Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Britain In Afghanistan Aid Pledge Until 2017

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 8, 2012


Comment: And only about 10% will be used in the targeted sector – the aid trend shows this reality:

Britain has pledged to maintain aid funding levels to Afghanistan until 2017 and agreed to host a ministerial meeting in London in two years’ time to assess progress in the country.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell was speaking from a donors meeting in Japan which promised a total of £10.3 billion of civilian help to aid transition after international troops pull out.

In return, Kabul agreed new anti-corruption measures.

Mr Mitchell said: “Britain has accepted a request from Afghanistan and Japan to host a ministerial meeting in 2014 to review progress against Afghan and international commitments agreed today in Tokyo. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Posted in Global | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pakistan Opens NATO Supply Lines Into Afghanistan

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 4, 2012

By BRADLEY KLAPPER and REBECCA SANTANA  AP Share on Google+

Pakistan Nato Supply Lines

WASHINGTON — Ending a bitter seven-month standoff, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized to Pakistan on Tuesday for the killing of 24 Pakistani troops last fall and won in return the reopening of critical NATO supply lines into Afghanistan. The agreement could save the U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars in war costs.

Resolution of the dispute also bandages a relationship with Pakistan that will be crucial in stabilizing the region. The ties have been torn in the past year and a half by everything from a CIA contractor who killed two Pakistanis to the unilateral U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound.

But the accord carries risks for both governments – threatening to make Pakistan’s already fragile civilian leadership look weak and subservient to the United States while offering fodder to Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who contend that President Barack Obama says “sorry” too easily.

The first trucks carrying NATO goods should move across the border on Wednesday, U.S. officials said. It could take days to ramp up supplies to pre-attack levels, but around two dozen impatient truck drivers celebrated the news in a parking lot in the southern city of Karachi by singing, dancing and drumming on empty fuel cans.

“We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military,” Clinton said, recounting a telephone conversation she had with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar concerning the deaths that led Pakistan to close the supply routes. “I offered our sincere condolences to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who lost their lives. Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Global | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Does India Want to Be a Part of America’s Plan for Asia?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 9, 2012

The U.S. Secretary of Defense swung through New Delhi on his eight-day visit to Asia to encourage Indian leaders to help the U.S. with its military and strategic goals in the region
image: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walks to lay a wreath at India Gate in New Delhi during a visit on June 6, 2012.

JIM WATSON / POOL VIA REUTERS
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walks to lay a wreath at India Gate in New Delhi during a visit on June 6, 2012

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrapped up a short visit to India this week, calling for Washington and New Delhi to deepen security ties and defense cooperation in the region. As NATO-led troops get ready to leave Afghanistan and the Obama Administration continues its effort to counterbalance China’s growing military heft, Panetta’s goal was to shore up India’s support in the region during his meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defense Minister A.K. Antony, among others.

In a speech on Wednesday at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, an Indian defense think tank, Panetta urged India to help Afghanistan during and after NATO’s exit by supporting its neighbor through trade and investment, reconstruction and help for Afghan security forces. “We both realize how important it is to ultimately have a stable Afghanistan if we are to have peace and prosperity in this region,” he said. To achieve that, Panetta said both India and the U.S. “will need to continue to engage Pakistan, overcoming our respective and often deep differences.” He applauded India’s recent progress in boosting trade ties with its neighbor as being key to “helping Pakistan turn around its economy and counter extremism within its borders.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Should NATO Be Handling World Security?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 22, 2012

By Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History emeritus, SUNY Albany

 The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (better known as NATO) is in the news once again thanks to a NATO Summit meeting in Chicago over the weekend of May 19-20 and to large public demonstrations in Chicago against this military pact.

NATO’s website defines the alliance’s mission as “Peace and Security,” and shows two children lying in the grass, accompanied by a bird, a flower and the happy twittering of birds. There is no mention of the fact that NATO is the world’s most powerful military pact, or that NATO nations account for 70 percent of the world’s annual $1.74 trillion in military spending.

The organizers of the demonstrations, put together by peace and social justice groups, assailed NATO for bogging the world down in endless war and for diverting vast resources to militarism.According to a spokesperson for one of the protest groups, Peace Action: “It’s time to retire NATO and form a new alliance to address unemployment, hunger, and climate change.”

NATO was launched in April 1949, at a time when Western leaders feared that the Soviet Union, if left unchecked, would invade Western Europe. The U.S. government played a key role in organizing the alliance, which brought in not only West European nations, but the United States and Canada. Dominated by the United States, NATO had a purely defensive mission — to safeguard its members from military attack, presumably by the Soviet Union.

That attack never occurred, either because it was deterred by NATO’s existence or because the Soviet government had no intention of attacking in the first place. We shall probably never know.

In any case, with the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, it seemed that NATO had outlived its usefulness.

But vast military establishments, like other bureaucracies, rarely just fade away. If the original mission no longer exists, new missions can be found. And so NATO’s military might was subsequently employed to bomb Yugoslavia, to conduct counter-insurgency warfare in Afghanistan, and to bomb Libya. Meanwhile, NATO expanded its membership and military facilities to East European nations right along Russia’s border, thus creating renewed tension with that major military power and providing it with an incentive to organize a countervailing military pact, perhaps with China.

None of this seems likely to end soon. In the days preceding the Chicago meeting, NATO’s new, sweeping role was highlighted by Oana Lungescu, a NATO spokesperson, who announced that the Summit would “discuss the Alliance’s overall posture in deterring and defending against the full range of threats in the 21st century, and take stock of NATO’s mix of conventional, nuclear, and missile defense forces.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

G-8 or G-Zero? Why the West No Longer Sets the Global Agenda

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 20, 2012

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES
G8 foreign ministers (L-R), Koichiro Gemba of Japan, Guido Westerwelle of Germany, Sergei Lavrov of Russia, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Alain Juppe of France, John Baird of Canada, Giulio Terzi Di Sant’Agata of Italy, and Catherine Ashton of the European Union, pose for a group photo on April 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton hosted this year’s G8 Foreign Ministers conference at the Blair House

The spectacle of some of the most powerful leaders in the world gathering at Camp David on Friday for the G-8 summit and then for this weekend’s NATO anniversary in Chicago won’t disguise the fact that things seem to be gradually falling apart. These once mighty symbols of international leadership appear almost paralyzed before the tides of economic, financial and political change. The opening of William Butler Yeats’ 1921 poem that found the best devoid of conviction and the worst filled with passionate intensity reads as if crafted as an elegant introduction to an analysis of the global political moment.

(MORE: The G8 Summit at Camp David: This Time, It’s Important)

The G-8 convenes as the euro zone is threatening to unravel, most immediately in the showdown over Germany’s insistence that Greece either swallow the toxic austerity medicine that could kill its economy or see itself banished from the euro zone, potentially triggering global financial losses on the order of $1 trillion. But the forum is unlikely to settle the fate of Greece, much less the underlying tension over policies of austerity to cut spending debt and stimulus policies to revive growth.

When the G-7 was founded in the 1980s its goal was to gather the leaders of the world’s most successful, dynamic economies to plot pathways to further prosperity. Russia was later added to its guest list as a reward for casting off communism rather than as a vote of confidence in its economy. But today, confidence in the group is low. Few seem to believe that the leaders of the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada are equipped to tackle the problems facing the world economy. (They effectively admitted their limitations in 2008 when a far wider forum, the Group of 20 — which included the major emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil, Turkey and others — to tackle the global financial meltdown.) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Unseen: Trailblazing Military Women Forced To Fight For Recognition, Equal Treatment

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 15, 2012

By Molly O’Toole

Marti Ribeiro
After a rocket-propelled grenade sent the Black Hawk helicopter tumbling out of the sky over Iraq, the medics got to work fast on the co-pilot, Capt. Duckworth. Standard operating procedure: cut away the desert-camo uniform before burnt fabric melds with burnt flesh. Get at the wounds. Stop the bleeding. Save what’s left.

When you show up at Walter Reed Medical Center in that kind of condition, you show up naked, with nothing except the hospital gown. So you’re given a “comfort kit,” a little backpack containing some toiletries and clothes. Duckworth awoke there around Thanksgiving 2004, a few weeks after the shootdown, to find a comfort kit waiting with slippers, a shaving kit and men’s jockey shorts.

She had to laugh.

“It was great. I don’t have feet, so I can’t wear the slippers, and you know, I just had my legs blown off, it’s not like I’m gonna shave my legs any time soon,” she chuckles. “I don’t have jockey, I’m not gonna wear men’s jockey shorts.”

Tammy Duckworth had just become the first female double amputee from Iraq, losing one leg above the knee and one below, but she had been a woman for a while already.

“They just had kits for men,” Duckworth says. “It never occurred to them to make kits for women.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Global | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hank Crumpton, Former CIA Officer: Clinton Wouldn’t Authorize Osama Bin Laden Kill In 1999

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 15, 2012

The Huffington Post  |  By 

Hank Crumpton

Hank Crumpton, a former CIA officer and top counterterrorism official, said in arecent interview that President Bill Clinton’s White House missed a golden opportunity to take out terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in 1999.

Bin Laden was in Afghanistan in 1999, Crumpton told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in a segment that aired on Sunday. His convoy had been clearly identified by an early edition Predator drone, which at the time didn’t have weapons capabilities.

“We saw a security detail, a convoy, and we saw bin Laden exit the vehicle, clearly,” Crumpton told CBS’s Lara Logan, describing aerial images captured by a drone flying somewhere outside of Kandahar. “The optics were spot in, it was beaming back to us, CIA headquarters. We immediately alerted the White House, and the Clinton administration’s response was, ‘Well, it will take several hours for the TLAMs, the cruise missiles launched from submarines, to reach that objective. So, you need to tell us where bin Laden will be five or six hours from now.’ The frustration was enormous.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Global | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Peace Prize War President

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 7, 2012

By David Bromwich, Professor of Literature at Yale

President Obama, it has been said, is a master of having it both ways. Nowhere is this truer than in foreign policy. He ended the torture regime at Guantanamo, in line with rulings handed down by the Supreme Court. At the same time he assured impunity to the lawyers who justified torture and the agents who executed it. He publicized his intention of closing the prison itself as a matter of principle; but when resistance sprang up, he scuttled the plan. To facilitate the extension of the war in Afghanistan, he allowed the issue of abuse of prisoners at Bagram to sink out of sight; and rather than enforce rigorous sanctions against mistreatment, he offered weak guidelines for American assistance in the handling of prisoner complaints. The administration sent the message that there was a cruelty practiced against “enemy combatants” which it formally discountenanced but would not go all lengths to prevent.

Obama initially condemned the enhanced interrogation of terrorist suspects because, under the American constitution, suspects have legal rights and all torture is illegal. Meanwhile, he maintained his credit as a war president, not distracted by constitutional niceties, by ordering terrorist suspects to be killed rather than tortured. (We are talking about persons named as suspects on evidence viewed in secret, a different thing from murderers found guilty by a legal process.) The killing is done by drones; and the drones, for now, seem very far away, though we know they are coming closer. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Peace Prize War President

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 6, 2012

By David Bromwich, Professor of Literature at Yale

President Obama, it has been said, is a master of having it both ways. Nowhere is this truer than in foreign policy. He ended the torture regime at Guantanamo, in line with rulings handed down by the Supreme Court. At the same time he assured impunity to the lawyers who justified torture and the agents who executed it. He publicized his intention of closing the prison itself as a matter of principle; but when resistance sprang up, he scuttled the plan. To facilitate the extension of the war in Afghanistan, he allowed the issue of abuse of prisoners at Bagram to sink out of sight; and rather than enforce rigorous sanctions against all mistreatment, he offered weak guidelines for American assistance in the handling of prisoner complaints.

Obama initially condemned the enhanced interrogation of terrorist suspects because, under the American constitution, suspects have legal rights and all torture is illegal. Meanwhile, he maintained his credit as a war president, not distracted by constitutional niceties, by ordering terrorist suspects to be killed rather than tortured. (We are talking about persons named as suspects on evidence viewed in secret, a different thing from murderers found guilty by a legal process.) The killing is done by drones; and the drones, for now, seem very far away, though we know they are coming closer. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama Speech In Afghanistan: U.S. President Addresses The Nation

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 2, 2012

Comment: But just be honest to yourself first and then to others. Then World Peace is not impossible: http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2012/05/buddhism-time-to-catalyze-world-peace.html

President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday night to sign an agreement with President Hamid Karzai outlining the United States’ military presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

In a live address, President Obama spoke from Bagram Air Base north of Kabul early Wednesday morning, emphasizing that America must finish the job it started while Afghanistan stabilizes.

“My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al Qaeda,”he said.

President Obama also underlined points of the agreement, including that the U.S. will not build military bases in Afghanistan.

“We will shift into a support role as Afghans step forward,” President Obama said.

President Obama’s trip coincides with the anniversary of former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s death. President Obama and President Karzai signed the agreement at the presidential palace in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Below, see photos of Obama’s trip to Afghanistan. Captions courtesy of the Associated Press. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Global | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama in Afghanistan Declares ‘Light Of New Day’ In Speech To America

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 2, 2012

Comment: Just to speak could not be enough. I am waiting historic person capable to change the world from war to Peace:

Obama Afghanistan
Military personnel watch on a screen as President Barack Obama makes a live address at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON — In a dramatic address to Americans broadcast from a military hangar outside Kabul, Afghanistan, President Barack Obama on Tuesday trumpeted the near-end of U.S. military operations in the country, 10 years after the U.S. invasion and one year to the day after he ordered the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

Speaking against the backdrop of two armored military vehicles, one draped with an American flag, Obama said that he just signed “an historic agreement” with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai outlining a new, post-war relationship between the two countries.

But before outlining the agreement, Obama reminded Americans why U.S. troops were there in the first place: Osama bin Laden, a topic that the president and vice president haven’t been shy about highlighting on the campaign trail. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Global | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Afghanistan War: Amputations Grim Testament To Civilian Cost Of War

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 13, 2012


Comment: War is not to win, this is to loose. In war both winner and looser loose. If you really want to win you need to fight against yourself not against others:

By Amie Ferris-Rotman

KABUL, April 12 (Reuters) – Gently massaging the soft flesh under his knees, 20-year-old Abdul Ahmat recalls the suicide bomb six months ago that destroyed his legs.

The former construction worker, in a wheelchair after his legs were amputated, is among a growing number of Afghans severely wounded by bombs that have grown grimly more powerful than ever before in three decades of conflict.

“I stepped onto the street to head to work, when suddenly I became helpless. I knew I had lost my legs,” the father of one said of the attack that killed 13 foreign troops and four Afghans in the capital, Kabul, in October 2011.

Ahmat, who had come to Kabul from relatively peaceful Bamiyan province in search of work, spoke in a Red Cross orthopaedic centre, one of the largest in the world and one of seven the humanitarian organisation operates in Afghanistan.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Global | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Afghanistan Night Raids: US Signs Deal Governing Controversial Operations

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 8, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government and the U.S. signed a deal Sunday governing night raids by American troops, resolving an issue that had threatened to derail a larger pact governing a U.S. presence in the country for decades to come.

Night raids involve U.S. and Afghan troops descending without warning on homes or residential compounds searching for insurgents. They are widely resented in this deeply conservative country.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had called repeatedly to stop the raids, saying that they make civilian casualties more likely and that international troops are disrespectful in the way they conduct the operations. The U.S. military has said such operations are essential for capturing Taliban and al-Qaida commanders.

The resolution of this dispute is a key step toward finalizing a long-term “strategic partnership” to govern U.S. forces in Afghanistan after the majority of combat forces leave in 2014. The long-term pact is seen as important for assuring the Afghan people that they will not be abandoned by their international allies.

The memorandum was signed in front of reporters by Kabul’s Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak and the commander of U.S. forces, Gen. John Allen. It appeared to give important benefits to both sides: the document gives the Afghans authority over the raids and gives the Americans an Afghan partner that will now be held equally to account if there are civilian casualties or allegations of mistreatment.

It also was a sign that Karzai may be willing to compromise on some of his conditions for a long-term pact. Americans and even some of his own advisers feared that his unyielding bargaining style would endanger the entire agreement, and along with it Afghanistan’s long-term security. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Global | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Protest of NATO From NATO Countries

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 6, 2012

By Tom Hayden, Former State Senator and leader of sixties peace, justice and environmental movement

Comment: Leaders are playing with people, however; people is the most powerful force to drive leaders:

Peace movements in every country are raising their voices against the war in Afghanistan in advance of the May 18-20 NATO summit in Chicago. Some will converge on Chicago, while others will march in NATO capitols. Around two-thirds of the public in NATO countries now opposes the war, and most of their governments are anxious to withdraw if a face-saving path can be found.

The Obama administration and its allies are scrambling to showcase an announcement of progress before the Chicago summit gathering, whichthousands of journalists are planning to cover. The administration already has relocated the G-8 summit on the world fiscal crisis, originally planned at the same time, to the secure seclusion of Camp David.

To support a peace petition by citizens of NATO countries, please sign here.

The administration faces a growing reality of quagmire, possibly even deeper chaos, in Afghanistan. Sixty-nine percent of Americans say the U.S. “should not be involved”, a jump of 16 percent from last year. The percentages tend to be even higher in NATO countries. A March 7 New York Times headline, “Intractable Afghan Graft Hampering U.S. Strategy”, summarizes the terminal ineptitude of the Karzai regime. According to NATO data, only one of the Afghan army’s 158 battalions is able to fight on their own, up from zero last year. (New York Times, March 16, 2012) Meanwhile those same Afghan soldiers and police are “killing their colleagues among the international military force here at an alarming rate”, according to another New York Timesreport. (March 28, 2012) One result of the deepening quagmire has been a collapse of U.S. military morale and discipline, as seen in widely-publicized cases of American soldiers burning Qurans, urinating on dead bodies, and a shooting spree against innocent Afghan villagers. The suicide ratein the American armed forces is at a historic high. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

FBI And CIA ‘Turf War’ Scuppered Secret Plan That Could Have Thwarted 9/11, David Davis Claims

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 28, 2012


Is this just politics within politics or another drama? Otherwise why has it taken so long to come out?:

Infighting between US intelligence agencies delayed a secret plan to tap every phone in Afghanistan that could have helped prevent the September 11 attacks, a senior Conservative MP has claimed.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening, David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, said the American government then attempted to cover up its embarrassment by shutting down a series of court cases, including one in London, that arose from the intelligence operation.

Davis was using the case to provide a warning against proposals by the British government to bring in similar powers in courts that would suppress any embarrassing intelligence failures.

He told MPs that in 1998, the Taliban decided Afghanistan needed a new phone network. As no domestic companies had the necessary expertise, they invited foreign companies to bid for the rights to build the network. The company they chose was called Telephone Systems International.

Based in New Jersey, TSI was owned by one Ehsanollah Bayat, a Kabul-born American citizen – who unknown to the Taliban was also an FBI informer. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Global | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: