organization:taliban

  • US ‘To End Contacts’ With Afghan NSA Over His Recent Remarks | TOLOnews
    https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/us-%E2%80%98-end-contacts%E2%80%99-afghan-nsa-over-his-recent-remarks

    Mohib in a Washington news conference on March 14 accused the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad of “delegitimizing” the Kabul government by excluding it from peace negotiations with the #Taliban and acting like a “viceroy”. He also said that the US has created an information vacuum regarding the peace talks with the Taliban. 

    According to the Reuters report, the day after Mohib made his comments, David Hale — the US undersecretary of state for political affairs — told Ghani by phone that Mohib would no longer be received in Washington and that US civilian and military officials would not do business with him.

    #afghanistan #etats-unis


  • Under Peace Plan, U.S. Military Would Exit #Afghanistan Within Five Years - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/us/politics/afghanistan-military-withdrawal.html

    #Taliban negotiators deeply oppose the proposal for American counterterrorism troops to remain in Afghanistan for up to five years, and officials were unsure if a shorter period of time would be accepted by the militants’ rank and file.

    #etats-unis #paix


  • #Shamima_Begum: Isis Briton faces move to revoke citizenship

    The Guardian understands the home secretary thinks section 40(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 gives him the power to strip Begum of her UK citizenship.

    He wrote to her family informing them he had made such an order, believing the fact her parents are of Bangladeshi heritage means she can apply for citizenship of that country – though Begum says she has never visited it.

    This is crucial because, while the law bars him from making a person stateless, it allows him to remove citizenship if he can show Begum has behaved “in a manner which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK” and he has “reasonable grounds for believing that the person is able, under the law of a country or territory outside the UK, to become a national of such a country or territory”.


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/19/isis-briton-shamima-begum-to-have-uk-citizenship-revoked?CMP=Share_Andr
    #citoyenneté #UK #Angleterre #apatridie #révocation #terrorisme #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique #nationalité #déchéance_de_nationalité

    • What do we know about citizenship stripping?

      The Bureau began investigating the Government’s powers to deprive individuals of their British citizenship two years ago.

      The project has involved countless hours spent in court, deep and detailed use of the freedom of information act and the input of respected academics, lawyers and politicians.

      The Counter-Terrorism Bill was presented to Parliament two weeks ago. New powers to remove passports from terror suspects and temporarily exclude suspected jihadists from the UK have focused attention on the Government’s citizenship stripping powers, which have been part of the government’s counter-terrorism tools for nearly a decade.

      A deprivation order can be made where the home secretary believes that it is ‘not conducive’ to the public good for the individual to remain in the country, or where citizenship is believed to have been obtained fraudulently. The Bureau focuses on cases based on ‘not conducive’ grounds, which are related to national security and suspected terrorist activity.

      Until earlier this year, the Government was only able to remove the citizenship of British nationals where doing so wouldn’t leave them stateless. However, in July an amendment to the British Nationality Act (BNA) came into force and powers to deprive a person of their citizenship were expanded. Foreign-born, naturalised individuals can now be stripped of their UK citizenship on national security grounds even if it renders them stateless, a practice described by a former director of public prosecutions as being “beloved of the world’s worst regimes during the 20th century”.

      So what do we know about how these powers are used?
      The numbers

      53 people have been stripped of their British citizenship since 2002 – this includes both people who were considered to have gained their citizenship fraudulently, as well as those who have lost it for national security reasons.
      48 of these were under the Coalition government.
      Since 2006, 27 people have lost their citizenship on national security grounds; 24 of these were under the current Coalition government.
      In 2013, home secretary Theresa May stripped 20 individuals of their British citizenship – more than in all the preceding years of the Coalition put together.
      The Bureau has identified 18 of the 53 cases, 17 of which were deprived of their citizenship on national security grounds.
      15 of the individuals identified by the Bureau who lost their citizenship on national security grounds were abroad at the time of the deprivation order.
      At least five of those who have lost their nationality were born in the UK.
      The previous Labour government used deprivation orders just five times in four years.
      Hilal Al-Jedda was the first individual whose deprivation of citizenship case made it to the Supreme Court. The home secretary lost her appeal as the Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled her deprivation order against Al-Jedda had made him illegally stateless. Instead of returning his passport, just three weeks later the home secretary issued a second deprivation order against him.
      This was one of two deprivation of citizenship cases to have made it to the Supreme Court, Britain’s uppermost court, to date.
      In November 2014 deprivation of citizenship case number two reached the Supreme Court, with the appellant, Minh Pham, also arguing that the deprivation order against him made him unlawfully stateless.
      Two of those stripped of their British citizenship by Theresa May in 2010, London-born Mohamed Sakr and his childhood friend Bilal al Berjawi, were later killed by US drone strikes in Somalia.
      One of the individuals identified by the Bureau, Mahdi Hashi, was the subject of rendition to the US, where he was held in secret for over a month and now faces terror charges.
      Only one individual, Iraqi-born Hilal al-Jedda, is currently known to have been stripped of his British citizenship twice.
      Number of Bureau Q&As on deprivation of citizenship: one.

      https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2014-12-10/what-do-we-know-about-citizenship-stripping
      #statistiques #chiffres

    • ‘My British citizenship was everything to me. Now I am nobody’ – A former British citizen speaks out

      When a British man took a holiday to visit relatives in Pakistan in January 2012 he had every reason to look forward to returning home. He worked full time at the mobile phone shop beneath his flat in southeast London, he had a busy social life and preparations for his family’s visit to the UK were in full flow.

      Two years later, the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is stranded in Pakistan, and claims he is under threat from the Taliban and unable to find work to support his wife and three children.

      He is one of 27 British nationals since 2006 who have had their citizenship removed under secretive government orders on the grounds that their presence in the UK is ‘not conducive to the public good’. He is the first to speak publicly about his ordeal.

      ‘My British citizenship was everything to me. I could travel around the world freely,’ he told the Bureau. ‘That was my identity but now I am nobody.’

      Under current legislation, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has the power to strip dual nationals of their British citizenship if she deems their presence in the UK ‘not conducive to the public good’, or if their nationality was gained on fraudulent grounds. May recently won a Commons vote paving the way to allow her to strip the citizenship of foreign-born or naturalised UK nationals even if it rendered them stateless. Amendments to the Immigration Bill – including the controversial Article 60 concerning statelessness – are being tabled this week in the House of Lords.

      A Bureau investigation in December 2013 revealed 20 British nationals were stripped of their citizenship last year – more than in all previous years under the Coalition combined. Twelve of these were later revealed to have been cases where an individual had gained citizenship by fraud; the remaining eight are on ‘conducive’ grounds.

      Since 2006 when the current laws entered force, 27 orders have been made on ‘conducive’ grounds, issued in practice against individuals suspected of involvement in extremist activities. The Home Secretary often makes her decision when the individual concerned is outside the UK, and, in at least one case, deliberately waited for a British national to go on holiday before revoking his citizenship.

      The only legal recourse to these decisions, which are taken without judicial approval, is for the individual affected to submit a formal appeal to the Special Immigration and Asylum Committee (Siac), where evidence can be heard in secret, within 28 days of the order being given. These appeals can take years to conclude, leaving individuals – the vast majority of whom have never been charged with an offence – stranded abroad.

      The process has been compared to ‘medieval exile’ by leading human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.

      The man, who is referred to in court documents as E2, was born in Afghanistan and still holds Afghan citizenship. He claimed asylum in Britain in 1999 after fleeing the Taliban regime in Kabul, and was granted indefinite leave to remain. In 2009 he became a British citizen.

      While his immediate family remained in Pakistan, E2 came to London, where he worked and integrated in the local community. Although this interview was conducted in his native Pashto, E2 can speak some English.

      ‘I worked and I learned English,’ he says. ‘Even now I see myself as a British. If anyone asks me, I tell them that I am British.’

      But, as of March 28 2012, E2 is no longer a British citizen. After E2 boarded a flight to Kabul in January 2012 to visit relatives in Afghanistan and his wife and children in Pakistan, a letter containing May’s signature was sent to his southeast London address from the UK Border Agency, stating he had been deprived of his British nationality. In evidence that remains secret even from him, E2 was accused of involvement in ‘Islamist extremism’ and deemed a national security threat. He denies the allegation and says he has never participated in extremist activity.

      In the letter the Home Secretary wrote: ‘My decision has been taken in part reliance on information which, in my opinion should not be made public in the interest of national security and because disclosure would be contrary to the public interest.’

      E2 says he had no way of knowing his citizenship had been removed and that the first he heard of the decision was when he was met by a British embassy official at Dubai airport on May 25 2012, when he was on his way back to the UK and well after his appeal window shut.

      E2’s lawyer appealed anyway, and submitted to Siac that: ‘Save for written correspondence to the Appellant’s last known address in the UK expressly stating that he has 28 days to appeal, i.e. acknowledging that he was not in the UK, no steps were taken to contact the Appellant by email, telephone or in person until an official from the British Embassy met him at Dubai airport and took his passport from him.’

      The submission noted that ‘it is clear from this [decision] that the [Home Secretary] knew that the Appellant [E2] is out of the country as the deadline referred to is 28 days.’

      The Home Office disputed that E2 was unaware of the order against him, and a judge ruled that he was satisfied ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that E2 did know about the removal of his citizenship. ‘[W]e do not believe his statement,’ the judge added.

      His British passport was confiscated and, after spending 18 hours in an airport cell, E2 was made to board a flight back to Kabul. He has remained in Afghanistan and Pakistan ever since. It is from Pakistan that he agreed to speak to the Bureau last month.

      Daniel Carey, who is representing E2 in a fresh appeal to Siac, says: ‘The practice of waiting until a citizen leaves the UK before depriving them of citizenship, and then opposing them when they appeal out of time, is an intentional attack on citizens’ due process rights.

      ‘By bending an unfair system to its will the government is getting worryingly close to a system of citizenship by executive fiat.’

      While rules governing hearings at Siac mean some evidence against E2 cannot be disclosed on grounds of national security, the Bureau has been able to corroborate key aspects of E2’s version of events, including his best guess as to why his citizenship was stripped. His story revolves around an incident that occurred thousands of miles away from his London home and several years before he saw it for the last time.

      In November 2008, Afghan national Zia ul-Haq Ahadi was kidnapped as he left the home of his infirmed mother in Peshawar, Pakistan. The event might have gone unnoticed were he not the brother of Afghanistan’s then finance minister and former presidential hopeful Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi. Anwar intervened, and after 13 months of tortuous negotiations with the kidnappers, a ransom was paid and Zia was released. E2 claims to have been the man who drove a key negotiator to Zia’s kidnappers.

      While the Bureau has not yet been able to confirm whether E2 had played the role he claimed in the release, a source with detailed knowledge of the kidnapping told the Bureau he was ‘willing to give [E2] some benefit of the doubt because there are elements of truth [in his version of events].’

      The source confirmed a man matching E2’s description was involved in the negotiations.

      ‘We didn’t know officially who the group was, but they were the kidnappers. I didn’t know whether they were with the Pakistani or Afghan Taliban,’ E2 says. ‘After releasing the abducted person I came back to London.’

      E2 guesses – since not even his lawyers have seen specific evidence against him – that it was this activity that brought him to the attention of British intelligence services. After this point, he was repeatedly stopped as he travelled to and from London and Afghanistan and Pakistan to visit relatives four times between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2012.

      ‘MI5 questioned me for three or four hours each time I came to London at Heathrow airport,’ he says. ‘They said people like me [Pashtun Afghans] go to Waziristan and from there you start fighting with British and US soldiers.

      ‘The very last time [I was questioned] was years after the [kidnapping]. I was asked to a Metropolitan Police station in London. They showed me pictures of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar [former Afghan prime minister and militant with links to the Pakistani Taliban (TTP)] along with other leaders and Taliban commanders. They said: ‘You know these guys.’

      He claims he was shown a photo of his wife – a highly intrusive action in conservative Pashtun culture – as well as one of someone he was told was Sirajuddin Haqqani, commander of the Haqqani Network, one of the most lethal TTP-allied groups.

      ‘They said I met him, that I was talking to him and I have connections with him. I said that’s wrong. I told [my interrogator] that you can call [Anwar al-Ahady] and he will explain that he sent me to Waziristan and that I found and released his brother,’ E2 says.

      ‘I don’t know Sirajuddin Haqqani and I didn’t meet him.’

      The Haqqani Network, which operates in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas and across the border in Afghanistan, was designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States in September 2012. It has claimed responsibility for a score of attacks against Afghan, Pakistani and NATO security forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The UN accuses Sirajuddin Haqqani of being ‘actively involved in the planning and execution of attacks targeting International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), Afghan officials and civilians.’

      E2 says he has no idea whether Haqqani was involved in Zia’s kidnapping, but he believes the security services may have started investigating him when he met the imam of a mosque he visited in North Waziristan.

      ‘The imam had lunch with us and he was with me while I was waiting for my father-in-law. I didn’t take his number but I gave him mine. That imam often called me on my shop’s BT telephone line [in London]. These calls put me in trouble,’ he says.

      If E2’s version of events is accurate, it would mean he gained his British citizenship while he was negotiating Zia’s release. He lost it less than three years later.

      The Home Office offered a boilerplate response to the Bureau’s questions: ‘The Home Secretary will remove British citizenship from individuals where she feels it is conducive to the public good to do so.’

      When challenged specifically on allegations made by E2, the spokesman said the Home Office does not comment on individual cases.

      E2 says he now lives in fear for his safety in Pakistan. Since word has spread that he lost his UK nationality, locals assume he is guilty, which he says puts him at risk of attack from the Pakistani security forces. In addition, he says his family has received threats from the Taliban for his interaction with MI5.

      ‘People back in Afghanistan know that my British passport was revoked because I was accused of working with the Taliban. I can’t visit my relatives and I am an easy target to others,’ he said. ‘Without the British passport here, whether [by] the government or Taliban, we can be executed easily.’

      E2 is not alone in fearing for his life after being exiled from Britain. Two British nationals stripped of their citizenship in 2010 were killed a year later by a US drone strike in Somalia. A third Briton, Mahdi Hashi, disappeared from east Africa after having his citizenship revoked in June 2012 only to appear in a US court after being rendered from Djibouti.

      E2 says if the government was so certain of his involvement in extremism they should allow him to stand trial in a criminal court.

      ‘When somebody’s citizenship is revoked if he is criminal he should be put in jail, otherwise he should be free and should have his passport returned,’ he says.

      ‘My message [to Theresa May] is that my citizenship was revoked illegally. It’s wrong that only by sending a letter that your citizenship is revoked. What kind of democracy is it that?’

      https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2014-03-17/my-british-citizenship-was-everything-to-me-now-i-am-nobody-a


  • Israel just admitted arming anti-Assad Syrian rebels. Big mistake - Middle East News
    Haaretz.com - Daniel J. Levy Jan 30, 2019 5:03 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-israel-just-admitted-arming-anti-assad-syrian-rebels-big-mistake-1

    In his final days as the Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot confirmed, on the record, that Israel had directly supported anti-Assad Syrian rebel factions in the Golan Heights by arming them.

    This revelation marks a direct break from Israel’s previous media policy on such matters. Until now, Israel has insisted it has only provided humanitarian aid to civilians (through field hospitals on the Golan Heights and in permanent healthcare facilities in northern Israel), and has consistently denied or refused to comment on any other assistance.

    In short, none other than Israel’s most (until recently) senior serving soldier has admitted that up until his statement, his country’s officially stated position on the Syrian civil war was built on the lie of non-intervention.

    As uncomfortable as this may initially seem, though, it is unsurprising. Israel has a long history of conducting unconventional warfare. That form of combat is defined by the U.S. government’s National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 as “activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt or overthrow an occupying power or government by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary or guerrilla force in a denied area” in the pursuit of various security-related strategic objectives.

    While the United States and Iran are both practitioners of unconventional warfare par excellence, they primarily tend to do so with obvious and longer-term strategic allies, i.e. the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance fighters in Afghanistan, and various Shia militias in post-2003 Iraq.

    In contrast, Israel has always shown a remarkable willingness to form short-term tactical partnerships with forces and entities explicitly hostile to its very existence, as long as that alliance is able to offer some kind of security-related benefits.

    The best example of this is Israel’s decision to arm Tehran during the Iran-Iraq War, despite the Islamic Republic of Iran’s strong anti-Zionist rhetoric and foreign policy. During the 1980s, Iraq remained Jerusalem’s primary conventional (and arguably existential) military threat. Aiding Tehran to continue fighting an attritional war against Baghdad reduced the risk the latter posed against Israel.

    Similarly, throughout the civil war in Yemen in the 1960s, Israel covertly supported the royalist Houthi forces fighting Egyptian-backed republicans. Given Egypt’s very heavy military footprint in Yemen at the time (as many as a third of all Egyptian troops were deployed to the country during this period), Israelis reasoned that this military attrition would undermine their fighting capacity closer to home, which was arguably proven by Egypt’s lacklustre performance in the Six Day War.

    Although technically not unconventional warfare, Israel long and openly backed the South Lebanon Army, giving it years of experience in arming, training, and mentoring a partner indigenous force.

    More recently, though, Israel’s policy of supporting certain anti-Assad rebel groups remains consistent with past precedents of with whom and why it engages in unconventional warfare. Israel’s most pressing strategic concern and potential threat in Syria is an Iranian encroachment onto its northern border, either directly, or through an experienced and dangerous proxy such as Hezbollah, key to the Assad regime’s survival.

    For a number of reasons, Israel committing troops to overt large-scale operations in Syria to prevent this is simply unfeasible. To this end, identifying and subsequently supporting a local partner capable of helping Israel achieve this strategic goal is far more sensible, and realistic.

    Open source details of Israel’s project to support anti-Assad rebel groups are sparse, and have been since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war.

    Reports of this first arose towards the end of 2014, and one described how United Nations officials had witnessed Syrian rebels transferring injured patients to Israel, as well as “IDF soldiers on the Israeli side handing over two boxes to armed Syrian opposition members on the Syrian side.” The same report also stated that UN observers said they saw “two IDF soldiers on the eastern side of the border fence opening the gate and letting two people enter Israel.”

    Since then, a steady stream of similar reports continued to detail Israeli contacts with the Syrian rebels, with the best being written and researched by Elizabeth Tsurkov. In February, 2014 she wrote an outstanding feature for War On The Rocks, where she identified Liwaa’ Fursan al-Jolan and Firqat Ahrar Nawa as two groups benefiting from Israeli support, named Iyad Moro as “Israel’s contact person in Beit Jann,” and stated that weaponry, munitions, and cash were Israel’s main form of military aid.

    She also describes how Israel has supported its allied groups in fighting local affiliates of Islamic State with drone strikes and high-precision missile attacks, strongly suggesting, in my view, the presence of embedded Israeli liaison officers of some kind.

    A 2017 report published by the United Nations describes how IDF personnel were observed passing supplies over the Syrian border to unidentified armed individuals approaching them with convoys of mules, and although Israel claims that these engagements were humanitarian in nature, this fails to explain the presence of weaponry amongst the unidentified individuals receiving supplies from them.

    Writing for Foreign Policy in September 2018, Tsurkov again detailed how Israel was supporting the Syrian rebel factions, stating that material support came in the form of “assault rifles, machine guns, mortar launchers and transport vehicles,” which were delivered “through three gates connecting the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to Syria - the same crossings Israel used to deliver humanitarian aid to residents of southern Syria suffering from years of civil war.” She also dates this support to have begun way back in 2013.

    The one part of Israel’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War which has been enthusiastically publicised, though, has been its ongoing humanitarian operations in the Golan. Dubbed “Operation Good Neighbor,” this was established in June 2016, and its stated aim is to “provide humanitarian aid to as many people as possible while maintaining Israel’s policy of non-involvement in the conflict.”

    Quite clearly, this is - at least in parts - a lie, as even since before its official commencement, Israel was seemingly engaging with and supporting various anti-Assad factions.

    Although Operation Good Neighbor patently did undertake significant humanitarian efforts in southern Syria for desperate Syrian civilians (including providing free medical treatment, infrastructure support, and civilian aid such as food and fuel), it has long been my personal belief that it was primarily a smokescreen for Israel’s covert unconventional warfare efforts in the country.

    Although it may be argued that deniability was initially necessary to protect Israel’s Syrian beneficiaries who could not be seen to be working with Jerusalem for any number of reasons (such as the likely detrimental impact this would have on their local reputation if not lives), this does not justify Israel’s outright lying on the subject. Instead, it could have mimicked the altogether more sensible approach of the British government towards United Kingdom Special Forces, which is simply to restate their position of not commenting, confirming, or denying any potentially relevant information or assertions.

    Israel is generous in its provision of humanitarian aid to the less fortunate, but I find it impossible to believe that its efforts in Syria were primarily guided by altruism when a strategic objective as important as preventing Iran and its proxies gaining a toehold on its northern border was at stake.

    Its timing is interesting and telling as well. Operation Good Neighbor was formally put in place just months after the Assad regime began its Russian-backed counter-offensive against the rebel factions, and ceased when the rebels were pushed out of southern Syria in September 2018.

    But it’s not as if that September there were no longer civilians who could benefit from Israeli humanitarian aid, but an absence of partners to whom Israel could feasibly directly dispatch arms and other supplies. Although Israel did participate in the rescue of a number of White Helmets, this was done in a relatively passive manner (allowing their convoy to drive to Jordan through Israeli territory), and also artfully avoided escalating any kind of conflict with the Assad’s forces and associated foreign allies.

    Popular opinion - both in Israel and amongst Diaspora Jews - was loud and clear about the ethical necessity of protecting Syrian civilians (especially from historically-resonant gas attacks). But it’s unlikely this pressure swung Israel to intervene in Syria. Israel already had a strong interest in keeping Iran and its proxies out southern Syria, and that would have remained the case, irrespective of gas attacks against civilians.

    Although Israel has gone to great lengths to conceal its efforts at unconventional warfare within the Syrian civil war, it need not have. Its activities are consistent with its previous efforts at promoting strategic objectives through sometimes unlikely, if not counter-intuitive, regional partners.

    Perhaps the reason why Eisenkot admitted that this support was taking place was because he knew that it could not be concealed forever, not least since the fall of the smokescreen provided by Operation Good Neighbor. But the manner in which Israel operated may have longer-term consequences.

    Israel is unlikely to change how it operates in the future, but may very well find future potential tactical partners less than willing to cooperate with it. In both southern Lebanon and now Syria, Israel’s former partners have found themselves exposed to dangers borne out of collaboration, and seemingly abandoned.

    With that kind of history and record, it is likely that unless they find themselves in desperate straits, future potential partners will think twice before accepting support from, and working with, Israel.

    For years, Israel has religiously adhered to the official party line that the country’s policy was non-intervention, and this has now been exposed as a lie. Such a loss of public credibility may significantly inhibit its abilities to conduct influence operations in the future.

    Daniel J. Levy is a graduate of the Universities of Leeds and Oxford, where his academic research focused on Iranian proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine. He lives in the UK and is the Founding Director of The Ortakoy Security Group. Twitter: @danielhalevy

    #IsraelSyrie



  • Two Muslim Women Are Headed to Congress. Will They Be Heard? – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/12/two-muslim-women-are-headed-to-congress-will-they-be-heard-midterms-r

    In January 2019, Ilhan Omar, the congresswoman-elect from Minnesota’s 5th District—who wears a headscarf—will become the first veiled woman to serve in Congress. Much has changed in the past 17 years. The myth of saving Afghan women by bombing their country into oblivion has shown itself to be a devastating proposition. The Taliban are still around, and there is talk of making peace with them as the United States wearies of trying and failing to produce some sort of victory. Maloney is also around, winning her 14th term in last week’s midterm elections, even as Omar won her first. Nor will Omar be the lone Muslim: Joining her will be Rashida Tlaib, a longtime activist of Palestinian descent, who was elected in Michigan’s 13th District.


  • Dernier rapport de « Inspector General for #Afghanistan Reconstruction » (SIGAR) : les #talibans, les trafiquants de drogue et les contractuels privés des #Etats-Unis ne se sont jamais aussi bien portés

    The Taliban is stronger now than at any time since Afghanistan war
    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/11/1/afghan-forces-losing-kabul-control-to-taliban-us-watchdog

    “From the period of May 1 to the most current data as of October 1, 2018, the average number of casualties the (Afghan forces) suffered is the greatest it has ever been during like periods,” it said. 

    The report also noted that “the Taliban now controls more territory than at any time since 2001”.

    Afghanistan : le contrôle des autorités au plus bas depuis 2015, selon un rapport - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1141602/afghanistan-le-controle-des-autorites-au-plus-bas-depuis-2015-selon-u

    Military contractor received $1.6 billion to advise Afghans but results unknown | Ottawa Citizen
    https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/military-contractor-received-1-6-billion-to-advise-afghans-but-result

    The Afghan mission continues to be a money pit for the U.S. government and a cash cow for private military contractors. On Wednesday, the U.S. government’s Afghan mission watchdog produced a report on the Pentagon program to advise the Afghan Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Afghan Ministry of the Interior (MOI).

    Afghanistan : un rapport déplore le cuisant échec de Washington dans la lutte contre l’opium — RT en français
    https://francais.rt.com/international/55077-afghanistan-rapport-denonce-retentissant-echec-washington-dans-lu

    Washington a dépensé 8,8 milliards de dollars depuis 2002 contre le trafic de drogue, selon un organisme public américain. Résultat ? La production d’opium a connu un essor rapide, permettant aux talibans de tenir tête à Kaboul.


  • 56,800 migrant dead and missing : ’They are human beings’

    One by one, five to a grave, the coffins are buried in the red earth of this ill-kept corner of a South African cemetery. The scrawl on the cheap wood attests to their anonymity: “Unknown B/Male.”

    These men were migrants from elsewhere in Africa with next to nothing who sought a living in the thriving underground economy of Gauteng province, a name that roughly translates to “land of gold.” Instead of fortune, many found death, their bodies unnamed and unclaimed — more than 4,300 in Gauteng between 2014 and 2017 alone.

    Some of those lives ended here at the Olifantsvlei cemetery, in silence, among tufts of grass growing over tiny placards that read: Pauper Block. There are coffins so tiny that they could belong only to children.

    As migration worldwide soars to record highs, far less visible has been its toll: The tens of thousands of people who die or simply disappear during their journeys, never to be seen again. In most cases, nobody is keeping track: Barely counted in life, these people don’t register in death , as if they never lived at all.

    An Associated Press tally has documented at least 56,800 migrants dead or missing worldwide since 2014 — almost double the number found in the world’s only official attempt to try to count them, by the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. The IOM toll as of Oct. 1 was more than 28,500. The AP came up with almost 28,300 additional dead or missing migrants by compiling information from other international groups, requesting forensic records, missing persons reports and death records, and sifting through data from thousands of interviews with migrants.

    The toll is the result of migration that is up 49 percent since the turn of the century, with more than 258 million international migrants in 2017, according to the United Nations. A growing number have drowned, died in deserts or fallen prey to traffickers, leaving their families to wonder what on earth happened to them. At the same time, anonymous bodies are filling cemeteries around the world, like the one in Gauteng.

    The AP’s tally is still low. More bodies of migrants lie undiscovered in desert sands or at the bottom of the sea. And families don’t always report loved ones as missing because they migrated illegally, or because they left home without saying exactly where they were headed.

    The official U.N. toll focuses mostly on Europe, but even there cases fall through the cracks. The political tide is turning against migrants in Europe just as in the United States, where the government is cracking down heavily on caravans of Central Americans trying to get in . One result is that money is drying up for projects to track migration and its costs.

    For example, when more than 800 people died in an April 2015 shipwreck off the coast of Italy, Europe’s deadliest migrant sea disaster, Italian investigators pledged to identify them and find their families. More than three years later, under a new populist government, funding for this work is being cut off.

    Beyond Europe, information is even more scarce. Little is known about the toll in South America, where the Venezuelan migration is among the world’s biggest today, and in Asia, the top region for numbers of migrants.

    The result is that governments vastly underestimate the toll of migration, a major political and social issue in most of the world today.

    “No matter where you stand on the whole migration management debate....these are still human beings on the move,” said Bram Frouws, the head of the Mixed Migration Centre , based in Geneva, which has done surveys of more than 20,000 migrants in its 4Mi project since 2014. “Whether it’s refugees or people moving for jobs, they are human beings.”

    They leave behind families caught between hope and mourning, like that of Safi al-Bahri. Her son, Majdi Barhoumi, left their hometown of Ras Jebel, Tunisia, on May 7, 2011, headed for Europe in a small boat with a dozen other migrants. The boat sank and Barhoumi hasn’t been heard from since. In a sign of faith that he is still alive, his parents built an animal pen with a brood of hens, a few cows and a dog to stand watch until he returns.

    “I just wait for him. I always imagine him behind me, at home, in the market, everywhere,” said al-Bahari. “When I hear a voice at night, I think he’s come back. When I hear the sound of a motorcycle, I think my son is back.”

    ———————————————————————

    EUROPE: BOATS THAT NEVER ARRIVE

    Of the world’s migration crises, Europe’s has been the most cruelly visible. Images of the lifeless body of a Kurdish toddler on a beach, frozen tent camps in Eastern Europe, and a nearly numbing succession of deadly shipwrecks have been transmitted around the world, adding to the furor over migration.

    In the Mediterranean, scores of tankers, cargo boats, cruise ships and military vessels tower over tiny, crowded rafts powered by an outboard motor for a one-way trip. Even larger boats carrying hundreds of migrants may go down when soft breezes turn into battering winds and thrashing waves further from shore.

    Two shipwrecks and the deaths of at least 368 people off the coast of Italy in October 2013 prompted the IOM’s research into migrant deaths. The organization has focused on deaths in the Mediterranean, although its researchers plead for more data from elsewhere in the world. This year alone, the IOM has found more than 1,700 deaths in the waters that divide Africa and Europe.

    Like the lost Tunisians of Ras Jebel, most of them set off to look for work. Barhoumi, his friends, cousins and other would-be migrants camped in the seaside brush the night before their departure, listening to the crash of the waves that ultimately would sink their raft.

    Khalid Arfaoui had planned to be among them. When the group knocked at his door, it wasn’t fear that held him back, but a lack of cash. Everyone needed to chip in to pay for the boat, gas and supplies, and he was short about $100. So he sat inside and watched as they left for the beachside campsite where even today locals spend the night before embarking to Europe.

    Propelled by a feeble outboard motor and overburdened with its passengers, the rubber raft flipped, possibly after grazing rocks below the surface on an uninhabited island just offshore. Two bodies were retrieved. The lone survivor was found clinging to debris eight hours later.

    The Tunisian government has never tallied its missing, and the group never made it close enough to Europe to catch the attention of authorities there. So these migrants never have been counted among the dead and missing.

    “If I had gone with them, I’d be lost like the others,” Arfaoui said recently, standing on the rocky shoreline with a group of friends, all of whom vaguely planned to leave for Europe. “If I get the chance, I’ll do it. Even if I fear the sea and I know I might die, I’ll do it.”

    With him that day was 30-year-old Mounir Aguida, who had already made the trip once, drifting for 19 hours after the boat engine cut out. In late August this year, he crammed into another raft with seven friends, feeling the waves slam the flimsy bow. At the last minute he and another young man jumped out.

    “It didn’t feel right,” Aguida said.

    There has been no word from the other six — yet another group of Ras Jebel’s youth lost to the sea. With no shipwreck reported, no survivors to rescue and no bodies to identify, the six young men are not counted in any toll.

    In addition to watching its own youth flee, Tunisia and to a lesser degree neighboring Algeria are transit points for other Africans north bound for Europe. Tunisia has its own cemetery for unidentified migrants, as do Greece, Italy and Turkey. The one at Tunisia’s southern coast is tended by an unemployed sailor named Chamseddin Marzouk.

    Of around 400 bodies interred in the coastal graveyard since it opened in 2005, only one has ever been identified. As for the others who lie beneath piles of dirt, Marzouk couldn’t imagine how their families would ever learn their fate.

    “Their families may think that the person is still alive, or that he’ll return one day to visit,” Marzouk said. “They don’t know that those they await are buried here, in Zarzis, Tunisia.”

    ——————

    AFRICA: VANISHING WITHOUT A TRACE

    Despite talk of the ’waves’ of African migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean, as many migrate within Africa — 16 million — as leave for Europe. In all, since 2014, at least 18,400 African migrants have died traveling within Africa, according to the figures compiled from AP and IOM records. That includes more than 4,300 unidentified bodies in a single South African province, and 8,700 whose traveling companions reported their disappearance en route out of the Horn of Africa in interviews with 4Mi.

    When people vanish while migrating in Africa, it is often without a trace. The IOM says the Sahara Desert may well have killed more migrants than the Mediterranean. But no one will ever know for sure in a region where borders are little more than lines drawn on maps and no government is searching an expanse as large as the continental United States. The harsh sun and swirling desert sands quickly decompose and bury bodies of migrants, so that even when they turn up, they are usually impossible to identify .

    With a prosperous economy and stable government, South Africa draws more migrants than any other country in Africa. The government is a meticulous collector of fingerprints — nearly every legal resident and citizen has a file somewhere — so bodies without any records are assumed to have been living and working in the country illegally. The corpses are fingerprinted when possible, but there is no regular DNA collection.

    South Africa also has one of the world’s highest rates of violent crime and police are more focused on solving domestic cases than identifying migrants.

    “There’s logic to that, as sad as it is....You want to find the killer if you’re a policeman, because the killer could kill more people,” said Jeanine Vellema, the chief specialist of the province’s eight mortuaries. Migrant identification, meanwhile, is largely an issue for foreign families — and poor ones at that.

    Vellema has tried to patch into the police missing persons system, to build a system of electronic mortuary records and to establish a protocol where a DNA sample is taken from every set of remains that arrive at the morgue. She sighs: “Resources.” It’s a word that comes up 10 times in a half-hour conversation.

    So the bodies end up at Olifantsvlei or a cemetery like it, in unnamed graves. On a recent visit by AP, a series of open rectangles awaited the bodies of the unidentified and unclaimed. They did not wait long: a pickup truck drove up, piled with about 10 coffins, five per grave. There were at least 180 grave markers for the anonymous dead, with multiple bodies in each grave.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is working with Vellema, has started a pilot project with one Gauteng morgue to take detailed photos, fingerprints, dental information and DNA samples of unidentified bodies. That information goes to a database where, in theory, the bodies can be traced.

    “Every person has a right to their dignity. And to their identity,” said Stephen Fonseca, the ICRC regional forensic manager.

    ————————————

    THE UNITED STATES: “THAT’S HOW MY BROTHER USED TO SLEEP”

    More than 6,000 miles (9,000 kilometers) away, in the deserts that straddle the U.S.-Mexico border, lie the bodies of migrants who perished trying to cross land as unforgiving as the waters of the Mediterranean. Many fled the violence and poverty of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador or Mexico. Some are found months or years later as mere skeletons. Others make a last, desperate phone call and are never heard from again.

    In 2010 the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team and the local morgue in Pima County, Ariz., began to organize efforts to put names to the anonymous bodies found on both sides of the border. The “Border Project” has since identified more than 183 people — a fraction of the total.

    At least 3,861 migrants are dead and missing on the route from Mexico to the United States since 2014, according to the combined AP and IOM total. The tally includes missing person reports from the Colibri Center for Human Rights on the U.S. side as well as the Argentine group’s data from the Mexican side. The painstaking work of identification can take years, hampered by a lack of resources, official records and coordination between countries — and even between states.

    For many families of the missing, it is their only hope, but for the families of Juan Lorenzo Luna and Armando Reyes, that hope is fading.

    Luna, 27, and Reyes, 22, were brothers-in-law who left their small northern Mexico town of Gomez Palacio in August 2016. They had tried to cross to the U.S. four months earlier, but surrendered to border patrol agents in exhaustion and were deported.

    They knew they were risking their lives — Reyes’ father died migrating in 1995, and an uncle went missing in 2004. But Luna, a quiet family man, wanted to make enough money to buy a pickup truck and then return to his wife and two children. Reyes wanted a job where he wouldn’t get his shoes dirty and could give his newborn daughter a better life.

    Of the five who left Gomez Palacio together, two men made it to safety, and one man turned back. The only information he gave was that the brothers-in-law had stopped walking and planned to turn themselves in again. That is the last that is known of them.

    Officials told their families that they had scoured prisons and detention centers, but there was no sign of the missing men. Cesaria Orona even consulted a fortune teller about her missing son, Armando, and was told he had died in the desert.

    One weekend in June 2017, volunteers found eight bodies next to a military area of the Arizona desert and posted the images online in the hopes of finding family. Maria Elena Luna came across a Facebook photo of a decaying body found in an arid landscape dotted with cactus and shrubs, lying face-up with one leg bent outward. There was something horribly familiar about the pose.

    “That’s how my brother used to sleep,” she whispered.

    Along with the bodies, the volunteers found a credential of a boy from Guatemala, a photo and a piece of paper with a number written on it. The photo was of Juan Lorenzo Luna, and the number on the paper was for cousins of the family. But investigators warned that a wallet or credential could have been stolen, as migrants are frequently robbed.

    “We all cried,” Luna recalled. “But I said, we cannot be sure until we have the DNA test. Let’s wait.”

    Luna and Orona gave DNA samples to the Mexican government and the Argentine group. In November 2017, Orona received a letter from the Mexican government saying that there was the possibility of a match for Armando with some bone remains found in Nuevo Leon, a state that borders Texas. But the test was negative.

    The women are still waiting for results from the Argentine pathologists. Until then, their relatives remain among the uncounted.

    Orona holds out hope that the men may be locked up, or held by “bad people.” Every time Luna hears about clandestine graves or unidentified bodies in the news, the anguish is sharp.

    “Suddenly all the memories come back,” she said. “I do not want to think.”

    ————————

    SOUTH AMERICA: “NO ONE WANTS TO ADMIT THIS IS A REALITY”

    The toll of the dead and the missing has been all but ignored in one of the largest population movements in the world today — that of nearly 2 million Venezuelans fleeing from their country’s collapse. These migrants have hopped buses across the borders, boarded flimsy boats in the Caribbean, and — when all else failed — walked for days along scorching highways and freezing mountain trails. Vulnerable to violence from drug cartels, hunger and illness that lingers even after reaching their destination, they have disappeared or died by the hundreds.

    “They can’t withstand a trip that hard, because the journey is very long,” said Carlos Valdes, director of neighboring Colombia’s national forensic institute. “And many times, they only eat once a day. They don’t eat. And they die.” Valdes said authorities don’t always recover the bodies of those who die, as some migrants who have entered the country illegally are afraid to seek help.

    Valdes believes hypothermia has killed some as they trek through the mountain tundra region, but he had no idea how many. One migrant told the AP he saw a family burying someone wrapped in a white blanket with red flowers along the frigid journey.

    Marta Duque, 55, has had a front seat to the Venezuela migration crisis from her home in Pamplona, Colombia. She opens her doors nightly to provide shelter for families with young children. Pamplona is one of the last cities migrants reach before venturing up a frigid mountain paramo, one of the most dangerous parts of the trip for migrants traveling by foot. Temperatures dip well below freezing.

    She said inaction from authorities has forced citizens like her to step in.

    “Everyone just seems to pass the ball,” she said. “No one wants to admit this is a reality.”

    Those deaths are uncounted, as are dozens in the sea. Also uncounted are those reported missing in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. In all at least 3,410 Venezuelans have been reported missing or dead in a migration within Latin America whose dangers have gone relatively unnoticed; many of the dead perished from illnesses on the rise in Venezuela that easily would have found treatment in better times.

    Among the missing is Randy Javier Gutierrez, who was walking through Colombia with a cousin and his aunt in hopes of reaching Peru to reunite with his mother.

    Gutierrez’s mother, Mariela Gamboa, said that a driver offered a ride to the two women, but refused to take her son. The women agreed to wait for him at the bus station in Cali, about 160 miles (257 kilometers) ahead, but he never arrived. Messages sent to his phone since that day four months ago have gone unread.

    “I’m very worried,” his mother said. “I don’t even know what to do.”

    ———————————

    ASIA: A VAST UNKNOWN

    The region with the largest overall migration, Asia, also has the least information on the fate of those who disappear after leaving their homelands. Governments are unwilling or unable to account for citizens who leave for elsewhere in the region or in the Mideast, two of the most common destinations, although there’s a growing push to do so.

    Asians make up 40 percent of the world’s migrants, and more than half of them never leave the region. The Associated Press was able to document more than 8,200 migrants who disappeared or died after leaving home in Asia and the Mideast, including thousands in the Philippines and Indonesia.

    Thirteen of the top 20 migration pathways from Asia take place within the region. These include Indian workers heading to the United Arab Emirates, Bangladeshis heading to India, Rohingya Muslims escaping persecution in Myanmar, and Afghans crossing the nearest border to escape war. But with large-scale smuggling and trafficking of labor, and violent displacements, the low numbers of dead and missing indicate not safe travel but rather a vast unknown.

    Almass was just 14 when his widowed mother reluctantly sent him and his 11-year-old brother from their home in Khost, Afghanistan, into that unknown. The payment for their trip was supposed to get them away from the Taliban and all the way to Germany via a chain of smugglers. The pair crammed first into a pickup with around 40 people, walked for a few days at the border, crammed into a car, waited a bit in Tehran, and walked a few more days.

    His brother Murtaza was exhausted by the time they reached the Iran-Turkey border. But the smuggler said it wasn’t the time to rest — there were at least two border posts nearby and the risk that children far younger travelling with them would make noise.

    Almass was carrying a baby in his arms and holding his brother’s hand when they heard the shout of Iranian guards. Bullets whistled past as he tumbled head over heels into a ravine and lost consciousness.

    Alone all that day and the next, Almass stumbled upon three other boys in the ravine who had also become separated from the group, then another four. No one had seen his brother. And although the younger boy had his ID, it had been up to Almass to memorize the crucial contact information for the smuggler.

    When Almass eventually called home, from Turkey, he couldn’t bear to tell his mother what had happened. He said Murtaza couldn’t come to the phone but sent his love.

    That was in early 2014. Almass, who is now 18, hasn’t spoken to his family since.

    Almass said he searched for his brother among the 2,773 children reported to the Red Cross as missing en route to Europe. He also looked for himself among the 2,097 adults reported missing by children. They weren’t on the list.

    With one of the world’s longest-running exoduses, Afghans face particular dangers in bordering countries that are neither safe nor welcoming. Over a period of 10 months from June 2017 to April 2018, 4Mi carried out a total of 962 interviews with Afghan migrants and refugees in their native languages around the world, systematically asking a series of questions about the specific dangers they had faced and what they had witnessed.

    A total of 247 migrant deaths were witnessed by the interviewed migrants, who reported seeing people killed in violence from security forces or starving to death. The effort is the first time any organization has successfully captured the perils facing Afghans in transit to destinations in Asia and Europe.

    Almass made it from Asia to Europe and speaks halting French now to the woman who has given him a home in a drafty 400-year-old farmhouse in France’s Limousin region. But his family is lost to him. Their phone number in Afghanistan no longer works, their village is overrun with Taliban, and he has no idea how to find them — or the child whose hand slipped from his grasp four years ago.

    “I don’t know now where they are,” he said, his face anguished, as he sat on a sun-dappled bench. “They also don’t know where I am.”

    https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/global-lost-56800-migrants-dead-missing-years-58890913
    #décès #morts #migrations #réfugiés #asile #statistiques #chiffres #monde #Europe #Asie #Amérique_latine #Afrique #USA #Etats-Unis #2014 #2015 #2016 #2017 #2018
    ping @reka @simplicissimus


  • The Vulnerability Contest

    Traumatized Afghan child soldiers who were forced to fight in Syria struggle to find protection in Europe’s asylum lottery.

    Mosa did not choose to come forward. Word had spread among the thousands of asylum seekers huddled inside Moria that social workers were looking for lone children among the general population. High up on the hillside, in the Afghan area of the chaotic refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, some residents knew someone they suspected was still a minor. They led the aid workers to Mosa.

    The boy, whose broad and beardless face mark him out as a member of the Hazara ethnic group, had little reason to trust strangers. It was hard to persuade him just to sit with them and listen. Like many lone children, Mosa had slipped through the age assessment carried out on first arrival at Moria: He was registered as 27 years old. With the help of a translator, the social worker explained that there was still time to challenge his classification as an adult. But Mosa did not seem to be able to engage with what he was being told. It would take weeks to establish trust and reveal his real age and background.

    Most new arrivals experience shock when their hopes of a new life in Europe collide with Moria, the refugee camp most synonymous with the miserable consequences of Europe’s efforts to contain the flow of refugees and migrants across the Aegean. When it was built, the camp was meant to provide temporary shelter for fewer than 2,000 people. Since the European Union struck a deal in March 2016 with Turkey under which new arrivals are confined to Greece’s islands, Moria’s population has swollen to 9,000. It has become notorious for overcrowding, snowbound tents, freezing winter deaths, violent protests and suicides by adults and children alike.

    While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Stathis Poularakis is a lawyer who previously served for two years on an appeal committee dealing with asylum cases in Greece and has worked extensively on Lesbos. While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Asylum claims on Lesbos can take anywhere between six months and more than two years to be resolved. In the second quarter of 2018, Greece faced nearly four times as many asylum claims per capita as Germany. The E.U. has responded by increasing the presence of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and broadening its remit so that EASO officials can conduct asylum interviews. But the promises that EASO will bring Dutch-style efficiency conceal the fact that the vast majority of its hires are not seconded from other member states but drawn from the same pool of Greeks as the national asylum service.

    Asylum caseworkers at Moria face an overwhelming backlog and plummeting morale. A serving EASO official describes extraordinary “pressure to go faster” and said there was “so much subjectivity in the system.” The official also said that it was human nature to reject more claims “when you see every other country is closing its borders.”

    Meanwhile, the only way to escape Moria while your claim is being processed is to be recognized as a “vulnerable” case. Vulnerables get permission to move to the mainland or to more humane accommodation elsewhere on the island. The term is elastic and can apply to lone children and women, families or severely physically or mentally ill people. In all cases the onus is on the asylum seeker ultimately to persuade the asylum service, Greek doctors or the United Nations Refugee Agency that they are especially vulnerable.

    The ensuing scramble to get out of Moria has turned the camp into a vast “vulnerability contest,” said Poularakis. It is a ruthless competition that the most heavily traumatized are often in no condition to understand, let alone win.

    Twice a Refugee

    Mosa arrived at Moria in October 2017 and spent his first night in Europe sleeping rough outside the arrivals tent. While he slept someone stole his phone. When he awoke he was more worried about the lost phone than disputing the decision of the Frontex officer who registered him as an adult. Poularakis said age assessors are on the lookout for adults claiming to be children, but “if you say you’re an adult, no one is going to object.”

    Being a child has never afforded Mosa any protection in the past: He did not understand that his entire future could be at stake. Smugglers often warn refugee children not to reveal their real age, telling them that they will be prevented from traveling further if they do not pretend to be over 18 years old.

    Like many other Hazara of his generation, Mosa was born in Iran, the child of refugees who fled Afghanistan. Sometimes called “the cursed people,” the Hazara are followers of Shia Islam and an ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan, a country whose wars are usually won by larger ethnic groups and followers of Sunni Islam. Their ancestry, traced by some historians to Genghis Khan, also means they are highly visible and have been targets for persecution by Afghan warlords from 19th-century Pashtun kings to today’s Taliban.

    In recent decades, millions of Hazara have fled Afghanistan, many of them to Iran, where their language, Dari, is a dialect of Persian Farsi, the country’s main language.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    Iran hosts 950,000 Afghan refugees who are registered with the U.N. and another 1.5 million undocumented Afghans. There are no official refugee camps, making displaced Afghans one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world. For those without the money to pay bribes, there is no route to permanent residency or citizenship. Most refugees survive without papers on the outskirts of cities such as the capital, Tehran. Those who received permits, before Iran stopped issuing them altogether in 2007, must renew them annually. The charges are unpredictable and high. Mostly, the Afghan Hazara survive as an underclass, providing cheap labor in workshops and constructions sites. This was how Mosa grew up.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    But he could not remain invisible forever and one day in October 2016, on his way home from work, he was detained by police for not having papers.

    Sitting in one of the cantinas opposite the entrance to Moria, Mosa haltingly explained what happened next. How he was threatened with prison in Iran or deportation to Afghanistan, a country in which he has never set foot. How he was told that that the only way out was to agree to fight in Syria – for which they would pay him and reward him with legal residence in Iran.

    “In Iran, you have to pay for papers,” said Mosa. “If you don’t pay, you don’t have papers. I do not know Afghanistan. I did not have a choice.”

    As he talked, Mosa spread out a sheaf of papers from a battered plastic wallet. Along with asylum documents was a small notepad decorated with pink and mauve elephants where he keeps the phone numbers of friends and family. It also contains a passport-sized green booklet with the crest of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a temporary residence permit. Inside its shiny cover is the photograph of a scared-looking boy, whom the document claims was born 27 years ago. It is the only I.D. he has ever owned and the date of birth has been faked to hide the fact that the country that issues it has been sending children to war.

    Mosa is not alone among the Hazara boys who have arrived in Greece seeking protection, carrying identification papers with inflated ages. Refugees Deeply has documented the cases of three Hazara child soldiers and corroborated their accounts with testimony from two other underage survivors. Their stories are of childhoods twice denied: once in Syria, where they were forced to fight, and then again after fleeing to Europe, where they are caught up in a system more focused on hard borders than on identifying the most damaged and vulnerable refugees.

    From Teenage Kicks to Adult Nightmares

    Karim’s descent into hell began with a prank. Together with a couple of friends, he recorded an angsty song riffing on growing up as a Hazara teenager in Tehran. Made when he was 16 years old, the song was meant to be funny. His band did not even have a name. The boys uploaded the track on a local file-sharing platform in 2014 and were as surprised as anyone when it was downloaded thousands of times. But after the surprise came a creeping sense of fear. Undocumented Afghan refugee families living in Tehran usually try to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Karim tried to have the song deleted, but after two months there was a knock on the door. It was the police.

    “I asked them how they found me,” he said. “I had no documents but they knew where I lived.”

    Already estranged from his family, the teenager was transported from his life of working in a pharmacy and staying with friends to life in a prison outside the capital. After two weeks inside, he was given three choices: to serve a five-year sentence; to be deported to Afghanistan; or to redeem himself by joining the Fatemiyoun.

    According to Iranian propaganda, the Fatemiyoun are Afghan volunteers deployed to Syria to protect the tomb of Zainab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad. In reality, the Fatemiyoun Brigade is a unit of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, drawn overwhelmingly from Hazara communities, and it has fought in Iraq and Yemen, as well as Syria. Some estimates put its full strength at 15,000, which would make it the second-largest foreign force in support of the Assad regime, behind the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah.

    Karim was told he would be paid and given a one-year residence permit during leave back in Iran. Conscripts are promised that if they are “martyred,” their family will receive a pension and permanent status. “I wasn’t going to Afghanistan and I wasn’t going to prison,” said Karim. So he found himself forced to serve in the #Fatemiyoun.

    His first taste of the new life came when he was transferred to a training base outside Tehran, where the recruits, including other children, were given basic weapons training and religious indoctrination. They marched, crawled and prayed under the brigade’s yellow flag with a green arch, crossed by assault rifles and a Koranic phrase: “With the Help of God.”

    “Imagine me at 16,” said Karim. “I have no idea how to kill a bird. They got us to slaughter animals to get us ready. First, they prepare your brain to kill.”

    The 16-year-old’s first deployment was to Mosul in Iraq, where he served four months. When he was given leave back in Iran, Karim was told that to qualify for his residence permit he would need to serve a second term, this time in Syria. They were first sent into the fight against the so-called Islamic State in Raqqa. Because of his age and physique, Karim and some of the other underage soldiers were moved to the medical corps. He said that there were boys as young as 14 and he remembers a 15-year-old who fought using a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    “I knew nothing about Syria. I was just trying to survive. They were making us hate ISIS, dehumanizing them. Telling us not to leave one of them alive.” Since media reports revealed the existence of the Fatemiyoun, the brigade has set up a page on Facebook. Among pictures of “proud volunteers,” it shows stories of captured ISIS prisoners being fed and cared for. Karim recalls a different story.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    The casualties on both sides were overwhelming. At the al-Razi hospital in Aleppo, the young medic saw the morgue overwhelmed with bodies being stored two or three to a compartment. Despite promises to reward the families of martyrs, Karim said many of the bodies were not sent back to Iran.

    Mosa’s basic training passed in a blur. A shy boy whose parents had divorced when he was young and whose father became an opium addict, he had always shrunk from violence. He never wanted to touch the toy guns that other boys played with. Now he was being taught to break down, clean and fire an assault rifle.

    The trainees were taken three times a day to the imam, who preached to them about their holy duty and the iniquities of ISIS, often referred to as Daesh.

    “They told us that Daesh was the same but worse than the Taliban,” said Mosa. “I didn’t listen to them. I didn’t go to Syria by choice. They forced me to. I just needed the paper.”

    Mosa was born in 2001. Before being deployed to Syria, the recruits were given I.D. tags and papers that deliberately overstated their age: In 2017, Human Rights Watch released photographs of the tombstones of eight Afghan children who had died in Syria and whose families identified them as having been under 18 years old. The clerk who filled out Mosa’s forms did not trouble himself with complex math: He just changed 2001 to 1991. Mosa was one of four underage soldiers in his group. The boys were scared – their hands shook so hard they kept dropping their weapons. Two of them were dead within days of reaching the front lines.

    “I didn’t even know where we were exactly, somewhere in the mountains in a foreign country. I was scared all the time. Every time I saw a friend dying in front of my eyes I was thinking I would be next,” said Mosa.

    He has flashbacks of a friend who died next to him after being shot in the face by a sniper. After the incident, he could not sleep for four nights. The worst, he said, were the sudden raids by ISIS when they would capture Fatemiyoun fighters: “God knows what happened to them.”

    Iran does not release figures on the number of Fatemiyoun casualties. In a rare interview earlier this year, a senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard suggested as many as 1,500 Fatemiyoun had been killed in Syria. In Mashhad, an Iranian city near the border with Afghanistan where the brigade was first recruited, video footage has emerged of families demanding the bodies of their young men believed to have died in Syria. Mosa recalls patrols in Syria where 150 men and boys would go out and only 120 would return.

    Escaping Syria

    Abbas had two weeks left in Syria before going back to Iran on leave. After 10 weeks in what he describes as a “living hell,” he had begun to believe he might make it out alive. It was his second stint in Syria and, still only 17 years old, he had been chosen to be a paramedic, riding in the back of a 2008 Chevrolet truck converted into a makeshift ambulance.

    He remembers thinking that the ambulance and the hospital would have to be better than the bitter cold of the front line. His abiding memory from then was the sound of incoming 120mm shells. “They had a special voice,” Abbas said. “And when you hear it, you must lie down.”

    Following 15 days of nursing training, during which he was taught how to find a vein and administer injections, he was now an ambulance man, collecting the dead and wounded from the battlefields on which the Fatemiyoun were fighting ISIS.

    Abbas grew up in Ghazni in Afghanistan, but his childhood ended when his father died from cancer in 2013. Now the provider for the family, he traveled with smugglers across the border into Iran, to work for a tailor in Tehran who had known his father. He worked without documents and faced the same threats as the undocumented Hazara children born in Iran. Even more dangerous were the few attempts he made to return to Ghazni. The third time he attempted to hop the border he was captured by Iranian police.

    Abbas was packed onto a transport, along with 23 other children, and sent to Ordugah-i Muhaceran, a camplike detention center outside Mashhad. When they got there the Shia Hazara boys were separated from Sunni Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group, who were pushed back across the border. Abbas was given the same choice as Karim and Mosa before him: Afghanistan or Syria. Many of the other forced recruits Abbas met in training, and later fought alongside in Syria, were addicts with a history of substance abuse.

    Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that Tramadol was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time.

    The Fatemiyoun officers dealt with withdrawal symptoms by handing out Tramadol, an opioid painkiller that is used to treat back pain but sometimes abused as a cheap alternative to methadone. The drug is a slow-release analgesic. Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that it was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time. One of the children reiterated that the painkiller meant he felt nothing. Users describe feeling intensely thirsty but say they avoid drinking water because it triggers serious nausea and vomiting. Tramadol is addictive and prolonged use can lead to insomnia and seizures.

    Life in the ambulance had not met Abbas’ expectations. He was still sent to the front line, only now it was to collect the dead and mutilated. Some soldiers shot themselves in the feet to escape the conflict.

    “We picked up people with no feet and no hands. Some of them were my friends,” Abbas said. “One man was in small, small pieces. We collected body parts I could not recognize and I didn’t know if they were Syrian or Iranian or Afghan. We just put them in bags.”

    Abbas did not make it to the 12th week. One morning, driving along a rubble-strewn road, his ambulance collided with an anti-tank mine. Abbas’ last memory of Syria is seeing the back doors of the vehicle blasted outward as he was thrown onto the road.

    When he awoke he was in a hospital bed in Iran. He would later learn that the Syrian ambulance driver had been killed and that the other Afghan medic in the vehicle had lost both his legs. At the time, his only thought was to escape.

    The Toll on Child Soldiers

    Alice Roorda first came into contact with child soldiers in 2001 in the refugee camps of Sierra Leone in West Africa. A child psychologist, she was sent there by the United Kingdom-based charity War Child. She was one of three psychologists for a camp of more than 5,000 heavily traumatized survivors of one of West Africa’s more brutal conflicts.

    “There was almost nothing we could do,” she admitted.

    The experience, together with later work in Uganda, has given her a deep grounding in the effects of war and post-conflict trauma on children. She said prolonged exposure to conflict zones has physical as well as psychological effects.

    “If you are chronically stressed, as in a war zone, you have consistently high levels of the two basic stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol.”

    Even after reaching a calmer situation, the “stress baseline” remains high, she said. This impacts everything from the immune system to bowel movements. Veterans often suffer from complications related to the continual engagement of the psoas, or “fear muscle” – the deepest muscles in the body’s core, which connect the spine, through the pelvis, to the femurs.

    “With prolonged stress you start to see the world around you as more dangerous.” The medial prefrontal cortex, the section of the brain that interprets threat levels, is also affected, said Roorda. This part of the brain is sometimes called the “watchtower.”

    “When your watchtower isn’t functioning well you see everything as more dangerous. You are on high alert. This is not a conscious response; it is because the stress is already so close to the surface.”

    Psychological conditions that can be expected to develop include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Left untreated, these stress levels can lead to physical symptoms ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME) to high blood pressure or irritable bowel syndrome. Also common are heightened sensitivity to noise and insomnia.

    The trauma of war can also leave children frozen at the point when they were traumatized. “Their life is organized as if the trauma is still ongoing,” said Roorda. “It is difficult for them to take care of themselves, to make rational well informed choices, and to trust people.”

    The starting point for any treatment of child soldiers, said Roorda, is a calm environment. They need to release the tension with support groups and physical therapy, she said, and “a normal bedtime.”

    The Dutch psychologist, who is now based in Athens, acknowledged that what she is describing is the exact opposite of the conditions at #Moria.

    Endgame

    Karim is convinced that his facility for English has saved his life. While most Hazara boys arrive in Europe speaking only Farsi, Karim had taught himself some basic English before reaching Greece. As a boy in Tehran he had spent hours every day trying to pick up words and phrases from movies that he watched with subtitles on his phone. His favorite was The Godfather, which he said he must have seen 25 times. He now calls English his “safe zone” and said he prefers it to Farsi.

    When Karim reached Greece in March 2016, new arrivals were not yet confined to the islands. No one asked him if he was a child or an adult. He paid smugglers to help him escape Iran while on leave from Syria and after crossing through Turkey landed on Chios. Within a day and a half, he had passed through the port of Piraeus and reached Greece’s northern border with Macedonia, at Idomeni.

    When he realized the border was closed, he talked to some of the international aid workers who had come to help at the makeshift encampment where tens of thousands of refugees and migrants waited for a border that would not reopen. They ended up hiring him as a translator. Two years on, his English is now much improved and Karim has worked for a string of international NGOs and a branch of the Greek armed forces, where he was helped to successfully apply for asylum.

    The same job has also brought him to Moria. He earns an above-average salary for Greece and at first he said that his work on Lesbos is positive: “I’m not the only one who has a shitty background. It balances my mind to know that I’m not the only one.”

    But then he admits that it is difficult hearing and interpreting versions of his own life story from Afghan asylum seekers every day at work. He has had problems with depression and suffered flashbacks, “even though I’m in a safe country now.”

    Abbas got the help he needed to win the vulnerability contest. After he was initially registered as an adult, his age assessment was overturned and he was transferred from Moria to a shelter for children on Lesbos. He has since been moved again to a shelter in mainland Greece. While he waits to hear the decision on his protection status, Abbas – like other asylum seekers in Greece – receives 150 euros ($170) a month. This amount needs to cover all his expenses, from food and clothing to phone credit. The money is not enough to cover a regular course of the antidepressant Prozac and the sleeping pills he was prescribed by the psychiatrist he was able to see on Lesbos.

    “I save them for when it gets really bad,” he said.

    Since moving to the mainland he has been hospitalized once with convulsions, but his main worry is the pain in his groin. Abbas underwent a hernia operation in Iran, the result of injuries sustained as a child lifting adult bodies into the ambulance. He has been told that he will need to wait for four months to see a doctor in Greece who can tell him if he needs another operation.

    “I would like to go back to school,” he said. But in reality, Abbas knows that he will need to work and there is little future for an Afghan boy who can no longer lift heavy weights.

    Walking into an Afghan restaurant in downtown Athens – near Victoria Square, where the people smugglers do business – Abbas is thrilled to see Farsi singers performing on the television above the door. “I haven’t been in an Afghan restaurant for maybe three years,” he said to explain his excitement. His face brightens again when he catches sight of Ghormeh sabzi, a herb stew popular in Afghanistan and Iran that reminds him of his mother. “I miss being with them,” he said, “being among my family.”

    When the dish arrives he pauses before eating, taking out his phone and carefully photographing the plate from every angle.

    Mosa is about to mark the end of a full year in Moria. He remains in the same drab tent that reminds him every day of Syria. Serious weight loss has made his long limbs – the ones that made it easier for adults to pretend he was not a child – almost comically thin. His skin is laced with scars, but he refuses to go into detail about how he got them. Mosa has now turned 18 and seems to realize that his best chance of getting help may have gone.

    “Those people who don’t have problems, they give them vulnerability (status),” he said with evident anger. “If you tell them the truth, they don’t help you.”

    Then he apologises for the flash of temper. “I get upset and angry and my body shakes,” he said.

    Mosa explained that now when he gets angry he has learned to remove himself: “Sometimes I stuff my ears with toilet paper to make it quiet.”

    It is 10 months since Mosa had his asylum interview. The questions he expected about his time in the Fatemiyoun never came up. Instead, the interviewers asked him why he had not stayed in Turkey after reaching that country, having run away while on leave in Iran.

    The questions they did ask him point to his likely rejection and deportation. Why, he was asked, was his fear of being persecuted in Afghanistan credible? He told them that he has heard from other Afghan boys that police and security services in the capital, Kabul, were arresting ex-combatants from Syria.

    Like teenagers everywhere, many of the younger Fatemiyoun conscripts took selfies in Syria and posted them on Facebook or shared them on WhatsApp. The images, which include uniforms and insignia, can make him a target for Sunni reprisals. These pictures now haunt him as much as the faces of his dead comrades.

    Meanwhile, the fate he suffered two tours in Syria to avoid now seems to be the most that Europe can offer him. Without any of his earlier anger, he said, “I prefer to kill myself here than go to Afghanistan.”

    #enfants-soldats #syrie #réfugiés #asile #migrations #guerre #conflit #réfugiés_afghans #Afghanistan #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique #trauma #traumatisme #vulnérabilité

    ping @isskein


  • How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
    http://archive.is/VH3r#selection-801.1-919.214

    January 15, 1998

    by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

    Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

    Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

    Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

    Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

    Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

    Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

    * There are at least two editions of this magazine; with the perhaps sole exception of the Library of Congress, the version sent to the United States is shorter than the French version, and the Brzezinski interview was not included in the shorter version.
    The above has been translated from the French by Bill Blum author of the indispensible, “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II” and “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”

    #Afghanistan #USA #URSS #histoire


  • Pakistan PM to Offer Citizenship to Afghans Born in #Pakistan

    Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an unprecedented announcement Sunday, pledged to offer Pakistani citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Afghans born to refugee families his country has been hosting for decades.

    The United Nations refugee agency and local officials say there are 2.7 million Afghans, including 1.5 million registered as refugees, in Pakistan. The displaced families have fled decades of conflict, ethnic and religious persecution, poverty and economic hardships in turmoil-hit Afghanistan.

    “Afghans whose children have been raised and born in Pakistan will be granted citizenship inshallah (God willing) because this is the established practice in countries around the world. You get an American passport if you are born in America,” said Khan, who took office last month.

    “Then why can’t we do it here. We continue to subject these people to unfair treatment,” the Pakistani prime minister said at a public event in the southern port city of Karachi Sunday night.

    U.N. surveys suggest that around 60 percent of Afghan refugees were either born in Pakistan or were minors when their parents migrated to Pakistan. War-shattered Afghanistan is therefore alien to most of these young people who are already part of the local economy in different ways.

    This group of refugees, officials say, are reluctant to go back to Afghanistan where security conditions have deteriorated in the wake of the stalemated war between U.S.-backed Afghan security forces and the Taliban insurgency.

    Khan noted in his nationally televised remarks that without Pakistani national identification cards and passports, the refugees have been unable to find decent legal jobs or get a quality education in local institutions.

    These people, the prime minister said, will eventually be forced to indulge in criminal activities, posing security issues for areas like Karachi, the country’s largest city and commercial hub. Afghans are a significant portion of the nearly 20 million residents in Karachi.

    “They are humans. How come we have deprived them and have not arranged for offering them national identification card and passport for 30 years, 40 years,” Khan lamented.

    The Pakistani leader explained that since he is also directly overseeing the federal Interior Ministry, which is responsible for granting passports and identification cards, he will instruct his staff to make efforts without further delay to offer Pakistani nationality to the people “who have come from Afghanistan and whose children are raised and born in here.”

    Khan spoke a day after his Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, visited Afghanistan, where he discussed among other issues the fate of the registered Afghan refugees who have until December 31, 2018, to stay in Pakistan legally.

    An official statement issued after Qureshi’s daylong trip to Kabul said that in his meetings with Afghan leaders, the foreign minister “underlined the need for dignified, sustainable repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland through a gradual and time-bound plan.”

    Pakistani authorities have lately complained that Taliban insurgents waging attacks inside Afghanistan have been using the refugee communities as hiding places. Both countries accuse each other of supporting militant attacks against their respective soils. The allegations are at the center of bilateral political tensions.

    In a meeting last week with visiting U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, Khan assured him that his government will not force Afghan refugees to leave Pakistan.

    https://www.voanews.com/a/pakistan-pm-to-offer-citizenship-to-afghans-born-in-pakistan/4574015.html
    #citoyenneté #naturalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_afghans

    ping @isskein


  • Afghan father who sought refuge in UK ’shot dead by Taliban’ after being deported by Home Office.
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/zainadin-fazlie-deport-home-office-taliban-afghanistan-shot-dead-refu

    An Afghan man who sought refuge from the Taliban in the UK has been shot dead in his home town after being deported by the British government.

    Zainadin Fazlie had lived in London with his wife, who had refugee status, and their four British-born children. But after committing a number of minor offences, the 47-year-old was sent back to Afghanistan after 16 years in Britain, despite threats to his life.

    Last Friday, his wife Samira Fazlie found out he had been shot by Taliban forces after seeing an image of his dead body on Facebook.
    The 34-year-old told The Independent: “When I first heard, I felt like I had to stop living. When I saw that picture, I couldn’t even move from my bed. For three nights I didn’t sleep.

    “My eldest son was crying at my feet. He said mum, I didn’t know my dad was going to die. He said I can’t believe they sent my dad to the country where he was going to be killed by these people.


  • Study questions Iran-al Qaeda ties, despite U.S. allegations | Reuters

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-alqaeda/study-questions-iran-al-qaeda-ties-despite-u-s-allegations-idUSKCN1LN2LE

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is no evidence that Iran and al Qaeda cooperated in carrying out terrorist attacks, according to a study published on Friday that casts doubt on Trump administration statements about close ties between the two.

    FILE PHOTO: Iran’s national flags are seen on a square in Tehran February 10, 2012. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl
    The conclusions of the study, by the New America think tank, were based on detailed analysis of documents seized in Osama bin Laden’s hideout after U.S. forces killed the al Qaeda leader in 2011.

    The findings clash with recent statements by U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggesting Iran has collaborated with al Qaeda, which carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

    Debate has swirled over the relationship between Iran, a majority Shi’ite Muslim state, and radical Sunni group al Qaeda since late 2001, when some al Qaeda members fled to Iran after the United States toppled the Taliban government that had sheltered them in Afghanistan.

    The bin Laden files, including a 19-page document not released until last November, show that Iran was uncomfortable with the militants’ presence on its soil, said Nelly Lahoud, the study’s author and an expert on al Qaeda.


  • Afghanistan Is Trying to Save Its Child Bombers.
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/29/afghanistan-is-trying-to-save-its-child-bombers

    In a room full of loud teenagers, 17-year-old Mohammad Ehsan is the quietest. (The names of the boys in this piece have been changed to protect their identities.) The other boys in this juvenile rehabilitation center in the Afghan capital of Kabul are rough and boisterous; he takes the corner-most seat and avoids making eye contact. He speaks only when spoken to, sometimes answering with just a single word. As we talk, he stares at the floor or fidgets with the corner of his white shalwar kameez, as though he would rather be anywhere else than here.

    His silence and his fear were hard-learned. Ehsan is one of 27 teenagers in this facility recruited and trained by the Taliban or the Islamic State to plant improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the country’s endless war. Some, including Ehsan, were held in the Bagram prison located outside of Kabul, formerly operated by the United States. The other children are afraid of associating with them. “They’re too political and dangerous,” a young man incarcerated for murder said.


  • War Without End - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/magazine/war-afghanistan-iraq-soldiers.html

    Still he wondered: Was there no accountability for the senior officer class? The war was turning 17, and the services and the Pentagon seemed to have been given passes on all the failures and the drift. Even if the Taliban were to sign a peace deal tomorrow, there would be no rousing sense of victory, no parade. In Iraq, the Islamic State metastasized in the wreckage of the war to spread terror around the world . The human costs were past counting, and the whitewash was both institutional and personal, extended to one general after another, including many of the same officers whose plans and orders had either fizzled or failed to create lasting success, and yet who kept rising. Soto watched some of them as they were revered and celebrated in Washington and by members of the press, even after past plans were discredited and enemies retrenched.

    #états-unis#élite#guerre


  • 2001 :

    Bush déclare la guerre aux #taliban - Libération
    http://www.liberation.fr/evenement/2001/09/22/bush-declare-la-guerre-aux-taliban_377871

    L’objectif immédiat de la Maison Blanche semble désormais être le renversement du régime taliban. « Si le fait de faire partir des gens protège les Américains et protège #le_monde_entier du #terrorisme, alors les #objectifs seront atteints »

    17 ans (et des dizaines de milliers de victimes civiles et des centaines de milliards de dollars) plus tard :

    « Signaux très positifs » entre Américains et talibans réunis à Doha - SWI swissinfo.ch
    https://www.swissinfo.ch/fre/toute-l-actu-en-bref/-signaux-tr%C3%A8s-positifs--entre-am%C3%A9ricains-et-talibans-r%C3%A9unis-%C3%A0-doha/44288436

    La délégation américaine était conduite par Alice Wells, sous-secrétaire d’Etat adjointe chargée de l’Asie du Sud et du centre (archives).

    #complexe_militaro_industriel #criminel #etats-unis


  • The secret story of how America lost the drug war with the Taliban - POLITICO
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/08/obama-afghanistan-drug-war-taliban-616316

    For decades, much of the region’s narcotics trade had been controlled by the Quetta Alliance, a loose confederation of three powerful tribal clans living in the Pakistani border town of the same name. At a June 1998 summit, the clan leaders gathered secretly to approve another alliance — with the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan at the time, according to classified U.S. intelligence cited in Operation Reciprocity legal documents.

    Under the “Sincere Agreement,” the drug lords pledged their financial support for the Taliban in exchange for protection of their vast swaths of poppy and cannabis fields, drug processing labs and storage facilities. The ties were solidified further when the U.S. invasion toppled the Taliban after 9/11 and forced top commanders to flee to Quetta, where they formed a shura, or leadership council.

    In the early years of the U.S. occupation, the Pentagon and CIA cultivated influential Afghan tribal leaders who were not part of the Quetta Alliance, even if they were deeply involved in drug trafficking, in order to turn them against the Taliban. That willingness to overlook drug trafficking was assisted by their belief that the drugs were going almost entirely to Asia and Europe.


  • Mattis’s Last Stand Is Iran – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/28/mattiss-last-stand-is-iran

    As the U.S. defense secretary drifts further from President Donald Trump’s inner circle, his mission gets clearer: preventing war with Tehran.

    Long point de vue de Mark Perry (The Pentagon’s Wars). Après avoir décrit l’état d’usure et de fatigue des différentes forces armées états-uniennes, puis décrit en détail une attaque en règle de l’Iran,…

    At the end of the air campaign, Iran’s nuclear and military capabilities would be in ruins. But the worry for senior military war planners is that the end of the U.S. campaign would not mark the end of the war, but its beginning. Retired Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik, a senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of War and a former professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program (and one of the Army’s most sophisticated strategic thinkers), argued that a conflict with Iran would not be confined to a U.S. attack — or Iran’s immediate response. Tehran, he said, would not surrender. “We should not go into a war with Iran thinking that they will capitulate,” he argued. “Al Qaeda did not capitulate; the Taliban did not capitulate. Enemies don’t capitulate. And Iran won’t capitulate.” Nor, Dubik speculated, would the kind of air campaign likely envisioned by U.S. military planners necessarily lead to the collapse of the Tehran government — a notion seconded by Farley. “There is very little reason to suppose that anything other than an Iraq-style war would lead to regime change in Iran,” Farley said. “Even in a very extensive campaign, and absent the use of ground troops in a major invasion, the Iranian regime would survive.” That is to say that, while Iran’s military would be devastated by a U.S. attack, the results of such a campaign would only deepen and expand the conflict.

    Shaping and executing an exit strategy after an attack is likely the most difficult task we will face,” [John Allen] Gay [the co-author of the 2013 book War with Iran] said. “While an overwhelming airstrike may end the war for us, it will not end it for Iran. Our conventional capabilities overawe theirs, but their unconventional capabilities favor them. Assassinations, terror attacks, the use of Hezbollah against Israel, and other options will likely be used by them over an extended period of time. All of this has to be factored in: Even if we destroy their nuclear capabilities, we will have to ask whether it will be worth it.
    […]
    In truth, the unease over any future conflict goes much deeper — and is seeded by what one senior and influential military officer called “an underlying anxiety that after 17 years of sprinkling the Middle East with corpses, the U.S. is not any closer to a victory over terrorism now than it was on September 12.

    #sprinkle_the_Middle_East_with_corpses
    #parsemer_le_Moyen-Orient_de_cadavres


  • The #Taliban has successfully built a parallel state in many parts of Afghanistan, report says - The Washington Post
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/06/21/the-taliban-has-successfully-built-a-parallel-state-in-many-parts-of

    KABUL — For those who imagine that Taliban control in some regions of #Afghanistan consists mainly of men being beaten for failing to pray and girls being forced to stay home from school, a new report based on scores of interviews in those areas paints a very different portrait, but one that in some ways may be equally disturbing.

    [...]

    The main conclusions of the report, written and primarily researched by Ashley Jackson, are that the Taliban sets the rules in “vast swaths” of Afghan territory but is far more concerned with influencing people. It has largely shifted from outright coercion to “creeping influence” over Afghans through services and state activities, it is often part of the local “social fabric,” and it views itself as preparing to govern the country, not just to participate in political life, whenever the 16-year conflict ends, the report says.

    [...]

    The report says Afghan and foreign officials are “worryingly unaware” of how assiduously the Taliban has worked to exert local control, make bargains and influence services. Today, its leaders view themselves not as insurgents but as a “government in waiting,” the report says.

    At a time of growing national hopes for a negotiated peace, the consolidation of Taliban administrative control in numerous areas seems to challenge the official argument that the insurgents might accept a role as just another political force in exchange for giving up arms and settling the war.

    Over time, the study found, Taliban policies in areas of control shifted from repressive violence to cooperation and public relations. By 2011, Taliban leaders had signed agreements with 28 aid organizations, including permission to conduct polio vaccination drives. As NATO forces withdrew, Taliban professionalism grew.

    [...]

    One of the most visible ways the Taliban creates the sense of being a government is by collecting taxes. The report says the group has developed a comprehensive system of tax and revenue collection, in areas including mining, electricity, agricultural production and customs. It also collects religious taxes for charity, as well as taxes on opium production, an especially lucrative source of income.

    But the report suggested that the insurgents’ reported income from drugs may be exaggerated and that they encourage opium poppy growing because it helps the poor survive and makes them more compliant with Taliban control.


  • He’s pro-incest, pedophilia, and rape. He’s also running for Congress from his parents’ house. - The Washington Post
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2018/06/01/hes-pro-incest-pedophilia-and-rape-hes-also-running-for-congress-fro

    He believes in instituting a patriarchal system, with women under the authority of men; he supports abolishing age restrictions for marriage and laws against marital rape; he believes that white supremacy is a “system that works,” that Hitler was a “good thing for Germany,” and that incest should be legalized, at least in the context of marriage. And at one point in a conversation with The Post, he seemed to express admiration for the system run by the Taliban in Afghanistan, noting that the country’s birthrate fell as a consequence of increased opportunities for women after the United States’ more than decade-long intervention.

    But Larson, 37, is hoping to take his views toward the mainstream by mounting a campaign for a congressional seat in Virginia, running as an independent libertarian for the state’s 10th district, a swath of land across three counties in Northern Virginia outside the Washington suburbs. The seat is currently held by Republican Barbara Comstock, but has attracted strong Democratic interest; Hillary Clinton won the district by 10 percentage points in 2016.
    […]
    The HuffPost reported this week that Larson had created two websites that catered to the furthest fringes of the Internet: suiped.org and incelocalpse.today, information that Larson confirmed in an interview with The Post.

    Both websites have since been removed by their domain hosts. Suiped or Suicidal Pedophiles, was a site and self-described organization created to lobby for pedophiles and other convicted or potential sex offenders to be able to kill themselves at clinics legally, according to cached images.

    According to a cached image, Incelocalypse was created to “serve as both headquarters and casual hangout for the hardest core of the hardcore incels,” the small but vocal community of “involuntary celibates” online who rage against feminism and a system of female empowerment that has deprived them of sexual gratification, an Internet subculture that has begun to draw some attention by mainstream media outlets.

    Larson said he considers himself to be part of the “#incel movement” and said his views took a turn for the more extreme after an acrimonious divorce.


  • Hungary to criminalise migrant helpers in crackdown

    The Hungarian government has drafted new laws to criminalise those who help irregular migrants seeking asylum.

    If passed in its current form, the legislation could make printing leaflets with information for asylum-seekers and offering them food or legal advice a criminal offence.

    The constitution will also be amended to prevent other EU countries from transferring asylum seekers to Hungary.

    Nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban is defying EU policy on migration.


    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44288242
    #Hongrie #criminalisation #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité #migrations #asile #réfugiés

    • Ungheria, il reato di solidarietà

      In Ungheria, il governo di Viktor Orban ha presentato in Parlamento un “pacchetto” di misure – che comprendono anche una modifica alla Costituzione – volte a “contrastare l’immigrazione irregolare”.

      La stampa magiara ha ribattezzato le riforme col nome di “Stop Soros”, perché lo scopo dichiarato dal governo è quello di colpire le Ong impegnate in attività di solidarietà e di sostegno ai richiedenti asilo e ai rifugiati: e poiché alcune di queste Ong fanno capo a George Soros, o ricevono finanziamenti dalle sue Fondazioni, tutto viene presentato come una battaglia tra il premier ungherese e lo stesso Soros.

      In realtà, ciò che Orban intende colpire è quella parte della società civile ungherese che si impegna per fornire assistenza ai rifugiati, ma anche per garantire i diritti umani dei migranti e dei transitanti. Così, le riforme proposte dall’esecutivo Orban sono un esempio, sicuramente estremo, di una tendenza che si va diffondendo in Europa: quello di criminalizzare la solidarietà e l’impegno civile, trasformandoli in reati.

      Chi scrive non è esperto di cose ungheresi, né conosce a fondo il dibattito che si è sviluppato nel paese magiaro. Per la vicenda della riforma cosiddetta “Stop Soros” si rimanda, in lingua italiana, agli articoli usciti in questi giorni su Il Manifesto, Il Fatto Quotidiano, o su Il Post. Chi è in grado di leggere in inglese può rivolgersi al Guardian, o può vedere i comunicati dell’Hungarian Helsinki Committee, una delle Ong prese di mira dalla furia di Orban.

      Qui, più semplicemente, si propone la traduzione in italiano di una delle norme più controverse del “pacchetto”, quella che riguarda appunto il reato di solidarietà.

      Il testo che trovate qui sotto è tradotto dalla versione non ufficiale in inglese a cura dello stesso Hungarian Helsinki Committee. È quindi la “traduzione di una traduzione”, con i limiti che questo può comportare, e che si possono facilmente immaginare: ma sembra comunque utile per capire più a fondo le forme e i modi in cui viene articolato il “reato di solidarietà” nel dispositivo della riforma. I fortunati lettori che sono in grado di leggere in lingua ungherese possono trovare la versione originale qui.

      https://www.a-dif.org/2018/06/01/ungheria-il-reato-di-solidarieta

    • La Hongrie criminalise les #ONG qui aident les demandeurs d’asile

      Le parti du Premier ministre hongrois a voté ce mercredi une loi qui pourrait conduire à des peines de prison pour toute personne assistant des migrants en situation illégale ou non.

      Viktor Orbán ne se soucie décidément plus des injonctions européennes sur ses dérives autoritaires. Ce mercredi, le Premier ministre hongrois et son parti ultraconservateur, le Fidesz, qui a une large majorité au Parlement, ont voté la loi dite « Stop Soros », du nom du milliardaire américano-hongrois devenu la bête noire du régime. Cette loi initialement présentée en février a été modifiée après les élections législatives du 8 avril qui ont vu une large victoire pour le parti au gouvernement. Elle prévoit maintenant une criminalisation des personnes qui viendraient en aide aux demandeurs d’asile et aux réfugiés.

      « Un avocat pourrait se trouver condamné à une peine jusqu’à un an d’emprisonnement pour avoir apporté des informations sur la procédure de demande d’asile, par exemple, explique le porte-parole d’Amnesty International Hongrie, Aron Demeter. Le but de cette loi est clairement de viser le personnel des ONG. »

      A lire aussi:Hongrie : soupçons de fraudes électorales autour du clan Orbán

      Le texte prévoit aussi qu’en cas de suspicion d’aide aux demandeurs d’asile, l’Etat pourra interdire à la personne concernée de se rendre dans un rayon de 8 kilomètres autour de la frontière. « La loi est assez vague, dans son état actuel, pour que l’aéroport soit compris dans la définition de frontière, détaille András Lederer du Comité Helsinki hongrois pour la défense des droits de l’Homme, une des ONG visées. Des personnes seulement suspectées de violer cette loi pourraient se trouver interdites de quitter le territoire hongrois. »

      Présenté sous sa nouvelle version le 29 mai, le projet de loi a été soumis à l’étude d’un comité parlementaire, jeudi 14 juin. « C’est incroyable, il n’y a eu absolument aucun débat lancé par l’opposition sur ce texte », reprend András Lederer. Quelques minutes auront suffi pour adopter le texte.
      Acharnement législatif

      Ce dernier texte arrive après un an d’attaques répétées par le Fidesz contre les organisations internationales. Depuis juin 2017, le gouvernement force toutes les organisations qui reçoivent des financements de l’étranger à se déclarer et à inscrire la mention « Financé par une institution étrangère » sur tous leurs documents. Une inscription rendue péjorative par la rhétorique gouvernementale.

      Peu après les élections, en avril, des médias proches de Viktor Orbán ont sorti une liste de soi-disant « mercenaires » de George Soros, qui l’aideraient à mener « son plan pour faire venir des immigrés illégaux en Europe », selon les propos du Premier ministre. Dans cette liste, étaient nommés des universitaires, des journalistes d’opposition et des membres du personnel d’ONG qui aident les demandeurs d’asile et réfugiés.

      Le 12 juin, un ancien parlementaire du parti allié au Fidesz, les Chrétiens-Démocrates, a tenu une conférence de presse devant l’immeuble où se trouvent les locaux d’Amnesty International à Budapest. « Il a collé des affiches sur notre porte, disant que nous promouvons la migration », décrit Aron Demeter. Deux jours plus tard, c’est l’ONG hongroise Menedék d’entraide aux réfugiés qui a fait les frais d’une même action.
      La droite européenne impuissante

      Ces campagnes de discréditations portent leurs fruits. Le 15 mai dernier, la fondation philanthropique Open society de George Soros a annoncé que, sous les pressions du gouvernement, elle quittait ses bureaux européens de Budapest pour déménager à Berlin, en Allemagne. De leur côté, Amnesty International et le Comité Helsinki hongrois assurent qu’ils ne partiront pas du pays, quitte à attaquer cette nouvelle loi devant la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne.

      Aron Demeter comme Andra Lederer appellent la Commission européenne à lancer immédiatement une procédure d’infraction contre cette loi. « Les Etats de l’UE devraient exprimer fortement leur indignation face à cette attaque contre la société civile, l’Etat de droit et le principe de solidarité », déclare le porte-parole d’Amnesty International.

      Jusqu’à présent, les critiques contre le régime de Viktor Orbán ont été mesurées au niveau européen. Le Parti populaire européen (PPE) qui réunit plusieurs partis de centre droit et dont fait partie le Fidesz, a tout de même demandé au Premier ministre hongrois d’attendre les conclusions de la Commission Venise pour la démocratie par le droit du Conseil de l’Europe sur ce projet de loi, qui doivent être publiées vendredi. Le 2 juin, le CDA, parti néerlandais membre du PPE, a adopté une motion pour que le Fidesz soit exclu du groupe européen.

      Ignorant ces menaces, le gouvernement hongrois a voté le texte « Stop Soros » ce mercredi. « Le fait que le projet de loi suive son cours en Hongrie et la publication de l’avis de la Commission de Venise sont des procédures indépendantes, affirme le directeur Presse du groupe PPE au Parlement européen, Pedro Lopez de Pablo. Comme on l’a fait par le passé avec la Hongrie et avec la Pologne, nous allons demander aux gouvernements hongrois de faire tous les changements au projet de loi que la Commission de Venise demande. Si ce n’est pas fait, comme on l’a aussi déjà effectué pour la Pologne, on demandera l’ouverture des procédures prévues dans les traités européens pour atteinte aux principes fondamentaux de l’UE. »

      http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2018/06/20/la-hongrie-criminalise-les-ong-qui-aident-les-demandeurs-d-asile_1659369

    • ‘Hungary is the worst’: Refugees become punching bag under PM Viktor Orban

      A proposed law seeks to criminalise anyone who helps refugees, as atmosphere turns ’toxic’

      Hidden behind an overbearing, protective metal door in the centre of Budapest is the entrance to the Hungarian branch of Amnesty International.

      For Julia Ivan, the director of Amnesty here, the events of recent months have certainly given her reason to feel cautious.

      “The atmosphere towards migrants and those trying to support them has become so toxic here.”

      She pauses, her voice expressing the incredulity she feels.

      A former human rights lawyer, Ms Ivan joined the organisation to advocate for human rights defenders abroad.

      “However, as things in Hungary are changing we are now trying to raise awareness about Hungarian human rights defenders who are being attacked,” Ms Ivan tells The Independent.

      Interns, she says, are too scared to return to the NGO, after a narrative shift when it comes to humanitarian work.

      “The interns that we took on last year to work for us this summer all completed their basic training and orientation.

      “Then we had the “Stop Soros” bill in February and Viktor Orbán’s re-election in April and not one of them will still come to work here this summer.

      “They are all terrified what working for an organisation like Amnesty International will mean for them and their futures – this is in a EU country.”

      In 2018 – despite its rich multicultural history – Hungary has become the most anti-migrant country in Europe.

      Consulting firm Gallup recently devised a Migrant Acceptance Index to measure how accepting populations were on issues such as “an immigrant becoming your neighbour”.

      Hungary recorded the third-worst score in the entire world.

      Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán of the Fidesz party, was re-elected for a fourth term in April’s landslide election win, and relentlessly campaigned to a drumbeat of xenophobic rhetoric – laying the blame for the entirety of Hungary’s woes, from its collapsing education system to widespread political corruption, at the feet of the migranj.

      Mr Orban, who enjoys near messianic levels of popularity, has been labelled the EU’s answer to Vladimir Putin and has referred to all refugees as “Muslim invaders” and migrants trying to reach Hungary as a “poison” that his country does not need.

      Buoyed by the election outcome, Mr Orbán’s government has submitted a new piece of anti-migrant legislation, informally called the “Stop Soros” bill.

      The proposition is named after the American/Hungarian billionaire and civil society donor, George Soros, who Mr Orbán claims is trying to “settle millions from Africa and the Middle East” to disrupt Hungary’s homogeneity.

      Controversially, the bill declares that any NGOs that “sponsor, organise or support the entry or stay of third-country citizens on Hungarian territory” will be viewed as a “national security risk”.

      NGOs will have to obtain permission from Hungary’s interior minister to continue to operate and those breaking the rules to support migrants of any kind have been told they will be fined and shut down.

      Incredibly, their employees could then also face jail time.

      “The constant stoking of hatred by the current government for political gain has led to this latest shameful development, which is blatantly xenophobic and runs counter to European and international human rights standards and values,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights (Unhcr), has said.

      According to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), just 1,216 asylum seekers were granted protection in Hungary in 2017.

      In the same year, 325,400 asylum seekers were granted protection in Germany, followed by 40,600 in France, 35,100 in Italy, 34,000 in Austria and 31,200 in Sweden.

      A further 2,880 applications were rejected and recognition rates for those arriving from war zones such as Syria and Iraq even remain low.

      The country also refused to resettle even one refugee from the inundated Italy and Greece as part of the EU’s mandatory quota programme.

      Orbán’s government has implemented a three-pronged strategy to attempt to eradicate the arrival of refugees in Hungary.

      The “keep them out” policy was signposted by the triumphant construction, in June 2015, of a mammoth 175km long, 4m high razor wire fence on the Hungarian-Serbian border.

      This impenetrable barrier was later extended to the Hungarian-Croatian frontier.

      A highly controversial “pushback law” was also introduced, whereby potential refugees caught in the country with no legal documentation could be removed by any means possible to Serbia.

      Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which provides medical treatment to refugees on the Serbian side of the frontier, has recorded hundreds of cases of intentional injuries allegedly perpetrated by Hungarian border patrols during “pushbacks” – a claim that the Hungarian government has denied.

      They include beating injuries, dog bites and irritation from tear gas and pepper sprays.

      Between January 2016 and February 2017, MSF also recorded that just over one in five of these alleged attacks were inflicted on children.

      “This pushback law is completely arbitrary and massively contradicts EU law,” says Gabor Gyulai, director of the HHC.

      “Violence is a clear accompanying phenomenon of the pushback policy.”

      To action asylum requests from those fleeing conflict, the government has set up two transit camps outside the Hungarian border towns of Tompa and Roeszke to house applicants.

      In 2016, 60 refugees were allowed to enter the transit zones per day but the HHC believes this has plunged to a mere one person a day, on average, at each site.

      This tactic is designed to split up entire families for an infinite time period.

      Refugees fortunate to be allowed to cross into Hungary then experience the second carefully calculated prong – “detain them all”.

      Living conditions are “absolutely inhumane”, according to the HHC.

      “We know what is going on there, it is like a military camp where you are guarded everywhere, minimal privacy,” Mr Gabor says.

      “Plus you live in a shipping container and we have a continental climate. In the summer, temperatures can easily reach 40 degrees inside.

      “Many of the adults who arrive are already in poor mental health; they have been tortured or witnessed death.

      “Then they are then stuck in a space a few metres squared in size.

      Although NGOs are offering psychological assistance to the asylum-seekers, they are denied the opportunity to take it.

      “We have an NGO here, the Cordelia Foundation, which can provide specialist psycho-therapeutic assistance to these individuals but they are not allowed to do so by the government.”

      “It is totally senseless and completely inadequate for the vulnerable.”

      The third deterrent strategy deployed is the “withdrawal of integration support”, which occurs if a refugee is granted permanent residency in Hungary.

      Individuals are transferred to a reception centre near the remote Austrian border town of Vámosszabadi.

      They are given 30 days free board and food and then left to fend for themselves, provided with no language courses or labour integration – as occurs in many other European countries.

      Abdul, a young man from Afghanistan, currently resides in the run-down and very decrepit facility in Vámosszabadi.

      Granted asylum in Hungary after an arduous journey via Iran, Turkey and Serbia, Abdul received death threats from the Taliban for working as an English translator for American troops stationed in his home country.

      “I want to scream, I am going crazy,” he says.

      Abdul claims that those staying at the centre have been the victim of beatings from both security personnel and local residents, which is why he would like to use a pseudonym.

      When approached by The Independent for comment, the Hungarian government refused to address the accusations.

      “I have travelled through so many different places, I thought I would drown in the sea, but Hungary is the worst.

      “The people here, they hate us and the conditions here and on the border are not fit for animals.

      “I have seen my friends beaten, refused food, we are treated like inmates here, second class humans, not actual people with needs and hopes.”

      Like others granted refugee status in Hungary, Abdul planned to leave as soon as his reception permit expired and head for Western Europe.

      The Unhcr has now taken the unprecedented step of urging EU states to stop returning asylum seekers to Hungary over fears about their security on arrival.

      “There is no future here unless you are Hungarian,” Abdul adds. “Europe has forgotten us.”

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/hungary-refugees-immigration-viktor-orban-racism-border-fence-a844604

    • La Commission européenne forme un #recours contre la Hongrie devant la #CJUE

      19.07.2018 – Commission européenne - Recours en manquement -
      Migration et asile

      (...)

      MIGRATION ET ASILE : LA COMMISSION FRANCHIT DE NOUVELLES ÉTAPES DANS DES
      PROCÉDURES D'INFRACTION OUVERTES CONTRE LA HONGRIE

      La Commission européenne a décidé aujourd’hui de former un recours
      contre la Hongrie devant la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne pour
      non-conformité de sa législation en matière d’asile et de retour avec
      le droit de l’Union. La Commission a également envoyé aujourd’hui une
      lettre de mise en demeure à la Hongrie concernant une nouvelle
      législation hongroise qui érige en infractions pénales les activités
      de soutien aux demandes d’asile et de séjour et restreint davantage
      encore le droit de demander l’asile. Au sujet de la saisine de la Cour
      pour non-respect de la législation de l’Union en matière d’asile et de
      retour : la Commission a lancé pour la première fois une procédure
      d’infraction contre la Hongrie au sujet de sa législation en matière
      d’asile en décembre 2015. À la suite d’une série d’échanges au
      niveau tant administratif que politique et de l’envoi d’une lettre de
      mise en demeure complémentaire, la Commission a adressé un avis
      motivé à la Hongrie en décembre 2017. Après avoir analysé la
      réponse fournie par les autorités hongroises, la Commission considère
      que la plupart des préoccupations soulevées n’ont toujours pas été
      abordées et a donc à présent décidé de former un recours contre la
      Hongrie devant la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne, la dernière
      étape de la procédure d’infraction. Au sujet de la lettre de mise en
      demeure concernant la nouvelle législation hongroise qui érige en
      infractions pénales les activités de soutien aux demandes d’asile :
      cette nouvelle législation – baptisée « Stop Soros » par les
      autorités hongroises – érige en infraction pénale toute assistance
      offerte par des organisations nationales, internationales et non
      gouvernementales ou par toute personne à des personnes qui souhaitent
      introduire une demande d’asile ou de permis de séjour en Hongrie. Cette
      législation comprend également des mesures qui restreignent les
      libertés individuelles, en empêchant toute personne faisant l’objet
      d’une procédure pénale au titre de cette législation d’approcher les
      zones de transit aux frontières hongroises où les demandeurs d’asile
      sont retenus. Les sanctions vont d’une détention temporaire à une
      peine d’emprisonnement pouvant aller jusqu’à un an et à l’expulsion du
      pays. En outre, la nouvelle législation et une modification
      constitutionnelle ont instauré de nouveaux motifs pour déclarer une
      demande d’asile irrecevable, en limitant le droit d’asile aux seules
      personnes qui arrivent en Hongrie directement depuis un lieu où leur
      vie ou leur liberté sont menacées. La Commission est donc parvenue à
      la conclusion que la Hongrie manque aux obligations qui lui incombent en
      vertu des traités de l’Union, de la législation de l’Union et de la
      charte des droits fondamentaux de l’Union européenne. Les autorités
      hongroises disposent de deux mois pour répondre aux préoccupations
      exprimées par la Commission. La Commission est prête à soutenir les
      autorités hongroises et à les aider à remédier à ce problème. Pour
      de plus amples informations, voir la version intégrale du communiqué
      de presse.

      Lettres de mise en demeure

      MIGRATION LÉGALE : LA COMMISSION INVITE INSTAMMENT LA HONGRIE À METTRE
      EN ŒUVRE CORRECTEMENT LA DIRECTIVE SUR LES RÉSIDENTS DE LONGUE DURÉE

      La Commission a décidé ce jour d’envoyer une lettre de mise en demeure
      à la Hongrie au motif qu’elle exclut les ressortissants de pays tiers
      ayant le statut de résident de longue durée de l’exercice de la
      profession de vétérinaire et ne met donc pas correctement en œuvre la
      directive sur les résidents de longue durée (directive 2003/109/CE du
      Conseil). La directive exige que les ressortissants de pays tiers qui
      résident légalement dans un État membre de l’UE depuis au moins cinq
      ans bénéficient d’un traitement égal à celui des ressortissants
      nationaux dans certains domaines, y compris l’accès aux activités
      salariées et indépendantes. La législation hongroise n’autorise pas
      les ressortissants de pays tiers ayant la qualité de vétérinaire
      professionnel, y compris ceux ayant obtenu leur diplôme en Hongrie, à
      exercer leur profession dans le pays. La Hongrie dispose à présent de
      deux mois pour répondre aux arguments avancés par la Commission.

      MIGRATION LÉGALE : LA COMMISSION DEMANDE À 17 ÉTATS MEMBRES DE METTRE
      EN ŒUVRE LA DIRECTIVE SUR LES ÉTUDIANTS ET LES CHERCHEURS DE PAYS
      TIERS

      La Commission a décidé aujourd’hui d’envoyer des lettres de mise en
      demeure à 17 États membres (AUTRICHE, BELGIQUE, CROATIE, CHYPRE,
      RÉPUBLIQUETCHÈQUE, FINLANDE, FRANCE, GRÈCE, HONGRIE, LETTONIE,
      LITUANIE, LUXEMBOURG, POLOGNE, ROUMANIE, SLOVÉNIE, ESPAGNEET SUÈDE)
      pour défaut de communication de la législation nationale destinée à
      transposer intégralement la directive relative aux conditions
      d’entrée, de séjour et de mobilité sur le territoire de l’Union des
      ressortissants de pays tiers à des fins de recherche, d’études, de
      formation, de volontariat et de programmes d’échange d’élèves ou de
      projets éducatifs et de travail au pair (directive 2016/801). Les
      États membres avaient jusqu’au 23 mai 2018 pour mettre leur
      législation nationale en conformité avec cette directive et en
      informer la Commission. Ils ont à présent deux mois pour transposer
      intégralement la directive en droit national. À défaut, la Commission
      pourrait envisager de leur adresser des avis motivés.

      Source : Commission européenne - Communiqué de presse

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-4522_fr.htm


  • TRAITOR: The Whistleblower and the “American Taliban”

    http://whistlebl0wer.com/traitor-whistleblower-american-taliban

    This is the the memoir of the Justice Department legal ethics advisor, Jesselyn Radack, who blew the whistle on government misconduct in the case of the so-called “American Taliban,” John Walker Lindh–America’s first terrorism prosecution after 9/11.

    About the Author

    Jesselyn Radack is currently the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower organization. Previously, she served on the DC Bar Legal Ethics Committee and worked at the Justice Department for seven years, first as a trial attorney and later as a legal ethics advisor.

    “The Justice Department forced me out of my job” she writes, “placed me under criminal investigation, got me fired from my next job in the private sector, reported me to the state bars in which I’m licensed as an attorney, and put me on the ‘no fly list.’”

    Her offense? She believed, erroneously as it turned out, that the Department would not want to use illegally obtained evidence in its prosecution of John Walker Lindh, an American convert to Islam. He had been imprisoned by Afghan warlords in November 2001 soon after the U.S.-led NATO invasion of the country after 9/11.

    Lindh, then 20, was a California-born convert to Islam. He had travelled to Yemen on a spiritual quest in 2000, and went to Afghanistan in June 2001 to join the Taliban army at a time when the Taliban government, a United States ally in the 1980s, was still receiving United States aid. Lindh survived a harsh POW camp in which more than three quarters of his 400 fellow Taliban POWs died in chaotic conditions along with an American interrogator.

    Radack advised against further federal interrogation of Lindh without a lawyer present because his parents had retained counsel. Later, she blew the whistle when she learned that the department destroyed evidence of her advice, and then withheld the evidence from a Virginia federal court, where Lindh faced charges of murder and treason in a high-profile prosecution helping inflame the public in the earliest stages of the war.

    Radack’s gripping tale describes a culture clash at the Justice Department between due process advocates and conviction-hungry zealots.

    #Jesselyn_Radack


  • THE U.S. QUIETLY RELEASED AFGHANISTAN’S “BIGGEST DRUG KINGPIN” FROM PRISON. DID HE CUT A DEAL ?
    https://theintercept.com/2018/05/01/haji-juma-khan-afghanistan-drug-trafficking-cia-dea

    IN OCTOBER 2008, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration heralded the arrest of Haji Juma Khan on narcotics and terror charges. His capture, they said, dealt a punishing blow to the Taliban and the symbiotic relationship between the insurgent group and Afghan drug traffickers.

    Yet, unbeknownst to all but the closest observers of the largely forgotten Afghanistan War, Khan was quietly released from Federal Bureau of Prisons custody last month. After nearly 10 years at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, the terms of his release – like nearly everything else about his case – remain shrouded in secrecy.

    The secrecy reflects the U.S. government’s conflicted relationship with Khan. Before his arrest, the alleged drug trafficker worked with the CIA and the DEA, received payments from the government, and, at one point, visited Washington and New York on the DEA’s dime. After his arrest, federal prosecutors sought to link Khan’s support for the Taliban to a suicide bombing, as well as a separate attack on a Kabul hotel that killed one American. A trap set by the top DEA official in Kabul ultimately led to his arrest.

    Since 2012, the filings in Khan’s case have been under seal. As a result, it is impossible to determine whether he pleaded guilty to any of the charges against him, whether he received a sentence or was ordered to pay restitution to victims, or, upon his release last month, whether he was deported or allowed to remain in the United States.


  • Turkey deports over 6,800 Afghan migrants

    The Turkish government has deported 6,846 Afghan refugees back to Kabul recently, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Migration Management.

    The directorate said the migrants were deported from the eastern provinces of Erzurum, Ağrı, and the western province of İzmir on nine charter flights, as well as additional scheduled flights following the completion of deportation procedures, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on April 16.

    The undocumented migrants were reported to have entered Turkey through Iran via illegal means and were mostly captured in Erzurum.

    More migrants will be deported to Afghanistan through an additional four charter flights in the upcoming days, the directorate said.

    Turkey is a common transit country for migrants trying to reach Europe. Turkey accelerated the deportation process on April 8, following reports that nearly 20,000 undocumented Afghan migrants have arrived in the country over the past three months, an unprecedented number.

    The first group of Afghan migrants, consisting of more than 200 people, left Erzurum on April 8 on a charter flight bound for Kabul, with reports following that a total of 3,000 were planned to be deported from Erzurum alone.

    The Interior Ministry on April 7 said the Afghan migrants had crossed into Turkey through Iran due to “ongoing terrorist activities and economic troubles” in Afghanistan and security forces had handed the migrants over to provincial immigration authorities

    “Following the completion of deportation procedures for illegal migrants in our other provinces, deportations will speed up and continue in the coming days,” the ministry said in a statement.

    During an official visit to Kabul on April 8, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the Interior Ministry was conducting a productive plan to stop the inflow of illegal Afghan migrants.

    https://www.pajhwok.com/en/2018/04/17/turkey-deports-over-6800-afghan-migrants
    #réfugiés_afghans #renvois #expulsions #Afghanistan #Turquie #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    cc @i_s_ @tchaala_la @isskein

    • Turkey : Thousands of Afghans swept up in ruthless deportation drive

      At least 2,000 Afghans who fled to Turkey to escape conflict and the worst excesses of the Taliban are in detention and at imminent risk of being forced back to danger, Amnesty International said today. The Turkish authorities appear to be ramping up a deportation spree that has seen 7,100 Afghans rounded up and returned to Afghanistan since early April.

      The Turkish authorities told Amnesty International that all these returns are voluntary, and that the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has periodic access to places of detention. However, in telephone interviews with detainees in the Düziçi container camp in southern Turkey, where at least 2,000 Afghans are believed to be held, Amnesty International heard how detainees have been pressured to sign documents written in Turkish, which they are unable to understand. These could be “voluntary repatriation forms,” which the Turkish authorities have previously used in coercive circumstances with Syrian and other refugees.

      https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/04/turkey-thousands-of-afghans-swept-up-in-ruthless-deportation-drive

    • Total of Afghans deported from Turkey to reach 10,000

      The Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced this week that 29,899 Afghans had crossed into Turkey since January – this compares to a total of 45,259 for the whole of 2017. The Minister said 7,100 migrants have been sent back to Afghanistan since early April and this number is likely to rise to 10,000 by the end of the week.

      https://www.ecre.org/total-of-afghans-deported-from-turkey-to-reach-10000

    • Mass Deportations of Afghans from Turkey: Thousands of migrants sent back in a deportation drive

      In a recent television appearance, the Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, said that 15,000 Afghans have been sent back home from Turkey. While it is likely that this number has been exaggerated, there is no doubt that in April and May of 2018, thousands of Afghan migrants were sent back on charter flights from Turkey to Kabul. This is the Turkish government’s response after a 400 per cent increase in arrivals of Afghan migrants to Turkey during the first quarter of 2018. In early April of this year, the first charter flight carrying Afghans back to Kabul flew out of Erzurum, a city in eastern Anatolia that has become the centre of these returns. AAN’s guest author Amy Pitonak visited Erzurum to find out first-hand about the situation for Afghans there.

      https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/mass-deportations-of-afghans-from-turkey


  • When Terrorists and Criminals Govern Better Than Governments - The Atlantic

    Une vison iconoclaste

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/04/terrorism-governance-religion/556817

    The Taliban claims to adhere to a strict interpretation of Islamic law, but that didn’t stop them from learning to love the poppy. The Islamic State developed an unforgiving set of laws to govern its caliphate, even as it engaged in widespread smuggling of antiquities and the synthetic drug Captagon. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (the farc) were once puritanically anti-drugs but turned wholeheartedly to supporting the cocaine economy following their Eighth Party Congress in 1982. This isn’t necessarily surprising. Despite initial protestations, militant groups often engage in criminal operations—drugs, trafficking, and smuggling—to fund their activities.

    But crime is not their primary calling—they also seek to govern. These groups may be evil but they can also be rational, calculating, and sometimes surprisingly effective, outperforming existing governments. Yet this fundamental point is often lost on policymakers.