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Taliban

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Though an anti-war type I am not on the same page with many anti-war types when it comes to poo-pooing President Obama’s call for military action against the IS caliphate.   The caliphate is a big deal, in my opinion, a big bad transnational deal with significant consequences throughout Asia, and something should be done.  “Something”,... Read More
The piece reproduced below originally appeared at Asia Times Online on November 12, 2012 under the title Myanmar Fixates on Rohingya Calculation. Its thesis is perhaps better represented by the title of this blog post, Burma Washes Its Hands of the Rohingyas. It can be re-posted if ATOl is credited and a link provided. ATOl... Read More
All trivial matters have been set aside to pursue the biggest story in Chinese media. As People's Daily Online put it: Monkeys trained as battlefield killers in Afghanistan Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents are training monkeys to use weapons to attack American troops, according to a recent report by a British-based media agency. Reporters from the media... Read More
The bombing of the Data Darbar shrine--tomb of the Sufi master Datta Ganj Bahksh--in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province, is a big deal. It's like setting off a bomb in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Data Durban is at the core of Punjabi cultural identity. When Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan from exile in Saudi... Read More
In Pakistan, the intersection of religion, ethnicity, and politics is often marked by murder. The tense interaction between the Deoband adherents of the Pashtun North West Frontier Province and the Barelvi confession of the Punjab heartland has already been marred by violence. The Awami National Party’s mishandling of an Islamic calendrical controversy provides an unsettling... Read More
Informed analysis of Pakistan has exploded in a whirlwind of conflicting narratives following the announcement of the deal on sharia law—the Nizam-e Adl Regulation or NAR-- in Swat and the apparent burgeoning of Taliban-centric religious extremism in western Pakistan. The United States policy sphere reacted with a hysterical, “barbarians at the gate (or 100 miles... Read More
In commemoration of Earth Day, and in response to a post by Laura Rozen on a book by Gretchen Peters, Seeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda, which posits that the fight against the Taleban would be best framed as an anti-criminal—instead of anti-terrorist—effort, I am recycling one of my... Read More
...and the MQM Draws the Line in Karachi
Pakistan’s divided democracy, representing 170 million people, seems incapable of dealing with the collection of obscurantist theocrats and well-armed bumpkin bullies who make up the Pakistani Taliban. On April 13 . Pakistan’s national assembly voted to ratify “Nizam-e Adl Regulation of 2009”, or NAR: the imposition of shariah law on the valley of Swat in... Read More
The Taliban's War on Popular Sufism--and Pakistan
Via All Things Pakistan comes the sad news that the Pakistan Taliban blew up the tomb of the revered 17th century Pashtun poet and Sufi saint Rehman Baba near Peshawar in the North West Frontier Province on March 5. It is hard to see this event in less than dire terms, and as a signal... Read More
China Matters has pieces up at Asia Times and Counterpunch under the pen name “Peter Lee”. The Asia Times piece, Taliban Force a China Switch, concerns indications that must worry Beijing that the Taliban has discarded a central pillar of traditional foreign policy in the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan: the relative immunity of... Read More
Is America Taking on the Neo-Taliban and Missing the Point?
Why is Afghanistan at the nexus of a regional crisis that threatens the security of the United States and the very existence of Pakistan? Because Afghanistan is awash with money, arms, and foreigners. The Obama administration should think twice before assuming that injecting more money, arms, and foreigners into Afghanistan is going to solve the... Read More
It seems the story of Wei Longxiao and Zhang Guo, two Chinese telecom engineers kidnapped by the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat valley on August 29 of last year, has everything (account courtesy of the Pakistan Tribune). Adventure: Tragedy: Suspense: [T]he unusual barking of dogs alarmed their security guards and prompted them to come out of... Read More
To my mind, there is no more important journalistic source on the Taliban in Pakistan than Syed Saleem Shahzad, South Asia correspondent for the Asia Times. Shahzad recently posted on a four-part report, On The Militant Trail, on a visit to western Pakistan that took him to Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier... Read More
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