Middle East and Asia

A collection of writing from the Middle East and Asia


Karzai denies U.S. coverup of military raid in Afghanistan

August 2, 2002
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan–President Hamid Karzai dismissed allegations Friday that the United States tried to cover up a deadly airstrike and said a continued American presence was crucial to Afghanistan’s future.

Flanked by U.S. special forces bodyguards, Karzai said he visited one of the villages attacked in the July 1 air raid, and when asked if he believed there had been a cover-up said, “I don’t think so. People would have told me.”

Karzai said the air attack in Uruzgan province killed 46 civilians and wounded 117, many of them celebrating at a wedding party. The attack was investigated by the United States and by a separate United Nations fact-finding group. Previously, Afghan officials put the death toll at 48. Read more >>

More reporting from Afghanistan >>


Israel forms hard-line government

February 27, 2003
JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ended weeks of political bargaining Wednesday with an agreement establishing a coalition government dominated by fierce opponents of Palestinian statehood, clouding hopes for any peace initiative.

In a last-minute surprise, Sharon appeared to have sidelined Benjamin Netanyahu — a former prime minister and rival in the Likud Party — by offering him the less prestigious finance portfolio. Netanyahu had said he would only stay on as foreign minister and initially turned down the offer, but still could change his mind.

Sharon could present his Cabinet to parliament for approval as soon as today.

Sharon reached coalition deals with three parties in recent days, and on Wednesday signed “coalition guidelines” cementing the deal.

Sharon has already offered the foreign affairs portfolio to outgoing Finance Minister Silvan Shalom — a 45-year-old Likud stalwart with little diplomatic experience and aspirations of succeeding Sharon. Read more >>

More reporting from Israel and the West Bank >>


Former PM Benazir Bhutto Returns To Pakistan

March 28, 2008
Benazir Bhutto made a dramatic return to Pakistan on Thursday, ending eight years of exile to launch an ambitious political comeback, as tens of thousands of supporters gathered to greet her amid massive security.

Bhutto, who is expected to seek the premiership for an unprecedented third time and partner in ruling Pakistan with U.S.-backed President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was in tears as she descended the steps of a commercial flight that brought her from Dubai to Karachi, where jubilant crowds of flag-waving, drum-thumping supporters waited to give her a rousing welcome. Read more >>

More reporting from Pakistan >>