Serving you since 1998
January 2008 :   2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

January 10, 2008 

US to send 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is preparing to send at least 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan in April to bolster efforts to hold off another expected Taliban offensive in the spring, military officials.

Afghanistan welcomes US deployment plans
By FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan welcomed Pentagon plans to send an additional 3,000 U.S. Marines to the country's volatile south in April, although it said Thursday the long-term solution is to bolster Afghan forces.

1 NATO soldier dies in Afghan blast
Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan - A NATO vehicle struck a mine in southern Afghanistan, killing one soldier and wounding another, while a militant attack in the east left a policeman dead, officials said Thursday.

Premature suicide blast injuries shopkeeper in S Afghanistan
www.chinaview.cn  2008-01-10 16:22:20
KABUL, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- A suicide attacker exploded himself on a highway in Qalat city of southern Afghanistan's Zabul province Thursday, injuring a civilian shopkeeper, a local official said.

Afghanistan seeks end to deportations
By RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan urged Iran on Thursday to stop deporting its citizens during the winter months, saying doing so could cause a humanitarian disaster.

Youth projects bring new hope to blighted Afghan region
by Beatrice Khadige Thu Jan 10, 2:06 AM ET
NAN GAB, Afghanistan (AFP) - The building of a new school for more than 2,000 children is bringing fresh hope to Nan Gab, a remote town in western Afghanistan blighted by corruption and the drugs trade.

Photos give Afghan women a voice
By Stephanie Schorow, Boston Globe Correspondent  |  January 10, 2008
Most of the homes in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city, have no street-side windows. It's too risky. Someone who is not a husband, brother, or father might catch a glimpse of the faces of women living inside

Fierce winds don't impede repatriation service
GREGORY BONNELL The Canadian Press January 10, 2008
CFB TRENTON, ONT. -- The fierce winds strafing this Eastern Ontario military base weren't quite strong enough yesterday to halt a repatriation ceremony for the two latest Canadian soldiers to be killed in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: Government asks WFP to help avert food shortages
KABUL, 10 January 2008 (IRIN) - The Afghan government has asked the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to increase its food aid from the previously planned 180,000 to 215,000 metric tonnes (mt) in 2008

US wants Pakistan to bite the bullet
By Syed Saleem Shahzad Asia Times Online / January 9, 2008
KARACHI - After more than six years, Pakistan finds itself in probably the most difficult position it has been in since signing on as a partner in the US-led "war on terror".

Pakistan wrestles with a 'soldier of peace'
By Imtiaz Ali Asia Times Online, Hong Kong
Baitullah Mehsud, the most feared and dangerous militant commander in Pakistan's tribal region, has not only become the public face of militancy in the country, but is now also openly posing a serious threat to the US's efforts

Pakistan tribe says will take on al Qaeda fighters
Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:32am EST By Hafiz Wazir
WANA, Pakistan, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Members of a Pakistani ethnic Pashtun tribe vowed on Thursday to raise a militia aimed at forcing al Qaeda-linked foreign militants from their lands on the Afghan border.

No end to police corruption on Herat-Kandahar highway
By: - 7/01/2008 - 16:13
ZARANJ, Jan 7 (Pajhwok Afghan News):  Commuters complain about police bribes on Herat Kandahar highway; arms robberies on the highway have also been reported.

More relief items delivered to Pak refugees
By: Jamal Asif Khel & Saboor Mangal - 7/01/2008 - 18:38
GARDEZ/KHOST CITY, Jan 7 (Pajhwok Afghan News): As the minister for refugee affairs visited their camps, Pakistani families that recently migrated to border districts of southeastern Khost and Paktia provinces received fresh assistance on Monday.

Tougher law for private security firms presented to cabinet
By: S. Mudassir Ali Shah & Dr M. Naseer Malikzai - 7/01/2008 - 20:16
KABUL, Jan 7 (Pajhwok Afghan News): A law regulating operations of private security companies, some of which have already been closed for failing to fulfill legal requirements, was presented to the cabinet for approval on Monday.

More relief items delivered to Pak refugees
By: Jamal Asif Khel & Saboor Mangal - 7/01/2008 - 18:38
GARDEZ/KHOST CITY, Jan 7 (Pajhwok Afghan News): As the minister for refugee affairs visited their camps, Pakistani families that recently migrated to border districts of southeastern Khost and Paktia provinces received fresh assistance on Monday.

Top Afghan militant held in Lahore
By: Janullah Hashamzada - 7/01/2008 - 13:38
PESHAWAR, Jan 6 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Dr. Aminul Haque, an Afghan militant accused of having relation with Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden and also included in the US black list was arrested in Lahore, sources said on Sunday.

Dasht-e-Barchi residents stage demo in Kabul
By: - 6/01/2008 - 15:31
KABUL, Jan 5 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Around two hundred residents of Dasht-e-Barchi area of this capital on Saturday staged a peaceful demonstration asking the government to include Dasht-e-Barchi in new energy and water ministry plan.

Back to Top
US to send 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is preparing to send at least 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan in April to bolster efforts to hold off another expected Taliban offensive in the spring, military officials.

The move Wednesday represents a shift in Pentagon thinking that has been slowly developing after months of repeated insistence that the U.S. was not inclined to fill the need for as many as 7,500 more troops that commanders have asked for there. Instead, Defense Secretary Robert Gates pressed NATO allies to contribute the extra forces.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Wednesday that a proposal will go before Gates on Friday that would send a ground and air Marine contingent as well as a Marine battalion together totaling more than 3,000 forces to southern Afghanistan for a "one-time, seven-month deployment."

Gates, he said, will want to review the request, and is not likely to make a final decision on Friday.

"He will take it and consider it thoroughly before approving it," said Morrell. "I just want to get people away from the idea that this is going to be imminently approved by the secretary."

He said Gates "has some more thinking to do on this matter because it's a serious allocation of forces."

Morrell added that Gates' thinking on the issue has "progressed a bit" over time as it became clear that it was politically untenable for many of the NATO nations to contribute more combat troops to the fight.

"The commanders need more forces there. Our allies are not in the position to provide them. So we are now looking at perhaps carrying a bit of that additional load," the spokesman said.

Morrell said the move, first reported Wednesday by ABC News, was aimed at beating back "another Taliban offensive" that is expected this spring as has occurred in previous years.

When Gates was in Afghanistan last month, commanders made it clear they needed the additional forces.

Last year was the most violent since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The number of attacks has surged, including roadside bombings and suicide assaults.

Currently there are about 27,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, including 14,000 with the NATO-led coalition. The other 13,000 U.S. troops are training the Afghan forces and hunting al-Qaida terrorists.

Morrell said that while the Marine ground and air contingent would be put in place to prevent a spring Taliban offensive, the Marine battalion likely would be used to train Afghan forces.

The shift in U.S. thinking on sending more combat forces to Afghanistan has appeared inevitable in recent weeks, based on the political realities in many of the NATO nations.

In meeting after meeting during his Afghanistan visit in early December, Gates heard pleas from both Afghan and U.S. military leaders for up to 7,500 more forces, with about half needed for training.

About a week later, Gates was asked by a reporter after a NATO meeting in Scotland whether the Bush administration was considering sending more troops to Afghanistan, in the event that the shortfalls are not bridged by NATO allies. Gates replied, "Not in the short term."

But by Dec. 21, Gates acknowledged during a press briefing that the Pentagon would "be looking at the requirement ourselves."

Bush administration officials pressed NATO allies for months to fill gaps in troops levels in Afghanistan, but many allied governments face public opposition to deeper involvement there.

Gates said at the Scotland meeting that the administration had decided to tone down its appeals to allies, taking into account "political realities" faced by some European governments whose citizens may see less reason to intervene in Afghanistan.

The Bush administration has launched a wide-ranging review of its policy in Afghanistan to ensure that gains made since the radical Islamist Taliban regime was ousted in 2001 are not lost and to bolster Afghan President Hamid Karzai's nascent government.
___

AP Military Writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.
Back to Top

Back to Top
Afghanistan welcomes US deployment plans
By FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan welcomed Pentagon plans to send an additional 3,000 U.S. Marines to the country's volatile south in April, although it said Thursday the long-term solution is to bolster Afghan forces.

Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammed Zahir Azimi said the deployment still to be approved by Defense Secretary Robert Gates would help combat Taliban insurgents. But Azimi added the long-term solution was to boost the fighting strength of Afghanistan's own army.

"Afghan security forces will be the force that will remain in Afghanistan and protect its peace and security, as well as defend the country," Azimi said.

On Wednesday, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said that a proposal set to go before Gates on Friday would send a ground and air Marine contingent and a Marine battalion totaling more than 3,000 troops to southern Afghanistan for a "one-time, seven-month deployment."

The U.S. had previously said it would not provide the extra troops.

Many other NATO nations facing public opposition at home to deeper involvement have refused to fill the need for as many as 7,500 extra troops that commanders on the ground have asked for.

Afghanistan experienced a record level of violence in 2007, with more than 6,500 people killed, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials.

In the latest violence, a NATO vehicle struck a mine in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing a soldier and wounding another, said Maj. Charles Anthony, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force. The nationalities of the soldiers were not disclosed.

Currently, there are about 27,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, including 14,000 with the NATO-led coalition. The other 13,000 U.S. troops are training Afghan forces and hunting al-Qaida terrorists.

Morrell said the Marine ground and air contingent would be put in place to prevent a spring Taliban offensive, and the Marine battalion would likely be used to train Afghan forces.

The U.S. and its allies are stepping up their training of Afghanistan's security forces, with a particular focus on its troubled police force, which is often accused of corruption.

The Afghan army will reach its target of 70,000 troops by the end of 2008, U.S. officials say. Back to Top

Back to Top
1 NATO soldier dies in Afghan blast
Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan - A NATO vehicle struck a mine in southern Afghanistan, killing one soldier and wounding another, while a militant attack in the east left a policeman dead, officials said Thursday.

It was not clear if the mine hit by the vehicle Wednesday was planted recently or was old ordnance, said Maj. Charles Anthony, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

The nationality of the dead and wounded soldiers and the exact location of the explosion was not disclosed.

Also Wednesday, militants attacked a police post in Nurgaram district of the eastern Nuristan province, killing an officer, said Mohammad Dawood Nadim, the deputy police chief.

An unknown number of militants were also wounded in the ensuing clash, Nadim said.

Afghanistan experienced a record level of violence that killed more than 6,500 people in 2007, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials.
Back to Top

Back to Top
Premature suicide blast injuries shopkeeper in S Afghanistan
www.chinaview.cn  2008-01-10 16:22:20
KABUL, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- A suicide attacker exploded himself on a highway in Qalat city of southern Afghanistan's Zabul province Thursday, injuring a civilian shopkeeper, a local official said.

It occurred at around 12 o'clock (GMT 0730) on a highway linking though Kabul from the north to the southern Kandahar province when the bomber apparently wanting to target some Afghan army vehicle exploded himself prematurely, a spokesman for Zabul governor told Xinhua via phone.

No army vehicle passed by when the man detonated the bomb, the official said.

No group has taken the responsibility for the attack.

War-torn Afghanistan has seen a resurgence of Taliban-related militancy since around 2004 and rising violence claimed over 6,000lives in 2007.
Editor: Jiang Yuxia 
Back to Top

Back to Top
Afghanistan seeks end to deportations
By RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan urged Iran on Thursday to stop deporting its citizens during the winter months, saying doing so could cause a humanitarian disaster.

Iran has said it plans to deport all of the nearly 1.5 million illegal Afghan migrants it says are living in the country. It says many of the migrants are there for economic reasons.

Iran is also trying to persuade the some 910,000 registered refugees from Afghanistan to return home.

Many of the migrants have no homes in Afghanistan and could be forced to live outside on their return.

On Wednesday, some 220 men were deported, said Shamsudin Ahmed, an Afghan government official in western Herat province, which borders Iran. Iran often deports small batches of illegal Afghan migrants, but these were the first of 2008.

The deportations provoked an unusually strong response from Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry, which has been criticized by lawmakers for not doing enough to protect the rights of Afghans in neighboring countries.

"The continued deportation of Afghan refugees from Iran will cause a humanitarian disaster and big problems during this cold weather," Foreign Minister Spokesman Sultan Baheen said at a news conference in Kabul, adding that heavy snowfall and cold had claimed several casualties in recent days.

"This action goes against the friendship of both countries and is worrying the Afghan people and its government," Baheen said.

In the mid-1990s, after years of war, Afghans constituted the world's largest refugee population, with 8 million people scattered in more than 70 countries across the globe. Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, millions have returned home, though some 2 million still live in neighboring Pakistan.
___
Associated Press reporter Amir Shah in Kabul contributed to this report.
Back to Top

Back to Top
Youth projects bring new hope to blighted Afghan region
by Beatrice Khadige Thu Jan 10, 2:06 AM ET
NAN GAB, Afghanistan (AFP) - The building of a new school for more than 2,000 children is bringing fresh hope to Nan Gab, a remote town in western Afghanistan blighted by corruption and the drugs trade.

Nan Gab is in Farah province, a huge region that borders Iran and is the country's fourth-biggest opium-producing province.

The pressure is on Afghanistan to develop this resource-poor, sparsely-populated province, whose fewer than 400,000 inhabitants are caught in a vice between crime, insurgency and corruption.

Nan Gab's 1.2-million-dollar new "Centre for Excellence" will provide a technical and religious education to the young people of this desolate area, some 800 kilometres (500 miles) from Kabul. Local sensitivities dictate religion must be part of children's education.

The school is just one of a number of projects worth a total of six million dollars being run by the Farah Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), with the assistance of the United States and the European Union. Comprising small joint civilian-military teams, PRTs are helping promote security and reconstruction across the country.

Frank Hughlett, the Farah team's American commander, says the project is "targeting the younger folks, not the older generation."

By May, its leaders aim to have a boarding school, a mosque and a library up and running near the province's main town of Farah.

With unemployment running at 85 percent, the provincial deputy governor Yunus Khan Rasouly says locals have little choice but to turn to crime.

"You have to steal to stay alive, to survive," he said sadly.

"Unemployment is the most sickening part of the region, the most important part of one's life... Crime pays, even if it is risky."

Neither are local literacy rates encouraging, hovering around the national average, with 71 percent of the population -- and 86 percent of women -- unable to read, according to the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF.

UN figures show that in 2006, opium cultivation grew by 93 percent in Farah, which has a greater problem with crime than with Taliban insurgents.

There are certainly some Taliban here, but for the most part those using the name are criminal gangs hoping it will give them more clout.

But corruption is hampering efforts to improve security. Farah's last police chief lost his job over graft, and when one of the province's three districts was overrun by Taliban for several days in October, the police did not even put up a fight.

"Without security, the government cannot proceed with its development programmes," said Musa Khan Nasrat, a member of the national parliament for Farah.

Provincial education chief Attiq Ullah says Farah's thousands of pupils must be educated, and that he is doing his best to bring the issue to the international community's attention.

Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley, deputy commander of the NATO-led International Security Force, concluded on a visit to the region: "If Afghanistan is going to progress and take its place in the world, education is the best way to do it. A country that relies on terrorism and drugs is not a real country."
Back to Top

Back to Top
Photos give Afghan women a voice
By Stephanie Schorow, Boston Globe Correspondent  |  January 10, 2008
Most of the homes in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city, have no street-side windows. It's too risky. Someone who is not a husband, brother, or father might catch a glimpse of the faces of women living inside - something strictly forbidden in the strict Muslim region.

Belmont photojournalist Paula Lerner, however, managed to peer behind the dusty mud-brick walls of the homes. In four trips to Afghanistan, she captured images of life in the landlocked, war-torn country, photographs that she hopes will help Americans understand a people who appear to be utterly remote and exotic.

Twenty-four of her photos are on display through Feb. 5 at the Belmont Gallery of Art. They include a shot of girls in white scarves, clasping hands on a Kabul street. There's a boy and his kite, with white-capped mountains rising behind him. There are women doing intricate embroidery called khamak, one of the few avenues of work for money open to Afghan women.

Lerner says she hopes her photos of ordinary people trying to find joy after decades of conflict will be a counterweight to the images of death and destruction found in more mainstream reports of Afghanistan.

"There is plenty of coverage of that. There isn't enough coverage of this," she said, gesturing at a shot of a balloon vendor riding a bike down a dusty Kabul street, a splash of color in an almost lunar landscape.

The exhibit of Lerner's Afghanistan photos (including an additional six in the Belmont Public Library) is being held in conjunction with the library's "One Book One Belmont" townwide reading program, which will focus on "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, a book set in Afghanistan.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Lerner will speak about her work. Accompanying her will be Rangina Hamidi, an Afghan woman who has been spearheading business programs for women in Kandahar and who helped introduce Lerner to Afghan women.

Lerner, a magazine and commercial photographer, became interested in Afghanistan through her volunteer work for the Business Council for Peace, or Bpeace, which helps women establish businesses in post-conflict regions.

In 2005, Lerner took her first trip to Afghanistan to help document the work of women supported by Bpeace. "Their goal was rebuilding their lives, but they were also rebuilding their country," she said.

Lerner, a married mother of two and a breast cancer survivor, was soon enthralled by and sometimes aghast at the life of women in the country. In Kandahar, "they live the society that the Taliban was trying to impose" throughout Afghanistan, she said. "There may be places where women are equally disadvantaged, but none more so than in Afghanistan."

While in Afghanistan, security was always an issue, but with the help of her local "fixer," Lerner tried to remain as inconspicuous as possible. She wore the local garb of baggy pants and a head scarf; her curly dark hair and olive complexion helped her blend in. Kandahar was, however, far more conservative than the relatively cosmopolitan Kabul, and there she had to conceal most of her face with a black chaderi when she ventured outside. Her feet, she acknowledged, with their urban Tevas, were a dead giveaway.

Her photos, as well as video and audio recordings that focused on the lives of five Afghan women, eventually were put together for a multimedia project on The Washington Post's website. Lerner sees herself as both a journalist and an advocate. "I make no bones about it," she said. "I think it's more interesting to take a point of view."

Afghanistan's fate has become closely intertwined with the foreign policy of the United States and yet, Lerner noted, "it's hard for us Americans to wrap our heads around the culture," but "it's vital for us to have a connection with that place."

One of her photos shows Afghan children - too young to know about Taliban or Russian rule - playing in a yard. While taking the photos, Lerner could see the impact of their innocent laughter on the face of her Afghan guide.

"It made a difference; it was healing. I could see it in front of me. That's what's so compelling about being in a place like that and telling those stories. It's not just living through all that but coming out the other end and being human again.

"Change the clothes and these could be our kids."
Back to Top

Back to Top
Fierce winds don't impede repatriation service
GREGORY BONNELL The Canadian Press January 10, 2008
CFB TRENTON, ONT. -- The fierce winds strafing this Eastern Ontario military base weren't quite strong enough yesterday to halt a repatriation ceremony for the two latest Canadian soldiers to be killed in Afghanistan.

Military officials were carefully monitoring the high winds for fear they could rip loose the massive cargo bay door on the side of the military transport that carried the remains of Warrant Officer Hani Massouh and Corporal Éric Labbé.

The pair were killed Sunday when their light armoured vehicle toppled over on its side in wet, rugged terrain southwest of Kandahar city.

Amid gusts of 50 kilometres an hour, the proceedings went ahead as planned yesterday, with grieving family members and dignitaries including Governor-General Michaëlle Jean and Defence Minister Peter MacKay braving the windswept tarmac.

The deaths bring to five the number of Canadian soldiers killed in LAV rollovers in Afghanistan, but the military remains confident in their choice of transport - a vehicle analysts continue to defend as the right vehicle for the mission.

The families of WO Massouh, 41, and Cpl. Labbé, 31, each paid their respects in turn to their fallen soldiers, placing single yellow roses on the caskets, embracing one another and wiping away tears as they moved away from the hearses.

The two soldiers were members of 2nd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment - the Van Doos - based out of CFB Valcartier, Que.

A trumpeter, flanked by an honour guard, played Amazing Grace.

Cpl. Labbé's six-year military career included only one other overseas posting, a 2002 rotation in the former Yugoslavia.

WO Massouh, whose five-year old daughter did not attend yesterday's ceremony, was born in Alexandria, Egypt, but had lived in Quebec since 1968. He was a career soldier, having served in the Forces for more than 17 years, and had previously been deployed to Haiti, Croatia, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. WO Massouh was just weeks from retiring from the military.

The soldiers were involved in an operation in the volatile Zhari district of Kandahar province when the LAV they were travelling in rolled over. The military said they were travelling on dirt tracks, and rain in recent days had made the terrain very difficult.

Senior officers in Afghanistan have been adamant in their support for the light armoured vehicles, long considered the workhorse of the Canadian Forces, which operates 650 of them. The LAV has a high centre of gravity because of its turret, a 25-mm chain gun and its high ground clearance, but it remains the preferred option for both soldiers and military analysts.

Its high clearance helps the LAV resist the blast effect of mines and buried improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, said Stephen Priestly, a researcher with the Canadian American Strategic Review.

"Vehicles specifically designed to be blast-resistant likewise have considerable ground clearance and, as a result, very high centres of gravity," Mr. Priestly said in an e-mail exchange.

The 25-mm gun also adds considerable weight to the top of the vehicle, he added.

"However, that 25-mm cannon armament has proven invaluable in Afghanistan. So too has the vantage point of the gunner and crew commander in their hatches."

The two most recent fatalities bring the number of Canadian military personnel killed in Afghanistan to 76.
Back to Top

Back to Top
Afghanistan: Government asks WFP to help avert food shortages
KABUL, 10 January 2008 (IRIN) - The Afghan government has asked the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to increase its food aid from the previously planned 180,000 to 215,000 metric tonnes (mt) in 2008, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL).

The request came after soaring food prices led to concerns about food shortages, particularly during the winter months when some remote locations become inaccessible due to heavy snowfall and flooding.

Afghanistan is among 40 countries in the world which, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), face "unparalleled hikes in food prices resulting from low food stocks, floods and droughts linked to climate change, high oil prices and rising demand for bio-fuels".

"We have asked WFP to import 60,000 mt of wheat into Afghanistan within the coming three months and distribute it in the most vulnerable areas," Obaidullah Ramin, minister of agriculture, irrigation and livestock, told reporters in Kabul on 9 January.

WFP's office in Kabul was not immediately available for a comment. However, aid agencies' in the recent past have expressed concern over lack of access to some isolated and vulnerable communities due to armed conflict and natural disasters.

"Afghanistan does not face a famine"

Owing to several consecutive years of favourable weather and development assistance, cereal production in Afghanistan has seen an unprecedented increase over the past six years, FAO and MAIL reported in August 2007.

Despite this, to effectively feed its estimated 24.5 million population, Afghanistan needs another 500,000 mt of cereals, of which 430,000 mt is wheat, Ramin said.

"Part of the overall shortage will be met by WFP's food assistance and part of it will be tackled through imports from other countries," he said.

The Afghan authorities have also decided to establish a "strategic food storage" facility where initially some 146,000 mt of wheat will be stored for use in emergencies, officials said.

"Afghanistan does not face a famine," said minister Ramin, adding that the government and its international partners had multiple strategies to avert food shortages during winter.

Impact of Pakistan crisis

Afghanistan imports over 80 percent of its wheat flour from neighbouring Pakistan due to its own very weak milling industry, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) reported in May 2007.

The worsening security situation in Pakistan, particularly in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, has led to reduced Afghan food imports which in turn have caused rising food prices in Afghanistan, officials said.

Some Afghan traders say the Pakistani authorities have doubled taxes on flour exports to Afghanistan in an effort to control soaring food prices in Pakistan.

In some Afghan provinces food prices have jumped by as much as 45 percent in the past year, MAIL officials said.

"Pakistan wheat policies have implications for both national and household food security in Afghanistan. The consistent and abundant supply of wheat and wheat flour from Pakistan keeps the prices stabilised and at affordable level in Afghanistan markets," said the USAID report Pakistan Wheat Sub-sector and Afghan Food Security.
Back to Top

Back to Top
US wants Pakistan to bite the bullet
By Syed Saleem Shahzad Asia Times Online / January 9, 2008
KARACHI - After more than six years, Pakistan finds itself in probably the most difficult position it has been in since signing on as a partner in the US-led "war on terror".

The political turmoil created by the recent assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the consolidation of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the country just months ahead of another Taliban spring offensive in Afghanistan have made Washington decidedly

anxious that Islamabad do something decisive about the situation. But while Pakistan wants to remain on side with the US, and the West, by taking appropriate action against militancy, this carries with it the grave danger of exacerbating the situation, and opening up the country to further terror.

A senior Pakistani security official elaborated for Asia Times Online, "We have actually been thrown into a deep quagmire where we are not left with many options. The CIA's presence in Pakistan has made it impossible for Pakistan to handle the Taliban problem independently and through dialogue. On the other hand, there is no military solution on the horizon against the Taliban and another [Pakistani army] operation against militants would cause more than serious repercussions."

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity as his job does not allow him to speak on the record, continued, "Now we are at a crossroad and we feel threatened that if this problem escalates it may give Western powers and their regional allies a chance to justify an attack on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Therefore, we are walking a tightrope where, on the one hand our strategic ties with the West are at risk if we don't adhere to their demands, but on the other hand our own internal security is at risk.

"Nevertheless," he added, "nations do take steps on a priority basis for their internal security."

Reports from the US at the weekend indicate that the George W Bush administration wants to expand the authority of the CIA and the military to conduct more aggressive covert operations in Pakistan.

While a Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman has officially dismissed the notion as fanciful, this does not rule out the likelihood of heavy CIA involvement on targets identified through intelligence on both sides of the border.

The overriding goal will be to cut the supply lines of the Taliban and al-Qaeda between Pakistan and Afghanistan by squeezing them between coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan forces across the border.

The boundaries of the operation have been set on the basis of two facts. These are al-Qaeda's bases and the Taliban's supply lines from Pakistan into the three southeastern Afghan provinces of Paktia, Paktika and Khost and Helmand in the southwest. Al-Qaeda bases have been located in Bajaur Agency and North Waziristan while the Taliban's supply lines have primarily been traced from South Waziristan.

Pakistan's strategic quarters, though, are extremely concerned over the possible consequences of such a pincer operation, planned at a time when general elections have already been pushed back from this month to next and could be delayed even further.

Compounding the problem is the fact that the Pakistani military is fast losing all of its gains in the Swat Valley in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). In response to rising militancy in the valley, fueled by Mullah Fazlullah, over the past few months the army has cracked down, forcing the militants to retreat into the tribal areas.

Al-Qaeda responded by activating its network through Maulana Faqir Muhammad, the local strongman of Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Faqir, from Bajaur Agency, sent men and arms into the valley, while Punjabi and Uzbek fighters from the South Waziristan and North Waziristan tribal areas joined hands with the militants. As a result, the militants have fought back strongly against the Pakistani army, which could pull back in the coming days.

The Bush administration is raising the military stakes at a time when Pakistan is under fire from Washington for not making adequate efforts in the "war on terror". This disenchantment was captured by Chester Bowles, a "liberal lion" of the Democratic Party, who wrote in the New York Times recently, "American military assistance to Pakistan in the last 15 years will, I believe, be listed by historians as among our most costly blunders."

The Washington Post also recently quoted Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the foreign assistance sub-committee of the Senate, as saying, "What is amazing to me about our policy is that Pakistan is brimming with a smart, educated, moderate center. As long as we are pumping our money into security assistance and putting all our eggs in the basket with [President Pervez] Musharraf, we are making a critical mistake."

There are recurrent calls in Washington that Pakistan's multi-billion dollar military aid package be reviewed or even stopped if its performance is not found satisfactory.

Pakistani intelligence, however, is acutely aware that militants are likely to unleash attacks in the softer underbelly of the nation should the Pakistani army (or the US Army) launch new, vigorous attacks in the tribal areas. Cities such as the port hub of Karachi, the capital Islamabad and Peshawar in NWFP would be prime targets.

The best that Pakistan can do is attempt to walk a middle path, as it has done so often in the past, even though both the militants and Washington are demanding that Islamabad complies 100% with their demands.

The difficulties of this position are well illustrated by an incident on Sunday in which al-Qaeda-backed militants shot dead eight tribal leaders involved in efforts to broker a ceasefire between security forces and Pakistani Taliban commanders in the northwest. The men, who were scheduled to meet each other on Monday, were killed in separate attacks in South Waziristan.

Part of Musharraf's problem is that while he is Washington's ally in Pakistan, he is also the representative of the military oligarchy. Further, his political survival has become heavily dependent on slain Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP). New PPP head, Bhutto's widower Asif Zardari, is in contact with US officials and is in tune with the "war on terror" and supports Musharraf in this respect. But this PPP support could be withdrawn at any time should it be perceived that Musharraf is straying from the US agenda.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief.
Back to Top

Back to Top
Pakistan wrestles with a 'soldier of peace'
By Imtiaz Ali Asia Times Online, Hong Kong
Baitullah Mehsud, the most feared and dangerous militant commander in Pakistan's tribal region, has not only become the public face of militancy in the country, but is now also openly posing a serious threat to the US's efforts to bring stability to neighboring war-torn Afghanistan.

Mehsud leads the recently formed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement of Pakistan), a joint group of various local Taliban outfits sharing the common objectives of implementing sharia (Islamic law) and waging jihad against US-led forces in Afghanistan.

Mehsud - who is suspected of having close ties with al-Qaeda - has been in the headlines of local newspapers for more than three years because of his prominent role in spearheading the insurgency against Pakistan's armed forces, who are currently hunting al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in the tribal areas.

Lately, Mehsud has become a menacing presence in Pakistan due to the widespread belief of his involvement in the deadly wave of suicide bombings - mostly targeted against security forces - that has shaken the whole nation. A United Nations report released in September last year blamed Mehsud for almost 80% of suicide bombings in Afghanistan.

According to some reports, Mehsud has compiled his own hit list of political leaders and high-profile government officials, and has formed special squads for carrying out such terrorist acts.

Already a household name in Pakistan, Mehsud rose to global notoriety two weeks ago when officials named him as the prime suspect and alleged mastermind behind the killing of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, which was the most high-profile political assassination in the recent history of the country.

Pakistani authorities have released the text of a Pashto-language telephone conversation allegedly intercepted by Pakistan's Interior Ministry, in which Mehsud congratulates "brave boys" for accomplishing a "mission", which - according to officials - refers to the assassination of Bhutto.

At 34 years old, Mehsud is a warlord based in the restive South Waziristan tribal agency and is said to be much revered by militants on both sides of the Pakistani-Afghan border. Locals say that he has more than 20,000 fighters, mostly from his Mehsud clan. Officials as well as his aides claim that he also has hundreds of trained fidayeen (men of sacrifice) ready to lay down their lives as suicide bombers upon his instructions.

According to his aides, Mehsud has taken an oath of allegiance to the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Omar. Apart from sharing the same ideologies on sharia and jihad, Mehsud also shares with his spiritual leader an aversion to publicity and photographs. As a guerrilla fighter, Mehsud sharpened his skills under the guidance of legendary Pashtun commander Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani, who is widely believed to have helped Osama bin Laden escape targeted bombing by the US in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan in early 2002.

Known as amir (commander) among his followers, Mehsud was an unknown figure on the tribal scene until late 2004, when he filled the vacuum left by the famous tribal militant leader, Nek Muhammad Wazir, who was killed in a missile attack in June 2004. In February 2005, the Pakistani government brokered a deal with Mehsud in a bid to bring normalcy and peace to violence-stricken South Waziristan.

In return for amnesty, Mehsud promised not to attack security posts or cross into Afghanistan for jihad, but backed out of the deal in late August 2007 following the Red Mosque military operation in Islamabad. Local journalists from Waziristan say that the so-called peace deal raised his stature and allowed him to further strengthen his support base.

As a result, the government's writ is confined to the compounds of its security forces while gun-brandishing fighters control the countryside in the South Waziristan agency. Mehsud had his moment of glory when the government conceded to his demand to free militant prisoners in return for releasing more than 250 Pakistani soldiers, seized by his fighters and held hostage for two and half months. Among the released militants were presumably a number of would-be suicide bombers.

The rising popularity of this young and committed jihadi on both sides of the border has made him a bridge linking the Pakistani Taliban with the Afghan Taliban on the other side of the frontier. Many believe that Mehsud has already been involved in the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan by dispatching his men to fight against the US-led coalition forces. A close aide of Mehsud, Hakimullah Mehsud, was captured by North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in the border region while trying to cross into Afghanistan with five foreign fighters.

Once described as a "soldier of peace" by a top Pakistani military general, Mehsud is now not only defying Islamabad, but has emerged as a major irritant in the global "war on terror". Some of the latest reports from the frontier may be right in citing him as the new triggerman for al-Qaeda in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan - an area which carries immense strategic importance for the terrorist network.

Imtiaz Ali is a Pakistan-based journalist working as a special correspondent for the Washington Post.

(This article first appeared in The Jamestown Foundation. Used with permission.)
Back to Top

Back to Top
Pakistan tribe says will take on al Qaeda fighters
Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:32am EST By Hafiz Wazir
WANA, Pakistan, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Members of a Pakistani ethnic Pashtun tribe vowed on Thursday to raise a militia aimed at forcing al Qaeda-linked foreign militants from their lands on the Afghan border.

For several year Pakistani security forces have been trying with little success to rid the border tribal belt of foreign militants, who are blamed for raids on foreign troops in Afghanistan and for attacks inside Pakistan.

Thursday's decision by men from the Wazir tribe came four days after gunmen, believed to be Uzbek militants, attacked two offices of a government-sponsored peace movement in South Waziristan and killed eight members of the tribe.

"A lashkar of 600 people will be organised tomorrow," tribal elder Meetha Khan told a gathering in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan. A lashkar is a militia force.

Wazir tribesmen sheltering the foreigners must now give them up, he said.

"The lashkar will give two options to those sheltering the foreigners, either to stop sheltering them and return to their tribe, or face the eviction of their families from the area," Khan said.

Thousands of foreign militants, including Arabs, Chechens and Uzbeks, fled to Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal lands after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001.

The militants were given refuge by the Pashtun tribes who live on both sides of the porous border.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is also believed to be hiding somewhere along the 2,500-km (1,600-mile) frontier.

RELATIONS BREAK DOWN
But relations between some of the tribesmen and their foreign guests began to break down last year when tribesmen, with the backing of the Pakistani military, turned against foreign militants after they had tried to kill a tribal elder.

About 300 foreign militants and up to 40 Pakistani tribal fighters were killed in days of clashes that followed.

U.S. security officials say al Qaeda militants have been able to regroup in sanctuaries in Pakistan's tribal lands.

Taliban insurgents, most of them ethnic Pashtuns, are also able to plot their war against foreign forces in Afghanistan from the Pakistani side of the border, U.S. military officials say.

The Pakistani government has blamed a Pakistani militant leader from the Mehsud Pashtun tribe, based in South Waziristan, for a recent wave of suicide attacks, many on security forces.

The government said the militant, Baitullah Mehsud, was also responsible for assassinating opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Dec. 27.

The Wazir militia was expected to operate only in the Wazir tribal area, and would thus have little or no impact on Mehsud and the al Qaeda allies in his area.

The fiercely independent, conservative Pashtun tribes have never been brought under the authority of any government, including British colonial rulers. (Writing by Zeeshan Haider; editing by Robert Birsel and Roger Crabb)
Back to Top

Back to Top
No end to police corruption on Herat-Kandahar highway
By: - 7/01/2008 - 16:13
ZARANJ, Jan 7 (Pajhwok Afghan News):  Commuters complain about police bribes on Herat Kandahar highway; arms robberies on the highway have also been reported.

They claim police take from 20- 2000 afgahnis from each truck which is not legal.

Khair Muhammad, carrying his goods from Nimroz to Kandahar province, told Pajhwok Afghan News Police take 2000 afghanis from each truck in Del-Aram district of Farah province on the road to Kandahar.

He claimed from Del-Aram in each five km a police post would stop the truck and take from 50 to 200 afghanis.

He added police take 20 afghanis from each car traveling on the road.

A number of passengers complained passengers were being looted by robbers in Bakwa district of Farah province on the highway.

Nazir Ahmad, taxi driver said a week back armed robbers stopped his car looted the commuters and also snatched the car.

He said if any one resist would be beaten or would even be killed, as last year a wife and husband and one of their child was killed on the highway.

He claimed the robbers had motorbikes and police can not prevent such robberies.

But staff captain Fazl Ahmad, police chief of Del- Aram- Zaranj rejected all these allegations as baseless.

Farah governor Ghulam Muhiuddin Baloch said they will establish police posts in Bakwa to resolve the problems of passengers.

He added there were robberies in Del-Aram but in last 10 days they have deployed 150 units of police, and established three police posts and 79 policemen were suspended who were accused of taking money from people.
Back to Top

Back to Top
More relief items delivered to Pak refugees
By: Jamal Asif Khel & Saboor Mangal - 7/01/2008 - 18:38
GARDEZ/KHOST CITY, Jan 7 (Pajhwok Afghan News): As the minister for refugee affairs visited their camps, Pakistani families that recently migrated to border districts of southeastern Khost and Paktia provinces received fresh assistance on Monday.

The refugees were given wheat flour, cooking oil, tea leaves, tents, utensils, heaters and warm clothing donated by the Gardez-based Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), Paktia Refugee Affairs Department, Red Crescent and UNHCR. 

Relief items were distributed to around 800 families in border districts of Aryub Zazai and Dand-i-Patan. The refugees were living in Ahmedkhel and Muqbil areas, Paktias deputy governor told Pajhwok Afghan News after a visit to the camps.

Wakil Abdur Rehman explained 93 of the Pakistani families were living in Aryub Zazai and the rest in Dand-i-Patan. Residents had offered the migrants refuge in their homes, mosques and schools, he added.

Paktia Provincial Council chief Muhammada Jan Mangal, saying the relief goods distributed today were insufficient, underlined the need for further assistance to the refugees.

Given the delicate situation in the neighbouring country, he believed, more Pakistanis could be forced into the border provinces by ongoing sectarian disturbances in Kurram Agency.

In Paktia, Public Health Director Muhammad Nader Naderi said they had dispatched a mobile team of medics to the districts with one tonne of medicine for the refugees. He pointed out a team of health workers - sent to the camps with two tonnes of drugs earlier in the week - was busy providing medical care to the inmates.

The relief items were handed to the families as a delegation led by Refugee Affairs Minister Sher Muhammad Itbari visited the districts. Among others, presidential advisors Amanullah Zadran and Shahzada Masood were part of the delegation.

Itbari told a news conference in Khost his visit was aimed at assessing the problems of the Pakistanis and thanking the locals for extending them a helping hand. The team had arrived with some assistance that would be distributed to families in Alisher district on Tuesday, he said.

Amanullah Zadran, advisor to President Karzai on tribal affairs, said Paktia elders were willing to mediate between the warring Sunni and Shia sects in Kurram Agency, which has long been a sectarian powder-keg.

Reported by Jamal Asif Khel & Saboor Mangal

Translated & edited by S. Mudassir Ali Shah
Back to Top

Back to Top
Tougher law for private security firms presented to cabinet
By: S. Mudassir Ali Shah & Dr M. Naseer Malikzai - 7/01/2008 - 20:16
KABUL, Jan 7 (Pajhwok Afghan News): A law regulating operations of private security companies, some of which have already been closed for failing to fulfill legal requirements, was presented to the cabinet for approval on Monday.

Justice Minister Sarwar Danish put up to the cabinet the 36-article law that has already been given the go-ahead by both houses of Parliament. If approved, the law will toughen the registration procedure for private security companies.  

The new measure suggests a freeze on the registration of new companies and requires foreign as well as local security firms - already operating in Afghanistan - to get their licences renewed. Each licence has to be issued with the consent of the cabinet.

Essentially, the discussion focussed on rates of food items in the impoverished country, with First Vice-President Ahmad Zia Massoud and several ministers offering their views on the existing price situation.

Chaired by President Hamid Karzai, the meeting was informed there were satisfactory wheat, flour and cooking oil stocks in the capital Kabul and provinces. The economy minister said a recent cut in import duties on wheat and flour had helped keep the prices in check.

Rates of the commodities had gone up in neighbouring countries, he pointed out, revealing a commission had been set up to explore ways of ensuring the availability of essential item stocks to meet needs of the people. Recommendations of the panel will be discussed at next weeks meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, President Karzai directed ministries of economic affairs, finance, commerce and industries and agriculture to hold talks with donor states on wheat shipments to the landlocked country via World Food Programme (WFP).

Adequate food stocks should be built up by the government, stressed the president, who asked the Finance Ministry to earmark a fund for the purchase of wheat, flour and ghee.

Similarly, Karzai instructed the Counter-Narcotics Ministry to use an exclusive fund for weaning farmers from cultivating poppies to growing wheat. Additionally, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries was ordered to motivate and facilitate businessmen to import more flour to satisfy demand for the commodity.

According to a press release issued by the spokesman for the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, provincial governors and other quarters concerned were cautioned against charging taxes on wheat imports. The Finance Ministry will have to make sure that such duties were not collected.

The energy and water minister briefed the session on implementation status of water and power supply projects underway across the country. The supply of electricity to consumers in the capital had jumped from 65 to 175 megawatts over the last three years, he explained, saying the level would rise to 200 megawatts in a months time.

Eighty percent of work on the Kabul-Hairatan power line had been completed, Ismail Khan informed the participants. The project will be extended to Gardez, the capital of the southeastern Paktia province.

Karzai instructed the minister to speed up the execution of the scheme carrying electricity from Tajikistan to different parts of the energy-deficient country.

Agreements recently signed with Iran during President Ahmadinejads visit to Kabul last year on cooperation in fighting drugs, organised crime and terrorism also figured at the meeting.

Foreign Minister Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta referred to Iran-Afghan pacts on cooperation in the veterinary sector, exploration of mines and capacity-building of Afghan government ministries.
Back to Top

Back to Top
More relief items delivered to Pak refugees
By: Jamal Asif Khel & Saboor Mangal - 7/01/2008 - 18:38
GARDEZ/KHOST CITY, Jan 7 (Pajhwok Afghan News): As the minister for refugee affairs visited their camps, Pakistani families that recently migrated to border districts of southeastern Khost and Paktia provinces received fresh assistance on Monday.

The refugees were given wheat flour, cooking oil, tea leaves, tents, utensils, heaters and warm clothing donated by the Gardez-based Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), Paktia Refugee Affairs Department, Red Crescent and UNHCR. 

Relief items were distributed to around 800 families in border districts of Aryub Zazai and Dand-i-Patan. The refugees were living in Ahmedkhel and Muqbil areas, Paktias deputy governor told Pajhwok Afghan News after a visit to the camps.

Wakil Abdur Rehman explained 93 of the Pakistani families were living in Aryub Zazai and the rest in Dand-i-Patan. Residents had offered the migrants refuge in their homes, mosques and schools, he added.

Paktia Provincial Council chief Muhammada Jan Mangal, saying the relief goods distributed today were insufficient, underlined the need for further assistance to the refugees.

Given the delicate situation in the neighbouring country, he believed, more Pakistanis could be forced into the border provinces by ongoing sectarian disturbances in Kurram Agency.

In Paktia, Public Health Director Muhammad Nader Naderi said they had dispatched a mobile team of medics to the districts with one tonne of medicine for the refugees. He pointed out a team of health workers - sent to the camps with two tonnes of drugs earlier in the week - was busy providing medical care to the inmates.

The relief items were handed to the families as a delegation led by Refugee Affairs Minister Sher Muhammad Itbari visited the districts. Among others, presidential advisors Amanullah Zadran and Shahzada Masood were part of the delegation.

Itbari told a news conference in Khost his visit was aimed at assessing the problems of the Pakistanis and thanking the locals for extending them a helping hand. The team had arrived with some assistance that would be distributed to families in Alisher district on Tuesday, he said.

Amanullah Zadran, advisor to President Karzai on tribal affairs, said Paktia elders were willing to mediate between the warring Sunni and Shia sects in Kurram Agency, which has long been a sectarian powder-keg.

Reported by Jamal Asif Khel & Saboor Mangal

Translated & edited by S. Mudassir Ali Shah
Back to Top

Back to Top
Top Afghan militant held in Lahore
By: Janullah Hashamzada - 7/01/2008 - 13:38
PESHAWAR, Jan 6 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Dr. Aminul Haque, an Afghan militant accused of having relation with Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden and also included in the US black list was arrested in Lahore, sources said on Sunday.

A former jihadi commander of Hizb-e-Islami of Maulvi Younis Khalis on condition of anonymity told Pajhwok Afghan News Haque was arrested by Pakistan and US spy agencies recently after the arrest of another Afghan militant Mohammad Rahim.

Mohammad Rahim was a resident of Chaparhar district of Nangarhar and according to the source was the translator of Osama Bin Laden.

Mohammad Zaman Ghamsharek former Nangarhar corps commander also confirmed Haque's arrest but was unable to tell exact date.

Though intelligence agencies in Peshawar also claim the arrest of Aminul Haque but Haque's younger brother Sanaul Haque is not ready to accept the claim and deny the arrest of his brother.

Aminul Haque is accused of facilitating Osama Bin Laden in traveling from Sudan to Nangarhar in 1996.

Haque in an interview with Pajhwok Afghan News recently had also rejected Karzai's appeal asking militants to stop violence and come to negotiation table.

He had recently entered into Pakistan from Afghanistan.
Back to Top

Back to Top
Dasht-e-Barchi residents stage demo in Kabul
By: - 6/01/2008 - 15:31
KABUL, Jan 5 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Around two hundred residents of Dasht-e-Barchi area of this capital on Saturday staged a peaceful demonstration asking the government to include Dasht-e-Barchi in new energy and water ministry plan.

Fatima Nazary one of the protestors and a member of the parliament said they had found out that Dasht-e-Barchi area was not included in the ministry plan.

They held several discussions with the ministry officials, she said, the negotiations seemed fruitless and the promises not fulfilled.

Protestors chanted slogans "power energy is our right, we want power! We want justice!"

Muhammad Musa local area in-charge in Dasht-e-Barchi said they were promised for power by President Hamid Karzai and Energy and Water minister Muhammad Ismail Khan but no practical step was yet taken.

Majeed Ali a resident of the area complained Dasht-e-Barchi resembles a graveyard at night because there were no lights and electricity at night.

Zia Gul Saljoqi director of the planning department in the ministry said work over activating of 15 power stations were going on in Dasht-e-Barchi area and survey work over 10 more power stations had been completed.
Back to Top


 Back to News Archirves of 2008
 
Disclaimer: This news site is mostly a compilation of publicly accessible articles on the Web in the form of a link or saved news item. The news articles and commentaries/editorials are protected under international copyright laws. All credit goes to the original respective source(s).