Friday, August 29, 2008

Ex-Soviet States Fear Russian Aggression

Moscow's recent offensive in the Caucasus region has former Soviet republics worried. They see it as a return to old imperialist policies and fear they could be the next victims of Russian aggression. How much at risk are Ukraine and Moldova?

Afghanistan Puts Germans Off Military Career

McCain failed to qualify statement about "success" in Afghanistan -- denverpost

The comment stems from an October 2005 appearance on the "Charlie Rose" talk show on PBS.

Afghan president fast losing his popularity

Afghan war to be priority for Obama

DENVER–Expect a robust American foreign policy if Barack Obama becomes U.S. president. He has said he’s not afraid to wage war if he has to. And he’s signaled that the Afghan war will become a major U.S. priority if he wins.

Campaigning Starts With Running Mates in Tow

Mr. McCain set out campaigning with Ms. Palin as Mr. Obama left this city to campaign for the first time with his vice presidential candidate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.
News Analysis: Bringing Lofty Words Down to Earth
Politics, Spectacle and History Under Open Sky

McCain Chooses Palin as Running Mate

DAYTON, Ohio — In a surprise move, Senator John McCain announced here Friday that he had chosen Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate, shaking up the political world at a time when his campaign has been trying to attract women, especially disaffected supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Speeches: Video Transcript
Times Topics: Sarah Palin

McCain Picks Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin For VP Spot

Republican Sen. John McCain announced Friday that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be his vice presidential running mate, a move that brings youth and a staunch abortion opponent to the GOP ticket.
Sarah Palin, A Fresh Face For The GOP

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Russia, angry with US, takes up Afghan attack at UN

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Russia, at odds with the United States over Georgia, will press the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to condemn U.S.-led air strikes in Afghanistan that killed dozens of civilians, diplomats said.

Russia and the United States are permanent members of the council with veto power, along with France, Britain and China.

Afghanistan Pushes Back

Apparently taking his cues from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is calling for some limits on what President Bush can do in his country.
Losing hearts and minds - Opinion -
Charlie Wilson's Peace
UN criticizes Afghan decision to free rapists

Only a Two-Page 'Note' Governs U.S. Military in Afghanistan

For the past six years, military relations between the United States and Afghanistan have been governed by a two-page "diplomatic note" giving U.S. forces virtual carte blanche to conduct operations as they see fit.

The Afghan government "is not the most streamlined and efficient system," he said. "So you'd have a multiplicity of players on that side." Less diplomatic U.S. officials frequently describe elements of Karzai's government as deeply corrupt and incompetent.

Transcript: Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech

When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.

You know, John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won't even follow him to the cave where he lives.
Transcript: Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech
Obama Takes Aim at Bush and McCain With a Forceful Call to Change America
Text: Obama’s Speech

Live Video From the Democratic Convention

Pentagon Disputes Afghan Toll

The Associated Press reported yesterday that according to three Afghan officials, U.S. commanders were misled into striking the village.

Putin Asserts Link Between U.S. Election and Georgia War

MOSCOW, Aug. 29 -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he had reason to think U.S. personnel were in the combat zone during the recent war in Georgia, adding that if confirmed, their presence suggested "someone in the United States" provoked the conflict to help one of the candidates in the American presidential race.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili called the claim "ridiculous," likening it to Putin saying that "extraterrestrials were also there."

Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan

The Democratic Convention: Obama's Acceptance Pledge: Fix 'Broken Politics'

Transcript: Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech
Listen: Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Afghanistan: Free Aafia Siddiqui’s 11-Year-Old Son

Child Is Too Young to Be Treated as Criminal Suspect

(New York, August 27, 2008) – The Afghan government should immediately relinquish 11-year-old Ahmed Siddiqui to the custody of his family, Human Rights Watch said today. Siddiqui, a US citizen, is believed to be the son of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman held on US federal charges in New York.
Afghanistan: Free Aafia Siddiqui s 11-Year-Old Son (Human Rights ...

Afghanistan’s Opium Harvest Shrinks After Record Crop, U.N. Says

Afghans Want a Deal on Foreign Troops
U.S. Killed 90 in Afghan Village, Including 60 Children, U.N. ...

Transcript: Bill Clinton's Prime-Time Speech, August 27, 2008 · In his speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, Bill Clinton said Barack Obama is ready to lead the nation as president. Obama "has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose," Clinton said. And regarding Obama's choice of Sen. Joseph Biden as his running mate, Clinton said Obama "hit it out of the park."
Bill Clinton's Speech

Transcript: Joseph R. Biden’s Convention Speech

Should you trust the judgment of John McCain, when he said only three years ago, "Afghanistan, we don't read about it anymore in papers because it succeeded"?

Or should you believe Barack Obama who said a year ago, "We need to send two more combat battalions to Afghanistan"?
Speech Text: Biden
Joe Biden's Speech
Joe Biden Takes Center Stage as Obama's Running Mate

Transcript: Bill Clinton's Convention Speech (‘Ready to Be President,’ Bill Clinton Says)

Our -- our nation is in trouble on two fronts. The American dream is under siege at home, and America's leadership in the world has been weakened. Middle-class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining, job losses, poverty, and inequality rising, mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing, health care coverage disappearing, and a very big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.

And our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation...

Speech Text: Biden Clinton

Obama Wins Nomination; Biden and President Clinton Rally Party

DENVER — Barack Hussein Obama, a freshman senator who defeated the first family of Democratic Party politics with a call for a fundamentally new course in politics, was nominated by his party today to be the 44th president of the United States.
Clinton Rallies Her Troops to Fight for Obama
Speech Text: Biden Clinton

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Poverty Rate Held Steady Last Year, Census Says

About 12.5 percent of the population fell below the official federal poverty threshold of $21,203 for a family of four last year, the census data showed, a figure that was not statistically different than in 2006. The number of children in poverty increased, however, by 500,000 to 13.3 million.

Meanwhile, the number of people without health insurance declined to 45.7 million from last year's record 47 million, the census report says.
Poverty Rate Held Steady Last Year, Census Says
A Decline in Uninsured Is Reported for 2007 New York Times

U.N. Envoy Rebuked For Solo Diplomacy

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was once again scolded by senior State Department officials for diplomatic freelancing, but he appears likely to keep his job in the Bush administration's waning months, U.S. officials said yesterday.

State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood said yesterday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice retains "full confidence" in Khalilzad, who is known as "Zal" in diplomatic circles. Another U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, put it more bluntly: "Zal can do no wrong. The vice president is growing weary of his unpredictability, but the president thinks he's still a rock star."
U.N. Envoy’s Ties to Pakistani Are Questioned -- nytimes
Zalmay Khalilzad angers US over contact with Asif Ali Zardari ..., Time

Afghan Opium Production Falls, Despite Problem Provinces

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 26 -- Afghanistan this year experienced the sharpest decline in opium production since the United States toppled the country's Taliban rulers, according to a U.N. report.
U.N. Finds Airstrike Killed 90 Afghans: Most of Fatalities In U.S.-Led Attack Said to Be Children...

Clinton Delivers Emphatic Plea for Unity

Text of Clinton's Speech
Slide Show: Clinton

McCain Says Obama Is Confused About America's Global Standing

PHOENIX, Aug. 26 -- Sen. John McCain on Tuesday accused Sen. Barack Obama of not believing in America's role as a world leader and of being confused about the nation's moral standing, the latest attack on the Democrat's foreign policy credentials.

The Democratic Convention: Transcript: Hillary Clinton's Prime-Time Speech

I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.
Transcript: Hillary Clinton's Prime-Time Speech

Clinton: 'We Need To Elect Barack Obama'

Transcript: Hillary Clinton's Convention Speech
See Also: Conventions 2008

60 Children Among Afghan , U.N. Finds

Monday, August 25, 2008

U.N. Envoy’s Ties to Pakistani Are Questioned

UN Envoy’s Ties to Pakistani Are Questioned
UN envoy's ties to Pakistani are questioned - International Herald ...

Afghan cabinet demands review of international presence

KABUL (AFP) - The Afghan cabinet demanded Monday a renegotiation of agreements regulating the presence of international troops in Afghanistan after more than 90 civilians were killed in US-led air strikes.

The cabinet said the review should focus on the "authorities and responsibilities" of international troops and demand a halt to air strikes on civilians, illegal detentions and unilateral house searches, a statement said.

"The presence of the international community in Afghanistan must be reviewed through a mutual agreement," it said.

"The authorities and responsibilities of the international forces in Afghanistan must be regulated through a 'status of force agreement' consistent with both international and Afghan laws," it added.

And, "air strikes on civilian targets, uncoordinated house searches and illegal detention of Afghan civilians must be stopped."

Norway criticizes civilian killing in U.S. bombing in Afghanistan

Pelosi Rallies Democrats Behind Obama on Convention Opening Night

Text: Michelle Obama's Speech
Text: Edward Kennedy's Speech
Caroline Kennedy Pays Tribute to Sen. Ted Kennedy
President Carter Mulls Historical Significance of Barack Obama

Kennedy and Michelle Obama Electrify Democratic Convention

Remarks: Michelle Obama at the DNC
The Fix: We're Just Like You
The Outspoken Obama

Michelle Obama’s Remarks at the Democratic Convention

Text of Michelle Obama's Remarks
Michelle Obama shows her husband's personal side
Times Topics: Michelle Obama

Text of Senator Kennedy’s Remarks at the Democratic Convention

I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals, and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States.
Fighting Cancer, Kennedy Adds an Opening Spark
Times Topics: Kennedy

Margaret Thatcher Suffering From Dementia, Family Says

LONDON, Aug. 25 -- The daughter of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher said Britain's "Iron Lady" is suffering from dementia, the family's first public confirmation of what has been widely rumored in Britain for several years.

Bush presses Russia not to recognize Georgia regions

"Georgia's territorial integrity and borders must command the same respect as every other nation's, including Russia's," he said in a statement from his Texas ranch.

McCain: Biden A "Very Wise Selection"

(CBS) In an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric Saturday at his home in Sedona, Ariz., presumptive GOP nominee John McCain had kind words for Sen. Joe Biden, who last night was named presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama’s running mate.
John McCain
Joe Biden

US investigating civilian deaths in Afghanistan

Caroline Kennedy To Take Center Stage At DNC

Ted Kennedy: Surprise Guest
Michelle Obama: Family Focus Of Convention Speech
Democratic Convention Is A Faith-Based Initiative
See Also: Conventions 2008

Democrats Seek Unity as Convention Kicks Off

Obama Dismisses Worries About Clinton Fallout
Clinton Tells Her Supporters to Back Obama (August 26, 2008)

Afghans demand 'new troops deal' -- BBC

The Afghan government says it wants to renegotiate the terms of foreign forces in their country after more than 90 civilians were killed in a US bombing.

News Analysis: U.S. Sees Much to Fear in a Hostile Russia

US expresses regret of Afghan deaths

CRAWFORD, Texas (AFP) - The United States expressed regret Sunday for any civilian deaths from US-led military operations in Afghanistan, without confirming reports of nearly 90 killed in one incident this week.

"We regret the loss of life among the innocent Afghanis who we are committed to protect," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said as US President George W. Bush spent time on his Texas ranch.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Afghanistan on fire -- iht

There is no more time to waste. Unless the United States, NATO and its central Asian allies move quickly, they could lose this war. The following steps need to be taken in the coming weeks.
Editorial - Afghanistan on Fire - Editorial -
Afghanistan on fire - International Herald Tribune
Robert B. Zoellick - The Key to Rebuilding Afghanistan ...

POLITICS: A Liberal's Lament -- Sean Wilentz | NEWSWEEK

To win, Obama must convince the country that he is a man of substance, not just style. History suggests this won't be easy.
1 2 3 4 Next Page »

What If Obama Was Muslim? -- Ellis Cose

We haven't fully accepted the notion that all religions should have equal access to the Oval Office.

Once Barack Obama emerged as the Democratic candidate, it was clear the presidential contest would become a referendum on race. It was not, however, supposed to be a journey into the terrain of religious fears and prejudice.

Of course, even if he were a Muslim, that should be no big deal. In a country that officially separates church and state, a man's religious beliefs are his own affair. Still, nearly half a century after John F. Kennedy became America's first (and, thus far, only) Roman Catholic president, we haven't fully accepted the notion that all religions should have equal access to the Oval Office.
What If Obama Was Muslim?
A Region Long Defined by Its History

Obama, McCain on the issues -- The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A look at where Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain stand on a selection of issues as the national party conventions affirm their presidential nominations and launch the fall campaign:

Editorial - Afghanistan on Fire

The news out of Afghanistan is truly alarming. This week, Taliban forces staged two of their most complex and audacious attacks of the war.

The number of United States and NATO casualties is mounting so quickly, that unless something happens soon this could be the deadliest year of the Afghan war. Kabul, the seat of Afghanistan’s pro-Western government, is increasingly besieged.

There is no more time to waste. Unless the United States, NATO and its central Asian allies move quickly, they could lose this war. The following steps need to be taken in the coming weeks.

Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, must rein in his government’s rampant corruption that has all but driven his people into the hands of the Taliban and criminal warlords. The international community needs to provide more — and more carefully monitored — resources to build up Afghanistan’s security forces and administrative capacity and accelerate rural development.
Read Full Comment »

The Key to Rebuilding Afghanistan

China Draws Praise, Criticism As Games End

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge thanked China for the Beijing games, which he called "exceptional."
See Also: Beijing Olympics 2008
U.S. Wins Basketball Gold As Olympics Wind Down

McCain ad says Obama snubbed Clinton in VP pick

John McCain's campaign suggested Sunday that rival Barack Obama snubbed Hillary Rodham Clinton as his running mate because of her criticism during the battle for the Democratic nomination. Obama's campaign dismissed the claim as the candidate praised Joe Biden, the man he did choose.
Clinton expected to release delegates Wednesday

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Barack Obama Chooses Sen. Joseph Biden For VP

Transcript: Obama on Biden as his VP choice
Transcript: Biden's Speech In Springfield, Ill.
Biden Strong On Foreign Policy, National Security
2008 Candidate Profile: Sen. Joseph Biden (DE)
Joe Biden, Newsweek

Afghan Officials: Civilians Killed in U.S.-Led Raid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 23 -- U.S. military officials said Saturday that they are investigating allegations by Afghan officials that a U.S.-led bombing raid killed at least 70 civilians in western Afghanistan this week.

'Millions of dollars spent on bribes every year'

THE UNITED Nation’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, has said between $100 million to $250 million worth of bribes exchanges hands in Afghanistan every year.

About 70% of the population live on $1 a day, he said. Eide announced that a new anti-corruption commission will be set up to counter official corruption.

The Key to Rebuilding Afghanistan -- By Robert B. Zoellick

During a recent visit to Afghanistan, I was reminded of the counterinsurgency principles of "clear, hold, build." In the language of the World Bank Group, that translates to "security, governance and development."

Despite all this progress, danger is apparent as the scheduled 2009 elections draw closer. Food prices are rising, and food availability for winter is uncertain. The Taliban ambush that killed 10 French troops this week and the deaths of six more NATO soldiers announced yesterday underscore the fact that security is slipping in Afghanistan. Corruption -- sometimes linked to narcotics -- rots away legitimacy and chokes business development, creating a vicious circle: Donors, fearful of fraud, channel two-thirds of their aid outside the government, making it impossible to use the national budget to organize a countrywide effort and to build institutions.
Robert B. Zoellick - The Key to Rebuilding Afghanistan ...
Rebuilding Afghanistan,
Afghanistan Unveils Ambitious Development Plan

Obama Selects Biden as Vice Presidential Running Mate

Obama's veep message to supporters
Full Text of Obama's Introduction Speech
Obama's Official Text Message Biden Profile

Obama Adds Foreign Expertise to Ticket

WASHINGTON — Senator Barack Obama introduced Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. as his running mate on Saturday, a choice that strengthens the Democratic ticket’s credentials on foreign policy heading into the general election against Senator John McCain.
Watching Obama and Biden’s Debut
Obama’s Prepared Text

Afghan President Assails U.S.-Led Airstrike

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned on Saturday a coalition airstrike that he said killed up to 95 Afghans — including 50 children — in a village in western Afghanistan on Friday, and said his government would be announcing measures to prevent the loss of civilian life in the future.
76 Civilians Die in Attack by Coalition, Afghans Say

Friday, August 22, 2008

Your Money: Housing Limbo: How Low Will Prices Go? -- by Joshua Brockman

"Nationally, we're very, very far from any bottom," says Baker, who believes the lowest point may arrive between the middle of 2009 and the start of 2010. He notes the nationwide glut of housing inventory, with the number of new and existing homes on the market at near-record levels and vacancy rates for ownership units at record highs.
More Your Money
Housing Limbo: How Low Will Prices Go?
Fed Chief: Credit Crisis, Inflation Hurting Economy

Bernanke Urges Broader Oversight of Financial Firms

The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke, warned on Friday that the economy would “fall short of potential for a time” and urged regulators to develop a broader approach to policing the financial industry.
Bernanke sends soothing message on inflation MarketWatch
Fed Chief Still Sees Inflation Easing Wall Street Journal - Bloomberg - Washington Post - Reuters

Britain 'resolute' in its support of Afghanistan: PM

Brown makes surprise trip to Afghanistan as Taliban step up attacks

Brown Presses Karzai to Tackle Afghanistan Corruption

Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown flew to Afghanistan for talks with President Hamid Karzai today, calling on the government in Kabul to crack down on corruption and the opium trade that is funding the Taliban insurgency.

Karzai faces criticism from the United Nations for failing to address corruption in his administration and tackle the opium trade that is helping finance the Taliban insurgency. Berlin- based Transparency International, an anti-graft group, said Afghanistan is perceived as one of the 10 most corrupt countries of 180 nations it studied last year.

The Afghan population is becoming increasingly frustrated with the government's failure to tackle corruption and Karzai risks more people backing the insurgency, Seth Jones, an analyst at the Washington-based policy research group Rand Corp. said by telephone today. ``The population is quickly becoming alienated,'' he said. ``It is a fundamental challenge.'' U.K. & Ireland
Britain 'resolute' in its support of Afghanistan: Brown - Yahoo! News

Asia's new 'great game' is all about pipelines --John Foster

The quest for control of energy resources has been dubbed the "new great game" – a rivalry for pipeline routes to access energy resources in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea.

Both Georgia and Afghanistan are seen as energy bridges – transit routes for the export of land-locked hydrocarbons. Neither Afghanistan nor Georgia is a member of NATO, but both are transit countries in the new great game. Opinion Asia's new 'great game' is all about pipelines
New 'Great Game' for Central Asia riches -

Zardari nominated to be president -- BBC

Pakistan's biggest party, the PPP, has nominated its leader, Asif Zardari, to be the country's president.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Six dead in fresh Afghan attack -- BBC

HRW In The Media

Human Rights Watch’s investigations and reports generate extensive media coverage around the world. Human Rights Watch appears in the news thousands of times each month, and here are a few examples.

Afghanistan: UN renews call for food aid funding

KABUL, 19 August 2008 (IRIN) - Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan Kai Eide has called on donors to respond quickly to a US$404 million appeal made a month ago to ease the impact of drought and high food prices.

Afghanistan: More troops needed to stop Taliban attacks, says think-tank

Rome, 20 August (AKI) - This week's violent attacks in Afghanistan underscore the resurgence of the Taliban and the failure of international efforts to prevent their attacks.

That is the view of the Senlis Council, the London-based development think-tank, a day after 10 French soldiers were killed and another 21 were injured in one of the worst attacks on foreign troops in the country.
Afghans doubt U.S. intentions: report Reuters

Taekwondo fighter grabs Afghanistan's first Olympic medal

Afghan militant threat shuts down public ceremony

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan leaders celebrated Independence Day on Monday with a small ceremony inside a fortified military compound, in marked contrast to the parade and public festivities a year ago and another sign that Taliban militants are bearing down on the government.
Afghan militant threat shuts down public ceremony
Afghan militant threat shuts down public ceremony - Yahoo! News

Afghan president says he will run for office again

"I have achieved some of those objectives. I have not achieved some of the other objectives," he said. "Afghanistan is not at peace. The Afghan people still suffer massively in the war against terrorism and in the war for stability in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is not yet a well off country, still a very poor country."
Afghan president says he will run for office again
Afghan president says he will run for office again - San Jose ...

Afghans doubt U.S. intentions: report

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghans believe the United States knows about al Qaeda bases in Pakistan, but does not hit them because it wants an unstable Afghanistan to justify its presence for wider regional goals, a state newspaper said on Wednesday.

The United States always said it would attack the militants wherever they were, but in reality it has not done so, the state-run Anis daily said.
Afghans doubt U.S. intentions: paper -
Afghans doubt U.S. intentions: paper - Yahoo! News

Afghanistan Wins First Olympic Medal Ever

Rohullah Nikpai defeated world champion Juan Antonio Ramos of Spain on Wednesday to earn the bronze medal in the men's under 58-kilogram taekwondo competition, sparking applause, wide smiles and laughter in homes, restaurants and ice cream parlors around the country.

The top U.N. official in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said the Olympic win shows that Afghanistan can compete on the global stage against the world's best athletes.
Afghanistan wins first Olympic medal - International Herald Tribune
Afghanistan win first ever Olympic medal -

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In Medals Contest, U.S. And China Are Tops

Like two sprinters leaving the rest of the field behind, the United States and China are neck-and-neck in total medals at the Summer Olympics in Beijing. The U.S. leads the host country 82-79 in total medals. But China leads the U.S. in gold medals, 45-26. Russia is running a distant third with 45 total medals.
See Also: Beijing Olympics 2008

US and Poland seal missile deal -- BBC

The US and Poland have signed a deal to locate part of the US's controversial missile defence system on Polish soil.

Washington says the system will protect the US and much of Europe against missile attacks from "rogue elements" in the Middle East such as Iran.
Step-by-step guide How the prototype US missile defence system is designed to work
Russia condemns US missile deal

Russia condemns US missile deal -- BBC

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - who signed the deal in Warsaw - said Moscow's earlier warning that the base on Polish soil could become a target for a nuclear attack bordered on the bizarre.

Last month, the US signed an agreement with the Czech Republic to base tracking radars there as part of the defence system.
US and Poland seal missile deal

Sarkozy renews Afghan commitment -- BBC

He was speaking in Kabul after French troops suffered some of their worst casualties in recent times.

"The cause is just, it is the honour of France and its armies to defend it" Nicolas Sarkozy French president

Interview: Hamid Karzai - TIME

Afghanistan was a once great place. In perfect harmony with the rest of the world. Families sent their girls to university, wearing whatever style they wanted. And that family lived in perfect harmony with another family who was conservative and traditional. Both lived together and socialized. But in the years of fighting against the Soviets, radicalism was the main thing. Someone like me would be called half a Muslim. And we were actually called half Muslims. Because we were not radical. The more radical you became, the more money you were given. So radicalism became not only an ideological tool against the Soviets, but a way forward economically. The more radical you presented yourself, the more money the West gave you.

Everybody together I call them the West, because they were led by the West. The moderates were undermined, not allowed. Patriotism, Afghan history and nationalism was called atheism. It was undermined. The more you betrayed Afghanistan, the more you spoke of radicalism, the more you went away from Afghan history, the better you were treated. And that's what we are paying for now.
Interview: Hamid Karzai - TIME

Karzai To Seek Re-Election In Afghanistan

(AP) President Hamid Karzai has said he would seek re-election next year in hopes of finishing a job he said he hasn't yet completed.

In a candid admission of some of his failures after four years in office, Karzai said Afghanistan does not yet have a functioning government, corruption remains rampant and the Afghan people "still suffer massively" in the fight against terrorism.
Karzai To Seek Re-Election In Afghanistan, Afghan President Hopes ...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ties With Russia Are Reassessed -- WSJ

WASHINGTON -- As the West presses Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia, the Bush administration and its European allies are also exploring actions that could alter their post-Cold War relationship with Moscow.

Facing Impeachment, Pakistan's Musharraf Resigns

Political Turmoil in Pakistan

American University of Afghanistan Kicks Off Third Academic Year

Sixty classes are being offered to students this semester. They include new courses in business administration, information technology, and liberal arts, including an 'Introduction to Law' class developed through a cooperative agreement between AUAF and Stanford University Law School in the United States.

New facilities available this fall consist of a larger academic library, classrooms, computer laboratories, and a science laboratory. New facilities, refurbished with support from the United States Agency for International Development, are designed to increase the quality and quantity of the University's offerings.
Newswire / Press Release: American University of Afghanistan Kicks ...

Afghanistan happy with Musharraf's resignation

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S.-backed Afghan government welcomed Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's resignation Monday, saying he "was not someone good for Afghanistan" and his departure will have a positive effect on the region.

Karzai's spokesman, Humayun Hamidzada, reiterated a standing Afghan government demand that Pakistan's military intelligence service cease its activities in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan happy with Musharraf's resignation - Yahoo! News
US praises Musharraf for help in fighting terror

Remains of ex-Afghan president's relatives found in mass grave

KABUL (AFP) - Afghan authorities announced Sunday they had found mass graves containing the remains of nine relatives of ex-president Mohammad Daud Khan, shot dead in a Soviet-backed coup three decades ago.

The nine included Khan's wife, a son, two daughters, his sister and an 18-month-old grandchild as well as other relatives, Kakar said. - Remains of ex-Afghan president's relatives found in ...

Afghans shift independence celebration to secret venue

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan secured its independence from Britain in 1919 after two wars with the world's then most powerful empire.

Frustration is growing among many Afghans over rampant corruption, insecurity, and the booming heroin trade, as well as civilian casualties in the fighting against the militant insurgents.
Afghans shift independence celebration to secret venue ...
Afghans shift independence celebration to secret venue - Yahoo! News

Concern over Afghan 'withdrawal' -- BBC

Between 100 to 150 US troops have withdrawn from a strategically important district of the the Afghan province of Ghazni, officials say.
Militant threats and attacks come to Kabul's doorstep

Pakistan's Musharraf steps down -- BBC

Looking calm and dressed soberly in a dark suit and tie, President Musharraf said he had decided to resign after consulting his allies and advisers.

In a defiant speech, he said he had believed it was his destiny to save Pakistan, helped by God, and that he had prevented it from being declared a terrorist state.

"Not a single charge can be proved against me," he said, while conceding he had made mistakes.

"I leave myself in the hands of the people," he concluded.
Mixed legacy How President Musharraf's rule will be remembered

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bush tells Russia to get out of Georgia

President Bush warned Russia on Saturday against trying to pry loose two separatist regions in Georgia and said Moscow must end military operations in the West-leaning democracy that once was part of the Soviet empire.

Russia's Strategy Paralyzes US Government -- By Gregor Peter Schmitz

Fears over Stability of Georgian Pipeline: 'Russia Should not Have a Stranglehold on Resources'
Russia Fuming Over Polish Move: US and Poland Set Missile Deal

The Georgia Crisis as Our Readers See It
'Moscow Sees No Need to Give an Inch'

Can Money Save Afghanistan?

Musharraf 'running out of time' -- BBC

Pakistan's foreign minister has said President Pervez Musharraf must stand down in the next two days or face impeachment proceedings.
Spies challenge government

Severe drought and food price increases cause malnutrition and disease

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), prices of basic foods like meat, cereals and dairy products rose by an average of 53 per cent from 2007 to 2008.

"Families are now finding themselves increasingly vulnerable to chronic malnutrition as the struggle to find affordable food becomes harder," said Neva Khan, programme manager for Afghanistan.

Security fears paralyze Kabul

The state of high alert following a summer of rising insurgent activity is wearing on Kabul citizens, say observers and residents. Many blame the increased checkpoints and closed roads for slumping business, yet at the same time some residents say that the heightened security does not make them feel safe.

According to some of the shopkeepers in the affected areas, however, the government's efforts are misdirected. "What kind of strategy is this?" Shawary asks. "If terrorists bomb everywhere in the city, does that mean the government will close all of the roads, so that we can't go anywhere?"

Despite the security precautions, many residents still do not feel safe. "I feel that I could die at any moment if I'm at the wrong place at the wrong time," says Shawary.

Bomb hits Afghan minister's convoy, one hurt: ministry

KABUL (AFP) - Education Minister Mohamad Hanif Atmar was not hurt in the blast, which hit one of the last vehicles in a convoy that had just left an event to distribute books to nomad children, ministry spokesman Hamed Elmi told AFP.
FACTBOX-Security developments in Afghanistan, Aug 16 Reuters

America turns its attention to the 'other' war

UN expert calls for end to impunity for attacks on educators after Afghan ambush

“There must be an end to impunity for those who attack schools, students and educators,” the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Vernor Muñoz Villalobos, said in a statement issued in Geneva.
UN rights expert denounces Taliban attacks on educators (AFP ...
UN rights expert denounces Taliban attacks on educators - Yahoo! News

Afghan empire's last symbols under threat

AFGHANISTAN: Justice Is Hard to Import

OSLO, Aug 11 (IPS) - Norway has announced a small but significant grant for reforms of Afghanistan's justice sector, which observers say is still severely underdeveloped seven years after the U.S. invasion.

AFGHANISTAN: Hike in fuel price inflates cost of food

KABUL, 11 August 2008 (IRIN) - A sharp increase in fuel prices has pushed up the already high cost of food in Afghanistan making daily survival even more difficult for millions of vulnerable people. Afghanistan is also largely dependent on food imports from neighbouring nations, particularly Pakistan and Iran.

The rise in food prices bodes ill for millions of people in a country where, according to a National Human Development Report, almost half its estimated 26.6 million population live on less than $2 a day.

UAE police seize heroin, arrest 19 Afghans

DUBAI (Reuters) - Police in the United Arab Emirates have seized 202 kg (445 lb) of heroin and arrested 19 Afghan suspects, the official news agency WAM reported on Tuesday.
UAE police seize heroin, arrest 19 Afghans - Yahoo! News

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Afghan senators call for govt control over foreign troops

KABUL (AFP) - Afghan senators demanded Tuesday that international troops operating in Afghanistan be brought under the country's law to make them accountable for mounting civilian casualties.

Phelps Swims Into Olympic History

Beijing Olympics 2008

Bush Urges Russia To Honor Truce In Georgia

President Bush on Wednesday called on Russia to live up to a cease-fire deal with Georgia, expressing concern over the continuing crisis and pledging humanitarian aid to the Western-backed former Soviet republic.

Pakistani Woman's Arrest Prompts Questions -- Dina Temple-Raston

Pakistani Woman's Arrest Spurs Questions

Rice says Russia faces isolation -- BBC

The US secretary of state has warned Russia that it risks isolation abroad if does not observe a ceasefire with Georgia and withdraw its troops.
Violence flares in Georgian town

Are we bombing our way to disaster in Afghanistan?

A new report from the Institute of Peace suggests that the massive increase in the amount of munitions being fired or dropped in Afghanistan has fueled popular anger -- and the Taliban resurgence. The report is called: Killing Friends, Making Enemies: The Impact and Avoidance of Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan.

The Wrong Force for the ‘Right War’

EU plans Georgia peace monitors-- BBC

The European Union says it is ready to send monitors to help implement a ceasefire in Georgia, but it wants a corresponding UN resolution first.

US forces to deliver Georgia aid -- BBC

President George W Bush has said the US will use military aircraft and naval forces to deliver aid to Georgia following its conflict with Russia.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Minerals Provide Economic Potential for Afghanistan

More recently, in July 2008 Afghanistan announced that mining would begin next year in the Hajigag iron mines located in the central province of Bamiyan, creating 50,000 new jobs and providing the country with $3 billion in revenue per year. Additionally, Minister of Mines Ibrahim Adil announced that the government had discovered mines in central Afghanistan - including coal and iron - worth over $300 billion.

Who won gold in the fashion Olympics?

Make Diplomacy, Not War -- By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Iraq and Afghanistan are the messes getting attention today, but they are only symptoms of a much broader cancer in American foreign policy.
Op-Ed Columnist - Make Diplomacy, Not War - Op-Ed

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Bush throws himself into Olympic experience

BEIJING - Most days, being the U.S. president means trying to extinguish one blooming crisis after another. Then there are days like Saturday.

Beijing Olympics 2008 : NPR

Hu meets president of Afghanistan, vowing further partnership

BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao said here on Friday that China is willing to work together with Afghanistan to further their partnership of all-round cooperation.

"China and Afghanistan enjoy a traditional friendship and sound relations," Hu said during a meeting with President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai.

The Chinese side respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, respects its own choice of development path and supports Afghanistan's efforts to safeguard national security and stability, Hu said.

US election takes a negative turn -- By Jon Kelly

They promised positive, high-minded campaigns which focused on issues rather than personalities.
McCain critical of Obama speech
Record deficit for next president

Clinton campaigns for Obama cause -- BBC

"We may have started on two separate paths, but we are on one journey now," she said of her former rival.

Spectacular opening for Olympics -- BBC

China has presented a dramatic display of fireworks, music and dancing to mark the opening of its Beijing Olympics.

Obama -- Afghanistan's Next Victim?

He wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times on July 14: "Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven.

"The main reason we are losing in Afghanistan," Thomas Friedman wrote in the Times on July 30, "is not because there are too few American soldiers, but because there are not enough Afghans ready to fight and die for the kind of government we want." He approvingly quoted from a July Time cover story by Harvard professor and Kabul resident Rory Stewart: "A troop increase is likely to inflame Afghan nationalism because Afghans are more anti-foreign than we acknowledge, and the support for our presence in the insurgency areas is declining."

Pentagon to back new military plan for Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to unify the military command for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and has endorsed a multibillion-dollar plan to nearly double the size of the Afghan army, officials said on Friday.

AFGHANISTAN: The struggle ahead

When the next president of the United States enters the Oval Office in January, he will face the toughest foreign policy decisions of any president since Franklin Roosevelt. But the toughest of all will involve the struggle for Afghanistan.

Afghan children raped with 'impunity,' U.N. official says

(CNN) -- The young Afghan girl sits in the center of the room, weeping. Using her hand and her blue scarf to hide her face, she recounts how she was brutally raped by five gunmen.

Shaima says justice is hard to find. "These criminals are never brought to justice, because police and government authorities are either involved or they can't handle the crimes," she explains. "With criminals and warlords in the political scene, we cannot expect justice to be served."

Afghan children raped with 'impunity,' U.N. official says

(CNN) -- The young Afghan girl sits in the center of the room, weeping. Using her hand and her blue scarf to hide her face, she recounts how she was brutally raped by five gunmen.

Shaima says justice is hard to find. "These criminals are never brought to justice, because police and government authorities are either involved or they can't handle the crimes," she explains. "With criminals and warlords in the political scene, we cannot expect justice to be served."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Naseer Fayyaz: Me and my family are in danger

And as you are aware of the developments in my case, the situation what I have been going through is intimidating me. I don’t feel safe and also I am concerned about my family. I am passing through a kind of fear right after my release. It seems any time any thing can happen to me and my family.

Seemingly it is possible that I might be attacked when I come to office from my home and when I go home from office. And the same case might happen with my family. They may be attacked at any time in my presence or in my absence. Therefore I request you to save me and my family members providing me and my family members with armed protection.

Naseer Fayyaz Journalist- ATN
Kabul, Afghanistan

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Foreign Policy: The Failed States Index 2008

Whether it is an unexpected food crisis or a devastating hurricane, the world’s weakest states are the most exposed when crisis strikes. In the fourth annual Failed States Index, FOREIGN POLICY and The Fund for Peace rank the countries where state collapse may be just one disaster away.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Want to Know More? next
The Failed States Index 2008

Foreign Affairs - Democratization and Its Discontents - Eva Bellin

Should America Push Political Reform in the Middle East?
Democratization and Its Discontents

Foreign Affairs - Shortsighted Statecraft - Daniel C. Kurtzer

Taking the dramatic events of 1979 and the early 1980s -- the Iranian Revolution, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Camp David peace accords, Israel's invasion of Lebanon, and the rise of Hezbollah -- as his starting point, Freedman argues that a sea change occurred in the politics of the region, from secular Arab nationalism to Islamist-based politics. The United States, Freedman contends, failed to adjust: its policies were haphazard and self-contradictory, its officials spent more time arguing with one another than trying to understand what was happening in the region, and it chose enemies based on a shortsighted appreciation of what its own interests were.

U.S. Minority Population -- WSJ

Metropolitan areas across the U.S. continue to get more diverse as minorities, especially Hispanics, increase their share of the population.

Bush chides Beijing over rights -- BBC

US President George W Bush has expressed "deep concerns" over China's human rights record in a speech on the eve of the Beijing Olympics.
Olympic relay in Beijing climax
China: Olympics Harm Key Human Rights -- HRW

'Militancy will not run out of steam' -- BBC

Journalist Ahmed Rashid's new book Descent Into Chaos is an investigation into what he describes as the "failure of nation building" in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia and the threat from radical Islam.

Editorial - Guns and Poppies - Editorial

Allegations that President Hamid Karzai protects officials and warlords in the trade are troubling. Washington and its allies must press him to address this problem. They also should seize assets and ban visas for major traffickers who have homes outside Afghanistan.
Editorial - Guns and Poppies - Editorial
Is Afghanistan a Narco-State?

500: Deadly U.S. Milestone in Afghan War

12 3 4 5

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Keep Afghanistan expectations realistic, says departing ambassador

"What is hard for Canadians to understand, as it is for the public in the rest of the Western countries, is just how big the development task is here," said Arif Lalani, who is packing his bags to leave the country after a 15-month posting in Kabul. "This is an extremely underdeveloped country. It's the most underdeveloped country I have worked in. And it has had 30 years of war."

Afghan airport to help switch from drugs to fruit

Afghan airport to help switch from drugs to fruit - International ...

Afghanistan's Missed Opportunity

There was a brief period after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when history seemed to offer Afghanistan a chance for deliverance from years of bloodshed and draconian rule. In short order, American and Afghan forces routed the Taliban regime. The military rulers of neighboring Pakistan reversed policy and embraced the Western war on terror. International support poured in to both countries, Afghanistan held elections, and hopes for political and economic modernization surged.

'I fell in love with Afghanistan' -- Ann Marlowe

Belinda Bowling, 34, a lawyer born in South Africa, lives in Kabul and works on environmental issues for the United Nations. A stencil she bought in Paris and applied to a living room wall describes her philosophy: Mets toi ici en plein milieu de la vie. De là, on voit toute chose dans sa perspective réelle. ("Put yourself in the middle of life. From there, one sees everything in its real perspective.") What brought you to Afghanistan?

Friday, August 01, 2008

FEATURE-Kabul book-seller wants to spur reading habit

KABUL, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Shah Muhammad Rais is the biggest book-seller in Afghanistan, but while business is good, he still has another mission in mind: to get his countrymen interested in reading again.

Having failed to reach all the far-flung corners of war-torn Afghanistan with a mobile book shop on a bus, the 54-year-old Rais has now launched a Web site ( to reach those who have access to the Internet and order books on-line.

He claims to have the world's largest collection of books on Afghanistan in key international languages.

Afghanistan: The Other Illegal War -- Marjorie Cohn, AlterNet.

The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was every bit as illegal as the invasion of Iraq. Why, then, do so many Americans see it as justifiable?
Afghanistan: The Other Illegal War ForeignPolicy AlterNet

Pakistan vows to 'weed out' pro-Taliban agents

Pakistan denies ISI behind Indian embassy attack -
U.S. says Pakistani spies forewarn al Qaeda allies Politics ...
US Says Pakistani Spies Forewarn Al Qaeda Allies

Karzai Grip on Presidency Weakens as Afghans Tire of Corruption

July 31 (Bloomberg) --``We thought he was a young man who should be given the opportunity to work as president in a period of transition,'' Rabbani, 66, said in an interview at his Kabul home. ``Unfortunately, he failed. It is a great tragedy.''

Karzai critic gets new job -- Maurin Picard in Vienna

On July 27, in an article published by the New York Times Magazine, he accused Afghan President Hamid Karzai of protecting drug lords for political motives. Located mainly in the lawless province of Helmand (South), opium production skyrocketed in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, making the country the supplier of 93 % of the world’s heroin.

U.N. says corruption helps Afghan drug lords evade justice ...
U.N. says corruption helps Afghan drug lords evade justice Reuters