Saturday, February 28, 2015

Turkish President Erdoğan slams Austria's controversial Islam law - hurriyetdaily

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly criticized Austria on Feb. 28 for approving a controversial bill that revises the status of Muslims in the European country.

"On the one hand you tell about the EU acquis, but on the other hand you take steps which totally oppose the EU acquis," Erdoğan said at a meeting in Istanbul before his departure to Saudi Arabia for an official visit.   

According to the Europa portal, the community acquis or acquis is "the body of common rights and obligations which bind all the member states together within the European Union… Applicant countries have to accept the Community acquis before they can join the Union."

The Austrian Parliament passed a law on Feb. 25, stirring a debate.

The updated “Law on Islam,” which was prepared by the coalition of the Social Democratic Party and the People’s Party, aims to regulate how Islam is managed inside the country, and includes provisions requiring imams to be able to speak German, standardizing the Quran in the German language, and banning Islamic organizations from receiving foreign funding. 

Turkey will make every effort to protect Muslims in Austria, especially those of Turkish descent, from being harmed due to a controversial recently approved bill regulating Islam in the country, Turkey’s EU minister said on Feb. 26.

“We cannot accept any harm to Muslims because of this law and we will make every effort to prevent such harm,” Minister Volkan Bozkır told Anadolu Agency during a visit to Finland’s capital, Helsinki.

The president also referred to the recent incidents of Islamophobia and biases against Muslims in the West, especially Europe, "The incidents are shifting to a different ground. We have to stop these biases."

Islam has been an official religion in Austria since 1912. 

The Islam law, known as "Islam Gesetz," was introduced by Austria's last emperor, Franz Josef, after the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Read More 

Turkish President Erdoğan slams Austria's controversial Islam law

Turkey voices support for Austrian Muslims

The Intercept - Our Condolences, Afghanistan - Huffington Post

How much is a life worth? A decade of war in Afghanistan has left a legacy of death and destruction for the Afghan people, often at the hands of U.S. forces.  Read More  at Our Condolences, Afghanistan
Read the whole story at The Intercept

How the U.S. Paid for Death and Damage in Afghanistan

OpEdNews Op Eds - Afghanistan War: Forgotten but not over

One reason that the US is not leaving Afghanistan is because of a myth that Afghanistan became a breeding ground for al-Qaeda because the US abandoned Afghanistan after the Soviets were defeated in 1989.

The truth is more likely that the mistake the US made was not honoring a United Nations peace agreement worked out by the then Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva. Instead the US was pumped up with triumphalism and stayed in Afghanistan and continued to fund chaos, even after the Soviets left.

In 1986 the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was desperate to get out of Afghanistan. In 1987 Gorbachev announced that the Soviet Union would be withdrawing its military from Afghanistan. He thought that he had negotiated a peace deal with the US to stabilize Afghanistan after Soviet troops left. (HERE )

Under that deal the Soviets would withdraw its forces and in exchange the US would stop funding the mujahedeen. Instead the US reneged on the deal and continued funding the civil war in Afghanistan until the overthrow of the government of President Mohammad Najibullah in 1992 (HERE ).

The US had thought that the Najibullah government would quickly fall after the Soviets pulled out in 1989. Instead with the continued Soviet financial support, the government of Najibullah held on until the Soviets finally withdrew their financial support in 1992. Without financial support the Najibullah government in Afghanistan fell to the US backed mujahedeen.

During all those years the US just handed over billions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan to distribute how and to whom they wished. Never mind that Pakistan had very different national security goals in mind than did the US.

And what is Pakistan's most important national security concern? It is India. Pakistan saw how effective and relatively inexpensive (especially when the funding was coming from the US and Saudi Arabia) a motivated force of fanatical Islamic guerillas could be in defeating a super power such as the Soviet Union. They decided to turn that force against India too.

With the fall of the Najibullah government in 1992 the mujahedeen, which later became known as the Northern Alliance, took power. The Northern Alliance was made up of mostly non-Pashtun mujahedeen lead by Ahmad Shah Massoud.

The Northern Alliance tried but failed to form a unified government. Instead the country broke out in civil war between the many different factions. The civil war raged on until 1996 when the Pakistan backed Taliban took over government control and the mujahedeen withdrew from Kabul. Read More at David William Pear

Afghanistan War: Forgotten but not over.

How the US Paid for Death and Damage in Afghanistan - The Intercept

An armored vehicle ran over a six-year-old boy’s legs: $11,000. A jingle truck was “blown up by mistake”: $15,000. A controlled detonation broke eight windows in a mosque: $106. A boy drowned in an anti-tank ditch: $1,916. A 10-ton truck ran over a cucumber crop: $180. A helicopter “shot bullets hitting and killing seven cows”: $2,253. Destruction of 200 grape vines, 30 mulberry trees and one well: $1,317. A wheelbarrow full of broken mirrors: $4,057.

A child who died in a combat operation: $2,414.

These are among the payments that the United States has made to ordinary Afghans over the course of American military operations in the country, according to databases covering thousands of such transactions obtained byThe Intercept under the Freedom of Information Act. Many of the payments are for mundane incidents such as traffic accidents or property damage, while others, in flat bureaucratic language, tell of “death of his wife and 2 minor daughters,” “injuries to son’s head, arms, and legs,” “death of husband,” father, uncle, niece.

The databases are incomplete, reflecting fragmented record keeping in Afghanistan, particularly on the issue of harm to civilians. The paymentsThe Intercept has analyzed and presented in the graphic accompanying this story are not a complete accounting, but they do offer a small window into the thousands of fractured lives and personal tragedies that take place during more than a decade of war.

The Price of Life  -  The data that The Intercept obtained comes from two different systems that the U.S. military uses to make amends.

The Foreign Claims Act, passed in 1942, gives foreign citizens the ability to request payment for damages caused by U.S. military personnel. But the law only covers incidents that happen outside of combat situations — meaning that civilians caught up in battles have no recourse.

Since the Korean War, however, the U.S. military has realized that it’s often in its best interest to make symbolic payments for civilian harm, even when it occurs in combat. Over the years, the Pentagon authorized “condolence payments” where the military decided it was culturally appropriate.

Such condolence payments were approved in Iraq a few months into the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, and in Afghanistan beginning in 2005. They soon became part of the “hearts and minds” approach to counterinsurgency. To put it another way, in the words of an Army handbook, this was “money as a weapons system.”

While it might seem cynical to offer token compensation for a human life, humanitarian organizations embraced the policy as a way to acknowledge deaths and the hard economic realities of war zones.

Condolence payments are meant to be symbolic gestures, and today in Afghanistan, they are generally capped at $5,000, though greater amounts can be approved.

Payments under the Foreign Claims Act take into account any negligence on the part of the claimant, as well as local law. Douglas Dribben, an attorney with the Army Claims Service in Fort Meade, Maryland, said that officers in the field do research, sometimes consulting with USAID or the State Department, to determine the cost of replacing damaged property — “What’s a chicken worth in my area versus what it’s worth in downtown Kabul?”

Claims for injuries incorporate the cost of medical care, and in the case of wrongful death, the deceased’s earning potential and circumstances. “If I have a case of a 28-year old doctor, they are going to be paid more than we’d pay for a child of four,” Dribben said. “In Afghanistan, unfortunately, a young female child would likely be much less than a young boy.”

The system is imperfect, however. Residents of remote areas often can’t access the places where the U.S. military hands out cash. The amounts given out, or whether they are paid at all, often depend on the initiative of individual soldiers — usually the judge advocates who handle claims, or commanders who can authorize condolence payments.  Read More at The Intercept

How the US Paid for Death and Damage in Afghanistan

Russian opposition leader Nemtsov shot dead, police hunt killers

(Reuters) - Boris Nemtsov, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin and Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis, was shot dead steps from the Kremlin in a murder that underscored the risks taken by the Russian opposition.

Nemtsov, 55, was shot four times in the back by assailants in a white car as he walked across a bridge over the Moskva River in central Moscow with a Ukrainian woman, who was unhurt, just before midnight on Friday, police said.

Police sealed off the blood-stained bridge close to the red walls of the Kremlin and Red Square for two hours after the gangland-style killing reminiscent of Russia in the chaotic 1990s after the collapse of the Communist Soviet Union.

A former deputy prime minister who had feared he would be murdered, Nemtsov was the most prominent opposition figure killed in Putin's 15-year-rule. The Kremlin deflected blame and the government said everything must be done to find the killers.

Putin condemned the "brutal" slaying and took the investigation under presidential control, saying it could have been a contract killing and a "provocation" on the eve of a big opposition protest Nemtsov had been due to lead on Sunday.

But the killing focused attention on the tough treatment of Kremlin opponents in Putin's third term, during which several leading critics have been jailed or have fled the country following mass rallies against the former KGB spy three years ago.

"That a leader of the opposition could be shot beside the walls of the Kremlin is beyond imagination. There can be only one version: that he was shot for telling the truth," Mikhail Kasyanov, an opposition leader and a former prime minister under Putin, said at the scene.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev cautioned against jumping to conclusions. "Certain forces will try to use the killing to their own advantage. They are thinking how to get rid of Putin," he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama called for a prompt, impartial and transparent investigation to ensure those responsible were brought to justice for the "vicious killing."

"Nemtsov was a tireless advocate for his country, seeking for his fellow Russian citizens the rights to which all people are entitled," Obama, who has fiercely criticized Putin over Russia's involvement in the Ukraine crisis, said in a statement.  Read More at Nemtsov shot dead

UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by loss of life in Afghanistan avalanches

26 February 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is deeply saddened by the loss of life in Afghanistan as a result of avalanches, landslides and floods in the northern part of the country including in the Kabul, Parwan, Panjsher, Kapisa, Badakhshan and Nuristan provinces.

According to media reports, the snowstorms began on Tuesday and continued through Thursday, causing some of the worst avalanches in decades and resulting in the deaths of some 180 people. The death toll is expected to rise. Read More

UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by loss of life in Afghanistan avalanches
New UN report urges push to end problem of torture in Afghan detention facilities

Urging international action, UNESCO chief condemns ISIL’s ‘cultural cleansing’ in Iraq - UN

27 February 2015 – The head of the United Nations agency mandated to protect heritage sites has reiterated her dismay at the “destructive fury” exhibited by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in their recent assault on the Mosul Museum.

Briefing journalists at a press conference earlier this morning, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General, Irina Bokova, condemned the devastation of artefacts and bas-reliefs, including large statues from the UNESCO world Heritage site of Hatra, by ISIL.

“This tragedy is far from just a cultural issue: it’s an issue of major security,” she declared. “We see clearly how terrorists use the destruction of heritage in their strategy to destabilize and manipulate populations so that they can assure their own domination.”

Ms. Bokova, who has urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council to meet on ISIL’s rampant destruction of cultural heritage, said she was encouraged by “the strong international mobilization” against the group’s actions and warned that the “deliberate destruction” of cultural heritage is a war crime according to the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). She added that she had already contacted ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “to attract her attention to the attacks on the Mosul Museum and encourage her to open a case.”

ISIL extremists have reportedly engaged in “cultural cleansing” across Iraq and other territories occupied by the group, including the destruction of religious heritage belonging to Muslim, Christian and Jewish sects alike. At the same time, they also participate in the illicit traffic of artefacts in order to help fund their terrorist acts.

At the press conference, the Director-General also confirmed that UNESCO is preparing to launch a coalition of partners to stop the illegal trade of cultural heritage with its first meeting to be held at the agency’s headquarters in Paris, France. Read More at UNESCO chief condemns ISIL’s ‘cultural cleansing’ in Iraq

Urging international action, UNESCO chief condemns ISIL’s ‘cultural cleansing’ in Iraq

Iraq: UNESCO outraged over terrorist attack against Mosul Museum

U.N. condemns Islamic State's 'barbaric terrorist acts' in Iraq

(Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council on Friday condemned what it described as the latest "barbaric terrorist acts" in Iraq by Islamic State militants, including the destruction of priceless religious and cultural artifacts.

A video published by the ultra-radical Islamist militant group Islamic State on Thursday showed men attacking ancient Assyrian statues and sculptures, some of them identified as antiquities from the 7th century BC, with sledgehammers and drills, saying they were symbols of idolatry.

"The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the ongoing barbaric terrorist acts in Iraq by ISIL (Islamic State)" the council said in a statement. It also reiterated that the group "must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence, and hatred it espouses must be stamped out."

Among the recent acts by Islamic State the 15-nation council cited were the abduction of 100 Sunni tribesmen from outside Tikrit, the immolation of 45 Iraqis and daily attacks targeting civilians in Baghdad.

It also condemned "the deliberate destruction of irreplaceable religious and cultural artifacts housed in the Mosul Museum and burning of thousands of books and rare manuscripts from the Mosul Library."

The head of the U.N. culture, education and science agency UNESCO, Irina Bokova, also condemned the destruction of artifacts in the Mosul Museum.

"I condemn this as a deliberate attack against Iraq's millennial history and culture, and as an inflammatory incitement to violence and hatred," she said in a statement.  Read More

Friday, February 27, 2015

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan - The White House

President Obama will host Afghan President Ghani, Chief Executive Officer Abdullah, and key members of their unity government for meetings and a working lunch at the White House on Tuesday, March 24, 2015.  The two presidents will discuss a range of issues including security, economic development, and U.S. support to the Afghan-led reconciliation process.  This marks the first meeting between the two presidents at the White House following the 2014 presidential election, which produced the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history.  While in Washington from March 22-25, President Ghani and his delegation will also engage in a high-level strategic dialogue hosted by Secretary Kerry at Camp David.  President Ghani’s visit highlights the importance of continuing bilateral cooperation and the American commitment to our U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership to reinforce regional security and sustain the achievements of the last 13 years.  -  Read For Immediate Release

Afghanistan’s new leader will attend talks at Camp David next month

President Obama will host Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Washington next month, the White House said on Friday, as U.S. officials consider making changes to the administration plan for ending the military mission in Afghanistan.

Ashraf Ghani, making his first visit to the United States as Afghan leader, will be joined by Abdullah Abdullah, his former rival who is now the government’s chief executive officer. During the March 22-25 visit, Ghani and other Afghan officials will take part in a “strategic dialogue” with U.S. officials, hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry at Camp David, the presidential retreat, the White House said in a statement.

At the core of discussions during Ghani’s visit will be the future U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, which is due to end by Dec. 31, 2016, as part of Obama’s plan for ending the long war in Afghanistan. But Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and other officials have said they are now considering a military proposal to slow the troop reduction, and retain some extra troops in order to better support Afghan forces.

Ghani has asked the United States to reconsider its exit plans as his own troops face off against the Taliban, which the top U.S. military official on Thursday called an “increasingly aggressive” militant organization.

While in Washington, Ghani is also expected to address a joint session of Congress. On Friday, House Speaker John Boehner said he had invited Ghani to appear before lawmakers. He would be only the second Afghan leader to do so. Read More at Washington Post

Afghanistan’s new leader will attend talks at Camp David next month

The unlikely life of Afghanistan’s first female taxi driver

Afghans Make History, Winning Thriller Against Scotland In Cricket's World Cup

Afghans celebrated on the streets of Kabul as their national cricket team, playing half a world away, won its first World Cup game.   --  Scotland, in its allotted 50 overs, scored 210 runs. In a nail-biting finish, the Afghans scraped past Scotland in Dunedin, New Zealand, by one wicket with three balls to spare.

No. 4 Samiullah Shenwari top scored with 96 and opener Javed Ahmadi scored 51, but it was an unbeaten last-wicket stand between Hamid Hassan, not out on 15, and Shapoor Zadran, batting on 12, that took the Afghans past their more fancied opponents.

The Associated Press adds: "While the Afghan players rushed to hug and celebrate with teammates and fans after last-in-line batsman Shapoor Zadran stroked the winning runs ... dejected Scotland players slowly left the field Thursday after being deprived of their first win in the marquee event."

Scotland, as that preceding sentence points out, isn't exactly a cricketing powerhouse, either. But it has a closer association with the game than Afghanistan, where returning refugees, who had picked up cricket in neighboring Pakistan, popularized it.

Fourteen teams are playing in the World Cup, which is being jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The strongest sides are the traditional cricket-playing sides: the two hosts, England, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Pakistan, India, the West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe; then there are the associate teams (second-tier squads) — Afghanistan, Scotland, Ireland, United Arab Emirates.

Cricinfo has a match report and video highlights of today's game in Dunedin.  More at NPR
Afghans Make History, Winning Thriller Against Scotland In Cricket's World Cup

Obama to meet with Afghan president in March

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will visit Washington to meet with President Obama in late March, the White House said on Friday.
He and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah will come to the White House on March 24 to "discuss a range of issues including security, economic development, and U.S. support to the Afghan-led reconciliation process,” the White House said.
The Afghan delegation will also join Secretary of State John Kerry at Camp David for additional meetings. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that though there was no current plan for Obama to travel to Camp David for those meetings, the administration felt that the setting would limit distractions for the participants.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also invited Ghani to address a joint meeting of Congress, while he is in Washington.
"This address presents an important opportunity to hear from the newly-elected President on how the United States can continue to work together to promote our shared goals and reaffirms our commitment to the Afghan people," Boehner said in a statement.
Ghani has reportedly said that he does not want the U.S. to continue drawing down its presence in Afghanistan during 2015.
“His request with us is leave it flat for the rest of the year,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said Thursday. “He said that will give us the best chance of being able to further develop and be able to defend ourselves.” - Read More at Obama to meet with Afghan president

Obama to meet with Afghan president in March

White House releases online privacy bill - The Hill

The White House on Friday released a discussion draft of proposed legislation to protect consumer privacy online.
The proposal, known as the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act, would require companies to provide clear notice of how they use data, ensure data isn’t reused in other contexts and give consumers a method to have their data deleted.
Under the bill, industries could develop codes of conduct to government data use that the Federal Trade Commission would have to approve.
According to the White House, the draft “seeks to provide consumers with more control over their data” and give companies “clearer ways to signal their responsible stewardship over data.”
The measure updates a 2012 “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” the administration released as part of its last big digital privacy push. Those efforts were derailed by the Edward Snowden disclosures and revelations of secret government spying programs.
In recent months, the White House has restarted its online privacy push in earnest.
The administration unveiled several cybersecurity legislative proposals in January intended to increase public-private cybersecurity information-sharing, create a national standard for data breach notifications and protect student data.
President Obama later signed an executive order to ease restrictions on public-private cyber data sharing at a heavily-promoted White House cyber summit at Stanford University.
During this flurry of activity, the White House also promised to release a new consumer online privacy legislative proposal by the end of February.
The administration said Friday that its offering “applies common-sense protections to personal data collected online or offline regardless of how data is shared.”
The draft has already generated some discontent in the privacy community.  Read More at thehill

White House releases online privacy bill

We Can’t Wait: Obama Administration Unveils Blueprint for a “Privacy Bill of Rights” to Protect Consumers Online -

Internet Advertising Networks Announces Commitment to “Do-Not-Track” Technology to Allow Consumers to Control Online Tracking

WASHINGTON, DC – The Obama Administration today unveiled a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” as part of a comprehensive blueprint to improve consumers’ privacy protections and ensure that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth. The blueprint will guide efforts to give users more control over how their personal information is used on the Internet and to help businesses maintain consumer trust and grow in the rapidly changing digital environment. At the request of the White House, the Commerce Department will begin convening companies, privacy advocates and other stakeholders to develop and implement enforceable privacy policies based on the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

In addition, advertising networks announced that leading Internet companies and online advertising networks are committing to act on Do Not Track technology in most major web browsers to make it easier for users to control online tracking. Companies that represent the delivery of nearly 90 percent of online behavioral advertisements, including Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL have agreed to comply when consumers choose to control online tracking. Companies that make this commitment will be subject to FTC enforcement.

“American consumers can’t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online,” said President Obama. “As the Internet evolves, consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy. That’s why an online privacy Bill of Rights is so important.  For businesses to succeed online, consumers must feel secure. By following this blueprint, companies, consumer advocates and policymakers can help protect consumers and ensure the Internet remains a platform for innovation and economic growth.”

The advertising industry also committed not to release consumers’ browsing data to companies who might use it for purposes other than advertising, such as employers making hiring decisions or insurers determining coverage.

“It’s great to see that companies are stepping up to our challenge to protect privacy so consumers have greater choice and control over how they are tracked online. More needs to be done, but the work they have done so far is very encouraging,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. -  Read More at  The White House For Immediate Release
Privacy Bill of Rights - The White House

Obama Administration Calls for A Consumer Privacy Bill of ...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Afghanistan in IMF talks over plan to sell New Kabul Bank

(Reuters) - Afghanistan is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a new plan to privatize its loss-making New Kabul Bank after two prior attempts failed to find a suitable buyer, the treasury chief told Reuters on Thursday.

The original Kabul Bank, used to pay government salaries, collapsed in 2010 with debts of almost $1 billion, triggering a financial crisis.  The banking sector has yet to recover from the blow and the government has struggled to find a buyer for the new state-run institution.

A decision was expected after meetings between IMF officials and the new Afghan finance minister in Dubai, treasury chief Alhaj Mohammad Aqa said.

"Tomorrow we will finalize an agreement," he told Reuters.

The troubled New Kabul Bank has lost around $56 million over the past four years, according to Aqa, because of strict rules on its lending and investment.  Read More at IMF talks

Afghanistan in IMF talks over plan to sell New Kabul Bank

Death toll at 168 from Afghanistan avalanches

Kabul, Afghanistan - (CNN)As the avalanches continue in mountainous northeastern Afghanistan, the death toll keeps rising.

For a third day in a row, heavy snowstorms caused avalanches in the Panjshir province on Thursday, bringing the total to 168, officials said.

They began Tuesday, continued Wednesday and two more avalanches took place Thursday, said provincial Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri.

Authorities fear the toll will grow much higher since rescue personnel are yet to reach the worst affected areas.

Panjshir is a small, mountainous province north of the capital, Kabul. Its residents are generally poor, earning their living as farmers, shepherds or operators of small businesses such as groceries.  Read More

Iconic 'Afghan Girl,' Sharbat Gula, Target Of Fake ID Probe In Pakistan - Huffington Post

Sharbat Gula became the face of the struggles of Afghan refugees in Pakistan whenshe and her piercing green eyes landed on the cover of National Geographic in 1985. Now, Gula is once again a symbol of the ongoing problems of many Afghan refugees.
Pakistani authorities found Gula, who became known as "Afghan girl" after her National Geographic cover, living in the country under fraudulent identification, according to Agence France-Presse. Pakistani authorities accuse her of bypassing Pakistan's Computerized National Identity Cards system and applying for an ID last April in Peshawar using the name "Sharbat Bibi."
IDs were also issued to two men listed as Gula's sons, Rauf Khan and Wali Khan, according to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper. A source told the publication that it is unclear however if these men are her biological children, as refugees are known to sometimes "list names of non-relatives as their children to obtain documents." Officials at the National Database and Registration Authority are under fire for issuing the three IDs.
Almost 3 million Afghan refugees are currently living in Pakistan, The Guardian notes. About 1.5 million of them are officially registered as refugees. Afghan refugees living in Pakistan who are registered can obtain Proof of Registration documentation, according to Dawn, but they cannot get CNICs without going through a regimented process. However, CNICs are essential for completing transactions like buying property and opening bank accounts.
Faik Ali Chachar, a spokesman for the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), told AFP that Afghan refugees file for Pakistani IDs using fraudulent documents every day.
The photo of Gula taken in a refugee camp in 1984 ran on National Geographic's June 1985 cover. At the time, no one knew her name. In 2002, photographer Steve McCurry and a National Geographic team went to Pakistan to find her. Although she and her family left Afghanistan to escape war, she still did not feel safe when they found her 17 years later.
Had she ever felt safe, they asked?
”No," she told National Geographic. "But life under the Taliban was better. At least there was peace and order.”  Read More at Iconic 'Afghan Girl,' Sharbat Gula

Deadly Afghanistan Avalanches Claim Over A Hundred Lives

په نورستان کې د واورې ښوئيدنې له امله ديوې کورنۍ يوولس تنه غړي ووژل شول - باختر

په نورستان ولايت کې د واورې ښوئيدنې له امله د يوې کورنۍ ١١ تنه غړي ووژل شول 
د دغې پيښې په قربانيانوکې ښځې او ماشومان هم شامل دي.
دغه کسان په منډول ولسوالۍ کې په خپل کورکې تر واورې لاندې شول او د دوى د ژغورنې لپاره د سيمې د خلکو هلوځلوکومه نتيجه ورنه کړه.
د نورستان ولايت سرپرست حافظ عبدالقيوم له باختر آژانس سره په اړيکه کې د واورې ښوئيدنې له امله د يوې کورنۍ د يوولسو تنو غړو وژل کيدل تاييدکړل.

ده وويل چې د سيمې خلکو د ځينو قربانيانو مړي له واورې څخه را ايستلي دي.

له بلې خوا هم واوره ښوئيدنه د واورې او باران پر له پسې اورښتونه او سيلاوونه د دغه ختيځ ولايت په ځينوسيموکې د لارو د تړل کيدو او د خلکو د کورونو او د کروندو د ويجاړتيا سبب شوي دي.
په همدې حال کې له نورستان څخه زموږ خبريال خبر راکړ چې مصيبت ځپلې کسان بيړنيو بشر دوستانه مرستو ته اړتيا لري، خو تر اوسه پورې له دوى سره هيڅ راز مرسته نه ده شوې.

په همدې حال کې په را رسيدلو خبرونوکې ويل شوي دي چې په سلګونوکورنۍ د نورستان په بېلابېلو سيموکې چې کورونه يې د واورې ښوئيدنې او د سيلاوونو د راوتلو له امله ويجاړ شوي دي؛ جوماتونو، ښوونځيو او د خپلو خپلوانو کورونو ته تللي دي.

د نورستان ولايت سرپرست وايي چې سيمه ييزه اداره له اړوکسانو سره د مرستې  توان نه لري.
ده له مرکزي دولت او مرستندويوبنسټونو څخه وغوښتل چې ډير ژر دې دوروستيو پيښو له امله له زيانمنو شويو کسانو سره مرسته وکړي.

د نورستان ولايت د غرني والي او د زياتو درو او غونډيو د شتون په دليل د ژمي په موسم کې اوسيدونکو ته يې ستونزې پيداکوي.
د ژمي په موسم کې د نورستان ولايت زياتره مواصلاتي لارې  د ترافيکو پرمخ تړلې کيږي او مصيبت ځپلوکسانو ته د درملو، د ژغورنې د ټيمونو او د خوراکي توکو ليږدونه ناشونې کيږي.