November 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Wednesday that the United States and Afghanistan had reached agreement on a security partnership after international combat troops withdraw, and that the deal would be presented to a gathering of influential tribal leaders beginning Thursday. The deal, whose terms Kerry did not disclose, will be subject to approval by the tribal assembly, known as a loya jirga, as well as the Afghan parliament. The tribal gathering is an advisory body only, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai has indicated he won't sign the security agreement unless the assembly approves it. "As we sit here tonight, we have agreed on the language that would be submitted to a loya jirga, but they have to pass it," Kerry said at the State Department.
November 18, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - This country has a president and parliament responsible for critical decisions on national security. But President Hamid Karzai, to the consternation of many who consider it a waste of time and money, has convened a traditional tribal gathering to discuss a security deal with the United States. A loya jirga , or grand council, opens here Thursday and is likely to paralyze the Afghan capital for five days as about 2,700 delegates from around the country gather to eat, drink and argue inside a tent protected by tight security.
May 28, 2013 |
Hamid Karzai has been president of Afghanistan for a long time - since the end of 2001, when he was installed by a U.S.-led alliance. At the time, he seemed a charming, English-speaking leader with a colorful wardrobe who could craft a democratic, post-Taliban state. Today Karzai is perceived, at least in the West, as erratic and unpredictable, an opportunist who has troubling ties to corrupt officials and abusive warlords. Far from consolidating democracy, Karzai has presided over the development of a deeply corrupt and abusive state that has allowed the resurgence of the Taliban.
May 12, 2013 |
CHARIKAR, Afghanistan - Abdul Shakour was working the night shift at Bagram air base repairing American vehicles when he was called to an emergency meeting. The news was bad: Shakour and 22 other Afghan mechanics were being laid off. After seven years at Bagram, Shakour was unceremoniously shown the door last month. He was told to return the next day to turn in his security badge and collect his final paycheck. "There aren't as many vehicles to fix and not as many soldiers around, so they don't need us anymore," Shakour said outside the base, speaking with a thick accent the English he had learned from American civilians and troops.
April 6, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - On the same day that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey arrived in Afghanistan for an assessment visit, six Americans were killed Saturday in attacks by Afghanistan insurgents. Hours after Dempsey arrived in the nation, five Americans - three soldiers and two civilians - were killed when a bomb-laden vehicle exploded in southeastern Zabul province. An Afghan doctor was also killed in the attack on a convoy headed to a hospital for a visit. Another American was killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, military officials said.
March 21, 2013 |
Some diversions invite comparison more readily than others. Take "The Sapphires," the most chipper film ever set in Vietnam. Already many have taken it, and liked it. If you enjoyed "Strictly Ballroom" or "The Commitments," which is to say if you fell for the slightly pushy charms of those show-business fables (one fantasy Australian, the other Irish, though directed by an Englishman), then chances are you'll go for this true-ish story of an Aborigine singing group entertaining the American troops, enemy fire be damned, in 1968 - like Bob Hope and Raquel Welch, New South Wales division.