Afghan President Hamid Karzai may be pushing for talks with the Taliban in public as the only way to end the nine-year war, but in private he is as determined as the United States in opposing any place for top Taliban leaders in a future government , the latest set of WikiLeaks documents show. Those repeated calls for talks are more aimed at sowing dissensions in the insurgent group than any serious attempt for a negotiated settlement of the war. Indeed as The Guardian reports on the leaked comments on its website, so far as Karzai and the Obama administration are concerned, the only option open to the Taliban is surrender.
Which pretty much is a deal-maker, given that the Taliban having fought the world’s most advanced military formation to a virtual stalemate, have shown few signs of a compromise, much less surrender.
SINGAPORE, Dec 1 (Reuters) – The euro wavered on Wednesday
as Europe’s debt crisis deepened, but global stock markets
drew comfort from stronger-than-expected manufacturing data
from China and growing signs that the U.S. economy is improving.
Leading European stocks rose 0.9 percent in early
trade, echoing gains in Asia after surveys showed China’s
factories ramped up production in November amid a jump in new
orders from both domestic and foreign customers. [ID:nTOE6B004C]
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The euro slipped further on Wednesday and stocks in Asia were struggling, despite stronger-than-expected manufacturing data from China, as fears of a wider euro zone debt crisis grew.
Investors turned to the safety of gold, which hit a record in euro terms in early trade, and to U.S. government bonds after Standard & Poor’s put Portugal’s credit rating on review for a possible downgrade, saying the country may have to turn to the EU and IMF for funding.
At about the time WikiLeaks released tens of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables, including one related to a secret attempt to remove enriched uranium from a Pakistani research reactor, a top Pakistani military official held a briefing for journalists that focused on U.S.-Pakistan ties.
Dawn’s Cyril Almeida has written a piece based on the officer’s comments made on the condition of anonymity, and they offer the closest glimpse you can possibly get of the troubled ties between the allies.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The euro struggled on Tuesday and Asian stocks fell as fears that Ireland’s fiscal problems could spread to other weak euro zone countries weighed on investor sentiment.
European shares rose in early trade, however, bouncing back from eight-week closing lows in the previous session after U.S. stocks finished softer but well off their lows overnight.
SINGAPORE, Nov 30 (Reuters) – The euro held near a
two-month low on Tuesday and major stock indexes edged lower
as fears that Ireland’s fiscal problems could spread to more
euro zone countries weighed on investor sentiment.
An 85 billion euro rescue package for Dublin and a
permanent debt resolution system, agreed by euro zone
ministers at the weekend, were designed to stop a debt crisis
that has engulfed Greece and Ireland from moving on to
Portugal and, perhaps, Spain.
The United States is introducing tanks into the fight against the Taliban in the Afghan south for the first time since 2001, but the logic behind the move is still being hotly debated.
One of the reasons advanced is that the arrival of the M1 Abrams tank, propelled by a jet engine and armed with a 120mm gun that can destroy a house more than a mile away, is going to shake up the battlefield. “The tanks bring awe, shock and firepower,” The Washington Post quoted a senior U.S. officer based in Afghanistan as saying. “It’s pretty significant.”
For all of former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf’s faults, the one thing you would have to give him credit for is the emergence of a free press. It’s every bit as fearless, and questioning as its counterpart across the border in India, sometimes even stepping over the line, as some complain.
Indeed east of the Suez, and perhaps all the way to Japan, it would be hard to find a media that is as unrestrained as in India and Pakistan, which is even more remarkable in the case of Pakistan given the threat posed by a deadly militancy.
The United Nations has set up a new super agency to better fight for the rights of women around the world including Afghanistan. This week UN Women, as the new body is called, held elections to choose countries to sit on the board and the results have triggered a storm of criticism even before the new agency formally comes into being next January. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia were in the running for a seat, and while Iran got displaced at the last minute in the vote, the Saudis are through.
And that has provoked the wrath of rights activists and commentators. The idea of the conservative desert kingdom, where women cannot drive or take significant decisions without the permission of a male relative or work as supermarket cashiers, leading a global fight for the promotion of women’s rights is hard to accept, they say. How can you take the UN seriously, asks Greg Scoblete in a short piece on Real Clear World’s Compass blog headlined : Saudi Arabia bastion for women’s rights.