‘How Bagram destroyed me’


Jawed Ahmad has just been released from US military detention at Bagram air base near the Afghan capital, Kabul. In a rare insider’s account of the base, he alleges abuse and, most controversially, that prison guards mishandled the Koran. He spoke to the BBC’s Martin Patience.

For Jawed Ahmad the last 11 months have been the worst of his life.

Jawed Ahmad
Jawed Ahmad says he will fight to his ‘last breath’ for justice

“They destroyed me financially, mentally and physically,” says Mr Ahmad, 21, wearing a traditional shalwar kameez and sporting a thin, wispy beard.

“But most importantly, my mother

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Afghan civilian casualties soar


Afghans grieve over family members allegedly killed in a US air strike
Both sides have been blamed over civilian casualties

There has been a sharp increase in the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan this year, according to new figures released by the United Nations.

They show that August had the highest number of deaths since the overthrow of the Taleban almost seven years ago.

The UN says that from January to August 1,445 civilians were killed – a rise of 39% on the same period last year.

Meanwhile, members of parliament are holding a one-day walk-out in protest the increase in civilian casualties.

A senior member of the senate, Abdul

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Pakistan’s ‘bleakest moment’

Pakistan’s ‘bleakest moment’

Guest columnist Ahmed Rashid says Pakistan is facing its bleakest moment, months after getting a new democratic government.

Stock broker in Karachi
‘Pakistan’s economy is in a meltdown’

Just when Pakistanis thought they had a new democracy, ushering in a new civilian government, a new president and the end of eight years of military rule, they are faced with the bleakest moment in the country’s history.

Proverbially listed as a failing state, this precariously poised country could now be in a downward spiral towards becoming a failed state.

Internationally isolated and condemned by the world community due to its Afghan policy,

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Mistakes By Afghan Translators Endanger Lives, Hamper Antiterrorism Effort

September 02, 2008

By Ron Synovitz


Coalition soldiers meet with local Afghan elders in Helmand Province.

When U.S. or NATO soldiers need to communicate with Afghan villagers, they rely on translators provided by private contractors. But for various reasons — regional dialects, cultural misunderstandings, or even ethnic animosities — translators in Afghanistan often don’t relate everything they hear.

And what is lost in translation can hurt efforts by NATO and the U.S.-led coalition to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. In the worst cases, innocent civilians can be arrested or wrongly targeted as Taliban fighters.

Zalmai …

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