Baztab News

Taliban say US and Australian hostages freed in prisoner swap

Taliban say US and Australian hostages freed in prisoner swap

19 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Timothy Weeks and Kevin King have spent more than three years in captivity The Taliban say they have released an American and an Australian held hostage since 2016 in exchange for three top Taliban figures who were released by the Kabul government and flown out of Afghanistan the previous day.Australian Timothy Weeks, 50 and Kevin King, 63, an American, were released in southern Zabul province, ending their more than three years in captivity. Continue reading...

Minister Payne: for the sake of Australia's reputation, you must publish our war history now | Robert O'Neill, Peter Edwards, David Horner

Minister Payne: for the sake of Australia's reputation, you must publish our war history now | Robert O'Neill, Peter Edwards, David Horner

19 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

A proud tradition of frank and honest reportage would be lost if our record of operations in East Timor is censoredMedia reports that officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are impeding the publication of the first volume of the Official History of Australian Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and Australian Peacekeeping Operations in East Timor on the grounds of diplomatic sensitivities, are concerning.We were appointed the official historians of Australian commitments to military conflicts and peacekeeping and humanitarian operations from the Korean war to the post cold-war era. Some of those commitments were little known, others aroused intense and enduring controversy both in Australia and internationally. As was expected, we not only recorded and analysed the operations, but placed them in their strategic, diplomatic and political context. Related: Australia's history with East Timor isn’t pretty but it must be told truthfully | Paul Daley Continue reading...

Britain’s approach to security and war needs a radical rethink | Letters

Britain’s approach to security and war needs a radical rethink | Letters

18 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Diana Francis and Richard Reeve respond to an article by Simon JenkinsIt’s a relief to read Simon Jenkins’ excellent question (We face no real threat, so why are we at war?, Journal, 15 November). Why indeed? And where does our senselessly militaristic culture come from? As Jenkins points out, the UK’s wars do it no good and inflict terrible damage on people and planet, and its opportunity costs are immense.Increasingly in recent years there has been popular questioning of individual wars (at least when they have been open rather than covert and out of reach of public debate), but the military ethos and machinery are not challenged. Questioning militarism is regarded as unworthy of a statesman and Jeremy Corbyn is held up to ridicule by Jo Swinson for his perceived lack of enthusiasm for launching a nuclear war. Continue reading...

War crimes court considers investigation into British military

War crimes court considers investigation into British military

18 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

BBC’s Panorama alleges state covered up killings of civilians in Afghanistan and IraqThe international criminal court may investigate the British military for the first time after allegations that war crimes had been committed, the BBC has reported.The broadcaster’s Panorama programme has claimed killings of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq have been covered up by the state. Continue reading...

British government and army accused of covering up war crimes

British government and army accused of covering up war crimes

17 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Alleged evidence implicates UK troops in murder of children in Afghanistan and IraqThe UK government and the British army have been accused of covering up the killing of children in Afghanistan and Iraq.Leaked documents allegedly contain evidence implicating troops in killing children and the torture of civilians. Continue reading...

The US and Britain face no existential threat. So why do their wars go on? | Simon Jenkins

The US and Britain face no existential threat. So why do their wars go on? | Simon Jenkins

15 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Endless conflicts in the Middle East have cost us dear, yet all we hear are absurdities about ‘keeping our streets safe from terror’Why does no one mention the war? The most militaristic, belligerent and chauvinist country I know – and also love – is the US. People fly flags from every post and see “bad guys” under every bed. When the president, Donald Trump, vows to leave the Middle East he is condemned as a traitor even by his fans.The second most belligerent is Britain, albeit less so. With America, it is continuing to fight the so-called “wars of 9/11”, 18 years after they began – battling in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, in Britain’s case covertly. There is not the remotest sign of “victory” in sight. Somehow they are not seen as wars, just the licensed killing of foreigners.British defeats in Basra and Helmand have been brushed under the carpet, as was David Cameron’s fiasco in 2011 in Libya Related: Britain cannot send its young to Afghanistan simply because Trump demands it | Owen Jones Continue reading...

Australian and US professors still in Taliban custody

Australian and US professors still in Taliban custody

14 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Militant group says prisoner exchange with Afghan government has not happened yetAn Australian and an American professor in Taliban custody who were supposed to be freed in a prisoner exchange this week are still yet to be released, according to a spokesman from the militant group.The Afghan government said earlier this week it would “conditionally release” three militants from the Taliban-linked Haqqani network as part of an apparent exchange for Timothy Weekes, 50, and Kevin King, 63, who were kidnapped by the group in Kabul in 2016. Continue reading...

What happens to Afghanistan’s left-behind women as the Taliban rises?

What happens to Afghanistan’s left-behind women as the Taliban rises?

14 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Separated from her family after an attempt to flee failed, Tahira is among a growing number of women left struggling and vulnerable in a country where lone mothers are harshly judgedOn a bitterly cold day, Tahira* sits in her rented room in Kabul. She has a husband and three young children, but the last time the family were all together was in 2018 – the day they tried to escape Afghanistan.Insecurity in their town in Maidan Wardak province led Tahira, 27, to try to flee to Turkey, via Iran, with her family. But when the time came, only her husband, son and seven-year-old daughter made it. Related: Afghanistan paedophile ring may be responsible for abuse of over 500 boys Continue reading...

Afghanistan paedophile ring may be responsible for abuse of over 500 boys

Afghanistan paedophile ring may be responsible for abuse of over 500 boys

13 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Social workers claim teachers and local officials are implicated, and believe thousands more children may have been targetedA paedophile ring involved in the abuse of at least 546 boys from six schools has been discovered in Afghanistan’s Logar province.Some of the victims of the abuse have since been murdered according to the campaigners who first discovered videos of abuse posted to a Facebook page. Related: Male rape and sexual torture in the Syrian war: ‘It is everywhere’ Continue reading...

Taliban prisoners released in bid to free western kidnap victims

Taliban prisoners released in bid to free western kidnap victims

12 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Afghan president Ghani hopes move will help secure release of American and AustralianAfghanistan’s president says he has ordered the release of three Taliban fighters in an effort to persuade the insurgent group to free a kidnapped American and Australian professor.Timothy Weekes, an English teacher from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, and Kevin King, from Pennsylvania, were abducted three years ago from outside American University of Afghanistan in Kabul by fighters in military uniform. Continue reading...

Moving stories: inside the book buses changing children's lives

05 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Around the world, mobile library programmes are taking books, educational support and even counselling to communities in serious and urgent needEvery week, two converted blue buses stocked with children’s books carefully navigate the streets of Kabul, avoiding areas where deadly explosions are common. These travelling libraries stop off at schools in different parts of the city, delivering a wealth of reading material directly to youngsters who have limited access to books.“A lot of schools in our city don’t have access to something as basic as a library,” says Freshta Karim, a 27-year-old Oxford University graduate who was inspired to start Charmaghz, a non-profit, in her home city having grown up without many books herself. “We were trying to understand what we could do to promote critical thinking in our country.”One of the library buses created for Kabul schoolchildren by non-profit organisation Charmaghz. Photographs: Mohammad Ismail/ReutersA bus converted into a library and classroom by California’s Yes We Can organisation, in Tijuana, Mexico. Photograph: Norbert Tsi/Yes We Can World FoundationThe school teaches reading, writing, maths and science; the children also receive emotional support to help them cope with the challenges they face. Photographs: Jorge Dueñes/Reuters/Norbert Tsi/Yes We Can World FoundationIn Tel Aviv, the central bus station in Tel Aviv is home to a Yiddish cultural centre and library. Photograph: Lora GorodetskyThe library also hosts events, concerts and language classes. Photograph: Lora Gorodetsky Related: Palaces for the people: why libraries are more than just books Continue reading...

Schoolchildren killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan

Schoolchildren killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan

02 Nov 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Victims who were aged between 10 and 15 were killed on their way to school official saysEight children have been killed by a roadside bomb near their school in the north-eastern Takhar province, an Afghan official said.Sayed Mehraj Sadat, the provincial police chief, said the victims of Saturday’s attack were between 10 and 15 years old. He said the bomb’s intended target was most likely Afghan security forces, who often use the road. Continue reading...

Human rights report links CIA to Afghanistan abuses

Human rights report links CIA to Afghanistan abuses

31 Oct 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Document details 14 deadly raids by pro-government units with support of US intelligence The Afghan soldiers who swept through Kulalgo village one late August night shot three of Dr Ulfatullah’s relatives carefully, a single bullet through their left eye, faces otherwise untouched as blood pooled below their bodies on the floor of the family home.The last killing was less precise, and left the face of university student Ansarullah badly disfigured. His family thought perhaps he had heard the muffled gunshot that ended a cousin’s life, and briefly tried to struggle against his captors. Continue reading...

Afghanistan’s Oprah: Mozhdah on fame, threats and why she won’t live her life in fear

Afghanistan’s Oprah: Mozhdah on fame, threats and why she won’t live her life in fear

30 Oct 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

The presenter, pop star and women’s rights activist Mozhdah Jamalzadah talks about fleeing her country, before returning and revolutionising Afghan TVOne Friday, after the taping of her Afghan television chatshow, a woman from the studio audience came up to Mozhdah Jamalzadah to hug her. “She was so emotional and she wouldn’t let go,” says Jamalzadah. The woman said Jamalzadah’s programme, The Mozhdah Show, had stopped her husband beating their children, after it covered corporal punishment. “But from her face, I could tell that there was more to it,” says the 37-year-old. “I’m thinking that maybe he stopped beating her, too. That made me very emotional, and she just kept repeating: ‘We need you, Afghanistan needs you.’”Jamalzadah was five when her family escaped Afghanistan, eventually settling in Canada. In 2009, in her mid-20s, she returned to Kabul after being invited by a new TV station to host a talent show. She had started singing a few years earlier, posting music videos on YouTube; one song, Afghan Girl, had become a hit in her homeland (she would be invited to perform it in 2010 at the White House to mark International Women’s Day in front of the Obamas).As a woman there, you’re pretty much voiceless. Maybe I can’t do anything in Afghanistan, but I can in Canada Related: Safe space: the new cinema welcoming women in male-dominated Kabul Continue reading...

Dressing Afghanistan: young designers get creative in Kabul

Dressing Afghanistan: young designers get creative in Kabul

25 Oct 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

In a deeply conservative society ravaged by years of war, Afghan women still want to be free to wear clothes with stylePhotography by Ivan Armando FloresThere’s a steady stream of customers coming through the doors of Rahiba Rahimi’s fashion studio. The 25-year-old’s bold, intricate designs are fitted on mannequins and hung on rails around her showroom in Kabul.Rahimi is the lead designer and co-proprietor of Laman, a clothing label she helped build in the Afghan capital five years ago. Related: 'They were all killed in front of my eyes': the brutal cost of war in Afghanistan Continue reading...

Taliban fighters in makeup: Barbican to show rare pictures

Taliban fighters in makeup: Barbican to show rare pictures

23 Oct 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Photographs, found in Kandahar, Afghanistan, taken despite ban on photographyThey are probably the least likely men to ever be willingly pictured in heavy makeup, painted nails and holding plastic flowers against a kitsch background of Swiss Alpine chalets.But pictured they were, all gun-toting Taliban fighters often holding hands and posing for photographs which will be shown in a UK exhibition for the first time next year, the Barbican has announced. Continue reading...

Afghanistan mosque bombing: death toll rises to 69 people

Afghanistan mosque bombing: death toll rises to 69 people

19 Oct 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

State blames Taliban for blasts which targeted worshippers during Friday prayersPolice and local residents were searching for bodies in the rubble of a mosque in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, after bomb blaststhat killed at least 69 people during Friday prayers.The explosives had been placed inside the mosque in the Jawdara area of Haska Mena district. Continue reading...

Mosque bombing kills 62 people in eastern Afghanistan

Mosque bombing kills 62 people in eastern Afghanistan

18 Oct 2019 The Guardian The Guardian

Militant attack caused roof to collapse as worshippers met for Friday prayersSixty-two people have died after an explosion at a mosque in eastern Afghanistan caused the roof to collapse on worshippers gathered for Friday prayers. The attack underscored the record numbers of civilians dying in the country’s 18-year war.Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said the militant attack wounded 36 others. He said it was not immediately clear whether the mosque was attacked by a suicide bomber or it was some other type of bombing. Related: 'They were all killed in front of my eyes': the brutal cost of war in Afghanistan Continue reading...