Stories about Haqqani network

BRICS declaration: What is China playing at exactly? Does it plan on cutting Pakistan loose?

Despite its recent defence of Pakistan against the United States on the issue of terrorism, China seems to have taken a surprising new turn on the issue. This week, the declaration adopted by Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) at their summit in Xiamen has not only condemned terrorism but also named three key Pakistan-based terrorist groups – the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT),  Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) –  in a larger list of terrorist groups responsible for violence and insecurity. Beginning with a condemnation of violence against “innocent Afghan nationals”, the declaration went on to firmly back the Afghan national government, ...

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US-Pakistan-Afghanistan: The gloves are now off

Like millions of Americans, I watched President Donald Trump’s speech from my living room on August 21, 2017. It is the third time an American president has addressed our nation on Afghanistan, now the longest war in American history. To those of us familiar with the region, the speech was business as usual, with a few notable changes. But for those Americans with loved ones in Pakistan, the president’s speech was a plainspoken warning – fall in line Pakistan, or face the consequences. Taking the speech to its furthest extrapolation, without change, Pakistan will soon face US sanctions. Certainly for Pakistan, clouds are gathering. The Trump administration ...

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Why Pakistan’s policies regarding Afghanistan and the US need to be more Pakistan-centric

President Donald Trump’s new strategy for Afghanistan requires a rethink of Pakistan’s policies towards both the US and Afghanistan. President Trump laid out a new policy for the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan earlier this week. The strategy lacked specifics but stated that it would focus on the primary mission of getting rid of terrorists and its supporters from Afghanistan. The speech also contained harsh words for Pakistan including statements to the effect that US support would be conditional for Pakistan. The support depends on Pakistan helping the US in its primary mission and in taking out safe havens for the terrorists like the ...

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Saudi Arabia, India or the US – who is conspiring against Nawaz Sharif and why?

At the beginning of this month, the government found itself in something of a pickle. Regardless of a dubious WhatsApp call fiasco and alleged political proclivities of the joint investigation team (JIT) members, the Sharifs had failed miserably in elucidating a tangible money trail for their opulent assets abroad. To truly offset the velocity of the storm they faced, they would have to counter attack with something far more potent and invidious – something powerful enough to offset the damning reality of their inconclusive money trial – a global conspiracy. A conspiracy that was hatched in collusion with the venal folks in the General Headquarters (GHQ), ...

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Pakistan and Afghanistan are in a dangerous stalemate — with no resolution in sight

Last month, Pakistan suffered its deadliest spasm of terrorist violence since 2014. Over a period of four days in February, militants struck all four Pakistani provinces and three major urban spaces. The bloodshed culminated on February 16 with an assault on a revered Sufi shrine that killed nearly 90 people. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on Pakistani soil since a school massacre in the city of Peshawar that killed 141 people, most of them students, in 2014. This killing spree has dangerous implications, not only for Pakistan, which has enjoyed a relative respite from terrorist violence over the last ...

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Are more children going to pay the price for Pakistan’s indecisive stance towards religious extremism?

Back in December 2014, Taliban terrorists attacked a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 151 people, most of them students. It was the deadliest attack in Pakistan’s terrorism-tortured history, and prompted some Pakistanis to describe it as their 9/11. National leaders, meanwhile, described the massacre as a turning point in the nation’s approach to terrorism. They vowed to crack down more robustly against all terrorists in Pakistan— not just those, like the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), that strike in Pakistan, but also those like the Haqqani Network that strike only in neighbouring countries. To an extent, Pakistan did indeed intensify its campaign against terrorism. It ramped up military operations against the ...

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General Raheel Sharif in Washington: Déjà Vu all over again

As Raheel Sharif visits the United States, it’s worth taking stock of how little has changed in US-Pakistan relations. Imagine you’re the US ambassador to Pakistan, and you’ve been tasked to draft a cable to prepare American officials in Washington for the visit of General Raheel Sharif, the Pakistani army chief who has arrived in town for a five-day trip. So what would you say? First, you’d counsel some conciliatory comments: “We should recognise growing Pakistani casualties in the fight against militants … (and) reiterate the long-term US commitment to support Pakistan.” Soon thereafter, however, you’d urge your Washington counterparts to get down to business: “We need ...

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Is Pakistan capable of protecting its minorities?

The recent attack on the Ismaili Muslims in Karachi brought a lot of things into perspective. Firstly, it exposed the ineffectiveness of various military, rangers and police operations, and, secondly, it unveiled the dangers our minority communities are exposed to. But seeing this attack in isolation would not be of any help. We need to understand how religion has facilitated the state and, by extension, the militant organisations over the past decades and how it has led to the conundrum that we find ourselves in now. The first time Islam came to serve the government was in 1953, for Mumtaz Daultana, which led to ...

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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 ...

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How long will the US assist Pakistan?

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki went off the cuff last week to announce that Pakistan has not received any development assistance from the United States since 2013. That was news – Pakistani papers Express Tribune and Dawn headlined it. But it was wrong. Congress released funding to Pakistan in September 2014.  Under the “Kerry-Lugar-Berman (KLB)” bill, Congress authorised $1.5 billion in development assistance for Pakistan for five years, from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2015. But because USAID must get Congressional blessing of its program plans before it gets the money, money rarely comes through in the year it is budgeted for. So Pakistan received funds ...

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