Stories about Afghanistan

Why is the US making a mountain out of the Masood Azhar molehill?

The United States has introduced a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution to blacklist Masood Azhar as an international terrorist. Azhar is the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (banned in Pakistan since 2002) and has been blamed by India for masterminding February’s Pulwama incident, even though no evidence has been produced which links Azhar to the incident. China has refused to list Azhar as an international terrorist after careful consideration of the definition of international terrorism according to international law. China has made this position absolutely clear and as such, it would appear that the US is looking to transform the UNSC ...

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Caught in the middle: Pakistan’s position in the US-China power shift

China’s rise has triggered a myriad of debates among political and academic commentators alike. Will it be peaceful and rely solely on America’s decline? Or will the changing structure of the international arena inevitably be riddled with war and violence? As the aforementioned thoughts become the subject of repeated discussions, another problem closer to home becomes more and more pressing: can Pakistan ride the ever-turbulent wave of great power rivalry, or is it playing dangerously close to the fire?  Developing trends in regional governance suggest that although American hegemony endures on the international scale, it is undoubtedly being subverted, as China’s global influence ...

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More sinister than meets the eye: Connecting the dots behind the Pulwama attack

Every time a state is attacked by some non-state actor, the main casualty after the number of lives lost is the truth, which is usually the case when a lot of noise is made after an attack to find an easy target to blame for one’s own mistakes. Realities are subtle. In India, every ill of the society, every negative result of their foreign policy and military adventurism can just be dumped on Pakistan. These laughable tactics are too old, too boring, and have the least substance, just like Bollywood movies. This time blaming Pakistan is not just to sanitise India’s ...

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Pakistan’s melting glaciers: Our climate change crisis will destabilise Asia’s rivers

Pakistan is fortunate to be home to three great mountain ranges: the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush. In fact, on the drive up the Karakoram Highway from Islamabad to Gilgit, I often stop at a place near Jaglote town where these three ranges actually meet. One can see the grand vista from the road, which could easily be missed if not for a sign nearby which reads, “The junction point of the three mightiest mountain ranges of the world.” The Karakoram includes the K2, the world’s second-highest peak, and is the most heavily glaciated area on the planet apart ...

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Why India does not want any US-Afghanistan peace talks

The clearest indication of how the Indian military, intelligence and diplomatic bureaucracies (‘deep state’) truly feel about US’s Afghan peace talks with the Taliban can be seen in India’s Major-General (R) Harsha Kakar’s recent article on this topic written for The Statesman. Intuiting India’s interpretation India, which hasn’t shied away from sounding off about all manner of international issues ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election in 2014, has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about its attitude towards US’s Afghan peace talks with the Taliban. This led many observers to intuit that it’s extremely unhappy with this process but is applying the age-old wisdom ...

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PTI’s vague and static foreign policy will only worsen Pakistan’s standing in the world

Historically, Pakistan’s foreign policy has been a domain in which elected governments have been allowed very little space and scope to work in. Our founding father envisaged a foreign policy based on peaceful relations with our neighbours – including India – and one that would value our sovereignty. Contrary to his vision, Pakistan has not been able to devise a balanced policy that can be termed entirely beneficial for its own national interest. The current government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also finds itself in a position where Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is symbolically heading foreign affairs while ...

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Is Venezuela the new Afghanistan?

Three days ago, the first United Nations (UN) rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years told British media outlet The Independent that US sanctions on Venezuela are illegal and bordering on “crimes against humanity” under international law. No one in the international media will say it, but sanctions are always the precursor to war. Never mind Washington’s barbaric sanctions on pre-2003 Iraq, which are estimated to have killed 1.7 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children. Not many people acknowledge this fact, but before the Pearl Harbour attack during World War II, the US had targeted Japan’s rapidly developing economy heavily with economic sanctions, forcing Japan to respond ...

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From “Pakistan needs to do more” to “Imran Khan was right”

United States(US) Senator Lindsey Graham has always taken a keen interest in foreign affairs. That being said, he’s rarely came across a war he did not vote in favour of, as he also supported the US war in Afghanistan. However, on a recent visit to Islamabad, he left stating that Imran Khan – a man who long before becoming Pakistan’s prime minister had repeatedly criticised America’s role in the region – was right all along. Speaking before journalists, Graham said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan was criticised over the decades… for talking about reconciling with the Taliban – he was right! One thing I ...

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With a possible rise of the Taliban regime, should Afghanistan’s neighbours be worried?

When US President Donald Trump, in his uncanny political demeanour, announced he had decided to pull out half the US military personnel from Afghanistan, not many people, even within his own defence establishment, anticipated such an abrupt announcement. However, the buck didn’t just stop there! Trump further asked Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional players, including India, Pakistan and Russia to play an active role in “rebuilding Afghanistan”. He is of the view that it is the duty of Afghanistan’s neighbours and not the US to fight the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS). However, staying true to his (lack of) ...

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Could the withdrawal of US troops make the Afghan war worse?

President Donald Trump’s shocking announcement that he was first withdrawing troops from Syria, and then Afghanistan, has drawn almost compete outrage from the mainstream media. US Defense Secretary, James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis more or less resigned in protest. The Guardian called Mattis’s resignation a “bad day for America”, describing him as a “voice of reason” in the White House. This is, of course, the same military general who once exclaimed that it is “a hell of a lot of fun to shoot some people,” referring specifically to the Afghans.  The proposed withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has individually been confirmed by a US ...

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