Next Steps in Afghanistan

by Alia Ahmed In an about-turn of its two decades-old policy on Afghanistan, President Donald Trump tweeted in mid-December his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan (and Syria). Until September last year, the United States had held firmly to… Continue Reading  

Whither Afghanistan?

by Alia Ahmed In August 2017, President Donald Trump announced a new South Asia strategy based on three basic precepts. There would be a surge of 3,000 additional U.S. personnel that would bring U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan to 15,000… Continue Reading  

US and Pakistan: A Bumpy Ride

by Alia Ahmed Pakistan-US relations, buffeted and bruised by the periodic bluster of Donald Trump and his cabinet colleagues throughout 2017, witnessed a first, albeit hazy, sign of abatement when Acting Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Alice Wells visited Islamabad… Continue Reading  

Pakistan: Loud and Ineffectual Fundamentalism

by Alia Ahmed The religious protesters who blocked the Faizabad Interchange—connecting the twin cities of Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, and the garrison town of Rawalpindi—last month had important things to discuss. For instance, could one have really drunk the urine… Continue Reading  

Blasphemy: The Unpardonable Offense

by Alia Ahmed When, this past April, a mob of his fellow students lynched and shot dead 23-year-old Mashal Khan on a university campus in northern Pakistan for allegedly posting “blasphemous” content to Facebook, a divided society came together in… Continue Reading