Category Archives: Afghanistan

President Obama: One Night in Afghanistan

Posted by: TheLCster

“I will never send you into harm’s way unless it’s absolutely necessary. I anguish in thinking about the sacrifices that so many of you make.”~President Barack Obama


On March 28, 2010, at 10:55 am ET (7:25 pm local), Air Force One touched down under the shroud of nightfall at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. President Obama had just made an unannounced 12 hour, 46 minute journey to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He would take a short flight aboard Marine One to Kabul where the two delegations convened. Following their meetings, the President returned to Bagram Air Base where he spoke to a crowd of U.S. and allied troops:

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In his remarks, President Obama reiterated the mission before the troops:

“Our broad mission is clear: We are going to disrupt and dismantle, defeat and destroy al Qaeda and its extremist allies. That is our mission. And to accomplish that goal, our objectives here in Afghanistan are also clear: We’re going to deny al Qaeda safe haven. We’re going to reverse the Taliban’s momentum. We’re going to strengthen the capacity of Afghan security forces and the Afghan government so that they can begin taking responsibility and gain confidence of the Afghan people.”

He also reminded the troops of his unwavering support, noting efforts to improve pay and benefits, improving care for the wounded, moving forward with the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and increasing the VA budget.

President Barack Obama meets with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 28, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“And I know that sometimes when you’re watching TV, the politics back home may look a little messy, and people are yelling and hollering, and Democrats this and Republicans that. I want you to understand this: There’s no daylight when it comes to support of all of you. There’s no daylight when it comes to supporting our troops. That brings us together. We are all incredibly proud. We all honor what you do. And all of you show all of America what’s possible when people come together, not based on color or creed, not based on faith or station, but based on a commitment to serve together, to bleed together and to succeed together as one people, as Americans.”

Full transcript
Photos courtesy of the White House by Pete Souza



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Filed under Afghanistan, Military, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, War

Future Pop Stars Risk Their Lives To Sing for Freedom

Written by: Bluedog89

Award-winning film "Afghan Star - The Documentary." Promotional poster by Zeitgeist Films.

The award-winning “Afghan Star – The Documentary,” showcases the “American Idol”-like pop competition “Afghan Star” that is sweeping Afghanistan.

Since the TV show’s inception in 2005, its popularity has spread like wildfire, with “Afghan Star” contestants chosen despite gender and voted on democratically by the general public via cell phone.

The documentary follows several contest participants as they literally sing for their lives, particularly the women, who are judged harshly by the still-mostly conservative public that was once dominated by the Taliban.

The film is available on DVD and will be featured on HBO this month.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Documentary, HBO, Middle East, Movies, Music, Pop, Pop Culture, Religion, Sexism, Television, TV Shows, Women's Issues, World

Celebrating International Women’s Day: From Kabul to Washington, DC

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Mozhdah Jamalzadah

Mozhdah Jamalzadah

Mozhdah Jamalzadah

In August 2009, I performed at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC in celebration of Afghan Independence Day. At that event, I met Mr. Tim Nusraty, an Afghan-American who now works at the National Security Council at the White House. Many months later, Mr. Nusraty recommended me to perform at the White House on March 8, 2010 for International Women’s Day. When I learned that I was selected to perform, it was the second happiest day of my life. The first was the day I met President Barack Obama and his beautiful wife First Lady Michelle Obama. I have to say that meeting the President, the First Lady, and performing at the White House was surreal. I never thought in a million years that this dream would come true.

As an Afghan girl born in Kabul, Afghanistan and raised in Vancouver, Canada, I have made it my duty to fight for women’s rights and to promote education in Afghanistan. I decided that more than anything else, music would be the best way to do this. It was a long-term goal, and it involved a lot of time, dedication, and hard work, not to mention the many obstacles I would have to face to get there. I had never sung professionally in my life, and decided to start from scratch at the BC Conservatory of Music. Today, my lyrics are heard by millions of people throughout Afghanistan and the region.

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The song that I sang at the White House on March 8th was composed by my father and me to remember the young Afghan girls who were doused with acid in Kandahar City last year for going to school. The lyrics to the song are very powerful. Below is the translation to the lyrics of the Afghan song:

Afghan Girl

I’m a girl, I am an Afghan girl
I’m the daughter of the land of braves
Don’t break my wings, let me fly
Don’t break my crown, let me think
I want to be as free as a gazelle
I love my homeland just as Malali did
Sing my songs just like a nightingale in the gardens
Express myself the same as Zainab, Nazo, and Mehri in poetry
Don’t break my wings, let me fly
Don’t break my crown, let me think
I’ve a smile on my face like a flower
And live in open green fields
My heart is filled with love for my homeland
I’ll sing songs and poems for my land

Words can’t describe what I felt when I was standing in the East Room performing at the White House. I was so grateful. I now believe that dreams can come true and goals can be reached. My mother was with me during the performance and was more than lucky to sit next to the First Lady. Halfway through my performance I noticed Mrs. Obama holding my mother’s hand and I was so happy I almost forgot my lyrics. The First Lady is such an inspiration to women around the world, and I am thankful we have such an amazing role model.

Later that day after my performance, I was approached by Afghan media, and they all told me in great excitement that I had made history in Afghanistan and that never in the history of Afghanistan had there been a performance at the White House by an Afghan artist. Even the Afghan journalists who interviewed me became very emotional. I didn’t realize the impact my performance at the White House would have on my Afghan people. Recently I was offered to host my own show on 1TV in Kabul, Afghanistan. This show focuses on family matters, women’s issues, and the treatment of children. I jumped at the opportunity and moved back to Kabul. 1TV is the platform for me to spread awareness for the women of Afghanistan.

Thank you President Obama and Madame First Lady for this amazing opportunity. I would also like to thank Afghan Ambassador Jawad, Ms. Columbia Barrosse, and Mr. Nusraty.

Mozhdah Jamalzadah is an Afghan singer, entertainer and model from Kabul, Afghanistan

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Filed under Afghanistan, Music, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, Women's Issues

Academy Award® Nominated: The Messenger

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, and BuellBoy


In his most powerful performance to date, Ben Foster stars as Will Montgomery, a U.S. Army officer who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq and is assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. Partnered with fellow officer Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) to bear the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers, Will faces the challenge of completing his mission while seeking to find comfort and healing back on the home front. When he finds himself drawn to Olivia (Samantha Morton), to whom he has just delivered the news of her husband’s death, Will’s emotional detachment begins to dissolve and the film reveals itself as a surprising, humorous, moving and very human portrait of grief, friendship and survival.

Featuring tour-de-force performances from Foster, Harrelson and Morton, and a brilliant directorial debut by Oren Moverman, The Messenger brings us into the inner lives of these outwardly steely heroes to reveal their fragility with compassion and dignity.

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The cast includes: Ben Foster, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker, Woody Harrelson, Yaya DaCosta, Portia, Lisa Joyce, Steve Buscemi, Peter Francis James, Samantha Morton, and Paul Diomede

Reviews

IMDB member
“The Messenger has incredible acting by Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, and Samantha Morton.

The film has a curious flow to it. It begins predictable, yet remains engaging, exposing a heart-breaking consequence of war no family wants to face. Although the news remains the same, emotions run just as deep at each door. Every scene is handled marvelously through subtle performances by the actors. As the film unfolds, the viewer sinks into the complex characters on screen, discomforted by the internal struggles that slowly surface.

The Messenger is a non-linear, character-driven film with exceptional performances but might not be for everyone.”

Did You Know?

Sgt. Brian Scott, who was training to deploy to Iraq at Ft. Dix in New Jersey and was a technical adviser in this film, was subsequently injured in an IED attack in Baghdad.

Two Nominations

Best Supporting Actor~Woody Harrelson
Best Original Screenplay

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Nominated for Best Supporting Actor ~ Woody Harrelson ~The Messenger

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, Bluedog89, and BuellBoy

Woody HarrelsonWoody Harrelson’s rare mix of intensity and charisma consistently surprises and delights audiences and critics alike for his work in both mainstream and independent projects. Most recently, Harrelson could be seen in Stuart Townsand’s BATTLE IN SEATTLE with Charlize Theron, Andre Benjamin and Ray Liotta, Brad Anderson’s TRANSSIBERIAN starring opposite Emily Mortimer and Ben Kingsley and Gabriele Muccino’s SEVEN POUNDS starring Will Smith and Rosario Dawson. Upcoming films include THE MESSENGER with Ben Foster for director Oren Moverman and BUNRAKU, directed by Guy Moshe and co-starring Josh Hartnett and Demi Moore. Harrelson recently completed filming on DEFENDOR for director Peter Stebbings, costarring Kat Dennings.

Harrleson’s critically-acclaimed portrayal of controversial magazine publisher Larry Flynt in Milos Forman’s THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT garnered him Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Nominations as Best Actor. Other highlights from Harrleson’s film career include NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, SEMI PRO, AFTER THE SUNSET, PLAY IT TO THE BONE, THE THIN RED LINE, THE HI-LO COUNTY, ED TV, WAG THE DOG, WELCOME TO SARAJEVO, KINGPIN, NATURAL BORN KILLERS, INDECENT PROPOSAL, WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP, THE BIG WHITE, A SCANNER DARKLY, NORTH COUNTRY, THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFINANCE, OHIO, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION and Zak Penn’s ensemble comedy THE GRAND.

Harrelson first endeared himself to millions of viewers as a member of the ensemble cast of NBC’s long-running hit comedy, CHEERS. For his work as the affable bartender Woody Boyd, he won an Emmy in 1988 and was nominated four additional times during his eight-year run on the show. In 1999, he gained another Emmy nomination when he reprised the role in a guest appearance on the spin-off series FRASIER. He later made a return to television with a recurring guest role on the hit NBC series, WILL AND GRACE.

Woody Harrelson in The Messenger

Woody Harrelson in The Messenger

Balancing his film and television work, in 1999 Harrelson directed his own play, FURTHEST FROM THE SUN at the Theatre de la Juene Lune in Minneapolis. He followed next with the Roundabout’s Broadway revival of THE RAINMAKER; Sam Shepherd’s THE LATE HENRY MOSS, and John Kolvenbach’s ON AN AVERAGE DAY opposite Kyle MacLachlan at London’s West End. Harrelson directed the Toronto premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s THIS IS OUR YOUTH at the Berkeley Street Theatre. In the winter of 2005 Harrelson returned to London’s West End, starring in Tennessee Williams’ NIGHT OF THE IGUANA at the Lyric Theatre.

A committed environmentalist, Harrelson joined his activism with his film efforts in Ron Mann’s GO FURTHER, a road documentary following Woody and friends on their bicycle journey down the Pacific Coast Highway from Seattle to Santa Barbara.

Along with being a father to his three beautiful daughters, closest to his heart is http://www.voiceyourself.com, a website Harrelson co-created with his wife Laura Louie which promotes and inspires individual action to create global momentum towards simple organic living and to restore balance and harmony to our planet.

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Taliban’s top military commander captured

ISLAMABAD – The Taliban’s top military commander has been arrested in a joint CIA-Pakistani operation in Pakistan in a major victory against the insurgents as U.S. troops push into their heartland in southern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the group’s No. 2 leader behind Afghan Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar and a close associate of Osama bin Laden, was captured in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi, two Pakistani intelligence officers and a senior U.S. official said.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release such sensitive information.

One Pakistani officer said Baradar was arrested 10 days ago with the assistance of the United States and “was talking” to his interrogators.

Baradar is the most senior Afghan Taliban leader arrested since the beginning of the Afghan war in 2001 following the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States.

His capture represents a significant success for the administration of President Barack Obama, which has vowed to kill or seize Taliban and al-Qaida leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It follows the ramping up of CIA missile strikes against militant targets along the border between the two countries that have reportedly killed many midlevel commanders.

source:

In-depth: Who Is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar?

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Filed under 9/11, Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, Military, Obama Administration, Pakistan, Pres. Barack Obama, Terrorism

President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 01/02/10

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WhiteHouse.govThe Fight Against Al Qaeda~~The President discusses the recent attempted act of terrorism on the Christmas day flight to Detroit, and his broader strategy to fight Al Qaeda.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, Barack Obama, Change, Media and Entertainment, Middle East, Military, Pakistan, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Terrorism, United States, Video/YouTube, War, Weekly YouTube Address