Sponsors of terrorists. Or not?

31 October 2016; Siegfried O. Wolf

Interview/Quotation with EastWest Magazine, conducted by Daniele Grassi:

Pakistani Christians hold candles to pay tribute and pray for victims of the Army Public School attack in Peshawar on the anniversary of the attack at a ceremony in Lahore, Pakistan, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza – RTX1Z006

On 16 December 2014, terrorists burst into a school in Peshawar and killed more than 130 students aged between 10 and 18. The attack was the worst in Pakistan’s history, and many had hoped that after years of ambiguous government policies, which included support for terrorist groups active in various regional theatres of conflict, the horrifying events would signal a turning point. The massacre in Peshawar shocked the entire country and revealed the urgent need for immediate and thorough action to combat terrorism.  Continue reading “Sponsors of terrorists. Or not?”

Afghan government’s control over Kunduz remains fragile

Interview/Quotation with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Masood Saifullah:

A year after Taliban fighters briefly overran Kunduz city, in a major blow to the morale of Afghan security forces, the insurgents continue to pose a major challenge to government troops in the region. DW examines.

Continue reading “Afghan government’s control over Kunduz remains fragile”

From FATA to Kunduz: The Pakistani Taliban’s new northwards orientation

10 October 2015; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Vigil (left) with members of his team and members of the Northern Alliance west of Kunduz

On 28 September, 2015, the Taliban launched a major offensive in northern Afghanistan, capturing the city of Kunduz. The fact that some hundred Taliban fighters took over a major urban centre, an area which was held by 7,000 regular Afghan troops, in less than 24 hours, is not only a military debacle for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and an embarrassment for the provincial authorities, it also marks the greatest success for the Taliban at an open battlefield and an extraordinary ‘propaganda coup’. Continue reading “From FATA to Kunduz: The Pakistani Taliban’s new northwards orientation”

Quo vadis Taliban – What happens next after the ‘official death’ of its supreme leader Mullah Muhammad Omar?

6 August 2015

Photo credit: Wikipedia

At the end of July 2015, in the aftermath of the second round of the ‘official’ peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the Taliban finally verified the death of its creator, commander and spiritual leader Mullah Muhammad Omar (DW, 30.7.2015). Omar was also the ‘Head of the Supreme Council’ of the Taliban during their rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 (Waraich, 31.7.2015). Before he died he appeared to give his authorisation for the first round of peace talks earlier this month. However, as his successor, Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, got appointed after a shura held outside Quetta (Pakistan) the Taliban unanimously elected him as the “new emir of the Taliban” (DW, 30.7.2015). Generally he got portrayed as a pragmatic and protagonist of negotiations for a political settlement to end the ongoing armed insurgency of the Taliban and affiliated groups to topple the western-backed government in Kabul (cf. Siddique, 21.4.2014; Withnall, 30.7.2015). This created – temporarily – new hopes for peace in the war-ridden country. Continue reading “Quo vadis Taliban – What happens next after the ‘official death’ of its supreme leader Mullah Muhammad Omar?”

Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle

31 July 2015

Photo credit: Wikipedia

On July 8th, the first official acknowledged ‘peace talk’ between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul took place (Johnson/Zahra-Malik, 8.7.2015). Facilitated by Pakistan who are being supported by China, delegations of the two conflicting parties met in Murree, a hill resort near Islamabad (cf. Harooni, 8.7.2015). Besides Chinese officials, U.S. representatives were also present during the event (Ahmed, 28.7.2015). The peace talk is being praised by Pakistani authorities as a potential move towards the ending of 14 years insurgency -after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001-, the major outcome of the gathering was to meet again by end of July after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (Aljazeera, 8.7.2015). Continue reading “Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle”