Close on the heels of the WikiLeaks comes yet another shock for the US Administration. This time from America’s so-called “closest ally in its war against terror” in Afghanistan. In an interview to France-based daily newspaper Le Monde, President Asif Zardari of Pakistan had said, “the international community, of which Pakistan is a part, is losing the war against the Taliban because we have lost the battle for hearts and minds.”
Taken aback by this strong comment, the White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama, who had earlier said progress was being made in Afghanistan, would not agree with Zardari’s conclusion, reports The Time of India.
” ‘Well, I don’t think the (US) President would agree with President Zardari’s conclusion that the war is lost. I haven’t seen the interview. I don’t know why he’s come to that conclusion,’ Gibbs told reporters.
“President Zardari had said, military reinforcements are only a small part of the response. To win the support of the Afghan population, you must bring economic development and prove you can not only change their lives, but improve them’.
“The Wikileak documents suggested that Pakistan’s spy agency ISI continues to play a role in supporting Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, even as the US continues to route billions of dollars in funds to Islamabad in the war against terror…”
Obama and Zardari seem to have joined a debating club. It would have been enjoyable but for the fact that hundreds and thousands of innocent lives, both Afghan and American, are being lost as these politicians attempt one-upmanship.
Americans rank President Obama’s handling of the Afghan war even lower than his stewardship of the economy, new poll says. Only 36% backed Obama’s war policies, down from 48% in February, compared with his 39% rating on the economy, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday. More here…
Meanwhile a Taliban suicide squad armed with bombs and rockets attacked the largest US military base in southern Afghanistan Tuesday, leaving one NATO soldier and two civilians injured. More here…
“President Zardari is right: we have lost the Afghan War and Dave (British prime minister) is pathetically in denial,” writes Gerald Warner in The Telegraph. See here…
Last year Congress approved a mammoth $7.5 billion foreign aid package for Pakistan–one that places only nominal oversight, and virtually no limitations, on Pakistan’s use of American taxpayer dollars. More here>>>
Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.)
Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department’s SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi.
In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF’s Eco-tourism policy.
He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on “Development Journalism” to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years.
In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India — West Bengal and Orissa.
Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia.
Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there.
He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation.
And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.