(00:13) The international meeting to determine how to best support Yemen and stabilize the country started today in London. The American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, arrived in London today to participate in the meeting that is being attended by 24 countries.
(00:32) In other news, the Washington Post newspaper quoted American officials who said that American teams were working in secret operations with the Yemeni Army against the al-Qa’ida organization. The officials clarified that American advisors helped plan an operation against al-Qa’ida in December of last year.
(00:51) The United Nation’s sections committee announced today that the names of five previous members of the Taliban were scratched off a list of those described as involved with terrorism. Diplomats believe that this step paves the way for the conference in London on Afghan affairs that will be held tomorrow.
(01:10) The official (1m) in Sri Lanka announced that the current President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a second (presidential) term. The (Sri Lankan) army surrounded the headquarters of the opposition leader for the second time. (The opposition leader) requested the protection of one of the neighboring countries.
(01:25) The spokesperson for the South Korean Ministry of Unity spoke about the country’s stance in the face of Pyongyang’s decision to implement a “no-sail” zone in a contested area between the two countries, saying that it was “still under review.” Pyongyang and Seoul had exchanged fire the previous day in the contested area.
(01:46) An official in the Lebanese army said that they will expand the search area for the remains of the wrecked Ethiopian airline if the black box is not found today. The official said that improving weather conditions will help further facilitate the (search) teams’ mission.
(00:13) The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said that he hasn’t heard any news yet about survivors from the crash of one of its passenger airplanes early yesterday morning after its takeoff from Beirut airport. There were 90 passengers on board. Rescue teams have so far recovered 30 bodies and numerous (1m) from the airplane’s wreckage. 54 Lebanese were among the passengers, along with 22 Ethiopians and the wife of the French Ambassador in Beirut.
(00:44) The Lebanese President, Michel Sulayman, has already held a meeting at the Ministry of Defense to look into the circumstances surrounding the airplane crash and ruled out any sort of act of sabotage. Likewise the Lebanese Minister of Defense, Elias Murr, confirmed that American planes would participate in the rescue operations, with permission from the Lebanese (Government).
(01:03) The American General, Stanley McCrystal, Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, said that he hopes that the increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan will lead to the weakening of the Taliban to the point that it will sign a peace treaty and end the war.
(01:25) Five soldiers were injured in an attack on a military checkpoint in the province of al-Dhaliya’ in Yemen, which the authorities said was launched by armed fighters from the “Harak al-Janubi” (Southern Movement) Elsewhere, 3 students were injured, one seriously, in an outbreak of gunfire by the Southern Movement’s forces which it said was accidental and unintentional, whereas the authorities said that it was the result of the Southern Movement’s attempts to force students to participate in the insurrection that the Southern Movement has called for.
(01:55) Preparations continue in Sri Lanka for tomorrow’s Presidential election, and ballot boxes began to be distributed to voting centers country-wide. The current President, Makinda Rajapaksa, and the former commander of the Army, Sarath Fonseka, are among the most prominent of the candidates in this election.
Two American soldiers working with the North American Treaty (Organization) Forces (NATO) were killed in an explosion in eastern Afghanistan according to a NATO announcement today. Elsewhere, the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, emphasized that his country has required very little of the financial aid from the United States and there was no blank check as was mentioned in discussions with the American President, Barack Obama.
In the context of combat developments in Afghanistan, four Afghan soldiers and a civilian were killed in a car bomb in southeastern Khost province.
Likewise the Afghan Army announced the injury of three of it’s members and three civilians in a car bomb in southern Kandahar province, and a Afghan officer was killed and six soldiers wounded in an IED detonation targeting their convoy in the Ghazni province.
It’s worth mentioning that it was announced yesterday, Tuesday, that eight people were killed in clashes with Afghan and American security forces during protests of what (the protesters) said was desecration of a copy of the Holy Qur’an by international forces in the Jarmasir area of the Helmand province. At the same time, the NATO commander in Afghanistan said that 16 armed fighters were killed in UAV drone strikes in southern Afghanistan.
On the political side, the Afghan President denied what his American counterpart, Barack Obama, has repeated, which is that Washington was giving Kabul a blank check, but with that Karzai expressed his gratitude for the little financial (aid) that Washington was sending to Afghanistan.
Karzai said in an interview with the American television network ABC News, “We don’t have the right to obligate the American people to pay for us, or to help us, this is our country and we must protect it by ourselves and carry the financial burden ourselves.”
Karzai added, “We welcome the aid from America, and until now has (1m) billions for us, likewise in regards to the gratitude we are grateful for the help that we have received.”
Karzai has already requested America’s patience if his government is unable to meet the mandatory final date to take over responsibility for security that is set to occur at the end of 2011, and with that he has expressed his satisfaction that the withdrawal date is beneficial for Afghanistan.
Karzai explained his opinion, saying, “It pushes us to work with increased diligence towards strengthening and training our forces, and we will be involved in the life of Afghanistan, and we think a lot about how we use our resources in the best way, live within our means, and protect our country.”
The Afghan President gave assurance of his conviction that the United States and Kabul’s other allies will continue to stand with his country for many coming years, emphasizing that Afghanistan that enjoys self-sufficiency in all aspects of the country.
Obama had already announced – in a speech he gave last month – that he will send 30,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan, but he is placing pressure on Karzai, “To stamp out the corruption in (Karzai)’s administration,” and (Obama) pledged to begin bringing the American soldiers in Afghanistan back home at the end of 18 months, and to turn over responsibility to the Afghan forces.
It’s worth mentioning that since the United States lead the invasion into Afghanistan in 2001 to throw out the Taliban, Washington has sunk around 171.4 billion dollars to keep the Taliban away, and around 900 American soldiers have been killed in fighting with the Taliban and the al-Qa’ida organization in Afghanistan.