Pakistan (HRW) – Government Needs to Investigate, Protect Journalists and Activists. The Pakistani government should urgently investigate the apparent abductions of four activists who campaign for human rights and religious freedom, Human Rights Watch said today. The four men, Salman Haider, Read More
Afghanistan (GV) – International media coverage of Afghanistan focuses overwhelmingly on war; the damage reaped by NATO/Resolute Support Mission airstrikes, the atrocities committed by militant groups on the ground, the abuses of the civilian population by government troops. But if the Read More
In one of his final moves in office, president Obama has committed another 2,300 US troops to Afghanistan to help the government curb the resurgence of the Taliban.
After a year of territorial gains by the Taliban in their fight against the weakened Afghani government, the US is sending around 2,300 troops from armor and aviation brigades to assist in attempting to turn the tide. The troops are being sent as part of operation Freedom’s Sentinel to “advise and assist” the Afghan security services in their ongoing fight.
The Afghan forces are also combating the still-active al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan as well as a new cell of the Islamic State that materialized in the country earlier this year. The US forces have have their work cut out for them judging by the failures of the Afghan government in the past few years as well as the rampant corruption within the security services.
After repeated questions from the Die Linke opposition party, the German government has admitted that the US Air Force is using its Ramstein base to control drone strikes which are used in anti-terror operations and to carry out extra-legal killings, German MP Andrej Hunko told Sputnik Deutschland.
The US Air Force is using its Ramstein Air Base in Germany to carry out controversial drone attacks, the German government has admitted after an inquiry from the opposition Die Linke party.
Die Linke deputy Andrej Hunko told Sputnik Deutschland that Berlin has finally admitted the role Ramstein plays in US drone attacks after denying it for several years.
It goes without saying that Afghanistan has a special geopolitical, geo-strategic and geo-economic importance, that is why its territory has become an arena of bitter rivalry between various external and internal forces. This country has gained particular importance in the regional and global game amid the background of its neighbors, namely Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, having largest uranium reserves in the world, while the Gulf and the Caspian Sea, adjacent to Afghan territory, holding an extensive amount of energy reserves within the region.
However, Washington’s think tanks have found themselves in a deadlock as a result of their strategy for Afghanistan and the region. Despite the fact that the US has wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on this region, it has achieved no strategic objectives, the most important of which were the so-called projects of the “Greater Middle East” and of “Great Central Asia”. If no fundamental adjustments are made to US strategy both at the global and regional levels, the situation will only get increasingly complicated. At that point, Washington would be unable to hide the utter and complete failure of its designs in Afghanistan, and in Central Asia as a whole.
The famous Afghan Girl is now a proxy for the regional contest between India and Pakistan. India to offer her free medical treatment after Pakistan deports her to Afghanistan for illegal stay
India has offered free medical treatment to the famous ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula whose piercing blue eyes as a young pubescent captivated the world in 1985. Now a grown up woman with poverty and destitution having dulled her sharp features, she was in the news after Pakistan deported her to Afghanistan from Pakistan for illegally stay.
Sharbat Gula may arrive in India in the next few days to receive free treatment offered by a hospital in Bengaluru.
In the territory of Kashmir, disputed between India and Pakistan, members of a militant organisation called Hizb-ul Mujahideen wage a campaign of violence against what they regard as Indian occupation of their region which is known by India as the State of Jammu and Kashmir and internationally as Indian-administered Kashmir. In early July a popular 22-year old member of the organisation, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, was killed by Indian security forces. A highly intelligent young man, he joined the HuM at the age of 15 after his younger brother was beaten up by para-military soldiers, and became well known for his use of social media to encourage other young people to join the fight against India.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court today dismissed an appeal brought by lawyers for a severely mentally ill prisoner, who now faces execution in as little as a week’s time.
Lawyers for Imdad Ali, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, argued that he should not be executed as to do so would violate both Pakistani and international law. Mr Ali came within hours of execution last week, despite prison doctors having assessed him as being “insane”, including on the night before the execution.
Russia and Iran have warned the UN that ISIS influence is growing in Afghanistan. An ISIS stronghold in the country could put Pakistan, India, Iran, and central Asian countries at risk for growing ISIS influence.
Iran’s permanent ambassador to the UN, Gholam-Ali Khoshroo, warned on Wednesday that as ISIS presence grows in Afghanistan more effort must be put into stabilizing the Afghan government to combat this issue. “The onus is on the international community to help the Afghan government with its fight against terrorism and extremism as well as the security, political and economic challenges it is grappling with,” he said. As ISIS loses ground in Iraq and Syria, experts are worried that fighters will flow into weaker surrounding states, like Afghanistan. Representatives are concerned that this will put more stable countries like Pakistan and India at risk.
Pakistani authorities should cease coercive measures and other abuses that are driving tens of thousands of Afghan refugees from Pakistan, Human Rights Watch said today. The Pakistani government should extend legal residency status to Afghan refugees until at least December 31, 2017.
“Pakistani authorities are increasingly committing abuses against Afghan refugees that are triggering a mass refugee return,” said Patricia Gossman, senior Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The government should rein in its abusive security forces and ensure the refugees secure status and protection.”
The prospect of Hillary Clinton being President of the United States of America is one to fill our minds with dread concerning the likely posture of Washington in foreign affairs should she ever attain the Oval Office. There is no doubt she would continue or even increase the intensity of Washington’s military confrontations with China and Russia – and enjoy smacking the wrists of smaller countries whose actions might displease her. Indeed her castigation might go further, even to the extent of rejoicing in the murder of national leaders such as President Gaddafi of Libya, about whom she laughed «We came. We saw. He died».
There is no doubt that under her reign the US military presence around the world would expand and that there would not be closure of any of the armed forces’ bases surrounding China and Russia, or the slightest decrease in size or aggressive posture of the US nuclear-armed fleets that roam the seas and oceans.
Drone assassinations will continue and more innocent people like that poor taxi driver in Pakistan will be killed by US Hellfire missiles guided by gleeful techno-cretins who move control sticks and prod buttons to play barbaric video games from their comfortable killing couches in drone-control bases.
Revise and Enforce Laws to End Barbaric Practice
Pakistan’s government should urgently investigate and prosecute those responsible for the recent jump in reported “honor” killings in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. The government needs to send a message of zero tolerance.
In Pakistan, murders to protect family or community “honor” have received widespread attention in recent weeks. On June 8, 2016, Zeenat Rafiq, 18, was burned to death in Lahore by her mother for “bringing shame to the family” by marrying a man of her choice. On May 31, family members tortured and burned to death a 19-year-old school teacher in Murree, Punjab province for refusing an arranged marriage proposal. On May 5, the body of Amber, 16, was found inside a vehicle that had been set on fire in Abbottabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, after a jirga, or traditional assembly of elders, ordered her death for helping her friend marry of her own choice.
During a TV talk show this Friday, June 10, Pakistani Senator Hafiz Hamdullah verbally abused Marvi Sirmed, an analyst on the program and a human rights activist, even threatening the woman with rape. Hamdullah, a representative of the religious political party Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), has spoken abusively on live television to political opponents before.
Shortly after the program was recorded, Sirmed wrote about the experience on Facebook, triggering an uproar, and leading to a police report and calls for Senator Hamdullah to be prosecuted:
I’ve just undergone a very traumatic experience at a News One program (Nadia Mirza Show) when Hafiz Hamdullah of JUIF got angry on a comment by Barrister Masroor. When my turn came, I started my comment by saying “I agree with Masroor sahib to the extent that…” and here Hamdullah cut me and went on and on with his arrogance and rudeness. I responded in almost the same coin. And that’s when he started abusing me with worst possible expletives. Called me a whore and said “tumhaari shalwaar utaar dooN ga aur tumhaari maaN ki bhi” (I will take off your trousers and your mothers). I returned this to his own family women. And then he tried to beat me. All of this recorded in camera. Fayaz ul Hassan Chauhan held him so his punches don’t reach me. He had to be taken away by the News One security.
And this religious merchant was fasting while he did all this.
Ayesha Mehmood is the official spokesperson for Thalassemia Pakistan – an organisation that raises awareness about the inherited blood disorder.
Mehmood, who has thalassemia major herself and has lost two siblings to the disease, has made it her life’s mission to raise awareness on social media about the life-threatening disorder, to reduce social stigma associated with the disease and to push for legislation that will help curb its spread.
Thalassemia is passed down through families. The bodies of thalassemia patients make an abnormal form of hemoglobin, the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, which leads to anemia. If both parents have the mutated gene – the symptomless thalassemia minor – their children are highly likely to have life-threatening anemia.