Stories about Afghanistan

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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How the US pushed Pakistan into the arms of China and Russia

The US has always had a curious but quietly spoken relationship with Pakistan. At one point, Pakistan was the third largest recipient of US foreign assistance, receiving over $3.5 billion from the US in 2011 alone. While this aid has been steadily decreasing since the aforementioned peak in 2011, US-Pakistan relations took a sharp turn for the worse at the beginning of this year when US President Donald Trump decided to herald in the new year by launching a Twitter tirade against Pakistan. The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 ...

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The year the world mourned dead journalists, and with them our freedom of speech

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based organisation defending the freedom of the press, 53 journalists have been killed in 2018. Let that sink in – 53 journalists. Syria, Afghanistan, Mexico, Yemen, Israel and USA are the top sites for these deaths. The figure went up from 47 in 2017 to 53 this year. Needless to say, it has been a tough year for the media and its workers across the globe. But what struck me is the high numbers of murders; other reasons for the deaths being dangerous assignments and threats from external forces. Our own ...

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Declared ‘intangible’, the heritage of Kalash is over 3,000 years old – but will it survive the 21st century?

‘Ishpata Inn and Restaurant’, says the sign to a roadside hotel in Bumburet Valley in the Chitral district. Ishpata means welcome in the Kalasha language spoken exclusively by the endangered Kalash people, an ethnic group that has lived in three secluded valleys of these towering mountains for centuries: Bumburet, Rumbur and Birir. There are only around 4,000 Kalash villagers left in Chitral. They are one of the last peoples of western Asia to retain their aboriginal culture and have survived many waves of invaders, refusing to convert to Islam. Their neighbours across the mountains in the north-western region of ...

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In this sexist world, it doesn’t matter if Ada Hegerberg won the Ballon d’Or – what matters is if she can twerk

Just in case someone still needed proof that sexism is still alive and well in sports, get a load of this. After winning an award declaring her the best female football player in the world, Ada Hegerberg was asked on stage, in front of millions, if she knew how to twerk. Let that sink in for a minute.  A 23-year-old female footballer who has thus far scored almost 250 goals in her career and helped her club last season to the French League title and the UEFA Women’s Champions League Trophy, was asked if she could twerk. Hegerberg, who has achieved ...

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With suspenseful politics and powerful acting, Bodyguard is television at its finest

Netflix from time to time cancels its low-rated shows, but the streaming giant is also constantly working to ensure that it provides its subscribers the best content available in the world. Hence, Netflix sometimes imports TV shows from across the borders to make rich content available for its customers. One of their recent imports was Bodyguard, a show produced by BBC and aired on BBC One. Netflix was quick to strike a deal for this offering as it became the most watched show on BBC since 2008. Bodyguard revolves around David Budd, played by Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), a war ...

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The war on Twitter: Did Imran Khan just school Donald Trump on foreign policy?

In the one-on-one tirades between state premiers that now often substitute bilateral exchanges between nations, I tend to find free entertainment. However, when President Donald Trump recently poked Prime Minister Imran Khan by once again downplaying Pakistan’s role in the War on Terror, and the latter took the cue to respond with a fitting rejoinder, it wasn’t the average Twitter war that ensued. Before getting into what exactly catalysed the quick escalation of this heated exchange, something needs to be set in stone. Trump has become the face of the rapidly emerging ‘Twitter politics’, having personally typed many of the ...

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