Thursday, January 31, 2008

Senators question U.S. strategy in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee grilled the administration's top diplomat for South Asia a day after two non-governmental studies said Afghanistan risked reverting into a failed state and a terrorist haven without new international efforts to win the war and bring about economic development. --- "If we should be surging forces anywhere, it's in Afghanistan, not Iraq," said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat. --- Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, said he saw an "astounding number of contradictions about how much progress we're making" in the administration's presentation. --- Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, the senior Republican on the panel, did not dispute reported successes in Afghanistan, but said he saw a "disturbing" lack of a clear strategy. "I'm not certain we have a plan for Afghanistan," he said. "Unless there is some goal out there, some overall plan, this situation is going to be a victim at some point of the politics of this country or others," Lugar added.

Afghanistan report warns of 'failed state' -- Los Angeles Times

A panel of U.S. diplomatic and military experts says more troops and better coordination are needed to secure the country in the face of a resurgent Taliban. --- The report is critical of nearly every governmental and international organization involved in Afghanistan, including the Bush administration, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, calling their efforts inadequate, poorly coordinated and occasionally self-defeating.

Sentenced to death: Afghan who dared to read about women's rights -- Independent

A young man, a student of journalism, is sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading a report from the internet. The sentence is then upheld by the country's rulers. This is Afghanistan – not in Taliban times but six years after "liberation" and under the democratic rule of the West's ally Hamid Karzai.

2008 Report: Democracy Charade Undermines Rights

(Washington, DC, January 31, 2008) – The established democracies are accepting flawed and unfair elections for political expediency, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2008. By allowing autocrats to pose as democrats, without demanding they uphold the civil and political rights that make democracy meaningful, the United States, the European Union and other influential democracies risk undermining human rights worldwide.
Related Material: World Report 2008 World Report Essay, January 31, 2008 Audio commentary by Human Rights Watch staff on dozens of countries, January 31, 2008
Is Israel’s Blockade of Gaza the Right Way to Respond to Palestinian Rocket Attacks?, Ken_Roth

Pakistan: Scotland Yard Should Quit Flawed Bhutto Inquiry

(New York, January, 2008) - “Pakistan’s investigation into Bhutto’s murder lacks independence, transparency and credibility,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Scotland Yard should never have agreed to only investigate the cause of death, instead of who was responsible. It should not tarnish its reputation by lending its imprimatur to this dubious inquiry.”

Afghanistan risks 'failed state' -- BBC

Afghanistan risks turning into a failed state and becoming a forgotten war, a study led by a US diplomatic and military team has concluded.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fed Reduces Rate by Half-Point; 2nd Cut in 8 Days

Text: Fed Statement

Foreigners in Kabul still shaken -- By Bruce Wallace, Los Angeles

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- Shattered glass has been replaced, debris swept away and guests have begun trickling back to the Serena Hotel more than two weeks after Taliban militants killed seven staff members and visitors, sending a shudder through Kabul's foreign community.

U.S. studies fear Afghan decline to terrorist haven

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Afghanistan risks reverting to a failed state and a haven for global terrorism without new U.S. and international efforts to win the war and deliver economic development, two studies said on Wednesday. --- Afghanistan's failure would deal a strategic defeat to the U.S. fight against Islamic extremism that would destabilize neighboring Pakistan and threaten the future of NATO, the studies warned. -- U.S. Studies Fear Afghan Decline to Terrorist Haven

Edwards's Next Act

Aides said Wednesday that in his conversations with Clinton and Obama on Tuesday, he asked for and was given commitments that each would make poverty a more central part of their campaign messages and of their agendas, should they become president. --- Clinton Thanks Edwards for 'Public Service' -- Obama Praises Edwards, Hopes for His Backing

Transcript: John Edwards in New Orleans

I began my presidential campaign here to remind the country that we, as citizens and as a government, have a moral responsibility to each other, and what we do together matters. -- We must do better, if we want to live up to the great promise of this country that we all love so much. -- It is appropriate that I come here today. -- It's time for me to step aside so that history can -- so that history can blaze its path.
Edwards Drops Out of Democratic Race,
Speech: Text Video
Timeline Topic Page

Karzai may face Khalilzad in next polls

Midlife Slump Finds People in Their 40s Down in the Dumps

Researchers from Great Britain and the USA analyzed data spanning more than 35 years on measures such as depression, anxiety, mental well-being, happiness and life satisfaction. --- "If you are finding life tough in your 40s, maybe it's useful to know this is completely normal." --- The research found a less pronounced age factor in developing countries. --- Others who study happiness are less convinced this midlife slump is all about age.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lawmakers near immunity fight, extend spy bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amid a high-stakes battle over whether to grant telephone companies immunity, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed on Tuesday to extend for 15 days an expiring anti-terror surveillance law.

Kabul diplomats’ concerns about Karzai grow

One senior European diplomat described the president as “rather chaotic”, lacking a “coherent management style”. -- “In a way he is a bit like a king: he spends so much time listening to other people that he then does not know what to do. He is completely overwhelmed in work and has not taken a proper break since 2001. He has had no time for mental reflection.”

US envoy accused of sabotaging Ashdown -- Patrick Wintour, political editor

UN ambassador's office denies presidency plan

Children Try to Make a Living on Afghan Streets

Morning Edition, January 30, 2008 · On any given day in the towns and cities of Afghanistan, tens of thousands of children head to the streets to beg and hawk sundries — even during the winter, when bitter winds and snow keep most adults indoors. --- These street kids, who earn on average less than $2 a day, are often the only means of support for their families. And their numbers are growing.

Clinton Wins Florida 'Vote of Confidence' but Gains No Delegates

Clinton Makes a Play for Florida's Democrats -- Jan. 28, 2008

McCain Wins Florida's Republican Primary

Arizona Sen. John McCain won the Florida Republican primary on Tuesday, earning him the state's coveted 57 delegates and giving him his third January victory heading into Super Tuesday.

Foreign Policy Advisors Discuss Candidates’ Positions

Foreign policy advisors for three presidential hopefuls—Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Arizona Senator John McCain and Illinois Senator Barack Obama—told a January 25 Newsmaker, which had been proposed by the Afghan Advocacy Group, of their candidates’ positions on U.S. policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Analysis: President Hamid Karzai's search for an envoy to rent

You cannot buy an Afghan, the old joke says, because they are so fiercely independent. But you can rent one.

Obama Gets Help for Multistate Battle

Wall Street Journal, (Read the text of Kennedy's remarks.), --- The Kennedy Nod and Obama TIME

Bush Aims to Ease Worries -- By JOHN D. MCKINNON

Progress on Stimulus And Iraq Highlighted; Some Modest Plans

Bush Speech Focuses on War and Taxes

Text: The Address, State of the Union address --- The Democratic Response

ANALYSIS: Final Year's Realities Push Big Ideas Into Background

Senate Unveils Own Stimulus Bill

Text of President Bush's 2008 State of the Union Address

Following is the text of President Bush's final State of the Union Address. (Watch video here.) The text of the Democratic response is also available.

Karzai: Terrorists could regain control

DAVOS, Switzerland (CNN) - Speaking in an exclusive interview with CNN on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Karzai also reluctantly accepted his image as "a puppet of America" but he shied away from accepting reported U.S. doubts that NATO troops lacked the training to combat the Taliban. -- Davos 2008 Special Report

Brown rejects criticism from Afghan leader

Gordon Brown was on Friday night battling to shore up his Afghanistan policy after the Afghan president claimed the presence of British troops had made matters worse in war-torn Helmand province. -- Ashdown opts out of Afghanistan envoy role

Religion Alone Not Responsible for Suicide Bombings

Three countries suffering from the scourge of terrorism -- Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan -- are expressing concern over the spread of extremism in their regions, saying terrorism cannot be defeated just by force alone. They say the international community must also focus on eradicating poverty and illiteracy. --- Afghan President Hamid Karzai rejected the notion that there is a link between religion and the wave of suicide bombings in his country. Rather, he said, suicide bombings are becoming a business in which terrorists are paying families to recruit suicide bombers.

Bush Speech Focuses on Sagging Economy

War, Economy Will Dominate State of the Union

Bush Challenges Congress on Earmarks -- By Peter Baker

In excerpts released early from Bush's State of the Union address, the president says, "The people's trust in their Government is undermined by congressional earmarks."

Kennedy Endorsement Gives Obama Key Boost -- William Branigin

Sen. Barack Obama today picked up the endorsement of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), giving the Illinois Democrat a key boost as he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) head into their final week of campaigning before the potentially crucial "Super Tuesday" presidential primaries on Feb. 5.

US tinkering in Afghanistan -- Opinion / Op-ed

The stakes are too high to be tinkering on the margins of US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan needs at least 20,000 more troops. The United States also must coordinate its military operations more effectively by placing all of its troops under a unified NATO command.

300 Afghans Die From Recent Snow, Cold

Kennedy Calls Obama ‘New Generation of Leadership’

WASHINGTON — Senator Edward M. Kennedy implored Americans on Monday to “reject the counsels of doubt and calculation,” as he extended his endorsement and placed the aura of his family’s name around the presidential candidacy of Senator Barack Obama. --- Kennedy Chooses Obama, Spurning Plea by Clintons, --- Kennedy Backs Obama With ‘Old Politics’ Attack

A President Like My Father -- By CAROLINE KENNEDY

OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama. -- Caroline Kennedy

Ashdown pulls out of Afghan role -- BBC

Paddy Ashdown has told the UN secretary general that he no longer wishes to become special envoy to Afghanistan.

US Shift Seen to Pakistan, Afghanistan -- ABCNews

US shift seen to Pakistan, Afghanistan - Yahoo! News -- US urges quick naming of UN envoy for Afghanistan - Yahoo! News

'Doom and Gloom' -- | NEWSWEEK

Afghan president Hamid Karzai fears the consequences of Pakistan not cracking down on extremism.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Interrogator Shares Saddam's Confessions (CBS)

Tells 60 Minutes Former Iraqi Dictator Didn't Expect U.S. Invasion

As Karzai Loses His Grip, A Familiar Face Looms

Last Friday, Karzai blocked the appointment of British politician Paddy Ashdown, the former U.N. High Representative for Bosnia, as envoy to Afghanistan. During a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Karzai said that he and many Afghan parliamentarians did not want Ashdown in the post, according to a Western official briefed on the discussions who would only speak about them anonymously.


With Taliban violence on the rise in Afghanistan and reports of government corruption marring his government's image, Afghan President Hamid Karzai finds himself embattled and on the defensive. Last week, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he spoke with Newsweek-Washington Post's Lally Weymouth about the Taliban and Pakistan, his government's challenges and its ties with Iran. Excerpts:

Exclusive: Afghanistan is the bad war, Iraq the good, says White House co-ordinator

raq may turn out to be America’s “good war” while Afghanistan goes “bad”, the Bush Administration official responsible for co-ordinating efforts in Baghdad has told The Times.

The British have made matters worse, says Afghan President

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In Kabul, Shattered Illusions -- By JEAN MacKENZIE

“WELL, at least we’re not in Baghdad,” we used to say when confronted by the vagaries of the Kabul winter. No heat, sporadic electricity and growing disaffection among the population might make us uncomfortable, but those of us living outside the smothering embrace of the embassies or the United Nations had relative freedom of movement and few security worries. --- We shopped on Chicken Street for carpets and trinkets, we dined at the shrinking number of restaurants that still serve alcohol. We partied at L’Atmosphere, “L’Atmo” to its friends, the “in” spot for the international crowd, and had our hair and nails done at the Nova salon. And we patted ourselves on the back because we knew the real Kabul. -- None of us was prepared for what happened at the Serena. -- Read All Comments (23) »

Deal Reached on Economic Stimulus Package

Transcript: President Bush Delivers Remarks on Stimulus Package

Senate Rejects Expansion of Secret Court's Oversight

Bill Would Have Strengthened Warrantless Wiretapping Powers

UN opposes Afghan death sentence -- BBC

The UN in Afghanistan has criticised a court's decision to sentence a journalist to death for blasphemy.

Butler reveals secrets at Diana inquest -- BBC

I've been at court for virtually every day of the inquest into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.

Being in Afghanistan is dangerous, not being in Afghanistan is more dangerous

Afghanistan is a potent symbol of the costs inherent in abandoning nations to the lawless forces of anarchy. That alone justifies international efforts to help rebuild the country. Lest there be any doubt, remember Sept. 11, 2001, and its worldwide reverberations. We learned then how a country, shorn of its civic institutions, becomes a vacuum to be filled by criminals and opportunists. In its chaos and poverty, Afghanistan became a home base for terrorism. -- Yet, this progress is in jeopardy. Once again, the opportunists are on the rise, seeking anew to make Afghanistan a lawless place — a locus of instability, terrorism and drug trafficking. Their means are desperate: suicide bombs, kidnappings, the killing of government officials and hijacking of aid convoys. Almost more dismaying is the response of some outside Afghanistan, who react by calling for a disengagement or the full withdrawal of international forces. -- This would be a misjudgment of historic proportions, the repetition of a mistake that has already had terrible consequences.

Snow brings wonder, misery for homeless Afghans

KABUL, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The "strange white stuff" falling from the sky was a revelation for Abdullah's children but it only meant more misery. -- The severe winter across mountainous Afghanistan this year has killed several hundred people and about 40,000 cattle, according to government estimates. -- Conflict has driven millions of Afghans from their homeland beginning when Soviet troops first invaded in the late 1970s.

Human Rights Watch statement on Gaza to the UN Human Rights Council

Thank you Mr. President,

UN warns of humanitarian crisis as Israel seals Gaza crossings

UNITED NATIONS - United Nations officials implored Israel to reverse its decision Friday to seal all border crossings with the Gaza Strip, warning that the violence in the region and cutoff of crucial supplies for 1.4 million Palestinians was provoking a humanitarian crisis.

Stimulus Plan Refunds $600 to $1,200 to Taxpayers

The tax rebates will go to some 117 million Americans. Those individuals who don't make enough to pay income taxes will get rebates of $300. The rebates will start to phase out for those who earn more than $75,000 or for couples who earn more than $150,000. -- Businesses will get tax write-offs that are double what they can take now on new investments, as well as incentives to invest in new equipment. -- Yes. The package would temporarily increase the size of mortgage loans — known as the conforming loan limit — that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can purchase: from the current $417,000 to a maximum of $729,750. It would also permanently raise the cap on Federal Housing Administration mortgage loans from $367,000 up to $729,750.

Karzai warns of spreading terrorism

DAVOS, Switzerland - Afghanistan's president warned Wednesday that the whole world could suffer from the "wildfire" of terrorism engulfing his region, a grim message for a meeting of political and business leaders already fretting over the threat of global recession.

Heath Ledger may be buried as soon as Friday.

Actor Heath Ledger, 28, Remembered -- Stars Mourn Friend & Colleague Ledger -- Heath Ledger Found Dead in NYC Building

Karzai warns of spreading terrorism

Afghan President Warns World Economic Forum of Danger of Terrorism

Afghan journalist's death sentence blamed on warlords

An Afghan reporter was sentenced to death for blasphemy by a court yesterday for allegedly questioning the prophet Muhammad's respect for women's rights. --- The case has raised concerns over declining press freedom in Afghanistan and the growing power of militia commanders and ultra-conservative clerics.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What the Fed Rate Cut Means for Consumers

Is now a good time to refinance my house? It certainly could be. Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages have been dropping since Christmas. The average is now 5.5 percent, quite low by historical standards. So if you have an adjustable rate mortgage that's going to reset, now could be an excellent to time to swap into a fixed-rate loan. --- Is Liquidating Your Portfolio the Answer?

Congress, White House Hammer out Stimulus Package Details

Rate Cut, Market Turmoil Add to Unease Over Economy -- Fed Slashes Key Rate as World Markets Tumble -- Bush Calls For $150 Billion Economic Stimulus Package

US helping Pakistan tackle extremism 'in its own way': envoy

Pakistan has said any unauthorised military strike by international forces against Al-Qaeda militants on its soil would be considered an "enemy act" and tantamount to an invasion.

Karzai seeks U.N. clarity on Ashdown's Afghan role

There was "some vagueness" about Ashdown's role, the Kabul Times state newspaper quoted Karzai as telling a cabinet meeting on Sunday, and unless the U.N. cleared it up, Ashdown could not begin his job."

Karzai seeks U.N. clarity on Ashdown's Afghan role

Karzai is wary that a powerful 'super-envoy', particularly one from former colonial power Britain, might make his government look weaker than it already is, diplomats say.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Muslim Women Behind Wall of Silence in Germany

Muslim Activist Critical of 'Multicultural Mistake' -- Issues for Muslim Women in Europe Evolve

Interest-Rate Cut Helps Markets Rein In Losses

What Exactly Is a Recession?

Bush, Lawmakers Are Close to Deal on Stimulus Package

Still Wrong in Afghanistan -- Richard Holbrooke

When I offered these thoughts on this page almost two years ago [" Afghanistan: The Long Road Ahead," op-ed, April 2, 2006], I was told by several high-ranking U.S. government officials that I was too pessimistic. I hope they do not still think so. Even more, I hope they will reexamine the disastrous drug policies that are spending American tax dollars to strengthen America's enemies.

What It Feels Like In Kabul, Ramadi -- Peter Carlson

Kabul is crawling with all varieties of foreign aid workers, Garcia writes, but they don't seem to aid many Afghans. "Daily, Afghans thread their way through a traffic jam of abbreviations emblazoned across Land Rovers: UN, UNESCO, UNDP, ACF, MACA. No reliable figures exist on the overhead of the 350 Kabul-based aid agencies, but indirect signs -- air-conditioned Land Rovers, Nissan Pathfinders, Toyota Land Cruisers, and luxurious residences -- suggest a high figure. . . . Despite these few showy trappings of prosperity, most of Afghanistan still lies in ruins."

Poverty feeds Afghan drugs trade -- BBC

"I only have a small area of land and 10 people in my family," one farmer says angrily. --- "I can only grow enough wheat to last two months on this land, so the only way to feed them is growing poppies." --- Another man had his poppy crop eradicated last year, but it will not stop him trying again. --- "I lost my poppies, but those grown by the rich and the powerful aren't touched. So why should I stop growing them?" he asks.

Afghan journalism student sentenced to death

Judges: Distributed paper’s sentiments violates tenets of Islam

AFGHANISTAN: Cold-snap deaths top 300

KABUL, 22 January 2008 (IRIN) - The number of people killed by cold weather and heavy snow in several Afghan provinces over the past four weeks has risen to over 300, and dozens of others have been injured, the Afghanistan National Disasters Management Authority (ANDMA) said on 22 January. --- The main victims are children and elderly people as they are particularly vulnerable to winter diseases such as pneumonia and other respiratory infections.

Story of determination comes out of Afghanistan

Mohammed Malek was set on walking again after a mine blast ripped off his legs when he was 15. Three years later, Loma Linda doctors are giving him that opportunity.

Fed Cuts Rate 0.75% and Stocks Swing

The Fed’s policy-making group, known as the Federal Open Market Committee, lowered its target for the federal funds rate, which regulates overnight loans between banks, to 3.5 percent, from 4.25 percent. Fed Makes Emergency 0.75% Rate Cut -- On Wall Street, a Day of Frayed Nerves

Monday, January 21, 2008

Afghan strife keeps children home -- BBC

There has been a sharp rise in the number of Afghan children forced out of school because of violence, President Hamid Karzai has said.

Bush calls for economy kick-start -- BBC

President George W Bush has called for a special package of measures worth billions of dollars to avoid a downturn in the world's biggest economy. -- He said the growth package would have to be big enough to make a difference to the "large and dynamic" US economy. Should we fear a 'bear' market? -- US economy 'sluggish' -- Asian markets see further losses

Israel Allows Some Supplies Into Gaza

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, commissioner for external relations of the European Commission, condemned the rocket fire into Israel, but also condemned what she called Israel’s “collective punishment of the people of Gaza.” -- Fuel Shortage Shuts Gaza Power Plant, Leaving City Dark

NATO tensions surface amid growing pressure in Afghanistan

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Tensions between NATO allies, notably with the United States, and doubts about the powers of a new UN envoy are a sign of growing pressure as the alliance struggles in Afghanistan, experts say.

Clinton, Obama Engage in Bitter Debate

World: Muslim Activist Critical of 'Multicultural Mistake'

prominent women's rights lawyer in Berlin. A German of Turkish origin, she has been forced to abandon her legal practice because of death threats from Islamic radicals. -- Muslim Women Behind Wall of Silence in Germany --- Issues for Muslim Women in Europe Evolve

Global Markets Drop on Fears of U.S. Recession

It was a horrible day for stock investors around the world, the single worst day for losses in many places since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In Asia, Europe, Latin America and Canada, almost all major stock indices were down by significant amounts. --- Asian and European Stock Markets Plunge -- Steep Drop in Global Stock Markets Monday -- Stock Prices Fall Dramatically Around the World

Report says give cash to win over Afghan moderates

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The international coalition in Afghanistan should seek to "divide and rule" insurgents there by enticing moderates away from the hardcore Taliban with offers of cash and other incentives, a report urged on Monday.

January 21 may be the gloomiest day of the year - but in Brown's 'Britain', only until January 22

Psychologist Cliff Arnall says six factors combine to make us miserable. -- They are: "The dank and gloomy weather; debt; a feeling of monotony; low levels of motivation; broken resolutions; and a desperate feeling that you need to take action to improve your drab existence."

Ex-wife of Britney's British lover: 'He'll marry her over my dead body'

Photographer Adnan Ghalib, who grew up in Birmingham, wants to wed the Toxic singer - but now faces a legal battle with ex AzLynn Berry, 28. --- Afghan-born Adnan, 35, has told friends of his desire to marry Britney, 26, but failed to tell anyone that his marriage to AzLynn was still legally-binding.

Kabul's Old City Gets Major Renovation

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Last year the streets in parts of the old city dropped by nine feet.

Highly Skilled And Out Of Work

"What has happened is a polarization of the labor market. It was very strong at the very top and very strong until recently at the bottom," said Lawrence F. Katz, a labor economist at Harvard University. "But in the recent weak recovery, and now recession, demand has been very weak" for jobs in the middle. -- Bush Urges Fast Tax Aid to Boost Economy -- Tax Rebates Could Boost Economy Quickly

Under-fire US chief hails allies -- BBC

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has praised the "valour and sacrifice" of Nato allies in Afghanistan, a day after being quoted as questioning them.

Gates’s Comments on NATO’s Afghan Force Anger Dutch

THE HAGUE (Agence France-Presse) — The Dutch government has summoned the American ambassador here to explain comments by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who criticized NATO forces in southern Afghanistan in a news report published Wednesday. -- Defense Secretary, Facing Criticism, Hails NATO’s Forces in Afghanistan

Laura Bush Says She Stands With Afghan People

In an exclusive interview, Laura Bush told Shaista Sadat of VOA's Afghanistan service that she feels strong affection for the people and the country. "In 1957, when I was 11 years old in the sixth grade in Midland, Texas, I wrote my school report on Afghanistan," she said.
The first lady says she never would have guessed she would visit Afghanistan as an adult, as she did in 2005 when she spoke out for the rights of women and their need for education. --- The first lady tells VOA, she hopes to return as a private citizen and continue working to improve the lives of women and children in Afghanistan.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Germany's Homegrown Intolerance

Germany is doing a bad job of integrating its immigrants, argues SPIEGEL ONLINE editor David Crossland, who was born in Bonn to English parents. He argues that rather than rail against "criminal young foreigners," the country ought to be doing more to welcome its minorities. They are, after all, here to stay.

Editorial: Sticks ’n’ Stones and Allies

Afghanistan is NATO’s first out-of-area mission. What happens to the alliance if it fails?

Kabul hotel attack a shock but it's business as usual

KABUL (AFP) - A United Nations spokesman, Adrian Edwards, said: "We have to acknowledge that when something like this happens, it does shake confidence. -- "But it is part of the environment we are in, in Afghanistan. We have to live with the fact it is an insecure environment."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

FACTBOX-Bush, Congress seek plan for U.S. economy

Pakistan authorities arrest two over Bhutto plot

Musharraf denies agencies had role in Bhutto death

Afghan president stresses for regional co-op in war on terror

KABUL, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday described terrorism as a common enemy of all and stressed for collective war against the menace.

Clinton Defeats Obama in Nevada Vote

A bubble bursts (The war is brought home to Kabul's well-protected foreigners)

THE website for the Serena Hotel in Kabul used to describe it as “an oasis of luxury in a war-ravaged city”. Afghanistan's only five-star hotel is also a virtual fortress, surrounded by blast barriers, metal detectors, multiple reinforced gates and heavily armed guards. They proved inadequate defences against a four-man Taliban suicide squad that blasted its way into the lobby and then the hotel's spa on January 14th, killing eight staff and guests. Among those left cowering in the basement as American commandos hunted the bombers was Norway's foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Stoere, who had been holding a meeting in a place seen as secure.

Bush names general to head Afghan mission

Fight in Afghanistan

It's becoming clear that the war must be won by U.S. troops, and not by NATO.

Clinton claims Nevada caucuses with help from women, Latinos

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) -- Entrance polls indicated Democrats were split along ethnic, racial and generational lines. But women made up nearly 60 percent of those taking part in Saturday's contest, and the New York senator and former first lady led her top rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, by a margin of 52 percent to 35 percent among those voters.

Clinton and Romney Win in Nevada

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton beat Sen. Barack Obama in the Nevada Democratic caucuses today, while former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney prevailed earlier in the Nevada Republican caucuses.

Bush Pushes $150B Economic Aid Package

President Bush said Saturday "the kind of spending projects that would have little immediate impact on our economy" should not be part of any stimulus package, setting the stage for a possible clash with Democrats. --- Bush Proposes $150B Cash Infusion for Economy

Thursday, January 17, 2008

False Identity of East in West -- The Huffington Post

Burqa, Chadari, or full covering is becoming the Afghan woman's identity to the West. Afghan women have been introduced through western media as a very vulnerable, poor, and illiterate entity, so that whoever in western countries sees them, expresses sympathy.

But does anyone know in the west that the Burqa, Chadari or full covering was not always Afghani culture? Does anyone in the west have any idea that Afghanistan had co-education? Does a person in the west assume that women in Afghanistan were so westernized before 1992?
It is also inaccurate that Afghan women have always been abused; they became a vulnerable entity and victim of war from the past fifteen years; however, would it be unfair to overlook the last 100 years of Afghan women's achievements and only summarize their introduction to the one decade of war? People in the west would be very surprised to see an Afghan women dressing in western clothes, however, I encourage those people to have a glance at videos about Afghanistan in a pre-war era to have a proper introduction of Afghan people, particularly Afghan women.....

Bush Favors Tax Rebates In Stimulus Plan

(CBS/AP) President Bush told congressional leaders privately on Thursday he favors personal income tax rebates and tax breaks for businesses to help avert a recession, officials said, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke joined in calls for an economic stimulus package.

Economy: Lawmakers Clash on Economic Help

Europe Poses Terrorism Threat, Chertoff Says -- by Rob Gifford

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday that one of the biggest threats to U.S. security may now come from Europe. --- The visa-waver program, which applies to 27 countries, presents the U.S. and European governments with a problem. Any measures targeting those of certain ethnic or religious background would be controversial, and Chertoff reassured that that was not the plan.

Tax Rebates Urged to Rescue Economy

The rebates would likely be limited to individuals with incomes of $85,000 or less and couples with incomes of $110,000 or less, the aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no final decisions had been made. --- Bernanke Urges Action to Aid U.S. Economy --- Comparing Stimulus Plans --- Democrats on Nev. Economy

President Karzai calls on U.S. to help build Afghan air force

Westerners worry about security in Kabul

Taliban threaten restaurant attacks

Gates denies NATO discontent over Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday denied reports of discontent between Washington and NATO allies over Afghanistan, a day after a newspaper quoted him criticizing NATO's counterinsurgency skills. --- Defense Secretary, Facing Criticism, Hails NATO?s Forces in Afghanistan, York Times

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

US says it has broad support for new Afghan anti-poppy drive

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States says it has garnered broad support for Afghans to mount a new drive next month to wipe out major opium poppy fields and deprive a resurgent Taliban of a key source of funds.

Taliban Resurgence Strains Alliance in Afghanistan -- Tom Bowman

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is sending more than 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan to guard against a possible Taliban offensive in the spring.

Experts Challenge Homeland Security Strategy

If critics don't like what the department is doing, Chertoff offers a challenge: Come up with a better idea. --- "Should we eliminate the watch lists?

Egypt's President Offers U.S. Help on Mideast Deal

President Bush, wrapping up a visit to the Middle East to promote peace in the region, got a boost Wednesday on his last stop in Egypt. -- Bush Meets with Saudi King; Rice Petitions Baghdad

Witness Details Afghan Attack on Hotel

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, who was not hurt, was the target of the assault, which came as the Norwegian embassy was holding a meeting at the hotel. Two State Department officials said at least one American was among the dead. A Norwegian journalist from the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet also died.

GOP Presidential Field Is Wide Open

Clinton, Obama battle for upper hand in Nevada

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bush Delivers Major Arms Sale To Saudis

(CBS/AP) President Bush delivered a sophisticated weapons sale for Saudi Arabia on Monday, trying to bolster defenses against threats from U.S. adversary Iran and muster support in this oil-rich kingdom for a long-stalled Mideast peace agreement.

Anti-Cholesterol Drug Bombs In Tests

(CBS/AP) Shares of Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. fell Monday after study results showed their combination cholesterol drug Vytorin worked no better at reducing artery-clogging plaque in a group of high-risk patients than high doses of generic Zocor. -- Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, told CBS News anchor Katie Couric that he would advise doctors to quit prescribing Vytorin, since it was not shown to be more effective than Zocor. --- "My advice to physicians is not to use this drug Vytorin nor to use Zetia as first line agents any more. These should be really relegated to drugs of last resort until we have some evidence that they produce a health outcomes benefit," he said. "Right now, five years into this, with nearly 1 million prescriptions per week being written, there is no evidence that the drugs actually produce any benefit for patients."

Taliban bombers hit Kabul hotel

KABUL, Afghanistan - Militants stormed Kabul's most popular luxury hotel Monday, killing at least six people as they hunted down Westerners who cowered in a gym — a coordinated assault that could signal a new era of brazen Taliban attacks. -- Suicide Bomb in Afghanistan

3,200 Marines Prepare for Afghan Tour -- The Associated Press

Personal Approach Marks Bush's First Saudi Visit

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 14 -- President Bush on Monday launched a rare round of intensive personal diplomacy with Saudi King Abdullah aimed at winning support for a variety of American objectives such as rebuilding Iraq, pressuring Iran, fighting al-Qaeda and backing the U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Saudi king to host Bush at desert playground

RIYADH, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah hosts George W. Bush at his desert playground on Tuesday when the U.S. president will get a taste of how the royals live in the world's richest oil-producing monarchy.

'Chic' Afghan president's robe to be auctioned in Washington

KABUL, January 14 (RIA Novosti) - A robe belonging to the current Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, will be sold at a charity auction in Washington, D.C. on January 24, the Afghan news agency Pajhwok said on Monday.

Wall Street: Thanks IBM, We Needed That; Dow Jumps 171

Blast at Kabul Hotel Kills 6 -- BBC

The Serena Hotel, which was opened in 2006, is the only five-star hotel in Afghanistan and one that is popular among diplomats and is often used for conferences. The explosion, at around 6.15 p.m. local time, could be heard for up to two miles away across the city. .

Taleban attack Kabul luxury hotel -- BBC

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gah Store was in the hotel, together with other Norwegian officials, when the attackers struck. -- A Norwegian photographer inside the hotel, Stian L Solum, said: "There were two or three and there was complete chaos." -- Eyewitness: Carnage in Kabul , Little hope for Afghans in 2008 , In depth: Afghanistan's future

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Kabul gets only 3 hours of electricity a day, despite millions in U.S. and global aid

More than five years after the fall of the Taliban — and despite hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid — dinner by candlelight remains common in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Nationwide, only 6 percent of Afghans have electricity, the Asian Development Bank says.

Odds are growing for economic recession

Recession risk grows Wall St. anxious

Decision ’08 in Politics Clinton, Obama spar on race issue

'Meet the Press' transcript for Jan. 13, 2008 -- Transcript Video

Bush Criticizes Iran, Lauds United Arab Emirates

"Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. So the United States is strengthening our longstanding security commitments with our friends in the Gulf and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late," he said.

Clinton upstages Republicans with stimulus plan

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton on Friday proposed $70 billion in emergency spending to stave off a possible U.S. election-year recession, upstaging Republican rivals who clashed over the economy but offered few specifics. -- The New York senator, who hopes to become the Democratic nominee in the November election, proposed $30 billion to help low-income families hit by the mortgage crisis and $40 billion in other spending, mainly for the poor and unemployed.

Euro Gains Versus Dollar on Bets Fed to Cut Rate Below Europe's


A noted American diplomat raised serious questions about the Pakistan army's Islamic threat nearly 40 years ago

Afghanistan is long term - Browne

Britain could be engaged in Afghanistan for decades, Defence Secretary Des Browne has indicated.

Tougher law for private security firms presented to cabinet

KABUL, Jan 7 (Pajhwok Afghan News): A law regulating operations of private security companies, some of which have already been closed for failing to fulfill legal requirements, was presented to the cabinet for approval on Monday.

Charlie Wilson's brother in arms -- From The Times

The American accused of arming al-Qaeda is the subject of a new film

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wall Street plunges on credit concerns

Merrill seen suffering $15 billion loss -- Bank of America to acquire Countrywide -- Trade deficit surged in November -- Bernanke: Fed to cut interest rates again

Afghanistan Seeks End to Deportations

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan urged Iran on Thursday to stop deporting its citizens during the winter months, saying doing so could cause a humanitarian disaster.

Musharraf rejects UN Bhutto probe -- BBC

US blocks Pakistan aid

The Nation on its front page said the gunfire and bomb blasts at Bhutto's election rally "were a decoy to hide the real shooters" and claimed laser technology similar to that used by American forces in Iraq had been used. -- The report came as a doctor at the Rawalpindi General Hospital disclosed that "the Government took all the medical records after Benazir Bhutto's time of death was read out", adding that he and others had been warned not to talk publicly about the case.

Expelled British envoys tried to turn Taliban chief

TWO British diplomats expelled from Afghanistan over the Christmas holiday were trying to “turn” a senior Taliban commander, it has emerged.

A Fight Between Fundamentalism and Moderation

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Germany Faces U.S. Calls for More Afghan Commitment, Aide Says

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The German government expects to be pressured by the next U.S. administration to step up its efforts to fight Taliban insurgents and train police officers in Afghanistan, a government adviser said.


In an open letter addressed to Chancellor Angela Merkel and to Koch -- both of the conservative Christian Democrats -- an association representing some 100 immigrant groups in Germany expressed its frustration at the populist tones coming from Koch, as he campaigns for re-election in a Jan. 27 state vote.

Japan PM forces navy bill through

The bill will allow Japanese ships to resume a refuelling mission supporting US-led operations in Afghanistan.

Blair optimism on Mid-East peace -- BBC

Bush calls for Palestinian freedom -- BBC

At a news conference Mr Bush said there should be "an end to the occupation that began in 1967". --- "The agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people," he added. --- Bush statement in full
Call for Palestinian freedom --- Middle East tour diary

US wants Pakistan to bite the bullet -- Asia Times

KARACHI - After more than six years, Pakistan finds itself in probably the most difficult position it has been in since signing on as a partner in the US-led “war on terror”.

Report: Musharraf Cautions US on Tactics

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- President Pervez Musharraf warned that U.S. troops would be regarded as invaders if they crossed into Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan in the hunt for al-Qaida or Taliban militants, according to an interview published Friday.

Afghanistan Welcomes US Deployment Plans

Military Leaders Seek 3,000 More Troops for Afghanistan

Bush Outlines Mideast Peace Plan

JERUSALEM — President Bush outlined Thursday in the clearest terms so far the shape of a two-state peace treaty he is hoping to broker between Israel and the Palestinians by the end of his term. --- He added, “I believe we need to look to the establishment of a Palestinian state and new international mechanisms, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue.”

Fed 'Stands Ready' to Avoid Economic Recession

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday signaled the bank's willingness to lower interest rates to prevent housing and credit problems from causing a U.S. recession. -- Read Fed Chairman Bernanke's Statement: -- Fears of a Recession Grow on Wall Street

New Security Rules for Driver's Licenses

WASHINGTON January 10, 2008, 11:18 p.m. ET · Americans born after Dec. 1, 1964, will have to get more secure driver's licenses in the next six years under ambitious post-9/11 security rules to be unveiled Friday by federal officials.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Heavy hints from Afghan officials show desire for US attacks in Pakistan

Goldman: Recession Possibly Here -- Carl Gutierrez,

Goldman Sachs says the recession is upon us, or at least will be soon. --- On Wednesday, the New York-based brokerage firm gave some definition to that recession everyone’s talking about (See “Recession Ahead?”) now that the downturn in the housing and credit markets has finally caught up with the broader economy.

Bombers 'may come from Pakistan' -- BBC

Suicide bombers targeting Afghanistan may be recruited from Pakistan, a Pakistani government minister has said.

Primary comebacks ignite US race -- BBC

Run for President of Afghanistan? Zalmay, Zalmay Not.

The Afghan-born Khalilzad, a former Pentagon official, former ambassador to Afghanistan, then to Iraq and now to the U.N., is said to be in the mix for a run, which would probably be in the fall of 2009. --- This is a real rumor. So real that we hear Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked Khalilzad about it when the two met in London back in October. But Khalilzad didn't give a Shermanesque response.

US to Send 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan

The Pentagon is preparing to send at least 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan in April to bolster efforts to hold off another expected Taliban offensive in the spring, military officials said Wednesday.

Nation & World: Bush Shows Diplomacy, Not Just Force, in the Middle East

Bush: Mideast Leaders Ready for Tough Choices

January 9, 2008 · President Bush got a warm welcome Wednesday in Israel, where he has been called a trusted ally and friend. -- Bush Hopes to Jumpstart Mideast Peace Talks -- Bush Aims to Reignite Israel-Palestinian Peace Talks -- Bush Admonishes Israel, Palestinians

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ancient Afghan Treasures to Tour United States in 2008

A traveling exhibition of extraordinary archaeological treasures from the National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul, will begin a 17-month tour of the United States in spring 2008, it was announced today by the National Geographic Society and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. ---

U.S. law firms could help shape Afghanistan's future — for price

WASHINGTON — Hoping to turn around a tenuous judicial situation in Afghanistan, the State Department is establishing a public-private partnership that gives American law firms a role in the troubled nation's future.

Putting food on Afghan tables getting harder

At least 27 killed, scores stranded in Afghan snowfalls

HERAT, Afghanistan (AFP) - At least 27 people have been killed and hundreds more are stranded or missing after heavy snowfalls hit Afghanistan, an official told AFP.

Commentary: Bhutto dynasty survives --By Husain Haqqani

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- In 1979, two years after seizing power from Pakistan's first elected leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, military dictator General Ziaul Haq executed him after a show trial. That did not end the elder Bhutto's influence. -- His daughter Benazir, then only 24, took over the mantle of leadership. For three decades, Pakistan has witnessed a struggle between the country's military-led establishment and populist forces led by the Bhutto family. Benazir Bhutto's assassination is the latest twist in that conflict.

Clinton Defeats Obama in Primary; -- WSJ

"I felt like we all spoke from our hearts and I am so gratified that you responded,'' Clinton told a cheering crowd of supporters. "Now together, let's give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me."

Clinton and McCain the comeback kids

McCain and Clinton Win in N.H. In Major Comebacks

"Over the last week I listened to you and in the process I found my own voice," Clinton said in her victory speech. "Now together let's give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me."

AFGHANISTAN: "State of alert" declared as snow causes deaths, blocks roads

KABUL, 8 January 2008 (IRIN) - The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in Afghanistan declared a "state of alert" on 8 January after heavy snowfall killed at least 17 and caused severe road blockages across the country.

Afghanistan's Most Wretched Battle Addiction

Swelling Ranks of Heroin Addicts in Kabul Scrap for Meager Resources

Bush trip aims to push Mideast peace, contain Iran

WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush heads for the Middle East on Tuesday, aiming to nurture Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts in the face of deep skepticism while trying to rally Arab opposition to Iran.

Bhutto's Son Calls For U.N. Probe

(CBS/AP) Benazir Bhutto's son on Tuesday called for a U.N.-sponsored investigation of her murder, saying that he does not trust officials in Pakistan. --- "We do not believe that an investigation under the authority of the Pakistani government has the necessary transparency," Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told a news conference. "Already so much forensic evidence has been destroyed." --- Bilawal Bhutto Fears More for Privacy Than for His Life -- ABC

N.H. Republicans Cite Expirience, Economy as Concerns

Obama, Clinton Battle in New Hampshire Primary

Afghanistan appeals for food aid

Afghanistan is appealing to the international community to provide extra supplies of wheat to alleviate a shortage, an Afghan minister has said.

Bhutto's Son Addresses the World -- Time

Bhutto's son seeks media privacy -- BBC

Saving Afghanistan's Art

Hidden Afghanistan A gallery of objects from a traveling exhibit which gives a glimpse of Afghanistan's stunningly diverse cultural legacy. In May 2008 the exhibition will go to Washington to start a 17-month tour of the U.S.

Bush Bemoans Iranian Gulf Intercept

"It is a dangerous situation," he said in a White House news conference. "They should not have done it, pure and simple. . . . I don't know what their thinking was, but I'm telling you what my thinking was. I think it was a provocative act."

ELECTION 2008: McCain blames Bush for Osama's escape

Monday, January 07, 2008

Little hope for Afghans in 2008

After two years in which the in Afghanistan has become worse, it is hard to see signs of hope in 2008.

Afghan Clerics Warn Karzai Against Missionaries

KABUL, Afghanistan (Reuters) — Afghanistan’s Islamic council has told President Hamid Karzai to stop foreign aid groups from converting local people to Christianity and has demanded the reintroduction of public s.

Tribesmen Killed in Northwest Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Eight tribesmen allied with the government against al-Qaida-linked foreign fighters were killed in northwest Pakistan, authorities said Monday.

Foiling U.S. Plan, Prison Expands in Afghanistan

Pakistan Says Won't Let Foreign Troops on Its Soil

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan will not allow any country to conduct military operations on its territory, officials said on Monday, rejecting a report that said the United States was considering authorizing its forces to act in Pakistan. --- U.S. Considers New Covert Push Within Pakistan

Friday, January 04, 2008

Brutal selloff on Wall Street

Dow tumbles over 250 points after weaker-than-expected jobs report revives recession worries. The Nasdaq plunges. -- How Bush may boost the economy, Pressure mounting for big rate cut

Afghanistan warns of dire food shortages

Scotland Yard Arrives in Pakistan: British Police Join Probe into Bhutto Killing -- SPIEGEL

Bhutto's party rejects 'meaningless' Scotland Yard probe

FACTBOX: Obama and Huckabee on U.S. foreign policy

(Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee, who won contests in Iowa on Thursday kicking off the nominating process for their parties' presidential nominations, diverge on many issues related to U.S. foreign policy. -- Here is an overview of some of those issues:

Charlie Wilson's Zen lesson

An explicit moral of the movie comes from the real-life Wilson, who lamented that America did the right thing in Afghanistan but messed up "the endgame."--- Today there can be little doubt that Washington's brusque loss of interest in the fate of Afghanistan after the Soviets' withdrawal was a calamitous error.

Project promises economic boost for Afghans

Source: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Afghanistan warns of dire food shortages

BERLIN (AFP) - Afghanistan could face serious food shortages in the coming months that could lead to a famine, Economy Minister Mohammad Amin Farhang told a German newspaper in an interview published Friday. --- "The situation is serious," he told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, adding that President Hamid Karsai had formed a special commission to head off a potential humanitarian disaster.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Al-Qaeda regrouping in Pakistan: Jalali (Interview)

NEW YORK, Dec 31(Pajhwok Afghan News): Jalali at present is a distinguished professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies of the National Defense University in Washington. He feels that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto can inspire and encourage militants in Afghanistan to intensify their violence, especially if no major steps are taken by Pakistan to stop and reverse the spread of extremism. He also believes end of the sixth year of the U.S.-led military invasion, Afghanistan is facing the worst crisis since the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.

Talking poverty in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is ranked as the fourth poorest or most deprived country in the world, and the poorest country in the entire Asia-Pacific region, according to the Afghanistan 2007 Human Development Report. --- Surprisingly, however, little is known about the scope or nature of poverty in Afghanistan, or the impact poverty has on the lives of the country’s estimated 30mn people. With no census over the past 30 years, even the country’s population is unknown, with more than 1 million Afghans still seeking refuge in neighboring Pakistan and Iran as the result of more than 30 years of war.

U.S., Afghan partnership to bring prosperity to region

Musharraf denies Bhutto death role

Musharraf Says Bhutto Took Excessive Risks, Musharraf Denies Role in Bhutto's Assassination, International Herald Tribune - Wall Street Journal - Reuters - FOX News

U.S. Urges Pakistani Steps

Diplomatic Push Stresses Freedoms, Credibility of Election

Huckabee, Obama Win Iowa Caucuses

(CBS/AP) - For Dems, Edwards Appears To Take Second, Clinton Third; Romney Second Among GOP --- Election Results - Click here for complete Iowa results.

A strategy to help Afghanistan kick its habit

The international community is not helping Afghanistan to stand on its own feet. After three decades of war and several years of severe drought, Afghanistan started the transition to peace with a per capita annual income of about $200. Humanitarian aid was needed to save lives and feed the population but it was not accompanied by sufficient and effectively channelled reconstruction aid. Without reconstruction aid there cannot be the development of businesses, the productivity growth and the sustainable employment that enable people to support themselves and have a meaningful life.

Obama Triumphs in Iowa Contest as Clinton Falters; Huckabee Rolls

Mr. Obama’s victory amounted to a significant setback for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who just months ago appeared to be the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, but has watched her position erode over the past several months. The result also left uncertain the prospects for John Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, who had staked his second bid for the White House on winning this state.

Obama Wins Iowa's Democratic Caucuses

With almost all of the state's 1,781 precincts reporting, Obama (Ill.) was winning 38 percent of the delegates being awarded in the competition. Clinton (N.Y.) took 29 percent to run third behind former senator John Edwards (N.C.), who drew 30 percent.

Huckabee, Obama have huge night in Iowa -- CNN

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Top senator hits US sale of F-16s to Pakistan

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A senior US senator lashed the administration of President George W. Bush Wednesday for its decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, calling it a sign of a "dangerously misguided" policy toward Islamabad.

assassination: Scotland Yard may find little to do in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Scotland Yard's investigators may not have much to work with in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, leading to an inquiry that raises more questions than answers, analysts say.

Afghan drug trade may hit new peak in 2008

KABUL: Afghanistan’s already booming drugs trade is likely to grow even more this year, the head of foreign troops in the country said on Wednesday, warning this would bankroll the Taliban insurgency.

US Increasing Use of Unmanned Aircraft

Fed to investors: More cuts coming

NEW YORK ( -- Ben Bernanke and other Fed members say 'substantial easing' may be needed. But markets, still concerned about recession, plunge.

Stocks Washed in Red to Start 2008; Dow Plunges 220 Points

Call it a New Year's hangover for the bulls. Today the Dow had its largest point drop on the first trading day of a new year ever thanks to ugly manufacturing data and oil briefly touching $100 a barrel.

Biden highlights Clinton Pakistan gaffe

(CNN) — Democrat Joe Biden suggested Tuesday that presidential rival Hillary Clinton doesn't adequately understand recent events in Pakistan.

White House: Bush To Build Support For Afghanistan

UK to assist Bhutto investigation -- BBC

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Pakistan Elections Delayed Until February

U.S. Was Helping Bhutto Security Detail

Bhutto murder: the key questions -- BBC

Party spokeswoman Sherry Rehman said that she was with Miss Bhutto when the attack took place, and later cleaned her body at the hospital. She says that she saw two wounds that were bleeding profusely.

Spanish king visits troops in Afghanistan: officials