Sunday, October 18, 2015

Secret Data Reveals Blair, Bush Plotted Iraq War Year Before Invasion

Former US President George W. Bush and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair were negotiating joint military actions against then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a year before the Iraq War.

Former US President George W. Bush and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair were negotiating joint military actions against then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a year before the Iraq War, which contradicted Blair’s public political stance, correspondence of former US State Secretary Colin Powell revealed.
"Blair continues to stand by you and the United States as we move forward on the war on terrorism and on Iraq. On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary. He is convinced on two points: the threat is real and success against Saddam will yield more regional success," Powell wrote to Bush in a document published by the Mail on Sunday. The document also revealed Blair offered to persuade the UK Parliament that Iraq allegedly obtained weapons of mass destruction, so the lawmakers would warrant military actions abroad.

The correspondence was in sharp contrast with Blair’s public stance on the invasion of Iraq, as he was telling his voters the United Kingdom was not proposing any military action.

The United Kingdom was part of a US-led coalition that invaded Iraq in 2003, without a UN mandate, after falsely accusing Hussein of possessing weapons of mass destruction.

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President Obama’s Bold Step Stops Arctic Oil Drilling


If a person is really devoted to something it means they are focused on that particular thing and work towards achieving its’ goals; whatever they may be. Of course, for a President of the United States it is virtually impossible to be exclusively devoted to any one thing or cause, unless of course it is a Republican president; they are typically exclusively devoted to war and enriching to the ultra-wealthy. Throughout President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, there were some ’causes’ that appeared to be set aside as if they were very low priorities, but over the past couple of years he has demonstrated that he is deeply devoted to combatting climate change and protecting the environment.
Whether it is working with China to set new carbon emission standards, vetoing the KeystoneXL pipeline approval legislation, setting new clean air standards, or pushing for greater investment in renewable energy sources, there is little doubt that Barack Obama is devoted to protecting the environment and combatting climate change. Now, in a stunning reversal from just a couple of months ago, President Obama has taken a huge, and absolute, step to reduce any future threats from the dirty oil industry to the North Alaskan coast and Arctic Ocean. This is a serious bit of good news for the environment and the war on global climate change that, curiously, corporate-owned mainstream media has failed to report or condemn.
On Friday, to little fanfare, the Obama Administration sent a very clear, and forceful, message to the oil industry that their dangerous plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean were futile. In one fell swoop, the President took a concrete step to reduce all current and future threats to the Arctic region. The Administration cancelled new lease sales in the so-called “Polar Bear Seas,” the Chukchi and Beaufort, just off the north Alaskan coast. He also issued a terse “absolutely not” reply to lease extension requests from Shell and other oil corporations such as BP that hold existing leases in the region; leases that are now likely not worth the paper they are printed on.
Prior to the announcement, the President’s Administration had focused on, and was devoted to, excluding some “high value” environmentally-threatened areas and pledged that any drilling would be subject to “very high” standards. In fact, the Administration previously gave Shell approval to start drilling and tentatively proposed allowing even more leasing in the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic after 2017. But a few things happened in the past two months that made the President’s decision much easier to justify and frankly, necessary to protect the fragile environment and combat climate change.
First, Shell oil, in a rush to start drilling, was discovered to be using an oil spill containment system that was proven to fail prompting federal regulators to impose harsh restrictions on the company to only “preliminary shallow drill” in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska. Shortly thereafter, Mother Gaia interceded and unleashed a huge ice floe that forced Shell to halt drilling operations 70 miles off the North-West coast of Alaska. The vice president, Peter Slaiby, of Shell Alaska claimed that his company had learned a valuable lesson from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Then, last year after a rash of Shell equipment failures, federal fines, and a BP-like drilling unit running aground, the corporation dramatically scaled-back its crusade to drill for crude in Arctic waters.
Of course, as the so-called Seattle Washington “kayaktivists” protesting Arctic drilling rightly cited that their protests and obstructionism was always more of a climate change issue due the fact that “new huge investments in dirty fuels cannot possibly be harmonized with the Administration’s stated drive to shift to a clean energy future.” But it was not just environmentalists’ pressure that emboldened the President to make the right decision; Shell’s significant international shareholders demanded that corporate leadership explain exactly how exploring and drilling for oil in a pristine environment “squared with limiting damage from global climate change.”
For at least a decade, intelligent people have said that until the folks controlling the money see the idiocy of allowing global warming to continue, there would be no substantive action. At an international gathering of Shell’s investors at The Hague, a whopping 98.9% of investor voted to support Shell’s decision to rethink the idea of Arctic drilling and interestingly, drilling for oil at all.
That nearly unanimous vote also demanded that Shell start reporting on whether, or how, its long-term business plans and current activities were compatible with a pledge by world’s governments to limit global warming to a 2C rise. Also, about 150 investors controlling billions upon billions of dollars in shares put a permanent ban on corporate bonuses for any industry activity that damages the climate. They also imposed a requirement for Shell to start investing in renewable energy.
Shell had little option but to embrace the proposal; particularly after a four-and-a-half hour meeting dominated by 98.9 % of shareholders casting doubt on Shell’s climate change credentials and criticizing the international corporation’s continued efforts to extract fossil fuels instead of focusing on clean renewable energy sources. After Shell’s board or directors “accepted” the strident shareholder resolution, the fund manager for America’s largest public pension fund praised the company for “publicly recognizing that climate change posed a threat to the world and to Shell’s business,” and likely its reputation as an international corporation. For the record, the same resolution was passed a month earlier at BP; the corporation responsible for the DeepWater Horizon disaster.
President Obama has always claimed, often to severe criticism, that his Administration’s energy policy was “all of the above.” Now it is apparent that where combatting global climate change and protecting the environment and endangered wildlife is concerned, “all of the above” was just a nifty slogan and not a literal policy according to this latest action. When the President gave Shell permission to drill the Arctic a couple of months ago, he defended the move by claiming that drilling in the Arctic Ocean was inevitable.
Now that the President took the Arctic Ocean region completely off the table, it is obvious that the only inevitability is that he is devoted to doing everything within his Executive authority to combat global climate change and protect the environment. Coupled with all the other environmental protection actions and bold efforts to combat climate change, it is no wonder the Koch brothers and Republicans have spent no small amount of time and money to oppose this President; even though they have lost at every turn.

Treasury will begin issuing Iran sanctions waivers under Obama order

President Obama signed an order Sunday directing his administration to begin issuing waivers to Iran nuclear sanctions — but the waivers will only go into effect once Iran meets its obligations under the agreement limiting its nuclear program.
The presidential memorandum marks what's being called "adoption day" for the international agreement intended to roll back Iran's nuclear program. The milestone, four administration officials said, is a mere formality, driven more by the calendar than by any action by Iran.
"Today marks an important milestone toward preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and ensuring its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful going forward," Obama said in a White House statement released Sunday afternoon.
Obama directed Secretary of State John Kerry to issue the waivers and to "take all appropriate additional measures to ensure the prompt and effective implementation of the U.S. commitments" in the agreement.
Sunday marks 90 days since the United Nations Security Council approved the agreement. "So adoption day is a calendar-driven event and it’s the day at which all the parties begin to take the steps they need to make sure they take to get to implementation day," said State Department spokesman John Kirby. "And we’re not at implementation day; that’s a whole different purpose."
No date is set for implementation day. Under the agreement, formally known as theJoint Comprehensive Plan of Action, implementation will come only when theInternational Atomic Energy Agency certifies that Iran has lived up to its obligations to reduce its stockpiles of enriched uranium, dismantle two-thirds of its centrifuges, and halt construction of new nuclear facilities.
Western officials have said they expect that to take four to six months. Iran is motivated to act quickly, said one of the four senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the State Department.
The agreement, signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran, requires Obama and the European Union to direct the issuance of waivers on adoption day. Even though they won't go into effect for months, the arrangement allows businesses to know what sanctions are being waived, another senior administration official said.
"These next steps will allow us to reach the objectives we set out to achieve over the course of nearly two years of tough, principled diplomacy and will result in cutting off all four pathways Iran could use to develop enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon," Obama said. "I am confident in the extraordinary benefits to our national security and the peace and security of the world that come with the successful implementation of the (plan of action)."
Most of the sanctions being lifted apply only to non-U.S. citizens and companies doing business with Iran. Most sanctions will still apply to U.S. citizens under separate sanctions imposed on Iran for its support of terrorism and human rights violations. But sales of civilian passenger aircraft and handicrafts — most notably carpets — will be allowed.
The sanctions against Iran are authorized by Congress but implemented via executive order. Obama can waive those executive orders after Democrats in the Senate filibustered a resolution that would have blocked the agreement last month.
But the the adoption day comes amid renewed tensions with Iran over its involvement in Syria's civil war and its Oct. 10 test launch of a ballistic missile — reportedly capably of carrying a nuclear warhead.
But as he has throughout the negotiation, Obama maintained Friday that those issues are separate from the more urgent need to ensure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.
"This is something that I made very clear during the debate around the Iran nuclear deal: The Iran nuclear deal solves a specific problem, which is making sure that they don't possess a nuclear weapon," he said after meeting with the South Korean president to discuss, among other things, North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
"It does not fully resolve the wide range of issues where we’ve got a big difference. And so we are going to have to continue to put pressure on them through the international community and, where we have bilateral channels, through bilateral channels to indicate to them that there are costs to bad behavior in the region and around the world," Obama said.
In Munich on Saturday, a top Iranian military official said Iran was eager to cooperate with the international inspectors and would implement the agreement with "utmost prudence."
"It will be the gateway to Iran's taking next steps and will demonstrate the level of sincerity in the settlement of the problems which were created unjustly by others," the secretary of the Supreme National Security CouncilAli Shamkhani, told Iran's state news agency.

Video - Hillary Clinton on State of the Union

U.S. Report: Nonstate Actors Inflict 'Significant Damage' On Global Religious Freedoms

The United States says rebel and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (IS) extremist group caused "significant damage" to religious freedoms and committed "by far some of the most egregious human rights abuses" across the globe in 2014.
The U.S. State Department says in its annual International Religious Freedom Report for 2014 that such nonstate groups imperiled religious liberties not only in the Middle East, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
"The heart of this report is that countries benefit when their citizens fully enjoy the rights to which they are entitled," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told an October 14 briefing timed with the release of the report.
"This is not a hopeful theory. This is a proven reality," he said. "No nation can fulfill its potential if its people are denied the right to practice, to hold, to modify, to openly profess their innermost beliefs."
The report says that IS militants in Syria and Iraq last year carried out mass executions "and kidnapped, sold, enslaved, raped, and/or forcibly converted thousands of women and children" who opposed the group's "religious dogma."
It cites the precipitous decline in the security situation in Iraq and the control of large swaths of Syrian territory by nonstate groups like the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front as exacerbating the dire state of religious freedoms in region.
In eastern Ukraine, meanwhile, Russian-backed rebels that control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions "have kidnapped, beaten, and threatened Protestants, Catholics, and members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, as well as participated in anti-Semitic acts," the report says.
Fighting between Kyiv's forces and the separatists in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 7,900 people since April 2014, though a cease-fire has largely held since early September.
The report also says religious minorities in Crimea "have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, detentions, and beatings" since Russia's 2014 forcible annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula, which was condemned by more than 100 countries in a vote at the UN General Assembly.
Members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and Muslim Tatars have been the primary targets of these abuses in Crimea since the Russian takeover, the report says.
In Pakistan, groups designated by Washington as terrorist organizations used attacks and threats of violence to intimidate religious groups, while attacks on religious gatherings and leaders resulted in hundreds of deaths in 2014, the report says.
It also accuses Pakistani authorities of often failing to investigate and prosecute those who commit religiously motivated violence.
The report also calls anti-Semitism "a major problem around the globe," citing an increase in anti-Semitic incidents recorded in numerous countries in 2014, including a "wave of anti-Israeli sentiments that crossed the line into anti-Semitism" in France and Germany during the summer of 2014.
"The surge in anti-Semitism in Western Europe during 2014 left many pondering the viability of Jewish communities in some countries," the report says.
It also expresses concern about what it calls the "increasing use" of combatting terrorism as a pretext to restrict religious freedoms.
The report specifically accuses Central Asian governments of cracking down on "peaceful religious activities" under the guise of battling extremism.
In Uzbekistan, the government deemed Islamic groups extremist without referencing their purported violent activities, and members of several of these groups were detained and, according to their families, died while in custody, the report says.
In Tajikistan, meanwhile, individuals linked to religious groups categorized as extremist also continued to face arrests unconnected to suspected violent activities, according to the report.
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier this month slammed the Tajik government for its crackdown on the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, whose members have faced a string of arrests in what rights groups call a politically motivated campaign.
"As much as we oppose the actions of terrorists, we do not agree with the governments that use those crimes as a pretext for prohibiting religious activities that are in fact nonviolent and legitimate," Kerry told the October 14 briefing in Washington.
"Those who misuse the terms terrorist and extremist are not fooling anybody, and trying to dictate an artificial conformity of religious expression is not a prescription for harmony, it is a prescription for frustration, anger and rebellion," he added.
The International Religious Freedom Report is released annually by the State Department in an effort to attract global attention to the problem of repression of religious freedom.
"The world has learned through very hard experience that religious pluralism encourages and enables contributions from all, while religious discrimination is the source of conflicts that endangers all," Kerry said.

Pashto Music Video - Sara Sahar - Bewafa Janana

Divide and Rule: Pakistan's New Covert Taliban Approach

Hekmatullah Azamy

In the years that followed the 9/11 attacks against the United States, Pakistani leaders prided themselves in being "the frontline state against terrorism" for years as Western leaders showered praise and assistance upon the country.
But the 2011 killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town and Islamabad's continued tolerance of Afghan Taliban sanctuaries have inevitably led to accusations of duplicity.
Critics pointed out that while receiving billions of dollars from Western nations in the name of fighting terrorists, Islamabad was covertly supporting the Taliban and tolerated jihadist groups accused of fomenting violence in neighboring countries.
Sources within the Afghan Taliban now say Islamabad is engaged in similar double-dealing with the hardline movement.
They say that although Islamabad played a prominent role in enabling the succession of current Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansur, it has also shored up opponents within the radical Islamist movement to keep him in check and dependent on Pakistani support.
Since the confirmation of former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar’s death in July, Mansur has struggled to establish himself as the undisputed leader.
These sources, most of whom requested anonymity, say Pakistan's response is a new policy to allow divisions within the group as a means to retain control over the fragmented movement.
Islamabad's more immediate goal is allowing a divided Taliban leadership to take shape while preventing infighting among foot soldiers. Taliban insiders say in the longer term Islamabad wants to push Mansur into negotiations with Kabul while supporting the anti-Mansur camp in continued fighting within Afghanistan.
"Like its policy toward the mujahedin parties [of the 1980 and '90s], Pakistan seeks to create factions within the Taliban and use them to threaten Mansur or balance influence among rival groups," said Khalifa Akhund, a pseudonym for a Mansur supporter.
He says Tayyab Agha, former head of the Taliban's office in Qatar, and renegade Taliban commander Mansoor Dadullah rejected Mansur's leadership because of his close ties with Pakistan. Agha resigned from his post in August while in September Mansur dispatched hundreds of fighters to dislodge Dadullah from his stronghold in southern Afghanistan.
Akhund says some senior members of the Quetta Shura, the Taliban leadership council, including Mullah Hassan Rahmani, Mullah Abdul Razaq, and Abdul Manan Niazi, oppose Mansur at the behest of Pakistan.
A senior Afghan intelligence official concurred, speaking on the condition of anonymity, saying that unlike the mujahedin, Islamabad is not allowing pro- and anti-Mansur camps to fight each other because it would undermine their movement's fighting potential on the battlefield.
This is why Kabul's effort to foment Taliban infighting failed. "If divisions were not controlled, it could undermine the Taliban's ability on the battlefield, and the group would be weaker whenever it joins negotiations," he said.
The Afghan official said Islamabad is empowering Mansur's potential rivals inside Afghanistan. He says Pakistan recently helped veteran Taliban commander Abdul Qayum Zakir launch large-scale offensives in southern Afghanistan. Since August, the Taliban have made significant advances in the Musa Qala and Kajaki districts of Helmand Province.
These operations compelled Mansur to offer Zakir to either become his first deputy or become the Taliban's shadow "defense minister." Zakir, a former Guantanamo detainee, was considered an archrival of Mansur. He was appointed head of the Taliban's military commission in 2010, but Mansur reportedly sacked him in 2014.
Taliban sources say Mansur has long sought Taliban leadership with Pakistani assistance. In 2007, he replaced former Taliban deputy leader Mullah Obaidullah Akhund after his arrest in Pakistan.
In 2010, he helped Pakistan "orchestrate" the arrest of Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. These sources claim Mansur accused him of engaging in unauthorized talks with Kabul.
Soon after Baradar's arrest, Mansur assumed his position and turned into the Taliban's de facto leader.
Taliban sources say Pakistan's backing of Mansur became apparent to them during their leadership transition this summer. Without Mansur and his Pakistani patrons’ permission, confirming Mullah Omar’s [in July] would not have been possible," Mawalwi Amin (name changed), a Taliban member, told me.
Amin offers three reasons for the timing of confirmation of Mullah Omar’s death reports, which were circulating for years. First, Kabul asked Pakistan to arrange a direct confirmation of Mullah Omar’s support for peace talks, as claimed in an Eid statement published under the late leader's name on July 15. Second, to prevent defections from the Taliban to the Islamic State militants because of Mullah Omar’s prolonged absence. Finally, Pakistan and Mansur deemed the timing was right to publicly announce his leadership over the movement.
Qari Fida (name changed) is a senior Taliban figure who recently returned from Pakistan after meeting with Taliban leaders opposing Mansur. He says Islamabad's aim is to divide the leadership after insurgent leaders attempted to act independently while exploring negotiations with Kabul.
He says that in early 2015, a Taliban faction decided to leave Pakistan after Islamabad pressured it to negotiate with Kabul. Islamabad was alarmed when some Taliban members boycotted the Mansur-sanctioned peace meeting with Afghan officials in early July.
Fida says by pressuring some Taliban to join peace talks, Pakistan also supports the anti-Mansur camp so they could continue operations in Afghanistan should Mansur strike a peace deal with Kabul. Earlier this year, Mansur faced considerable opposition from within the Taliban when he revealed a willingness to engage in peace talks. But he later dismissed the talks as enemy propaganda.
Powerful elements within the Taliban oppose peace talks and Mansur's leadership, but Islamabad has so far done nothing to either urge them to support Mansur or warn them not to use Pakistan's soil in their fight against the Afghan government.
In addition, Fida says, Pakistan's willingness to work with an anti-Mansur camp is aimed at containing a possible Taliban rebellion against Pakistan because of concerns that Afghan rebels would support Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Islamabad sees TTP as an existential threat and has often claimed they operate from Afghan safe havens.
Recently, Pakistan has called for the resumption of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. But Kabul has instead called on Islamabad to end its covert support for the Afghan Taliban.
A senior Afghan official says Pakistan is pushing hard for peace talks and has even complained to Kabul about ignoring its calls for the resumption of talks. "In order to please China, Pakistan is pushing to facilitate peace talks, but Kabul has lost trust over the country," he said.
Kabul is apparently worried over Pakistan's new approach, which aims to win one camp of the Taliban a role within the Afghan government while helping another to sustain the fight in Afghanistan.                                                       
Islamabad can only end these concerns if it makes a clean break with all Taliban factions by denying them sanctuary and covert assistance. U.S. President Barack Obama drew a similar conclusion when he called for an end to Taliban sanctuaries on October 14.
"Next week, I’ll host Prime Minister Sharif of Pakistan, and I will continue to urge all parties in the region to press the Taliban to return to peace talks and to do their part in pursuit of the peace that Afghans deserve," Obama said.

تعلیم د قبایلو د مسایلو یوازینی حل دی

مهرین د ځوان کول د پرمختګ، تعلیم او روزګار لپاره کار کوي ، او د دغې لپاره یي یوه اداره فاټا یوت فورم هم جوړه کړې ده. هغه د خیبر ایجنسۍد ښایستېسیمې تیراه سره تعلق لري. مهرین وایي د قبایلو د ټولو مسایلو حل د تعلیم د لارې ممکنه دی.

Afghans and experts in US praise plan to keep troops in Afghanistan

By  Halima Kazem
Those with ties to the country welcome Obama’s decision in a year that has seen Taliban attempts to take over Afghan cities, including Kunduz last month.

 To Nilufar Shuja, Barack Obama’s announcement this week to keep some US troops in Afghanistan was a fulfillment of moral responsibility.
“It would have been devastating if the troops had left as planned,” said Shuja, an Afghan American media and business consultant who returned to northern California in June after almost two years of living in Kabul. “The country is not ready to defend itself.
“Lots of things haven’t been done right and many on all sides are to blame, but as both an Afghan and an American who has spent a lot of time living in both places, I appreciate Obama’s sense of responsibility toward ensuring that Afghanistan is not prematurely abandoned.”
Other Afghans with ties to the United States share Shuja’s support for Obama’s decision.
“The presence of US troops will have a lot of positive psychological impact on the Afghan people and the government because the Taliban and other terrorists will not have the feeling that they can rule Afghanistan again. They’ll know that international troops are in Afghanistan,” said Ali Mohammad, a Kabul-based Afghan political analyst.
On Thursday, Obama said he will keep almost 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan through most of 2016 and afterward 5,500 troops will remain at small US bases in the country.
“To the Afghan people, who have suffered so much – Americans’ commitment to you and to a secure, stable and unified Afghanistan, that remains firm … And as you defend and build your country, today is a reminder that the United States keeps our commitments,” Obama said.
The troop numbers are smaller than in previous years, and a great deal will be determined by the next US president, elected in late 2016.
Critics in the US have decried Obama’s announcement as a betrayal of his promise to end the war, and a potential signal of perpetual war.
But to some with ties to Afghanistan, Obama’s statement quells fears that the US would abruptly depart the country, as it did in Iraq in 2011, and leave behind an ill-equipped government and security forces.
Shuja and others say 2015 so far has been a year of panic in Afghanistan with the Taliban’s brazen attempt to take over cities such as Kunduz in late September. Thousands of people, especially young Afghan men, are trying to flee the growing conflict, which has devastated the economy and job prospects. As of August, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that 950,000 Afghans are internally displaced because of the fighting in the country.
“The Taliban’s attack on Kunduz shows how all of the progress of the last 13 years can be washed away in an instant,” said Sher Jan Ahmadzai, the coordinator for education and outreach programs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s center for Afghanistan studies. “Obama’s message is a morale booster for the Afghan security forces.”
Ahmadzai said he is encouraged to learn of Obama’s continued efforts to train the Afghan security forces, especially since recent battles with the Taliban have exhibited their structural deficits. According to a June US Department of Defense Report on Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan, “the AAF [Afghan air force] continues to struggle with a shortage of pilots and aircrews, as well as the maintenance of air platforms”.
Barnett Rubin, a leading expert on Afghan affairs and a former senior adviser to the US government’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said the Afghan armed forces have many gaps, but the biggest gaps are not technical military ones.
“A weak and divided government cannot have strong armed forces. As long as political conflict paralyzes the government and keeps institutions from working according to the constitution, the ANSDF [Afghan national security and defense forces] will not be strong,” said Rubin.
Not everyone is convinced that the US’s narrow mission to train Afghan security forces and fight the Taliban and al-Qaida will be enough to grow the economy and attract desperately needed investment to create jobs.
Dost, 18, from Kabul, who didn’t want to give his last name, said that he is planning to pay human smugglers $10,000 to take him to Germany or Sweden.
“I didn’t study and work hard for the last 10 years to now sit around and do nothing. There is no security and not enough jobs for us here,” said Dost, who studied English and computers while attending public school in Kabul beginning in 2002.
Shuja said the generation of Afghans that Dost represents have had the hardest adjustment to the US and Nato troop drawdown.
“It was their generation that benefited the most from the US presence, so of course it’s natural for them to be affected the most by their withdrawal,” she said.

Pakistan ranked 4th most dangerous country for aid workers

Pakistan ranks fourth most dangerous country with a total of 93 attacks on aid workers over the last 10 years, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The report titled ‘The 10 most dangerous countries for aid workers’ was released on the basis of data collected between 2004 to 2014.

Afghanistan tops the list with 430 attacks on aid workers while Sudan and Somalia are ranked second and third respectively.
In 2014, 190 major attacks against aid operations occurred, affecting 329 aid workers in 27 countries. This represents
a decrease of roughly 30 per cent from last year’s all-time high. However, numbers of attacks remained higher than in previous years.

The report further stated that in 2014, the five contexts with the greatest number of attacks on aid workers were Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Pakistan.


Punjab Police arrested a speaker from Sheikhupura during a mourning congregation. According to the correspondent of Shia news, Punjab’s local speaker Habib Raza Jhand was arrested by the police during the mourning congregation of second Muharram ul Haram and shifted him to Sheikhupura jail. Punjab police arrested the speaker by making excuse of the NAP and Loud speaker act. Police said that the organizer of the mourning congregation did not have permit to do so.
It should be clear that Punjab government has started using the laws, made against terrorists, against mourning (azadaari) of Syed al Shuhada and has been trying to limit and restrict azadaari through different excuses. Whole Millat e Jafaria is worried over this act of Punjab government. It seems that the whole Shia nation will soon start a campaign against the government’s policies to limit azadaari.

Pakistan's Pro-Taliban Regime - Dancing a sin?

So the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has decided to go a giant, gaping leap further to intrude upon what happens within the confines of a private event. Apparently, the nursing staff of Ganga Ram Hospital cannot have a private party that holds glimpses of celebration and festivity without the moral police interfering and getting into a tiff over it. The said party was held at the nurses’ hostel to mark the passing of their examinations and to generally celebrate a new phase in their lives. Now, like with any party, there was music and where there is music there will definitely be some song and dance. Some nurses started dancing to the tune of a Punjabi folksong and the Medical Superintendent (MS) who was in attendance started clapping. That, it seems, was enough to bring about his downfall. A private television channel caught this party on film and showed it to the viewing public, which lapped it up. Now, it seems, everyone and their aunt is flying into a fit of rage over the non-event of a few women dancing and the MS appreciating their performance.

The PML-N particularly has taken offence and has taken steps to make sure that the moral brigade is satiated and given its pound of flesh. The MS has been sacked and the Chief Minister (CM), Shahbaz Sharif, has ordered an inquiry into the party. It is unbelievably absurd how the PML-N is playing to some extreme-right gallery in which a little harmless fun and some singing and dancing can cause an uproar of this kind. One wishes the health ministry and provincial government would haul up people and demand explanations when patients die in our hospitals because of neglect and lack of available facilities and infrastructure. But what is a life when our ‘morality’ is in question? What is wrong with this government? This is not even Talibanisation because the ideology of Talibanisation has some sort of conviction (however disagreeable and contrived). This here is an example of lunacy of the highest order. Today, we come under question for celebrating with a little dance and merriment, tomorrow will we be brought to book for flashing a smile or wearing something less than sharia-compliant clothing? The PML-N cannot pander to an absurd ultra-right agenda that feeds off limiting other people’s pleasure and sanity in life. It cannot advocate a suffocating existence of the extremist variety. We do not live in a dark, colourless place; we are people who need to live, not exist in drudgery and silence. The Shahbaz Sharif government needs to back off from people having innocent fun and private television channels that act as a moral police should be restrained.

Exclusive - Pakistan to appoint ex-general as new national security advisor

Pakistan is about to appoint a former general as national security advisor, tightening the powerful military's control over security policy and negotiations with arch rival India, officials said Sunday.
Lieutenant General Naseer Khan Janjua, who retired from the military this week, will be appointed national security advisor soon and will accompany Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his trip to the United States next week, one military official and two civilians said.
The post is currently held by Sartaj Aziz, a civilian who is a close ally of Sharif. Aziz also holds the portfolio for foreign affairs.
"The army chief feels that Sartaj Sahib's attention is divided," a military source said. "So it has been decided that General Janjua will be appointed the national security adviser and Sartaj Aziz can give his full attention to the foreign office."
"This is not about the PM conceding to the army chief or the army being a bully, not at all. This is about both sides deciding together."
A military spokesman declined to comment.
Sharif has had rocky relations with Pakistan's powerful military, who deposed him in a 1999 coup during a previous term as prime minister.
He swept into office again in 2013 vowing to improve relations between Pakistan and India, two nuclear-armed rivals who have fought three wars since becoming separate nations in 1947.
But many in the military remain deeply suspicious of India, and Sharif has had to reign in his ambitions. Domestic political protests last year forced him to rely more heavily on the military for stability, and India elected hawkish nationalist Narendra Modi as prime minister.
"The army had advised the PM against engaging Modi but he (Sharif) had insisted that he would pursue peace talks,” the official said. "He is very disappointed by Modi's response and he has realized that perhaps the advice he got then was correct."
A senior minister in Sharif's cabinet said the army chief had pushed Janjua's appointment "for many months," although Nawaz had preferred to keep his own man, Aziz.
“Now the army chief has convinced the prime minister that the military and the government must ... work together,” the minister said.
Janjua's appointment follows cooling relations between Pakistan and India, who were due to hold talks in August but cancelled after India said it wanted to limit the scope of the talks to Pakistan’s support for militancy on Indian territory and Pakistan insisted on more wide-ranging discussions.
"General Janjua will go to Afghanistan for talks. He will go to the U.S. And yes, when Pakistan-India (national security advisor) level talks resume, it will be General Janjua at the table," the military official said.
Two senior government officials said that Janjua was respected for his previous posting in Baluchistan, a poverty-stricken province with a raging separatist insurgency and widespread reports of human rights abuses by security forces.
Before that, Janjua was president of the National Defence University, the military's higher education institute and premier think-tank on national security matters.
He also worked on 'Azm-e-Nau,’ a military preparedness exercise that had a particular focus on India.

بلاول بھٹو زرداری کا سانحہ کارساز کے شہدا کو خراج عقیدت

پیپلز پارٹی کے چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو زرداری نےسانحہ کاساز کے شہداء کی 8ویں برسی پراپنے ایک بیان میں کہا کہ18اکتوبر2007ء کو آج کے دن پاکستان کے عوام اور جیالوں نے اپنے خون سے ایک تاریخرقم کی،سازشوںکےباوجودشہیدذوالفقار علی بھٹواو ر شہیدبینظیربھٹوکامشن جاری رہے گا‘ کراچی ایئرپورٹ پر دہشتگردوں کے گھیراؤ کے باوجود ملک سے لاکھوں لوگ اپنی قائد کے استقبال کے لیے پہنچ گئے تھے‘چاروں صوبوں، آزاد کشمیر، گلگت بلتستان اور فاٹا سے لاکھوں لوگوں نے کراچی پہنچ کر دہشتگردوں اور ان کے اسپانسرز کو یہ واضح پیغام دے دیا تھا کہ عوام دہشتگردی اور انتہاپسندی کے خلاف متحدہ ہو کر مقابلہ کر رہے ہیں‘دہشت گردمیری والدہ اور پارٹی قیادت کو قتل کرکے ملک کو پتھرکے دور میں دھکیل کر اسلام سے پہلے والا کلچر تھونپنا چاہتے تھے لیکن کارساز میں جیالوں نے اپنی جانیں قربان کر کے اس سازش کو ناکام بنادیا۔

#SaluteToKarsazMartyrs: Asif Zardari Says democracy owing to martyrs of democracy

Former President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari has paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of Karsaz, Karachi who laid down their lives while welcoming Shaheed Mohtamra Benazir Bhutto on her return home from exile eight years ago on this day.

Today we salute the martyrs of Karzaz and indeed all martyrs of democracy and vow to carry forward the democratic and egalitarian mission of the PPP as envisioned by its leaders Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Zardari said in a message on the occasion.
We pledge to continue her mission to banish extremism and root out dictatorship in all its forms and manifestations, he said.

An important lesson of democratic struggle is that dictatorship rears its ugly head in different forms and in different manifestations at different times.

A subtle and little noticed form of threat to democracy is when institutions and individuals exceed their constitutional authority and trespass into the domain of other constitutional institutions. We must be vigilant against the dictatorial mindset that seeks to drive from the rear seat. This tendency must be exposed and fought, he said.

The former President said that the Parliament is our shield against dictatorship. It must be strengthened, not undermined. The Pakistan People’s Party will not allow anyone to undermine the Parliament. Let there be no doubt or mistake about it.

Mr. Asif Ali Zardari said that on this day in 2007 the battle lines were clearly drawn between forces of democracy on the one hand and the militants and extremists on the other. Since then the battle lines have sharpened. The battle must continue till it is won.

The former President asked the people to also remember in their prayers all those who have laid down their lives and made untold sacrifices in the fight against extremism.