkhel, asked to comment on widespread reports of polling stations running out of ballot papers, said this information was "false". - More, BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26908464

Saturday, April 05, 2014

UN envoy congratulates Afghan voters for taking part in 'historic' elections --- 5 April 2014 – As voters across Afghanistan braved inclement weather and security threats to cast their ballots in Saturday's presidential and provincial council elections, the top United Nations official there congratulated them for participating in this “historic moment” for the country. -- “Today was a good day for the future of a stable and unified Afghanistan. Ordinary Afghans turned out to vote in remarkable numbers, defying Taliban attacks and threats,” the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, said in a statement. -- “Often in long queues and bad weather, voters patiently waited to exercise their basic human right to vote. They chose to determine the future direction of the country by political means and resolutely rejected the enemies of peace and democracy,” he added. -- Afghans thronged to polling stations, which opened their doors at 7:00 a.m. today, to cast their ballots for a successor to President Hamid Karzai and members of 34 provincial councils. The polls will result in the first democratic transfer of power from one elected leader to another in the country. -- During a visit to a polling centre in the capital, Kabul, Mr. Kubiš, had voiced the hope that people would come out and vote for their candidates – whoever they may be – in good numbers. “I hope that at the end of the day, we will be able to say this is really a historic moment, opening a totally new chapter for the country.” -- Shukria, a resident of Kabul, expressed her hopes for the country's next leader. “I want my next president to improve security, creating a better environment for us to live in, as well as bring a higher standard of education to the country.” -- According to Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC), polling took place in 6,212 polling centres across the country, while a further 250 polling centres – that were originally scheduled to be kept open – were closed down due to the failure to dispatch necessary polling materials in light of adverse security developments. - More, UN, at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47511&Cr=Afghan&Cr1=elect

Hamid Karzai’s mixed legacy --- When the Taliban rule of Afghanistan came to an end in 2001, Hamid Karzai stood as a symbol of hope. The scion of a prominent Pashtun family was appointed president of the transitional government in December 2001. He was one of the few influential Afghans who did not have blood on his hands and had good relations with the United States. -- Expectations were high. But twelve years on, Karzai's era is marked by disillusionment both inside and outside of the conflict-ridden country. Little progress has been made in crucial areas such as fighting corruption and improving relations with neighboring Pakistan. -- However, Adrienne Woltersdorf, head of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung's Kabul office, believes Karzai deserves some credit. 'He has managed to keep his position as Afghanistan's president which is probably one of the toughest political jobs on the planet, for more than ten years.' -- According to the analyst, this achievement shouldn't be underestimated, especially in a country notorious for intrigues. Karzai is a great tactician, she said, who was able to balance out contrasting power interests. For instance, when the governor of Herat Province, Ismail Khan, began to act independently of Kabul, Karzai decided to appoint him cabinet minister. -- It was only by counterbalancing the different political interests that development aid was able to take effect. Never before have more girls attended school than in the past ten years. Several universities have been founded or reconstructed and the country's media landscape now features an array of TV and radio stations, making it one of the liveliest in the region. --- However, the initial positive image of the outgoing president has been tarnished. He has lost favor not only with Afghans, who saw him as a puppet of the West, but also with the United States. While he won his first election in 2004 by an overwhelming majority, his re-election in 2009 was massively rigged. By this time, not only had the US begun to lose confidence in him, but the security situation in Afghanistan had also deteriorated due to attacks by a resurgent insurgency. -- As part of the gradual handover of security responsibility to Afghans, Karzai was idiosyncratic and unpredictable. He put his personal interests at the forefront and isolated himself with this course of action. Particularly his attitude towards the Taliban was disliked by the Afghan people - Karzai has repeatedly called the radical Islamic fighters his brothers and initiated peace talks with them, although without success. -- But Winfried Nachtwei, a former member of the German Green Party and an expert on peace and security policy, says Karzai is not only responsible for this development. 'Most of the blame is shifted on the Afghan side, especially on the president. However, it is often forgotten and repressed that this president was in many ways left in the lurch by the West during his first years in power,' said Nachtwei. -- Karzai had to push NATO for a long time to have foreign troops deployed to areas far away from Kabul. When the military alliance finally decided to move south in 2006, 'it was already too late,' as the Taliban had regained strength, Nachtwei explained. Political analysts are puzzled about the president's motives to refuse to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US. Sima Samar, chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, said the president knew very well 'how to secretly take revenge.' - More, MSN, http://arabia.msn.com/news/world/2920650/hamid-karzais-mixed-legacy/

Statement by the President on Elections in Afghanistan --- On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the millions of Afghans who enthusiastically participated in today’s historic elections, which promise to usher in the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history and which represent another important milestone in Afghans taking full responsibility for their country as the United States and our partners draw down our forces. -- We commend the Afghan people, security forces, and elections officials on the turnout for today’s vote –- which is in keeping with the spirited and positive debate among candidates and their supporters in the run-up to the election. -- These elections are critical to securing Afghanistan’s democratic future, as well as continued international support, and we look to the Afghan electoral bodies to carry out their duties in the coming weeks to adjudicate the results –- knowing that the most critical voices on the outcome are those of Afghans themselves. -- Today, we also pay tribute to the many Americans –- military and civilian –- who have sacrificed so much to support the Afghan people as they take responsibility for their own future. -- The United States continues to support a sovereign, stable, unified, and democratic Afghanistan, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the new government chosen by the Afghan people on the basis of mutual respect and mutual accountability. -- Office of the Press Secretary / The White House, at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/05/statement-president-elections-afghanistan

Obama Congratulates Afghanistan On Its 'Historic Elections' --- U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated Afghanistan on its "historic elections" Saturday, calling the event "critical" to securing the country's Democratic future. -- "We commend the Afghan people, security forces, and elections officials on the turnout for today’s vote –- which is in keeping with the spirited and positive debate among candidates and their supporters in the run-up to the election," Obama said, according to a White House statement. -- Despite high threats of violence, turnout was incredibly high. The Associated Press reported that seven million out of 12 million eligible voters hit the polls, according to preliminary estimates. That number easily eclipsed 2009's turnout, which saw 4.5 million voters hit the polls. -- "I am here to vote and I am not afraid of any attacks," Haji Ramazan told the AP while standing at a rain-drenched polling station in Kabul. "This is my right, and no one can stop me." --- According to the AP report, due to Afghanistan's steep terrain, results will take around six weeks to compile. The U.S. has spent nearly $90 billion on aid and security training since its 2001 entrance into the country. - More, The Huffington Post | by Chris Gentilviso, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/05/obama-afghanistan-elections_n_5097792.html?utm_hp_ref=afghanistan

اعلیحضرت بابای ملت در۴۰ سال حکومتش چه کرد؟ قسمت سوم -- داکتر نجیب الله بارکزی, More, at: http://www.afghan-german.net/upload/Tahlilha_PDF/barakzai_n_alahazrat_babay_melat_dar_40_sal_saltanat_03.pdf

Afghan voters defy Taliban, casting ballots for new president on relatively peaceful day --- KABUL — They huddled in the rain under plastic sheeting. They ignored death threats and rattling firefights. After weeks of violence and tension, Afghan men and women turned out in larger numbers than expected Saturday to choose a new president to lead them into the post-American era in Afghanistan. -- Conducted under armed guard, the country’s third presidential election since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 unfolded without the large-scale attacks or major disruptions that many Afghans had feared. As the process now moves to a vote count that could take weeks and, potentially, to a second-round runoff, voters and observers expressed relief that the day had ended in relative peace. -- “The turnout was far beyond what we had imagined,” said Zia ul-Haq Amarkhail, a senior Afghan election official. --- The election brings Afghanistan a step closer to the first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in the modern history of the country, where presidents and kings more often leave dead or deposed. And for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001, the incoming leader will not be Hamid Karzai. Whoever takes over the presidential palace, however, will face a thriving Taliban insurgency, deeply ingrained government corruption and the need to negotiate a future relationship with the departing United States, which has propped up and paid for the Afghan government and its soldiers and police for a dozen years. - More, Joshua Partlow and Kevin Sieff, - More, Joshua Partlow and Kevin Sieff, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/afghan-voters-defy-taliban-cast-their-ballots-for-a-new-president-regional-councils/2014/04/05/c092f260-bc7b-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html?hpid=z1

Afghanistan presidential election hit by unexpected problem – too many voters -- In anxious preparation for a historic presidential election, Afghanistan fortified its cities against attack, primed observers to detect fraud ... then was blind-sided by a problem no one had even dared to imagine – unprecedented voter enthusiasm. -- Defying Taliban threats and the more mundane challenge of rainy weather, Afghans flocked to the polls in such high numbers that ballots were running out in some places by midday. Soon, more than a third of provinces were reporting shortfalls, and as the scale of the problem emerged election organisers scrambled to respond. -- "I don't know how I will bear it if I don't get to vote," said 22-year-old Atifa Sultani, who had her finger marked with indelible ink – designed to stop repeat voting – at a station in west Kabul before being told that ballots had run out. "As a citizen it's my right to choose our leader, but I can't try anywhere else, because from my finger it seems I already voted." -- Afghans are choosing a successor to President Hamid Karzai after 12 years, and if the handover is smooth it will be the first peaceful, democratic transfer of power their country has ever seen. -- For months Kabul was filled with rumours that Karzai would seek to delay or cancel the vote so that he could hold on to power. But he kept his promises to hold the poll on time with an early-morning trip to a polling station near his palace. -- "Today is a vital day for us, the people of Afghanistan, that will determine our future," he said after casting his ballot and urged other voters to come out . They did so in numbers and with a determination that surprised even optimists, and even after ballots ran out. Seven million Afghans cast votes, said election organisers, nearly two and a half million more than the last presidential poll, and about 60% of all eligible voters. - More, Emma Graham-Harrison in Kabul - Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/05/afghanistan-presidential-election-voters-hamid-karzai

Election day in Afghanistan largely peaceful --- KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghans braved the rain, muddy streets and possible attacks by militants to head to the polls Saturday, voting in what turned out to be a mostly peaceful election that marks the first transfer of presidential power since the Taliban fell in 2001. -- In defiance of the threats that have loomed over the election since early this year, many voters said going to the polls was their duty. -- "If you're not voting, you're not Afghan," said Mohammad Hamid, 27, a recent MBA graduate from Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, who cut short graduation celebrations to fly home from Dubai to vote. -- Hamid says he had been proudly carrying his voter registration card for the past three months, showing it to friends and neighbors and telling them how to register at one of the more than 6,000 polling stations across the country. -- "The election is the most important thing for the current situation in Afghanistan," he said, adding he was not scared to go to the polls and would go even if that meant risking his life. "I will vote for my future." -- The election is set against a backdrop of U.S. troop withdrawal and looming cuts to foreign aid, which have propped up the country. There are eight presidential candidates and three front-runners — Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Zalmai Rassoul, Abdullah Abdullah — and no one is sure who will win. -- A few hours after the polls closed on Saturday evening, the Independent Election Commission's chairman, Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani, told reporters that election officials are ready to manage a second round of voting. The runoff will most likely be held on May 28. - USAToday, at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/04/05/afghanistan-elections/7343425/

لحظه به لحظه با انتخابات افغانستان: رای‌گیری پایان یافت --- فرزاد فرنود در صفحه فیس‌بوک خود نوشته: "از تمامی نیروهای امنیتی کشور عزیزمان افغانستان به خاطر تامین امنیت و زمینه‌سازی شان به خاطر حضور گسترده مردم در مراکز رای‌دهی به عنوان یک شهروند افغانستان قلبا سپاس‌گزاری می‌نمایم. همچنان از تمامی رسانه‌های همگانی دیداری و شنیداری و کاربران شبکه‌های اجتماعی سپاس‌گزارم که شهروندان ما را روحیه دادند تا با فکر آرام و دور از احتمال هر نوع تهدید به پای صندوق‌های رای بروند و زعیم ملی شان را انتخاب کنند و این مشت سنگینی بر دهن دهشت افگنان مزدور است." -- محمد عمر داوودزی، وزیر امور داخله/کشور افغانستان گفته است در ۲۴ ساعت گذشته، شورشیان مخالف دولت ۱۴۰ حمله انجام داده‌اند که در نتیجه آن ۹ پلیس و ۷ سرباز ارتش و ۸۹ شورشی کشته شدند. به گفته او تعداد غیر نظامیان کشته‎شده چهار نفر است و ۴۳ نفر هم زخمی شده‌اند. از چندین حمله انتحاری در مراکز رای‌گیری در ولایت‌های مختلف از جمله غزنی و بغلان جلوگیری شده است. -- پیش از این هم شماری از نامزدها و نهادهای ناظر بر انتخابات افغانستان، نگرانی‌هایی را از احتمال بروز تقلب در روند رای‌گیری و شمارش آرا مطرح کرده بودند. --- آقای کرزی گفت که مردم افغانستان با حضور گسترده و وسیع در انتخاباتی که برگزاری و مدیریت آن به دست خود افغان‌ها بود، نمایش بزرگی از مردم سالاری حاکم در این کشور را به جهانیان ارائه کردند. -- حامد کرزی، رئیس جمهور افغانستان در پیامی از مردم این کشور، نیروهای امنیتی، نهادها مسئول برگزاری انتخابات و مطبوعات این کشور تشکر کرد. --- اشرف غنی احمدزی یکی از کاندیداهای انتخابات ریاست جمهوری افغانستان در یک نشست خبری گفت: "در بعضی محلات به وضوح دیده شده که تقلب صورت گرفته و این برای ما قابل قبول نیست و از کمیسیون انتخابات می خواهیم که این تقلب را به دقت بررسی کند و متقلبان باید افشا شوند." -- او از کمیسیون مستقل انتخابات خواست تا مراکزی که در آنها تقلب صورت گرفته کلا آرایشان باطل شود. آقای احمدزی گفت که به جز کمیسیون و افراد کمیسیون نباید کس دیگری صندوق های رای را منتقل کند و در غیر آن صورت باید آن صندوق ها باطل اعلام شوند. --- یوسف نورستانی، رییس کمیسیون انتخابات افغانستان در نشست خبری گفت حدودا تا ساعت پنج بعد از ظهر بیش از هفت میلیون نفر در انتخابات شرکت کردند. -- آقای نورستانی گفت که اگر در دور اول رییس جمهوری مشخص نشود، کمیسیون آمادگی دارد که دور بعدی را برگزار کند. - More, BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140405_af_2014_livepage_election_day.shtml

Afghanistan: Former US ambassador Khalizad on 'historic' election --- Voters in Afghanistan are going to the polls on Saturday to choose a new president amid tight security, in what will be the nation's first ever democratic transfer of power. -- American diplomat Zalmay Khalizad was born in Afghanistan and knows the country well. -- He served there as America's ambassador after the invasion which followed the 9/11 attacks and became so influential he was dubbed the country's "Viceroy". -- Speaking on the BBC's Today programme, John Humphrys suggested to him there was no possibility that the Taliban would accept the outcome of the election. - More, BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26901198

لحظه به لحظه با انتخابات ریاست جمهوری افغانستان --- یوسف نورستانی، در نشست خبری هم اکنون اعلام کرد که به دلیل تاخیر در آغاز روند رای‌دهی، این روند برای یک ساعت تمدید شده‌است. او گفت که قرار بود رای‌دهی ساعت چهار بعد از ظهر تمام شود، اما حالا این روند تا ساعت پنج ادامه خواهد یافت و در صورت ضرورت بازهم امکان تمدید آن وجود دارد. آقای نورستانی گفت که مجموعا ۶۲۱۲ مرکز رای‌دهی باز است و ۲۱۱ مرکز رای‌دهی به دلیل ناامنی مسدود ماند. --- حافظ عبدالقیوم والی نورستان پس از رای دادن در یکی از مراکز رای گیری در شهر پارون گفت: "انتخابات برای تامین ثبات در کشور مهم و سرنوشت ساز است." -- او از مردم خواست با وجود تهدیدات مخالفان مسلح و هوای سرد به مراکز رای گیری بروند و رای بدهند. -- نورستان ۱۴۳ هزار نفر جمعیت دارد و در این ولایت پنجاه مرکز رای گیری وجود دارد. -- قبلا گفته شده بود که ۲۰ مرکز رای گیری در این ولایت به دلیل ناامنی بسته می‌ماند. ---. یوسف نورستانی رئیس کمیسیون انتخابات هنگام رای دادن گفت که به شش مرکز رای‌دهی مواد انتخاباتی نرسیده است. او گفت که مرکز ولسوالی اله‎سای ولایت کاپیسا و چهار مرکز دیگر در ولسوالی گلران ولایت هرات در شمار این مراکز هستند. -- More, BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2014/04/140405_af_2014_livepage_election_day.shtml

Congressman's Lament: $174,000 Isn't Enough To Make Ends Meet --- In what world does an annual salary of $174,000 meet the definition of underpaid? -- That would be in the nation's capital, where soon-to-be-retired Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said Americans should know that their members of Congress — as the board of directors for the "largest economic entity in the world" — are underpaid. -- The longtime congressman made his comments Thursday after the House voted for the sixth straight year to deny members an automatic cost-of-living raise they're entitled to under law. -- Not surprisingly, reaction to Moran's assertion was swift and derisive. -- "Tone deaf," wrote Daniel Doherty at the conservative Town Hall website. -- "The guy is retiring and has apparently gone Bulworth after getting his pension info," said the liberal Huffington Post, referring to the 1998 movie featuring a politician who goes rogue and speaks without a filter. (With one big difference: Bulworth, played by Warren Beatty, addresses racial and economic divisions, not congressional pay.) --- Though Moran's comments may be politically tone deaf given Congress' dismal approval ratings and the fact that the median household income in the U.S. is $51,000, compensation experts like Pete Smith say the guy has a point. - More, NPR, at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2014/04/04/299078253/congressmans-lament-174-000-isnt-enough-to-make-ends-meet

Life Without Jobless Benefits: Watching, Searching And Praying --- There's a small frame hanging on the wall near the computer Josie Maisano uses to search for work. Inside there's a picture of her at this year's State of the Union address and a blue ribbon that Democrats wore that night to highlight the plight of people like Maisano, whose unemployment benefits stopped at the end of December. -- "Oh, my God. It was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience," says Maisano. "Listening to President Obama, it was just very, very heartwarming." -- That night, as Maisano looked down from the gallery, Obama called for Congress to renew the federal benefits program for the long-term uninsured. --- "This Congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million people," Obama said to loud cheers. -- But two months later, even more people have lost benefits. The Senate is expected to vote early next week on a bipartisan bill that would restore the program, but its fate in the Republican-controlled House is far from certain. And that leaves more than 2 million people in limbo. -- "I thought that something would have happened a lot sooner," says Maisano. --- Every day Maisano, 60, goes to her computer and applies for jobs. She lives in St. Clair Shores, Mich., and worked as a secretary in the auto industry from the time she graduated high school until 2008. -- Since then, she's been on and off unemployment and even went through a federal retraining program, only to discover she didn't have enough experience to land a job in the field she studied. Maisano says since her $179 weekly unemployment checks stopped coming, she and her husband have fallen behind on their mortgage. She's signed up for food stamps. -- "I've almost rubbed my crucifix, rubbed the gold right off of it," says Maisano, touching a gold pendant she wears around her neck. "All I do is pray that something good will come along, and it's just not happening." - More, NPR, at: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/04/299182870/without-unemployment-benefits-jobless-watch-search-and-pray

Live: Afghans Vote in Historic Election -- As It Happens: Afghanistan Votes 2014 --- Afghans head to voting booths on Saturday to pick a new leader after more than a decade under President Hamid Karzai, in what would be the first democratic transfer of power in the nation’s history. But the Taliban has warned that those who participate may be killed, and a repeat of the widespread ballot-stuffing seen during the 2009 election could reinvigorate the insurgency, potentially sparking an ethnic conflict and destabilizing the country at a crucial moment as U.S.-led forces prepare to depart. -- It is pouring rain in Kabul as polls open for Afghanistan’s historic election amid fears of Taliban attacks to disrupt the vote–and hopes that the election will bring in a cleaner, more efficient government after 12 years of President Hamid Karzai. --- Saturday’s election, if successful, will mark the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history. The vote will determine who will succeed President Hamid Karzai, who has been in power since 2001 and is not constitutionally allowed to run again. It will be the responsibility of the new government to uphold the gains of the past 13 years of foreign involvement as U.S. troops prepare to go home in December. - More, WSJ, at: http://blogs.wsj.com/dispatch/2014/04/04/as-it-happens-afghanistan-votes-2014-2/

President Karzai, Qanuni cast ballots --- KABUL (Pajhwok): As millions of Afghans went to the polls, President Hamid Karzai and his deputy Yunus Qanuni on Saturday exercised their voting right. -- Amid tight security arrangements, they voted at a polling station set up at the Amani High School in Kabul at about 8am. -- Ineligible to run for a third term, Karzai urged the people to brave security threats and rain, participate in the national process and vote for a candidate of their choices. -- Qanuni said today was a historic day for the Afghans, who should stream to polling sites to determine the country's future direction. -- Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi, who voted at the same polling station, said Afghan forces had put in place stringent security measures across the country. --- Dr, Abdullah, Ashraf Ghani, Zalmai Rassoul, Qutbuddin Hilal, Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf, Hidayat Amin Arsala, Gul Agha Sherzai and Sultan Daudzoy are in the run for the presidency. -- About 2,600 individuals are contesting provincial council elections. The poll panel has issued 21 million voter cards. - More, at: http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2014/04/05/president-karzai-qanuni-cast-ballots

Under shadow of violence, Afghans vote in landmark election --- "I call on the people of Afghanistan to prove to the enemies of Afghanistan that nothing can stop them," Yousaf Nuristani, chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said after he had cast his own vote as a polling station opened in Kabul. -- About 12 million are eligible to vote, and there are eight candidates, with former foreign ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmay Rassoul, and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani the favorites. --- More than 350,000 Afghan troops were on duty, guarding against attacks on polling stations and voters. The capital, Kabul, has been sealed off from the rest of the country by rings of roadblocks and checkpoints. - More, Hamid Shalizi and Jessica Donati, at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/05/us-afghanistan-election-idUSBREA331N920140405

Journalists pay tribute to their AP colleagues who were shot in Afghanistan --- During their long and decorated service in the world’s war zones, the AP’s Kathy Gannon and Anja Niedringhaus won many admirers among their colleagues. The two journalists were shot Friday by an Afghan policeman while they sat in a car on an assignment near Khost, a province along the Pakistani border in eastern Afghanistan. Neidringhaus, a 48-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning German photographer, died in the attack. Gannon, 60, who is from Canada and spent decades in the region, was wounded and is reportedly in stable condition. -- Andrea Bruce, a photographer with the NOOR agency and a former Washington Post staffer, who has spent years in the Middle East -- “My memories of Anja are mostly from sharing the complexities of wearing an abaya or burqa or body armor in Iraq or Afghanistan. ... always laughing and joking. Or relaxing with our colleagues after a long day. She always made me feel welcome and loved. There aren't many female photographers covering war ... I looked up to her. -- “But to speak of Anja in the context of female photographers doesn’t do her justice. She was one of the many that shattered stereotypes and clichés for women in this profession — one of the toughest, bravest photographers in the world. Always pushing to the frontline. Always with a smile that involved every feature of her face. She was breathless and endlessly excited about what we do. -- “For me, her death has brought a sadness that has now hardened to anger. Suffocating. Bringing me much closer to a reaction we’ve photographed so often during war.” --- Adam Goldman, a national security reporter at The Washington Post, who formerly worked with the Associated Press: -- “We’ve worked on many stories together,” he said of Gannon. “She’s fearless and relentless. Kathy has dedicated much of her life to covering Afghanistan. She’ll be back. Nobody can keep her down.” --- Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the Associated Press, in a memo to her staff: -- “Kathy is a resilient soul, upbeat and tough all in the same package. She loves Afghanistan, a place she has covered for three decades. Those of you fortunate enough to have spent time with Kathy know the sound of that husky voice as she tells stories that always end with her looking innocently wide-eyed, as if she cannot believe the adventures she has just described. You also know how much Pakistan and Afghanistan are a part of her heart. --- “She and Anja were a great team, comrades in coverage and good cooking and good friendship ... the first journalists to embed with the Afghan National Army ... brilliant chroniclers of the people and events and wonderful human beings. -- “Anja’s death is a shattering loss for the AP family and for the many people around the world who knew and loved her. Much has been said already about her joyful nature and that amazing laugh. She was magical ... people just wanted to be around her. She made everything brighter, more fun, more alive.-- “Which is not to say that Anja didn’t have a serious side. Woe be unto you if you were sloppy or late or were giving anything but 110 percent; she’d snap you back into line right then and there. Then have you laughing about something 15 minutes later.” --- Jason Straziuso, East Africa bureau chief for the Associated Press, who formerly worked in Kabul: -- “Even though I was in charge of the AP Kabul bureau from 2006-09, Kathy was still the bureau Godfather, in this case Godmother – the connected, ridiculously brave reporter who knows more than you. She and Anja stepped deeper into Afghanistan than most, all to tell the important and hard-to-get stories. This tragedy should also call attention to something news readers may not realize. The best Afghanistan reporting in U.S. newspapers the last decade has come from women: Carlotta Gall at the New York Times, Pam Constable at The Washington Post, and Kathy Gannon/Anja Niedringhaus at AP.” - More, Joshua Partlow, Washingtonpost, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/journalists-remember-their-ap-colleagues-who-were-shot-in-afghanistan/2014/04/04/9da233a1-b033-467c-a8da-c0cbb76dc8c6_story.html

Friday, April 04, 2014

Afghanistan votes in historic presidential election --- People in Afghanistan are voting for a new president in what will be the nation's first ever transfer of power through the ballot box. -- A massive security operation is under way to thwart the Taliban which has vowed to disrupt the election. -- Eight candidates are vying to succeed Hamid Karzai, who is barred by the constitution from seeking a third consecutive term as president. -- The poll has already been overshadowed by the shooting of two journalists. -- Heavy rain was falling in Kabul early on Saturday and BBC correspondents said young voters in particular were defying the conditions and the security threats. -- BBC, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26893972

U.S. Eyes Afghan Vote, Seeking Amenable Ally --- WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has watched cautiously from the sidelines in the months leading up to Saturday’s elections in Afghanistan, focusing instead on new crises in the Middle East and Ukraine, and no longer on the country that was a foreign policy priority when President Obama first entered office. -- Current and former administration officials, however, say that ensuring a stable Afghanistan remains important, not just to validate the 1,800 American lives lost and billions of dollars spent over the past 13 years, but to avoid complicating the United States’ larger strategic interests in the region: a stable nuclear-armed Pakistan, improved relations between Pakistan and India, and responding to the growing fear among Central Asian nations about an emboldened Russia. -- Though the White House has been exhausted by its acrimonious jousting with President Hamid Karzai, it remains open to rekindling a relationship with the government of his successor. -- “Our engagement with the Afghan government has turned out very badly, and our assumptions about Karzai, going back to the Bush administration, have turned out to be wrong,” said Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a former Obama administration official. “The challenge now is how to manage Afghanistan in a way that it does not become an immediate security problem at a time when the administration has a lot of other things on its plate.” -- The Pentagon said this week that there were no deaths in March among the 33,500 American troops still in Afghanistan, the first month without an American fatality there since January 2007. The continuing violence in the country, however, was underscored Friday when an Associated Press photographer was killed and a reporter for the wire service was seriously wounded by a police officer. Election days, an American official said, tend to be among the most violent days in Afghanistan. -- For months, American officials have steered clear of displays of support for any candidate or any other involvement in the vote. When reports in December about a United States-financed poll raised questions about meddling, the administration cut off funding for all polls, a senior administration official said. The official noted that pro-democracy groups continued to finance polling, so Afghan voters were still getting a sense of the direction of the campaign. -- “We’re taking the back seat,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “We’re trying to give the space for the Afghans to hold these elections with no interference from Washington.” -- Nevertheless, the administration still has a deep interest in an election that is fair and peaceful, in contrast to the vote in 2009, which was marred by widespread fraud. “It could mark Afghanistan’s first democratic transition of power, and we all have a stake in seeing that milestone achieved,” Secretary of State John Kerry said this week. -- A bigger challenge could come if, as expected, no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff that could delay the installation of a new president for several months. It further remains to be seen how much influence Mr. Karzai will wield on the political landscape after he leaves the presidency. -- “There’s an opportunity now with the changing of presidents to re-establish more productive relations on both parts,” said Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, who has visited Afghanistan 14 times. - More, ERIC SCHMITT, NYTimes, at:

Afghan policeman shoots dead AP reporter Niedringhaus --- Two journalists working for the Associated Press news agency have been shot by a police commander in eastern Afghanistan, officials say. -- One of the women, Anja Niedringhaus, died in the attack. Her colleague, Kathy Gannon, is reported to be stable. -- The attack took place in the town of Khost near the border with Pakistan -- The two journalists had been travelling with a convoy of election workers - protected by Afghan security forces - delivering ballots from the centre of Khost to the district of Tani, on the outskirts. -- They were in their own car with an interpreter and an AP freelancer, AP says. -- The freelancer said they had arrived in a heavily guarde