As I grew up in Pakistan in the 1980s, gun culture was a big deal, as large a presence in society as it is in America. Guns were to men what jewelry was to women. It took the emergence of a real threat to change Pakistan. Can America similarly adapt?
Acclaimed Pakistani novelist Fatima Bhutto joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai for a wide-ranging conversation about the relationship between politics and fiction. They discuss why she decided to be a writer rather than a politician like her aunt Benazir Bhutto, why the CIA has a department for script writers and why people increasingly identify more with stories from outside the West like “Squid Game” than with “Friends.”
People smuggling is big business. According to government officials in Van province, 1,262 smugglers have been arrested in the area this year, the majority of them from Turkey. Now there are fears that the situation for Afghan migrants is nearing a tipping point that will make it harder and more dangerous for new arrivals hoping to get to Europe.
The Taliban sensed an opportunity. Eager to win more public support for their insurgency and desperate to prevent the Islamic State from making further inroads into their territory, they decided to escalate the fight against the group.
Afghanistan itself was a sideshow in which money and careers could be made and repatriated. In the meantime, an artificial economy was created there to service birds of passage, from diplomats and aid workers to military officials and outside contractors.
Anas Haqqani, the youngest son of a jihadist commander who fought the Russians and the Americans, tells Newlines that the Taliban has learned from its mistakes. But can the Taliban leave their brutal past behind?
Pashtuns living in the borderlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan have often been described as “lawless,” their existence defined by “rebellion” against rulers as disparate as the Mughals and the British. All have offered one solution: state violence.