OUT OF OFFICE…

Written by admin on Friday, August 16th, 2019

we are out of office for a few days

On our return on January 2 we will publish our selection of articles.

Afghanistan and Pakistan

IN THE NEWS: GHANI CLARIFIES GOVERNMENT’S STANCE ON TALKS WITH TALIBAN (AUGUST 14, 2019)

Written by admin on Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Ghani Clarifies Government’s Stance On Talks With Taliban
SOURCE: TOLO News
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
By MIR AQA POPALZAI

*Mr. Ghani assures that there will be no compromise on the future of the Afghan forces
* Critics Want More Seriousness In Peace Efforts
* Direct Talks Will Begin In Future: Danish

President Ashraf Ghani at a ceremony in the Ministry of Defense in Kabul on Tuesday clarified the Afghan government’s stance on upcoming negotiations with the Taliban and said a new deal is not considered in this process.

The US and the Taliban negotiators wrapped up the eighth round of peace talks in Qatar.

The two sides are expected to sign a peace agreement within the next few days which will provide the ground for US troop withdrawal and reduction of violence in Afghanistan.

The peace deal will also facilitate intra-Afghan negotiations which will probably take place in a European capital within the next few weeks.

Mr. Ghani said a joint statement will be announced on the first day of negotiations with the Taliban which will define the Afghan government as a legitimate government which represents all the people of Afghanistan.
He said the statement will also define the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces as a legitimate partner of the international forces in the fight against terrorism. (more…)

IN THE NEWS: NATION CELEBRATES INDEPENDENCE DAY AS KASHMIR SOLIDARITY DAY (AUGUST 14, 2019)

Written by admin on Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Nation celebrates Independence Day as Kashmir Solidarity Day
SOURCE: The News International
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The nation is celebrating the 73rd Independence Day today (Wednesday) with zeal and enthusiasm to express full support to Kashmiris reeling from renewed Indian repression.

The day dawned with 31 gun-salute in federal and 21-gun salute in the provincial capitals. Special prayers for safety and sovereignty of the country were offered. National and Kashmiri flags are hoisting on government and private buildings.

Special programs are being aired to highlight the significance of independence and struggle of our forefathers for creating a separate homeland for Muslims in subcontinent.

The government of Pakistan on Saturday revealed a special logo for the Independence Day to express solidarity with the people of Occupied Kashmir after BJP-led Indian government stripped the valley of its special status of the valley with the revocation of Article 370.

On the occasion, President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan have expressed solidarity with the Kashmiris and said that the whole nation is supporting the Kashmiri people and reiterated the stance to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to them at all forums. (more…)

IN THE NEWS: RISE OF VIRULENT NATIONALISM (AUGUST 14, 2019)

Written by admin on Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Rise of virulent nationalism
SOURCE: Dawn
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
By ZAHID HUSSAIN

MUSCULAR nationalism, majoritarianism and populism are the most definite manifestations of the fascist ideology that now seems to be on the rise in various parts of the world. Ascendency of authoritarian strongmen is causing the rollback of liberal democratic values. The most dangerous fascist trait is the new virulent nationalism that seeks to assert racist, political and cultural hegemony, thus threatening not only democratic processes within states but also regional security.

Two events in the past weeks in different parts of the world — the US and India — are demonstrative of such increasing fascistic trends. One of these incidents, of the kind described as domestic terrorism motivated by white supremacist ideology, left several Americans dead. The manifesto posted by the young shooter who on Aug 3 slaughtered more than two dozen shoppers, most of them of Hispanic origin, at a mall in El Paso, Texas, talked about the “invasion of immigrants”.

It echoed the rhetoric used by President Trump against non-white immigrants. His re-election campaign too often mentions the ‘invasion’ of illegal immigrants. Trump’s white supremacist ideology has polarised American society as never before.

His tweets and the speeches he gives at public rallies include racist invective and encourage jingoistic hatred. One example of his incitement of racial grievances is his constant attack on four congresswomen of colour for their outspoken criticism of the administration’s racist politics.

The BJP’s politics, rooted in Hindu supremacist groups, has polarised India. (more…)

IN THE NEWS: INDIA REVOKES KASHMIR’S SPECIAL STATUS: ALL THE LATEST UPDATES (AUGUST 9, 2019)

Written by admin on Friday, August 9th, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

India revokes Kashmir’s special status: All the latest updates
SOURCE: Al Jazeera
Friday, August 9, 2019

*Police in Indian-administered Kashmir said Srinagar residents allowed to go to ‘area-specific mosques’
* Kashmir: Thousands flee border villages along Line of Control today
* UN concern over Kashmir lockdown as hundreds reported arrested today
* Is Pakistan able to counter India’s move in Kashmir?

The Indian government has revoked the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly seven decades.

A presidential decree issued on Monday revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters, except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposing a crippling curfew, shutting down telecommunications and internet, and arresting political leaders.
The move has worsened the already-heightened tensions with neighbouring Pakistan, which said it would downgrade its diplomatic relations with India.

Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory.

Here are all the latest updates:

Friday, August 9

Protests expected in Pakistan, Srinagar

Authorities in Pakistan and Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir are bracing for protests on Friday. (more…)

IN THE NEWS: TALIBAN LEADER QUASHES EID CEASE FIRE, URGES FOLLOWERS TO CONTINUE JIHAD (AUGUST 9, 2019)

Written by admin on Friday, August 9th, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Taliban leader quashes Eid cease fire, urges followers to continue jihad
SOURCE: The Long War Journal
Friday, August 9, 2019 (Posted)
By BILL ROGGIO

In his yearly Eid-al-Adha message to his followers, Taliban emir Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada dashed all hopes for a holiday ceasefire and urged his jihadists to continue the fight.

Unlike last year, when Hibatullah issued a unilateral three-day cease fire during Eid, he urged his followers to continue the fight and “pave the way for withdrawal of invaders and establishment of a true Islamic system.”

Hibatullah’s message, which was published today on the Taliban’s official website, Voice of Jihad, is consistent with the Taliban’s strategy of ramping up the pressure while negotiating with the US to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.

… the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate – with Divine Help from Allah and support of its resolute nation – has taken incredible strides forward both militarily and politically and are progressing towards success with great wisdom and caution. The Mujahideen have taken over large areas across the country amid the Al-Fath Operations. Besides rural areas, they have extended and solidified their control over highways and strategic points. They have taken military initiative from the enemy on the ground and left them with only blind airstrikes. The spirit of solidarity, coordination, discipline and obedience is at an all-time high.

The “true Islamic system” and “Islamic government” that Hibatullah refers to is the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. (more…)

IN THE NEWS: CIA PLANS TO KEEP PROXY UNITS IN AFGHANISTAN: REPORT (AUGUST 9, 2019)

Written by admin on Friday, August 9th, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

CIA Plans To Keep Proxy Units In Afghanistan: Report
SOURCE: TOLO News
Friday, August 9, 2019

* CIA Director Reportedly Meets Afghan Officials In Kabul
* CIA Chief Says China Is As Big A Threat To US As Russia

Despite reports that American troops may soon be leaving the country following a deal with the Taliban, the United States Central Intelligence Agency plans to retain a strong presence on the ground in Afghanistan.

Reports indicate that Washington has resolved its differences with the Taliban about withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan as the Doha talks are underway.

But in an article for Foreign Policy, Stefanie Glinski points out that the CIA is not planning to leave the Central Asian country any time soon.

The American intelligence agency is known to support, arm and train several proxy forces throughout Afghanistan.

Langley plans to keep those proxy forces operating in the country for the foreseeable future, regardless of whether US troops pull out, says Glinski.

She gives the example of the Khost Protection Force (KPF), a 6,500-strong unit of Afghan soldiers who are “trained, equipped and funded by the CIA”.

The KPF is the most active and visible of an extensive network of CIA-sponsored paramilitary groups in Afghanistan.

According to the report, the KPF operates almost exclusively along the Afghan-Pakistani border and has a strong presence in Taliban strongholds like Ghazni, Paktia, and Khost. (more…)

IN THE NEWS: ‘CONSTITUTIONAL TERRORISM’ AGAINST KASHMIR (AUGUST 8, 2019)

Written by admin on Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

‘Constitutional terrorism’ against Kashmir
SOURCE: Asia Times
Thursday, August 8, 2019
By ALI CHANGEZI SANDHU

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a legal instrument – recognized by the United Nations Organization at its 183rd session on December 10, 1948, as Resolution 217 – that consists of principles that protect the primary rights of all and sundry irrespective of race, religion, sex, creed, and color. The codified document contributes to certain defined international laws regarding human rights.

All states are required to formulate their constitutions and laws under the aegis of the UDHR principles. Not even a single segment of any society can be deprived of the fundamental rights as mentioned in the declaration. The UN is liable to ensure fair implementation of human rights by channeling its other bodies.

However, unfortunately, such laws and principles have turned out not to be “universal” because of the gross violations of human rights in several parts of the world, Indian-controlled Kashmir being one of them. Some days ago, India also committed what could be termed “constitutional terrorism” by abrogating Articles 370 and 35A of its constitution, which is totally against the principles of the UDHR.

We can observe grave violations of human rights in multiple regions. But the UN has a very confined role and limited scope for application of the UDHR principles. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Kashmir and other parts of the world are sweltering in the heat of grave violations of fundamental rights in the shape of mass killings, rape, child abuse, and mental torture. It seems that the principle of “every state for itself” rather than humanity is getting ascendency, and the UN itself has been narrowing its purpose of bringing peace and protecting human rights. (more…)

IN THE NEWS: TARGETING CIVILIANS – A LUKEWARM RESPONSE TO PEACE (AUGUST 8, 2019)

Written by admin on Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Targeting Civilians – A Lukewarm Response to Peace
SOURCE: Daily Outlook Afghanistan
Thursday, August 8, 2019
By HUJJATULLAH ZIA

The Taliban leadership continues its talks with the US representatives and its war against Afghan state and nation. It has adopted an equivocal policy which triggers mixed feelings. The Taliban’s war-war and talk-talk approach narrows down the possibility for peace. If the current round of peace talks, ongoing in Qatari capital of Doha, does not mitigate violence in Afghanistan, people will lose their hope and trust in the process.

Civilian death toll has increased in the wake of the Taliban’s deadly attacks, including Wednesday’s heavy suicide attack in Kabul which killed and wounded dozens of non-combatants – for which the Taliban claimed responsibility.

The Taliban, as have threatened earlier, seek to mar electoral campaigns and send threatening message to Afghans not to participate in the presidential elections, slated for late September. They are unlikely to be able to reconcile their fundamental ideology with democratic principles.

The Taliban have to adopt an unequivocal policy. If they are sincere in the peace talks, they have to show their sincerity through reducing violence, mainly against civilians. The ambiguity in their policy is highly frustrating.

In the wake of the ongoing peace talks between the Taliban and US negotiators and the Taliban’s words for reducing violence against civilians, Afghans felt a gleam of hope for peace and remain optimistic to some extent. But their daily attacks and suicide bombings against civilians leave people with despair and distrust. (more…)

IN THE NEWS: HIGH-STAKES GAMBLE (AUGUST 8, 2019)

Written by admin on Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

HIGH-STAKES GAMBLE
SOURCE: Newsweek Pakistan
Thursday, August 8, 2019 (Posted)

*EXPERTS WARN THAT NEW DELHI’S DECISION TO END AUTONOMY OF DISPUTED KASHMIR RISKS ‘ANGER, ALIENATION AND LAW AND ORDER’ ISSUES

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong-arm move to tighten control on Muslim-majority Kashmir is a gamble that could trigger conflict with Pakistan and re-ignite an insurgency that has already cost tens of thousands of lives, experts warn.

Revoking India-Occupied Kashmir’s special status, stripping away constitutionally guaranteed privileges to land and jobs, is widely seen as Modi’s most spectacular effort yet to push his Hindu nationalist agenda after a landslide election victory in May. His government insists it will bring peace and prosperity, but the massive military reinforcement that accompanied the measure is a clear acknowledgement of the underlying risks.

While many Hindus celebrated, the Kashmir valley—focus of a 30-year-old Muslim insurgency against Indian rule—was smothered under one of the heaviest security clampdowns it has ever seen. Tens of thousands of extra Indian troops enforced a blanket curfew on top of a total communications blackout, but reports still emerged of sporadic protests and gunfire in the streets.

A.S. Dulat, a former chief of the Indian intelligence service and government adviser on Kashmir, said keeping a lid on violence was critical if Modi was to claim victory for his dramatic power play. “But, my own apprehension is there will be repercussions and there will be an escalation of violence,” he told AFP.

D.S. Hooda, a retired lieutenant general who once commanded Indian forces in Kashmir, also voiced fears of “anger, alienation and law and order disturbances.” (more…)