Salam Chotor asti?..Hi, How are you? I have yet to meet someone from Afghanistan in Morris, Minneosta. However, I met an Afghan when I went to visit some international students in Concordia State University in Moorhead, MN. This particular student was attending school there and he needed help moving to his small apartment he was staying at. I happened to have a small dorm-sized fridged that I had no place to store after graduating. He didn't really have much furniture or anything in his bear apartment. I ended up donating my fridge to him. Since then, I haven't seen him or met any other individual from this nation.
This country made global news after U.S.'s search for terrorist-Osama bin laden-after 9.11.01. For now, as of 11.30.03, this is what I've collected so far on my knowledge of this nation.
I just watched Rambo III (3.5.04) and Afghanistan was highlighted in this paricular movie series. Rambo had a secret mission to rescue a U.S. P.O.W. captured by the country controlled Russians. The plot was more meaningful this time due to the recent political occupation.
I have a former co-worker and friend of mine who is currently in the U.S. Army stationed here.
Articles: Hicks pleads guilty at Guantanamo
POSTED: 11:11 p.m. EDT, March 26, 2007
GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) -- "Australian David Hicks, the first prisoner to face a new U.S. war crimes tribunal, unexpectedly pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge of helping al Qaeda fight American troops during the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.
Hicks entered his plea following the first day of hearings in the military tribunals created by Congress after the Supreme Court struck down an earlier version that President George W. Bush authorized to try foreign captives on terrorism charges.
Hicks, a 31-year-old former kangaroo skinner who has been held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center for more than five years, earlier said he would defer entering a plea.
His military lawyer Marine Maj. Michael Mori later told the court that Hicks had changed his mind. Hicks answered "yes, sir," when the judge, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, asked him to confirm the guilty plea.
Hicks had faced life imprisonment if convicted on the charges. Those included supporting terrorism by attending al Qaeda training camps, conducting surveillance on the American embassy in Kabul and fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan, where he was captured in December 2001. He was sent to Guantanamo a month later.
His guilty plea is likely to mean a more lenient sentence and the judge ordered the prosecutors and defense lawyers to draw up a plea agreement by 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) on Tuesday.
Under a long-standing diplomatic agreement, Hicks will serve his sentence in Australia.
One of his Australian lawyers, David McLeod, had said on Sunday that Hicks was convinced he will not get a fair trial.
"He expected that he would be convicted even if he defends the charges," McLeod told reporters on Sunday.
Hicks, who wore a khaki prison uniform and was unshackled during the hearing, has grown his hair to chest-length and looked far older and chubbier than at his last hearing in 2004.
He had been allowed to meet privately in the court building with his father, Terry Hicks, and sister Stephanie, who were flown to the base by the U.S. military for Monday's hearing.
"He's really changed a lot in three years," said the elder Hicks, who had last seen his son at the 2004 hearing.
Hicks, the first of the 385 Guantanamo prisoners to be charged in what are formally called military commissions, wants only to return to Australia, settle down and see his two children, his father said.
"We will stand by him on anything he decides, whichever way it goes," said his father, who left the base before the guilty plea was announced.
Hicks has said he was sodomized, beaten, and subject to forced injections while in U.S. custody, allegations the military calls untrue and nonsense.
Rights activists and foreign governments have long criticized the prison camp on the eastern tip of Cuba for what they say are abuses of detainees' rights. Washington contends the prison system is necessary to hold foreign suspects captured in the war on terrorism it declared after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Hicks' lawyers and human rights monitors observing the hearings said the tribunals were rigged to ensure convictions and allow evidence obtained through coercion. The tribunals are already the subject of new court challenges.
Hicks is not accused of involvement in the September 11 attacks and Human Rights Watch said he could easily be tried in a regular U.S. court.
But the chief prosecutor, Air Force Col. Moe Davis, said the new tribunal rules are fair and "stack up at least equally if not better than any other system on the planet."
Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
"After soldiers of a US 173rd Airborne company burn the bodies of two Taliban killed near the Pakistan border, members of the army's psychological warfare unit then broadcast an inflammatory message designed to taunt and bait the
US soldiers in Afghanistan have taken the tactics of psychological warfare to a grotesque extreme. After soldiers of a US 173rd Airborne company burn the bodies of two Taliban killed near the Pakistan border in a desecration of Muslim burial rituals, members of the army's psychological warfare unit then broadcast an inflammatory message designed to taunt and bait the enemy. A translation offered on camera by Sergeant Jim Baker of "PsyOps" reads: "Attention Taliban. You are all cowardly dogs. You allowed your fighters to be burned. This just proves you are the ladyboys we always believed you to be." In recent months, the Taliban have launched more attacks that at any time since the invasion. Faced with such a resurgence, the Americans are resorting to psychological warfare to demoralise the enemy. Armored vehicles loaded with loudspeakers blast loud, offensive music into the valleys. But such tactics may also heighten the perception of local people that the Americans are as barbarous as the Taliban."
"In Minnesota, new schools often cost taxpayers millions of dollars. To a village in the Dara Noor District of Afghanistan, the future of their children is measured in thousands of dollars and their firm belief that education is the path to a better life.
The Hindu Kush mountains rise to 16,000 feet across the northeastern part of Afghanistan, and the wind that scours across rugged terrain rarely ceases. The land around the village of Safer Kala is unforgiving, and the difficult struggle to carve a living from the river valley and the land around it seems as unending as the mountains and the wind.
The village elders who gathered in a shaded courtyard on May 12, 2009 all bore signs of the daily struggle to keep livestock and crops watered and families fed on their sun- and wind-roughened skin. But they sat on the benches arranged in orderly rows with quiet pride and fierce determination as their leaders celebrated the opening of the village’s first-ever school for both boys and girls.
An elder who spoke during the ceremony talked about the difference the school would make in the village. "This school is bringing light to the people here and the teachers are giving a bright future to the students. This is making a better life for this village.”
The cluster of simple white buildings erected from blocks and wood includes two school buildings, two restrooms and two wells. A wall separates the school from a nearby road to protect the students from traffic hazards. The government, along with International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) and the Nangarhar provincial reconstruction team (PRT), is also funding a flood wall project to protect the school and the village from the nearby river, which suffers from repeated flooding.
The remote location, mountains terrain and poor or non-existant roads made contruction work very difficult for the team. Army 2nd Lt Steve Klenke, a PRT engineer from Detroit, praised the diligence and patience of the villagers, district officials and provincial government throughout the better part of a year that construction required. Now that the school is completed, the PRT will be working on a footbridge over the river so that children from other parts of the valley can attend the school.
Safer Kala is just one of the 21 schools being built by the Nangarhar Provincial government in partnership with the PRT and ISAF. The cost of this one school was $178,000, but to the village and the surrounding area, the buildings are a symbol of a determination to not only survive in this mountainous area, but to once again flourish as a people and as a country.
Information for this article provided by Capt. Dustin Hart, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Dept of Defense and Afghanistan Information Management Services.
Copyright 2009 - KSAX-TV, LLC
A Hubbard Broadcasting Company
"During his address before the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday, December 1, expect President Obama to ask the American people to support his sending an additional 34,000 U.S. troops to fight for freedom in Afganistan so that we do not have to fight radical, militiant Islamic terrorism in the American homeland in coming years. He will probably refer to the shootings at Camp Hood allegedly commited by an Islamic military officer and psychiarist with al-Queda connections earlier this month this month to convince us that al-Queda based terrorism constitutes a genuine threat to the safety of Americans, even those living in the homeland.
Obama will probably go on to say that the heroic Amercan military troops fighting for freedom in Afghanistan since shortly after 9/11, have significantly reduced the numbers of al-Queda and Taliban insurgents fighting there and add that, nevertheless, the still pose of significant threat to the security of the people of that nation and so must be eliminated. Furthermore, he will likely add that to honor the American who died fighting there, he intends to finish the job started by President Bush shortly after the 9/11, which is to rid Afghanistan of al-Queda and Taliban fighters and then train Afghanistant troops to defend their own homeland.
That’s sweet Obama rhetoric. Let the violins play. But how does all of it square with the assertions General James Jones, Obama’s national security advisor, made on October 4 concerning the current strength of Taliban and al-Queda forces in Afghanistan and their danger to American troops and that nation’s people? According to an article published that day in the Washington Times, General Jones said that Afghanistan is not imminent danger of falling to the Taliban. Furthermore, he estimated total al-queda presence in Afghanistan at 100, a drop in a bucket.
What Obama will not tell us is that additional troops are needed to guard the opium poppy fields because of record yields now achieved each year and expansion of growing area and that the opium industry there was designed by the United States over thirty years ago.
The opium trade is big business there and worldwide and revenues are comparable with energy industry levels. Professor writes in a 2006 article titled, Who benefits from the Afghan Opium Trade?, published by GlobalResearch.ca, “…what distinguishes narcotics from legal commodity trade is that narcotics constitutes a major source of wealth formation not only for organized crime but also for the US intelligence apparatus, which increasingly constitutes a powerful actor in the spheres of finance and banking. This relationship has been documented by several studies including the writings of Alfred McCoy.”
What Obama will also not tell us is that the growing presence of the U.S. is all consistent with Zbigniew Brzezinski’s master plan for America’s securing control of Central Asia and Caspian Sea gas and oil producing nations. Brzezinski, elistist master stategist and founder of the Trilateral Commission along with George Soros and David Rockefeller and well as former national security advisor to President Carter, see control of that corridor, which includes the old Silk Route, is the key to control of the world’s commerce. His plan was laid out in masterful detail in his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard, which may be read free online at Scribd.
The presence of the U.S.military in Afghanistan is pivotal to execution of this plan. Whoever controls Afghanistan controls access to all of the major gas and oil pipelines in this region. It also serves from a logistical standpoint as the perfect staging area for U.S. miliary troop foreays into Pakistan and neighboring countries in Central Asia and into the oil and gas rich Caspian Sea Region.
According to historian and author Webster Tarpley, Brzezinski met Obama when he was a student at Columbia University, became his political mentor and was responsible for Obama’s winning the U.S. presidency. Brzezinski still serves as Obama’s unnamed strategist and advisor. During the 2008 presidential campaign season, Obama’s focus on what he believe was a vital need of the U.S. to switch its military focus from Iraq to Afghanistan. This lends credibility to Tarpley’s contention that Brzezinski is guiding if no specifying Obama policy decisions in Afghanistan and Pakistan and, if fact, all of Cenral Asia, South Caucusus and the Caspian basin..."
"Some international contractors, hired by the United States to build roads and other large construction projects in Afghanistan, are paying Taliban insurgents not to attack them and to act as their security guards, according to allegations filed with the Pentagon and other U.S. investigative agencies.
The allegations are part of widening U.S. probes into deals between contractors paid by the U.S. government and the Taliban insurgents against whom American troops are fighting a bloody war.
Among the allegations are accusations by an American security contractor based in eastern Afghanistan that the Taliban are being paid off not to attack certain projects, and the money is being used to buy weapons and explosives.
The construction contractors "get ahold of the local Taliban commander, ask how much will it cost us to get this work done and have you not mess with us, and by the way we'll hire you to do the security,'' the American security contractor told me recently in Gardez, a major city in eastern Afghanistan.
The security contractor asked not to be identified by name to protect himself.
"If I disappear, you guys will have a starting place for an investigation,'' he wrote in an e-mail to investigators for the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, an independent investigative agency chartered by Congress.
That agency turned the allegations over to the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, an office within the Pentagon's Office of the Inspector General. A senior official at the Defense Criminal Investigative Service did not respond to a request about whether an investigation into the allegations is under way. Gary M. Comerford, a spokesman for DCIS and the Pentagon Inspector General, said the agency does not normally acknowledge when it undertakes an investigation.
If the allegations of payoffs are borne out, they would help explain how the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan have been able to wage a costly war against U.S. troops. Taliban fighters are paid more than Afghan police, in most cases, and the explosives and hardware used in roadside bombs and suicide vests are costly to procure, transport and deploy, U.S. officials said.
Since 2001, the United States has spent $39 billion on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, including work on roads, bridges, dams and power plants. Most of the work is done by large international corporations which, in turn, contract with other international and even local companies. It is not clear in these complex contracts who holds responsibility for ensuring security at work sites.
Despite the massive American presence in Afghanistan of both military and civilian personnel, U.S. officials acknowledge there is insufficient scrutiny of the contractors and the costs they claim for their work, including for security.
In many cases, it is common for contractors on U.S.-funded projects to hire local Afghans for security work. But there are too few inspectors to check up on where the money really goes.
"The problem is their inspectors can't get out to see the [work] sites because of security. There's so much corruption and nobody to investigate it,'' the security contractor said.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funds many of the development projects in Afghanistan. Its own inspector general, Donald Gambatesa, told the U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting last spring that "the lack of security imposes significant constraints on USAID's ability to monitor its programs.''
USAID officials, he said, "are unable to make routine site visits, and their official counterparts are often reluctant to be seen meeting with Americans.''
The Commission on Wartime Contracting is an independent, bipartisan group set up by Congress to monitor the growing number of U.S.-funded contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a hearing on Friday in Washington, the commission was told by Kenneth P. Moorefield, assistant Defense Department inspector general for Southwest Asia, that the problem persists and that the Pentagon is short of funds and auditors to keep an eye on contracts.
The contract auditors have "attempted to get ahead of the curve -- there's a need to dig out of a hole,'' he said, but added: "There's a constant struggle over limited resources.''
Separate from allegations about the Taliban and construction security, a House panel last week broadened its investigation into charges that private contractors paid off Taliban insurgents not to attack truck convoys carrying war materiel through Pakistan and into Afghanistan.
"Serious allegations have been brought to the subcommittee's attention that private security providers for U.S. transportation contractors in Afghanistan are regularly paying local warlords and the Taliban for security,'' said Rep. John F. Tierney, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee.
"If shown to be true, it would mean that the United States is unintentionally engaged in a vast protection racket and, as such, may be indirectly funding the very insurgents we are trying to fight,'' Tierney said.
Tierney's investigators have asked for Pentagon documents relating to a $2.2 billion contract with several trucking companies to carry goods into Afghanistan.
The Taliban-related allegation in eastern Afghanistan involves construction on a strategic road between Gardez and Khost, a route that runs over high mountains and directly through territory dominated by the Haqqani Taliban, one of the most ruthless of several Taliban subgroups.
The security contractor alleged that the Haqqani network, which provides foreign fighters from Pakistan for the security work on the roads, is paid tens of thousands of dollars in what amounts to a protection racket.
The Haqqani network is responsible for IEDs and attacks that have killed dozens of American troops and hundreds of Afghan civilians, according to senior U.S. commanders.
"Haqqani has poured money into Khost,'' Col. Michael Howard, who commands a brigade combat team in the region, told me this fall. "Those IEDs cost a ton of money, those suicide vests, the vehicle-borne IEDs cost thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars.''
The security contractor said he had stumbled across the alleged contractor payments to the Taliban, and when he complained to company officials that "the U.S. is not in the business of giving our enemy money to fight us,'' was told that hiring the Taliban was "a necessary evil.''
The security contractor also said the Taliban are paid to tip off trucking contractors when an attack is planned on a convoy, but that the information is not passed on to the U.S. military, whose convoys are hit regularly by IEDs.
"I have yet to find a security company that doesn't rely on payoffs to the Taliban,'' the contractor said."
*see why they are doing contract work=> NEW WORLD ORDER - WORLD OF SLAVES 6 OF 6
AP INVESTIGATION: Cautionary tale from CIA prison
By ADAM GOLDMAN and KATHY GANNON, Associated Press Writers Adam Goldman And Kathy Gannon, Associated Press Writers – 2 hrs 1 min ago (Sunday, March 27th 2010) "WASHINGTON – More than seven years ago, a suspected Afghan militant was brought to a dimly lit CIA compound northeast of the airport in Kabul. The CIA called it the Salt Pit. Inmates knew it as the dark prison.
Inside a chilly cell, the man was shackled and left half-naked. He was found dead, exposed to the cold, in the early hours of Nov. 20, 2002.
The Salt Pit death was the only fatality known to have occurred inside the secret prison network the CIA operated abroad after the Sept. 11 attacks. The death had strong repercussions inside the CIA. It helped lead to a review that uncovered abuses in detention and interrogation procedures, and forced the agency to change those procedures.
Little has emerged about the Afghan's death, which the Justice Department is investigating. The Associated Press has learned the dead man's name, as well as new details about his capture in Pakistan and his Afghan imprisonment....
"The German news outlet Der Spiegel has published photographs of what appear to be two U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan posing over the bodies of dead Afghans - images which threaten to further complicate the American military effort there.
Two images show the soldiers kneeling by a bloody body sprawled over a patch of sand and grass. A third shows what appears to be two bodies propped up, back to back, against a post in front of a military vehicle.
Der Spiegel identifies the soldiers as Spc. Jeremy Morlock and Pfc. Andrew Holmes, who are both facing charges relating to the wrongful deaths of Afghan civilians. (More on the cases)
Specifically, Holmes is charged with the premeditated deaths of three civilians, possessing a dismembered human finger, wrongfully possessing photographs of human casualties, and smoking hashish.
He is also accused of conspiring with Morlock to shoot at a civilian and then toss a grenade so it would look like the soldiers were under attack.
Morlock is charged with three counts of murder. He is accused of killing one Afghan civilian in January 2010 with a grenade and rifle; killing another in May 2010 in a similar manner; and shooting a third to death in February 2010.
U.S. military rules also prohibit "taking or retaining individual souvenirs or trophies," which the photographs may be construed as.
The trial for the two soldiers is being conducted at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. Morlock's court martial is slated to begin Wednesday, while the start date for Holmes' court martial has not been publicly announced.
The U.S. Army released a statement Monday calling the photographs "repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States Army."
"We apologize for the distress these photos cause," the statement said.
Army officials asserted in the statement that ongoing court-martial proceedings related to the alleged atrocities "speak for themselves. The photos appear in stark contrast to the discipline, professionalism and respect that have characterized our soldiers' performance during nearly 10 years of sustained operations."
They also stressed that the "United States Army is committed to adherence to the Law of War and the humane and respectful treatment of combatants, noncombatants, and the dead. ... Soldiers who commit offenses will be held accountable as appropriate."
In all, officials have charged 12 U.S. soldiers in what they called a conspiracy to murder Afghan civilians and cover it up, along with charges they mutilated corpses and kept grisly souvenirs. Five of the soldiers face murder charges, while seven others are charged with participating in a coverup.
All of the accused men were members of a 2nd Infantry Division brigade operating near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010.
CNN's Alan Silverleib and Scott Zamost contributed to this report"
"..Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday harshly condemned alleged behavior in a video that appears to show U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters. The Pentagon chief said he'd ordered a full investigation into the alleged incident, which comes amid sensitive diplomatic initiatives to try to advance reconciliation talks with the Taliban.
"I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable," Panetta said in a press statement sent to Yahoo News Thursday. "I condemn it in the strongest possible terms."..
".(CNN) -- The deputy commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan ordered troops Friday to treat the corpses of slain insurgents and civilians with "appropriate dignity and respect."
The order follows a video that appears to show four U.S. Marines urinating on bodies, images that sparked swift condemnation from the United States and Afghanistan at a particularly crucial period in the U.S.-led war.
"We must treat the living and the dead with dignity and respect," Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said in the directive, which was published Friday on the website of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan. He said troops must follow the rules of armed conflict and "act honorably at all times."..
"(CNN) -- Photos of U.S. soldiers posing with bodies of suspected Afghan insurgents, published Wednesday by the Los Angeles Times, depict behavior that "absolutely violates" U.S. regulations and values, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday.
"This is not who we are, and it's certainly not who we represent when it comes to the great majority of men and women in uniform who are serving there," he said.
The two photos published by the paper are among 18 provided by a U.S. soldier who wanted "to draw attention to the safety risk of a breakdown in leadership and discipline," The Times reported.
The military said an investigation is under way.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the images "don't in anyway represent the principles and values that are the basis for our mission in Afghanistan." He added that he considers the photos "an isolated event."
The photos, from incidents in 2010, represent "a serious error in judgment by several soldiers who have acted out of ignorance and unfamiliarity with U.S. Army values," NATO'S International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. Gen. John Allen, the ISAF commander, also condemned the photos.
One shows a member of the U.S. military in front of what appears to be the body of an insurgent. The photo shows the insurgent's head, with his eyes open and what may be his hand on the American soldier's shoulder. Another soldier appears to be looking down at the body, reaching his hand into the blanket covering it.
"A soldier from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division with the body of an Afghan insurgent killed while trying to plant a roadside bomb," the caption reads. "The photo is one of 18 provided to The Times of U.S. soldiers posing with corpses."
The second photo shows a group of people, including some American soldiers, standing with what appear to be legs from a corpse. One U.S. soldier is smiling and giving a double thumbs-up, and another is also smiling at the camera. There appear to be Afghan police in that photo as well.
The paper says the photo was from 2010, when the division arrived at a police station in Zabul province and inspected body parts. "Then the mission turned macabre: The paratroopers posed for photos next to Afghan police, grinning while some held -- and others squatted beside -- the corpse's severed legs."
CNN has not authenticated the images.
Nancy Sullivan, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Times, said, "We verified the authenticity of the photos through interviews with the soldier who provided the photos, with Pentagon officials and with commanders from the unit."
"An investigation that could lead to disciplinary measures is under way," Pentagon spokesman George Little said. "Anyone found responsible for this inhuman conduct will be held accountable in accordance with our military justice system."
The Geneva Conventions say the remains of the dead in a conflict "shall be respected."
Panetta said he had called on The Times not to publish the photos because the enemy uses these kinds of images to incite violence. Lives have been lost because of publication of similar images in the past, he said.
"This is war, and I know that war is ugly, and it's violent," Panetta said at a NATO meeting in Brussels, Belgium. "And I know that young people, sometimes caught up in the moment, make some very foolish decisions. I'm not excusing them, not excusing that behavior. But neither do I want these images to bring further injury to our people or to our relationship with the Afghan people."
Earlier, Little said U.S. forces were taking security measures to guard against potential violence.
In the article, Times Editor Davan Maharaj said, "After careful consideration, we decided that publishing a small but representative selection of the photos would fulfill our obligation to readers to report vigorously and impartially on all aspects of the American mission in Afghanistan, including the allegation that the images reflect a breakdown in unit discipline that was endangering U.S. troops."
The soldier who provided the photos served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne's 4th Brigade Combat Team from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, The Times reported. "He said the photos point to a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of the troops."
"He expressed the hope that publication would help ensure that alleged security shortcomings at two U.S. bases in Afghanistan in 2010 were not repeated," the paper said. The soldier and two other former members of the battalion "said in separate interviews that they and others had complained of inadequate security at the two bases."
The commander of the 4th Brigade at the time the photos were taken and the then-commander of the 1st Battalion said they were not authorized to comment, the paper reported. The Pentagon declined a request that Army officials contact active-duty soldiers in the photos to offer them a chance to comment as well. "The Times sent requests for comment by e-mail and Facebook to seven soldiers in the photos. One, now serving in Afghanistan, declined to comment. The others did not respond."
Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, an ISAF spokesman, said The Times told military officials about the photos in March, triggering an investigation. Cummings did not say where the photos were taken or how many people are under investigation.
"Such actions are morally repugnant, dishonor the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians who have served with distinction in Afghanistan, and do not represent the core values of the United States or our military," the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said.
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who served in Vietnam and was a prisoner of war, said the photos do not represent the behavior of the majority of American troops.
"What bothers me the most is 99.9% of these young Americans that are serving over there have the highest standards," he said Wednesday, when asked about the photos.
"I've seen with my own eyes the thousands of acts of kindness and generosity that our men and women of the military show to the Afghan people. I've seen the partnerships, relationships, friendships, and all of that, of course, is tarnished so badly by a story such as what you're talking about."
In describing one photo not shown in the newspaper, The Times said two soldiers held a dead man's hand with the middle finger raised. "A soldier leaned over the bearded corpse while clutching the man's hand. Someone placed an unofficial platoon patch reading 'Zombie Hunter' next to other remains and took a picture."
The Times article notes that virtually all the men in the photos "had friends who were killed or wounded by homemade bombs or suicide attacks, according to the soldier who provided the images."
Rasmussen said "such very unfortunate incidents do not in any way define our relationship with the Afghan people and our relationship with the Afghan security forces."
It is the latest in a string of incidents that have plagued the U.S. military in Afghanistan this year.
In January, a video posted on a website showed four U.S. Marines urinating on enemy corpses.
A month later, ISAF personnel at Bagram Air Base improperly disposed of Islamic religious materials, including Qurans, by burning them in what U.S. officials described as an unintentional error.
And Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly left a remote outpost in Kandahar province's Panjwai district in March and went house-to-house, gunning down villagers. He has been charged with 17 murders in the shooting rampage.
Perhaps the most notorious incident involving photos of U.S. troops over the past decade took place in Iraq in 2004. Images of U.S. military personnel abusing naked and restrained prisoners in the Abu Ghraib detention facility outside Baghdad shocked the world."
"KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An investigation into the burning of Muslim holy books at a U.S. military base has found it was a mistake involving at least five Americans who may face a disciplinary review, a Western official said Saturday, but Afghan investigators claimed it was an intentional desecration.
The conflicting accounts highlight rising tensions between the two countries despite apologies by President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials following the Feb. 20 discovery of charred Qurans and other religious literature in a burn pit at Bagram air base, north of Kabul.
Anger over the burnings already has led the deaths of more than 30 Afghans during violent protests as well as six U.S. soldiers who were shot and killed by ROGUE Afghan security forces.
A Western official told The Associated Press that preliminary findings from a joint investigation by senior Afghan and U.S. military officials that was ordered by Marine Gen. John Allen has convinced them that although mistakes were made, there was no intent to desecrate the Qurans or other material.
The official, who has knowledge of the investigation but spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said it could lead to a disciplinary review of at least five U.S. military personnel involved. The official did not elaborate, and it was unclear what such a review could recommend.
The controversy began when Qurans and other Islamic texts were removed from the library at the Parwan Detention Facility, then taken to the burn pit at the adjoining Bagram Air Field.
The Western official confirmed earlier reports that extremist inscriptions were found inside the texts, including notations apparently scribbled by detainees exchanging messages. He said that after the writings were discovered, two Afghan-American interpreters were assigned to go through the library materials, and 1,652 items were removed and placed in boxes.
A decision was made to dispose of the material because of a lack of storage space and the notes inside, but a group of three soldiers on a garbage detail removed the books before that could be done properly, the official said. He said the soldiers had no idea what they were throwing into the burn pit and insisted none of the material was destroyed before it was removed by Afghan workers.
However, Maulvi Khaliq Dad, a top Afghan religious leader who was on a different panel appointed by President Hamid Karzai to investigate the incident, claimed the burning was intentional.
Dad said U.S. officials informed Afghan authorities about their suspicions that notes inside the books were being used as a way for detainees to communicate with comrades outside the prison. The Americans believed that a bookseller, who had a contract to take care of the library, was acting as a mediator and told him not to show up for work on the day that two translators were scouring the materials.
The translators later told the Afghan delegation that U.S. officials had told them that the books pulled from the shelves were headed for storage.
According to Dad's account, the books were kept in a place where refuse is picked up and taken to a garbage burn pit on the base. Afghan workers at the base noticed that they were religious books and notified an Afghan army commander who questioned U.S. troops about the books and was satisfied when he was told they would be stored somewhere safe.
But the Afghan workers later noticed the books had been set on fire. The workers and two Afghan officers rescued 216 books, including 48 Qurans, from being burned, Dad said. They were shouting and pulling the books from the burn pit, preventing the U.S. troops from throwing the remaining four cartons of books into the fire, he said.
"They lied to the Afghan workers and the Afghan National Army officers, telling them they were going to store the books in a container, then they went and burned the books. If it was not intentional, they would not have lied," Dad said.
Dad also claimed the investigation had shown that some detainees had written their names, their father's names, their inmate identification numbers and the date they were detained in some of the books that were not destroyed. Some of the books written in Arabic also had definitions of Arabic words scribbled in Dari or Pashto, the two Afghan languages.
"I didn't see anything that suggested that messages were being exchanged between prisoners or with outsiders," he said.
Full details of the incident are expected to be included in the joint Afghan-U.S. probe that is being reviewed by a coalition legal expert. A date for its release has not been set. A more formal U.S. military investigation is still weeks away from completion.
The Quran burnings have brought relations between the U.S.-led military coalition and the Afghan government to an all-time low and spurred the most serious wave of anti-American and foreign sentiment across the country during the 10-year war.
Karzai's office said Saturday it had only seen the report drafted by the religious leaders and had not yet been given the joint report, so could not comment on it although the president has demanded that those involved be put on trial and punished.
"We are waiting for the result of the investigation by NATO, which will probably show who is involved in this and how many people are involved. After studying it we will announce our stance," said presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi. "What the Afghan president has requested from U.S. officials and the U.S. military is a trial and punishment."
Any action taken against American troops involved would have to come under the U.S. military justice system, officials with the international coalition have said.
Still, Karzai is likely to capitalize on the incident and use it as leverage in his government's talks over a strategic partnership document that Washington and Kabul are negotiating ahead of a planned withdrawal of most foreign combat troops by the end of 2014. As part of the negotiations, Karzai wants the U.S. to hand over prisons and stop unpopular night raids against the homes of suspect Taliban commanders and fighters.
Associated Press Writer Rahim Faiez and Deb Riechmann contributed to this report."
"Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- An American soldier went on a house-to-house shooting spree in two villages in southern Afghanistan early Sunday, Afghan officials said, killing 16 people in what Afghanistan's president called an "unforgivable" crime.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force said the soldier acted alone and turned himself in after opening fire on civilians. U.S. President Barack Obama called the killings "tragic and shocking," and offered his condolences to the Afghan people in a phone call to his counterpart in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, the White House said.
But the attack is likely to further more anger at international forces following deadly riots over the burning of Qurans by U.S. troops.
"The Afghan people can withstand a lot of pain," Prince Ali Seraj, the head of the National Coalition for Dialogue with the Tribes of Afghanistan, told CNN. "They can withstand collateral damage. They can withstand night raids. But murder is something that they totally abhor, and when that happens, they really want justice."
In a statement issued by his office, Karzai said the killings took place in the district of Panjwai, about 25 km (15 miles) southwest of Kandahar, southern Afghanistan's major city. Haji Agha Lali, a member of the provincial council, told CNN the soldier had attacked four houses in two nearby villages.
"We call this an intentional act," Karzai said. He said the dead included four men, three women and nine children, calling the killings "acts of terror and unforgivable." Another five people were wounded, he said.
Capt. Justin Brockhoff, an ISAF spokesman, said the wounded Afghans were being treated in ISAF facilities. The allied command did not give its own estimate of casualties.
Brockhoff said officials do not yet have a motive for the shooting, which is under investigation by both NATO and Afghan officials. And Maj. Jason Waggoner, another ISAF spokesman, said the soldier "was acting on his own."
There were no military operations in the area, either on the ground or in the air, at the time, according to two senior ISAF officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. They said only one soldier, an Army staff sergeant, is believed to have been involved.
A U.S. military official told CNN later Sunday that the suspect is from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. The official said the soldier is assigned to a Special Forces unit.
A third ISAF official said Afghan troops spotted the soldier leaving his combat outpost around 3 a.m. Sunday and notified their American counterparts. The U.S. military did an immediate headcount, found the soldier was missing and dispatched a patrol to go look for him, the official said.
The officials said they have no knowledge at this point whether he had any previous medical or mental health issues in his record.
The patrol met him as he returned and took him into custody. He said nothing, and it was unclear whether they knew what had happened, the official said.
"We don't know what motivated this individual, and we're not sure where this is going to take us," Capt. John Kirby, an ISAF spokesman, told CNN. But he said ISAF's commander, Gen. John Allen, "has made it clear this investigation is going to be thorough. It's going to be done rapidly, in an expeditious way, and we're going to hold the perpetrator of these attacks to account."
The news brought a wave of condemnations from top American officials. In a statement issued by the White House, Obama said the U.S. military will "get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible."
White House response to shooting spree
"I am deeply saddened by the reported killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering," Obama said. "This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan."
In a separate statement, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he was "shocked and saddened" by the attack and said the suspect was "clearly acting outside his chain of command." Allen called the killings "deeply appalling," and acting U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham said his country was "saddened by this violent act against our Afghan friends."
"We deplore any attack by a member of the U.S. Armed Forces against innocent civilians," he said in a video statement, assuring "the people of Afghanistan that the individual or individuals responsible for this terrible act will be identified and brought to justice."
But Seraj, a member of Afghanistan's former royal family, said the killings are likely to play into the hands of the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalist movement that has battled the U.S.-led coalition for a decade.
"They are really going to milk this for all it's worth," Seraj said, adding, "This is playing right into their program of psychological warfare against the Afghan people."
The Taliban has already said that the deaths were the result of a night raid by several soldiers and put the death toll at 50, but it regularly exaggerates casualty figures.
Seraj called for a joint U.S.-Afghan investigation into the killings, saying Afghans will want to see "quick and decisive justice."
"We cannot whitewash this and get this young man out of Afghanistan and send him back to the United States. That is the worst thing we can do at this time," he said. And he questioned how the soldier left his post in the pre-dawn hours, adding, "I know the Kandahar base. A fly cannot get in without being searched."
Kandahar and the surrounding region is the home of the Taliban, and eight of the 69 coalition troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year died in the province. But Kirby said the area has been "a big success story" for the allied campaign, and he said Allen has made clear that the coalition strategy won't be affected by Sunday's killings.
"As tragic as this incident is, it would be a larger tragedy to affect the mission at large and what we're trying to do for the country," he said.
"We're going to continue to be out there among the populace," he added. "We're going to continue to try to beat back this insurgency."
Taliban link attack to Quran burning
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001, following al Qaeda's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people. The invasion quickly toppled the Taliban, which ruled most of Afghanistan and had allowed al Qaeda to operate from its territory. But the militia soon regrouped and launched an insurgent campaign against the allied forces and a new government led by Karzai.
The No. 1 U.S. target in the conflict, al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, was killed in a commando raid in neighboring Pakistan in May 2011. American and allied combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by 2014, and Karzai has been increasingly critical of the allied force.
Tensions ramped up dramatically in February, after a group of U.S. soldiers burned copies of the Quran, Islam's holy book, that had been seized from inmates at the American-run prison at Bagram Air Base. American officials from Obama down called the burning an accident and apologized for it, but riots left dozens dead, including six American troops. Hundreds more Afghans were wounded.
The war has cost the lives of nearly 1,900 Americans and just under 1,000 more allied troops to date...
"..The soldier, who has been in the military for 11 years, served three tours in Iraq and is married with two children, was being held in pretrial confinement in Kandahar while Army officials review his complete deployment and medical history, Pentagon officials said.
A U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter is under investigation said that during a recent tour of duty in Iraq, the suspect was involved in a vehicle accident and suffered a head injury, although information about the extent of the injury wasn't available. The accident was not combat-related, and there was no available indication that his injury could be linked to abnormal behavior afterward, the official said. Two U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the suspect had been trained as a sniper...
"An Afghan soldier at Belambay spotted a soldier going out around 3 a.m., past the blast barriers, and notified U.S. commanders.
The commanders immediately ordered a head count, as the military always does. They confirmed a soldier was missing and assembled a search party right away, according to Gen. John Allen, the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan.
"It was as that search party was forming that we began to have indications of the outcome of his departure," Allen said.
In the villages, witnesses said, an American soldier began going house to house, seeking out Afghan men, women and even children. Inside the mud walls, they were caught off guard by the intruder.
Then came the unimaginable.
The American pointed his gun at them and fired.
He pulled a boy from his sleep and shot him in the doorway, according to one witness. Then he came back inside the room and put a gun in the mouth of one child and stomped on another.
Streams of dark crimson smeared the drab surroundings and dampened the parched earth. Shell casings littered the ground.
When he was finished, 16 people, including nine children, were dead -- 11 belonged to one family. Several others were wounded.
The soldier dragged some of the bodies out and set them afire...
"KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. soldier who allegedly shot 16 Afghan villagers was caught on surveillance video that showed him walking up to his base and raising his arms in surrender, according to an Afghan official who viewed the footage.
The official said late Tuesday that U.S. authorities showed Afghan authorities the surveillance video to prove that only one perpetrator was involved in the Sunday shootings, which have sparked outrage across the country....
The day before, the delegation visited the two villages in Kandahar province where the shootings took place. Two villagers who lost relatives insisted that not one — but at least two — soldiers took part in the shootings. Afghan officials have also suggested that more than one shooter was involved.
The video, taken from an overhead blimp that films the area around the base, shows a soldier in a U.S. uniform approaching the south gate of the base with a traditional Afghan shawl hiding the weapon in his hand, the official said.
He then removes the shawl as he lays his weapon on the ground and raises his arms in surrender....
"..Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The U.S. soldier accused in the killing of 16 Afghan civilians was identified Friday by sources, even as Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed doubt over U.S. authorities' account of events that led to the rampage....
"..A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson's covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects. ..
Charlie Wilson's War - trailer
"POSTED November 18, 2008 In a corner of the Afghan capital, there's an effort to reach one of the most vulnerable groups in the country- the children."
Afghanistan city tour Kabul
"unforgetable Kabul by Taxi"
UPDATE: 'Three Cups of Tea' co-author David Oliver Relin dies in suicide at age 49
By Jeff Barnard, The Associated Press | Associated Press – 2 hrs 43 mins ago (November 30th 2012?) news.yahoo.com "
David Oliver Relin, co-author of the bestselling book "Three Cups of Tea," said in legal filings more than a year before his suicide that his career had been hurt by allegations of fabrications in the book recounting how Greg Mortenson started building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Relin committed suicide in Corbett, Ore., outside Portland, on Nov. 14, said the deputy Multnomah County medical examiner, Peter Bellant, late Sunday. Relin was 49.
Relin died of blunt force head injury, Bellant said. He declined to provide other details.
The book, which has sold about 4 million copies since being published in 2006, describes how Mortenson became lost after a failed mountaineering expedition and was nursed back to health in a Pakistani village. Based on the villagers' kindness and the poverty he saw, he resolved to build a school for them.
The account came under scrutiny last year when "60 Minutes" and writer Jon Krakauer alleged that it contained numerous fabrications.
In April, U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon rejected a lawsuit by four people who bought the book, dismissing claims that the two authors, the publisher, and a charity conspired to make Mortenson into a false hero to sell books and raise money for the charity. Haddon called the claims overly broad, flimsy and speculative.
In an August 2011 court filing, Relin attorney Sonia Montalbano said the litigation "has had a negative impact on Relin's livelihood as an author."
She said "Relin does not personally maintain any insurance for this litigation, which means that he has to personally fund his defence."
In another filing, Montalbano said "Relin takes no position on many of the accusations made by the Plaintiff" but Relin "does stand by the manuscript he wrote."
She pointed out that in an introduction Relin wrote for "Three Cups of Tea," he "fully acknowledged potential inaccuracies." In that introduction, Relin wrote that Mortenson's "fluid sense of time made pinning down the exact sequence of many events in this book almost impossible."
Following allegations that parts of "Three Cups of Tea" were fabricated, Mortenson denied any wrongdoing, though he has acknowledged some of the events were compressed over different periods of time.
"Three Cups of Tea" was conceived as a way to raise money for and tell the story of Mortenson's Central Asia Institute, which he co-founded in 1996 to build schools in Central Asia.
Montalbano described Relin in court documents as a journalist looking to write his first book when he was approached by a magazine editor Mortenson contacted looking for a writer to tell his story.
Relin then interviewed Mortenson, attended several of his lectures and read previous articles before preparing a book proposal that was bought by Penguin Group. After selling Penguin on the idea, Relin then conducted more interviews with Mortenson and others before writing the manuscript, Montalbano said.
In a 2008 interview with the University of Oregon literary journal Etude, Relin said he had objected to Mortenson being identified as co-author.
"That's been the only negative thing about this whole adventure for me," Relin said. "After I turned in the manuscript, I received a galley back from the publisher with two names on it. It was published that way over my objections."
In that interview, Relin said he and Mortensen were introduced by a magazine editor.
"Greg asked me to write his story," Relin said. "I agreed, and began chasing him around the world over the course of several years.
"All of us at Penguin are saddened to hear of the death of David Oliver Relin. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family," the publisher said in a statement.
The Democrat and Chronicle newspaper reported Relin was from Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Vassar College and the Iowa Writers Workshop.
His second book, "Second Suns, Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives," was scheduled to be published in June."
Wind Turbine Pilot Project - Barikab, Afghanistan
"This is a pilot project of a wind turbine built in Kabul, Afghanistan. It has been installed at a refugee resettlement site north of Kabul called Barikab. It is being tested for directly pumping water with a standard AC water pump (no batteries), and for battery charging. The clinic will use the power to run lights, refridgerator, water pump, and computer. The project is being implemented by RESAP (Renewable Energy Sources in Afghanistan Project), a part of IAM (International Assistance Mission), and funded by UNHCR and SOZO."
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged on Monday that he receives millions of dollars in cash from Iran, adding that Washington gives him "bags of money" too because his office lacks funds.
U.S. officials said the money flowing from Tehran was further proof that Iran is playing a double game in Afghanistan - wooing the government while helping Taliban insurgents who are fighting U.S. and NATO forces...
"KABUL (Reuters) - A cache of ancient Jewish scrolls from northern Afghanistan that has only recently come to light is creating a storm among scholars who say the landmark find could reveal an undiscovered side of medieval Jewry.
The 150 or so documents, dated from the 11th century, were found in Afghanistan's Samangan province and most likely smuggled out -- a sorry but common fate for the impoverished and war-torn country's antiquities.
Israeli emeritus professor Shaul Shaked, who has examined some of the poems, commercial records and judicial agreements that make up the treasure, said while the existence of ancient Afghan Jewry is known, their culture was still a mystery.
"Here, for the first time, we see evidence and we can actually study the writings of this Jewish community. It's very exciting," Shaked told Reuters by telephone from Israel, where he teaches at the Comparative Religion and Iranian Studies department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The hoard is currently being kept by private antique dealers in London, who have been producing a trickle of new documents over the past two years, which is when Shaked believes they were found and pirated out of Afghanistan in a clandestine operation.
It is likely they belonged to Jewish merchants on the Silk Road running across Central Asia, said T. Michael Law, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Oxford University's Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.
"They might have been left there by merchants travelling along the way, but they could also come from another nearby area and deposited for a reason we do not yet understand," Law said.
"SOLD ELSEWHERE FOR TEN TIMES MORE"
Cultural authorities in Kabul had mixed reactions to the find, which scholars say is without a doubt from Afghanistan, arguing that the Judeo-Persian language used on the scrolls is similar to other Afghan Jewish manuscripts.
National Archives director Sakhi Muneer outright denied the find was Afghan, arguing that he would have seen it, but an advisor in the Culture Ministry said it "cannot be confirmed but it is entirely possible."
"A lot of old documents and sculptures are not brought to us but are sold elsewhere for ten times the price," said advisor Jalal Norani, explaining that excavators and ordinary people who stumble across finds sell them to middlemen who then auction them off in Iran, Pakistan and Europe.
"Unfortunately, we cannot stop this," Norani said. The Culture Ministry, he said, pays on average $1,500 for a recovered antique item. The Hebrew University's Shaked estimated the Jewish documents' worth at several million dollars.
Thirty years of war and conflict have severely hindered both the collecting and preserving of Afghanistan's antiquities, and the Culture Ministry said endemic corruption and poverty meant many new discoveries do not even reach them.
Interpol and U.S. officials have also traced looted Afghan antiquities to funding insurgent activities.
In today's climate of uncertainty, the National Archives in Kabul keep the bulk of its enormous collection of documents -- some dating to the fifth century -- under lock and key to prevent stealing.
Instead reproductions of gold-framed Pashto poems and early Korans scribed on deer skin, or vellum, are displayed for the public under the ornate ceilings of the Archives, which were the nineteenth century offices of Afghan King Habibullah Khan.
"I am sure Afghanistan, like any country, would like to control their antiquities... But on the other hand, with this kind of interest and importance, as a scholar I can't say that I would avoid studying them," said Shaked of the Jewish find.
(Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Editing by Rob Taylor and Sanjeev Miglani)
Afghan Investment a Waste?
"Added On June 15, 2011
The U.S. spent billions setting up high tech facilities, but will Afghanistan be able to afford to keep them running?"
"..Dari is the the variety of Persian spoken in Afghanistan, where it is one of the two official languages and is used as a lingua franca among the different language communities. About 5 million people speak Dari in Afghanistan. There are also about 2.5 million Dari speakers in the Iran and Pakistan. ..
Medical Aid to Afghanistan
"POSTED February 8, 2007 The War of Terror has had many causalities in Afghanistan, including civilians. But here soldiers are shown to be using the resources for medical purposed of helping those who need it."
Foreign medical workers among 10 killed by Taliban in Afghanistan
International Assistance Mission denies claims the team were Christian missionaries
By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
Saturday, August 7, 2010 " BADAKHSHAN, AFGHANISTAN (ANS) -- Eight foreigners and two Afghans have been found shot dead next to abandoned vehicles in the north-eastern Afghan province of Badakhshan, officials say, according to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report.
Dr Karen Woo holds a baby at the French Medical Institute for Children in Kabul. Dr Woo had been creating a documentary for the organization about her aid efforts. ( Photo: Firuz Rahimi. AP photo via BBC website).
The BBC report says the foreigners are believed to be six Americans, one Briton and a German, who worked for an international charity providing eye care and medical help.
The BBC said the vehicles were found a day after contact was lost with the group.
According to the BBC, local police said robbery might have been the motive. However, the Taliban have said they were behind the attack.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said Bibles translated into Dari had been found, the BBC said.
The Talban spokesman told the Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency: "Yesterday at around 0800 (0330 GMT), one of our patrols confronted a group of foreigners. They were Christian missionaries and we killed them all."
He later told the Associated Press (AP) they were "spying for the Americans."
The BBC said the team comprised five American men and three American, German and British women, along with four Afghans. Two of the foreigners worked for the International Assistance Mission (IAM), two were former IAM workers and the others were affiliated to other organizations.
IAM executive director, Dirk Frans, denied they were missionaries.
"That is a lie. That is not true at all. IAM is a Christian organization, we have always been that," he told the BBC.
"We have worked in Afghanistan since 1966 -- under the king, the communists, the Russians, the Mujahideen and the Taliban. They have known us as a Christian agency, but we certainly do not distribute Bibles."
The BBC said an IAM spokesman earlier said it was still awaiting formal identification of the victims, but that their families had been informed.
According to the BBC report, Mr Frans said one of those killed was Tom Little, an optometrist from New York who had been working in Afghanistan for more than 30 years.
The charity Bridge Afghanistan, which was working in conjunction with IAM, named the British aid worker as Dr Karen Woo.
The bodies are expected to be returned to Kabul over the weekend, the BBC said. It added the two dead Afghans were interpreters.
The BBC also said the US embassy in Kabul said it had reason to believe that several American citizens were among the deceased.
"We cannot confirm any details at this point, but are actively working with local authorities and others to learn more about the identities and nationalities of these individuals," the Embassy said in a statement.
The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office told the BBC it, too, was aware of the reports that bodies had been found in northern Afghanistan and was "urgently looking into this."
The BBC explained that Badakhshan, a mainly ethnic Tajik region bordering Tajikistan, is one of the few Afghan provinces not to have been controlled by the Taliban before the US-led invasion of 2001.
The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says it has long been regarded as a safe area, although locals have complained about the growing threat from insurgents.
The BBC also reported the IAM said its eye camp team had been working for the past two-and-a-half weeks in the neighboring province of Nuristan at the invitation of communities there.
The group's leaders had decades of experience working in Afghanistan, Mr Frans said.
He added that the team was returning to Kabul via Badakhshan because they thought that would be the safest route.
IAM said it lost contact with them on Wednesday evening, after which their convoy is thought to have come under attack, the BBC said.
The BBC correspondent says attacks on humanitarian workers are unusual in Afghanistan, and their vehicles would probably have been marked.
Badakhshan's police chief, Gen Agha Noor Kemtuz, told the Associated Press (AP) that the victims had been found dead in the district of Kuran wa Munjan, and had been stripped of their possessions.
"Nothing was left behind," he said.
Gen Kemtuz said a third Afghan man who was traveling with the group had survived.
"He told me he was shouting, reciting the holy Koran and saying: 'I am a Muslim. Don't kill me'," he added.
The fourth Afghan team member had taken a different route as he had family in Jalalabad, the BBC said.
In a statement published on its website on Saturday, IAM said: "At this stage we do not have many details but our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who are presumed killed."
"If these reports are confirmed we object to this senseless killing of people who have done nothing but serve the poor. Some of the foreigners have worked alongside the Afghan people for decades."
"We hope it will not stop our work that benefits over a quarter of a million Afghans each year," it added.
Lyse Doucet of BBC News commented: "The murder of foreign doctors and their Afghan colleagues has shocked and saddened many working in Afghanistan."
She writes on the BBC website that team leader Tom Little spent more than three decades in the country, a top member of the IAM team working with the Noor Eye Institute. One of his students was former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah who told her: "Dr Little traveled the length and breadth of Afghanistan, treating thousands and thousands of Afghans."
Doucet states: "When Karen Woo told friends she would be traveling to Afghan villages on a medical mission, we cautioned she should take care.
"But when she said she would be traveling with Tom Little, we knew she would be with someone who was widely respected and knew the country well."
Doucet said Dr Woo was also passionate about using her skills as a medical doctor and a budding filmmaker to tell the world about Afghan lives.
"Others will now think twice before doing the same," Doucet wrote.
In another report on the www.Christiantoday.com website, the British woman among ten Christian charity workers shot dead by gunmen in Afghanistan is identified as Dr Karen Woo, 36, from London.
Christiantoday.com says she was shot dead along with six Americans, a German and two Afghan interpreters. The website confirms the team had been providing eye care in remote villages with International Assistance Mission and were returning to Kabul when the attack took place.
Although police believe robbery was the motive, the Taliban have claimed they were behind the attack.
Dr Woo had been working with BUPA, a provider of health insurance plans and services in several nations, before leaving to do humanitarian work in Afghanistan. She had been filming a documentary about her work with charity Bridge Afghanistan.
Bridge Afghanistan expressed its sorrow over the killings in a post on its blog.
The post read: "We have just heard the terrible news from Afghanistan. Unfortunately Karen was part of the group that were killed whilst delivering aid and medical care in Nuristan of Afghanistan. We are distressed and deeply disturb (sic) by sad news. We thank everyone for thinking of Karen at this time."
IAM said on its website: "We object to this senseless killing of people who have done nothing but serve the poor. Some of the foreigners have worked alongside the Afghan people for decades.
"This tragedy negatively impacts our ability to continue serving the Afghan people. We hope it will not stop our work."
It added: "Our thoughts and prayer are with those affected at this time.""
Taliban kills 10 medical workers in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON – The suicide bomber who killed eight people inside a CIA base in Afghanistan was a Jordanian-born terrorist working as a double agent who had been invited to the base because he claimed to have information targeting Osama bin Laden's second-in-command, a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a foreign government official confirmed Monday.
The bombing killed seven CIA employees — four officers and three contracted security guards — and a Jordanian intelligence officer, Ali bin Zaid, according to a second former U.S. intelligence official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.
The former senior intelligence official and the foreign official said the bomber was Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a 36-year old doctor from Zarqa, Jordan, who had been recruited by Jordanian intelligence. Zarqa is the hometown of slain al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. NBC News first reported the bomber's identity....
Travel the Road in Afghanistan
"Travel the Road is a reality show on JCTV about two missionaries that travel all over the world preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this episode they are in Afghanistan staying on a military base. They have the opportunity to join US troops as they give aid to surrounding villages and spend time with local nomadic people"
"..Then I explained the message of Jesus and His death on the cross. I lay face down on the ground at the top, laying in both Pakistan and Afghanistan and prayed. I prayed for peace, the blessings of God and love to fill every heart. Also for the salvation of Jesus to be received. I looked each of my helpers in the eye and prayed for them and their families. Tears poured from my eyes. Oh how I love them. They are Muslim men, who helped take the cross to the top. They put their lives in danger, faced death and never complained. These are real men. My brothers! They all wanted individual photos of themselves carrying the cross on top.
I'll never forget what Syed told me when I was thanking him. He said "It's my moral responsibility" I said "What do you mean?" He replied "You are on a mission from God to carry the cross in every nation, it's my 'moral responsibility' to help you accomplish this for God! I gave my word, I would never consider changing it!" What a man. I could only weep. ..
*see GoodnewsEverybody.com Movies: The Passion, Crucification, Easter, Resurrection, etc..
"The Kite Runner is a 2007 film directed by Marc Forster based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini. Though most of the novel is set in Afghanistan, these parts of the movie were mostly shot in Kashgar, China due to the dangers of filming in Afghanistan at the time of the making of the movie. Much of the film's dialogue is in Dari (Afghan Persian) (with English subtitles), and English. Most of the actors involved with the film, including the child actors, are native speakers. Filming wrapped up on December 21, 2006 and the movie was expected to be released on November 2, 2007. However, after concern of the safety of the young actors in the film, its release date has been pushed back six weeks to December 14, 2007." Watch-Movies.net
Khaled Hosseini - "The Kite Runner" Part 1 , from youtube.com "..Uploaded by localmatters on Mar 31, 2008
Danny Kramer talks with author Khaled Hosseini, who wrote the best-selling book "The Kite Runner"
The Kite Runner Part 1/9.wmv
Khaled Hosseini on conditions in Afghanistan
Osama-movie, on a girl "hiding" amongst a Muslim trained youth-army
Osama - Official Movie Trailer
"Osama (Dari: أسامة) is a 2003 film made in Afghanistan. It tells a story about a young girl who disguises as a boy, Osama, that exposes the cruelty of the Taliban, and was the first film to be shot entirely in that country since 1996, when the Taliban régime banned the creation of all films. The film was an international co-production between companies in Afghanistan, the Netherlands, Japan, Ireland and Iran."
Reviews: Why I reccomend this... from Citizen Warrior
Iranian / Afghani Christian Worship Song by Sedayezinda - Cute Videos
Afghan Christian Worship Song "Qodos"
"This is an inspirational video clip of the Afghan Worship song "Qodos" (Holy), produced by Radio Sadaye Zindagi. "
Iranian / Afghani Christian Worship Song by Sedayezindagi
"As you may know Christianity in coutnries like Iran and Afghanistan is forbidden. This is a Farsi / Afghani Christian song of worship ... all » produced by FarsiPraise Ministries, Inc. in 2006. Pass it on to your friends and encourage the persecuted Christians to keep on singing for the Lord"
*see Farsi Praise
Related Sites: U.S. bombs poppy crop to cut Taliban drug ties, updated 3:43 p.m. EDT, Tue July 21, 2009 (CNN.com) "KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The U.S. military bombed about 300 tons of poppy seeds in a dusty field in southern Afghanistan Tuesday in a dramatic show of force designed to break up the Taliban's connection to heroin.
The air strike occurred mid-day in Helmand province and was observed by CNN's Ivan Watson, who is embedded with the U.S. Marines operating in that province.
The military dropped a series of 1,000-pound bombs from planes on the mounds of poppy seeds and then followed with strikes from helicopters.
Tony Wayne, with the U.S. State Department, said the strikes on poppy seeds, that can be used to make opium and heroin, is part of a strategy shift for the military to stop the Taliban and other insurgents from profiting from drugs. Video Watch U.S. military bomb poppy seeds »
"There is a nexus that needs to be broken between the insurgents and the drug traffickers," Wayne said. "Also, it is part of winning the hearts and minds of the population because in some cases they are intimidated into growing poppies."
In a bid to encourage Afghan farmers to swap out their poppy plants for wheat crops the U.S. Agency for International Development has been offering them seeds, fertilizers and improved irrigation.
Observers have noticed a significant decline in the opium trade in Afghanistan, with the number of poppy-free provinces increasing from 13 in 2007 to 18 in 2008, according to a U.N. report released last year.
Opium cultivation in the country, which has 34 provinces, dropped by about 20 percent in a year, the U.N. reported in August.
"It's a challenge to deliver assistance in a war zone -- you can hear fighter jets flying above us right now," said Rory Donohoe, a USAID development officer.
"At the end of the day, what we found is successful is that we work in areas that we can work," he told CNN in a recent interview in Helmand province.
"We come to places like this demonstration farm where Afghans can come here to a safe environment, get training, pick up seeds and fertilizer, then go back to districts of their own." Video Watch Afghans speak about the change in their farming practices »
Many of Afghanistan's northern and eastern provinces have already benefited from USAID alternative farming programs, which have doled out more than $22 million to nearly 210,000 Afghans to build or repair 435 miles (700 kilometers) of roads and some 2,050 miles (3,300 kilometers) of irrigation and drainage canals.
Giving Afghan farmers improved access to markets and improved irrigation is successfully weaning them away from poppy production, according to officials at USAID.
Over the years, opium and heroin -- both derivatives of the poppy -- have served as a major source of revenue for the insurgency, most notably the Taliban movement that once ruled Afghanistan.
"If you can just help the people of Afghanistan in this way, the fighting will go away," said Abdul Qadir, a farmer in Lashkar Gah.
"The Taliban and other enemies of the country will also disappear." "
"A bombshell article in today’s edition of the New York Times lifts the lid on how the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a suspected kingpin of the country’s booming opium trade, has been on the CIA payroll for the past eight years. However, the article serves as little more than a whitewash because it fails to address the fact that one of the primary reasons behind the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was the agenda to reinstate the Golden Crescent drug trade.
“The agency pays (Ahmed Wali) Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.’s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Mr. Karzai’s home,” reports the Times.
An October 2008 report from the Times reveals how, after security forces discovered a huge tractor-trailer full of heroin outside Kandahar in 2004, “Before long, the commander, Habibullah Jan, received a telephone call from Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai, asking him to release the vehicle and the drugs.”
In 2006, following the discovery of another cache of heroin, “United States investigators told other American officials that they had discovered links between the drug shipment and a bodyguard believed to be an intermediary for Ahmed Wali Karzai.”
The Times article out today also discusses how the CIA uses Karzai as a go-between between the Americans and the Taliban. He is also directly implicated in the manufacturing of phony ballots and polling stations that were attributed to the President’s disputed election victory.
“If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck,” the American officer said of Mr. Karzai. “Our assumption is that he’s benefiting from the drug trade.”
Officials quoted by The Times described Karzai as a Mafia-like figure who expanded his influence over the drug trade with the aid of U.S. efforts to eliminate his competitors.
The Afghan opium trade has exploded since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, following a lull after the Taliban had imposed a crackdown. According to the U.N., the drug trade is now worth $65 billion. Afghanistan produces 92 per cent of the world’s opium, with the equivalent of 3,500 tonnes leaving the country each year. Other figures put the number far higher, at around 6,100 tonnes a year.
The New York Times exposé pins the blame on Karzai, but fails to explain that one of the primary reasons behind the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was the United States’ agenda to restore, not eradicate, the drug trade.
Before the invasion, the Taliban collaborated closely with the U.N. to reduce opium production down to just 185 tonnes, a figure at least 2000% below current levels. The notion that the “Taliban benefits from the drug trade” and that the U.S. is trying to stop it, as both Bush and Obama claimed, is the complete opposite of what is actually happening.
As Professor Michel Chossudovsky has highlighted in a series of essays, the explosion of opium production after the invasion was about the CIA’s drive to restore the lucrative Golden Crescent opium trade that was in place during the time when the Agency were funding the Mujahideen rebels to fight the Soviets, and flood the streets of America and Britain with cheap heroin, destroying lives while making obscene profits.
The Times implies that the drug lord Karzai being on the CIA payroll is little more than an embarrassing coincidence, when in reality he is just a middle manager for the U.S. military-industrial complex’s control of the drug trade in Afghanistan which stretches back decades and was only interrupted when the Taliban came to power.
"Heroin is a multibillion dollar business supported by powerful interests, which requires a steady and secure commodity flow. One of the “hidden” objectives of the war was precisely to restore the CIA sponsored drug trade to its historical levels and exert direct control over the drug routes,” writes Chossudovsky.
"As revealed in the Iran-Contra and Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) scandals, CIA covert operations in support of the Afghan Mujahideen had been funded through the laundering of drug money. “Dirty money” was recycled –through a number of banking institutions (in the Middle East) as well as through anonymous CIA shell companies–, into “covert money,” used to finance various insurgent groups during the Soviet-Afghan war, and its aftermath."
Within two years of the CIA’s covert operation in Afghanistan, “CIA assets again controlled this heroin trade. As the Mujahideen guerrillas seized territory inside Afghanistan, they ordered peasants to plant opium as a revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan Intelligence operated hundreds of heroin laboratories. During this decade of wide-open drug-dealing, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Islamabad failed to instigate major seizures or arrests.”
This is the history of the Afghan opium trade that the Times won’t tell you, and in failing to do so today’s article serves only to whitewash the true scale of the agenda behind the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan."
"Afghanistan (MNN) ― Record snowfall has caused hundreds of deaths across Eastern Europe, but frigid cold has also gripped the Middle East.
Earthquake victims have been suffering in Turkey, while refugees in Afghanistan suffer from an unusually cold winter. According to the most recent reports, at least 40 Afghans have died in the last month. Almost all have been children.
The winter has averaged about 5 or 6 degrees (Celsius) colder than Afghanistan's last winter, reports Al Jazeera. Temperatures have dipped as low as -16C (or 3 degrees Fahrenheit) in Kabul and are expected to worsen.
The need to keep people warm is vast. Many people do not have proper shelter, even in refugee camps. Southern Baptist relief group Baptist Global Response says many are living in tents, mud or cardboard houses, shelters which offer very little protection against the cold.
Afghans are in need of shelter, fuel, food, warm clothes and shoes. Many do not even have the firewood or coal to build fires for their freezing families.
BGR partners in Kabul are responding with relief to more than 500 of the hardest-hit families with "Winter Relief Family Packs." The packs contain firewood and food, including rice, oil, beans and tea. Each pack costs $98.
BGR partners will also follow up with the selected families to provide courses in practical job skills to get them back on their feet.
The ministry partners are looking at this not only as an opportunity to help those desperately in need, but also to show the love of God to hundreds who know nothing of it. Pray that those who receive relief would recognize God's love and would seek out more about the true Creator. "