US Opinion and Commentary

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Strangled for Being Too Sexy

Posted July 19th, 2016 at 12:13 pm (UTC-4)
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Her “sin” was simply being herself — a brave, bold, lusty, thigh-jangling, cricket-loving 26-year-old who had chosen the treacherous terrain of social media to interact with Pakistan’s socially conservative, aspirational middle classes.

The Day I Got My Green Card

Posted July 5th, 2016 at 12:17 pm (UTC-4)
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I thought of the other places I had known, places I belonged to: Pakistan, where my father’s assassin was celebrated; India, which was busy demanding pledges of loyalty from university students. I thought of my cold, loveless relationship with Britain. Then I thought of America, and a wave of optimism came over me.

Another Taliban Leader Killed. What Next?

Posted May 25th, 2016 at 5:41 pm (UTC-4)
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President Barack Obama called the killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour “an important milestone” in U.S. efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan. Obama’s statement Monday went on to explain that Mansour rejected peace talks with Afghanistan and was plotting attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces.
How the drone strike that killed Mansour was carried out raises as many questions as the act itself. It took place on Pakistan soil, in Baluchistan rather than along the frontier with Afghanistan. It’s still murky whether Pakistan intelligence or military officials helped the U.S. or had advance warning. There’s even an Iran element to the intrigue.
The Taliban has named a successor, someone said to hold the same views as his predecessor about negotiations with the Afghan government. As the U.S. decides how (and whether) to draw down forces in Afghanistan, will the short term success bring long term peace?

When Diplomats Get Punished for Doing Their Jobs

Posted May 18th, 2016 at 10:24 am (UTC-4)
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The threat that government surveillance and national-security investigations pose for private citizens has been hotly debated for the past decade. Less understood is the damage done to government officials themselves when they fall into the dragnet.

Obama’s Drone War Is a Shameful Part of his Legacy

Posted May 6th, 2016 at 9:23 am (UTC-4)
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There have long been policy, constitutional and moral questions about the drone program — all made more difficult to answer by the Obama administration’s refusal to even acknowledge the program until 2013.

Thinking the Unthinkable

Posted March 30th, 2016 at 2:59 pm (UTC-4)
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In 1945, the United States dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan. It was devastating, historic and, ultimately, ended the Second World War. Some 70 years later, the frightening prospect of nuclear weapons falling into hands of terrorist organizations (think ISIS or the Taliban), who have proven their appetite for brutality again and again. On Thursday, President Barack Obama will host his fourth—and final—Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, where more than 50 heads of state will entertain that very notion, and how to ensure it never happens. Two key world figures are not attending: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Iran’s absence appears more notable given the landmark nuclear deal with America and five other world powers. Experts say approaching such a terrifying possibility requires rethinking how we cope with the existence of nuclear arms. The Cold War mentality must make way for a far more fractured globe and the rise of ultra-fundamentalist Islam.

Pakistan Is Terror Ground Zero With Nukes

Posted March 29th, 2016 at 12:09 pm (UTC-4)
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They are waiting — for the American withdrawal and at the same time for a more accommodating attitude among the leadership of Pakistan toward their wants and needs…. Already, its nuclear stockpile has passed neighboring India’s — 120 to 100 in terms of deployed warheads.  

The Politics of Polio Eradication

Posted March 15th, 2016 at 1:44 pm (UTC-4)
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During the past five years, polio cases have occurred almost exclusively in five conflict-affected countries: Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria. Because immunization programs are led by national governments and the WHO…it can be difficult to carry out vaccinations in areas where militants wage war against the state.

Her Father Shot Her in the Head, as an ‘Honor Killing’

Posted February 1st, 2016 at 9:26 am (UTC-4)
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Since 9/11, the United States has spent billions of dollars reshaping Afghanistan and Pakistan with the military toolbox; I suspect we would have achieved more if we had relied to a greater extent on the education and women’s empowerment toolboxes.

A Bright Hope for 2016: India and Pakistan Reconcile

Posted December 30th, 2015 at 9:16 am (UTC-4)
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While one summit does not make peace, the visit hints that the two countries may now be able to transcend difficult issues of territory, terrorism, religious divide, and national identity.

The Pakistan Nuclear Nightmare

Posted November 8th, 2015 at 11:39 am (UTC-4)
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Persuading Pakistan to rein in its nuclear weapons program should be an international priority. The major world powers spent two years negotiating an agreement to restrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which doesn’t have a single nuclear weapon. Yet there has been no comparable investment of effort in Pakistan…

The Pink Flamingo on the Subcontinent: Nuclear War Between India and Pakistan

Posted November 4th, 2015 at 10:46 am (UTC-4)
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The Indian subcontinent — home to both India and Pakistan — remains among the most dangerous corners of the world …Their 1,800-mile border is the only place in the world where two hostile, nuclear-armed states face off every day. And the risk of nuclear conflict … is now a very real possibility.

No Time for a Nuclear Deal with Pakistan

Posted October 22nd, 2015 at 11:16 am (UTC-4)
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Worst of all, the nuclear discussion shifts attention from the underlying causes of American anxiety with Pakistan and the greatest stumbling blocks to effective partnership between Washington and Islamabad.

Time to Negotiate in Afghanistan

Posted June 25th, 2015 at 12:19 pm (UTC-4)
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Since 2001, opportunities for peace talks have come and gone. Sometimes, the process has stalled for political reasons … such as the United States’ reticence to engage with the Taliban. Other times, discussions have broken down due to miscommunications or a lack of political consensus … But this time may be different.

How Pakistan Plays the Middle East

Posted May 7th, 2015 at 2:50 pm (UTC-4)
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The Middle East landscape does appear increasingly complex, but for Pakistan the game remains much the same. It will always leverage opportunities to its own advantage, and its loyalties will usually go to the highest bidder.