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Old 08-02-2010, 03:20 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by maycocksean View Post
Did I insult you? There are topics I'm sure it's difficult to have a rational discussion with me about. I'm assuming you are a human being and thus are not always purely rational. On this topic, there is absolutely no budging you, correct? What is the point of pursuing discussion under those circumstances?
Do you think its consistent with the Faq/Rules to be making such off topic negative comments about other forum members?
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:26 PM   #47
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Do you think its consistent with the Faq/Rules to be making such off topic negative comments about other forum members?
**sigh**

I don't know, Strongbow. I don't know, I haven't read them recently.

I saw that less as an off-topic negative comment and more of an on topic slightly negative observation. . .but let's let it go, okay?
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:27 PM   #48
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Do you think its consistent with the Faq/Rules to be making such off topic negative comments about other forum members?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the remark Sean made.

There is however, something wrong with you continually ignoring my warnings to quit playing the hall monitor.

Quit lecturing other people on the rules of this forum. Consider this your final warning on the matter.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:14 PM   #49
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For the record, I was not offended by Strongbow's comment (in the other thread).

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Mr Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con):

Does the Secretary of State agree, however, that we went into Afghanistan on the wrong premise? We were told we were going there to protect Londoners going to work. We now know that al-Qaeda has moved most of its operations to Pakistan, and that most of the Taliban whom we kill die within 20 miles of where they were born, so why are we there? Is it to hold territory, which nobody has ever succeeded in doing in Afghanistan-not even the Soviets with 240,000 people? If it is to fight a dirty war and keep heads down, why do we not place more reliance on special forces, rather than let the British Army carry on bleeding to death?

http://www.publications.parliament.u...10070745000002
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:40 PM   #50
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Mr Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con):

We now know that al-Qaeda has moved most of its operations to Pakistan, and that most of the Taliban whom we kill die within 20 miles of where they were born, so why are we there?
1. There are still Al-Quada in Afghanistan

2. The Al Quada that moved to Pakistan are just across the border in that country making it easy for them to come back in. They live in area that has never really been under the control of the government in Pakistan.

3. The Taliban supported Al Quada in the 1990s, and defended it from the international community AFTER the bombings of US Embassies in Tanzania, and Kenya in 1998, the bombing of the USS Cohl in Yemen in 2000, and the murder of 3,000 US and international citizens in the World Trade Center, Pentagon attacks and the hi-jacking and crashing of 4 commercial airliners.

4. The Taliban continue to operate with Al Quada, share intelligence, training, equipment, and plot attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and outside the region. Other non-Taliban and Al Quada terrorist groups in the region have also cooperated with them in various ways as well.

5. As long as Afghanistan remains unstable and unable to provide for its own security, it will need foreign military forces to prevent the Taliban from coming back into power and Al Quada growing stronger within the country.

6. The goal of the international community is to develop the Afghan government, economy, and security forces to help bring about a more stable environment in which large numbers of foreign military forces are no longer needed on the ground to stabilize the country, provide security, and prevent domestic and international terrorism.


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Is it to hold territory, which nobody has ever succeeded in doing in Afghanistan-not even the Soviets with 240,000 people?
At its peak the Soviet military only had 120,000 troops in Afghanistan. They also faced large scale foreign funding of insurgents from multiple countries. In addition, they engaged in tactics and policies that deeply alienated the population. They did not have a sound counter-insurgency strategy.

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If it is to fight a dirty war and keep heads down, why do we not place more reliance on special forces, rather than let the British Army carry on bleeding to death?
That was essentially the strategy before September 11, 2001 and it had a very poor record.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:21 PM   #51
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The recent issue of TIME magazine shows a graphic photo of a young Afghan woman with her nose cut off. It is for a series of articles on what would happen if Afghanistan negotiates with the Taliban.

Here's an excerpt:

Afghan Women Fear Their Fate Amid Taliban Negotiations - TIME
Back to this article which I've been reading today. It's hard to fathom negotiating with the Taliban when it would come at this cost.

Any thoughtful ideas from the FYM crowd on how we could prevent Afghan women from being doomed to this fate, without getting stuck in a hopeless quagmire?
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:08 AM   #52
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KABUL, Afghanistan — One gave up a lucrative practice to give free dental care to children who had never seen a toothbrush. Others had devoted whole decades of their lives to helping the Afghan people through war and deprivation.

The years of service ended in a hail of bullets in a remote valley of a land that members of the medical team had learned to love.

The bodies of the 10 slain volunteers - six Americans, two Afghans, a German and a Briton - were flown Sunday back to Kabul by helicopter, even as friends and family bitterly rejected Taliban claims the group had tried to convert Afghans to Christianity.

Also flown to the capital was the lone survivor of the attack, an Afghan driver who said he was spared because he was a Muslim and recited Islamic holy verses as he begged for his life. The International Assistance Mission, which organized the trip, said the driver had been a trusted employee with four years of service.

Police said they don't know if he is a witness or an accomplice in the killings, claimed by the Taliban.

"We are heartbroken by the loss of these heroic, generous people," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Washington. She condemned the Taliban for the deaths and what she called a "transparent attempt to justify the unjustifiable by making false accusations about their activities."

The group had spent two weeks treating villagers in a remote valley in northern Afghanistan for eye diseases and other ailments before being ambushed by extremists on their way back to Kabul.

Neither the Afghan government nor foreign embassies formally released the victims' names Sunday. Family and friends, however, came forward with words of praise and sorrow.

Team leader Tom Little, an optometrist from Delmar, New York, had been working in Afghanistan for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Libby, reared three daughters in Kabul, sticking it out through the Soviet invasion of the 1980s, and the vicious civil war of the 1990s, when Afghan warlords rained rockets on the city.
Story continues below

They were briefly expelled with other Western aid workers in August 2001 but returned after the Taliban were ousted from power three months later. Little supervised a string of hospitals and clinics offering treatment for eye diseases.

"He was part and parcel of that culture," said David Evans of the Loudonville Community Church, New York, who had worked with him to deliver aid.

Dan Terry, 64, was another long Afghan veteran. A fluent Dari language speaker like his friend Little, Terry first came to Afghanistan in 1971 and returned to live here in 1980 with his wife, rearing three daughters while working with impoverished ethnic groups.

"He was a large, lumbering man - very simply a joyful man," said his longtime friend Michael Semple, a former European Union official in Kabul. "He had no pretensions, lots of humility."

In a Web posting, a friend, Kate Clark, recalled that in 2000, Terry was hauled off to jail by the Taliban for overstaying a visa.

"He went off good-naturedly, seeing it as a rare chance to have the time to learn Pashto," Clark wrote on a website. "He was released from prison after a couple of weeks and then re-arrested after the authorities decided he had not served enough days. He arrived back to the prison to cheers from his fellow inmates, who were now newly found friends."

Others had made financial sacrifices.

Dr. Thomas Grams, 51, quit his dental practice in Durango, Colorado, four years ago to work full-time giving poor children free dental care in Afghanistan and Nepal, said Katy Shaw of Global Dental Relief, a group based in Denver that sends teams of dentists around the globe.

Grams' twin brother, Tim, said his brother wasn't trying to spread religious views.

"He knew the laws, he knew the religion. He respected them. He was not trying to convert anybody," Tim Grams said, holding back tears in a telephone call from Anchorage, Alaska. "His goal was to provide dental care and help people."

Tim Grams said his brother started traveling with relief organizations to Afghanistan, Nepal, Guatemala and India in the early part of the decade. After he sold his practice, he started going several months at a time.

Khris Nedam, head of a charity called Kids 4 Afghan Kids that builds schools and wells, said Grams and the others were "serving the least for all the right reasons."

"The kids had never seen toothbrushes, and Tom brought thousands of them," Nedam said Sunday. "He trained them how to brush their teeth, and you should've seen the way they smiled after they learned to brush their teeth."

Nedam said the medical group had never talked of religion with Afghans.

"Their mission was humanitarian, and they went there to help people," said Nedam, a third-grade teacher from Livonia, Michigan.

Dr. Karen Woo, 36, the lone Briton among the dead, gave up her job with a private clinic in London to work in Afghanistan. She was planning to leave in a few weeks to get married, friends said.

"Her motivation was purely humanitarian. She was a humanist and had no religious or political agenda," her family said in a statement.

Another victim, Glen Lapp, 40, a trained nurse from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had come to Afghanistan in 2008 for a limited assignment but decided to stay, serving as an executive assistant at IAM and manager of its provincial eye care program, according to the Mennonite Central Committee, a relief group based in Akron, Pennsylvania.

"Where I was, the main thing that expats can do is to be a presence in the country," Lapp wrote in a recent report to the Mennonite group. "... Treating people with respect and with love."

Another victim, Cheryl Beckett, the 32-year-old daughter of a Knoxville, Tennessee, pastor, had spent six years in Afghanistan and specialized in nutritional gardening and mother-child health, her family said. Beckett, who was her high school valedictorian at a Cincinnati-area high school and held a biology degree, had also spent time doing work in Honduras, Mexico, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

"Cheryl ... denied herself many freedoms in order to abide by Afghan law and custom," her family said.

The group's attackers, her family said, "should feel the utter shame and disgust that humanity feels for them."
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:48 PM   #53
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^This is so sad. I'm inspired by the lives of these volunteers though, even as I'm saddened by their deaths.
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:48 PM   #54
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AfPak round-up:

Taliban execute pregnant woman.

Taliban insurgents flogged and publicly executed a pregnant Afghan widow for alleged adultery Saturday, according to reports.

The woman, Sanum Gul (also reported as Bibi Sanubar by DAWN), was killed in Badghis province in western Afghanistan Saturday morning, the provincial governor's spokesman said. After being held in captivity for three days and flogged 200 times, Gul -- whose age was given as both 35 and 47 in various reports -- was shot in the head three times, said Hashim Habibi, the district governor of Qades, also located in the province.

Though Habibi said Taliban commander Mohammaad Yousuf carried out the execution, a Taliban spokesman has since denied any involvement.

"We have not done anything like that in Badghis or any other province," the spokesman said, calling the report "propaganda" by foreigners and the Western-backed Afghan government.

Officials say Gul had been widowed for four years. She was accused of adultery for her relationship with an unnamed man, despite claims that the man had planned to marry her.
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:04 PM   #55
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Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Dozens of schoolgirls and teachers were sickened Wednesday by poison gas in Afghanistan, medical and government officials said.

The latest incident, this one at a high school, is the ninth such case involving the poisoning of schoolgirls, said Asif Nang, spokesman for the nation's education ministry.

Dr. Kabir Amiri said 59 students and 14 teachers were brought to the hospital, and were faring better.

"We don't have good equipment to verify the kind of gas that they were poisoned with, but we have taken their blood tests to send to Turkmenistan for verifying the type of gas" that was used, Amiri said.

Many Afghan girls were not allowed to attend school during the Taliban's rule from 1996 to 2001. Girls' schools began reopening after the Islamist regime was toppled. The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, estimates that 2 million Afghan girls attend school these days.

But female educational facilities, students and teachers have come under vicious attack as the insurgency has strengthened and spread from Taliban strongholds in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand.

A report compiled last year by the humanitarian agency CARE documented 670 education-related attacks in 2008, including murder and arson. Much of the violence in what CARE called an "alarming trend" occurred at girls' schools.
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Old 09-04-2010, 03:09 PM   #56
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Karzai Announces Council for Talks with Taliban | Asia | English

this has been bouncing around for awhile,

Very likely Karzai will be in a weaker position a year from now. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda are not the same, though most Americans probably think they are.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:10 PM   #57
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Afghans vote despite attacks, turnout appears low - Yahoo! News

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KABUL, Afghanistan – Despite Taliban rocket strikes and bombings, Afghans voted for a new parliament Saturday, the first election since a fraud-marred presidential ballot last year cast doubt on the legitimacy of the embattled government.

As officials tally votes over the next few days, the real test begins: Afghans will have to decide whether to accept the results as legitimate despite a modest turnout and early evidence of fraud.

The Taliban had pledged to disrupt the vote and launched attacks starting with a rocket fired into the capital before dawn. The insurgent group followed with a series of morning rocket strikes that hit major cities just as people were going to the polls — or weighing whether to risk it.

At least 11 civilians and three police officers were killed, accoring to the Interior Ministry. The governor of Kandahar province survived a bombing as he drove between voting sites. In all, there were 33 bomb explosions and 63 rocket attacks, said Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi. He said 27 Taliban were killed Saturday.

Yet there appeared to be less violence than during the last election, when more than 30 civilians were killed and a group of insurgents attacked Kabul. Afghan security officials dismissed the attacks Saturday as "insignificant" and said they did not hamper voting, adding that 92 percent of polling stations were open.

"There are no reports of major incidents," Afghan election commission chairman Fazel Ahmad Manawi told reporters.

Many of those who voted said they were determined to be heard over the Taliban.

At a mosque in eastern Kabul, a former schoolteacher said she had traveled from her home on the outskirts of the city the night before because voting was safer in the city center.

"Even though I heard about those rocket attacks, I wanted to vote," said Aziza, 48, who gave only her first name. "Today is a historic day for Afghan people and it is very important for the restoration of democracy."

But at one school serving as a voting center in Kabul, observers for candidates or election-monitoring groups outnumbered voters by about 10 to one. Four men in tunics marked their ballots surrounded by about 50 people taking notes on their actions.

Though there were lines and bustling crowds at some stations, that appeared to be the exception. Observers across the country reported fewer voters than a year ago, even though the number of sites had been cut to help authorities provide better security.

Defense Minister Wardak described the turnout as "low." He said that fear of attacks and the difficulty of getting to polling stations were likely reasons people stayed home.

The election commission has yet to provide an overall turnout figure but said late Saturday that 3.6 million people cast ballots at the 86 percent of polling stations that had reported figures so far. Nearly 6 million ballots were cast in the presidential vote last year, out of 17 million registered voters.

In several cities, voters appeared to cluster at a few main sites, leading to those sites running out of ballots well before the end of polling.

In the key southern city of Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold where NATO and Afghan forces have been ramping up security, insurgents launched about a dozen attacks on the city. No one died but about a half-dozen people were injured, according to hospital officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

One bomb attack narrowly missed the Kandahar provincial governor's convoy as he traveled between polling stations to observe Saturday's parliament vote. One rocket damaged the wall of a police station.

Kandahar voter Lalia Agha, a 26-year old taxi driver, said he was pleased with election day security.

"The election is the only thing we have in our hands in which to change our future," he said.

While the number of voters picked up through the day after a slow start, officials in Kandahar said it was clear turnout was less than during the presidential vote.

A very low turnout — particularly in provinces wracked by the insurgency — could hurt the credibility of the vote in a country where democratic rule has yet to take deep root after decades of war. If residents reject results outright it could enflame ethnic tensions and complicating the transition to a new parliament.

"If voter turnout is low, despite the fact that we had better security, it means that people are disapppointed with the democracy in their country," said Haroun Mir, director of the Afghanistan Center for Research and Policy Studies, a Kabul-based think tank.

About 2,500 candidates were vying for 249 seats in the parliament and drawn-out fights between candidates slinging accusations of fraud could also hobble an institution that has so far served as only a weak check on the administration of President Hamid Karzai.

A host of allegations of fraud and election worker misconduct piled up in the first few hours of the vote.

Candidate monitors complained that the ink applied to voters' fingers to prevent them from casting multiple ballots was not working. The ink is supposed to last 72 hours, but many said they had been able to wipe it off with bleach.

In Jalalabad, observers said poll workers were letting people vote with fake registration cards.

"The women coming here have so many cards that don't have the stamp and are not real cards but still they are voting," said Nazreen, a monitor for the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, which has dispatched observers throughout the country.

Fake voter cards flooded into Afghanistan ahead of the balloting, but election officials had promised that poll workers were trained to spot them.

In one case in the eastern province of Paktia, security forces stopped a car and found 1,600 fake voter registration cards, said Rohullah Samon, a provincial spokesman.

NATO's senior civilian representative said some fraud was expected, and that it would not necessarily undermine the vote.

"The real issue is the scale of that and does it affect the result. And does it affect the credibility of the election, not in our eyes but in the eyes of the Afghan people?" Mark Sedwill said.

Last year's presidential election was similarly seen as a chance for the government to move forward to a more democratic future, then complaints of ballot-box stuffing — much of it for Karzai's benefit — and misconduct mounted.

Though Karzai still emerged the victor, the drawn-out process and his reluctance to acknowledge corruption led many of his international backers to question their commitment to Afghanistan.

If the people don't accept the results of this vote, it could have a profound effect both inside the country and with Afghanistan's international backers, who have 140,000 troops in country and have spent billions trying to shore up the Karzai administration in the face of a strengthening insurgency. Abdullah Abdullah, the runner-up to Karzai in the 2009 poll, said violence was a possibility if voters feel disenfranchised.

"There is a possibility of people taking things into their own hands," Abdullah said. But he said he was also worried about the administration pushing through candidates regardless of accusations of fraudulent voting.

"If, as a result of massive fraud, it turns out to be a sort of rubber stamp parliament in the hands of the government, then we will lose that opportunity for checks and balances which is expected from the parliament," he said, warning that a weakened legislature would make it easy for Karzai to make constitutional amendments to stay in power past the end of his term.

Gen. David Petraeus, the commander for NATO's troops in Afghanistan, praised Afghans who braved threats to vote, as did the United Nations, European Union, the United States and Canada. But none went so far as to call the vote a success given the way mounting fraud charges nearly undid Karzai.

The first partial vote tallies are expected early next week. Full preliminary results are not expected until the end of the month and final results in late October, after fraud complaints are investigated.

"It's not over yet," said Martine van Bijlert, codirector of the Afghanistan Analysts Network think tank in Kabul. "This is the time — when the counting is going on — where you start moving around ballot papers, where you start kicking out the observers when you're counting."
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:40 AM   #58
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My friend Chuckie Rosa in the Marines was killed a few days ago. He may have been in the helicopter that was shot down, not sure.
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Old 09-24-2010, 12:46 PM   #59
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Sorry for your loss...
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:05 PM   #60
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Thank you. He was on patrol in Helmand province. I hear that spring were going to be making a big push there. It's going to get worse before it gets better.
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