Stories about Afghan Taliban

Shahbaz Taseer finally breaks his silence and we blame him for cooking up a story? Really, Pakistan?

Warning: The pictures displayed below are graphic. Please use discretion. Shahbaz Taseer has spoken up for the first time about his five-year horrific ordeal. Why now, is anyone’s guess but with so much negativity and fabrications going around, perhaps it was time to set the record straight. Even after his interview with CNN and BBC where he had to relive the torture by recalling the details, many people called him out for not being truthful and making up most of it. There were comments like:  “But he doesn’t look like he was tortured.” He clearly states that his torture stopped after a while, so there ...

Read Full Post

Is Afghanistan making a mistake by excluding India from the peace process?

The International Crisis Group, an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation for resolving conflicts around the world recently convened a meeting on Peace and Security in Afghanistan under the aegis of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, on January 23 and 24, 2016, in Doha, Qatar. This was the second kind of such meeting organised by Pugwash to explore possible solutions to end the bloodshed in Afghanistan. Doha Conference At the Doha meeting, around 55 participants were present to discuss the possibility of hammering out a framework for a national reconciliation in Afghanistan. In a surprising development, the representatives of the Afghan Taliban, who had attended ...

Read Full Post

She stopped the Taliban from shutting down her school by offering them tea

Suppose the Taliban barge into your house or place of work, and threaten you. You would be acutely aware of the fact that your life is in danger. They could put a bullet in you before you would be able to scream. You would know what the odds of your survival are, and you’d be completely cognisant of the fact that there is no way to escape the situation. You would be tempted to do one of two things: 1. Cower under the table or lock yourself in the bathroom and pray to God you don’t die today. 2. Or, stand your ...

Read Full Post

Does liberalism do more harm than good?

As a philosophy, liberalism is more inward looking and hence does not try to shift blame on the outside forces. By its orientation, it also does not have an overly negative assumption about human nature and consequently is not obsessed with crime and punishment. It believes in the rationality of humans and further assumes that human intelligence is capable of creating an artifice where ethnic, linguistic, and other such ‘natural’ differences can be accommodated without creating a rift. Its emphasis and belief on human rationality rather than instinct, logically lead it to being more fluid and progressive. Conservative points of views ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

#PakVsIre or the #LahoreChurchBlast – which caught your attention?

One wonders if the National Action Plan (NAP) was actually implemented beyond the Punjab police’s wide arrests of clerics who tried using loudspeakers. After all, Maulana Abdul Aziz and his devotedly-radical wife Umm-e-Hassan still use a state-recognised mosque to propagate a narrative that insists the actions of groups like ISIS or the Afghan Taliban are all justified – commendable even. Add this to the fact that the most high-profile raid to happen in mainstream news recently was not a madrassah sending jihadists to Kashmir or a mosque being operated by the rabidly anti-Shia Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) (which still holds ...

Read Full Post

How serious is the ISIS threat to South Asia?

Recent weeks have brought a bevy of news headlines attesting to the rising profile of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in South Asia. The group’s literature has circulated in Pakistan, and its flags have been spotted in Kashmir. Several Pakistani militant commanders expressed their allegiance to ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Alleged ISIS recruiters were arrested in Pakistani and Indian cities. Officials in Afghanistan declared that ISIS is “active” in the country’s south. Most significantly, last month, ISIS’s spokesman officially announced the group’s expansion into what he identified as “Khorasan” — a region encompassing present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. Despite all this, some observers, including those writing for the South Asia Channel, argue that ISIS ...

Read Full Post

Relax Pakistan! Obama’s trip to India will not jeopardise Pak-US relations

Obama is finally in India for his second official visit since he commenced his second term in the office. The visit is important for various reasons. First and foremost, due to its powerful symbolism: Obama is the first US president visiting India, twice. Secondly, an American president’s presence at the Republic Day of the world’s largest democracy also sends a very powerful message. But there are some serious questions occupying the minds of those in India and Pakistan. Will the visit prove to be just a theatrical trip of smiles and handshakes or can India really get something out of the guest who is left with just two years ...

Read Full Post