Archive for London

The London Meet on Afghanistan

Posted in International Affairs with tags , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by Umer

 by Yohannan Chemarapally

(People’s Democracy)

THE London Conference on Afghanistan held in the last week of January was supposed to plan out a coherent “exit strategy” for the West out of the quagmire it finds itself in. Instead, the conference has only succeeded in sending out confusing signals to the international community. While there was a lot of talk of engaging with the “good Taliban there was also a continued emphasis on a military solution to the conflict.

However, the desperation to get out of Afghanistan was tangible from the statements of most Western leaders present at the meeting. The willingness to open a dialogue with the “good Taliban” to find a political solution was an indication of the prevailing pessimistic mood. But with a political or military solution nowhere in sight it was evident that the military occupation of Afghanistan would continue for another five years at least. The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, in fact wants foreign troops to be around for a minimum of 15 years. He reiterated this demand once again in London. More than 70 countries, along with the European Union, NATO and the UN attended the London Conference. The EU and NATO officials were critical about Karzai’s 15 year time line for withdrawal.

It is evident that the grandiose promise of President Barak Obama to withdraw all American troops by 2011 is no longer a feasible proposition. With the militarily ascendant Taliban refusing to be drawn into a dialogue, the conditions on the ground will mean that US troops will continue to be stationed in Afghanistan beyond the deadline set by President Obama. The 10,000 additional NATO troops from European countries that Washington expected to be deployed in Afghanistan as part of the military surge, does not seem to be materialising. France has announced that it will not be sending any more troops to Afghanistan. Germany has promised only 500 more troops while the Dutch are on the verge of pulling out all their 2000 soldiers out of Afghanistan.

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Human rights campaigners are not terrorists

Posted in International Affairs, Law, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on December 4, 2008 by Umer

Protests at Baloch terror trial

Drop all charges against Marri and Baluch

Stop abusing the anti-terror laws


Human rights campaigners are not terrorists

London – 1 December 2008

On Monday 1 December, the Baloch ‘terrorism’ trial resumed in London. Friends and supporters of the defendants, Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baluch, staged a protest outside the court, calling for the trial to be halted and the charges dropped.

Photos of the protests are available to view and download for publication here.

Although the police and court officials were needlessly bullying, forcing the protesters to leave the court grounds, the supporters of the defendants made their point and were seen by court staff and by everyone who came to the court and who passed by it.

The Balochistan human rights campaigners Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baluch are being prosecuted on terrorism charges, which are widely believed to have been concocted by Pakistani intelligence.

Monday’s protest was supported by Baloch and Sindhi rights campaigners from Pakistan and by members of CAMPACC, the UK Campaign Against Criminalising Communities, which opposes abuses of the anti-terror laws.

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