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Thursday 28 January 2010

Verity Murphy | 18:37 UK time, Thursday, 28 January 2010


Politicians from some 70 countries have been taking part in a summit on the future of Afghanistan in London today.

The conference is aimed at setting a new course for Afghanistan in the wake of escalating violence and a deeply divisive election.

Tonight, our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban, who was at the talks, will report on what the summit has achieved.

We have an interview with UK Foreign Minister David Miliband, who co-chaired the meeting with his Afghan counterpart Rangin Spanta, and UN Special Representative to Afghanistan, Kai Eide.

We have a fascinating film about LA gang culture, from the Los Angeles Times, following the work of gang intervention organisation LA Homeboy Industries, which for the past three years has sent members to work with impoverished youngsters in Alabama.

And Sir Martin Gilbert, a distinguished historian and one of the Chilcot Inquiry panellists, has claimed in an interview in Israel that his appointment to the Iraq Inquiry panel was met with anti-Semitism.

He cited two articles in two UK national newspapers. Tonight, Oliver Miles - author of one of those articles appears live on the programme to discuss the claim.

And we will be examining the work and legacy of The Catcher in the Rye author JD Salinger who has died at the age of 91.

Do join Gavin at 10.30pm on BBC Two.



Here is what we are looking at for tonight's programme:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has opened an international summit on the future of Afghanistan, describing the country as vital to global security.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among dozens of politicians attending the talks in London.

Our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban is also there and will be reporting tonight on the talks, which will include discussions on a process which could see Taliban leaders playing a part in the Afghan government.

We also have a fascinating film about LA gang culture, from the Los Angeles Times, following the work of gang intervention organisation LA Homeboy Industries, which for the past three years has sent members to work with impoverished youngsters in Alabama.

More details later.


  • Comment number 1.

    ...describing the country as vital to global security. ..

    maybe should read

    describing the country as vital to [the] global security [industry]. ..?

    so if the northern ireland talks fail will we this time invade Eire and bomb Boston USA?

    summit for aghanistan future- notice the absence of ordinary afghans. liberal interventionism is nothing more than uneducated meddling that leaves them and us worse off. what model are they using for their 'nation building'?

  • Comment number 2.

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown

    Blimey, do a similar intro on Peter M, yadayada, and the BBC will need to spin up a new server!

  • Comment number 3.

    1 jauntycyclist

    As a nation building model, how about something along the lines of having to grow up with the 11+ and tripartite education system (grammar, tech and secondary modern) where the idea was to select people to work as managers, doctors, teachers, nurses, plumbers, builders, train drivers etc all working for the state like one big family? Or would that be seen as too left wing, denying people their 'rights' to 'equality' and 'choice'?

  • Comment number 4.

    that's great that is...fight an enemy then pay him off as you can't be arsed hangin around as there are other things to do like get off the front page because too many bodybags are coming home...all things we on the left predicted, but when did any government of any persuasion listen to the left? We have neo cons in positions of power that conduct illegal wars and when it all goes pear shaped as it always does they want us to bail them out or make a deal with those nice gentlemen from the Taliban who believe in serfdon for woman and mass public executions.....and having Karsai as a warlord....nice one Gordon

  • Comment number 5.


    On hearing the latest instalment of UEA climate-email fiasco, I fell to wondering what other pillocks of human endeavour, now have proven lack of integrity - aside from scientists. I offer: lawyers - politicians - churchmen - bankers - tobacco Barons - brewers - pharmaceutical Barons and arms Barons. Any more?

    If the above exemplifies the 'Western' civilised ethos, no wonder Johnnie Foreigner fights so hard to avoid being delivered from his terrible plight of primitive degradation.

    I suspect Elizabeth Wilmhurst would understand the above - she is but one.
    We are in deep trouble.

  • Comment number 6.


    I know he is using a foreign language, but why do I get the FEEL he is just prancing about saying stuff - like Tony - like Barack? Is it not time the world realised that, on balance of probabilities, the bloke holding the highest office is THE WRONG CHOICE?

    In terms of strife, all the world has succeeded in doing, over hundreds of years, is going from hand-to-hand warfare, to drones, and soon it will be space weapons. The idiots RUNNING the show, will remain unevolved. Where families are concerned, the government is not slow in diagnosing DYSFUNCTION and launching corrective initiatives. When will Brown and the cabinet be corralled in a therapeutic environment, for the good of mankind? And the public, generally, taught how to spot a wally?

  • Comment number 7.

    Here's Gordo in his over-ego'd element again, hosting an international event, making sweeping gestures on the world stage as he pledges more funding buy-off potential terrorists, without any mandate from the taxpayers.

    Alki-Ada must be cackling in the caves, and planning the next place from which to threaten a terrorist act or attempt; maybe Sudan or another failing state. The 'War on Terror' (on arabs and Islam)has lasted longer than the last World War, resulted in death and destruction in several societies, including our own, and will continue to spread to other areas.

    It cannot be 'won' because it is now being waged against an invisible and unquantifiable threat. It will destitute our 'nation', spewing funds overseas and granting refugee sanctuary to more and more of the world's poor and uneducated.

  • Comment number 8.

    Oh dear here we go again, Semitic refers to a language group not a race or religious group see here -

    The correct wording of an allegation would be either anti-Jewish or anti-Zionist depending whether the accusation was of a religious or political nature.

    As far as either allegation goes Sir Martin Gilberts claim seems to be on a par with Idi Amin claiming racism as a motivation for his detractors. Or perhaps like Goldsmith the Americans told him the French said...

  • Comment number 9.

    It sounds like living in Afghanistan is complete hell, especially for the majority poor population. The only answer to the problem is for the Afghan government to introduce a universal " Citizens Income ", funded by the legalisation and taxation of the poppy crop, there is a worldwide shortage of Morphine currently causing much unnecessary pain to people in poor countries who simply don't have access to it, like Haiti currently. If anyone needs to change crops it should be the Aussies who currently legally grow opiates should switch to wheat, after all they have the transport infrastructure for it, unlike the Afghans who can never compete in a global market growing wheat with their current total lack of decent transport to most areas. If the CI was set at a high enough level you could really get some decent development, especially if the current NATO " war " participants subsidise the morphine, the Afghans would do it themselves, only trouble is the Karsi government is as bent as a nine bob note.

  • Comment number 10.


    the good society comes from coming close to the good? the highest subject for man is the study of the form and character of the good.

    which in part involves letting go those false beliefs we have about it?

  • Comment number 11.

    What could one call this?

    The likely long-term consequences of one group scaring another group's population with learned tales of eternal damnation if they sin (cf. Christianity/Catholicism via guilt), whilst rendering its religious/intellectual leaders celibate...but the perpetrators not subscribing to any of this themselves?

    A thought too horrible to contemplate?

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Only once in a while does someone come along who can make sense of the whole confusing life situation that we find ourselves living to day...month to month...year to year.

    The 'holy grail' for all scientists and technically minded people is to find the 'unfying theorem' i.e. the theorem that explains everything...alas, it is only limited to the physical world.

    Someone, by the grace of god, has managed to research and explain all that has happended over the last century in the political/financial world, that has enabled a pernicious few to enslave the anglo-saxon democracies with debt, political correctness and corporate facism.

  • Comment number 14.


    No - not Chilcott. Miliband D HAS STOPPED EMPLOYING THE 'BLAIR GLOTTAL'!
    The spell is broken.

  • Comment number 15.

    Isn't it amazing how sometimes things work out?
    I wrote to The President of the USA, Mr Barack Obama, link with photo enclosed, and the whote thing appears in Jeremy's Google photostream!

    Thank you for everything to all those who so valiantly have been/are trying to help me out of what seems a no win situation.


  • Comment number 16.

    The thing is, what is the point of trying to change any individual or nation by force when all it can lead to, in the long run, end up in either disaster or bilateral damage?

  • Comment number 17.

    Re: the situation in Afghanistan

    Considering that President Karzai welcomes NATO's help, the presence of the international troops can be seen as justifiable, in my opinion.


  • Comment number 18.

    And perhaps one last thing for today, although one never knows, I have been kind of forced to get involved in the UK politics. There was a time when more often than not I acted blindingly in defence of Mrs Thatcher in particular and what she stood for although had quite big doubts about some of her policies.

    Then recently I've tried my best to be as impartial as possible but felt that some parties, and in particular those on the left and with the LibDems insisting on some weird scientific experiment, made me come out in defence of David Cameron and humanists in general, i.e. those who respect individual human rights and liberties which doesn't mean that one should be allowed as one pleases.

    That's it for now. I hope it'll be understood what I mean.


  • Comment number 19.

    paying people to behave is the uk way.

    we pay millionaire land owners 4 billion a year. otherwise they too might be growing opium?
    We pay billions a year to the poor otherwise the uk would be like somalia?

    the original idea that led to the welfare state originated in giving people money so they would not be forced to commit crimes.

  • Comment number 20.

    Iraq Inquiry

    Denis MacShane [Labour Friends of Israel]- In 2005 he became a signatory of the Henry Jackson Society principles, advocating a proactive approach to the spread of liberal democracy across the world, including by military intervention.

    why did he criticise BBC's Middle East editor that he was '“demonstrat[ing] a preoccupation with humanising Palestinian perspectives”'? [should he dehumanise them?]

    MacShane has an interesting background

    if we accept his point there should be no discrimination in national life then how would he square that principle with Gordon and Blair being patrons of the jnf who work to a different model?

    if people are openly saying themselves they support the interests of another country what is wrong with pointing that out? Why the curfew? why the hysteria?

    if there is a flaw in the iraq inquiry it isn't their religion or political allegiances but in the questions. [unless the previous two did impinge on the third?].

    if one had a fantasy iraq panel that had a focus on questions who would be on it? two historians like starkey and schama, an investigative journalist like pilger, a human rights activist like shami chakabarti [i don't know if she is related to one of the witnesses] and finally an international policy expert.

    as for chairman someone like David Frost who is used to mixing with the great and the good on the international stage and knows how they work.

  • Comment number 21.

    'Sir Martin Gilbert, a distinguished historian and one of the Chilcot Inquiry panellists, has claimed in an interview in Israel that his appointment to the Iraq Inquiry panel was met with anti-Semitism.'

    I have but two words of warning to naive Britons about such behaviour: Yoav Shamir...

  • Comment number 22.

    The twin fascisms that causes most massacres, wars, "conflicts" today:

    Arabism is racism (Arab racism)
    Millions upon Millions are/became victims of Arabism which is the worst current form of racism in its gigantic proportions, like: Kurds Jews (not just in Israel...) Berbers (the real natives of North Africa), Africans (noty just in the genocide in the Sudan & in Egypt on native Nubians by Arab invaders - till today), Persians, etc.

    Islamism is bigotry (Islamofascism)!
    The Islamic supremacy that "works" towards its vision of "final Islamic domination on the entire planet", from Middle east to Africa from Asia to Eurabia, from terrorism & massacres in multiple countries (like: Thailand, Phillipines, China, Indonesia, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon India, USA, France, Israel, Russia, UK, etc.) to propaganda,

    Let's face it! that entire war on Israel & the Jews since the 1920's by their facsist Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini who started the "genocide campaign" [and continues by the children/grand children of Arab immigrants into Israel - Palestine - now convenienently called "palestinians"] in a clear outlined declaration to 'kill all Jews', is nothing but out of pure Arab Muslim bigotry.

  • Comment number 23.

    22. Daisy, don't you think that other 'political' movements do the same? Not only has 'Judeo-Christianity' spread its word very aggressively/actively over the centuries, but even today, some insist that their brand of democracy is forced upon others as liberation (see the 'Project for the New American Century'). These people are also 'true believers' and are on a fanatical mission. They have, in one guise or another, surely been responsibie for more 'conflicts' and deaths, since the end of WWII, than Islam has?

    I suggest Islam is more sinned against than sinning, and that many of us are being roped into conflicts which are a) not of our making, and b) not at all in our long-term interests either.


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