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Showing posts from October, 2009

Afghan star fulfils his American dream

"When I tell people I am from Afghanistan the first words out of their mouth are 'Osama, Taliban, war'," says Daoud Sediqi, former presenter of Afghan Star, his country's version of the Pop Idol talent show.

Pak headquarters of Al-Qaida: US senator

A leading U.S. senator on Monday described Pakistan as the "headquarters" of Al-Qaida and warned that the country could become the hub of international terrorism.

US bid to soothe a ruffled Pak

A top Obama administration official on Friday dismissed suggestions that an amendment to the Defence Authorisation Bill places conditions on how Pakistan uses US military aid, and one of the sponsors of the amendment agreed reports to this effect were inaccurate.

Back to the dance floor

By Ashish Kumar Sen

Uh-oh. Here we go again.

Having just concluded a delicate diplomatic fox trot to soothe Pakistani egos bruised by the weight of a hefty Kerry-Lugar aid package, the Obama administration was catching its breath when it was jolted into action on Friday by developments on Capitol Hill.

Two U.S. senators, who in their well-intentioned zeal sought to ensure accountability for every U.S. dollar sent to Pakistan, run the risk of upsetting Islamabad.

Sens. Bob Corker (Tennessee Republican) and Bob Menendez (New Jersey Democrat) attached an amendment to the Defence Authorisation Act of 2010 that seeks to ensure Coalition Support Funds (money given to defray the cost of fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda) sent to Pakistan will not "adversely affect the region's balance of power." That's diplospeak for: Don't use U.S. weapons/cash to engage in an arms race with India, or worse, provoke a conflict.

A reference in the amendment to India, even in the most abstrac…

US for India’s help on NPT

The Obama administration wants to work with India to try and come up with "the 21st century version" of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, according to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Bangladesh fights for survival against climate change

NOAKHALI, Bangladesh | After his home slipped into the powerful currents of the Meghna River four years ago, Monoranjab Dus came looking for new land along this waterlogged stretch of coastline slowly emerging from the sea.

Obama first US Prez to attend Diwali bash

President Barack Obama on Wednesday became the first US president to attend a White House Diwali celebration, though the tradition was started during the tenure of his predecessor George W. Bush.

Obama signs into law Pak aid bill

US President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law legislation that will provide $7.5 billion in US aid to Pakistan over the next five years.

Congress allays Pakistani fears over aid

Congress moved Wednesday to soften opposition in Pakistan to a U.S. aid package over conditions for receiving future assistance, including $7.5 billion for civilian reconstruction and job-creation projects over a five-year period.

US allays Pakistan fears over terms for aid

Barely a week since he defended a US aid package to Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was back in Washington to convey his country's concerns over conditions for disbursing the aid.

Commandos free hostages in Pakistan

Pakistani commandos freed 22 soldiers and civilians being held hostage by militants inside army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, killing four of the militants in a dawn raid Sunday, the military said.

Taliban hits Pakistan military

Taliban militants, heavily armed and disguised in military uniforms, struck at the heart of Pakistan's military establishment in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Saturday, taking up to 15 soldiers hostage and killing six, including two ranking officers.

US, NATO allies ‘okay’ with 2nd term for Karzai

Washington and its NATO allies appear to have accepted the inevitability of a second term for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and are not pressing for a runoff election, despite charges that nearly a third of the votes in the August 20 elections were fraudulent, a US official and Afghan specialists say.

Obama is Nobel peacemaker

United States President Barack Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

Ignoble Dissent

By Ashish Kumar Sen

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize has provided Barack Obama's critics a fresh opportunity to reach into their bottomless reserves of cynicism.

It would be disingenuous to say news of the award was not a surprise. Even Obama, woken up before 6 a.m. with word that he had been crowned the champion of world peace, was surprised, as one is apt to be at that time of the morning.

Those who lashed out at the still-bleary-eyed president for winning a peace prize for which, one sincerely hopes no one goes out of their way to compete, were quick to point out the brief nine months he's spent in office. In the same breath some noted a lack of action from Obama on many issues dear to their hearts. So which one is it — he hasn't been in office long enough to accomplish anything; or he's been in office nine months and not done this, this and that?

One TV commentator breathlessly observed that many Americans do not like the fact that Obama has become the "darling of Europ…

U.S. prepares for second Karzai term

Washington and its NATO allies are preparing for a second term for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and will not press for a runoff election despite evidence of widespread fraud in the Aug. 20 polls, a U.S. official and Afghan specialists say.

Qureshi concerned over clauses in US aid bill

Under fire from the military and opposition for accepting US aid with several strings attached, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi admits he is concerned about the language used in the legislation, but is hopeful the US president will use a waiver provision to bypass strict reporting conditions.

Qureshi allays concerns over US aid bill

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday defended U.S. legislation that will triple aid to his country and dismissed suggestions that conditions written in the bill trample on Pakistan's sovereignty.

Mufti: More Afghan troops not the answer

A senior Egyptian Muslim cleric says President Obama should not send more troops to Afghanistan and instead focus on helping Afghans.

Anti-Americanism on the rise: Study

The Obama administration on Wednesday moved another step closer to tripling financial aid to Pakistan even as a new survey found anti-Americanism soaring in the US ally.