Foreign Affairs

ISIL blast kills 36 as Afghanistan extends Taliban ceasefireAl Jazeera (June 17, 2018)


The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed at least 36 people and wounded 65 others in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. The group’s Amaq website said the attack on Saturday targeted “a gathering of Afghan forces” in Nangarhar, but gave no details. According …

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American embassy shiftNafisa Hoodbhoy Dawn Newspaper (June 12, 2018)

Nafisa Hoodbhoy

THE Trump administration’s decision to shift the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last month could not have come at a worse time for the Arab-Israeli conflict. In retrospect, even some Israeli politicians have said that the US should not have shifted their embassy on the anniversary of the ‘Nakba’ — the period the Palestinians allege their land was …

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History beckons for Trump and KimStephen Collinson, CNN Analysis Mon June 11, 2018


Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are the unlikeliest of statesmen, but fate has thrown the US President and the North Korean tyrant an opportunity granted to few historic figures — together they can change the world. Their summit in Singapore on Tuesday — which will begin with a one-on-one meeting, alongside translators — represents an opening awaited for 70 …

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Bomber attacks meeting of Islamic scholars in AfghanistanBy Ehsan Popalzai and Hilary Clarke, CNN (June 4, 2018)


At least seven people were Monday killed by a suicide attack on a meeting of several thousand Islamic scholars in Afghanistan who were discussing issuing a fatwa, or religious ruling, against such attacks. The bomber, who was on foot, detonated the explosives at around 11:30 a.m. local time near the Loya Jorga hall at the Kabul Polytechnic University, Interior Ministry …

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Plane returns from Rawalpindi leaving US diplomat in lurchThe Express Tribune May 12, 2018

col jos

ISLAMABAD: An aircraft that arrived at the PAF’s Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi to reportedly fly out Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall of the United States’ embassy has returned after the diplomat failed to obtain clearance from pertinent authorities. Sources told The Express Tribune that officials at the airbase reached the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to determine if the diplomat was …

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Iranians fear the future after Trump exits Iran nuclear dealby Ali Arouzi and Saphora Smith (May 10, 2018) NBC News

TEHRAN, Iran — President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many people here in the Islamic republic. Many Iranians hoped the Obama-era pact would lead to prosperity and closer ties with the West. But with the agreement now on the rocks, some Iranians feel double-crossed by America and say …

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Another $1 billion loan makes its way from ChinaBy Shahbaz Rana (April 29, 2018) The Express Tribune

ISLAMABAD: Desperate to boost foreign exchange reserves over the $11-billion mark, Pakistan has received another loan of $1 billion from the China Development Bank as authorities remain adamant, at least in public, not to read the writing on the wall. Pakistan secured on Saturday financing of $1 billion, said Dr Miftah Ismail, the newly-appointed finance minister, while addressing a post-budget …

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Chinese workers thrash policemen in KhanewalSajjad Akbar Shah (Dawn Newspaper) April 4, 2018


Chinese engineers and other staffers, engaged in the construction of M4 Motorway from Bahawalpur to Faisalabad, attacked policemen deployed for their security after the foreign workers were barred from leaving their camp’s premises without a security squad, DawnNewsTV reported on Wednesday. Several mobile phone clips doing rounds on social media show Chinese nationals approaching the police officials in a provocative …

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The Taliban Have Gone High-Tech. That Poses a Dilemma for the U.S.By THOMAS GIBBONS-NEFF and JAWAD SUKHANYAR (The New York Times)


WASHINGTON — Once described as an ill-equipped band of insurgents, the Taliban are increasingly attacking security forces across Afghanistan using night-vision goggles and lasers that United States military officials said were either stolen from Afghan and international troops or bought on the black market. The devices allow the Taliban to maneuver on forces under the cover of darkness as they …

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U.S. sanctions Pakistani companies over nuclear tradeDrazen Jorgic


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The United States has imposed sanctions on seven Pakistani companies over suspicion they have links to the nuclear trade, potentially hurting Pakistan’s ambitions to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Pakistani government spokesmen could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday. Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been strained in recent years over Pakistan’s …

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Trump ousts Tillerson, will replace him as secretary of state with CIA chief PompeoThe Washington Post


President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him as the nation’s top diplomat, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate outreach such as possible talks with North Korea, White House officials said Tuesday. Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled …

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In Peace Overture, Afghan President Offers Passports to TalibanBy ANDREW E. KRAMER (FEB. 28, 2018) The New York Times


KABUL, Afghanistan — President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan renewed a call on Wednesday for the Taliban to join peace talks, offering to treat the insurgent group as a legitimate political party, though it has repeatedly rejected similar proposals. In the latest overture, Mr. Ghani said his government would provide the Taliban with an office in the capital, Kabul; passports for …

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Pakistan given three-month reprieve over terrorist financing watchlist: ministerAsif Shahzad REUTERS (Feb 20, 2018)


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan has been given a three-month reprieve by a global watchdog over a U.S.-led motion to put the South Asian country on a terrorist financing watchlist, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said late on Tuesday. Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and …

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Battle for Kabul Has Begun By Nafisa Hoodbhoy VOA (Extremism Watch Desk) January 28, 2018


WASHINGTON — Taliban attacks on two consecutive weekends in Kabul, which have killed hundreds of people, including Americans, have occurred in the midst of stepped-up efforts by the Trump administration to find a way out of the 16-year-old Afghan imbroglio. While the Trump administration has doubled its troop level in Afghanistan to 16,000, the U.S. Central Command led by Gen. …

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U.S. Drone Strike Kills Militants in Pakistan but Angers Its GovernmentBy SALMAN MASOOD JAN. 24, 2018 The New York Times


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A leader of the militant Haqqani network and two of his aides were killed Wednesday in an American drone strike in northwestern Pakistan, an attack that was denounced by the Pakistani government. The attack took place on Wednesday morning in the Speen Thal Dapa Mamozai area of the Kurram tribal region and was directed at a house …

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Trump’s Twitter Attack On Pakistan Is Met With Both Anger And Support In South AsiaLeeza Mangaldas Forbes (Jan 3, 2018).


In one of his first tweets of the new year, U.S. President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of deceiving the United States and harboring terrorists while accepting billions of dollars in foreign aid, an equation that would no longer be tolerated. Along with the tweet came reports that the U.S. is likely to withhold more than $250 million in aid that …

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Iranians chant ‘death to dictator’ in biggest unrest since crushing of protests in 2009Saeed Kamali Dehghan & Emma Graham-Harrison The Guardian (Dec 31,2017)

iran map

At least two protesters were killed in the city of Doroud, in Iran’s western Lorestan province, as riot police opened fire to contain a group of people said to have been trying to occupy the local governor’s office. Clashes between demonstrators and anti-riot police became violent in some cities as the demonstrations spread. The two men killed in Doroud have …

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Frustrated U.S. Might Withhold $255 Million in Aid From PakistanBy ADAM GOLDMAN, MARK LANDLER & ERIC SCHMITT The New York Times


WASHINGTON, Dec 29 — When Pakistani forces freed a Canadian-American family this fall held captive by militants, they also captured one of the abductors. United States officials saw a potential windfall: He was a member of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network who could perhaps provide valuable information about at least one other American hostage. The Americans demanded access to the man, …

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Trump looks to the sky to force Taliban to the tableAFP (Dec 23, 2017)

US Air Force

KABUL: The war in Afghanistan may be entering its 17th year, but screams of military jet engines in the twinkling skies above Bagram Airfield show no sign of quieting. This city-scale military base just north of Kabul has — like similar facilities in Kandahar and Jalalabad — become central to Donald Trump´s promise to succeed where his predecessors failed, and …

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UN Jerusalem vote by country: What countries voted against US call on Israel’s capital?By Sebastian Kettley Fri, Dec 22, 2017 Express UK


An overwhelming majority of United Nations member states opposed the United States regarding the disputed status of Jerusalem on Thursday. In what was seen as a massive blow to the US, a total of 128 of the 193-member UN General Assembly agreed to resolve the Holy City dispute through “negotiations in line with relevant UN resolutions”. The vote followed President’s …

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    "It was her fierce independence and commitment to her country that inspired [Hoodbhoy’s] decision to become a newspaper reporter –...

    Frances Stead Sellers
    Deputy National Editor, Health, Science and the Environment, The Washington Post

    "A powerful and courageous voice that represents the best of Pakistan’s emerging journalism… The first insider view of developments in...

    Shuja Nawaz
    Author and Director South Asia Center

    "A story of a courageous journalist who defied conventional norms during times when very few other women were in this...

    Hassan Abbas
    Author and Quaid-i-Azam Chair Professor

    "Nafisa Hoodbhoy’s detailed reporting helped me look at the complex world of Pakistani politics differently. Hoodbhoy’s proximity to key players...

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    Managing Editor - Newsroom, New York Public Radio

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