Stories about war

Is music just music or does it have a nationality?

In the early 1980s, when Ghulam Ali’s melody ‘chukpe chukpe raat din’ and Nazia Hasan’s sensuous ‘aap jaisa koi’ took Indian film-viewing audience by a storm, the armies of both nations were engaged in a severe conflict on the highest battlefield on earth – the Siachen glacier. Two decades later, the Siachen conflict grew to become one of the major factors for the Kargil war of 1999, in a parallel universe at around the same time, the Pakistani band Junoon was making the youth of India groove to the tunes of ‘sayonee’. If talent and armed conflict could remain separate decades ago, today, when the online world is casting a ...

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Will Afghanistan see civil war after the US exits?

Recently, the two final term presidents Obama and Karzai, met at the White House to discuss the US-led NATO force withdrawal and future cooperation between the two countries. President Obama has made it clear that the Afghans will have full responsibility of their country’s security by spring and that the war will come to a responsible end by 2014. While the US certainly wants to speed up troop withdrawal, some analysts and Afghan politicians have shown apprehension at such a prospect. This is due to their fear that a sudden troop withdrawal might trigger a government collapse, which the Taliban could exploit to return ...

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The Afghan army and its failure

US President Barack Obama with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai has announced that the Afghan army will now operate directly from Afghanistan from this spring. While Karzai has expressed happiness over the announcement, he was heard saying that an indigenous army would mean that Afghanistan will not be able to put the blame on foreign troops in case of human rights violations in its own country. However, a very small number of US troops may remain in the region for assistance and training purposes. President Obama has made it clear that these troops will not be seeking permanent settlement in the ...

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‘Objectivity’ the first casualty in the Gaza conflict

A fragile truce is in place in Gaza and now begins the battle of interpretation of who was to blame and who was hurt most. Israel’s eight day war on Gaza was accompanied by a war of words, with the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) sending out a barrage of propaganda that was uncritically picked up and repeated by most of the world’s media. Information from the communications branch of the IDF flooded the internet with the IDF’s own blog full of updates and infographics, also featured on their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr accounts. The infamous IDF video on YouTube ...

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Wake up Pakistan! This is your war

Pakistan is out of step with the rest of the world – a recent poll showed it was the only country to prefer Romney over Obama and is now proved to be on “the wrong side of history”.  Obama’s win on November 6 for a second term has been recognised by every country but Pakistan as a historic decision that is good for the peace and security of the Middle East.  The international community has welcomed the election result with much relief as, unlike his Republican opponent, ex- Governor Romney, President Obama will not engage in unilateral military action and will ...

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Can you justify barbarism? The Taliban did!

An odd thing happened on Wednesday when a group of American anti-drone activists went to the Islamabad Bar Association office for a discussion. Members of the Namoos-e-Risalat Forum (NRF), a group that beatified Salman Taseer’s convicted assassin, the traitor Mumtaz Qadri, tried to disrupt the event, organised by a more rational thinking group of lawyers. The uninformed NRF leader was reported saying, “Americans follow double standards; they kill innocent civilians through drone attacks while sending a peace delegation to Pakistan,” He said this not realising that it makes no sense for the Americans to send an official delegation to speak against official ...

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Are warlords, pirates, famine and poverty a Somalia of the past?

After years of transitional and ineffective administrations, Somalia’s new federal government has rekindled hope especially for any Somalian from my generation. All we have seen is Somalia in a limbo since 1991, with the world waiting and watching how much worse it could get for us. In what is a historical event, Somalia’s new federal parliament elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud an academic and activist, to become the country’s next president. The defeat of Sharif Sheikh Ahmed who was leading the transitional government, in what was a tight competition; Somalians see a sign of changing times. Mohamud’s election as Somalia’s president is ...

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A dangerous gamble? PTI’s ‘Peace March’ to the badlands

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has begun its ‘Peace March’ to South Waziristan wherein lies the Mehsud tribe’s town of Kotkai as well the native village of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Militant leader Hakimullah Mehsud and his slain cousin Qari Hussain, and the Ustad Fidayeen (trainer of suicide bombers) are also from the area. In fact, the first suicide bombing training camp was setup at Kotkai. Recently, the town has gained importance in the international media as no one except the Mehsuds were previously allowed to enter it. Since the past two days, the area has been declared by the political administration ...

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Imran Khan, knowingly or unknowingly ‘Taliban’ Khan

Imran Khan is guilty of one of two things. He is either guilty of deliberately and knowingly legitimising the Pakistani Taliban as a political force for what he perceives to be his own populist gain, or he is guilty of colossal naivety and unintelligibility. Personally, I am far more worried by the latter, and also far more convinced of its plausibility. Allow me to explain. Let’s consider the possibility that Imran Khan is indeed playing to what he understands the populist tune to be and that his soft, apologetic stance towards the Pakistani Taliban is a deliberate ploy fueled out of a mixture ...

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Indo-Pak peace façade: What about Kashmir?

A loyal, unnamed Quaestor (public official) in the great Roman emperor Hadrian’s army, who built the city of Hadrianopolis (now Adrianopolis), had his eyes gouged out and his right arm amputated in the winter of 127 AD. Scandalous rumours that the Quaestor had embezzled funds, collected for the construction of a giant wall meant to keep the barbarians away from Britain, had reached the emperor. For three long years, the ugly ghosts of an unlit torture chamber became permanent companions of the Quaestor. Later, when an official inquest discovered that the Quaestor was innocent, he was summoned before the ...

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