Pakistan

Where exactly is Abbottabad, or A Vindication of Geography

Abbottabad (or, in the local pronunciation: Abtabad) has already risen to a status shared only by some of Calvino’s ‘Invisibles Cities’: that of a mysterious fairy land of which everybody talks but few know something for certain. In particular, when the news of Osama bin Laden’s killing broke, its exact distance from the Pakistani capital […]

The Great Talqaida Myth

Al-Qaida and the Taleban are basically the same, they are fanatical Islamist extremists who hate the West and are an imminent danger for all of us. This, at least, is what one influential school of terrorism experts says – which informs the latest US policy on Afghanistan which, on paper, concentrates on ‘disrupting’ al-Qaida while, […]

Talking to the Taleban: Who’s under pressure now?

The last US plan – to have a more broad-based reconciliation process only after its military would regain the upper hand on the battlefield – has not worked. The surge has not shifted the momentum. Not the Taleban but in reality the US are under pressure, and fundamental questions open about how and where a […]

Empire Going Mad

The current US clue- and helplessness in Afghanistan, with its strategy that no one knows whether it will work and with no Plan B, is definitely crying out for some ‘out of the box’ thinking. But the ideas which have started to appear on various websites reminds one of the mad Dr. Strangelove, who learned […]

Pakistani Anger with WikiLeaks

Pakistan has remarkably free media. However, this freedom has been limited on a few subjects. Journalists would not touch the Pakistani involvement in Afghanistan during the ‘jihad’ against the Soviet occupation in a critical way, for example. It looked as if the ISI often was dictating the leaders on this subject in at least some […]

How ‘neo’ were the ‘Neo-Taleban’?

Since the Taleban’s quick resurgence after the fall of their regime in 2001, their insurgency often is described with the term ‘Neo-Taleban’. Here it is argued, though, that there was more continuity than change from the pre-9/11 to the post-9/11 Taleban movement. The real ‘neo-Taleban’ might emerge now – after the arrest of accommodation-inclined Taleban […]

Some Birds with One Stone

Pakistan is establishing a new Taleban leadership that is more aggressive, less inclined to talk and primarily follows the instructions of its ISI minders, says Christoph Reuter(1). With this aim, it manipulates different leaders of militant groups, using targeted arrests and ‘invitations’ into ‘guesthouses’. When it became known on 16 Februar that the number three […]

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