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" . . . but women hold the power of story."

Women make up roughly half of the 42 million Pashtun people in the borderland. The kind of hardship they know is rare. Some are bought and sold, others killed for perceived slights against family honor. But this doesn’t render them passive. Most of the Pashtun women I know possess a rebellious and caustic humor beneath their cerulean burkas, which have become symbols of submission. This finds expression in an ancient form of folk poetry called landay. Two lines and 22 syllables long, they can be rather startling to the uninitiated. War, drones, sex, a husband’s manhood—these poems are short and dangerous, like the poisonous snake for which they’re named.
posted by jason's_planet on Jul 1, 2014 - 12 comments

"What does the drone’s camera capture, and what does it occlude?"

The Sound of Terror: Phenomenology of a Drone Strike
Opponents of drone strikes say they violate international law and have caused unacknowledged civilian deaths. Proponents insist they actually save the lives of both U.S. soldiers, who would otherwise be deployed in dangerous ground operations, and of civilians, because of the drone’s capacity to survey and strike more precisely than combat. If the alternative is a prolonged and messy ground operation, the advantage of drone strikes in terms of casualties is indisputable, and it is not my intention to dispute it here. But the terms of this debate give a one-sided view of both the larger financial and political costs of drones, as well as the less than lethal but nonetheless chronic and intense harm continuous strikes wage on communities.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 19, 2013 - 79 comments

India vs Pakistan in Afghanistan

A Deadly Triangle - the proxy war in Afghanistan
posted by Gyan on Jun 26, 2013 - 8 comments

Polio Eradication

How the CIA Is Hurting the Fight Against Polio.
posted by homunculus on Feb 11, 2013 - 63 comments

Niza Yanay - the ideology of hatred: the psychic power of discourse

"The Ideology of Hatred": An interview with Niza Yanay - "Once we understand how hatred operates as an apparatus of power relations, and particularly how the discourse of hatred is motivated and mobilised in national conflicts, serious questions about misrecognition, veiled desires and symptomatic expressions arise. These questions have, to a large extent, been left unaddressed in studies of hatred between groups in conflict." [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 15, 2012 - 13 comments

There's still a war going on

August was one of the deadliest months in Afghanistan, for both civilians and soldiers. The death toll was increased by so-called 'green-on-blue' attacks by members of the Afghan National Army and police forces on ISAF and US forces. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 13, 2012 - 67 comments

“Once it’s your pop stand, you look at things a little differently”

The NYT reports on how a Secret 'Kill List' tests Obama's principles and will [more inside]
posted by lalochezia on May 29, 2012 - 189 comments

"From the ground, drones are terrifying weapons that can be heard circling overhead for hours at a time."

"What's that buzzing sound?" Foreign Policy's third annual War Issue focuses on what it calls "Barack Obama's Secret Wars," including My Drone War, in which a Pakistani journalist for Newsday and the NYT describes what drone warfare looks and sounds like from the ground; The Obama Doctrine, which argues drone warfare is a failing strategy in both Yemen and Pakistan; The Evolution of Drone Warfare: A Photo History, 1917-2010, and more. The package also includes two takes on cyberwar - Cyberwar is still more hype than hazard and Cyberwar Is Already Upon Us - along with a lot of interesting links.
posted by mediareport on Feb 29, 2012 - 99 comments

Bollywood's Soft Power

What might help defeat Muslim extremists in Pakistan for good? Bollywood!
posted by reenum on Feb 2, 2012 - 11 comments

The U.S. and Pakistan

The Pakistanis Have A Point: Sure they can be infuriating, not to mention duplicitous, paranoid and self-pitying. But you try being a U.S. ally. -Bill Keller, NYTimes Magazine [more inside]
posted by beisny on Dec 22, 2011 - 38 comments

White House sticks to secrecy as the death toll in drone strikes surges

Secrecy defines Obama’s drone war. "Since September, at least 60 people have died in 14 reported CIA drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions. The Obama administration has named only one of the dead, hailing the elimination of Janbaz Zadran, a top official in the Haqqani insurgent network, as a counterterrorism victory. The identities of the rest remain classified, as does the existence of the drone program itself. Because the names of the dead and the threat they were believed to pose are secret, it is impossible for anyone without access to U.S. intelligence to assess whether the deaths were justified." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 21, 2011 - 82 comments

Drone music, sorta

Throughout time immemorial, songs of patriotism, such as Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?" are a staple of countries at war. Our ballads root for our soldiers to come back safe and sound to families and sweethearts, but who sings the tale about the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the autonomous drone that pines for the vending machine it left at home? Only the evil ghost of Johnny Cash does. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 19, 2011 - 37 comments

The shot that nearly killed me.

In pictures: the life of a war photographer (There are some graphic images in here; not for the squeamish, though for most would be SFW for most workplaces).
posted by smoke on Jul 6, 2011 - 11 comments

There is Much More to Say

It might be instructive to ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic (after proper burial rites, of course). Uncontroversially, he is not a “suspect” but the “decider” who gave the orders to invade Iraq -- that is, to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: in Iraq, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country and the national heritage, and the murderous sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region. Equally uncontroversially, these crimes vastly exceed anything attributed to bin Laden.
There is Much More to Say by Noam Chomsky.
posted by klue on May 24, 2011 - 463 comments

"An institution full of intelligence but devoid of wisdom"

Whose side is Pakistan's ISI really on?
posted by Artw on May 12, 2011 - 44 comments

So how do we stand now?

Following recent events; Frontline has rushed out a special report (53 mins). which takes the viewer inside two fronts of the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. They also find new evidence of covert support for elements of the Taliban by the Pakistani military and its intelligence service, the ISI [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on May 5, 2011 - 55 comments

War is Boring

David Axe is on his way back from reporting for 6 weeks in Afghanistan. [more inside]
posted by garlic on Apr 19, 2011 - 7 comments

Pakistan's Secret Dirty Little War

Pakistan's Secret Dirty Little War
posted by lalochezia on Mar 29, 2011 - 34 comments

Drone warfare against Pakistan

It may take years, but some researcher will travel to Pakistan’s tribal areas and produce a definitive study on what it’s been like to live amidst an aerial bombardment from American pilotless aircraft. When that account inevitably comes out, it’s likely to find that 2010 — and especially the final quarter of 2010 — marked a turning point in how civilians coped with a drone war that turned relentless. (previously: 1,2)
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 17, 2010 - 151 comments

NATO: bin Laden in Pakistan

Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, but are not together, a senior NATO official said. ... al Qaeda's top leadership is believed to be living in relative comfort, protected by locals and some members of the Pakistani intelligence services... The official would not discuss how the coalition has come to know any of this information, but he has access to some of the most sensitive information in the NATO alliance. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 18, 2010 - 107 comments

Luke Powell's photographs of Afghanistan

Photographer Luke Powell captures the beauty and dignity of Afghanistan from the cities in the news to remote villages reachable only on horseback. He photographed the country extensively throughout the 1970s as a tourist and again from 2000 – 2003 in the employ of the United Nations to document minefields, mine victims, and demining efforts. Glimpses: Boys in the Bazaar l Koochie Tents (nomadic pastoralists). [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 27, 2010 - 7 comments

Erik Prince off the record

Eric Prince (Wiki), the controversial and secretive founder and owner of Xe, formerly known as Blackwater International, rarely gives public speeches. When he does he attempts to ban journalists from attending, and forbids recording or videotaping of his remarks. The Nation magazine has obtained an audio recording from May 5th in which Prince speaks to a select gathering in his hometown of Holland, Michigan. [more inside]
posted by Harald74 on May 6, 2010 - 43 comments

Terrorism that's personal

Acid attacks and wife burnings are common in parts of Asia because the victims are the most voiceless in these societies. graphic pictures under the fold
posted by desjardins on Apr 17, 2010 - 56 comments

nation building

One Night in Afghanistan
THE PRESIDENT: at a time when too many American institutions have let us down, when too many institutions have put short-term gain in front of a commitment to duty and a commitment to what's right... all of you want to build -- and that is something essential about America. [Al Qaeda and the violent extremists have] got no respect for human life. You see dignity in every human being. That's part of what we value as Americans. They want to drive races and regions and religions apart. You want to bring people together and see the world move forward together. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 4, 2010 - 36 comments

Tora Bora: America's First Major Battle Of The Twenty-First Century

That afternoon, American signals operators picked up bin Laden speaking to his followers. Fury kept a careful log of these communications in his notebook, which he would type up at the end of every day and pass up his chain of command. “The time is now,” bin Laden said. “Arm your women and children against the infidel!” Following several hours of high-intensity bombing, the Al Qaeda leader spoke again. Fury paraphrases: “Our prayers have not been answered. Times are dire. We didn’t receive support from the apostate nations who call themselves our Muslim brothers.” Bin Laden apologized to his men for having involved them in the fight and gave them permission to surrender.
posted by jason's_planet on Jan 29, 2010 - 26 comments

Are nuclear weapons safe in Pakistan?

Defending the Arsenal: In an unstable Pakistan, can nuclear warheads be kept safe?
posted by homunculus on Nov 10, 2009 - 21 comments

David Rohde: Held by the Taliban

On a reporting trip to Afghanistan in November of 2008, New York Times reporter David Rohde and two of his colleagues were kidnapped by the Taliban. After being held captive for seven months in the mountains of Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan, David and one of his colleagues escaped in the middle of the night and made their way to freedom. He recounts the story in a five part series: Held by the Taliban. [more inside]
posted by Merik on Oct 21, 2009 - 22 comments

Obama's War

Frontline in Afghanistan
In a war that has lasted eight years, what is the way forward now? [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Oct 15, 2009 - 52 comments

Morenatti, a conflict photographer

Some recent photographs by the renowned photojournalist Emilio Morenatti, Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 2009, who recently lost his foot in a bomb blast in Afghanistan. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 14, 2009 - 19 comments

La - La; Can't hear you.

Tariq Ali writes in the LRB: - This is now Obama’s war. He campaigned to send more troops into Afghanistan and to extend the war, if necessary, into Pakistan. These pledges are now being fulfilled. On the day he publicly expressed his sadness at the death of a young Iranian woman caught up in the repression in Tehran, US drones killed 60 people in Pakistan.
Tariq Ali discusses the views of Graham Fuller an ex CIA Kabul station chief who thinks Obama's Policies are Making the Situation Worse in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The further view from Asia is that Pakistan wields a double-edged sword and that although the Pakistan-US plan are falling into place the militants, too, have their mechanisms in place, and they don't plan to deviate. A mighty collision is inevitable.
Meanwhile Kalashnikov demand soars.
posted by adamvasco on Jul 28, 2009 - 91 comments

On this land that belongs to God

On the Militant Trail [Most recent of four articles with links to preceding pieces] Renowned Asia Times correspondent Syed Saleem Shahzad visits Peshawar, capital of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province and takes a journey with the Taliban through the Swat valley. His four-part series of articles examines the differing natures and strategies of various Taliban groups, describes a government counter-insurgency campaign gone seriously awry and finds indications that "a major battle will be fought in Pakistan before the annual spring offensive even begins in Afghanistan this year."
posted by Abiezer on Feb 6, 2009 - 15 comments

Pakistan's Jihadi Problem Worsens

Pakistan in Peril. "The relative calm in Iraq in recent months, combined with the drama of the US elections, has managed to distract attention from the catastrophe that is rapidly overwhelming Western interests in the part of the world that always should have been the focus of America's response to September 11: the al-Qaeda and Taliban heartlands on either side of the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 21, 2009 - 30 comments

An Eye for an Eye: Justice or Injustice, Poetic or Barbaric?

"At an age at which I should be putting on a wedding dress, I am asking for someone's eyes to be dripped with acid,"
Four years ago, a spurned suitor poured a bucket of sulfuric acid over [Ameneh Bahrami's] head, leaving her blind and disfigured. Late last month, an Iranian court ordered that five drops of the same chemical be placed in each of her attacker's eyes, acceding to Bahrami's demand that he be punished according to a principle in Islamic jurisprudence that allows a victim to seek retribution for a crime. The sentence has not yet been carried out.
[more inside]
posted by davidstandaford on Dec 29, 2008 - 263 comments

Ending Chaos in Afghanistan and Pakistan

From Great Game to Grand Bargain. "The crisis in Afghanistan and Pakistan is beyond the point where more troops will help. U.S. strategy must be to seek compromise with insurgents while addressing regional rivalries and insecurities." A new piece in Foreign Affairs by Barnett R. Rubin and Ahmed Rashid. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Oct 28, 2008 - 35 comments

"forward, forward I say"

"Fog of War" cited by United States Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad. He was speaking to journalists to clarify reports concerning his unauthorised contacts with foreign government officials, among them Asif Ali Zardari; a then contender to succeed Pervez Musharraf as president of Pakistan. Earlier this year he was being touted as a possible successor to Hamid Karzai as President of Afghanistan as seen in these two articles. So who is Zalmay Khalilzad? Neo con and oil businessman. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Sep 10, 2008 - 8 comments

Talibanistan

Right at the Edge. "The Taliban and Al Qaeda have established a haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghan border. This is where the war on terror wil be fought – and possibly lost."
posted by homunculus on Sep 5, 2008 - 62 comments

Pakistan’s Phantom Border

Pakistan’s Phantom Border. "Pakistan is often called the most dangerous country on earth. Increasingly, its people would agree. Despite nearly $6 billion in U.S. military aid for the border region since 9/11, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and homegrown terrorist groups have eroded the border with Afghanistan, inflicting a steady toll of suicide bombings. Going where few Westerners dare—from Taliban strongholds to undercover-police headquarters—the author sees what’s tearing the country apart."
posted by homunculus on Jun 22, 2008 - 24 comments

The man who knew too much

The man who knew too much. "He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court."
posted by homunculus on Oct 13, 2007 - 21 comments

The Long War

The Long War Journal. Regardless of your politics, the aggregation of info is useful, and the chief blogger doesn't seem to have been mentioned on MeFi before.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Sep 6, 2007 - 4 comments

"Unfortunately, Bin Laden was a really good hider."

The Ongoing Hunt for Osama bin Laden is a comprehensive Newsweek update on the search for Osama. Psychics can't find him. Native American trackers can't find him. As the Daily Show noted in 2004, the dead or alive terrorist mastermind is "a really good hider."
posted by kirkaracha on Aug 26, 2007 - 36 comments

J is for Jihad, and K is for Kalashnikov, and I is for Infidel

"I" is for "Infidel" "Associated Press and New Yorker [Q&A] writer Kathy Gannon delivers an intimately observed history of Afghanistan from 1986 to the present. The longest-serving Western journalist in the region, Gannon overturns simplistic understanding of the country's politics in this eye-opening talk." [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Nov 14, 2006 - 17 comments

Martin Amis - The age of horrorism

The age of horrorism. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Martin Amis analyses - and abhors - the rise of extreme Islamism. In a penetrating and wide-ranging essay he offers a trenchant critique of the grotesque creed and questions the West's faltering response to this eruption of evil.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Sep 19, 2006 - 66 comments

The lost tribe of Alexander

Legend has it the people of Nuristan, Kalash and Chitral are descended from deserters who stayed behind after Greek Emperor Alexander the Great’s army passed through the area more than 2,000 years ago, and for centuries they lived in splendid isolation. It was in this region that the first images of the Buddha were created. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jul 24, 2006 - 25 comments

Afghanistan: On the Brink

Afghanistan: On the Brink - Ahmed Rashid on Afghanistan's precarious situation. Around three thousand of the 23,000 US troops now deployed in Afghanistan are scheduled to return home this summer and Western intelligence officials say several thousand more may depart before November. The start of an American withdrawal in the midst of a vicious Taliban resurgence naturally infuriates Karzai and his government; it is particularly disillusioning for millions of Afghans who, unlike their Iraqi counterparts, still equate a sizable US military presence with security, continued international funding, and reconstruction. In Iraq practically the entire population wants the Americans to leave, however pleased they are about the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. But the survival of the new Afghan government has depended upon the leadership of the US and its ability to convince the rest of the world to rebuild the country. The US needs to contribute money to carry out its promises and show it is willing to stay the course. It is doing neither. Barnett Rubin. International Crisis Group.
posted by russilwvong on Jun 1, 2006 - 31 comments

... they sold us to the Pakistani authorities for $5,000 per person.

"It wouldn't surprise me if we paid rewards"
--As part of the AP's receipt of transcripts of the millitary tribunals in Guantanamo, multiple reports of our allies using money the US gave them to buy "terrorists" for shipment there.
..."When I was in jail, they said I needed to pay them money and if I didn't pay them, they'd make up wrong accusations about me and sell me to the Americans and I'd definitely go to Cuba," he told the tribunal. "After that I was held for two months and 20 days in their detention, so they could make wrong accusations about me and my (censored), so they could sell us to you." Another prisoner said he was on his way to Germany in 2001 when he was captured and sold for "a briefcase full of money" then flown to Afghanistan before being sent to Guantanamo....
posted by amberglow on Jun 1, 2005 - 14 comments

What's Going On In Balochistan?

What's Going On In Balochistan? (part 2) Deception and treachery. Live and let die. The ultimate zero sum game. Repetition of bloody history: Call it what you may, something is happening in the Pakistani province of Balochistan that defies comprehension on any conventional scale. From a posting at The Agonist. According to the article Balochistan may be the key to future developments in Central Asia. Two former KGB agents report that Russian, Indian, Iranian and American agents are all supporting a resurgent insurrection which is becoming increasingly active. Why would these countries do this? Two easy answers: Oil pipelines and China's Gwadar Port.
posted by afu on Feb 28, 2005 - 9 comments

Asia: Full of Grace

Asia Grace
posted by euphorb on Jul 21, 2004 - 6 comments

Our friend Pakistan?

"Newly declassified US intelligence documents say Pakistan helped Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda group to start its operations in Afghanistan in the 1990s and even secretly ran a major terrorist training camp." The declassified documents were obtained and posted as "The Taliban File" by the National Security Archive, and describe the closeness of al Qaeda and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) before the later lost control. [Via the Agonist and Juan Cole.] [More inside.]
posted by homunculus on Sep 14, 2003 - 16 comments

Trouble for Pakistan?

Trouble for Pakistan? It looks like the Pakistanis have really managed to piss of their Afghan neighbors with their imperialist ambitions. The foreigners who so eagerly rushed to help the Taliban are getting shot for their troubles, some have wised up and are refusing to surrender. Should we be trying to stop such behavior, or is this a case of If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen?
posted by jaek on Nov 16, 2001 - 2 comments

Ahye Matey!

Ahye Matey! He's mean and one-eyed and known simply as "unidentified translator" .
posted by stbalbach on Oct 19, 2001 - 20 comments

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