Thursday, 9 September 2010

British journalist freed in Pakistan

Asad Qureshi, the British journalist kidnapped in March in North Waziristan, has been freed and reunited with his family in Islamabad, according to reports. Qureshi, who was working on a Channel 4 documentary, was taken prisoner along with two Pakistani former intelligence officers - one of whom was subsequently murdered by his captors - and a driver. There is no word on the fate of the driver or of Colonel Imam, a well-known former ISI officer who claims to have trained many of the leaders of the Afghan Taliban in guerrilla tactics.
The other ISI officer, Khalid Khwaja, was shot and dumped outside the town of Mir Ali on 28 April. Days before he had been shown in a videotape 'confessing' to being an American spy.
The group responsible for the kidnaps and killing called itself the Asian Tigers, but was in fact a splinter group from the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a notorious sectarian group that originated in the Punjab. They were also known as the Punjabi Taliban, even though their ranks included some discredited members of the Mahsud tribe from Waziristan.
Two weeks ago, the leader of the Asian Tigers, Usman Punjabi, was killed along with five of his followers in a shoot-out with rivals in a dispute over an Arab widow in the Dandy Darpakhel area of North Waziristan. It is likely that Qureshi's release is connected to this event, which effectively destroyed the Asian Tigers as an organisation.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, it has been reported that Japanese journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka, who had been held captive for five months, was freed on Monday after using his guard's new phone to send a Twitter message. Interesting to note that his captors were from Hezb-e-Islami, but pretended they were from the Taliban.
Update: On Friday it was reported that Qureshi's driver, Rustam Khan, has also been released by the kidnap gang that had been holding them and Col. Imam. Still no word on the fate of Col. Imam.


Dawn Weleski said...

Dear Nick Fielding,


My name is Dawn Weleski, and I am one of the collaborators of Conflict

I am writing to you to ask for your cooperation with a project discussing
Afghan culture, everyday life, and politics, called Bolani Pazi. Please
feel free to participate as your time and comfort level will allow.

Bolani Pazi, an Afghan take-out restaurant that will be located in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, is the second iteration of Conflict Kitchen
(to open mid-October). The Afghan take-out restaurant will serve bolani
with a choice of four different fillings: potato and green onion, pumpkin,
lentils, or spinach. The bolani will be packaged in a custom-designed
wrapper that highlights the thoughts, perceptions, and opinions of Afghans
both in the U.S. and in Afghanistan. While the take-out restaurant is
serving Afghan food, we will create programming that extends and deepens the
dialogue between everyday Americans and Afghans.

In an effort to collect quotes for the wrapper, I am writing to you with
a short list of questions that I would ask each of you (if you are an Afghan
that has even lived in Afghanistan or is currently living in
Afghanistan) to answer (LISTED BELOW). You many answer as many questions as
you wish. Additionally, if you have feedback on these questions, please
feel free to send it my way so that we can adjust our approach before we
send out to a larger group. Please send all answers to Please pass along these questions to other Afghans
that you may know.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and concerns. Finally,
please allow me to extend me sincere appreciation for your participation.
This collaboration is the crux, the heart of the Conflict Kitchen project.


Dawn Weleski
Conflict Kitchen collaborator
U.S. cell: +1 724-681-3886
skype: dawn.weleski

Dawn Weleski said...

***Please note that these questions were created to reflect those that
might be on the mind of the AVERAGE American.***

As a woman, what's your role in Afghan culture? In your family?
What do you do when you get together with other women?

What is your ethnic heritage?
How do you in general express your/their ethnic identity?
How do the differnt Afghan ethnicities relate to each other?

What is a essential food for all Afgan households, and how are these foods
acquired (cultivated at home, local market, imported from other
Do you get take away or street food often? What do you get? What is the
experience like?
What makes a good bolani?

What do you think of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan?
How has everyday life changed for you since the American occupation?
What perceptions do Afghans have of average Americans living in the U.S.?

What do you do for fun or leisure?

Describe the current Afghan government structure.
What's the most important issue that you would like your government to
What type of government do you see in the future for Afghanistan?

How available is public education in your community?
What informal education has shaped your lifestyle and value system?
Was your education secular or did it maintain some level of religious
What sort of education do you wish for you child?

How do Afghans find husbands or wives?
What's dating like in Afghanistan?

What are your feelings about the Taliban?
What are your feelings about Al-Queda?
What role, if any, do either of these groups play in your day-to-day life?

What role do cell phones and personal electronic devices play in daily
Afghan life?

What are your hopes for your children?
What are your hopes for your country?


Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from
countries that the United States is in conflict with. The food is served
out of a take-out style storefront, which will rotate identities every 4
months to highlight another country. Each Conflict Kitchen iteration will
be augmented by events, performances, and discussion about the the
culture, politics, and issues at stake with each country we focus on.

Kubideh Kitchen, our current iteration, is an Iranian take-out restaurant
that serves kubideh in freshly baked barbari bread with onion, mint, and
basil. Developed in collaboration with members of the Pittsburgh Iranian
community, the sandwich is packaged in a custom-designed wrapper that
includes interviews with Iranians both in Pittsburgh and Iran on subjects
ranging from Iranian food and poetry to the current political turmoil.