Stories about Afghanistan

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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Tahir Dawar’s brutal murder and the possible existence of IS in Pakistan is a wake up call

Squeaking with laughter while speaking to a journalist, then concluding with a sardonic snide, Iftikhar Durrani, Imran Khan’s spokesperson, claimed with confidence that SP Tahir Dawar was “safe” in Peshawar on October 28th. Unfortunately, however, with the recent discovery of the policeman’s dead body, that arrogant snide should only linger as a haunting memory for the prime minister’s top aide. The note from the Islamic State (IS) found alongside the late SP’s body is what makes matters worse than one could potentially begin to imagine. The latter being so, specifically because the government has repeatedly claimed that neither IS nor any direct ...

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Should Saudi Arabia be a part of CPEC?

From the word go, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has been under a heavy burden of expectations from all sides. As a result, they are trying to satisfy every front as quickly as they can. However, it seems that this is proving to be too much for them and they are creating all sorts of confusion. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one such project where this confusion is still brewing. Recently, news has been circulating that Saudi Arabia will be joining CPEC. It is still unclear what role they would play, whether they will be a strategic partner, an investor ...

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Rashid Khan, the Afridi of Afghanistan: When heroes emerge out of rubble

During my last visit to Karachi a few months ago, I spent some time going through the school assignments and homework of our family cook’s children. As I did so, I insisted on the importance of hard work in order to succeed in life. “You have to work extremely hard in school so you get good grades and then go to the army, as your father wants you to become a general in the Pakistan Army one day, InshaAllah,” I continued to lecture them. My words echoed the dreams and aspirations of not only our cook, but so many other ...

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Pakistan need to get over the 2017 Champions Trophy high, because tomorrow won’t be easy

The proverb “cricket – the game of glorious uncertainties” is probably taken way too seriously by Pakistan. Before the start of the Asia Cup, many cricket pundits were deeming Pakistan as their favourites. But thus far, it has been a story of tremendous crests and troughs as far as the graph of Pakistan team’s performance is concerned. Apart from the game against Hong Kong, the men in green shirts have found themselves in all sorts of trouble. Against India, intent was missing altogether. Indian fielders, making their own blunders, were aiding Pakistan as they dropped five catches in the outfield. ...

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#OneSouthAsia: 8 delicious foods of 8 foodie nations, all on one table

There are moments when an idea simply drops onto your lap when you least expect it to. I experienced one of such moments recently. Last week, I was sitting and waiting for the sun to set when my Indian friend, Riya, sent me a link. I didn’t have the brain power at that moment to open anything remotely intellectual; however, my curiosity eventually gave in. The link brought me to a page detailing a competition conducted by the World Bank called #OneSouthAsia. Participants from eight South Asian nations were invited to submit a photograph showcasing what an integrated South ...

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Mauka mauka: Sorry India, but the 2018 Asia Cup is coming home to Pakistan

The 14th edition of Asia Cup begins on September 15th in the UAE, making this the third time the tournament will be held there. This time, Pakistan, India and Hong Kong are together in Group A, while Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are in Group B. Despite having lost its ODI status earlier this year, Hong Kong qualified by defeating the UAE in the qualifying final. If somehow both teams manage to make it to the final, then this tournament potentially includes three Pakistan versus India matches. However, the million dollar question remains: will it be India or Pakistan ...

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