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Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Humanitarian Aid in Afghanistan

posted by Brian Ulrich at Tuesday, May 11, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Some of you may remember that we are currently fighting a war in Afghanistan against people who attacked us on September 11. Here's a news clip related to that:

"The US-led coalition in Afghanistan has distributed leaflets calling on people to provide information on al-Qaida and the Taliban or face losing humanitarian aid. The move has outraged aid organisations who said their work is independent of the military and it was despicable to pretend otherwise.

"Medécins Sans Frontières, the international medical charity which passed the leaflets to the Guardian, said the threat endangered aid workers. Fourteen aid workers were killed in Afghanistan last year and 11 so far this year.

"After examining the leaflets yesterday Britain and the US said they had been a mistake and it was not their policy to link aid with military operations in that way. The decision to distribute the leaflets had been made at a local level, they said.

"Last night the Pentagon said it would instruct forces in the field and those on future training courses not to repeat the mistake. Joseph Collins, deputy assistant secretary at the Pentagon, said: "I have seen the leaflets in question. While they were no doubt well-intentioned, they do not reflect US policy. The United States does not condition humanitarian assistance on the provision of intelligence.

"The leaflets were distributed by US forces in Zabul province, which borders Pakistan and where the Taliban have regained control of several districts.

"One of the leaflets, showing an Afghan carrying a bag of provisions, reads: 'In order to continue the humanitarian aid, pass over any information related to Taliban, al-Qaida or Gulbuddin organisations to the coalition forces.' The latter reference is to the renegade warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is believed to have allied himself with the Taliban."

There's more at the link.



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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.