In the Obama administration’s first formal overture to Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that Iran might be invited to an international conference on Afghanistan scheduled for March 31. In 2001, Iran proved helpful to the US war on the Taliban, but Neoconservatives David Frum and Richard Perle deliberately stopped the movement toward rapprochement by inserting Iran into Bush’s “axis of evil” speech. Obama and Clinton are attempting to get back to that positive ground for engaging Iran. Clinton said, “”If we move forward with such a meeting, it is expected that Iran would be invited as a neighbor of Afghanistan. . .”
Putting the Georgia tiff behind it, NATO started back up its high-level contacts with Russia.
These contacts with Russia and Iran are not altruistic. The US and NATO get 90 percent of the needed supplies into Afghanistan via Pakistan, but that route is increasingly beset by violence. With the prospective loss of US access to the Manas base in Kyrgyzstan, the US and NATO are increasingly up a creek without a paddle.
A suicide attack near Bagram Air Force base wounded 3 American contractors on Wednesday. Late Tuesday,a roadside bomb had killed three Canadian soldiers near Qandahar and wounded two others.
It was no accident that the attack occurred near Bagram. Karen Greenberg discusses that notorious black hole where the imprisoned have no rights and have been subjected to torture.
In fact, the United Nations says that human rights in Afghanistan are deteriorating in general. UPI notes lack of accountability for rights violations, and adds:
‘ Concerning women, the report said violence against women such as rape, “honor killings,” early and forced marriage, sexual abuse and slavery remain widespread. The report said freedom of expression was significantly curtailed throughout 2008, characterized by threats, intimidation, and killings of journalists.’
US counter-insurgency efforts with its allies are hobbled by the US reluctance to share intelligence with its partners.
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