This video says about itself:
Afghan officials have condemned an air raid by US forces that they say killed civilians attending a wedding ceremony in Kandahar province.
From the International Herald Tribune:
Press and “Psy Ops” to merge at NATO Afghan HQ
Published: November 29, 2008
By Jon Hemming
The U.S. general commanding NATO forces in Afghanistan has ordered a merger of the office that releases news with “Psy Ops,” which deals with propaganda, a move that goes against the alliance’s policy, three officials said.
The move has worried Washington’s European NATO allies — Germany has already threatened to pull out of media operations in Afghanistan — and the officials said it could undermine the credibility of information released to the public.
Seven years into the war against the Taliban, insurgent influence is spreading closer to the capital and Afghans are becoming increasingly disenchanted at the presence of some 65,000 foreign troops and the government of President Hamid Karzai. …
U.S. General David McKiernan, the commander of 50,000 troops from more than 40 nations in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), ordered the combination of the Public Affairs Office (PAO), Information Operations and Psy Ops (Psychological Operations) from December 1, said a NATO official with detailed knowledge of the move.
“This will totally undermine the credibility of the information released to the press and the public,” said the official, who declined to be named. …
NATO policy recognises there is an inherent clash of interests between its public affairs offices, whose job it is to issue press releases and answer media questions, and that of Information Operations and Psy Ops.
Information Operations advises on information designed to affect the will of the enemy, while Psy Ops includes so-called “black operations,” or outright deception.
While Public Affairs and Information Operations, PA and Info Ops in military jargon, “are separate, but related functions,” according to the official NATO policy document on public affairs, “PA is not an Info Ops discipline.”
The new combined ISAF department will come under the command of an American one-star general reporting directly to McKiernan, an arrangement that is also against NATO policy, the NATO official said.
If one adds up the numbers of “Taliban killed”, claimed in individual NATO communiques, one gets numbers higher than the total population in Afghanistan. So, by far most were not Taliban, but children, women, and other Afghan civilians … or existed only in “Psychological Operations” fantasy.
Robert Fisk: Afghanistan in Crisis.
- Afghan policeman kills US adviser in Kabul, says Nato (arabtimesonline.com)
- Afghan policewoman kills NATO adviser (abc.net.au)
- Afghan policewoman ‘kills US man’ (bbc.co.uk)
NATO soldiers kill Afghan policeman
Mon, Dec 1 01:35 PM
Kabul, Dec.1 (ANI): An Afghan policeman has been killed by British soldiers in Kabul .
British soldiers opened fire on a vehicle, on Sunday, which killed the policeman intantly. The vehicle is reported to have approached the NATO convoy despite warnings to keep away.
The oncoming vehicle ignored repeated warnings, that included the firing of a mini-flare, and continued towards the NATO International Security Assistance Force patrol in the southern town of Lashkar Gah .
The ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) soldiers judged the vehicle to be ‘a direct threat to their lives’ and hence opened fire, the military said in a statement.
One of the passengers, a policeman, was wounded and died later at the ISAF Hospital, the statement said. About 75 such incidents have already taken place in Afghanistan this year, many of them proving fatal. The southern part of the country has witnessed most of such incidents. The southern part of Afghanistan is suffering from Taliban-led insurgency which sees regular suicide bombings..
Lashkar Gah is Afghanistan’s premier opium and heroin producing area and a stronghold of Taliban fighters who are believed to control a vast area of Helmand province.
Britain has about 8,000 soldiers in ISAF which works alongside a US-led coalition in Afghanistan against the Taliban extremists.(ANI)
U.S. troops investigated for abuse of Afghans
December 2, 2008, 2:23 am
KABUL (Reuters) – Two U.S. soldiers based in Afghanistan are being investigated for alleged abuse of Afghan detainees, the U.S. military said Monday.
Captain Roger T. Hill and 1st Sergeant Tommy L. Scott, both of the 1st battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army will be investigated under Article 32, the military equivalent of a civilian grand jury hearing.
In 2005, two U.S. soldiers were charged with abusing Afghan detainees at a base in the Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan and media have alleged abuse of prisoners at Bagram, the U.S. army’s main base in Afghanistan .
The investigation will take place at U.S. base Khost province, southeastern Afghanistan , a statement from the U.S. military said.
There are approximately 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan , either under NATO command or in a separate U.S.-led coalition force.
(Reporting by Golnar Motevalli; Editing by Charles Dick)
UN: No trials for prisoners
01/12/2008 21:09 – (SA)
Kabul – More Afghans are being detained without trial, with poor people or those without powerful connections, the most common victims, unable to pay bribes to secure their release, the United Nations said on Monday.
Afghanistan is emerging from nearly 30 years of war and its judicial and law enforcement systems are still very much in their infancy. Corruption is endemic at all levels of the police force, experts say, who often milk the populace for bribes.
“Pre-trial detention is supposed to be the exception and not the rule, but in this country it is more the rule, especially if you are poor and without powerful friends,” said Christina Oguz, head of the UN’s drug and crime agency in Afghanistan.
Speaking at a news conference in Kabul on Monday, Oguz talked about the prevalence of what she called, “telephone justice”, whereby a phone call to the right police officer or judge was sometimes all that was needed to be released.
“If you have powerful friends and commit a crime you may not even face a trial because a phone call to the police or to the prosecutor can be made to release you,” said Oguz.
“If you don’t have these powerful friends you may end up behind bars even if you are a child,” she said.
While the number of prisoners in Afghanistan remains relatively low, the figure has more than doubled in the last three years, says the UN, with 12 500 prisoners in the country compared with 6 000 in January 2006.
In December 2007, the UN estimated that about 50% of prisoners were pre-trial detainees.
Another problem facing prisoners in Afghanistan, said Oguz, is that many often remain in jail long after their sentence has expired, in effect serving “double” sentences as they are unable to pay the additional fine.
“If you are poor, again, you may end up staying in prison even though your prison sentence has ended because you cannot pay your fund or you cannot bribe yourself out,” said Oguz.
“We have found many cases of people who are still in prison after their time has been served,” she said.
Oguz said that Afghanistan needed to look to alternatives to imprisonment, such as suspended sentences, house arrests and fines but not on top of any prison sentence.
“Prison should not be the first sentence that comes to your mind for the majority of cases,” she said. “Prison is often a very expensive way of making a bad situation worse.”
Britons Object to More Troops in Afghanistan
LONDON: Almost half of adults in Britain are completely against enhancing their military commitment in Afghanistan, according to a poll by YouGov. Forty-six per cent of respondents say Britain should not send more troops to the war on terrorism under any circumstances, even upon request by United States president-elect Barack Obama.
Conversely, 39 per cent of respondents would agree to send more soldiers to Afghanistan but only when more British troops have been withdrawn from Iraq.
Children at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS in Afghanistan
© UNICEF video
A boy sifts through garbage in Afghanistan, which is often littered with discarded syringes. Accidental punctures from such needles could result in HIV infection.
By Leslie Knott
KABUL, Afghanistan, 1 December 2008 – With 504 recorded cases, Afghanistan has a relatively low number of confirmed HIV cases, but experts on the disease are raising alarm bells for an expected rise in reported numbers, especially among street children.
“Children are at high risk to contract HIV in Afghanistan,” said Dr. Malalai Ahmadzai, UNICEF Maternal Health and HIV Specialist. “Those children who have lost their parents due to war, those children who are doing street work and labour, and also those children who may be at risk because of transmission from mother to child.”
According to Aschiana, a Non-Governmental Organization working with street children, there are more than 70,000 children who live on the street, working to support themselves and their families. Engineer Yousuf, head of Aschiana, has expressed a growing concern for Afghanistan’s children and their susceptibility to HIV/AIDS.
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