Coronavirus and the prognosis for Afghanistan’s faux peace deal

by Rashmee

Posted on March 21, 2020


    Afghanistan is at a particularly unenviable moment as the coronavirus outbreak shuts down the planet. Its government is paralysed by a tense political power struggle, a supposed “peace deal” has been signed between the US and the Taliban and the coronavirus is affecting the promised withdrawal of US troops. Meanwhile, the impact of … Continue reading “Coronavirus and the prognosis for Afghanistan’s faux peace deal”

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The Taliban and the Nobel Peace Prize – the Malala connection

by Rashmee

Posted on February 29, 2020


Now that the Taliban has signed a deal with the US, making possible the final withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, it’s worth considering a point made by my friend and colleague Tom Hussain @tomthehack: One day the Taliban may win the Nobel Peace Prize Tom writes in the South China Morning Post. Even though … Continue reading “The Taliban and the Nobel Peace Prize – the Malala connection”

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Mr Trump’s proposed NATOME will be in the Middle East. That’s as ludicrous as the acronym

by Rashmee

Posted on February 14, 2020


It’s hard to see the rationale for Donald Trump’s call on the NATO alliance to increase its involvement in the Middle East.  He’s dreamt up a name for the mission – NATOME (NATO plus the initials of Middle East) – but beyond, there’s no clarity on anything very much. NATO is primarily focused on collective … Continue reading “Mr Trump’s proposed NATOME will be in the Middle East. That’s as ludicrous as the acronym”

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Peace in Afghanistan? It’s September all over again

by Rashmee

Posted on January 18, 2020


Going by the news, the Taliban might be closer than at any point in a whole year of negotiations with the United States to signing a preliminary peace deal. But we have, of course, been here before. In September, Donald Trump reversed US approval for a deal that was all but signed. (Plans for the … Continue reading “Peace in Afghanistan? It’s September all over again”

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Biggest failure of the US-Taliban talks was the lack of preconditions

by Rashmee

Posted on September 10, 2019 / The National


Now that Donald Trump has peremptorily cancelled an unprecedented Camp David meeting with the Taliban, the Afghan peace negotiations remain just as impenetrable as the day they began 11 months ago. Where do they go from here, and should they go anywhere in the current format? What were the peace talks really about if the … Continue reading “Biggest failure of the US-Taliban talks was the lack of preconditions”

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In the new Afghanistan, the future of women must be protected

by Rashmee

Posted on July 16, 2019 / The National


In 2012, a novel titled The Taliban Cricket Club, by the writer Timeri N Murari, was published worldwide. Set in Kabul, its main protagonist was Rukhsana, a young journalist who chafed at the restrictions placed by the Taliban regime on Afghan women. Fired from her job at the fictional Kabul Daily, Rukhsana uses a pseudonym … Continue reading “In the new Afghanistan, the future of women must be protected”

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In Bishkek, multi-polarity builds its brand. It’s called SCO

by Rashmee

Posted on June 13, 2019


What should the world expect from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, which kicked off in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Thursday (June 13)? You see what you want to see. The Chinese hail the SCO as the world’s largest transregional organisation by population and land area. The Russians regard it as an important Eurasian political, economic, … Continue reading “In Bishkek, multi-polarity builds its brand. It’s called SCO”

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A new era of pragmatic foreign policy appears to be emerging in Modi’s India 2.0

by Rashmee

Posted on June 11, 2019 / The National


How will Narendra Modi’s India deal with the world now? Differently from his first term as prime minister, as far as confidence and competence are concerned. Mr Modi is newly empowered, having won an emphatic re-election last month. Bestriding India and his governing Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr Modi faced no political pushback in the swift … Continue reading “A new era of pragmatic foreign policy appears to be emerging in Modi’s India 2.0”

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An acting president, no plan for the future. What happens to Afghanistan now?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 7, 2019


Afghanistan technically has an acting president right now and no particular plan for the future. Ashraf Ghani’s five-year term expired on May 22, but he’s remained in the job and is even pursuing long-term projects such as boosting exports or cleaning up the Kabul River. An Afghan Supreme Court decision allows Mr Ghani to remain in … Continue reading “An acting president, no plan for the future. What happens to Afghanistan now?”

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America’s closing act in Afghanistan is playing out as both tragedy and farce

by Rashmee

Posted on June 5, 2019 / The National


Only the ignorant or incurably optimistic would be encouraged by the situation in Afghanistan right now. The Trump administration is heading for yet another round of talks with the Taliban in a stated attempt to “facilitate a peace process that ends the conflict”. President Ashraf Ghani, still in office although his five-year tenure ended on … Continue reading “America’s closing act in Afghanistan is playing out as both tragedy and farce”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK