It is time for some news from the Far End of the World, the region that touches the sky where the Pashtun tribes live between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has asked a staffer from the UN and one from the EU to leave the country. If the pair hadn’t had diplomatic immunity they would have been arrested. One of the pair is a Briton from Northern Ireland, and the other is from Ireland. Which one is from which NGO is not yet known. It also seems likely they have connections to British Intelligence. Apparently the two were wondering around in Helmand province talking to Taliban elements and otherwise threatening the national security of Afghanistan. UN spokesman Aleem Siddique claims this is a “storm in a teacup.” Judging by an article Siddique wrote for Australian ABC last week, the UN was “reaching out to groups hitherto involved in the insurgency,” presumably without Afghan government approval. The beeb ties these talks to drug eradication efforts in Helmand. The Telegraph confirms the report and adds that British Intelligence (MI6) has been holding secret talks with the Taliban, contrary to explicit denials from new Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Note that Siddique has a semi-famous, 5-star quality quote at ThinkExist.com.
We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms and hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice swiftly.
So he’s the guy who said that! I would have thought that was a line from Casablanca. </sarcasm>
Across the line in Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto has been busy identifying the elephant in the room.
Speaking to about 25,000 supporters near her ancestral home in the southern town of Larkana, she also renewed accusations the government had done nothing to stop militant violence.
“They always try to stop democratic forces but don’t make any effort to check extremists, terrorists and fanatics,” she told a rally at a cricket stadium, two days after a suicide bomber killed nearly 50 worshippers in a mosque.
Bhutto said President Pervez Musharraf had spoken of the need to reform religious schools, or madrasas, but had done nothing. She said she respected genuine religious schools. […]
“Then there are the political madrasas, the political madrasas that teach their pupils how to make bombs, how to use rifles and how to kill women, children and the elderly.”
God bless her and keep her alive long enough to make a difference. Also, God please help guide her towards true morality so she does not once again rob her country blind if she gains office.
A dozen Jihadists belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen surrendered in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the sort of thing that the political attempts to speak to the Taliban in Afghanistan are trying to create: Cracks in the alliances between the Taliban, various Jihad organizations, and al Qaeda. The problem is that al-Qaeda is a revolutionary vanguard that spins off cells and subsidiary organizations like a semi-truck tire throws off pebbles. A different name is no guarantee of any meaningful difference in goals, methods, or morals.
But it is, like the 40% drop in cross-border attackers from Pakistan into Afghanistan, an indication of progress.
On the other hand, Afghan intelligence agents near the Pakistani border arrested a 50 year old foreign woman who was transporting a bomb-vest in her burka to be detonated by someone else. In this case foreign means Pakistani.
The British Army Field Hospital at Camp Bastion is doing impressive work, though the treatment of the Taliban is a step too far.
2500 tons of Afghan opiates (mostly heroin) are getting into Iran every year, 25% of which stay in Iran. The rest is going through Iran in the direction of Europe.
Trackposted to Is It Just Me?, Right Truth, The Uncooperative Blogger, The World According to Carl, DragonLady’s World, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, Cao’s Blog, and Chuck Adkins, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.