Stories about Taliban

Why now, Afghanistan?

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s revelation that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is dead — which had long been assumed yet never confirmed — a fundamental question remains. Why would the Afghan government make this announcement now? Specifically, why would Kabul jeopardise a peace process that it desperately wants to succeed and that has only recently gained steam? Surely, Kabul knew that announcing Mullah Omar’s death would bring long-festering tensions within the Taliban to the fore and trigger a deep and perhaps even existential organisational crisis — a messy, drawn-out, and possibly bloody leadership transition that will consume the Taliban’s energies and could limit its ability to focus on peace talks. So what ...

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Why I have lost all respect for Imran Khan and PTI

In the 2013 general elections, I wholeheartedly and proudly voted for Imran Khan. It was the first time that I was eligible to vote and my excitement was beyond measure. Alongside this, I was smitten by Imran’s passionate speeches and lively rhetoric. I was too young to understand that his words were just that – mere words. And even though many people asked me to reconsider my decision, I still went ahead and stamped the bat symbol on the ballot paper. Today, I regret making that decision. On Wednesday, July 22, 2015, Imran lauded the Afghan government’s efforts to start a dialogue with the ...

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What they didn’t tell you about Pakistan: Seven common myths dispelled

Pakistan may be one of the most misunderstood countries around and it is certainly easy to see why when you hit the layman’s ceiling of knowledge in about 10 seconds. What most people don’t see is what lies beyond the media coverage, highlighting just the challenges the country is facing today. There is a lot more to Pakistan than what meets the eye, so prepare for some enlightenment and let’s go bust some myths. 1. Pakistan is no place for women A young girl from Kailash in native dress. Photo: Asfandi Yar. Contrary to the stereotype, not all Pakistani ...

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No matter how you slice it, there can be no peace in Afghanistan

In recent years, attempts to launch peace talks with the Afghan Taliban have resulted in little more than false hopes and false starts. The ill-fated opening of a Taliban office in Qatar. A controversial prison exchange involving a US Prisoner of War (PoW) and five Taliban detainees in Guantanamo. Alleged secret talks initiated by then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Such efforts, while promising, ultimately all fell flat.   Then, last week, on the heels of a slew of informal meetings in China, Norway, and elsewhere earlier this year, Taliban representatives and Afghan government officials held what were described as their ‘first formal peace talks’ in Islamabad. The plan is to continue this dialogue next ...

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Fairy Meadows: Where the legends of Nanga Parbat are kept alive

Fairy Meadows is like the bouquet of flowers set before the towering killer mountain, Nanga Parbat. The mountain sets a backdrop for the Fairy Meadows, making it an appealing and exciting destination for tourists. Fairy Meadows are where the legends of Nanga Parbat are kept alive, told by generations of villagers who had the chance of witnessing the legions of climbers who never descended its icy walls. Towards the northern side, it welcomes us with the Raikot glacier, strewn with dark echoing crevasses, plagued by constant avalanches, and guarded by 15 meters of ice spears. One in five people who attempted to climb ...

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Does one Iftar at the White House change anything for Muslims in the US?

Ever imagined life in a constant state of perpetual rush, whereby an individual is desperately trying to keep things together in an effort to please everyone, starting off with one thing but unable to ever finish any task before moving on to another, pulled in different directions and not knowing what the end objective is? Sounds like an exhausting and frustrating journey of a good natured guy, right? Indeed! This is how Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House has been – presiding over a fractured Washington and putting out wild fires one after the other, ending up aimlessly drifting without achieving ...

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What has Malala done for Pakistan?: 8 popular anti-Malala arguments answered

Last week, Malala Yousafzai appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the theatrical trailer for a new documentary, ‘He Named Me Malala’ was released. As always her appearance on the show led to universal support and acclaim. As always it also attracted massive amounts of vitriol from people in Pakistan.

I have been subjected to copious amounts of hate messages personally for posting messages supporting Malala on my Facebook page. I made an earnest effort to engage with all the Malala haters but none of their arguments held any weight. I have compiled the eight most popular arguments made by people who dislike Malala ...

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1971 confession: After Bangladesh, is Balochistan’s disintegration next on India’s list?

I heard what my ears would never want to hear again – Narendra Modi’s acceptance of India’s lethal plan in the disintegration of East Pakistan in 1971, and its threat to destabilise Pakistan through terrorism. Clearly the statement was aimed at fanning hatred against Pakistan in Bangladesh. This also proved that the specific aim of creating RAW in 1968 was to subvert the people of former East Pakistan and prepare grounds for the creation of Bangladesh for the training of over one million Mukti Bahini. The controversy grew even more after his minister of state, Rajyavardhan Rathore, made a controversial statement on June 10th stating that India will enter ...

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150,000 dead and counting: When will Af-Pak’s killing spree end?

Wars are a nasty killing business, the culmination of a failure of diplomacy or resolution of conflicts in a peaceful manner. Like religious fanaticism, where reason and logic stop and aggression gives way to hostility, mankind and nations often take refuge in manoeuvring and manipulating to go one up and control situations by non-peaceful methods. For the lack of a better expression, wars are the awakening of the animal instinct in human beings. The effects and repercussions that armed confrontations leave behind are far reaching. Scars of sorrowfulness and grief that wars bring to the teeming millions are virtually an irremovable ...

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“If you want to teach here, you have to wear a burqa”

“You just have to wear a burqa inside the school; you are free to take it off when you leave the school premises,”said the principal of a Karachi-based school while interviewing a candidate. “It’s just a garment,” thought the candidate, and a garment that was helping her get a higher salary than all the other schools. So she signed the teaching contract and took the burqa home with her. All day at home, that burqa in her bag haunted her. How could she don something all day that represented something she hadn’t fully accepted in her heart? Wasn’t she lying to impressionable children? Wasn’t it hypocritical of her ...

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