Afghan Govt. Claims ISI Paid Local School Girls $1000 To Poison Class Mates

Afghans accuse spies in school attacks

Ben Doherty

School of hard knocks: Afghan girls walk home after class through the streets of Kabul. The number of girls attending school drops dramatically after primary level.Photo: Kate Geraghty

WHEN the Taliban was ousted from Afghanistan in 2001, there were 5000 girls enrolled in schools across the country. A little over a decade on, that number is 2.4million.

But for girls in Afghanistan, getting an education remains a fraught, and at times, dangerous endeavour. The Afghan National Directorate for Security this week announced the arrest of 15 people for their alleged role in spraying the grounds of girls’ schools in Takhar province with an as-yet-unidentified poison.

The Afghan ministry of education says that 550 schools in 11 provinces where the Taliban hold influence have been shut down by insurgents. Dissuading girls from school through fear —  by poisoning wells,  burning down schools or   throwing acid in girls’ faces as they walked to classes — has long been a terrorist tactic.

Six schools had been targeted in the past three weeks, and Afghan authorities have alleged it is the Pakistani government’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate or ISI, which is financing and assisting Taliban insurgents in their bid to poison Afghan schoolgirls.

‘‘The regional spy agencies, namely ISI, are behind it,’’ National Directorate of Security spokesman Lutfullah Mashal told a press conference. ‘‘They are trying to sabotage the … success of Afghan education.’’
An ISI spokesman has dismissed the Afghan accusations as an ‘‘absurd and senseless …  attempt to strain ties between the two countries’’.

The Taliban has also denied involvement. But among the 15 people arrested, Mr Mashal said, were a Taliban ‘‘deputy governor’’, a Taliban commander, as well as two girl students and teachers at provincial schools.
The two students, one in grade 11 and the other in grade9, had been paid 50,000 afghanis ($A1000) to spray the grounds of the  girls’ schools in Takhar with a toxic powder, it is alleged.

Zakia, a year 9 student, told the Outlook Afghanistan newspaper: ‘‘When I entered the school, I smelt an odour. After smelling, I fell unconscious on the ground.’’

Thirty-two per cent of boys in Afghanistan complete primary school, compared with just 13 per cent of girls. Girls are kept home not only because of violence against them, but also to work, because their families are poor, or because they have been married off, according to UN research. The number of girls attending school drops off dramatically after primary school.

About 1.9million Afghan girls are enrolled in primary school, but only 400,000 in secondary school and just 120,000 in higher education. Across Afghanistan,  the adult literacy rate is just 26 per cent.

CARE Australia has been involved in community education programs since the days of the Taliban.  Senior Programs Officer Alexandra Balmer says the vast majority of Afghan families want their girls in school. But barriers still exist to getting girls to class, and keeping them there, especially beyond primary years. Mothers and fathers who never went to school themselves are sometimes reluctant to allow their children to go, especially if it means time away from working in the home or on farms. Heavy snowfalls in winter — the season just gone was particularly severe — keep many at home.

And secondary school-aged girls need a separate, usually enclosed, place for lessons, especially physical education, a challenge for infrastructure-poor Afghanistan. ‘‘Distance in accessing schools is a major issue,’’ Ms Balmer says. ‘‘And when there’s not a safe space for girls to walk to school, that insecurity on the way to school is a barrier.’’

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Political Analyst: US continues to commit gross human rights violations in Bahrain

 Political Analyst: US continues to commit gross human rights violations in Bahrain

Political Analyst: US continues to commit gross human rights violations in Bahrain
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – Bahrain’s revolution still goes on with the Saudi-backed forces’ heavy-handed crackdown on anti-government protesters in several villages.

In the village of Jad Ali near the capital, tear-gas was used against young protesters out shouting “Down with Hamad” – the ruling monarch. Similar clashes took place in the northeastern village of Sitra.

Bahrain has been rocked by anti-government protests for more than a year now. Manama, with the direct backing of Saudi Arabia, has cracked down on the protests with all possible means.

An interview with Kamel Wazne, a political analyst from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to further shed light on the issue.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Q: It has been well over a year of crackdowns, arrests, prosecutions and persecutions. How long and how far is the Al-Khalifa regime willing to go on with its crackdown against the peaceful protesters?

Wazne: I think the injustice that is taking place in Bahrain is not Al-Khalifa; it is the Saudi monarchy that is taking the control of the sovereignty of Bahrain.

It is working against the will of the Bahraini people and they are supplying the weapons and supplying the money and it seems that the Saudis are determined to continue that crackdown against the Bahraini people.

Despite the fact that the Bahrainis are resilient and determined to carry their freedom and democratic change, they wanted a system where there will be justice. We heard that we had a meeting at the UN civil right committees and there was a voice of condemnation from the highest body of the UN, over 176 condemnations against the Bahraini regime and that should be against the Saudis.

And so far the world is still silent because some Persian Gulf countries particularly Saudi Arabia, they fear that any change in Bahrain will become the end of the monarchy in the Persian Gulf.

So it is all war from the Al-Khalifa monarchy and the Saudis against the Bahraini people and a lot of crimes and atrocities have been committed against the people of Bahrain.

And the world, as I said before, has been silent and the United States has interests in the Fifth Fleet that is actually located on the Bahraini soil to be quiet and supportive of the Bahraini monarchy.

This is what is taking place right now. This is going to be a long battle that the Bahraini and the people of Bahrain will prevail.

Q: Saudi Arabia, as you mentioned as well, has been a major player in the clampdown on the peaceful demonstrators. Saudi Arabia hinted earlier at efforts to create a union of Persian Gulf Arab states, starting with Riyadh and Manama. Do you see an exit for the Saudis from Bahrain at all?

Wazne: I think the Saudis are taking the Bahraini issue very close to what is happening in the east of Saudi Arabia and they think that if the Bahraini were able to get their democratic system and their representation of the majority and where there will be a system where justice will be the rule, this will be a wake-up call for the people of eastern Saudi Arabia and they will start probably, as we have seen, demonstrations.

There is a large population in Saudi Arabia that wants a change. So I think the Saudis are going to the end on the crackdown. But eventually things are going to explode because the heavy hands of the Saudis in Bahrain and in eastern part of Saudi Arabia will not continue forever because the people wanted to have their own rights in their own country; they want to live with dignity and freedom and they do not want to be repressed by the Saudis or the Bahrainis.

There is major civil rights violation in Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia and those are not being addressed.

The level of poverty that exists in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia is huge where people are not allowed to take certain jobs [because they were sacked from their previous jobs].

This is a total violation of all humanity norm and rule and I think the Saudis will put all their resources and they have been putting all their resources to crack down in Bahrain and in their eastern part of their country.

Q: How do you perceive the continued silence of countries such as the United States and Britain to the constant violations of human rights taking place in Bahrain?

Wazne: The Americans never cared about the human dignities that is being violated in Bahrain or the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. All they care about is their economic interests; they care about the oil, the strategic location that actually exhibited in Bahrain, their major base, the Fifth Fleet which is actually located in Bahrain and they care about the flow of oil and natural gas in that region.

So the Americans have not actually been quiet. They have been helping in the crackdown by supplying weapons to the Bahrainis as we witnesses just a week ago or more so when the Crown Prince met with Hilary Clinton and she decided to sell more arms to the Bahrainis.

This is a total violation of the concept of democracy that always the United States talked about because here they are selling weapons to crack down against the people of Bahrain.

America is committing a gross violation of human rights in Bahrain and it is accomplice in these crimes that are taking place in Bahrain. There is huge crime that is taking place in Bahrain and the world has to wake up and see what is happening.

Saudi Harassment of Ethiopian Christian Workers for “illicit mingling of genders.”

Saudis Contradictory on Why Ethiopian Christians Were Arrested

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

saudi-arabia-map

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (Worthy News)– Saudi officials have been making conflicting statements as to why 35 Ethiopian Christians were arrested at a prayer service in a private home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, last December.

In May, a source close to the Saudi ambassador indicated the Christians were arrested as part of an investigation into a human smuggling ring, but this contradicted the original accusation accusing the Christians of an “illicit mingling of genders.”

Shortly thereafter, Sarah Nezamuddin, a representative from the Saudi Embassy, said the Christians had all been arrested for having issues with their work permits, but after International Christian Concern provided a list of the 35 prisoners with legal work permit numbers, Nezamuddin then said that the Christians were actually involved in drug and human trafficking.

Finally, on May 21st, in a meeting with Congressional staff members, representatives from the Saudi government said the 35 Christians had been arrested for visa issues and were also involved in some form of smuggling ring.

“Why haven’t they brought us to court?” one Ethiopian prisoner told ICC. “Why don’t they show us some evidence and bring charges against us? The Saudis are trying to punish us for being Christians by keeping us in prison.”

“I continue to be baffled by the inability of the Saudi government to explain exactly why 35 Christians attending a prayer service at a private home were suddenly arrested almost six months ago,” said Ryan Morgan, ICC’s Advocacy Officer. “The story keeps changing, and it is very troubling to think that a key U.S. ally in the Middle East may be lying to U.S. government officials about why they are arresting religious minorities. I strongly encourage interested individuals to call the Saudi Embassy and express their concern at this alarming turn of events.”

“I am ashamed to be an american.”–The Last US Soldier With A Conscience?

America’s Last Prisoner of War

Three years ago, a 23-year-old soldier walked off his base in Afghanistan and into the hands of the Taliban. Now he’s a crucial pawn in negotiations to end the war. Will the Pentagon leave a man behind?

 
Bowe Bergdahl prepares for graduation from basic training near Fort Benning in Georgia.
Courtesy of the Bergdahl Family.
READ HERE

Bowe’s Last Email Home:

“mom, dad.”

“The future is too good to waste on lies….And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.”

“One of the biggest shit bags is being put in charge of the team.[His battalion commander was a] conceited old fool….In the US army you are cut down for being honest… but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank… The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools….The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies. The few good SGTs are getting out as soon as they can, and they are telling us privates to do the same.”

“I am sorry for everything here….These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live….We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks… We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them.”

Quetta’s Shiites Stage Revenge Attack On Sunni Madrassa?–11 Dead

[If this attack wasn’t a product of a Shia militia group, then it was a false flag attack, intended to implicate Iranian sponsors.  Balochistan is about to blow sky high.  As US/Pakistani relations plummet, the war in the Tribal Regions can be expected to escalate through Western-oriented Sunni terrorist groups (SEE:  Shaitan Is Smiling In Balochistan).]

Pakistan bomb kills 11

AP

Police say a bomb targeting a bus carrying government employees in northwest Pakistan has killed 11 people and wounded 32.

Local police official Zafar Khan says Friday’s attack occurred near the city of Peshawar.

It follows the deaths of at least 14 people on Thursday, when a bomb exploded outside a seminary in Pakistan’s southwest.

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Local TV footage of Friday’s blast showed locals carrying victims to the hospital in private vehicles. Nurses and doctors in the emergency room tended to the wounded.

At the blast site, the back of the colourfully decorated bus was torn apart, leaving a mass of snarled metal.

Peshawar is on the edge of Pakistan’s tribal region and has been targeted by many militant attacks in the past five years. Violence has declined in the past year but attacks still occur relatively frequently.

The detonation of a bomb attached to a bicycle outside a seminary in provincial Quetta on Thursday also wounded 40 people.

Senior police officer Hamid Shakil said most among the dead and wounded were students at the southwestern capital’s Sunni Muslim seminary.

No one immediately claimed responsibility and the motive for the bombing was unclear.

At the time hundreds of students, teachers and parents were in the Jamia Islamia Maftah-ul-Uloom seminary, attending a ceremony to award certificates to students.

As US/Pakistani Relations Sour, Drone Attacks Soar

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan 

President Barack Obama has ordered a sharp increase in drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan in recent months, anticipating Pakistan may soon bar such CIA operations launched from its territory, two U.S. officials said.

His decision reflects mounting U.S. frustration with Pakistan over a growing list of disputes — mirrored by Pakistani grievances with the U.S. — that have soured relations and weakened security cooperation. The U.S. is withholding at least $3 billion in reimbursements for counterinsurgency operations and security-related funding, according to congressional aides and Pakistani officials.

“We are reaching the limits of our patience, and for that reason it’s extremely important that Pakistan take action” to crack down on armed groups based there that attack American and coalition forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said yesterday in Kabul.

In more than a dozen interviews, diplomats from both nations say they are trying to repair rifts that have sent relations to the lowest point in two decades, while military and intelligence officials are less sanguine about building trust. At stake are billions of dollars in U.S. funding for an ally in financial crisis, and American influence with a nuclear-armed power as U.S. forces pull out of neighboring Afghanistan.

U.S. officials, who spoke yesterday on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified intelligence, said they expect Pakistan may order the CIA to vacate the remaining air base from which it flies Predators to target militants sheltered in Pakistan’s tribal areas borderingAfghanistan.