Saturday, November 22, 2014
The New York Times" reports that U.S. President Barack Obama has extended the combat role for U.S. troops in Afghanistan by another year in a classified order he signed in recent weeks.
Obama previously said U.S.-led NATO combat operations in Afghanistan would finish by the end of 2014.
NATO's follow up mission, beginning January 1, includes 9,800 U.S. troops and 3,000 from Germany, Italy, and other NATO countries.
Its initial intention was to focus on supporting Afghan forces.
But "The New York Times" reported on November 22 that Obama's order authorizes U.S. troops to continue combat against militants in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, if they threaten U.S. forces or the Afghan government.
It also allows for U.S. air support during Afghan combat missions.
The Associated Press (AP) news agency says U.S. officials confirmed details of the report on condition of anonymity.
On November 21, 2014, President Obama followed up on his new steps to fix our broken immigration system at Del Sol high School in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A photographer has received “a credible and direct threat" against her life after five years of images shot in Pakistan were published in the U.K.With the rise of extremist movements around the world, journalists have become prime targets in a war of communication both in the field and back at home, once their images have been published, as photographer Alixandra Fazzina learned this week. Fazzina was due to travel to Pakistan on Nov. 20, but she has since received warnings from diplomatic sources about “a credible and direct threat against my life,” she says. “I’ve taken risks in Pakistan, but they were very weighted up risks,” she says. “I don’t want to kill myself for a story.” Now, she feels, fear has caught up to her in London. Fazzina started her career as a frontline photographer covering under reported conflicts in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Northern Uganda. “Over the years, my work has changed” she says, “It’s gone on instead to look at the consequences and fallout of wars.” In 2008, after working on a long-term project in Somalia, she moved to Pakistan. “When I arrived, the effects of extremism were really starting to hit home,” she says. “One of the first things I did was to cover what was essentially Pakistan’s first frontline in the tribal areas. It was the first time that Pakistan’s military had engaged and began an operation against the Taliban there.” Pakistan has been facing conflicts on multiple fronts – from separatist movements in Balochistan to homegrown Pakistani Taliban factions spreading violence across the country and all the way to Karachi – in June, 28 people were killed in a coordinated attack at Jinnah International Airport in the country’s economic capital. Fazzina’s ambition was to document the consequences of these conflicts. “What I want to get across is how much civilians suffer and to try and tell their stories, to show what the real effects of war are away from the frontlines,” she says. “Millions of people in Pakistan are still suffering now, and they’re not getting any assistance.” In her photographs, Fazzina has tried to avoid pointing the finger at one particular culprit, instead putting the blame on all participants. “I’ve covered victims of collateral damage, victims of airstrikes, victims of drone strikes. I covered people suffering from the military, from foreign intervention in region and also from the Taliban. I’ve tried to cover victims of war from all sides because I believe that in any theater of war, all players are responsible.” After diplomatic sources in Islamabad warned her of the threat on her life from local extremist groups, Fazzina has been forced to cancel a planned trip to Pakistan where she was to report on maternal health. “I take this threat very seriously. There is a strong possibility if I return I will be killed simply for having documented what are realities on the ground” she says. “But, I won’t be silenced by this threat.” Fazzina’s situation isn’t unique, she explains, as Pakistani journalists and photographers constantly risk their lives to document their country. “It’s extremely difficult for journalists to report without facing some kind of a risk – be it threats, harassment, or even expulsion from the country by the state,” says Mustafa Qadri, a researcher at Amnesty International. “We’ve certainly seen this year a number of high-profile attacks on journalists, which seems to be in response to their work being critical of the government, Taliban, or political parties. What brings all of these cases together is the fact that there’s no justice, there’s no accountability. That basically sends a signal that if you’re not happy with what journalists are reporting, you can literally get away with murder.” Since 2008, Amnesty International has documented 36 cases of journalists who were killed in response to their work, with many more cases of harassment remaining undocumented. The Committee to Protect Journalists has been trying to fight this problem, says Bob Dietz, the Asian program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists. “Everyone feels that they have total impunity to direct a threat towards a journalist. Foreign journalists aren’t the largest targets for these things; it’s really the local Pakistani journalists who bear the brunt of it. A Pakistani journalist awakes in the morning, opens his phone and check for messages and there might well be a string of threats in there. It’s a way of life. It’s a reality that people are dealing with.” “We’ve tried to combat it,” Dietz adds. “[We’ve asked] journalists not to hide these threats, and instead to bring them out in public as a way to disarm them.” Yet, the CPJ and Amnesty International don’t expect such menaces to subside, including those against Fazzina. “We really welcome the work that she did,” says Qadri. “We feel that not enough is done to expose the condition of women and girls in Pakistan; what ordinary life is for them. It’s really sad that in trying to do that, she’s now facing these kinds of threats.” For the 40-year-old photographer, these threats are indicative of a massive shift in war reporting. “The landscape has really changed from fundamentalist groups wanting to tell their stories to journalists becoming actual targets of these groups,” says Fazzina. “In some way, the voices that can speak out against human rights abuses are slowly being silenced. And people would rather shoot the messenger than acknowledged the actual state of [affairs].”
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s rally in Larkana has drawn criticism from his political rivals as Awami National Party (ANP) leader, Senator Zahid Khan on Friday advised him to seek an opinion of masses in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the construction of controversial Kalabagh dam. Khan, during his party’s rally in Larkana earlier today, promised thousands of supporters that the PTI will not allow the construction of the dam without the consent of the people of Sindh. The construction of the Kalabagh dam has long been a heated debate in Pakistan, where politicians and pressure groups argue over the provinces' fair share of water from the river Indus to support local agricultural needs. In a statement issued soon after the conclusion of PTI’s rally, Zahid Khan said that besides seeking people’s views regarding the dam in Sindh, Imran Khan should also ask the masses in the province, where his party rules.
In Punjab, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan talks about construction of Kalabagh dam but in Sindh, he contradicts his own statement, said Punjab government spokesman and provincial assembly member Zaeem Qadri while commenting PTI chairman’s speech in Larkana on Friday
He said that the politics of hypocrisy and lies will not be tolerated. What kind of politics is to level allegations against the people of Punjab in Punjab and people of Sindh in Sindh, he questioned. He said that the policy of fascism, violence and hatred of Khan will not succeed. He said that Pakistani people believe in political process and those finding shortcut will have to ultimately face failure.
He said that due to so-called protest movement, the popularity graph of the PTI has further decreased. He said that Khan has become the symbol of politics of stubbornness and promoted the attitude of intolerance. He said that the PTI did not play its political role according to the votes given by the people and Khan delivers the same speech in every city.
He asked the PTI chairman that how much credit he wants for the hospital and university constructed through public donations and whether he has become eligible for coming into power as a reward. He said that it has been proved that after Punjab the show of Khan has also flopped in Sindh.