Stories about Taliban

The scenario for Afghanistan after the US-Taliban deal

The tentative deal signed on February 29, 2020 between the United States (US) and the Afghan Taliban after almost two decades of war hinges on a successful execution of four main points. Firstly, America has to gradually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan over the next 14 months, with 5,600 troops to leave the country within 135 days. Secondly, the Taliban and the Afghan government (which was not a party to the deal) must open direct talks, which will be preceded by the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners currently held by the Afghan government and the release of 1,000 prisoners in Taliban captivity. Thirdly, the Taliban ...

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What does the future hold for Afghanistan after the Doha deal?

The Leap Day treaty signed at Doha between the United States and the Taliban, which stipulates a 14-month American withdrawal in return for Taliban guarantees of inhibiting international militancy, officially begins the end of the United States’ longest and perhaps least understood war. Provided that the deal holds, the Americans will leave in 2021, bringing their sojourn in Afghanistan to a full 20 years. In turn, the withdrawal of foreign forces, a major theme in Taliban recruitment, should seem to preclude further militarisation from the insurgents’ side. But there remain risks involved in Afghanistan, not least because the coalition installed ...

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The US-Taliban deal will only benefit America

The deal between the United States (US) and the Afghan Taliban in Doha last Saturday is bound to have lasting repercussions across the region. Under the agreement, the US is committed to reducing its number of troops in Afghanistan from 13,000 to 8,600 within 135 days of signing the deal, and the full withdrawal of forces will take place considering the security situation in the country and the Taliban’s commitment to not creating any more security threats in the region. However, it seems that President Donald Trump has made this deal in a hurry in an attempt to strengthen his chances ...

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What to expect from Antonio Guterres’ Pakistan visit

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres will arrive in Islamabad tomorrow, February 16th, to attend an international refugee conference that marks over 40 years of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. The UN chief will also meet Pakistani leaders for talks on matters of mutual interest, giving Prime Minister Imran Khan an opportunity to get international backing on the issue of Kashmir. But in light of Pakistan’s long-established mass deportation of Afghan refugees, can it truly claim the moral high ground on Kashmir?   Aims of the conference Since 1979, Pakistan has hosted an official number of 1.4 million refugees who fled from Soviet ...

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What does Hafiz Saeed’s arrest mean for Pakistan?

In a recent development, Hafiz Saeed, the head of the proscribed Jamat-ud-Dawah, has been sent to prison for five and a half years by the anti-terrorist court in Lahore. Naturally, this news quickly made it to the the headlines across the globe since Saeed’s name is included in the list of banned terrorists by the United States (US) and United Nations (UN). Saeed is also wanted by India for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. But one cannot understand the impact of Saeed’s arrest if one is unaware of exactly what Saeed has been up to for all these years. Saeed ...

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Trump’s impeachment acquittal is in Pakistan’s best interest

While many in America lament the increasing likelihood of President Donald Trump being acquitted of all the charges which have been levied against him over the course of the impeachment trial, one could argue that Trump staying in office would actually benefit Pakistan. For years, America had kept Pakistan on a leash, and relations between the Pakistan government and the United States had soured during the Obama administration as a result of what has popularly been referred to as the ‘Obama Doctrine.’ Repeated American drone strikes during Obama’s years in office and an inability on part of our leaders to effectively communicate our national ...

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Who will emerge on top after Afghanistan’s elections?

Amidst growing fears of violence during the elections, the people of Afghanistan will head to the polls September 28th to decide their future president. A country which has been riddled with war, tenuous stalemates, and terror since the Soviet invasion, finds itself having to now contend with an uncertain future because of the resurgence of the Taliban. The knife’s edge on which Afghanistan is precariously balancing at the moment received another shock recently when talks between the United States (US) and the Taliban collapsed. Donald Trump’s pledge to pull US troops out of Afghanistan seems to have fallen by ...

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Does the road to the Afghan peace process still pass through Kashmir?

One of Donald Trump’s election promises was that he would withdraw American troops from Afghanistan; a promise which led to the president engaging in dialogue with the Taliban in order to ensure a peaceful exit. Zalmay Khalilzad was appointed as the United States’ (US) special envoy for Afghanistan and it looked like Trump may well deliver on what he pledged. This policy objective had offered a window of opportunity for Pakistan to improve its relations with America since it had become evident that the US would require the help of the Pakistan government if they wished to withdraw troops ...

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Imran-Trump meeting: A step in the right direction on the million-mile journey

Here’s the good news – Imran Khan and Donald Trump’s face-to-face meeting was cordial, to say the least. There was no bromance or physical gestures of affection, which Imran’s Indian counterpart is known for, but all in all, not a bad first step towards normalising relations between the two countries. Considering what happened in November last year – i.e. the Twitter fireworks that essentially tore apart any hope or chances of rapprochement or reconciliation – other than showing a few signs of nervousness, Imran handled the most unpredictable character ever to grace the halls of the White House pretty ...

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Pakistan and its BLA conundrum

The United States (US) has stated that the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) will now be considered a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGTS) group.  BLA has long been blamed for carrying out deadly attacks against its opponents, Pakistan’s security forces and labourers from other provinces, but it has been the recent spate of violence which catapulted the organisation into the spotlight. It appears that the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi last year and a deadly attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar earlier this year, has led to the US State Department declaring that,  “BLA is an armed separatist ...

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