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THE STANS
Wikipedia co-founder slams Wikileaks over Afghan documents

Women, warlords on peace council for Taliban talks: Karzai
Kabul (AFP) Sept 28, 2010 - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday he had appointed members of a committee that will aim to talk peace with the Taliban, including women, former warlords and members of his cabinet. "Today we will announce the list of the High Peace Council members," Karzai said during a ceremony marking national literacy day. The creation of the council was one of the decisions made in June at a "peace jirga" in Kabul attended by community, tribal, religious and political leaders from across the country. Karzai has been pushing to open a dialogue with the Taliban leadership aimed at speeding an end to the war heading into its 10th year -- but the Taliban have rejected talks unless NATO-led foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

Officials have said the council would include former members of the Taliban and Hizb-i-Islami, a minor but vicious militant group led by former prime minister and mujahedeen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Islami is currently in a tenuous alliance with the Taliban, although both sides remain suspicious of each other. Karzai said the full list of 65 members would be announced later Tuesday, but named warlord Mohammad Mohaqiq and current minister of education Ghulam Farooq Wardak. "There are sisters on the list, too," he said, without naming any of the women to be appointed. When in power, the Taliban banned women from going to school, working or leaving their homes without the company of male relatives.

The United States and NATO have more than 150,000 troops in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban-led insurgency, most of them in the southern hotspots of Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Karzai renewed his call Tuesday for the Taliban to stop fighting and join the peace process. "Compatriots! Do not destroy your land (country) for other's interests. Do not kill your people for other's interests, do not close down schools for other's interests," he said a speech at a Kabul high school, referring to Taliban insurgents. Karzai has made indirect references to Pakistan and other neighbouring countries allegedly supporting the Taliban for their long-term strategic interests. On occasions he has named Pakistan directly. "Taliban and others, if they consider themselves from this country, and consider themselves Muslims and Afghans, must know every bullet they fire is a bullet at the heart of this land and at the interest of enemies of this land," he said.
by Staff Writers
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Sept 28, 2010
The co-founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, on Tuesday slammed whistleblower WikiLeaks over its release of Afghan war documents which he said could "get people killed".

Wales also expressed irritation over the website's use of the term "Wiki" in its name, which refers to a site that allows different users to collaborate and make contributions.

"I would distance myself from WikiLeaks, I wish they wouldn't use the name, they are not a Wiki. A big way they got famous in the first place was by using the word Wiki, which was unfortunate in my view," he said at a business conference in Kuala Lumpur.

WikiLeaks, in collaboration with The New York Times, Britain's Guardian and Der Spiegel of Germany, published 77,000 Afghan war documents in July and has said it will release another 15,000 related documents soon.

Earlier this month, WikiLeaks also announced plans to release a "massive cache" of classified US military field reports on the conflict in Iraq.

Wales, whose user-generated online encyclopedia has been a huge success, said such documents -- which experts say constitute one of the biggest-ever leaks of military intelligence -- must be handled responsibly.

"In the most recent round of leaks, the New York Times for example... actually redacted certain information that could put people in harm's way whereas Wikileaks is planning to publish absolutely everything," he said.

"I think it is really important when we have sensitive information, that we do rely on responsible journalists to sort through it for us... it's much better than dumping all kinds of crazy information online and get people killed," he added.

Wales said the documents could refer to "good-hearted people" working for civil society groups in Afghanistan, who would be affected if they were referred to in the leaked papers.

"It isn't proof of anything but could be enough to get someone killed," he said.

"I don't think Julian Assange wants those people killed, however if he irresponsibly follows the policy of releasing absolutely everything, it's incredibly dangerous for those people," he said, referring to WikiLeaks' spokesman.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has previously warned the release of classified Afghan war documents may endanger the safety of international and Afghan troops.

The United States and NATO have 152,000 troops in Afghanistan aiming to quell the insurgency that began soon after the Taliban regime was overthrown in a US-led invasion in late 2001.

Created in 2006, WikiLeaks first gained widespread notoriety with the release of a graphic video of a US military Apache helicopter strike in Baghdad in 2007 that killed two Reuters employees and a number of other people.

earlier related report
Indian police hunt down Maoist insurgents
New Delhi (UPI) Sep 28, 2010 - Indian police said a dozen Maoists were killed in a joint operation launched by the security forces of Jharkhand and Orissa states last weekend.

Jharkhand Director General of Police Neyaz Ahmad said the fighting took place in Saranda forest and that some of the bodies of the Maoists have been found.

It isn't uncommon for the Maoist insurgents to take the bodies of their dead with them as they flee ahead of a security forces sweep through the countryside and small villages.

The thick forest of Saranda, with its dense canopies of trees as well as tigers and leopards, has been controlled by the Maoists for nearly a decade and been an unsafe place for police as well as tourists.

The security offensive in the 320 square miles of forest is part of the continuing two-year Operation Green Hunt begun by the federal government to regain the mostly rural territory lost to the insurgents.

Around 50,000 federal paramilitary troops and tens of thousands of civilians have been drafted in for the operation.

The communist-led rebels originated in the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal in India's remote forested and mineral-rich far eastern reaches in the 1960s.

They demand more of the wealth from the region's natural resources, especially from new mining projects, be spread among the mainly rural poor.

A surge in deaths last year to 1,134 prompted the government to launch Operation Green Hunt. Orrisa and Jharkhand states are in what is known as the "red corridor" that takes in several rural states in eastern and central India.

Green Hunt relies on security forces being stationed in so-called Naxal-infested areas where they can attempt to win the hearts and minds of the poor, who are often attracted to Naxalite promises of a better life.

More then 200 security forces personnel have been killed this year. But police often are targets for hostage taking.

Maoists threatened to kill four policemen they took hostage last week unless Naxalite prisoners are freed, officials said. They were taken hostage during a gunfight with security forces in which seven other officers were killed.

The insurgents abducted seven policemen in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh state, on Sept. 19 and three of them were later found dead in the forest.

Police said that they recovered the body of sub-inspector Lucas Tete but the fate of the other officers wasn't known.

"I presume that the remaining three policemen are safe and sound. We cannot jump to conclusions," senior police official P.K. Thakur said.

In the past several days, Maoists also blew up a hostel and triggered three land mine blasts. A helicopter was dispatched to the area and security authorities said they destroyed a small Maoist training camp.



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THE STANS
NATO, Afghan forces sweep through Kandahar
Kandahar, Afghanistan (AFP) Sept 27, 2010
Hundreds of Afghan police on Monday joined a key military offensive against the Taliban in their heartland in southern Afghanistan, officials said. NATO forces are leading a new push against insurgents in Kandahar city and surrounding areas, dubbed Operation Dragon Strike, officials said. Dragon Strike was the latest phase of Operation Hamkari, seen as a last-ditch effort to eliminate th ... read more







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