Tag Archives: taliban

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

Taliban chief Meshsud reported killed

Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud

ISLAMABAD – The Pakistani army said Sunday that it was investigating reports that Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud died from injuries sustained in a U.S. drone missile strike in mid-January.

The militant leader’s death would be an important success for both Pakistan, which has been battling the Pakistani Taliban, and the U.S., which blames Mehsud for a recent deadly bombing against the CIA in Afghanistan.

Mehsud’s predecessor was also killed in a missile strike less than six months ago, highlighting the ability of the unmanned aircraft to target Taliban and al-Qaida leaders holed up in Pakistan’s lawless tribal area.

The army’s disclosure of its investigation came shortly after Pakistani state television, citing unnamed “official sources,” reported that Mehsud died in Orakzai, an area in Pakistan’s northwest tribal region where he was reportedly being treated for his injuries.

“We have these reports coming to us,” army spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas told The Associated Press. “We are investigating whether it is true or wrong.”

A tribal elder told the AP that he attended Mehsud’s funeral in the Mamuzai area of Orakzai on Thursday. He said Mehsud was buried in Mamuzai graveyard after he died at his in-laws’ home. The elder spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the Taliban.

source:

Reported: Jan 14, 2010‎
CIA drone strike hits Hakimullah Mehsud compound
A CIA drone strike on a suspected militant hideout today killed 12 people in an attack aimed at killing the top Taleban commander in Pakistan.

A local tribal leader said Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in the early-morning raid, but the Taliban insisted he was still alive. Pakistani officials have not yet made any claim over his fate.

source:

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On Obama’s War in Afghanistan: — More Loans, Fewer Drones

blogpost by Ogenec

I am looking forward to hearing Obama’s speech tonight. I do hope, however, that we don’t get the kind of speech he is so adept at giving: the one where he impresses us with his mastery of nuance and ability to understand all sides of a multi-faceted issue. At this point, even his detractors are prepared to concede him that point. The question is not his capacity for reflection, but his capacity for conviction. If he believes the war is worth fighting, he must convince us of that. More to the point, he must convince us we need to sacrifice for the effort. If, however, he does not believe this war is worth fighting in the long term, then he must also convince us of that.

And here I’ll digress to state my own opinion. I think that the term “war” is not the right one, and it just distorts the analysis to look at it from that perspective. We are not at “war” with Afghanistan. But we should do whatever it takes to deny the Taliban and Al Qaeda sanctuary. Not just because of Af-Pak, although Pakistan is tremendously important: ISI, nukes, Kashmir, and all that. In my own opinion, the problem is what a time series would show: that Islamic fundamentalism is spreading and metastizing, from the Middle East into Asia, Europe, and even sub-Saharan Africa. It will take a concerted, global effort to reverse this trend, and it behooves all countries to get involved, and to stop playing geo-political games with the issue.  Russia is learning that lesson the hard way.   They imagined that they could use Iran as a pawn in their geopolitical chess match with the  United States.   But the recent terrorist attack in Russia demonstrates the limits of that strategy: Russia can make nice with the Iranian theocrats all it wants, but that will not deter the fundamentalists from their vision of a Caliphate that spans Asia, Europe and Africa. By whatever means necessary.

Similarly, pacifists, progressives, liberals (or whatever they want to call themselves) should recognize the limits of their strategy.  Repudiating Bush’s silly pre-emptive war doctrine does not mean that we should end the effort in Afghanistan, and “just bring the troops home.”  Again, that view severely misapprehends the existential nature of the threat. That said, I do agree that there is something to the “Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle” argument: that by intervening militarily in Afghanistan, we perpetuate the disaffection that leads to the very fundamentalism we are trying to prevent.  I get that.  But that does not mean we abandon the endeavor: it means that we transform it. We should not make the mistake with Karzai that Bush made with Musharraf, and prop up a corrupt administration with divided loyalties. Rather, we should help the local populace with economic alternatives: more micro loans, less drones, to coin a phrase. So the focus on troop numbers misses the point in my view. The question is, what is the purpose of the troops? This is what I want to hear from Obama tonight. Tell me that the troops are a means to an end, not the end in and of themselves.

And, while you’re at it, tell me how we are going to pay for it. Make this a national call to action, and Americans will be happy to do their share. But you’ve gotta make the case.  My vote: WaPo’s prescription of a gasoline tax.

Related discussion:
Tom Ricks C-span interview: What’s next in Afghanistan? 12/1/2009

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Filed under Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Military, Opinions, Pakistan, Russia, Uncategorized, United States

Sec. Clinton in Pakistan- Says Officials May Know Al-Qaeda’s Whereabouts

See 2-Part In-depth interview with Pakistani journalists below

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said some Pakistani officials probably know where al- Qaeda is holed up in the country and urged the government to hunt down the terrorist group.

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

“Al-Qaeda has had safe haven in Pakistan since 2002,” Clinton told a group of editors in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore. “I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to. Maybe that’s the case; maybe they’re not gettable. I don’t know.”

Clinton made the comments on the second day of a visit to support economic development, counter rising anti-American sentiment and chip away at mistrust of U.S. aims in the region, during which she was due to meet with Pakistani opposition leaders as well as military and intelligence chiefs.

Clinton, who condemned yesterday’s bombing in the northwestern city of Peshawar that killed at least 105 people, called on former premier Nawaz Sharif, leader of the main opposition. She is scheduled to meet Pakistan’s most powerful national security policymaker, the army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, this evening in Islamabad.

Saying that she was “more than willing” to listen to Pakistani complaints about U.S. policies, Clinton stressed that Pakistan has to be mindful of American security concerns.

“But this is a two-way street,” Clinton said. “I ask in the pursuit of mutual respect that you take seriously our concerns.”

Read more at:

In depth interview with Pakistani journalists:

Related Story:

Clinton to Meet Abbas, Netanyahu
ISLAMABAD (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders over the weekend to push ahead with flagging efforts to restart peace talks, the State Department said Thursday.

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PBS’ Frontline To Premiere ‘Obama’s War’ About Afghanistan War

Warning: This video contains graphic language and imagery and NSFW

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Obama Meets with Afghanistan Commander in Denmark

Posted by Audiegrl

This photo provided by the White House shows President Barack Obama meeting with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 2, 2009, aboard Air Force One in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This photo provided by the White House shows President Barack Obama meeting with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 2, 2009, aboard Air Force One in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Associated Press/Julie Pace & Lara Jakes—At a pivotal point in the administration’s Afghanistan strategy, President Barack Obama and his top Afghan war commander met privately aboard Air Force One Friday for a talk the White House described as productive.

The 25-minute meeting with Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, aboard Air Force One as it waited to carry the president home from Denmark, gave Obama a chance to step outside the circle of advisers he has convened to study the problem of Afghanistan. His war council has been sharing differing opinions on whether the U.S. should send thousands more troops to tamp down the Taliban, or shift to a narrower focus on al-Qaida in neighboring Pakistan.

The Copenhagen meeting was an extension of those war council sessions “as we reassess and re-evaluate moving forward in Afghanistan,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters afterward.

He said Obama and McChrystal “both agree that this is a helpful process.” No decisions were made at their meeting, Gibbs said.

Mtg on Air Force One with Gen. McChrystal

Mtg on Air Force One with Gen. McChrystal

Obama was in the Danish capital to pitch Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic games, and McChrystal was summoned there from London, where he gave a speech on Thursday warning that insurgents are gaining strength in Afghanistan and the U.S. needs to increase its efforts there.

Hours after Obama and McChrystal met, the Pentagon said that the general’s official request for more troops for the war will not be sent to the White House until next week at the earliest.

At issue is Obama’s looming decision to stick with the current mission in Afghanistan – which could require adding as many as 40,000 additional U.S. troops – or scale back the military option and expand operations targeting terrorists in Pakistan.

More @ Associated Press

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