RSS

Tag Archives: Afghanistan

While the world watches Donald Trump, it’s missing what’s really going on with US foreign policy

Our leaders know how to bang the war drums and, by and large, we go along with them. The US threatens Iran with war – so will Iran close the Strait of Hormuz and attack American warships in the Gulf? Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria after rockets fall on Golan – so does an Arab-Israeli conflict loom closer than at any time since the 1973 conflict? Jared Kushner plans to reveal Trump’s “deal of the century” for peace in the Middle East – but is it dead in the water?

Meanwhile the real stories get pushed down the page – or “to the back of the book”, as we journalists used to say.

Take Donald Trump’s desire to furnish Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with billions of dollars of extra weapons so that they can increase the ferocity of their war in Yemen against the Houthis – whose support from Iran, such as it is, prompts much of the international abuse against the Islamic Republic. French intelligence officers in Washington have apparently discovered that this is no routine request from Riyadh but a desperate appeal to Washington, because so promiscuous has been the Saudis’ use of US munitions against Houthi rebels (and civilians, hospitals, aid centres, schools and wedding parties) that they are running out of bombs, guided and unguided missiles, drone parts and other “precision” arms to be used on one of the poorest countries in the world.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/trump-saudi-arabia-us-air-strikes-jordan-yemen-afghanistan-bolton-a8946726.html

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 11, 2019 in Middle East, North America, Asia

 

Tags: , , ,

Talking to the Taliban: peace at what price?

Presented by India Rakusen with Emma Graham-Harrison, Fawzia Koofi and Gary Younge; produced by Mythili Rao, Amy Walker and Axel Kacoutié; executive producers Nicole Jackson and Phil Maynard

Tue 5 Mar 2019 03.00 GMT Last modified on Tue 5 Mar 2019 09.20 GMT

Donald Trump has become increasingly impatient to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan, a war he sees as having failed and a considers a continuing financial drain. But after more than 17 years of conflict, with at least 38,000 civilians killed and millions more injured or displaced, removing troops is a process fraught with risk.

The Afghan MP Fawzia Koofi took part in recent talks with the Taliban in Moscow and, having fought for a female presence around the table, she was insistent that women’s rights were not discarded in the process. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s Emma Graham-Harrison discusses the slow improvement in women’s rights since the Taliban was ousted from government and how securing these was a key objective for the US.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2019/mar/05/talking-to-the-taliban-what-price-peace

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 5, 2019 in Asia

 

Tags:

Taliban Talks Raise Question of What U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan Could Mean

President Trump’s headway in Afghan peace negotiations with the Taliban raises the same question that has bedeviled other presidents who extracted American troops from foreign wars: Will the departing Americans end up handing over the country to the same ruthless militants that the United States went to war to dislodge?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/28/us/politics/us-withdrawal-afghanistan-taliban.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fmark-landler&action=click&contentCollection=undefined&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=collection

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 11, 2019 in Asia

 

Tags:

Afghanistan takes center stage in the New Great Game

Moscow hosted talks last week to promote peace in Afghanistan as neighbors and regional heavyweights eye the rewards of stability in the long-troubled land

In the “graveyard of empires,” Afghanistan never ceases to deliver geopolitical and historical twists. Last week in Moscow, another crucial chapter in this epic story was written when Russia pledged to use its diplomatic muscle to spur peace efforts in the war-torn country.

Flanked by Afghan representatives and their Taliban rivals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talked about “working together with Afghanistan’s regional partners and friends who have gathered at this table.”

“I am counting on you holding a serious and constructive conversation that will justify the hopes of the Afghan people,” he said.

Back in the 1980s, Soviet Union president Zbigniew Brzezinski launched a disastrous war in the country. Thirty years later, Russia is now taking the lead role of mediator in this 21st-century version of the Great Game.

The line-up in Moscow was diverse.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Afghanistan-takes-center-s-by-Pepe-Escobar-Afghanistan-Warlords_Daesh_Great-Game_Iran-181117-653.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 24, 2018 in Asia

 

Tags:

Who Is Winning the War in Afghanistan? Depends on Which One

Two wars are convulsing Afghanistan, the war of blood and guts, and the war of truth and lies. Both have been amassing casualties at a remarkable rate recently.

The first is that messy war in which, just in the past week, more than 40 high school students were blown to pieces in their classroom, hundreds of bodies were left abandoned for a week in the streets of Ghazni city or dumped in a river, and two important Afghan Army units were destroyed, almost to the last soldier.

The other is the war in which most of that, according to official accounts, did not happen — or at least was not as bad as it sounded. Not until late on the third day of the Taliban’s assault on Ghazni did President Ashraf Ghani’s aides even inform him of the desperation level there, two government officials said privately; Mr. Ghani himself later confirmed that publicly. By then the Taliban had control of nearly every neighborhood.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 23, 2018 in Asia

 

Tags:

A 4-Year-Old Girl Was the Sole Survivor of a U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan. Then She Disappeared.

Asadabad, the sylvan capital of Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan, has a population of more than 30,000 but the feel of a village. Little happens there without being noticed. Were you out surveying the bazaar on September 7, 2013, you might have seen eight men, three women, and four young children climb into a red Toyota pickup. Most were members of an extended family, returning home after running errands. The pickup was just large enough to accommodate the women and children, with the men piled into the back alongside the sacks of flour they had purchased. Their village, Gambir, was a 2 1/2-hour drive northwest on a rough and undulating road. The village had no electricity or running water, and whatever food that couldn’t be grown had to be brought in from town. To get a phone signal, you climbed a hill. To feel warm to the bone, you waited for spring.

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/27/a-4-year-old-girl-was-the-sole-survivor-of-a-u-s-drone-strike-in-afghanistan-then-she-disappeared/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 14, 2018 in Asia

 

Tags:

Why Attack Afghan Civilians? Creating Chaos Rewards Taliban

They were hardly the first Taliban attacks in the capital. Still, there was something particularly alarming in their scale and implication about the pair of episodes, just a week apart, that rocked Afghanistan: a hotel siege that killed 22, then a car bomb, loaded into an ambulance, that killed 103.

But the question of why — why target bystanders, and in such numbers — is perhaps best answered not by peering into the minds of the attackers but by examining the structure of a war that increasingly pulls its participants toward the senseless.

Whether the week’s events will translate into a long-term gain for the Taliban or serve only as a terrible but temporary show of force, the attacks embody the trends toward violence and disintegration that appear to be only worsening in Afghanistan.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Asia

 

Tags:

On the Edge of Afghanistan

Of all of Afghanistan’s lawless provinces, Nimruz is perhaps the rawest and most untamed. The desert in southwestern Afghanistan, cornering up against Iran and Pakistan, looks like something out of Mad Max: a post-apocalyptic wasteland where only camel herders and smugglers seem to thrive. Sandstorms kick up without warning, swallowing the horizon in a thick beige mist. Out of the haze, a group of motorcyclists suddenly rides past, their hair stiff with grit and their eyes hidden by goggles.

This is wild country.

On the Edge of Afghanistan

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Asia

 

Tags:

The anti-corruption drive in Saudi Arabia is doomed to fail

About eight or nine years ago, I had an Afghan friend who previously worked for a large US aid agency funding projects in the Afghan provinces. He had been hired to monitor their progress once work had got underway, but he did not hold the job very long for reasons that he explained to me.

The problem for the Americans at the local agency headquarters in Kabul was that the risk of ambush by the Taliban was deemed too high for them personally to visit the projects that they were funding. Instead, they followed the construction at one remove, by insisting that whatever Afghan company was involved should transmit back to Kabul at set intervals detailed pictures of its activities to show that they were fulfilling their contract to the letter.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/saudi-arabia-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-anti-corruption-drive-doomed-to-fail-a8047731.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 10, 2017 in Middle East

 

Tags: , , ,

Korea, Afghanistan and the Never Ending War Trap

There are more parallels between an unfinished 1950s war in Northeast Asia and an ongoing 16-year-old war in the crossroads between Central and South Asia than meet the eye. Let’s start with North Korea.Once again the US/South Korea Hunger Games plow on. It didn’t have to be this way.Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained how: “Russia together with China developed a plan which proposes ‘double freezing’: Kim Jong-un should freeze nuclear tests and stop launching any types of ballistic missiles, while US and South Korea should freeze large-scale drills which are used as a pretext for the North’s tests.”Call it sound diplomacy. There’s no conclusive evidence the Russia-China strategic partnership floated this plan directly to the administration of US President Donald Trump. Even if they did, the proposal was shot down. The proverbial “military experts” lobbied hard against it, insisting on a lopsided advantage to Pyongyang. Worse, National Security Adviser H R McMaster consistently lobbies for preventative war – as if this is any sort of serious conflict “resolution”.

Source: Korea, Afghanistan and the Never Ending War Trap

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 29, 2017 in Asia

 

Tags: ,