Thursday 26 May 2005
May 26, 2005
Afghanistan: Karzai Explains Kabul's Economic Goals During U.S. Visit
Hamid Karzai (file photo) Much of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's four-day visit to the United States this week was dominated by talk about security issues and Kabul's strategic partnership with America. But Karzai also used the occasion to discuss his government's economic goals -- including the dream of becoming a regional trade hub by building transit routes linking ports in Pakistan and Iran with the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
May 25, 2005
Afghans Cautious On U.S. Military Bases
During a meeting in Washington on 23 May, U.S. President George W. Bush and visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a memorandum of understanding towards establishing a "strategic partnership" between Washington and Kabul. At a joint news conference in the White House the same day, Karzai stated that the arrangement signed with Bush would "enable Afghanistan to stand on its own feet." Bush said that the strategic partnership signed with Karzai "establishes regular high-level exchanges on political, security and economic interests" and consultations with Afghanistan "if it perceives its territorial integrity, independence or security is at risk." The text of the "Joint Declaration of the United States-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership" released by the White House on 23 May specifies if such a risk is determined by Kabul to exist, the Afghanistan and the United States will take "appropriate measures" to address it.
May 25, 2005
Afghanistan/U.S.: 'Strategic Partnership' Seen As Move Toward De Facto Rights For U.S. Bases
Presidents Karzai (left) and Bush on the recent visit The strategic partnership agreed to at the White House on 23 May by U.S. President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai seeks to ensure long-term cooperation between the two governments. In their memorandum of understanding, Bush pledged continued help to strengthen security forces, democracy, and the Afghan economy. Karzai agreed that U.S. forces will continue to have access to the Bagram Air Field north of Kabul and other strategic military installations.
May 24, 2005
Bush, Karzai Sign 'Strategic Partnership'
Presidents Karzai (left) and Bush in Washington yesterday Washington/Prague, 24 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. President George W. Bush signed a document yesterday on a "strategic partnership" between their countries.
May 23, 2005
Afghanistan: Prisoner Abuse Scandal Overshadows Karzai's Talks With Bush
Karzai has met with Bush several times before (file photo) Afghan President Hamid Karzai's talks with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington today come amid increasing tension over the abuse of Afghan prisoners by U.S. soldiers and interrogators. Karzai has said he will raise his concerns with Bush and ask that all Afghan prisoners be turned over to his government. Karzai also says he wants more control over U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the United Nations has joined a call by independent human rights groups for justice in the cases of two Afghan prisoners who died in late 2002 while in U.S. custody at the U.S. military prison at Bagram air base outside Kabul. The Pentagon is treating those cases as a homicide and determined last October that there is probable cause to indict at least 27 U.S. soldiers. But so far, only seven have been charged and none have been convicted. Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission says an independent prosecutor is needed.
May 23, 2005
Afghan Leader Arrives In U.S.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (in file photo) 22 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai has arrived in Boston to kick off a four-day visit to the United States that is expected to include a meeting with President George W. Bush and discussion of a long-term strategic partnership between Washington and Kabul.
May 20, 2005
Afghanistan: Killings Raise Concerns For Aid Workers' Safety
Eleven Afghans have been killed in two ambushes that took place in 48 hours in southern Afghanistan. Among those killed are four employees of Chemonics, a U.S.-based company that carries out antidrug projects in Afghanistan. The U.S. State Department announced that Chemonics has said it now plans to withdraw its employees from southern Afghanistan.
May 19, 2005
Afghanistan: Former Female TV Presenter Shot Dead In Kabul
A female Afghan television presenter was shot dead yesterday in Kabul. She moderated a popular music program that had angered conservatives before she left her job under unclear circumstances in March. Police say it is not clear yet whether her killing is related to her work. An investigation has been launched into her killing. Reporters Without Borders says Shaima Rezayee is the first journalist to be killed in Afghanistan since the end of the war in 2001.
May 19, 2005
Afghanistan: Was Taliban Involved In Uzbek Violence?
Aftermath of riots in Andijon, 14 May On 13 May, Uzbek security forces fired on demonstrators in the eastern city of Andijon, following attacks on a police station, military barracks, and prison. The government has said that 169 people were killed, including more than 50 foreign fighters, though opposition groups say as many as 750 people were killed. [For more on these events, see RFE/RL's dedicated webpage: Unrest in Uzbekistan --> /specials/uzbek_unrest/ ]
May 18, 2005
Afghanistan: Kidnappers Present Demands For Italian Aid Worker
A man claiming to be one of the kidnappers of an Italian aid worker in Afghanistan has spelled out demands for her release in a phone call to RFE/RL. The demands suggest the kidnappers are Islamic fundamentalists. But the Taliban has denied any connection to the kidnapping of the CARE International worker.
May 17, 2005
Kuwait: Women Win Political Rights Over Islamist Opposition
Saudi Arabia is now the only Mideastern nation with elections where women are not allowed to vote In a move that surprised even some of its members, the parliament of Kuwait has voted to give women the right to vote and run in parliamentary and municipal elections. Both the United Nations and the United States, which is seeking to spread democracy in the Muslim world, have hailed the move as a major step forward for Kuwaiti society. But conservatives in the small Persian Gulf nation are bitterly contesting the law, with some vowing eternal damnation for those who voted for it.