Stop targeting humanitarian workers

Thursday, 09 March 2017 18:53 Written by

Names you've never heard. Places you've never been. Murders that probably passed you by. Six bodies, riddled with bullets, stuffed in a Land Cruiser, left abandoned in a dry, barren valley in northern Afghanistan.

Pakistan opened its border with Afghanistan for just 48 hours starting the day before yesterday, and only for people. This is too little too late for those who lost over two weeks of their lives stranded at the border, or who depend on regular and legal cross-border transit. In addition, Pakistan is not allowing transit of containerized cargo that is now piling up at the seaport in Karachi on the Arabian Sea and incurring demurrage charges. That containerized cargo is the economic life-blood of Afghanistan, which is landlocked and dependent on Pakistan’s ports. Pakistan should immediately open its border with Afghanistan to legitimate migration and trade.

March 8 has always been a special day for me and my family – not only is it International Women’s Day, it’s also my birthday. And throughout my childhood we often celebrated my birthday by attending women’s day events.

Pakistan's military has warned Donald Trump's new generals that they face a "total mess" in Afghanistan unless America and Britain can halt the advance of ISIS and the Taliban.

Fed up with what she felt was mismanagement at her hospital, gynecologist Homa Amiri Kakar had walked out of her job in a remote part of Afghanistan and returned to the capital. But just a week later she agreed to go back, guilt-stricken about the women she had deserted.

Trump’s hard choices in Afghanistan

Sunday, 05 March 2017 03:39 Written by

It's generally foolish to look for clear thought and sincere intent in anything President Donald Trump says. But a glimmer of hope emerged in his Monday comments on America's recent military ventures. "We have to start winning wars again," he declared. "We've either got to win or don't fight it at all."

Since the partition of the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan has lived in fear of the rise of ethnic nationalism in Pakistan and Afghan nationalism in Afghanistan. The elite Pakistani think tanks and power houses see these two trends as a threat to Pakistan’s geographical integrity. The fear gains credibility when viewed against the backdrop of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)’s  separation from West Pakistan (the current Pakistan) and the waves of insurgency in Pakistan by socialists, Balochs, and some Pashtun nationalists who received support from Afghanistan. Therefore, Pakistan strives to use religion as a unifying tool to undermine ethno-nationalists at home and Afghan nationalism abroad.

This week, Afghanistan lodged repeated official complaints against Pakistan’s violations of international agreements, including Pakistan’s Afghan border closings and forced repatriation of Afghan refugees. The border closings are contrary to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, and Pakistan’s forced repatriation of refugees breaks its agreements with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Pakistan is a member of the WTO and U.N., so these actions are the latest in a series of broken promises on the issue of Afghanistan. These are confirmation that Pakistan can no longer be trusted as a negotiating partner on Afghan-related issues.

Will Trump End the War in Afghanistan?

Wednesday, 01 March 2017 03:25 Written by

The Afghan war, now in its sixteenth year, has arguably become one of the world's most consequential conflicts. The steady stream of news from Afghanistan is as relentless as it is depressing. More important, the eerie silence in Washington, DC to discuss the future course of Afghan conflict—and America’s role in it—is deafening. President Donald Trump, now the third U.S. president to lead the Afghan mission, has called the war a “total disaster,” which the United States should abandon altogether. Trump, who has claimed to have a foolproof plan to defeat the Islamic State, has not yet discussed his strategy for fighting America’s longest war. The silence, however, does not qualify as an improvement from the policy of the Obama administration, whose excessive caution while dealing with Afghanistan and arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal of U.S. troops made the Afghan campaign more challenging.

The United States, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan may be finding themselves on the same page all over again, sooner than one would have expected, with regard to the revival of the moribund Quadrilateral Cooperative Group (QCG), their moribund initiative on regional security issues, especially the reconciliation with the Taliban.