Excerpts of Interviews with Sirajuddin Haqqani

September 17th, 2011

After the recent Reuters interview with Siraj Haqqani, I shuffled through my archives to see if there is anything new in what he said. Below are a excerpts of a few interviews I did with him in 2010. You’ll see he covers similar ground. The Haqqanis are quite pragmatic and have an established track record [...]

An Appeal for Funding

August 24th, 2011

Kandahar & London
An Appeal for Funding
(This is a joint post by Alex Strick van Linschoten, Felix Kuehn and Anand Gopal)
I wouldn’t normally put something like this up on the blog, but after over a year or so of asking around (without success) we’re trying all options.
For several years now, Felix, Anand and I have been [...]

Talking to the Taliban: Who’s Under Pressure Now?

October 22nd, 2010

On an evening this past spring, near midnight, a land cruiser pulled up to the house of a government official in Kandahar city. The vehicles carried a senior Taleban figure, sent by Mullah Omar, and some tribal elders. That night the group met secretly with a leading Afghan official and discussed [...]

The Paradox of Boots on the Ground

June 29th, 2010

On a balmy summer’s day in the village of Hiratian in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, locals found the body of eight-year-old Dilawar hanging from a tree of a small fruit farm. Taliban fighters had accused the boy of spying for the American forces and had kidnapped him, strung him up and left his body to sway [...]

New Counterinsurgency Strategy, Same Results

June 5th, 2010

Wardak province, a rustic region of verdant dales and twisting streams that borders Kabul, is home to one of the untold stories of the Afghan war: over the last nine months, U.S. forces have quietly decapitated the Taliban’s leadership in the area. Through dozens of nighttime raids, U.S. Special Operations Forces have succeeded in killing [...]

The Battle for Marjah

March 8th, 2010

It was late November, 2001, and the Taliban were on the run everywhere in Afghanistan. The Northern Alliance had captured Kabul and much of the rest of the country; only parts of the southwest—including the province of Helmand, remained in the Taliban’s hands. In Marjah, a quiet market town near the Helmand desert, the dying [...]

What You Should Know About Women’s Rights In Afghanistan

April 13th, 2009

Just as the world’s eyes are turning towards Afghanistan once again, a few conservative Afghan lawmakers are trying to pass a law that would, amongst other things, legalize marital rape, prohibit women from leaving the home without permission, deny them the right of inheritance, force a woman to “preen for her husband as and when [...]

NATO, US seek alternatives to Pakistan supply routes

April 12th, 2009

Kabul, Afghanistan – Militants attacked a supply depot Sunday in Pakistan that serves Western forces in Afghanistan, increasing the pressure for US and NATO officials to find alternatives to their beleaguered supply lines.
In a predawn raid in the northwestern city of Peshawar, scores of Pakistani Taliban guerrillas torched trucks stationed at the supply terminal. The [...]

Yet Another Reason Why Indian News Is Awful

March 3rd, 2009

If there’s one rule of thumb when reading the Indian press, it is this: never believe a word it says.  At least when it comes to Paksitan.  The Times of India recently carried a real doozy, titled: Pakistani ISI Top Boss Met Osama Aide, which itself was based on “reporting” from the TV station TimesNow.
The [...]

Reuters interviews Mullah Zaif

January 23rd, 2009

“The Taliban want to expel foreign troops, not win power.”  So says Mullah Salaam Zaif, the movement’s former ambassador to Pakistani, who is now on good terms with the Karzai government.
The Taliban doesn’t want to win power?  Are we expecting the Talibs to just go back to their villages and plant wheat once the foreigners [...]