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June 9, 2008 

US think tank: Pakistan helped Taliban insurgents
By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan - Pakistani intelligence agents and paramilitary forces have helped train Taliban insurgents and have given them information about American troop movements in Afghanistan, said a report published Monday by a U.S. think tank.

Afghan aid ineffective, inefficient, watchdog says
By Jon Hemming June 9, 2008
KABUL (Reuters) - Billions of dollars of aid to Afghanistan have not been spent effectively and the Afghan government and international agencies must be held to account or more will be wasted, an independent watchdog said on Monday.

Afghan president heads for The Netherlands, Paris
June 9, 2008
KABUL (AFP) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai headed to The Netherlands Monday for a short visit before a donors' meet in Paris where he will ask for support for a 50.1-billion-dollar development plan.

Afghanistan needs another 10 years before flying solo: Karzai
Mon Jun 9, 1:40 PM ET
THE HAGUE (AFP) - Afghanistan needs at least a decade to be able to handle its own security, President Hamid Karzai said Monday on a visit to peacekeeping troop contributor The Netherlands.

Britain evokes 'noble cause' as Afghanistan death toll hits 100
by Robin Millard June 9, 2008
LONDON (AFP) - Britain paid tribute Monday to its troops in Afghanistan after the number killed there reached the grim landmark of 100, insisting theirs is a "noble cause" crucial to defeating global terrorism.

Former warlord blames UK for breakdown in security
Independent, UK By Jerome Starkey in Musa Qala Monday, 9 June 2008
A former Taliban commander who swapped sides last year has accused his British allies of jeopardising security and undermining his authority in a row that has plunged their relations to an all time low.

Militant Attacks in Afghanistan Kill 5 Policemen
By VOA News 09 June 2008
Afghan officials say five policemen have been killed in two separate attacks.

Laura Bush urges donors to stand by Afghanistan
First lady makes surprise visit to Kabul ahead of Paris donor conference later this week.
Christian Science Monitor, MA By Aunohita Mojumdar Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor June 9, 2008 edition
Kabul, Afghanistan - US first lady Laura Bush made a quick trip to Afghanistan, emphasizing the need for continued attention to the country ahead of an international donors' conference in Paris on June 12.
The Mrs. Bush met with President Hamid Karzai

Afghanistan: "We left school to help feed our family"
CHAGHCHARAN, 9 June 2008 (IRIN) - Eleven-year-old Fatima and her nine-year-old brother, Ahmad, left school in Ghor Province, central-southern Afghanistan, to help feed their family. From dawn till dusk they scavenge for metal

Funeral for BBC Afghan reporter
Monday, 9 June 2008 BBC News
An Afghan journalist working for the BBC in the country's southern Helmand province has been buried a day after he was found shot dead.

A tribute to Abdul Samad Rohani
Monday, 9 June 2008 BBC News
Abdul Samad Rohani, the Pashto service reporter for the BBC in the Afghan province of Helmand, was shot dead at the weekend. His friend and colleague Bilal Sarwary pays this tribute.

She's a top cop . . . in Kandahar
Meet Malalai Kaker, wife, mother  and pistol-packing deputy police commander
Toronto Star, Canada Rosie DiManno Columnist Jun 08, 2008
KANDAHAR-Malalai Kaker wears a headscarf and a shoulder-holstered pistol.

Canadian soldier dies in Afghanistan after falling into well
Xinhua, China www.chinaview.cn 2008-06-09
OTTAWA-A Canadian soldier died Saturday in southern Afghanistan after falling into a well, Canada's Department of National Defense said Sunday.

Afghan rebels making kids into bombers, officials charge
They say religion is tool to recruit
Chicago Tribune BY KIM BARKER • CHICAGO TRIBUNE June 8, 2008
KABUL, Afghanistan - Shauker Ullah says he agreed to blow himself up in March.
He did not know how to drive a car nor read a book. His only schooling was four months in a Pakistani Islamic madrassa, where he learned to recite the Holy Quran but not the meaning of the verses. But after only a few promises

Cousin rapist given death sentence
Written by www.quqnoos.com Sunday, 08 June 2008
Man faces death penalty for raping cousin before burying her body
A COURT in the north of Afghanistan has sentenced a young man to death for raping and then strangling his eight-year-old cousin.

UN: drought victims to get tents and food
Written by www.quqnoos.com Sunday, 08 June 2008
Fears of disease spread as victims set up make-shift tents on edge of city
THE UN'S World Food Program has promised to distribute tents and food to about 500 families who fled their homes in the north because of food and water shortages.

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US think tank: Pakistan helped Taliban insurgents
By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan - Pakistani intelligence agents and paramilitary forces have helped train Taliban insurgents and have given them information about American troop movements in Afghanistan, said a report published Monday by a U.S. think tank.

The study by the RAND Corp. also warned that the U.S. will face "crippling, long-term consequences" in Afghanistan if Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan are not eliminated.

It echoes recent statements by American generals, who have increased their warnings that militant safe havens in Pakistan are threatening efforts in Afghanistan. The study was funded by the U.S. Defense Department.

"Every successful insurgency in Afghanistan since 1979 enjoyed safe haven in neighboring countries, and the current insurgency is no different," said the report's author, Seth Jones. "Right now, the Taliban and other groups are getting help from individuals within Pakistan's government, and until that ends, the region's long-term security is in jeopardy."

Pakistan's top military spokesman rejected the findings.

The study, "Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan," found some active and former officials in Pakistan's intelligence service and the Frontier Corps — a Pakistani paramilitary force deployed along the Afghan border — provided direct assistance to Taliban militants and helped secure medical care for wounded fighters.

It said NATO officials have uncovered several instances of Pakistani intelligence agents providing information to Taliban fighters, even "tipping off Taliban forces about the location and movement of Afghan and coalition forces, which undermined several U.S. and NATO anti-Taliban military operations." No timeframes were given.

The report said Pakistan's intelligence service and other government agencies provided Taliban and other insurgents with training at camps in Pakistan, as well as intelligence, financial assistance and help crossing the border.

When asked in an Associated Press interview last month what the state of the insurgency might be in 2013, the outgoing NATO commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. Dan McNeill, said: "If there are going to be sanctuaries where these terrorists, these extremists, these insurgents can train, can recruit, can regenerate, there's still going to be a challenge there."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pleaded with the world community to address the issue of militant sanctuaries in Pakistan. Afghan intelligence officials say young, uneducated males are recruited in the border tribal areas to become suicide bombers and fighters. After battles or attacks in Afghanistan, militants flow back into Pakistan to rest and rearm, officials say.

Pakistan — which supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks — denied it is supporting the insurgents, but acknowledged the problem of militant infiltration.

"Whenever these kinds of places are identified or pointed out, action is taken against these places and there are umpteen examples in the past where the actions have been taken against these insurgents, or, for that matter, foreigners," said Pakistan military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. "Therefore, we reject this claim of sanctuaries being aided by Pakistan's army or intelligence agencies."

Pakistan Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said Monday that he met with Karzai in the Afghan capital over the weekend, and the two sides agreed to set up biometric screening at key border checkpoints.

Malik said tens of thousands of people cross each day without any documentation.

"They go without any checking — no passport, no documentation. It's a free for all," he told reporters. He said the new computerized system would begin operating within two weeks.

Nevertheless, he defended Pakistan's efforts to police the border, saying the government had deployed 120,000 troops and had set up five times more border posts than there are on the Afghan side.

Malik expressed willingness to share intelligence on extremists and conduct joint operations with Afghan security forces. He denied that Pakistan would strike peace deals with terrorists in order to calm Islamic militancy on its own soil.

Pakistan has insisted it is only pursuing negotiations with militant groups willing to lay down their arms, and it has relied partly on tribal elders to mediate. A handful of deals have already been struck.

U.S. officials say attacks where American troops operate in eastern Afghanistan have gone up significantly since those deals were reached earlier this year.

The study said that besides the Taliban, other major militant groups find sanctuary in Pakistan. These include al-Qaida, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's radical Hezb-i-Islami group and the Haqqani network, led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son, Siraj.

"These insurgent groups find refuge in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, North West Frontier Province, and Baluchistan Province," RAND said in a news release. "They regularly ship weapons, ammunition and supplies into Afghanistan from Pakistan, and a number of suicide bombers have come from Afghan refugee camps based in Pakistan."

The report also called on the U.S. and its allies to help build the Afghan security forces, particularly the police, and to improve the quality of local governments, especially in rural regions.

It also claimed that Afghanistan's police are incompetent and "almost uniformly corrupt," echoing frequent criticism of the police by international officials here.

The U.S. is spending billions of dollars to train and equip the Afghan police, but the efforts are still years away from being completed.
___

On the Net:
RAND Corp: http://www.rand.org
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Afghan aid ineffective, inefficient, watchdog says
By Jon Hemming June 9, 2008
KABUL (Reuters) - Billions of dollars of aid to Afghanistan have not been spent effectively and the Afghan government and international agencies must be held to account or more will be wasted, an independent watchdog said on Monday.

Afghanistan is to ask donors in Paris this week to fund a $50-billion five-year development plan, testing international commitment to the country which is still among the world's poorest and suffers daily violence more than six years after U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban government.

Of the $25 billion in aid to Afghanistan from 2001 until now, only some $15 billion has been spent, aid agencies say.

But for every $100 spent, sometimes only $20 actually reaches Afghan recipients, said the Kabul-based internationally funded Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA).

Between 15 to 30 percent of aid money is spent on security for aid agencies, the IWA report said, and 85 percent of products, services and human resources used by agencies are imported and provide few jobs for Afghan workers.

As much as 20 percent of international aid to Afghanistan is spent on so-called technical assistance; jargon for highly paid foreign staff. Some $1.6 billion was spent on technical assistance between 2002 and 2006, the report said.

Some staff working for the USAID, the U.S. government's development agency, earn as much as $22,000 a month in Afghanistan, IWA said, or 367 times more than an Afghan teacher.

AID DEPENDENCE
Some 70 percent of international assistance is not channeled through the government so the Afghan state has no control how it is spent and the money does little to enhance its standing with the people or develop its ability to govern.

Even though most of the money coming into Afghanistan does not come through the state, the Afghan government still relies on aid for some 90 percent of its budget.

Afghanistan's dependence on aid has created a state that lacks the need to be accountable to its people. But the international community has put far too little effort into helping Kabul manage its considerable mineral resources, raise its own revenues and kick its reliance on aid, IWA said.

"Aid is not only medical assistance or building schools it is also helping the state to become self-sufficient. This is not enough on the agenda of donors," said Lorenzo Delesgues, co-author of the IWA report.

While the Afghan government is to call in Paris for more aid to channeled through its coffers, high levels of official corruption are one reason that has put many donors off.

Afghanistan is ranked 172 out of 180 in Transparency International's corruption perception index.

International donors expect Afghan President Hamid Karzai to make a strong commitment in Paris to fight corruption in return for pledges of funding for the Afghan development strategy.

But much of the corruption in Afghanistan is due to the way assistance is administered through a series of sub-contractors which increases the scope for graft, IWA said.

"Sometimes it's better to channel aid through an Afghan government that has a higher risk of corruption than aid that has a high risk of inefficiency," said Delesgues.

"It's better to channel it through the government because even if it is being taken it will stay in the country."

(Editing by David Fox)
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Afghan president heads for The Netherlands, Paris
June 9, 2008
KABUL (AFP) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai headed to The Netherlands Monday for a short visit before a donors' meet in Paris where he will ask for support for a 50.1-billion-dollar development plan.

Karzai was to spend two days in The Netherlands and was due to meet Queen Beatrix and Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende among other officials, his office said in a statement announcing his departure.

The Netherlands has 1,770 soldiers in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force that is providing security across Afghanistan, according to ISAF figures. There are around 40 countries in ISAF.

The Dutch troops are based in the southern province of Uruzgan -- a stronghold for Taliban extremists involved in an insurgency aimed at toppling Karzai's government.

From The Netherlands, Karzai will travel to Paris where he was due to open a conference on Thursday bringing together the Afghan government and a host of supporting countries and agencies.

On the table will be the five-year Afghanistan National Development Strategy, a blueprint for an ambitious reconstruction process that depends on international funding.

Karzai is due to address the one-day meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, before dozens of delegations present their statements.
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Afghanistan needs another 10 years before flying solo: Karzai
Mon Jun 9, 1:40 PM ET
THE HAGUE (AFP) - Afghanistan needs at least a decade to be able to handle its own security, President Hamid Karzai said Monday on a visit to peacekeeping troop contributor The Netherlands.

"Afghanistan ... will have a much better administration by 2010," he told journalists after talks with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende in The Hague.

"But that does not mean that Afghanistan will be entirely on its own feet," Karzai added as international forces struggle with the Taliban militia that has been rejuvenated since being ousted in a US-led invasion in 2001.

"It will take much longer for us to be able to fully defend ourselves and run our affairs. At least another 10 years would be required for the whole of the country."

Karzai was asked about the ability of the southern province of Uruzgan -- a stronghold for Taliban extremists intent on toppling his government -- to take over its own security after the withdrawal of Dutch troops set for 2010.

There are nearly 70,000 foreign soldiers from more than 40 nations helping the growing Afghan army and police tackle the insurgents and rising crime.

Currently, nearly 1,800 of them are from The Netherlands, which has lost 16 troops in the peacekeeping effort to which it has contributed some 10,000 soldiers over the past seven years.

Balkenende urged Afghanistan to do more to build its police force.

"NATO, the EU and The Netherlands will be increasing their efforts to train police officers but Afghanistan also needs to do more. Without highly motivated police officers there can be no bright future for Afghanistan."

Standing alongside Karzai, Balkenende said Afghanistan should provide more support to international training efforts, and improve police salaries and working conditions.

Extremist unrest has left 10 policemen, two dozen Taliban fighters and three British soldiers dead since Sunday -- bringing to 100 the number of British troops killed in Afghan peacekeeping since 2001.

Karzai agreed the police force was a matter for concern.

"This is a sector of Afghan security forces which received attention quite late... it is a concern that is achieving attention".

Balkenende said he had discussed human rights with Karzai, underlining Dutch opposition to the death penalty and insisting that people in detention "must be treated fairly."

The Afghan premier said a strong human rights ethos was one of the greatest desires of his people.

"As president of Afghanistan the best day will be the day I am sure that no-one in Afghanistan will have his or her rights violated by an oppressive government, by a bad law, or by other incidents of that kind."

Human rights is expected to be on the agenda of a donors' meeting in Paris this week where Karzai will ask support for a 50 billion dollar development plan.

Balkenende assured Karzai of Dutch support for his country's efforts. "Security in Afghanistan is important for us all, because Afghanistan must never again become a land of fear and terror," he said.

"The hateful Taliban regime must never again be allowed to return."
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Britain evokes 'noble cause' as Afghanistan death toll hits 100
by Robin Millard June 9, 2008
LONDON (AFP) - Britain paid tribute Monday to its troops in Afghanistan after the number killed there reached the grim landmark of 100, insisting theirs is a "noble cause" crucial to defeating global terrorism.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the sacrifice was not in vain and was helping to turn Afghanistan from a lawless state into an emerging democracy.

Defence Secretary Des Browne called the struggle a "noble cause," after a suicide attack in southern Helmand province killed three soldiers just outside their base Sunday, taking the British death toll to 100 since the 2001 US-led invasion.

But he voiced frustration that the British public did not understand what the troops were achieving in the fragile state.

Britain has around 7,800 soldiers in Afghanistan, most of whom are in Helmand, where the Taliban has been waging a bloody insurgency since being ousted from power after the invasion.

"I want to pay tribute to the courage of all the 100 British troops who have given their lives in Afghanistan," Brown said in a statement.

"They have paid the ultimate price, but they have achieved something of lasting value -- helping turn a lawless region sheltering terrorists into an emerging democracy."

He added: "I do not believe democracy in Afghanistan would have survived without NATO and UN support; and British forces have been on the front line of that international effort."

Of the 100 dead, 74 were killed by hostile action.

The remaining 26 died from illness, accidents, non-combat injuries or have not yet been formally assigned a cause of death.

The youngest victim was Private Ben Ford, 18; the oldest 51-year-old Senior Aircraftsman Gary Thompson.

Browne, hailing the efforts of British troops in Afghanistan, said they were helping to make the world safer from the "scourge" of terrorism.

"Afghanistan is the noble cause of the 21st century and I passionately believe that," he told BBC radio.

"There is not one member of our services... who questions the rightness of this cause.

"Their frustration, if anything, is that people back here in the United Kingdom don't understand what they are achieving and that none of the positives of what they are doing, they believe, are fully understood by people back here."

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, chief of the defence staff, said he hoped the bereaved families would find comfort in the fact that "our forces are engaged in a most worthy and noble endeavour".

The Taliban's influence was "waning" and the international effort was beginning to effect "real change," he said.

The death toll should remind people of the "price of failure if we falter in Afghanistan," Stirrup added.

The trio who were killed were on a routine foot patrol about one kilometre (0.6 miles) west of their base. They fell victim to a "suicide explosive device", the Ministry of Defence said.

A fourth soldier who was wounded in the attack is expected to recover.

All the soldiers, part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, were from the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment.

Chris Nineham, spokesman for the Stop the War Coalition, said the conflict was a "war without purpose" and called for a withdrawal.

"NATO forces are bogged down, deeply unpopular, facing more and more resistance and causing mayhem rather than bringing democracy," he said.

"I do not think there is any possibility of progress in Afghanistan while it is occupied by foreign forces."

Anthony Philippson, father of Captain Jim Philippson, who was killed in a firefight with the Taliban in 2006, said: "The whole thing is an utter waste of time."
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Former warlord blames UK for breakdown in security
Independent, UK By Jerome Starkey in Musa Qala Monday, 9 June 2008
A former Taliban commander who swapped sides last year has accused his British allies of jeopardising security and undermining his authority in a row that has plunged their relations to an all time low.

Mullah Salam was made governor of Musa Qala, Helmand, after British, American and Afghan forces retook the town in December. His defection was the catalyst for the operation. But the British fear his warlord ways are hampering their efforts to win over local people, and driving them back into the hands of the insurgents. They have branded him a "James Bond baddie" and accused him of running a personal militia of ex-Taliban thugs, while doing nothing to support reconstruction.

Mullah Salam says British soldiers are wrecking his attempts to bring security by releasing people he arrests and underfunding his war chest – which he claims is for buying off insurgent commanders.
The British, with hundreds of troops at the 5 Scots headquarters inside Musa Qala and more in nearby outposts, suspect he is on the take. The top British diplomat at the headquarters, Dr Richard Jones, said: "He likes to feather his own nest."

Both groups know his fate is being closely watched by other Taliban commanders thinking about changing sides.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ed Freely, who commands the Royal Irish troops training Afghanistan's army, said: "He appears less interested in governing his people than reinforcing his own personal position of power."
Musa Qala was the jewel in the Taliban crown. It was retaken by the Taliban after British forces withdrew under a controversial deal to hand it back to local elders in 2006. Lieutenant-Colonel David Richmond, who shares his headquarters with Salam's compound inside the town, said: "He was the man for the moment, but his concept of governance is very different from ours. Very often he says the wrong thing and does the wrong thing, but he is the only governor we've got."

The British believe he taxed his own villagers more than a ton of opium at the end of the poppy harvest. They also suspect his militia of stealing land, money and motorbikes, and beating people who can't pay. Mullah Salam denies the allegations.

"If I see anyone in my militia doing these things I will shoot him," he said, revealing his own brand of Taliban-style justice.

Suicide attacks: The Taliban's latest tactic
Suicide attacks have long been used as a murderous tactic in Iraq but they have only recently been used as a regular tool in the conflict in Afghanistan. After incurring heavy losses in the autumn of last year, the Taliban started to adopt the type of suicide bombing attacks prevalent in Iraq.

Figures published by the United Nations show there were a record 140 suicide bombings in Afghanistan last year – a 69 per cent increase over the same period last year. The Taliban concentration on suicide bombings followed a change of tactics by the British military to establish a presence on the Taliban's home ground to begin reconstruction projects. Despite the presence of more than 50,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, some American officials believe that the country is replacing Iraq as the deadliest place in the "war on terror". More than 6,000 people – mostly militants – were killed last year, with the highest ever number of suicide attacks, including one at the Serena hotel in Kabul, the city's most prestigious hotel used by international VIPs.

Correspondents say the militants often target Afghan and international security forces as part of their effort to topple the pro-Western Afghan government. Gereshk, formerly a busy commercial centre, has become a particular target as shops and businesses have begun to reappear, with Taliban fighters launching attacks from outlying villages.
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Militant Attacks in Afghanistan Kill 5 Policemen
By VOA News 09 June 2008
Afghan officials say five policemen have been killed in two separate attacks.

Authorities say three officers were killed by a roadside bomb in Ghazni province. Two other policemen were killed during a militant attack in the western province of Ghor. Three rebels were also killed in that incident.

On Sunday, the British military said three British soldiers were killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan's restive Helmand province.

The incident brings to 100 the number of British military personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Monday paid tribute to those troops, saying they have paid the ultimate price to help "turn a lawless region sheltering terrorists into an emerging democracy.

On Sunday, an Afghan reporter working for the British Broadcasting Corporation was found dead in Helmand province, one day after he was abducted.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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Laura Bush urges donors to stand by Afghanistan
First lady makes surprise visit to Kabul ahead of Paris donor conference later this week.
Christian Science Monitor, MA By Aunohita Mojumdar Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor June 9, 2008 edition
Kabul, Afghanistan - US first lady Laura Bush made a quick trip to Afghanistan, emphasizing the need for continued attention to the country ahead of an international donors' conference in Paris on June 12.
The Mrs. Bush met with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul Sunday after flying to Bamiyan in central Afghanistan.

Bamiyan, famed for its colossal Buddha statues that were blown up by the Taliban in March 2001, is also the only province in the country headed by a woman governor, Habiba Sarobi. But the province is also emblematic of problems in the aid delivery systems that have come under increasing criticism from aid workers and analysts. The province, one of the most peaceful areas in the country, suffers from economic neglect exacerbated by a difficult mountainous topography.

"Donors need to keep the needs and requirements of Afghans in mind rather than their own geopolitical and security considerations," says Mudasser Hussain Siddiqui, policy research and advocacy coordinator for Action Aid Afghanistan. Referring to the skewed distribution of aid that benefits provinces with conflict and penalizes the peaceful areas, Mr. Siddiqui referred to Bamiyan as an example.

Siddiqui emphasized that more money needed to be spent in Afghanistan and to be tied to the new Afghanistan National Development Strategy that is expected to be unveiled in Paris this week.

Host country France is hoping to raise $12 billion to $15 billion to help Afghanistan's reconstruction efforts. Approximately $15 billion has already been disbursed by the international community in Afghanistan.
Bush told reporters traveling with her Sunday: "We don't need to be intimidated by them. The international community can't drop Afghanistan now at this very crucial time."

It was important Afghans understood "the rest of the world is with you and that we're not going to leave you right now when the Taliban and Al Qaeda is trying to intimidate you," she said.

Bush visited a police academy in Bamiyan and spoke to around a dozen women police recruits. She later inaugurated a US-funded road-building project and was serenaded by schoolgirls from poor backgrounds.

While the Taliban banned girls from school, the United Nations says there are now more girls in education than there were boys being taught under the ousted Islamist government. "Of course we want more [girls] in school, and I think this is the key to success in Afghanistan," said Bush, a former schoolteacher. Despite progress, still only 35 percent of those in education are girls. "We want that to be 50-50," she said.

Analysts in Afghanistan, however, blame the US, the largest donor, for some of the major problems in aid delivery.

Lorenzo Delesgues, director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan, says that "it is very important for [the US] to increase aid but also its accountability to the government by channeling its aid through the Afghan government."

Mr. Delesgues says that currently 90 percent of the American aid was routed outside the Afghan government budget. Currently, approximately 70 percent of all international aid to Afghanistan is outside the government budget; a factor the Afghan government says has led to waste and erosion of authority, and hampers long- term planning.

Chrissie Hirst, the chief of policy and advocacy in DACAAR, a Danish development nongovernmental organization, says that the Paris donors' conference should focus on sustainable aid. While food aid is forthcoming, she points out donors are less willing to invest in long-term projects that will ensure food security.

• Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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Afghanistan: "We left school to help feed our family"
CHAGHCHARAN, 9 June 2008 (IRIN) - Eleven-year-old Fatima and her nine-year-old brother, Ahmad, left school in Ghor Province, central-southern Afghanistan, to help feed their family. From dawn till dusk they scavenge for metal, bone and plastics from which they can earn about US$1 a day. Fatima told IRIN of the hardships she and her brother face:

"Early in the morning it's difficult to wake up because I feel pain in my legs and back. Ahmed has similar complaints.

"Throughout the day we walk from place to place in search of metal, plastic bottles and bones. Sometimes we also find good food thrown out with the rubbish. we often eat it. Ahmad once got sick because he had eaten something dirty, so now we don't eat everything but only things which are OK.

"We sell metal for 20 Afghani [40 US cents] per kilo, and bones and plastic bottles for 10 Afghani [20 cents] per kilo. We make about 40-50 Afghani on a good day.

"Our work is very hard and I feel pain all over my body. Nobody helps us. If we don't work hard, we will die of hunger. So we have to work and earn a piece of bread for our family. We don't have the money to visit a doctor and buy medicine.

"We didn't do this work last year. We went to school where they gave us `ghee' [buttermilk] and wheat [the UN World Food Programme runs several food-for-education projects across Afghanistan]. Even when they stopped the aid we continued to go to school. But as winter started and schools shut, we could not find enough to eat.

"We would love to go back to school and study again, but we can't. I hope the government will help us and give us food so that we can go to school again."
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Funeral for BBC Afghan reporter
Monday, 9 June 2008 BBC News
An Afghan journalist working for the BBC in the country's southern Helmand province has been buried a day after he was found shot dead.

Abdul Samad Rohani had been abducted on Saturday and his body was found on Sunday afternoon in Lashkar Gah.

The BBC paid tribute to Rohani, saying his "courage and dedication have been a key part of the BBC's reporting from Afghanistan in recent years".

Rohani was the Pashto service reporter for the BBC World Service in Helmand.

The province has seen some of the worst recent violence of the Taleban-led insurgency.

Condemned

Rohani's body was taken from the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, to his nearby home district of Marja where he was buried in the village cemetery.

Several hundred people, including the province's governor, attended the funeral.

On Sunday night, the Afghan government condemned his killing and said he had been "martyred for carrying out the holy job of reporting".

Police said they did not know who had abducted and killed Rohani. They said they were investigating the matter.

A BBC statement said Rohani's "bravery - and that of his colleagues - have allowed us to tell a key story for audiences in the UK, in Afghanistan and around the world".

It added: "His death is a terrible loss - our thoughts are with his friends and family. We are working closely with his family to support them at this difficult time."

There have been a number of attacks on journalists in Afghanistan this year and the Kabul-based South Asia Media Commission says five Afghan journalists were killed in 2007.

It was the second death of a BBC journalist over the weekend.

Gunmen in Kismayo, southern Somalia, killed Nasteh Dahir, who worked for the BBC and the Associated Press news agency, on Saturday.
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A tribute to Abdul Samad Rohani
Monday, 9 June 2008 BBC News
Abdul Samad Rohani, the Pashto service reporter for the BBC in the Afghan province of Helmand, was shot dead at the weekend. His friend and colleague Bilal Sarwary pays this tribute.

"Fish is fresh when it is in the water," Rohani used to say.

It's an Afghan saying which means here that Rohani felt most alive when he was working in the field.

In the eight years that I have been with the BBC in Kabul, I have been constantly in touch with BBC reporters located in some of the most dangerous and remote areas of Afghanistan.

These brave reporters work tirelessly away from their families so that the world may come to understand the desperate situation faced by the people of Afghanistan.

Rohani began working for the BBC in 2006. As well as reporting in the Pashto language, he provided crucial support and information to the BBC's English language staff.

Helmand province is one of the centres of the Taleban insurgency. Because of the large number of British troops there it is a particularly important news area for the BBC's audiences in the UK.

Household name

Rohani knew Helmand better than anyone I have ever met.

He was born in Helmand and, as well as being a journalist, was a poet of some local renown.

Hardly a day passes without an incident in Helmand and sometimes he would be on the phone to me all day. I will always remember his bravery.

His compassion drove him to travel into the Taleban-controlled areas to report about the lives of people there.

Sometimes he stayed at my house in Kabul, entertaining me and my roommate with his romantic Pashto poems.

But our evenings were constantly interrupted by his phones as he took calls from tribal chiefs, government officials or a local trader complaining about corruption.

He had a way with words and became the voice of the people of Helmand.

There would also be entire days when his cell phones were off when he would be travelling in a wolaswali (the Pashto word for district) where there is no network coverage.

First to call

At present I'm spending a lot of the year studying in the US.

Rohani would phone me regularly there - always calling in the early hours of morning US time when I was asleep. Whenever I pointed it out to him, his response would be simple: "It's day in Afghanistan." And then he would chuckle.

I always liked talking to Rohani and over the years our working relationship altered into something deeper - a friendship.

Whenever I returned home to Kabul, he would be one of the first people to call.

"Welcome to our Afghanistan and I am sending my regards from this village in Helmand province," he would say.

On Saturday I grew alarmed when I did not hear from him.

I enquired after him and was devastated to learn that Rohani was missing and his phones were switched off.

I knew something was wrong, but I was hoping that Rohani was again on a trip to some remote village or district, reporting the story of his people whom he loved so dearly.

Then the bad news came in.

An unknown caller contacted another BBC colleague in Helmand, asking for Rohani's body to be picked up.

As soon I heard the news, I felt the weight of a thousand broken hearts and I felt as if the entire world had come crashing down.

My memories of Rohani will always remain with me.

As an Afghan I will always be proud of being his friend and colleague.

He dedicated his life and time towards telling the truth and helping Afghanistan.

I don't know who it was who killed Rohani, but I know one thing for sure - there will be more of us telling the truth and truth will always protect itself.
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She's a top cop . . . in Kandahar
Meet Malalai Kaker, wife, mother  and pistol-packing deputy police commander
Toronto Star, Canada Rosie DiManno Columnist Jun 08, 2008
KANDAHAR-Malalai Kaker wears a headscarf and a shoulder-holstered pistol.

A broad leather belt holds up the trousers of her stock issue blue-grey police uniform – clearly not designed for a female's contours, and most especially not a female who's barely five feet tall.
Shucking off the scarf impatiently, Kaker fires up a cigarette and inhales deeply.

It's the first time I've ever seen an Afghan woman smoking.

But Kaker is a woman of many firsts.

The first girl – just 14 years old – to enrol in the Kandahar Police Academy, her police officer father and five officer brothers watching proudly. The first female detective in the province. The most senior female officer, now, in all of southern Afghanistan, deputy commander of the Kandahar city police department, with a squad of 10 female cops who report to her.

Until two years ago, Kaker wore a burqa over her uniform but finally and firmly took it off. For most male colleagues, it was the first time they'd ever seen her face.

"Now I wear it only when I'm not working, when I'm shopping at the bazaar, when I'm not armed. There are Taliban around who would kill me if I were recognized out of uniform."

Or in uniform, for that matter, which is why Kaker lives in a protected compound and is driven to work every morning by one of her brothers.

Increasingly, she and other female officers here have been receiving "night letters" from the Taliban, warnings to quit their jobs, stay inside their homes.

"Sometimes, they phone me. They have my cellphone number, even though I keep changing it. Last month, my son was threatened by someone who said: `Tell your mother to leave her job or we will kill her.'
"I won't let them scare me away. But I do worry for my family."

KAKER IS 38 YEARS OLD, an attractive woman with laugh lines crinkling around intense brown eyes, mahogany hair, bronze lipstick matching her nail polish and an utterly self-confident nature.

She was, presciently, named after Malalai, the Afghan heroine from the Battle of Maiwand – during the second Anglo-African war of the 19th century – who used her veil as a banner to encourage Afghan soldiers in their fight against the British.

During the Taliban era, forbidden from continuing as a cop, Kaker fled to Pakistan where she met and married a UN worker she describes as a "modern man."
They have six children.

With the fall of the Taliban she returned to Kandahar, to her vocation, more dogged than ever about continuing in a non-conventional, for women, career.

It's not just about being a female detective in a man's world, in this most conservative, Pashtun domain of Afghanistan; it's about being a detective who investigates, where male colleagues won't, crimes committed against women by men.

"Women don't usually complain to male police officers if they're being beaten by their husbands of if they've been raped.

And male officers can't investigate those claims because they can't go and interview women – they can't look at their bruises and injuries. Some of them also still believe that men have the right to abuse their wives or their sisters."

In one notorious case a couple of years ago, Kaker broke down the door of a local residence to find a widowed woman and her children being kept in a cage, fed little more than bread and water for eight months, the family enslaved by a brother-in-law.

But there have been many other incidents, if not quite so horrific, of domestic abuse, busted open by Kaker and her team. "What we do is apply the law in the right way. Our constitution is supposed to protect women's rights, too."

The squad room commonly becomes a refuge for women fleeing violence, hovering about, anxious to brew tea or clean up, anything to make themselves useful.

Yet women, Kaker reminds, can be criminals, too, involved in narcotics, committing theft and murder, abusing children.

"I've found guns on women while investigating cases. But at least I'm allowed to touch and search them, under the burqa. Male officers can't do that."

Not that Kaker investigates only women. As a senior cop in the department, she frequently participates in raids targeting male criminal gangs. A male suspect once bit her on the arm – she carries the scar still.
But an AK-47 – which she also has been issued – is a great gender equalizer.

"For men, it is particularly insulting to be arrested by a female officer. Too bad."

During mujahideen days, there were no female cops anywhere in Afghanistan, though some women fighters.

(There is still, in fact, one female warlord in northern Afghanistan.)

During Afghanistan's communist era, the Soviets were keen on expanding female representation in police forces. They were all sent packing by the radically misogynous Taliban, of course.

But the ranks of policewomen have been on the rise since 2002. There are now about 250 female officers, according to the Ministry of the Interior, with most of them working in the police hospital, with passport control and at checkpoints for searching women.

In the past, Kaker has gone out on the streets, buttonholing women, urging them to join her in law enforcement. Many considered her insane.

On top of all the other crime, common to any urban centre, Kandahar is gripped by an escalating insurgency that adds another layer of brutality and peril, most particularly for cops, who bear the brunt of front-line ambushes.

When the Star flew into Kandahar last week, there were a dozen incoming officers from Kabul on the flight, sent as immediate replacements for 13 cops slain in a disastrous encounter with the Taliban a few days earlier.

A fortnight ago, Kaker was part of a unit that became involved in a firefight with insurgents at the edge of town. Her most frightening experience occurred a couple of years ago during an ambush by Taliban gunmen where Kaker was left with only a handful of male colleagues to repel the attack, other officers fleeing the scene. After being rescued by reinforcements, she returned to the station livid with her cowardly colleagues, hissing at them: "You have long moustaches, but you have no bravery."

The security situation has palpably worsened in the last two years.

"Day by day it gets worse. I don't know how we can improve things in Kandahar, except the tribal leaders should get more involved with supporting the central government.

"I think the people might listen to them, if they spoke out against the Taliban, if they said Islam forbids suicide bombings and the killing of law enforcement officials."

Kandahar cops make about $100 a month, which isn't much for daily risking one's life. And, in the case of women, being routinely subjected to harassment and ridicule.

Of late, Kaker has been kept away from routine city patrols, with the renewed and more emboldened threats against female officers.

"Even my father is afraid for my life now and he has always supported me. It's a very dangerous job, whether you're a man or a woman. But if you're a woman, you have to put up with so much more.

"People have small, narrow minds. It will take a long time for many people to accept us in this position. But I want to show other women that it can be done, even here in Kandahar."

She has been, over the course of her career here, through seven police chiefs, most removed for corruption. And Kaker genuinely believes she might make chief some day.

"Oh yes. Why not? The men I work with respect me now as an equal."

In the interim, she would like two other things so far denied her, even after all these years and all these promotions: a brimmed police hat to replace the scarf and her own vehicle.

"They won't let me drive," she says. "It's not allowed for women."

Columnist Rosie DiManno is on assignment in Afghanistan, where she covered the Taliban's fall in 2001.
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Canadian soldier dies in Afghanistan after falling into well
Xinhua, China www.chinaview.cn 2008-06-09 
OTTAWA-A Canadian soldier died Saturday in southern Afghanistan after falling into a well, Canada's Department of National Defense said Sunday.

The accident happened at around 9 p.m. local time (1630 GMT), when the soldier was conducting a security patrol in Zhari District in Kandahar Province, the department said in a press release.

His fellow soldiers tried in vain to extract him from the well, which was about 20 meters deep. Medical, engineering and search and rescue personnel were rushed to the scene, and lifted him out of the well. He was evacuated by helicopter to the hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

There are many wells, known locally as karizes, in Zhari District, west of Kandahar. They are usually unmarked and tie into underground irrigation ditches, according to Canadian military officials.

The death toll in Afghanistan for Canada's military has reached85. Currently 2,500 Canadian soldiers are stationed in southern Afghanistan.
Editor: Mu Xuequan
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Afghan rebels making kids into bombers, officials charge
They say religion is tool to recruit
Chicago Tribune BY KIM BARKER • CHICAGO TRIBUNE June 8, 2008
KABUL, Afghanistan - Shauker Ullah says he agreed to blow himself up in March.
He did not know how to drive a car nor read a book. His only schooling was four months in a Pakistani Islamic madrassa, where he learned to recite the Holy Quran but not the meaning of the verses. But after only a few promises, he agreed to go across the border to Afghanistan and kill foreign soldiers.

Shauker was only 14.

The clerics "told me if I did a suicide attack, I would not die," said Shauker, from Barwan village in North Waziristan, a remote Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan that is a haven for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants. "They said, 'They're only foreigners. They'll die, and you won't.' "

Shauker, who allegedly was arrested in a car full of explosives, spoke to a Chicago Tribune reporter last month in Kabul, where he was being held in detention by Afghanistan's main intelligence agency. Although it was impossible to independently verify his story because Western journalists are not allowed to visit the tribal areas, Shauker told the tale of his recruitment willingly and calmly, under no apparent pressure.

Afghan officials and child advocates say the teenager, who looks even younger than 14, is an example of how militants in Afghanistan manipulate religion to recruit young people, especially from Pakistan's tribal areas and Afghanistan's southern belt, where laws barely apply, militants hold sway and functioning schools are few and far between.

Here in the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, many young people do not attend school or attend only Islamic madrassas, known mainly in these ethnic Pashtun areas for indoctrinating young people with a desire to perform jihad, an Islamic tenet that here is interpreted as fighting a holy war.

"We know for sure they're using kids. They're using drug addicts. They're using people who are mentally ill, mentally challenged," said Humayun Hamidzada, the spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Accusations about children Although Taliban members have denied using children as suicide bombers, saying they have plenty of adult volunteers, NATO and Afghan government officials have for the past year accused the militants of misusing children and therefore committing war crimes.

Last summer, Karzai pardoned a 14-year-old Pakistani boy who planned a suicide attack in Afghanistan after being recruited in a Pakistani madrassa. Last June, militants in the southeastern Afghan city of Ghazni forced a 6-year-old boy to wear an explosive vest and told him to walk up to U.S. soldiers. After asking Afghan soldiers for help, the boy said he was told that when he pressed the button, flowers would shoot out, officials said at the time.

Militants on both sides of the border appear to be using young people. One of the first people arrested in the December slaying of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was 15, from near the tribal areas of Pakistan. A video circulated on the Internet last year showing a young boy from remote southwestern Pakistan, near Afghanistan's border, cutting the head off a man accused of being a U.S. spy. The boy was purportedly 12, and the incident drew condemnation by both Pakistani officials and international organizations like UNICEF.

Abdullah, 17, who like many Afghans has no last name, had never been to school when he was recruited more than a year ago from his home in southeastern Paktika province, a Taliban stronghold. Abdullah said a 25-year-old friend spent more than 10 days explaining why he should launch a suicide attack.

"He told me that Americans have invaded our country, and go and blow up the Americans," Abdullah said. "He said 'If you do it, you will go to paradise.' "

Afghan courts sentenced Abdullah to 7 years in prison. Intelligence sources said they do not yet know what will happen to Shauker, the teenager from Waziristan. If he is sent to Pakistan, he could be killed or recruited again. "Everyone is so sad about this kid," said one Afghani official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his job.

'I didn't want to go' The teenager said he was recruited in March by two clerics from his madrassa, just after he finished learning to recite the Quran. Since the book is in Arabic, Shauker said he had no idea what any of the words meant, but the clerics told him the next step to becoming a good Muslim was to blow himself up near foreign forces in Afghanistan.

He said the clerics told him that if he was a good Muslim, he would survive the attack. When he came home, he would be well paid and have everything he wanted.

"They said it was required because I finished the Quran," Shauker said. "I didn't want to go. They didn't let me talk to my family."

But before Shauker could launch an attack -- on March 20, to coincide with the Afghan New Year -- the explosives-filled car stalled in a dry riverbed. Afghan security forces stumbled upon it and arrested Shauker, the cleric and the medical student.

Shauker said he did not want to attack anyone anymore. "I don't even know what jihad is," he said. "I really want to go home."
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Cousin rapist given death sentence
Written by www.quqnoos.com Sunday, 08 June 2008 
Man faces death penalty for raping cousin before burying her body
A COURT in the north of Afghanistan has sentenced a young man to death for raping and then strangling his eight-year-old cousin.

The court found that Fatima was gang raped by her cousin and three of his friends before her dead body was dumped in a field in the Sarai Sang area of Taloqan city early last month.

A post-mortem at the time of her death revealed the girl had been suffocated after the four men raped her.

Head of the court in Takhar province, Abdul Jalil Maulawi Zada, said 21-year-old Askar Muhammad was sentenced to death yesterday (Saturday).

Muhammad, who can still appeal the sentence, had allegedly admitted to the crime while in police custody, but later denied the charges of rape and murder in court.

The defendant said his cousin Fatima had left him while they walked home and that he was only told of her disappearance later.

Two other people were sentenced to one year in prison for helping Muhammad hide the body and “conceal the truth”.

The head of the attorney’s office in Takhar province, Muhammad Wazir, said Fatima’s slipper, which was found with Muhammad, was one of the most crucial pieces of evidence in the case.

He said Fatima was strangled with her own scarf and then buried.

The court heard how Muhammad’s father had beaten his son when he found out about the crime.

The pair dug up the buried body and re-buried it away from the nearby houses.

The security chief of Takhar, Malpaswal Ziauldin Mahmoodi, said the police were told about the crime by the victim’s mother.

Head of the Human Rights Commission in the north-east, Muhammad Zahir Zafari, said it was possible that cases of abuse would increase in the country this year because the government fails to punish criminals.

Last week, the court in the province of Sar-e-Pul sentenced a 16-year-old to two years in prison for raping a seven-year-old girl.

The young girl had left her house to collect grass from the nearby fields when she was sexually abused.

Judges in a court in Kandahar have sentenced to death a young man who raped a seven-year-old girl with a friend and then burned her alive.
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UN: drought victims to get tents and food
Written by www.quqnoos.com Sunday, 08 June 2008
Fears of disease spread as victims set up make-shift tents on edge of city
THE UN'S World Food Program has promised to distribute tents and food to about 500 families who fled their homes in the north because of food and water shortages.

Poor rainfall triggered drought in many districts in Balkh province, forcing more than 2,000 families to leave their homes earlier this week for the outskirts of the province’s capital, Mazar-e-Sharif.

Many live in make-shift tents on the edge of the city and have eaten nothing for several days.

The families say their crops were destroyed and their animals died because of the lack of rainfall this year.

They say their children faced dying from starvation if they stayed in their homes.

The department of natural disasters has distributed about 9,000 pieces of bread in the last two days, but many complain illness is becoming a major concern among people living in the tent city.

Many say aid agencies and the government have failed to respond quickly and effectively to their needs.

The deputy head of the natural disasters department, Muhammad Aslam Sayas, said he had dispatched two health teams to the area and that 100 tonnes of wheat would soon reach the drought victims.

Head of the health department of the Afghan Red Cross, Rahmatullah Basharyar, said that he had set up three health centres to provide basic medical care to the famished people.
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