3 thoughts on “Women flogged publicly in ‘new’ Afghanistan

  1. ‘Military link risk to aid workers’

    2:05am Wednesday 3rd March 2010

    © Press Association 2010

    Working alongside soldiers in Afghanistan is putting aid agency staff in “much more” danger, a charity said.

    Save the Children said its “impartiality” was being threatened by the link-up.

    The charity, which is launching a humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan, warned the UK and Nato’s current approach to the conflict was “blurring the lines” between military and humanitarian objectives – and putting the lives of aid workers and civilians in jeopardy.

    “Funding soldiers to carry out humanitarian work, such as rebuilding schools, threatens the impartiality of aid agencies working on the ground and makes it much more dangerous for us to operate in the country,” said Patrick Watt, Save the Children’s director of development policy. “It could also turn hospitals or schools, rebuilt with military help, into targets and put children’s lives at risk.”

    Mr Watt said aid should be passed on in “close and trusted consultation” with Afghan civilians – and without military involvement. “If aid is to be effective it must be planned and carried out in close and trusted consultation with affected communities,” he said.

    “It is clear that soldiers involved in the conflict in Afghanistan should not be carrying out sensitive and complex humanitarian work with vulnerable communities. It is only through impartial aid organisations, such as Save the Children, that essential rebuilding can be done safely and successfully.”

    The charity said its fundraising appeal was vital to help those affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country. Unicef figures, published in November last year, showed Afghanistan had the world’s highest mortality rate for children under the age of five, with an infant dying every two minutes. Last year saw 1,050 children killed in suicide attacks, air strikes, explosions and cross-fire – the highest annual total since the conflict began in 2001, according to the Afghanistan Rights Monitor.

    “Afghanistan’s children are facing a massive humanitarian crisis,” said Mr Watt. “Despite the millions of pounds that have been spent on winning hearts and minds in the fight against the Taliban, Afghan children now have the worst chance in the world of surviving to their fifth birthday.

    “Helmand is among the most heavily aided places on earth per capita, yet tens of thousands of families living outside the immediate conflict zones are struggling to keep their children alive because they can’t get medical treatment or provide clean water or nutritious food to keep them healthy.”

  2. General: Demands of Iraq, Afghan wars hurting Army’s ability to train its forces

    Published: Thursday, Mar. 4, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 10A

    The Army’s ability to train its forces is “increasingly at risk” because of the nation’s protracted commitments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the general in charge of training has told the Army’s chief of staff.

    In a Feb. 16 memo to Gen. George Casey, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, says the Army has lost thousands of uniformed trainers because of troop demands in Iraq and Afghanistan, has had to put junior officers in charge of some key training functions and has delayed initial instruction for nearly 500 pilots because it doesn’t have enough trainers.

    Only 30 percent of the instructors at Army training schools are in the military, Dempsey says, with the Army increasingly dependent on outside contractors.

    “We are behind in integrating lessons learned, developing training and updating doctrine,” Dempsey wrote in the memo, a copy of which McClatchy obtained. “We are undermanned in our efforts to design the future Army.”

    –McClatchy Washington Bureau

    © Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

  3. Nato chief visits Czech Republic

    Czech Republic: Nato’s chief has visited the Czech Republic, where Communist and Social Democrat MPs are preparing to torpedo government efforts to boost the country’s military involvement in Afghanistan.

    Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Czech leaders to press on with their plan to deploy 55 more troops to join the 440 Czech soldiers who are already there.

    But the plan, which still needs parliamentary approval, is strictly opposed by the left-wing parties which together control 100 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.


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