Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Sneaky snapshots from Prince Harry’s tour of Iraq Afghanistan are surfacing.

Har_09

Hat tip to TowleRoad.com.

Democratic presidential candidate Obama

Telegraph: Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is to fly to Britain next month as part of an ambitious foreign trip that will also take him to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as to France and Germany.

Only skeleton details of Mr Obama’s trip have been agreed but an announcement of an outline programme is expected over the weekend.

“You will be hearing something very soon,” a senior Obama aide told The Telegraph.

During Mr Obama’s visit to Britain, likely to take place around the middle of July, he will call on Gordon Brown and, if time permits, David Cameron, the Conservative leader.

A fundraising event to attract campaign donations from wealthy Americans is also understood to be under consideration.

A recent Telegraph poll showed that Mr Obama is overwhelmingly preferred to Mr McCain in Britain and Europe.

Three times as many Britons said they would vote for him as those who indicated they would back Mr McCain, if able to cast a vote in the US election.

But Democratic strategists are concerned that scenes of “Obamamania” in Europe could damage the candidate back home.

In 2004, John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, was mocked for “looking French” while in 2000, George W Bush turned his relative lack of foreign travel into a political asset.

Mr Obama, 46, has not been to Iraq since 2004, a fact that his opponent John McCain, 71, the presumptive Republican nominee and a regular visitor to Baghdad, points out frequently.

His extensive foreign trip – unusual at the height of a presidential campaign – is designed to burnish his comparatively thin foreign policy credentials.

The Illinois senator met Mr Brown for the first time in April at the British Embassy, when the Prime Minister also received calls from Mr McCain and Hillary Clinton, who was them still battling for the Democratic nomination.

Mr Obama has visited Downing Street once briefly during a congressional trip.

On a previous trip to Britain in 1996, he was a guest at the wedding of his half-sister Auma, who has since moved back to Kenya, in Bracknell and went his brother-in-law’s stag night in Wokingham.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has already invited Mr Obama to visit the Elysee Palace and Downing Street aides are understood to be pushing for him to stop in London before Paris as a signal that he considers Britain to be America’s pre-eminent ally.

New York Times: The Army and Air Force discharged a disproportionate number of women in 2007 under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military, according to Pentagon statistics gathered by an advocacy group.

While women make up 14 percent of Army personnel, 46 percent of those discharged under the policy last year were women. And while 20 percent of Air Force personnel are women, 49 percent of its discharges under the policy last year were women.

By comparison for 2006, about 35 percent of the Army’s discharges and 36 percent of the Air Force’s were women, according to the statistics.

The information was gathered under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a policy advocacy organization.

“Women make up 15 percent of the armed forces, so to find they represent nearly 50 percent of Army and Air Force discharges under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is shocking,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the organization’s executive director. “Women in particular have been caught in the crosshairs of this counterproductive law.”

New York Times: The Army and Air Force discharged a disproportionate number of women in 2007 under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military, according to Pentagon statistics gathered by an advocacy group.

While women make up 14 percent of Army personnel, 46 percent of those discharged under the policy last year were women. And while 20 percent of Air Force personnel are women, 49 percent of its discharges under the policy last year were women.

By comparison for 2006, about 35 percent of the Army’s discharges and 36 percent of the Air Force’s were women, according to the statistics.

The information was gathered under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a policy advocacy organization.

“Women make up 15 percent of the armed forces, so to find they represent nearly 50 percent of Army and Air Force discharges under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is shocking,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the organization’s executive director. “Women in particular have been caught in the crosshairs of this counterproductive law.”

CNN: Five foreign troops were killed Saturday in Afghanistan, bringing the number of NATO and U.S.-led coalition troop deaths in June to 32 — more than in Iraq.

Foreign troop deaths in the Afghan war have been exceeding those in the Iraq conflict in recent weeks, according to figures compiled by CNN.

Al-Jazeera: Taliban fighters have attacked a prison in southern Afghanistan, blasting through the entrance of Kandahar’s main jail and triggering a gun battle with the police.

The Taliban fighters are reportedly trying to free their comrades from the jail.

The brother of Afghan president Hamid Karzai said that hundreds of prisoners had escaped.

According to Afghan officials, fighters attacked the main prison in Kandahar on Friday with a car bomb and rockets, killing police and freeing prisoners.

Sarwar Danish, the justice minister, said a suicide car bomber blew up his vehicle at the gates of the prison.

Officials with Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said they are aware of the attack but do not yet have any details.

Qais Azimy, Al Jazeera’s correspondent, said the Taliban fighters have managed to get into the prison to free some of the men.

Afghan police are trying to stop the prisoners from escaping.

An amphibious assault vehicle leaves the USS Peleliu, which was used to detain prisoners, according to the human rights group Reprieve

The Guardian: The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.