Sunday, November 07, 2004

A former Taliban sports minister is among the leaders of the group holding three United Nations workers, including Annetta Flanigan from Northern Ireland, as hostages in Afghanistan. The extremist faction known as the Jaish-e-Muslimeen has threatened to kill the hostages if its demands for Taliban prisoners to be freed from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are not met. "I cannot tell you who would be the first victim but it is now only a matter of a few days," said Maulvi Mansour Ahmad, a spokesman for the group and the Afghan sports minister until shortly before the Taliban were ousted. On Friday the group extended a deadline for Afghanistan and UN to open negotiations over the hostages, apparently after a UN request, but Ahmad said: "Nobody should expect us to extend the deadline time and again."
When it comes to looking out for the welfare of Canada's soldiers, what better place to go than the city where they risk life and limb every day? Andre Marin, Canada's military ombudsman, will travel to Afghanistan next week to spend two sleepless days and nights meeting with individuals and groups of soldiers, investigating troop complaints.
Afghanistan's transitional leader Hamid Karzai has won the war-shattered country's first-ever presidential election. the announcement came after a special panel endorsed the election results as free and fair. The United Nations-Afghan joint electoral commission has announced that interim leader Hamid Karzai is the winner of the October 9 presidential election in Afghanistan. It says Mr. Karzai has won more than 55 percent of the vote and no run-off vote will be needed.
(Voice of America)

Militants attacked U.S. troops patrolling in southeastern Afghanistan on Monday, killing one U.S. soldier and wounding two with gunfire and rockets, the military said....The U.S. patrol came under fire near Orgun, a town in Paktika Province where U.S. troops man a base close to the Pakistani border, spokesman Maj. Mark McCann said.
Osama Bin Laden is alive and well and has been living in Pakistan for the last three years, it has been claimed here. Veteran journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave, who in the past has declared Bin Laden to be living in Peshawar, has once again expressed his certainty that the Al Qaeda fugitive has found refuge in Pakistan. In an article published on Monday by Washington Times, de Borchgrave claims that Bin Laden “evidently enjoys high-ranking protection” in Pakistan.
American military and Afghan officials in this dust-blown town, capital of the remote border province of Paktika, say they are proud that the presidential election on Oct. 9 was peaceful here, with one of the highest voter turnouts in the country. Not bad, they say, for a province larger than Vermont that has been the most dangerous and inaccessible for American troops and even Afghan government officials for the past three years. Insurgents supporting the country's former Taliban rulers and Al Qaeda have carried out repeated attacks here, from their haven across the border in Pakistan's tribal areas.
"No Taliban here," the police chief said. "No, never," the sub-governor added. "This is the safest place in all Afghanistan."
Marine 1st Lt. Jeremy Wilkinson, the snuff-dipping commander of Whiskey Company, was skeptical. Every week, U.S. troops are ambushed by gunmen in these hooded passes along the border with Pakistan.
"Well, everyone says there aren't any bad guys around," the lieutenant told the two ostensible allies as they squatted on their haunches, stolid and implacable. "But how come we keep getting attacked?"
Zelizer, whose latest co-edited book, Reporting War: Journalism in Wartime, is being released this month, says interpreters present as many problems for journalists as they do benefits. In some instances, she says, reporters rely so heavily on interpreters that the latter "undermine the news organization's authority to be independent, to be autonomous, to be professional." She also says, "It's not in journalism's best interest for the public to realize how dependent the story is on an interpreter.
"The problem, she says, is not so much with the practice of hiring people to navigate and explain unfamiliar territory; it's more with readers' expectations as consumers of the news. Many Americans have the unrealistic idea that every foreign story they read, hear, or see is a complete, accurate, and unbiased presentation. But news organizations have come to rely more than ever on locals for functions as basic as translation, landing interviews, finding electricity for laptops and satellite phones, and tracking down food in a desolate outpost.
Many correspondents acknowledge that their interpreters sometimes come to the job with personal agendas, political axes to grind, and worldviews foreign to American sensibilities. But with images and words from around the world filling our news pages and airwaves, guarding against those pitfalls is increasingly difficult.
The Americans say Pacha Khan took them for a ride - taking a reputed $US500,000-plus ($670,000) from them while he sold weapons to al-Qaeda and the Taliban and fed false information that led the US to kill 25 tribal elders as they travelled to the inauguration of Hamid Karzai as interim president in Kabul in 2002.
When Pacha Khan was sacked as a provincial governor, his men took to the streets, guns blazing, as he tried to bomb his way back into office. And though he spoke sweetness and light ahead of this month's first presidential poll, US marines arrested him after discovering rockets and grenade launchers in his mountain home.
Since they fell out, the Americans have gone after Pacha Khan and his fighters with F-16 and A-10 aircraft and Apache helicopters. But when they had him in jail, the US was obliged to release him after one of the mysterious deals within the Kabul political establishment that so often wrongfoot Western efforts to understand Afghanistan.
Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?