Category Archives: Articles

Top priorities for Haibatullah, new Afghan Taliban leader

(CNN)In the year that he openly led the Afghan Taliban Movement, Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who was killed by a U.S drone strike Saturday, proved to be a consummate political actor.

After seizing power in a rapidly summoned conclave, he proceeded to consolidate his hold over the movement, deflect attempts by the pro-Taliban clergy (ulema) to question his authority, co-opt or eliminate dissidents, renew the Taliban’s war strategy and defy all efforts to maneuver the Taliban into peace negotiations.
To achieve all of this, Mansour drew on a rich repertoire of stratagems.

Photos: Scene from reported strike on Taliban leaders

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The Taliban replaces its dead leader – and prepares for some tricky internal politics

The May 21 drone strike that killed Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansoorwas no ordinary assassination; it was an act of armed politics against an acutely political war strategist. The

The scene of the drone strike said to have killed the Taliban’s leader. EPA

Taliban has already named Mansoor’s successor, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, and is reassuring its members that the status quo will endure – but Mansoor

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Black flags and balaclavas: how jihadists dress for imaginary war

Source Link:   Author: Michael SempleQueen’s University Belfast

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The first thing that I noticed in the gruesome pictures of two gunmen fleeing the scene of their attack on Charlie Hebdo was that the men were dressed from head to toe in black.

It might sound strange, but terrorist couture is a surprisingly relevant detail from which to start making sense of what happened in Paris, and how it connects to other acts of jihadi terrorism worldwide.

The attackers dressed to look like members of a paramilitary force not to trick their way through a security check, but to symbolise their belonging to an army – albeit an imagined one.

Explainer: who are the Pakistani Taliban?

By Michael Semple, Queen’s University Belfast

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on a school in Peshawar that killed more than 130 children. The militants planned the

A scene of devastation after the Taliban attack in Peshawar. EPA/Bilawal Arbab

massacre to take revenge on the Pakistan army. They murdered the children of their enemy.

By executing these children, the attackers took Pakistan’s violence past a dreadful milestone. But the background to this massacre is a conflict spanning the frontier of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It’s a conflict that has dragged on for more than a decade.

The Pakistan Taliban Movement: An Appraisal

The Pakistan Taliban Movement: An AppraisalPolicy Research Papers
November 2014

In October 2014 the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) announced his movement’s backing for the “Islamic State” (IS) and its efforts to re-establish the Caliphate. The spokesman pledged that the Taliban would align their efforts with the Islamic State by sending fighters and military experts more…

 

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Aafia Siddiqui: the Pakistani female scientist ‘on Isil’s list of demands’

Reports Isil demanded the release of a female scientist jailed for attempted murder suggest the group is trying to build support for Isil in Pakistan and Afghanistan

By Dean Nelson, South Asia Editor

12:37PM BST 21 Aug 2014 on telegraph.co.uk

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) reportedly called for the release of a female Pakistani scientist with ties to al-Qaeda in exchange for

Aafia Siddiqui and U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff

James Foley.

According to the New York Times, Isil sent through a “laundry list” of demands to the United States which included the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-trained neuroscientist currently incarcerated in a prison in Texas.

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Five myths about talking to terrorists

The release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban last weekend, in exchange for the freeing of five Taliban figures from Guantanamo, has

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, right, stands with a Taliban fighter in eastern Afghanistan. (AP)

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, right, stands with a Taliban fighter in eastern Afghanistan. (AP)

provoked much agonizing about the rights and wrongs of talking to terrorists. It’s a good moment to consider some of what has been learned from dealing with terrorists — in places from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Northern Ireland — and which lessons have been misunderstood. more…

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Kerry’s options for addressing Afghanistan’s political crisis

The U.S. should use its enormous leverage to seek a solution that both presidential contenders can agree on

July 11, 2014 12:15 PM ET
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks as he stands next to Afghanistan's presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah (L) at the U.S. embassy in Kabul on July 11. Jim Bourg /Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks as he stands next to Afghanistan’s presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah (L) at the U.S. embassy in Kabul on July 11. Jim Bourg /Reuters

 

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits Kabul to help defuse electoral tensions in Afghanistan, here are a few points he should consider: First, the politics of the current crisis go well beyond simple allegations about stuffed ballot boxes or discussions about sore losers. Second, the problem is eminently soluble, and a stable and unified Afghanistan can still emerge from it. Third, he will be confronted with contradictory explanations more…