Stories about Taliban

Aqsa Mahmood, the ISIS bride

I might be wrong but I believe I can almost imagine her. I can imagine her thoughts, her anguish, her pain and her emotions. I can imagine her heart nagging her as she would watch those numbers, those scenes of brutality, death and destruction on television, newspapers and social media; feeding on the truth and on Western propaganda against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. I can imagine as she would study extremist religious content and wake up every day feeling that everything she has done, everything she is doing, this whole world, is so pointless. She should rather be doing something ...

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Balochistan: Self-inflicted misery?

My fondest childhood memories are of rolling down the landscaped gardens of the rest-house located beside the Quaid-e-Azam’s residency in Ziarat. The undulating open space spotted with the frosted looking juniper trees provided an ideal environment for the equally inviting wooden dens; and the fresh dew on the grass under the clear blue sky was then so tempting for us to feel. Visiting these dream homes used to be the highlight of our summer vacations. The short picnics to Hanna Lake, Ziarat and Wali Tangi were enriching and peaceful to say the least. Quetta, I should say, was one of the most ...

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Is the ISIS really in our backyard?

One day, you see shalwar-kameez clad Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Iraq and Syria, and the next day you hear news of their fighters infiltrating Pakistan. Is there any connection? According to the Foreign Office (FO) of Pakistan there isn’t. Obviously. The FO, on Wednesday, denied reports regarding the presence and infiltration of ISIS, also known as ‘Daesh’, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and FATA region. But did this denial ring any surprising bells? After all, the same FO, along with the authorities, was oblivious to Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad for many years, leave aside the ISIS. Yet, one has to ...

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Bringing FATA into the mainstream

The much talked about and supported military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, has been initiated in North Waziristan with the objective of clearing the region from local and foreign Taliban sanctuaries. The military strategy has already displaced thousands from the war-torn region at a time when the internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected from previous conflicts and disasters haven’t returned to their homes yet. Up to 30,000 soldiers are involved in the current operation, while more than 800,000 people have fled the area over security and an uncertain future. The operation was launched after the failed attempt at peace talks and demands from the ...

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Is America undermining Pakistan’s importance as an ally?

United States strategic shift to the Asia Pacific from the Middle East thanks to President Barack Obama’s Asia Pivot has certainly changed the entire Middle Eastern geopolitical calculus. We are now witnessing a time period when, for the first time in history, the United States is on the verge of becoming energy sufficient as it surpassed Saudi Arabia in oil production in October, 2013. This happened while the wrapping up of military campaigns in the greater Middle East is translating into reduced military spending ergo, reduced military might in the said region. These two events are significant as they are a contributing factor in the reshaping of the US ...

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James Foley: Another battle lost by humanity

The search for James Foley, by his family members, began when he was kidnapped in Syria on November 22nd, 2012. After a long wait and dispersion, the quest has come to a devastating end. This was the second time Foley had been kidnapped by a group of militants. In 2011, he and fellow journalists were abducted while in Libya but were later released. Then, while working in Syria, he was captured again, only this time he was not as lucky. Foley was reporting on the suffering of the people of Syria. On Monday, a video called ‘A Message to America’ ...

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Imran Khan’s fall from grace

Before I begin, let me confess to my deep love and respect for Imran Khan. His politics, his social work and his cricketing skills have shaped Pakistani society for good or for worse and as a member of a generation that grew up idealising Khan, it almost hurts to see him slip up like this. The Imran Khan, I grew up admiring was the Imran Khan of principles; a voice of sanity in an insane world, a voice of reason, discussion and dialogue. His passion infused a sense of passion; his words and mannerism defied the new profession he had ...

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Pakistan’s very own Game of Thrones: Valar Morghulis or Valar Dohaeris

When you’re a die-hard fan of Game of Thrones (GoT), you cannot help but categorise every person you come across to a certain House from the plot. However, the recent developments in Pakistani politics and the prevalent power struggle between every influential political party provoked me to come up with my own version of GoT. So, Lords and Ladies of Westeros, I present to you, Pakistan’s very own Game of Thrones: The Sharifs as the Lannisters They are rich and always pay their debts, or well at least they say that they do. When they’re in power, they divide the whole kingdom amongst the family ...

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Brother, you are from Pakistan and you don’t speak Arabic?

One of the biggest advantages of living abroad is the chance to hear what people think about your country. I have been living in Germany for the last three months and during this short stay, I have made friends from different regions of the world. At first, it appeared mystifying, the fact that everyone that I had met, knew something about Pakistan. It is no surprise that with the ongoing situation in Pakistan, where every day there is horrifying news that in the imagination of people I have come across, Pakistan comes closer to being an aberration. Wishfully, I often think ...

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6 Pakistanis who think Israel is their problem

I feel bad and a little guilty saying it, but I’m not interested in the Palestinian crisis. There, I said it. * Exhale * I don’t understand this outpouring of emotions for Palestine on Facebook. How come there weren’t any well designed posters shared on Facebook when 10 people were shot by police forces in Model Town, Lahore? Why wasn’t Facebook overwhelmed with emotional anti-Taliban visuals when they attacked Karachi airport? Were we sleeping earlier or are we just tuned to only hate Israel? Do things going kaboom in our backyard not make us flinch? Or are we afraid of criticising the Taliban because they might be ...

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