The dynamic relationship between refugee flow, rebel groups, and civil wars are often used by states to justify the rejection and expulsion of refugees. While respecting the principle of state sovereignty, Shazeen Waseem discusses how it is necessary to establish a depoliticised and law-based framework to properly address the situation of the millions of refugees worldwide.
Hamra Tariq is unsettled by the way Afghan women have been exploited, both by the US and the Taliban. She believes that a deeper look into colonialism and the feminist ideology of the Global South has to be considered. This is needed in order to reframe the opinion about Afghan women and to unveil the stakes of larger geopolitical feminist epistemology.
The US has had a turbulent relationship with Pakistan since the country’s independence in 1947. Over the course of 75 years, minor changes have occurred in the way bilateral exchanges are conducted between the two nations. Despite the rollercoaster relationship, the US has assisted Pakistan by providing necessary loans, humanitarian aid, and military equipment during exigent situations. Moreover, the US is a major foreign direct investor in Pakistan’s economy, and its largest export partner. However, bilateral relations between the two have been deteriorating because of scathing remarks and underhanded activities.
Pakistan has a troubled history of dealing with insurgencies and terrorism. Pakistan assumed the role of a frontline state following the 9/11 tragedy and enacted both military and non-military counterterrorism strategies. The Pakistani army has been tasked with maintaining internal peace by combating militancy and insurgency in the country’s difficult tribal regions such as the area of Swat. Given the occupation by TTP, TNSM, and other fundamental religious organisations, the Pakistan Army designed and carried out two major military operations: Operation Rah-e-Haq and Operation Rah-e-Rast.
Zalmay Khalilzad contributed to the reconstruction and peace-building of Afghanistan after the USSR invaded the country – and in the post-Taliban era. In “The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey from a Turbulent World,” Khalilzad details his turbulent journey from a traditional country like Afghanistan to a modern and developed country like the US. Khalilzad also argues that the world has already moved toward disorder and chaos because of several factors including terrorism, mistrust among allies, unrest in the Middle East, the rise of China, and Russian aggression.
The 22nd annual summit of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held on September 15 and 16 against the backdrop of a geopolitical upheaval challenging the world order. The leaders discussed regional and global challenges and resolved to achieve common goals of climate resilience, connectivity, digital sovereignty, peace, security, and economic development, notwithstanding the conflicts among member countries. Prospects of multilateral cooperation were discussed at the Samarkand meeting, but of greater interest were the side-line meetings between heads of states, especially between Xi and Putin.
Edited by Maleeha Lodhi and several other contributors, Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’ was published in 2011. The book effectively embarks beyond terrorism and natural disasters. Instead, it addresses the country’s contemporary security dynamics, demographic pressures, energy shortages, and lack of political will.
Since the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri in a US-authorized drone strike on July 31st, there has been speculation about Pakistan’s alleged participation in the attack. Hamra Tariq assesses the allegations which continue to persist regardless of Pakistan’s continuous denial of its involvement. She argues that, instead of Pakistan, there might be other actors entangled in Al-Zawahiri’s death.
On 31st July, the CIA was successful in assassinating al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri at his residential house in Kabul. Huda Raza details the life of the notorious Egyptian terrorist and his association with Osama bin Laden. She also muses on the advantages that Joe Biden could possibly obtain from this counterterrorism operation.
In this opinion piece, Shuraim Ahmad Malik stresses the need for girls’ education in Afghanistan. He discusses the reasons that have led to Afghan girls and women being deprived of this fundamental right, before concluding with possible solutions that the Taliban and the international community can take.
While President Erdogan’s decision to change Hagia Sophia to a mosque has been criticised for being religiously motivated, one must also take note of the West’s use of religion in various political endeavours. Mir Adnan Aziz reveals that even in the most ‘secular’ Western democracies, several major decisions (such as the Iraq war) were based on the religious beliefs of those in power.
What is the relationship between the Taliban and ISIS? Are they allies or dissimilar enemies? Hania Amaad details the formation and outlook of the ISIS-K and its interactions with the Taliban.
Lacking a judicious and effective foreign policy, Pakistan has always struggled against an unprecedented combination of challenges related to external relations. M. Shaheer Khattak walks us through Pakistan’s foreign relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, India, Afghanistan, and the United States.
Since the Taliban takeover, the situation in Afghanistan has continued to deteriorate to the point where the country is not only facing a humanitarian crisis but also an insurgency in the shape of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP). Moreover, Afghanistan’s neighbor – Pakistan – has experienced an increase in terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Amid the political crisis in Pakistan, these attacks have soured Pak-Afghan relations. The author, Sarmad Ishfaq, notes that the continued instability in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and their strained relations, are benefitting India and the United States the most.
Despite several years of relative calm and stability, the spectre of terrorism is rearing its head in Pakistan again. With dozens killed and several more wounded in just the past few months, many fear that Pakistan is going down a dark path back to its past, a past riddled with too many bullet holes. The Declaration of the United States’ War on Terror in the aftermath of the 9/11 bombings has resulted in untold carnage and death, most particularly in the countries of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Pakistan’s close proximity to Afghanistan has caused it to become the perfect target for drug trafficking. Rooha Javed explains that Afghanistan – one of the largest producers of opium in the world – has taken advantage of Pakistan’s transit route to not only acquire precursor chemicals for drug manufacturing but also for smuggling illegal drugs to the international market. Though Pakistan has adopted measures to counter this illegal drug trade, the number of Pakistanis suffering from drug addiction and overdose is increasing every day.
“The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan” provides an overview of the Soviet Union’s direct and indirect involvement in Afghanistan. Gregory Feifer, the author of the book, traces the events that led to the Soviet invasion in 1979 and analyzes the war itself. In doing so, he aptly explains the role of Pakistan in bringing the Soviet war to an end, and how the US’ uncalculated actions in Afghanistan led to intensifying extremism and terrorism.