After risking death on the migrant trail and two months in “nightmarish” refugee centres in Germany, Mohammed Asif bought a one-way ticket back to Afghanistan, relinquishing his lifelong dream of asylum in Europe.
Afghans are the second-largest migrant group — behind Syrians — arriving in Europe, where authorities are struggling to cope with the continent’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.
A small but growing number, like 26-year-old Asif, are now returning to their country torn by war and gripped by economic malaise, as overcrowded refugee centres, a lack of jobs and the rise of anti-immigrant fervour in Europe leave them disillusioned.
“I thought Europe would offer me a comfortable life, but I found only hostility and pain,” said Asif, who has a graduate degree in economics and left for Germany with a people-smuggler last year.
“The refugee camps were nightmarish and Europeans kept humiliating us all the time. Many of them say refugees will destroy the culture of their country,” he told AFP, after returning to Kabul.
Europeans are smarter than I thought.
We’ve already reported on Iraqis going back home. Add Afghans now. Only Syria is worse than Brussels and Stockholm.
But don’t get your hopes up, Euros:
A chartered plane last month brought 135 disillusioned Afghan refugees back from Germany, in what is likely to be the first of many such flights organised by Kabul, Berlin and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Afghanistan is witnessing what local officials call an “unprecedented” migration towards European nations as tens of thousands of civilians flee decades of turmoil and war tearing their country apart.
“Tens of thousands” incoming Afgans versus 135 returned Afghans does not sound like a good trade. Certainly not enough to spare Germany from its imbecility.
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s high-profile desertion case was referred for trial by court-martial on Monday, in a blow to his defense team which had urged a lower-level referral.
Bergdahl was released from captivity last year in exchange for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay. He was later charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, accused of abandoning his post before he was captured.
U.S. Army Forces Command announced Monday that both charges are being referred to a general court-martial.
Really? I don’t recall Obama saying anything of the sort when he brayed about securing Bowe’s release (evidently they were on a first-name basis).
Don’t bother watching. Your acid reflux will act up, even if you don’t have any.
He wasn’t forgotten by his community in Idaho, or the military, which rallied to support the Bergdahls through thick and thin. And he wasn’t forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.
As Commander-in-Chief, I am proud of the servicemembers who recovered Sergeant Bergdahl and brought him safely out of harm’s way. As usual, they performed with extraordinary courage and professionalism, and they have made their nation proud.
Right now, our top priority is making sure that Bowe gets the care and support that he needs and that he can be reunited with his family as soon as possible.
I’m sorry, who was he talking about, Audie Murphy? The as*hole is facing a fu*king firing squad (Bergdahl, not Obama), and this dipsh*t (Obama, not Bergdahl) makes the di*k out to be John McCain in the Presidential Suite at the Hanoi Hilton! (Apologies for the language, not really.)
The five Taliban commanders who were exchanged for Bowe Bergdahl – a U.S. soldier who deserted his post in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban shortly after doing so – have resumed “threatening activities,” after being released to Qatar from Guantánamo Bay last year, according to a new House Armed Services Committee report.
“Some of the Taliban Five have engaged in threatening activities since being transferred to Qatar,” the report said.
The committee report maintained that President Obama took the action unilaterally without the consent of Congress. The Taliban commanders were informed that they were being sent to Qatar before Congress even knew about the impending deal, according to the report.
President Obama dispatched several senior White House officials to Qatar to negotiate the release of Bergdahl, the report documents, with Doha acting as an intermediary between the Taliban – which set up a “political” office there – and the United States. The Obama White House’s unilateral secret negotiations with the Taliban, a jihadi terrorist organization, disturbed a bipartisan sector of Congress, the House Committee report said.
When the Taliban commanders arrived in Qatar, they were greeted by both the public and officials as heroes, according to video that surfaced following their arrival in Doha.
“At least three of the five Taliban leaders… have tried to plug back into their old terror networks,” the Committee adds, quoting a report.
And “there are indications that Qatar is eager to have the Taliban Five depart,” the Committee report adds. If the Taliban Five leave (or have already left) Qatar, there is virtually no measure in place to track the former Guantanamo detainees, or prevent them from re-emerging on the battlefield.
No, wait: Obama’s got this:
The Qatari government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security.
We have to entrust our national security to the Qatari government now? Is that it? Obama actually said that? We actually bought it?
And what’s with Daddy Bergdahl speaking in tongues?
The lives of six soldiers were sacrificed in attempts to find an accused deserter, and five Taliban commanders were later released from Guantanamo Bay and given to the Taliban in exchange for Bergdahl.
Those soldiers were Private First Class Morris Walker, Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, Private First Class Matthew Martinek, and Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey.
The Daily Beast described the circumstances of their various deaths. Walker and Bowen were killed with an IED “during a reconnaissance mission,” Curtiss was “shot in the face and killed,” Andrews and Martinek were killed in an ambush, and Murphrey was killed with an “improvised land mine.”
I’ve made it a point to remember the names of the four Americans who died in Benghazi. (I don’t need to prove it here; I’ve done it often enough.) I should try to do the same for those who gave their lives for this deserter.
PPS: Susan Rice: Bowe Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction”. Always leave them laughing.
A House Armed Services Committee report set to be released Thursday accuses the Obama administration of misleading Congress and violating federal law during a controversial prisoner exchange.
The report compiled by the GOP majority charges that the administration did so when it bypassed Congress in negotiating the exchange of five Taliban prisoners for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was being held in Afghanistan. They suggested that the White House had put politics and expediency ahead of proper procedure in making the deal.
The White House welcomed Bergdahl home to much fanfare 19 months ago, but has since been faced with recriminations over the way the exchange process was handled and for hailing the sergeant as a hero when many have accused him of desertion. Earlier this year he was charged with desertion, though the Army officer investigating the charges recommended against prison time in October.
The Obama administration has claimed that it side-stepped a mandated 30-day congressional notification period out of fear for Bergdahl’s life, and that it had constitutional authority to do so. But the report finds the argument wanting.
The committee slams the the White House’s disregard for congressional oversight as “deeply disturbing” and rejected the administration’s argument that the release of Guantanamo prisoners to secure the release of a captive American soldier was an “extraordinary situation” that justified keeping Congress out of the loop.
The report further suggests that the administration quietly reached a deal to free the Guantanamo prisoners in exchange for Bergdahl in part to help fulfill President Barack Obama’s pledge to close the Guantanamo detention facility by the end of his time in office.
If a deserter in time of war can be welcomed home as a war hero—his parents babbling in Arabic next to the president at the White House—why can’t I receive absolution for swiping pistachio nuts from the supermarket? No one died looking for the missing pistachios. If Bowe Bergdahl were treated any more leniently he’d be an illegal alien.
Yesterday, we shared with you the laugh-out-loud story that American forces blew apart not only a hospital in Kunduz, but a warehouse and a “mansion” (which in Afghanistan is any hut with two chamberpots).
Doctors Without Borders staff also reported seeing people shot from the air as they ran between buildings during the hourlong attack October 3 in Kunduz, it said. The charity said at least 30 people — including 13 staff — died during the early-morning strike.
The U.S. Department of Defense said Thursday it appreciated Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF, making its report available to American investigators and expressed its condolences to those affected.
As the fighting intensified, Doctors Without Borders said it reaffirmed the GPS coordinates of the main hospital and administration office building at its Kunduz center with the U.S. Defense Department, Afghan Interior and Defense ministries and the U.S. Army in Kabul in a September 29 email.
“Confirmation of receipt was received from both U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Army representatives, both of whom assured us that the coordinates had been passed on to the appropriate parties.
“A series of multiple, precise and sustained airstrikes targeted the main hospital building, leaving the rest of the buildings in the MSF compound comparatively untouched,” the charity’s report said.
“This specific building of the hospital correlates exactly with the GPS coordinates provided to the parties to the conflict,” it said, adding that GPS coordinates were taken directly in front of the main hospital building hit in the strikes.
The center’s Intensive Care Unit was the first building to be hit before the airstrikes moved east to west across the main hospital building in “wave after wave of strikes,” the charity said.
“Many staff describe seeing people being shot, most likely from the plane, as people tried to flee the main hospital building that was being hit with each airstrike.
We had asked, and MSF had confirmed, that they were treating Taliban patients. So, it was a target-rich opportunity. But if that’s our goal, we should own it. We’re coming for you, goat-humpers, and no hospital can hide you.
If it is not our goal to strafe medical centers, maybe we shouldn’t send the Grim Reaper of gunships.
PS: I’m not really enjoying the deaths of innocent French doctors and guilty Taliban jihadists. I’m just enjoying Obama’s culpability in war crimes. War crimes. Cincy Sheehan told us about this guy.
PPS: Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney need a fourth for golf. You’d fit right in, sir.
A deadly U.S. airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital last month has triggered an international outcry and investigations by the Pentagon and NATO. But it was not the only U.S. aerial assault to cause significant damage in this northern city.
Hours earlier, U.S. warplanes zeroed in on a warehouse and a mansion in two densely populated residential areas, according to witnesses and local officials. No one was killed in those attacks, but the targets were pulverized and the walls and windows of nearby homes were shattered.
No one was killed in “two densely populated residential areas” when “the targets were pulverized and the walls and windows of nearby homes were shattered”? Go on, pull the other one.
And how did we manage this trifecta of tribulation, but with the invaluable aid of our friends, the Afghanis:
All three U.S. strikes — on the warehouse, the mansion and the hospital — were requested by Afghan commanders, who say they asked for help because their forces were under attack by Taliban fighters. But residents said that while their neighborhoods had been conflict zones earlier, there were no militants at any of the locations at the time of the attacks.
The clinic bombardment, on Oct. 3, killed 30 medical staff and patients, in one of the deadliest civilian casualty incidents of the Afghan conflict.
Together, the three attacks raise questions about the quality and reliability of the intelligence Afghan security forces are providing to their American partners, as well as U.S. decisions to act on that intelligence. The target of every Afghan request for air support has to be independently verified by American military advisers before it is approved, according to U.S. rules of engagement.
Fourteen years after the U.S. intervention toppled the Taliban regime, intelligence gathering and coordination between U.S. and Afghan forces remain a major challenge. Faulty information and communication have been behind numerous civilian casualty incidents, as well as “friendly fire” attacks. Now, investigators are examining how an American AC-130 gunship could bomb a hospital for more than an hour.
I cannot tell a lie (this time): I burst out in laughter at that last line. You tell us when you get to the bottom of that, my army of Sherlocks. Pounding a hospital for over an hour—you wanna see what a AC-130 gunship looks like?
A treatable condition, I understand. But I imagine the hospital patients and staff excreted enough bricks to rebuild that “mansion” (of sorts) pulverized by the initial strikes.
I want to bomb the Taliban more than anyone, but there ought to be consequences when you miss. A Nobel Peace Prize can’t serve as a get-out-of-jail-free card forever, can it?
That’s hardly an original observation, but what does it mean?
The nation we used to call “Haiti with nukes” still is, though Haiti has better weather. It’s still a mess: paranoid; with an aging, sick population; restive Muslims on one flank, resentful eastern Europeans on the other; overreliance on one asset, selling cheaply, now and for the foreseeable future. Just because you’re paranoid…
But the 98-pound weakling is still the baddest-ass guy on the beach if the other guy can’t be bothered to interrupt the prime tanning hours.
US-led coalition forces had not carried out any air strikes in Syria for three days as of Monday, a lull that contrasts with the continued intensity of Russia’s bombing campaign.
According to Pentagon data, the last coalition strike was a drone attack on October 22 that targeted an Islamic State vehicle and a “mortar tube.”
Russia, on the other hand, continues to maintain an intense tempo as it nears the end of its first month of bombing in Syria.
The Russian defense ministry said Monday it had hit 94 targets in just the past 24 hours.
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying Russia has bombed 94 crucial targets. For all I know, they bombed 93 palm trees and a camel. For all I know, they never flew a sortie, but merely announced they did, 94 times.
“Air strikes ebb and flow… We look at intelligence to find out where we have actionable targets, where we have targets that we can hit without causing civilian damage.
“We simply haven’t had any (recently)… but that doesn’t mean we are not on the lookout for more – and there will be more.”
How can the sackless Jeb Bush be a Pentagon spokesman while running for president? The man has hidden talents.
According to Pentagon figures, the coalition launched 359 air strikes in July. The number dropped to 206 in August and 115 in September.
Continuing the downward trend, there have been 91 strikes so far this month.
“As we continuously seek legitimate targets, it takes time,” said Commander Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman.
“The strikes we take are not just randomly against targets; they are part of an organized campaign.”
Vladimir Putin has been asked to help the Afghan government in its fight against Taliban insurgents.
In a clear signal of the worsening security situation in the war-torn country, President Ashraf Ghani has appealed for help from the Kremlin.
He asked Moscow for artillery, small arms and Mi-35 helicopter gunships for his country’s stuggling military, according to officials.
Russian officials have said they are ‘willing to help’.
Hey, Barack Obama! The 1980s called—they said lay off the ganja. They also asked how such a narcissistic underachiever who slouched into Occidental College ever—ever!—got to be a US Senator, let alone president.
A US official told the Wall Street Journal: ‘Russia is seizing the opporunity.’
Wednesday, the New York Times ran a story about how American military analysts have been stunned by the precision and planning of the Russian operation in Syria. “What continues to impress me is their ability to move a lot of stuff real far, real fast,” the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe said, since it means that Putin’s military is fully capable of large-scale expeditionary power projection—something we used to think was solely an American specialty.
The Russians have also seamlessly carried out more bombing runs in a single day than the hapless American-led coalition conducts against ISIS in a month.
They’ve launched a new design of cruise missile against anti-Assad rebels that may match, or even surpass, American technology; and have overall displayed a professionalism and readiness that shocks observers who remember the sad old post-Cold War Russian military, or even the one that launched the invasion of Georgia seven years ago.
The initial findings of an investigation into a U.S. airstrike against a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan have concluded that the U.S. government was aware the site was a hospital, two U.S. officials told CNN Friday. But that information did not get passed to the correct military personnel, they said.
The officials declined to be identified because the investigation remains ongoing, and both emphasized the initial information could still change as the investigation proceeds. But Doctors Without Borders (MSF), who ran the hospital, “did everything right in informing us,” one of the officials said. The location of the hospital “was in the military database” of restricted sites such as hospitals, mosques and schools that U.S. pilots are not allowed to strike even if insurgents are present.
In spite of my daily outrage, I have always thought America could survive—just, barely—Obama’s incompetence and outright hatred of Pax America. Now, though I will die before ISIS comes to dominate small town councils and state legislatures across the fruited plain, my children, Little Mohammed and Aisha, will have to learn the Koran if they want to keep their heads. FUBAR will do that.
A U.S. tank “destroyed potential evidence” by forcing its way onto the ruined site of a hospital bombed by American forces in Afghanistan, the charity said.
Doctors Without Borders, which ran the facility in Kunduz, said the tank’s “unannounced and forced entry” through the gates had also frightened staff and damaged property.
The charity, which is also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said in an emailed statement to NBC News that it had been informed the tank contained a delegation from a “U.S./NATO/Afghan investigation team” looking into the incident. It not say who provided that information.
After the U.S. gave shifting explanations for the incident — which MSF has called a war crime — President Barack Obama apologized to the charity last week. The U.S. and Afghan governments have launched three separate investigations but MSF is calling for an international inquiry.
The tank forced its way through the closed main gate of the bombed-out compound at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday (5 a.m. ET), according to the charity. MSF has since pulled out of the derelict site, but said one of its teams arrived earlier on Thursday to visit the crumbling building.
It said the tank’s “intrusion” contravened an agreement between MSF and the joint investigation team that the charity would be “given notice before each step of the procedure involving the organization’s personnel and assets.”
It added: “Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear for the MSF team.”
Did it occur to MSF that that might have been the point? If you’re going to take Obama to the ICC for war crimes, why wouldn’t he destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses? It’s what criminals—be they war, organized, or petty—do.
“A U.S./NATO/Afghan investigation team”—how much “investigating” can you do inside a tank?
Russian officials have demanded that American warplanes exit Syrian airspace immediately, a senior U.S. official told Fox News early Wendesday.
The official told Fox News that Russian diplomats sent an official demarche ordering U.S. planes out of Syria, adding that Russian fighter jets were now flying over Syrian territory. U.S. military sources told Fox News that U.S. planes would not comply with the Russian demand.
“There is nothing to indicate that we are changing operations over Syria,” a senior defense official said.
“We have had every indication in recent weeks that (the Russians) were going to do something given the build-up,” another defense official added.
The move by Moscow marks a major escalation in ongoing tensions between the two countries over military action in the war-torn country and comes moments after Russian lawmakers formally approved a request from the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, to authorize the use of troops in Syria.
A promised counterattack by Afghan forces aimed at retaking the strategic city of Kunduz from Taliban militants collapsed early Wednesday as hundreds of soldiers and civilians reportedly fled to the city’s airport, where they were surrounded by insurgent forces.
The New York Times reported that the assault on Kunduz, a city of 300,000 in northern Afghanistan, may have been just the first part of a broader offensive by the Taliban. The paper reported that several military checkpoints and government buildings in Takhar Province, east of Kunduz, had also come under attack by militants.
The Associated Press reported that Taliban fighters began fanning out across Kunduz itself Tuesday, closing roads, throwing up checkpoints and torching government buildings as fearful residents huddled indoors. Afghan forces attempting to retake the city were stalled by roadblocks and ambushes, unable to move closer than about a mile toward their target.
Meanwhile, U.S. warplanes carried out two airstrikes on Taliban positions, and a NATO officer told the AP that more airstrikes were unlikely as “all the Taliban are inside the city and so are all the people.” He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media on the issue.
I pity the Taliban. Imagine how they’ll feel when they wake up to realize they’re on “the wrong side of history”? They’re an emotional lot—I can see suicides in their future.
A brazen Taliban attack on a Pakistani military base on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar killed 29 people on Friday, including 16 worshippers who were gunned down when the militants stormed a mosque inside the compound during prayers.
The attack triggered an hours-long firefight at the base and the Pakistani forces said they killed 13 of the attackers, though it was unclear how many were involved in the assault.
Apart from the 16 slain inside the mosque, 13 air force and army employees at the base were also killed by the militants, said army spokesman Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa.
A wounded soldier, Akram Ullah, said from his hospital bed that he was inside the mosque and that he remembers seeing a gunman with a grenade come in.
But he had taken off his shoes, I hope!
I looked around on various Ask the Imam wannabe sites, but no one seemed to know the answer to the question of when it is permissible for one Muslim to whack another, let alone 16.
The fifth Greater Sin is the murder of that person whose execution has not been ordered by Allah (S.w.T.) and the Holy Prophet (S).
If you’re curious, murder follows the other greater sins of (in ascending order): heedlessness to Allah, despondence, despair (whatever the difference is), and polytheism. So behave, and don’t despiar.
“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is Hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah will send His wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement.” (Surah an-Nis?’ 4:93)
Five types of punishments have been ordained for those who kill the believers. First, Hell; Second, Eternal abode in Hell; Third, involvement in the Divine wrath; Fourth, being the accursed by Allah (S.w.T.); Fifth, the Great Chastisement.
Sounds like those Talibani are going to get their asses chastised but good by the Big A. But Hell will probably be an improvement on Afghanistan.
Anyhow, it is plainly not kosher for one Muslim to grease another. Asked and answered.
To be raped by your cousin’s husband; be jailed for adultery as your attacker was married; to suffer the ignominy of global uproar about your jailing and assault, but be pardoned by presidential decree; and then to endure the shame and rejection from a conservative society that somehow held you to blame.
The solution in this society? Marry your attacker.
That’s what happened to Gulnaz, who was barely 16 when she was raped. She’s now carrying the third child of her attacker, Asadullah, who was convicted and jailed — though this was then reduced.
Gulnaz’s plight — like so much in beleaguered Afghanistan — disappeared from the world’s gaze once she was pardoned and released courtesy of a presidential pardon. Instead of a new start, what followed for Gulnaz was a quiet, Afghan solution to the “problem”…
A 2009 NCIS investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s activities while in Afghanistan reveal that there is clear evidence Bergdahl, was “going over to the other side with a deliberate plan,” Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer said on “The O’Reilly Factor” Monday night.
Shaffer, a Fox News contributor, said two senior sources told him that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation included a forensic review of his computer, which show Bergdahl’s apparent intent to travel to Uzbekistan.
“He was going to go off to Uzbekistan,” Shaffer told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. “He had made contact with local Afghans and wanted to be moved to Uzbekistan and then made contact with the Russians because he wanted to talk to Russian organized crime…
“Clearly he was not all there relating to what he was doing,” Shaffer told O’Reilly. “I think we’re going to see more and more, as this report is made public that there were a number of disconcerting things within Bergdahl.”
According to the sources, data collection at the time indicated Bergdahl made contact with an Afghan in an effort to lay the ground work for his departure.
“He had Afghan contacts and he was actually trying to offer himself up with the Taliban. Both are very severe,” Shaffer added.
Bergdahl isn’t at issue here. He will be dealt with through military justice, fairly but strictly, I hope.
But is this administration any saner than Bergdahl? They had to have had this information. What state of mind would lead them to trade five terrorist killers for this…thanks for your service and all, Bowe, but this loser?
Even Obama has a bit of a gas attack at the optics:
We all need a Susan Rice to put a public face (an attractive public face, in my lecherous opinion) on our stupidity. Imagine what we could get away with if we sent a black, female version of ourselves to say the stupid things we think, or explain the stupid actions we took. When anyone took exception with what our Susan-Rice-self said, we would dismiss them as sexist or racist.
We could get away with murder. Or at least complicity.