Stories about Afghan

In the war against the Taliban, why are we okay with children always being collateral damage?

Who in this world heeds the cries of children? A week filled with images of Syrian children gasping for life, after yet another chemical attack launched by their own leader, making this the world’s bloodiest conflict in recent memory. Even Afghanistan, and the long war once waged by the US, has now faded in memory in comparison. Thus, the murder of young children, among the more than 70 lives razed to dust by air strikes in Kunduz, Afghanistan, did not penetrate the American news cycle, at a time when we are dealing with our own collateral of a presidency in near free fall. Al Jazeera reports that the madrassa, ...

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Trump’s ban on Muslims is just as offensive as Pakistan’s racial profiling of Pakhtuns

Not every Muslim is a terrorist but a significant number of terrorist incidents are conducted by Muslims. This statement is controversial and yet, deep down we all know that there is some sort of evidence for it. At least the terrorist incidents which are indiscriminate and use suicide bombings are overwhelmingly committed by Muslims. Of course, as already mentioned, this does not mean that every Muslim is a terrorist and in fact thinking in such terms would be overstretching and overgeneralisation, resulting in bigotry if endorsed by the general populace and institutionalised discrimination if incorporated into laws by the state. Donald ...

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Killing patriarchy, one headscarf at a time

Every once in a while, I come across news that fills me with hope that patriarchy will indeed perish someday, and that all is not lost in vain. And the news about Iranian men donning hijabs, in solidarity with their wives was one of those rare moments. For the past few days, several men have been posting pictures of themselves wearing the hijab – and some even wearing the full burqa – to not only show solidarity with their wives, who have been forced to cover up in accordance with the strict ‘modesty’ rules of the country, but also to protest ...

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Quetta: An outsider’s perspective

The city of Quetta has been in turmoil for years, and with that comes many misconceptions about the capital of Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan. One such mistaken belief is that while visiting Quetta one must dress in the local attire and avoid any western clothing, such as jeans, so as to not stand out as a non-resident. For someone who has heard these remarks repeatedly, I was extremely curious, to say the least, ahead of my visit to Quetta for the first time, even more so because it is believed that the people of Balochistan do not like the people ...

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“It was funny… (he) squealed like a pig”: Germany’s Muslim-intolerant police force

The recent news circulating about a German police officer who shared a gruesome video on Whatsapp that featured him torturing a Moroccan Muslim man has had me in a spin. The video shows how the victim was forced to eat rotten pork off the floor. The same German officer is also being prosecuted and thereby is being investigated for physically abusing (and strangling) an Afghan refugee. Until last week, I, being a college counsellor for one of the top ranking schools in Lahore, was trying to educate my students on the perks of gaining further education from Germany – a country that is offering foundation ...

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Why should Obama apologise for Pakistani drone victims?

On Thursday, April 23, 2015, United States President Barack Obama, apologised for the accidental killing of two western hostages – American national Warren Weinsteain and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto – in a drone attack in Pakistan. “As president and as commander-in-chief, I take full responsibility for all our counter-terrorism operations, including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovanni. I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families.” What did happen, though? In a drone strike targeting an al Qaeda camp, the two aforementioned hostages were killed. These innocent civilians ...

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Afghanistan: A new dawn but old challenges

For over 30 years, Afghanistan has had to contend with political upheavals, foreign invaders, economic disruption and a ruthless insurgency. On April 5, 2014, Afghans went to the polls to choose a new president, in an election that was seen as crucial to the country’s future. Divided along ethnic fault-lines, instead of an inclusive and legitimate leadership who acts as a reflection of the mosaic nature of the Afghan society, what these elections produced in return was chaos and instability. For more than six months, the two rivals for the Afghan presidency, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah had accused the other of ...

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Afghan malangs: Keeping the country’s mystic roots alive

In Afghanistan, there is a special group of people called the malangs. This is an Afghan word which describes men who live a very austere and dangerous life and who are happy with the hardships they endure. A malang is somewhat like the Afghan version of a shaman. They have been part of the Afghan society for centuries and have been forced to live an extremely hard life. These harsh circumstances are not just because of the wars; these people are neither accepted nor respected in the Afghan society. The main reason behind such ill treatment is that in mainstream Islam, shamanism (or anything like ...

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What did the US accomplish from the invasion of Afghanistan?

The year 2014 has marked the start of NATO’s withdrawal of its combat troops from Afghanistan, 12 years after the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban began, in the autumn of 2001. Many explanations were given as to why the invasion of Afghanistan was vital – from the necessity of finding and punishing the perpetrators of 9/11, to liberating Afghan women and eradicating the opium trade. Time and again, politicians and the media tried to legitimise the war in the eyes of the public. We were told in the weeks following 9/11 that the invasion was an act of self-defence, by former US president George W ...

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My name is Mastung and I am innocent…

Perhaps you have heard about me in the news… My name is Mastung. I am situated at the bottom of the Lak Pass tunnel and one must pass through a mountain hole in order to get to me. And hence, my residents named me Mastung because in the Brahvi language, ‘Mash’ means ‘mountain’ and ‘Tung’ means ‘hole’.  Once you cross the Lak Pass tunnel, I welcome you with apple farms. A cool breeze awash with apple fragrance refreshes your soul as you enter. These apples are sold in markets across the country. What?  You say you have not heard of me? If you stop your car at a ...

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