Lost at Tora Bora (2005)

New York Times, 11 September 2005 A useful re-read about the Tora Bora cave complex, “part of a C.I.A.-financed complex built for the mujahedeen,” with Osama bin Laden’s involvement. Featuring also Mawlawi Khales, Haji Abdul Qadir and Engineer Mahmud (both late) and a certain “Brig. Gen. James N. Mattis, the commander of some 4,000 marines.”

Taliban territory: Life in Afghanistan under the militants

BBC, 8 June 2017 A rare glimpse into Taleban controlled area in Helmand – Sangin and Musa Qala – “the Taliban’s de facto capital”: “We were not allowed to film anything to do with opium. The opium trade is synonymous with this region (…)  “Opium is our economic necessity, but we hate it as much as […]

As violence sweeps Kabul, the rapid pace of deportations from Europe continues

The Conversation, 6 June 2017 A must-read: First-hand experience from onboard a number of flights with forced and not-so-voluntary Afghan ‘returnees’ from Turkey by Liza Schuster. Here some quotes from the text: Thirty young men were deported to Kabul on June 6, on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul. (…) As I spoke to the […]

Vice-president leaves Afghanistan amid torture and rape claims

The Guardian, 20 May 2017 “Afghanistan’s vice-president [Abdulrashid Dostum] has left the country after a six-month standoff following allegations that he illegally detained a political rival and had him raped with an assault rifle”, reports the British daily.  President Ashraf Ghani “framed the case as his make-or-break moment to show that not even powerful warlords were […]

The Butcher of Kabul and I

Rediff News, 8 May 2017 A former Indian ambassador recounts Hekmatyar ‘politics’ while working on special assignment as Charge d’Affaires to manage the embassy in Kabul in 1990 – and wondering whom the Hezb leader was “trying to impress” by bringing “his wife and daughter for the ceremony in the presidential palace on Thursday, May […]

Insiders aided Kabul hospital attack, survivors say

AFP, 12 March 2017 This AFP story about the attack on Kabul’s military Sardar Daud Khan hospital, claimed by Daesh, picks up reports about inside support for the assailants – and on growing doubt that it was really the IS, namely on “indications that the (Taliban-allied) Haqqani network was behind it.”

Afghan capital plagued by kidnapping and extortion of locals

AFP/The National, 10 March 2017 Underreported, underrated – a phenomenon that undermines the security of Kabulis probably as much as terrorism. One shortcoming: the too short sentence about the political connections and protection of the abduction syndicates: The government’s inability to curb kidnappings has led many like Mr Ghulam to suspect that some criminals are […]