Friday, March 31, 2006

Senate begins passionate immigration debate / Specter trying to round up more GOP votes for bill

Few could resist telling their own family histories that inevitably included an immigrant arriving on U.S. shores, from Lithuania, Italy, Ireland or Russia.

Bush Departs Mexico With Immigration Unresolved

But Bush and Harper made it clear that they had been unable to narrow differences over whether all visitors to the U.S. — including those from Canada — will be required to produce passports or similar government-issued tamperproof documents before entering the country.

Bush Presses Plan for Legalizing Immigrants in U.S.

''You can't achieve a standard of living increase for your people unless you have a prosperous neighborhood,'' Bush said

Learn From the Past in Afghanistan

Commander Abdul Haq, "If American stays and helps to rebuild my country, we will regard you as friends for generations. If you now leave, we will see you as having conspired with the Soviets in the destruction of our country."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Afghan Convert Thanks Pope for Intervening

"Thanks to the (Italian) government. And thanks to Pope Benedict XVI. The pontiff took an interest in my case, and thanks to him, the U.N. intervened," Rahman told reporters.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Italy Grants Asylum to Afghan Christian Convert

Abdul Rab Rasool Sayaf, a conservative legislator, accused outside nations of plotting against Islam and Afghanistan.

Afghan Christian Convert Granted Asylum in Italy

"It's pure propaganda," Senator Tana De Zulueta of the Green Party said after Mr. Fini announced that Italy would grant Mr. Rahman protection. "Italy is the only country in the European Union that doesn't have an organic law with regards to political asylum."

Huge Protest Puts France to the Test

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, author of the law, told Parliament on Tuesday that he would not give in to "the pressure of the streets."

Christian Convert Arrives in Italy After Fleeing Afghanistan

"We sent a letter and called the Interior Ministry and demanded they not allow Abdul Rahman to leave the country," parliament speaker Yonus Qanooni told reporters in Kabul.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Republican Split on Immigration Reflects Nation's Struggle

WASHINGTON, March 28 — It is almost as if they are looking at two different Americas.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Bush: Immigrants Are Not a Threat - New York Times

``No one should play on people's fears or try to pit neighbors against each other,'' Bush said. ``No one should pretend that immigrants are a threat to American identity, because immigrants have shaped America's identity.''

Mrs. Clinton Says G.O.P.'s Immigration Plan Is at Odds With the Bible

"I have a lot of sympathy," she said, emphasizing her support for an overhaul that includes federal assistance to local communities, as well as better enforcement. "That's why we need comprehensive immigration reform. Taking a harsh position is not going to solve the problem."

Afghan Official Calls for Release of Christian Convert

"They might have found some ways to take him out of the country; otherwise he would be killed immediately if they release him," the prosecutor said.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Afghan Christian: A Problem for Karzai

Thursday, March 23, 2006

For Afghans, Allies, A Clash of Values

"This case goes right to the heart of the contradictions in the constitution. Is Afghanistan a democracy that respects human rights and international norms, or is it an Islamic country with an extremely conservative judiciary?"

Gandhi resigns from India’s lower house

EU ministers consider immigrant ‘contracts’

Editorial-- Outrage in Afghanistan

What's the point of the United States' propping up the government of Afghanistan if it's not even going to pretend to respect basic human rights?

Outrage in Italy Over US Security Warning

``The U.S. alert surprised me. It creates a climate of fear and is not needed,'' said Prodi, who is leading in opinion polls.

Rice Seeks 'Favorable' Afghanistan Outcome

''This is clearly an Afghan decision,'' McCormack said. ''They are a sovereign country.''

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Afghan Officials Kill About 200 Chickens

Karzai Proposes Sweeping Cabinet Changes

Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who has had close ties with Washington, will be replaced by Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, a presidential adviser on foreign affairs.

President Bush Delivers Remarks on Terrorism

BUSH: And so I said to the Taliban, "Get rid of Al Qaida or face serious consequences." They didn't and they faced serious consequences and we liberated Afghanistan. We removed the Taliban from power. We have denied Al Qaida safe haven.

Afghan foreign minister loses job

Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah has been dropped in President Hamid Karzai's first reshuffle since parliamentary elections last autumn.

Afghanistan Says Fate of Convert Up to the Court - New York Times

Sharia, or Islamic law, stipulates death for apostasy. Afghanistan's legal system is based on a mixture of civil and sharia law.

Historic Alliance to be Tested in Afghanistan

"I think, sadly, the Karzai government is — still remains quite weak and ineffective outside of Kabul," Corbett said. As a result, some tribal warlords still have power in local districts, and to retain his power, Karzai needs their help to run the government.

NATO Allies Urge Afghanistan to Respect Religious Freedom

The U.S. administration and three other NATO allies - Germany, Italy and Canada - have urged Afghanistan to allow a man who left Islam to become a Christian practice his faith in safety.

Foreign Affairs - The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy - Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press

Summary: For four decades, relations among the major nuclear powers have been shaped by their common vulnerability, a condition known as mutual assured destruction. But with the U.S. arsenal growing rapidly while Russia's decays and China's stays small, the era of MAD is ending -- and the era of U.S. nuclear primacy has begun.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Foreign Affairs - The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy - Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press

Summary: For four decades, relations among the major nuclear powers have been shaped by their common vulnerability, a condition known as mutual assured destruction. But with the U.S. arsenal growing rapidly while Russia's decays and China's stays small, the era of MAD is ending -- and the era of U.S. nuclear primacy has begun.

Bleakness In Baghdad

Off Course in Afghanistan

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Seattle Times: Opinion: Bringing hope to Afghanistan

After 25 years of war, and with growing instability in the south and east, is there any cause for hope?

Afghan refugees warned not to return - Breaking News - World - Breaking News

"The economic situation of many home-comers is terrible, Tom Koenigs said in an interview with the Berlin-based Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.

Freedom in Afghanistan--By Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Bush Explains Confidence in Iraq Progress

"America has never retreated in the face of thugs and assassins, and we will not begin now," Bush said. "The U.S. will not abandon Iraq."

5 Ambushed, Killed in Eastern Afghanistan

Gunmen ambushed the former governor, Taj Mohammed Qari Baba, as he was driving to his home in Ghazni city with a driver, bodyguard and two relatives, said Ali Ahmad, a provincial police chief. All were killed when the militants riddled their vehicle with bullets.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

First Lady Toasts Afghan Author

"Education will give them a chance to succeed. We can all have a great impact on all of these children and their families."

An Afghan Voice That Fear Won't Silence

The warnings come by telephone or in leaflets: We will kidnap you, then kill you. You stand to benefit if you stop your struggle.

First Afghan Bird-Flu Case Confirmed

Friday, March 17, 2006

Restate Terror Strategy

jenayat dar Jamaye jehade islami

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Government in Afghanistan must reach local communities, UN envoy says

“It will also challenge Afghanistan’s Government to make functioning institutions of justice and the rule of law more and more a reality in the communities in which most Afghans live” and will require actors in security, development, civil society and private sector to be more present in areas not yet touched by recovery, he added.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Daily Times, EDITORIAL: Mr Karzai can’t have it both ways

Afghanistan’s untapped oil and gas underestimated

Afghanistan’s untapped oil and natural gas reserves may be significantly larger than previously thought, according to the results of a survey by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the Afghan Ministry of Mining and Industry released in Washington on Tuesday.

Afghans to Drug Lords: Keep Profits Home

Afghans Awaiting Bird-Flu Confirmation

Truth About Corruption, Crimes Needed in Afghanistan

Morning Edition, March 14, 2006 · Last fall's parliamentary elections in Afghanistan put several notorious warlords into legitimate positions of power. They gained their positions through local intimidation and election fraud. Human rights officials say this makes it all the more urgent that Afghanistan move ahead with some kind of truth and reconciliation process in the country... Listen to the full report >>

Blood-Stained Hands Past Atrocities in Kabul and Afghanistan’s Legacy of Impunity

The 133-page report, "Blood-Stained Hands: Past Atrocities in Kabul and Afghanistan's Legacy of Impunity," is based on extensive researchby Human Rights Watch over the last two years, including more than 150 interviews with witnesses, survivors, government officials, and combatants.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Annan recommends UN Afghan mission be extended to help with challenges

10 March 2006 – Citing enormous security, human rights and other challenges faced by Afghanistan as it struggles to rebuild its shattered society, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that the UN mission in the impoverished country should be extended.

Afghan Ex - President Survives Bomb, Blames Pakistan

``Our biggest enemy today is Pakistan's ISI,'' he said adding that the network ``was behind all of the attacks'' carried out by Taliban and other militants in Afghanistan.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Clinton thanks Canada for Afghanistan military commitment

Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice Awarded

"I believe that women everywhere share the same dreams; to be educated, to live in peace, to enjoy good health, to be prosperous and to be heard," Bush said in her acceptance speech. "And, of course, these dreams start with the education of girls."

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Once and Future King?

One factor that has kept the "Zahir Shah option" alive over the years is the king's popularity among refugees, especially political moderates and the exiled elite.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Govt failed to contain Taliban: Benazir

ISLAMABAD, March 8: Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto has criticised the military regime for endangering good relations with Afghanistan following harsh comments made by Gen Musharraf on American television.

Ashraf Ghani

Ashraf Ghani was born in Kabul in 1949, studied political science at the American University of Beirut, international affairs and anthropology at Columbia University ( where he earned his PhD) , and attended the Harvard-INSEAD and Stanford business schools leadership training program for the World Bank. He served on the faculty of Kabul University (1973-77), Aarhus University in Denmark (1977), University of California, Berkeley (1983), and Johns Hopkins University (1983-1991). His academic research was on state-building and social transformations. He undertook a year of fieldwork in Madrasas in Pakistan in 1985-86. He joined the World Bank in 1991, working on projects in East Asia and South Asia until 1996. In 1996, he pioneered the application of institutional and organizational analysis to macro processes of change and reform, working directly on the adjustment program of the Russian coal industry and carrying out reviews of the Bank’s country assistance strategies and structural adjustment programs globally.
He had worked intensively with the media during the first Gulf War, commenting on major radio and television programs and being interviewed by newspapers. After 9/11, he took leave without pay from the World Bank and engaged in intensive interaction with the media, appearing regularly on PBS’s News Hour as well as BBC, CNN, other television programs, the BBC, Public Radio, other radios, and writing for major newspapers. In November 2002, he accepted an appointment as a Special Advisor to the United Nations and assisted Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, the Special Representative of the Secretary General, to prepare the Bonn Agreement, the process and document that provided the basis of transfer of power to the people of Afghanistan. Retuning after 24 years to Afghanistan in December 2001, he resigned from his posts at the UN and World Bank and joined the Afghan government as the chief advisor to President Karzai on February 1, 2002. He has worked on a pro bono basis and was among the first officials to disclose his assets. In this capacity, he worked on the preparation of the Loya Jirgas (grand assemblies) that elected president Karzai and approved the constitution. After the election of president Karzai directly by the people of Afghanistan in October 2004, Mr. Ghani declined to join the cabinet and asked to be appointed as chancellor of Kabul University. As chancellor of the University, he has been engaged in articulating the concept of shared governance among the faculty, students, and staff and advocating a vision of the university where men and women with skills and commitment to lead their country in the age of globalization can be trained.
Since joining the University, Mr. Ghani has resumed his research activities and is directing a program on state-effectiveness. This program has put forward a framework which proposes that the state should perform ten functions in the contemporary world in order to serve its citizens. This framework was discussed by leaders and managers of post-conflict transitions at a meeting sponsored by the UN and World Bank at the Greentree Estates in September 2005. The program also proposes that the vehicle of state-building or sovereignty strategies, underpinned by double compacts between the international community, government and the population of a country could be used as a basis for organizing aid and other interventions, and that a sovereignty index to measure state effectiveness should be compiled on an annual basis.
Mr. Ghani has been sought as a public speaker and in 2005 given the keynote speeches for a number of meetings including the American Bar Association’s International Rule of Law Symposium, the Trans-Atlantic Policy Network, the annual meeting of the Norwegian Government’s development staff, CSIS’ meeting on UN reform, the UN-OECD-World Bank’s meeting on Fragile States, and TEDGlobal. He has contributed to the Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

Next UNSG: Ashraf Ghani and the Scandinavians

The most interesting of the Asian lot, however, is probably Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Afghan Threat Played Down

NATO Chief Says Revived Insurgency Isn't Likely

Profile: Ex-king Zahir Shah

In 1964, a new constitution transformed Afghanistan into a modern democracy, with free elections, a parliament, civil rights, emancipation for women and universal suffrage.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Afghanistan: Conviction and Death Sentence of Former Intelligence Chief Flawed (Human Rights Watch, 2-3-2006)

Human Rights Watch said that the case highlights the need for urgent judicial reform in Afghanistan and the establishment of a proper system of accountability for all those who committed human rights

The battle to rebuild Afghanistan

The country's 280,000 civil servants earn an average wage of $50 per month, while approximately 50,000 Afghans work for aid organisations where support staff earn up to $1000 a month.

Bush pledge to Afghans in surprise flying visit to Kabul

President George W. Bush pledged yesterday not to "cut and run" from Afghanistan and vowed to bring Osama bin Laden to justice when he paid a surprise first visit to the war-ravaged country.

Why America cannot afford to walk away again

That was President Dwight Eisenhower, who, like President George W Bush, arrived on a one-day visit on Dec 9, 1959, when the king ruled the country and was considered young at 45.
Shah, now 92 years old, still remembers what he asked of Eisenhower - more economic aid for his impoverished country and American diplomatic help in improving Afghanistan's deteriorating relationship with Pakistan.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

President George W. Bush and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan - White House photo by Eric Draper

President Meets with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan

I conveyed upon President Bush's arrival to him that when the Afghan people come to know that you are here today, but when they see on the television that we did not provide you the kind of hospitality perhaps we want to provide you, I'll be in serious trouble.

Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

NEW DELHI, March 1 -- President Bush made a previously unannounced visit to Kabul Wednesday to rally U.S. troops in Afghanistan and praise embattled Afghan leader Hamid Karzai at a time of rising violence from the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists.

Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan on Way to India

Mr. Bush's stopover in Afghanistan, the first by an American president since President Dwight D. Eisenhower visited in 1959, occurred on the way to a three-day trip to India and Pakistan.