Stories about Taliban

We have not forgotten APS and we will not forget Badaber

The mosque in Badaber was the first mosque I ever prayed at. Eighteen years ago. It is now covered in blood. My father, Air Marshal Riazuddin Shaikh, was Air Commodore at the time. We lived in Badaber for a year and a half. That was when I decided that I wanted to be a pilot. An Air Force fighter pilot, like my father. But it wasn’t very long ago before I realised that I was just not cut from the same cloth these remarkable men and women are made of. Badaber, since the time I have known, has been a ...

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The filthy culture of bacha bazi in Afghanistan

The Afghans call this revolting act bacha bazi, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Young boys usually ostracised from villages by their families because they were attacked by a paedophile, wearing flowing colourful outfits clad in bells, dancing in seedy places for older turban wearing bearded Afghan men, only to be sexually assaulted after the contemptible night takes a drug and alcohol fuelled turn. The Guardian stated, “Dressed in a flowing shirt and long, red skirt, with sherwal pants beneath and small silver bells fastened to hands and feet, the dancer stepped across the floor, face hidden behind a ...

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Perils of over adulation

Despite being someone who considers himself a strong critic of Pakistan’s military, I do admire General Raheel Sharif and for good reason; he’s finally done what should have been done a long time ago. For years, the issue of militants had been in the spotlight, and despite their openly brazen acts, various governments in succession were unable to counter the menace effectively. The lack of will was astounding, but given the weak public support, due to obfuscating narrative which actually presented the Taliban as a ‘reaction’, was perhaps understandable. Moreover, it should also be remembered that any action against the militants actually required ...

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Saudi Arabia, building 200 mosques will not help the refugee crisis

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in all its benevolent wisdom, has come to the aid of the Middle Eastern refugees lining up on the gates of Germany, by offering to build 200 mosques in the European nation. Yes, this is exactly what these traumatised people need after losing their homes, resources, family members, dignity, and mental and physical well-being – mosques. Indeed, for those so inclined, it is important for pious refugees to have a place to practice faith, especially in a foreign land where religion can help them feel grounded, but only after achieving stability in their lives. For Saudi Arabia to offer ...

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Does liberalism do more harm than good?

As a philosophy, liberalism is more inward looking and hence does not try to shift blame on the outside forces. By its orientation, it also does not have an overly negative assumption about human nature and consequently is not obsessed with crime and punishment. It believes in the rationality of humans and further assumes that human intelligence is capable of creating an artifice where ethnic, linguistic, and other such ‘natural’ differences can be accommodated without creating a rift. Its emphasis and belief on human rationality rather than instinct, logically lead it to being more fluid and progressive. Conservative points of views ...

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Dear Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan, Reham Bhabi and Ayyan Ali – Hi!

Open letters are the new ‘in’ thing. Everyone, while not busy taking selfies or engaging in internet wars, is writing them. Unlike personal letters that are addressed to and only read by the person intended, these have a universal appeal. Hence, I decided to write a few of my own, a series of them in fact. Here is the first one: To Hamza Ali Abbasi from an Online Jihadi. Hazrat Hamza Ali Abbasi Sahib, My heart sank when I saw the trailer of your upcoming movie, Jawani Phir Nahin Ani. And it sank even further to the bottom of the very pool you were seen ...

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Should Afghanistan, India and Iran always blame Pakistan for their own mistakes?

It’s nothing but ironical that I’m writing this blog on the latest (if not the greatest), all intensive, simmering hot issue of yet another AfPak entanglement right around the time when one of the chief architects of Pakistan’s Afghan’s policy of the 80s-90s, General Hamid Gul, bade farewell to the world. The general, a villain to some and a hero to others, was by all means a controversial figure, one who left a deep impact on the regional politics for years to come. So when I hear the current crop of Afghan leadership screaming their lungs out with ferociously unsavoury, emotion-laden statements pointing fingers at the Pakistanis for ...

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Of misogynistic jihadists and their sexual jihad

Whether it’s the destruction of holy shrines, burning of hostages, stoning the accused and sexually assaulting girls, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has managed to set new boundaries and records of violence. Adding to their records is the recent execution of 19 girls in Mosul who refused to have sex with the group’s fighters. This is an extension of the sheer brutality that is normally attributed to them. Countless women have been abducted by the ISIS militants. The prettiest of the abducted virgins are then sent to the markets of Syria and Iraq where they are sold as sexual objects to the highest bidder, amongst the beasts salivating to get the best ...

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Banning and unbanning pornographic sites, Modi is as unstable as his decisions

Indian people are under siege by the government which was elected by them. Today, the popularly chosen regime decides what the masses should watch, what they should hear, what they should eat, how they should exercise, and how they should behave as citizens of the nation. Any deviation or questioning is termed as anti-national activity. Governance has now given way to policing. How will the government justify the blocking of more than 800 porn sites on the internet? In a country which boasts of the traditions of Kamasutra and where people throng in large number to see the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho ...

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Why now, Afghanistan?

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s revelation that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is dead — which had long been assumed yet never confirmed — a fundamental question remains. Why would the Afghan government make this announcement now? Specifically, why would Kabul jeopardise a peace process that it desperately wants to succeed and that has only recently gained steam? Surely, Kabul knew that announcing Mullah Omar’s death would bring long-festering tensions within the Taliban to the fore and trigger a deep and perhaps even existential organisational crisis — a messy, drawn-out, and possibly bloody leadership transition that will consume the Taliban’s energies and could limit its ability to focus on peace talks. So what ...

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