Afghanistan to present National Development Strategy
KABUL, Nov. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- The post-war Afghanistan would present its National Development Strategy at the next donors' conference in London, Afghan Foreign Minister said Sunday.
"Work on the chalking out of a National Development Strategy, which is designed to be presented at donors' conference in London is going on," Abdullah Abdullah told journalists at a joint press conference with the special envoy of UN secretary General to Afghanistan Jean Arnault.
The two-day London conference, which is going to open on Jan. 31, is the third of its kind since the collapse of Taliban and induction of new government in the post-war nation over the past four years.
International community has pledged more than 12 billion US dollars in the first and second conferences of donors' nations held in Tokyo and Berlin respectively in 2002 and 2004.
The situation in Afghanistan especially the reconstruction is going to be reviewed by over 60 countries and international organizations attended the London conference.
"The international community would renew its commitment for another five years in assisting Afghanistan to rebuild itself in all necessary fields including development, security and good governance. We are hopeful to achieve the goal," Abdullah added.
Speaking at the press briefing, the UN special envoy to Afghanistan welcomed the coming London conference and called for more international support to Afghanistan.
"The plan to hold the London conference shows that, reassuringly, the international community has chosen another course of action to continue its high-level, multifaceted engagement with Afghanistan," Jean Arnault stressed.
NATO to expand peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan
AFP , BRUSSELS via Taipei Times - Nov 27 8:01 PM
Advertising NATO has agreed to plans extending its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) peacekeeping mission into Afghanistan's more volatile south, but concerns remain over who will provide troops amid growing security fears on the ground, officials said.
The operational plan to send up to 6,000 extra troops for the next phase of expansion of the ISAF was provisionally agreed last Thursday by ambassadors at the military alliance's Brussels headquarters.
But sources underline that concern about sending troops into potentially frontline combat situations, as opposed to a strictly peacekeeping role, is raising questions in NATO capitals, notably the Netherlands.
"ISAF will be faced with a more dangerous situation in the south. There are countries which are hesitating," said one source at the 26-nation alliance.
NATO has been in charge of ISAF since 2003, and has gradually expanded the force out of Kabul into the north and west of the country, chiefly through establishing civil and military Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT).
A separate US-led coalition of nearly 20,000 mostly US troops, Operation Enduring Freedom, is based mainly in the more volatile south and east, the focus of attacks by Taliban and other insurgents.
Under the operations plan agreed last week, NATO troops will also move into the south in May with the help of "up to 6,000" extra troops to add to the currently 9,500-strong ISAF force.
The plan -- expected to be submitted for final approval by NATO in Brussels on Dec. 8 -- underlines that any ISAF troops dispatched to the south would have more robust protection and beefed up "rules of engagement".
It also sets out in detail command arrangements between ISAF and the US-led anti-terror operation, a subject which has fueled intense debate for months at NATO headquarters.
Under the agreed plan, a NATO commander for the whole of Afghanistan would be backed up by three deputies, one in charge of security, who would be "double-hatted" in the sense of being answerable to both ISAF and the Americans.
At NATO headquarters, officials insist this will allow for a clear distinction between troops involved in anti-insurgent combat and ISAF, while underlining that NATO troops must all be able to defend themselves.
But in private military sources concede that it may be difficult, on the ground, to distinguish what is self-defense and more "pro-active" operations. Grey zones also exist for example in the fight against drug trafficking.
To cloud matters further, attacks on ISAF forces have intensified in recent months, fueling concerns in national capitals over the protection of soldiers they provide to NATO.
So for example in the Netherlands, the two main political parties have voiced reservations about sending Dutch troops, as scheduled, to the difficult southern province of Oruzgan.
"The secretary general is fully aware of the discussions taking place in the Netherlands," a NATO official said, referring to the alliance's chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
"No country intends to send their troops to the south with one hand tied behind their backs," the official said.
Britain, which will take over command of ISAF in May, is expected along with Canada and the Netherlands to lead PRTs in the south.
Pakistan to play important role in NATO expansion in Afghanistan: Secretary General
Monday November 28, 2005 (1116 PST) PakTribune.com, Pakistan
BRUSSELS, November 28(Online): NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has said that Pak-NATO relationship is very important in terms of NATO expansion mission in Afghanistan under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and intense talks are going on since before the earth quake happened.
Mr. Scheffer while speaking to UK based Asian and Middle eastern journalists said that he was in contact with the Pakistani prime minister, foreign minister and authorities, "since even before the horrible earthquake in Pakistan and we are discussing what we call Alliance Communication Agreement that Pakistan being in the specific geographical position can facilitate the support for the ISAF mission. NATO has excellent relations with Pakistan; being a seasoned politician myself I know the sensitivities in the region so India is kept fully informed".
Outlining NATO’s biggest priority in Afghanistan he said that it is that, "the international community as a whole stays fully committed in Afghanistan", NATO cannot, by itself, assist Afghan people and Karzai government to the extent that Afghanistan can further grow economically. NATO can create a climate of security and stability, "but I know from my past experience that it is a Herculean task to bring the country to stand on its own feet economically, therefore his key message in the forthcoming London conference on Afghanistan in January 2006 would be to tell EU, G8 and other bilateral nations to do it all together".
He emphasized that although NATO is playing an important role in Afghanistan, but since the problems are huge, " it’s a development corporation scenario, how can you fight poppy cultivation and drugs when you are not doing it together, you cannot burn poppy fields and not give the farmers the alternatives", he said. He added that Afghanistan needs NATO for peace and stability and needs EU and G8 and others committed fully for economic assistance, "but Karzai should take his responsibility, Afghanistan is no more under the tutelage of international community, our mission in Afghanistan is to prevent the country falling back into black hole and start exporting terrorism but the political part has to be played by the government and the parliament", he said.
Discussing the NATO expansion in Afghanistan he said that at the moment 10,000 NATO troops are in Afghanistan and 6,000 more would be added when NATO goes into south. NATO Secretary General admitted that, "when we expand into south , it will be less benign environment than west and north, we are sending our soldiers into harms way that is why these decisions are taken with great caution, it is not always easy, it is dangerous from time to time but we will stay on course", he said.
Answering a question Mr. Scheffer referred to the former Taleban government as, one of the most horrible regimes in the world who were exporting terrorism, depriving girls of education and suppressing women.
Describing NATO the Secretary General called it, "an organisation based on solidarity, and integrated defence built on the essential clause which is article 5 in Washington Treaty and at the same time running peace operations in many countries".
He said that NATO is going rather fundamental transformation, outreaching to the wider Mediterranean region and to the broader Middle East, right from assistance in Kosovo in 1995 to Darfur, Katrina relief and humanitarian relief in Pakistan.
Mini-skirts, dating in Afghanistan's Herat after warlord leaves
Mon Nov 28, 1:39 AM ET
HERAT, Afghanistan (AFP) - With a flawless face and marble-smooth arms, a busty blonde mannequin dummy displays a miniskirt in a boutique in Afghanistan's western city of Herat, where most women wear the bag-like burqa.
In the war-scarred capital Kabul, the dummy would hardly attract a second glance.
But in Herat, once ruled by powerful warlord Ismail Khan who oppressed women almost as much as the fundamentalist Taliban, the display is a revolution.
"Her name is Venus," says shopkeeper Aresh Azizi of the mannequin in a glittering window display in his newly opened Western-style shop.
"Under Khan you had to cover the faces of mannequins just as women cover their faces," recalls the 25-year-old who has himself had a style change, recently abandoning the traditional shalwar kamiz of baggy trousers and a long shirt for a Western-type suit.
Since the turban-wearing former holy warrior was transferred to Kabul by US-backed President Hamid Karzai in September 2004, more women visit Azizi's shop. Most would have not dared to enter just over a year ago.
The removal of Khan, who ruled Herat as his own personal fiefdom, was part of a plan secretly backed by the United States and the United Nations to reduce the power of Afghanistan's regional warlords and their private armies.
Karzai ordered the silver-bearded Khan to the capital to serve as energy minister, a sector in which he has some experience. He guaranteed 24-hour power to Herat, much of it from Iran, while Kabul's supply lasts only a few hours a week.
Khan's departure met with resistance. Several people were killed in riots and the offices of UN and other aid agencies were torched by his supporters opposed to the appointment, which Khan took several months to accept.
While the ethnic Tajik strongman was criticised by rights groups for his strict stance on women, including barring them from being alone with men who were not relatives, he won local support by putting money into public works.
One such project is Bagh-i-Milat park on a hillside on the outskirts of the city. Young men and women now visit its several fountains and restaurants on dates; in Khan's time they would have been arrested.
"I come here with my girlfriend -- it's fun," says a 22-year-old student, who asked not to be identified. "Ismail Khan would have killed me if I was seen here with a girl," he told AFP.
Sitting crosslegged in one of the restaurants, filled with smoke from bubbling chilams (pipes), two students sip from Pepsi cans filled with vodka smuggled from a base of about 800 mainly Italian NATO-led peacekeepers in the city.
Drinking alcohol is prohibited by both Islam and by Afghanistan's constitution, a ban Khan enforced strictly.
Despite the increased freedoms in the city of one million people, many are still conservative. There may be miniskirts in the shop windows but not on the street.
"Young women wear them only to wedding parties," Azizi said. Men and women sit in separate rooms at weddings in Afghanistan.
"God knows what women wear inside their room," jokes a director of a popular wedding hall.
Despite being cut off from his regional power base, Khan remains an important figure in Herat. About 10 of his supporters made their way into the parliament elected in September, said university lecturer and journalist Ahmad Saeed Aqiqi.
"He will have his own men at the parliament," he told AFP.
Many in the well-ordered city miss Khan. "He built streets, clinics and schools. He brought us electricity, good security -- he was good, but Karzai took him away from us," says car parts salesman Ali Reza.
"He is a good Muslim. He was working for the good of his people," says 34-year-old teacher Mohammad Shafiq.
Khan, now in his 60s, declared himself governor of Herat province after he and several other former mujahedin helped the United States topple the Taliban in late 2001.
While governor he refused to hand over to the central administration millions of dollars in tariffs from trade with neighbouring Iran and Turkmenistan, annoying Karzai's cash-strapped government.
Instead he used the money on roads, schools, hospitals and factories, turning the war-damaged city into the most prosperous in Afghanistan's 34 provinces.
"He was bad at limiting our freedoms and he was good because he worked on reconstruction," recalls Shaker Payman. "I like him for the one and I don't for the other."
Abuse of detainees creates chance for Taliban
KABUL, Nov. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- The ongoing reported abuse of detainees by US military in Afghanistan would facilitate Taliban-linked militants to exploit the situation for their own propaganda to mobilize local support, local observers said Sunday.
At least two suspected Afghan terrorists have died at the US military detention center in Bagram, 50 km north of capital city, the headquarters of over 20,000 strong US-led coalition forces in the post-Taliban nation.
In addition to the reported activity of detainees' maltreatment at the US holding facilities, the US military, according to media reports, has burned the bodies of Taliban militias, which are forbidden in Islam, the ruling religion in Afghanistan and the region.
A footage broadcast by SBS, an Australian television network last month indicated the US troops burned two corpses of Taliban fighters in a village in southern Kandahar province, the former stronghold of Taliban, and taunt other militias. The act sparked outrage in the conservative Afghanistan.
Afghan leaders including President Hamid Karzai strongly denounced the act and called for investigation into the subject.
"Abusing detainees' rights, or torturing prisoners, would bring opposing effect and definitely facilitate Taliban and terrorism to exploit the situation for their own propaganda in order to mobilize local support," renown political observer Qasim Akhgar maintained.
He noted that Afghans did not expect human rights violation from the US military in Afghanistan as they had helped Afghans to get rid of the Taliban and terrorists' clutches.
"Violating human rights and torturing people is the emblem of Taliban and terrorists, but not the emblem of soldiers of US army," Akhgar pointed out.
The US military, he said, had come here to root out the Taliban and terrorism.
"The trend, if goes unchecked, would also affect Afghan law enforcing personnel to follow the same policy in tackling law breakers," the analyst opined referring to the training by US instructors to Afghan law enforcing agencies particularly the police.
Piling complaints over the reported detainees abuse forced the US military to initiate a thorough investigation early last year, and the outcome of the probe, carried out by General Jacoby has yet to be made public.
Some 400 suspected Taliban and al-Qaida Afghans reportedly have been languishing in the 23 holding facilities run by the US military in Afghanistan.
"Tactic of highhandedness and torture of prisoners adopted by the US military would cause distrust between Afghan people and government and finally benefit Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists to boost their ranks," eminent journalist Syed Najibullah Hashimi observed.
Taliban's recent violent attacks, Hashimi went on to say, was the counter productive result of the treatment applied by US military to poor Afghan detainees at the detention centers.
Usually the US army denies the reported detainees abuse in Afghanistan. It has refused the Afghan rights to visit the holding facilities by saying the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) regularly visits the detention centers.
The US military has denied that its soldiers committed any crimes by burning two bodies of Taliban fighters in Kandahar last month.
"Our investigation found there was no intent to desecrate the remains, but only to dispose of them for hygienic reasons," operational commander of the US forces General Jason Kamiya told newsmen in Kandahar city on Saturday.
However, he added that disciplinary action would be taken against four soldiers involved in the case.
"Continued violation of human rights by US military in Afghanistan would change the minds of Afghans in favor of Taliban as they did not expect rights violation from the US military when they respect them as their liberators," Hashimi added.
The reported rights violation by the US servicemen is also a matter of concern among the official circles in the Afghan government.
"Burning human body or maltreating prisoners is an offence, and the offenders should be punished," deputy speaker of Presidential Palace Siamak Herawi told Xinhua.
"US troops present in Afghanistan should respect Afghan culture and those who violate the culture should be punished, and this is the stance of the government of Afghanistan," Herawi emphasized.
U.S. uses roads to woo Afghans
If residents cooperate, U.S. soldiers provide streetlights, paving and schools.
Orlando Sentinel (USA) Roger Roy | Sentinel Staff Writer November 27, 2005
ORGUN, Afghanistan -- In this remote, hostile province on the eastern border of Afghanistan, U.S. forces have found cobblestone roads and solar-powered streetlights to be their most powerful weapons in the war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
For the soldiers here charged with fighting the insurgents, the benchmarks for success are not body counts but how many miles of road they can pave, how many streetlights they can install and schools they can build.
"Our No. 1 priority is still killing or capturing the bad guys," said Lt. Col. Timothy McGuire, commander of the 1st Battalion of the 508th (Airborne) Infantry, the main U.S. war-fighting force in the province. "But projects like cobblestone roads are our most powerful weapon."
That roads and streetlights could succeed against the insurgency where bombs and guns have failed is testament to how stunningly backward and remote from the country's central government Paktika province is.
Until the roads through Orgun were paved earlier this year, there was not an inch of paved road in the province, an area the size of Vermont.
The national government was irrelevant and practically invisible in much of Paktika. The hostility it generated is perhaps best characterized by events two years ago in one border district where the police chief was beheaded, his officers executed and the district governor forced to flee for his life.
Some lifelong residents of the province told me recently they could not remember seeing national-government officials until representatives of President Hamid Karzai's government -- fortified by U.S. and Afghan army firepower -- recently began establishing district offices, garrisons and checkpoints staffed by Afghan soldiers and police.
Now U.S. and Afghan forces have been able to extend their influence -- and the red, black and green Afghan flag -- into insurgent strongholds. They have done it in part by persuading residents to support the Karzai government in exchange for projects such as roads and streetlights.
I saw firsthand how persuasive those rewards can be when I accompanied a company of McGuire's paratroopers to northern Paktika to search the homes of suspected insurgent supporters in Naka and Zerok for illegal weapons.
In Naka, the sullen leader of a madrassa, or religious school, being questioned about hidden weapons, perked up considerably when asked whether he had seen the new paved road in Orgun or the solar-powered streetlamps in Zerok, villages where residents are cooperating with the American and Afghan military.
"If you could provide some solar lights for my madrassa, the people of Naka would be very happy," he told the American soldiers through their interpreter.
But he was told no projects would come until villagers cooperate with authorities and the provincial governor, a carrot-and-stick message I heard delivered over and over during the course of the two-day operation.
Naka's 33-year-old mayor, Wali Shah, told the Americans he wanted some of the $1,500 streetlights for his village's government office, mosques and bazaar.
Shah, who topped off our visit by serving us a dinner of spicy chunks of beef and potatoes at his government office, explained that his people are tired of fighting and want improvements now.
The main street, where camel trains still plod along carrying loads of firewood and grain, is a rough dirt trail flanked by open sewers. About 25,000 people live in the village. There is no electricity, and the only lights at night come from the homes of the few who can afford generators.
"The people right now, they want projects: They want schools and streetlights," the mayor said through an interpreter. "They don't want al-Qaeda. They don't want trouble."
But whether the villagers of Naka will be drawn by the prospect of projects remains to be seen: Attacks there have declined recently, but residents still hesitate to cooperate freely with the Americans and the Afghan government, and the insurgents may be merely regrouping for the winter.
Abundant resource: Rocks
Through most of Paktika, residents are resisting pressure to choose sides.
"We're fighting the battle of the fence-sitters right now," Capt. Jason Hansen of Utah explained to me. "They're waiting to see which side is going to prevail, and what we're trying to do is push them off the fence. And projects like the roads have been a big part of that. We're saying, 'Here's what your government can do for you, but you need to choose a side.' "
The irony isn't lost on the Americans that, despite all their 21st-century weapons and tools, it is a technology dating back thousands of years that is proving so effective.
The roads built or under construction in Orgun and three other cities in the province aren't much different from the stone roads of the Roman Empire. And they take advantage of one of the country's most abundant resources: rocks.
Afghans like to say that, after God made the world, all that was left over was rocks, and so God made Afghanistan.
In parts of Paktika, the stones are hard, flat and consistent in thickness, making them ideal for use as paving stones.
Arranged over a hard-packed base of gravel and dirt, the stones are mortared in place.
The result is a road that's not as smooth as asphalt, but which can be made with local materials and can easily be repaired when stones become loose.
They're also cheap. The 2.2 miles of stone road in Orgun was built for $300,000.
And because the work is labor-intensive, the projects employ hundreds of laborers, who earn from $3 to $7 a day, perhaps two to four times more than the average Afghan.
For the first road projects, outside contractors were brought in because no one in Paktika knew how to do the work, said McGuire of Alamo, Calif. But the local foreman on the Orgun road used his experience there to win the contract for a $180,000 paving job in nearby Sarowbi.
"Next year, he'll probably get two or three paving projects, and so you've got a local contractor now who's getting the work," McGuire said. "That's building Afghan capacity."
The employment offered by the road-building -- in a poor province where there's little work -- is as beneficial as the finished road itself.
"If an Afghan is working all day and making a good wage building a road, he's not going to be out there at night planting a bomb on it," McGuire said as we inspected one of the cobblestone streets.
'A good sign'
As aid to Afghanistan goes, the projects built by McGuire's paratroopers are a drop in the bucket.
Foreign governments and aid organizations are pouring billions of dollars into the country in an effort to overcome the devastation of decades of war.
McGuire has just $6 million in what's called the commander's emergency program to fund projects for the year his battalion is in the country.
But while the bigger organizations have more money, they're also often hamstrung by bureaucracy and problems the soldiers don't face. Many of those organizations, especially the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have been criticized for long delays in their projects, some of which have yet to be started months after their scheduled completion.
Work on many aid projects has essentially stopped because of security worries, attacks or squatters who take over partially completed projects and refuse to leave.
None of those are problems for McGuire's paratroopers, whose rapid work on the roads in Paktika recently brought a USAID official to investigate how they've completed their projects so quickly.
But though the projects have bolstered support for the Afghan government, and brought good will for the Americans, they've also fed rising expectations among residents who, until recently, didn't expect anything of their own government.
While inspecting work on the road in Sarowbi recently, Capt. Tom Hando of Milwaukee, who oversees the work, found himself confronted by villagers who demanded to know when their streets would be paved, some of them complaining that the selection of streets had favored one tribe over another.
Hando explained that more work was on the way and that other streets will be paved, too, but he didn't make any promises about their streets.
"This is what you get into every time on these projects," Hando said. "It's just the way things are here, and you have to work through it."
But many others in the town, not known as American-friendly, simply offered their hand and a brief word of thanks to Hando, who noted the many red, green and black flags displayed on rooftops and storefronts.
"Look at all the Afghan flags flying," Hando said. "That's something you never used to see. And it's always a good sign."
Sentinel reporter ROGER ROY is on assignment with the Florida National Guard and other U.S. troops.
Pakistan aided Taliban in killing of Border
Road Organization driver Maniappan in Afghanistan
Pakistan aided Taliban in killing of Border Road Organization driver Maniappan in Afghanistan to create tension between India and Afghanistan : Indian National Security Adviser
India Daily M.K. Narayanan Media Release Nov. 27, 2005
The abduction and killing of Border Road Organisation driver Maniappan in Afghanistan was the result of a ''conspiracy'' between Pakistan and Taliban, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan has said.
Narayanan said Pakistan's aim was to create rift in the cordial relations existing between India and Afghanistan.
"It is a conspiracy, cheating and an ill-motivated act," Narayanan said.
He said the tragic incident, however, would not dampen Indo-Afghan relations. India would continue with its peace-time construction works in Afghanistan.
Narayanan rejected the allegation that India had not done anything to secure Maniappan's release. India had contacted the Afghan government as soon as the news of the kidnapping came out. But a link could not be established with the Taliban which did not offer a chance for negotiations.
The Taliban had executed the hostage in a most brutal manner and such acts posed a threat to the civilised world, he said.
Narayanan was here to inaugurate the newly formed Ottappalam Development Forum.
Tashkent cuts off another route to Afghanistan
13:54 | 28/ 11/ 2005
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Goncharov.)
Officially closing its airspace for NATO military aircraft starting Wednesday, November 23, Uzbekistan has undoubtedly undermined the logistics system of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan amid a general logistical crisis caused by the American pullout from Khanabad.
Tashkent's decision will hardly stop the independent antiterrorist operation the United States conducts in Afghanistan, which had been primarily supported through Khanabad, but it will make life even harder for the U.S. troops there.
A senior official at NATO headquarters in Brussels dismissed rumors that the closure of Uzbek airspace would lead to a reduction in procurements, saying the Alliance would redirect the supplies to alternative channels. After all, Germany was the only country that used the air route from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan, he added.
Though the last statement is largely true - so far Germany was the only client of the air force base in Termez, which was the only route for the supplies of its Afghan military deployments. But Termez is one of the few regional cities having a railway connection to Afghanistan across the border river of Amu Darya. The Soviet-built Friendship Bridge linking it to the Afghan river port of Hairatan makes Termez the only potential logistical hub in the region. Denial of service through this hub is a challenge for ISAF as a whole as well as for Germany, whose force makes up the backbone of this antiterrorist operation.
The analysis of possible "alternative channels" also reveals a grim picture for all ISAF contributors. Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, who could have provided alternative supply routes, vowed to act primarily in line with the interests of their Central Asian neighbors, one of which is Russia. The largest remaining, though geographically inconvenient, Western-controlled logistical capability in Central Asia is the U.S.-leased Manas airport in Kyrgyzstan, but it is already overcrowded with C-130s and C-17s withdrawn from Khanabad.
The Spanish Defense Ministry will be sending additional personnel to Afghanistan strengthing its current force of 540 to 2,500 next year. Spain will take over the lead in ISAF operations and has expressed concern over the anticipated logistical problems. It has also admitted the changes would make the necessary airlifts longer, more complicated, and more expensive.
These, however, are minor issues. What really is at stake now is who will be the main player in Afghan security.
U.S. generals, who had been so unilateralist on Afghanistan from the early days of the anti-Taliban movement, suddenly became very NATO-cooperative as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security gathering including Central Asian countries, Russia, and China, urged the White House to set a deadline for the presence of its troops in Central Asia. In other words, as soon as the Americans claimed major progress on Afghan security, they had to go. In response, the Pentagon, a leading NATO player (though certainly not the only financial contributor), increased pressure on other ISAF nations to establish an overall NATO jurisdiction over both antiterrorist efforts in the country - clearly with the intent to redirect its own supplies to Afghanistan to the German-dominated Termez route. This had been an option indeed - until Tashkent also cut it off.
Meanwhile, the antiterrorist effort in Afghanistan is far from being successful. The general outlook is basically optimistic but the Taliban and al-Qaeda have stepped up their activities this year, inflicting heavy peacekeeping (primarily U.S.) and, worse, noncombatant casualties. Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently called on the coalition to "revise both strategy and tactics of counterterrorist action in the country."
The bottom line is that, facing the denial of airspace usage, as their military objectives in Afghanistan become harder to achieve than ever, the ISAF contributing nations will clearly be reluctant to hand over the peacekeeping authority in Afghanistan to the Atlantic Alliance. Nor the Alliance will willingly take upon itself Washington's new logistical headache.
Families of Lithuanian diplomats sent relief for children of Afghanistan
Source: Government of the Republic of Lithuania 25 Nov 2005
In support of Lithuania's mission in Afghanistan employees of Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and their families collected aid for the children of Afghanistan's Ghor province.
Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and Lithuanian Special mission have been functioning in Afghanistan's Ghor province since June. One of many aims of the PRT and the Special mission is to collect humanitarian aid for inhabitants of Ghor province.
Security policy department of Lithuanian MFA organized action of support for orphanage of Chagcharan the capital of Ghor province. The employees of the Ministry have donated a lot of children clothes, blankets, mattresses, toys etc.
The donations will be given to orphans and poor children of Chagcharan. The relief will be sent to Afghanistan in the nearest time.
It is planned to involve society in the project. On 9 December Foreign Ministry organizes a conference for nongovernmental organizations and business partners on support for Afghanistan's Ghor province.
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