Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roll it!

From the New York Times At War blog:

MINGORA, Pakistan — The Taliban are gone in Swat, and one of the best illustrations of their absence was on display a few days ago at a local cinema: the movies are back.

The men began lining up at 10 a.m. Forty-five minutes later, they began surging past a security guard into the courtyard through a side gate. They sidestepped the ice cream vendor and shoved and jostled their way to the box office for 150-rupee tickets. Seats are cheap; there are wooden benches, no recliners, no popcorn, no candy. But there are cigarettes, excitement and testosterone aplenty.
There's more...

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mapping the conflict in NW Pakistan


Besides this map, the BBC provides details on the various districts involved in the current conflict.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Juan Cole's links on the situation in Pakistan

Juan Cole at Informed Comment provides us with some useful information and commentary on the situation in Pakistan. I particularly liked the following report and panel discussion:

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And then last night on CBC TV...

...Newsworld's Passionate Eye documentary program to be specific, I saw a show called
Pakistan's Taliban Generation. It was about how the Taliban are spreading their influence in Pakistan, and not just in the tribal areas. It was scary, in part because it was a no BS presentation. Unfortunately you cannot see this on the CBC Internet site, but you can read about it here, and perhaps hunt up another broadcast where you can see it.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan


Laura Rozen's War and Piece put me on to this article in Foreign Policy: Panic in Kabul, is Islamabad next? and it led me to a recent publication by the same author, Shuja Nawaz, on the FATA, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

Image: Kabul.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Preparing for Before Taliban: some online reading

Students in my History of Islamic Civilization course are finishing their second major essay, based on Daughter of Persia, an autobiography of an Iranian woman of great interest. The next assignment will be an essay on a quite different book, David B. Edwards' Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan jihad. The title is accurate: it concerns how a variety of the Afghan people experienced the complex politics of pre-Taliban Afghanistan. It's going to take some work to come to grips with this material and so here I suggest some reading from online sources.

Just last Sunday, Juan Cole published along piece at his blog Informed Comment on the challenges of the situation. He has quite pessimistic view of the possibilities for the success of Western intervention. But he just doesn't assert an opinion, he supplies some interesting material through his links and I strongly suggest you take advantage of them.

After that, maybe you would like to meet the new generation of Taliban, the current batch of fighters, a generation or more removed from the people you'll be reading about Edwards' book. The Globe and Mail back in March had a feature called Talking to the Taliban, in which an Afghan correspondent spoke to various insurgents about what was important to them. It might be worth your while to see this, since it is your taxes and neighbors who are being devoted to defeating these people.

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