Pakistan: Now or Never?

Obama says Pakistan used U.S. aid to prepare for war against India

September 6, 2008

Senator Obama speaks in Milwaukee/Allen FredricksonSenator Barack Obama has accused Pakistan of misusing U.S. military aid meant to help it fight al Qaeda and the Taliban to prepare for war against India. In an interview with Fox News he also says the United States must put more pressure on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist militants, hold it accountable for increased military support, and be prepared to act aggressively against al Qaeda; “if we have bin Laden in our sights, we target him and we knock him out,” he says. However he adds that “nobody talked about some full-blown invasion of Pakistan.”

Returning to Kabul after five years

September 5, 2008

The rows of bombed-out and upturned Soviet era-planes that littered the ground at Kabul airport are gone. Gone also is the confusion that used to reign in the small immigration control office or over at the baggage belt in a dark corner of the damp building. You are quickly waved through, the bags have arrived and you are whisked off in Kabul’s crisp early morning air.

Are the Taliban under pressure in Pakistan?

September 4, 2008

File photo of South WaziristanAre the Taliban and al Qaeda finally under serious pressure in their hideouts along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border?

from FaithWorld:

Ramadan through Reuters photographers’ lenses

September 2, 2008

Karachi/Athar Hussain

Reuters photographers have taken pictures of Ramadan scenes from around the Muslim world.

Guest contribution: Presidential elections in Pakistan

September 1, 2008

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the author’s alone.  The writer is Pakistan’s High Commissioner to London and a former advisor to the late Benazir Bhutto.

Mergers, Afghan style

September 1, 2008

salesman2.jpgThe way Nisar Ahmad sees it, the war in Afghanistan has been pretty good to him. The 19-year-old runs a shop stall on a British military base in Helmand selling knock-off cigarettes, sunglasses, carpets and other assorted trinkets to young soldiers eager to spend their cash. On a good day, he takes in anywhere between $300 and $400 as the nicotine-hungry snap up 10-packs of Chinese-made, fake Marlboro cigarettes for just $5 a pop, or a pair of fake designer shades for $15. Sometimes he’s feeling generous and knocks them down to $10. Even with the cost of buying the merchandise in Kabul and driving it down to the far south of the country, into Taliban country and frequently through militant checkpoints, he still reckons he takes anywhere between $80 and $100 a day in profit.
 
“It’s good money, very good money,” he says with a broad grin, showing off a gappy, yellowing smile. “I didn’t go to school but everybody he go to school he not make money same as me,” he explains in his faltering English, learnt during six years of working on British and American bases.