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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In the rush to end its longest war, the US is ignoring the rights of Afghan women

by Rashmee

Posted on March 12, 2019 / The National


In the years since the ousting of the Taliban, significant freedoms have been won. They must not be put at risk In an effort to end its longest war, the United States is actively suing for peace in Afghanistan. However, this process has thrown up urgent questions about what any deal it might make could mean … Continue reading “In the rush to end its longest war, the US is ignoring the rights of Afghan women”

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Art of the bad deal: Talking to the Taliban & leaving Afghan government in the lurch

by Rashmee

Posted on January 31, 2019


Part of the time I was in Afghanistan – living and working on the US Embassy compound for a year – Ryan Crocker was ambassador. Although ambassadors normally expect – and receive – ostentatious, even if faux reverence from those over whom they have authority, Mr Crocker was the sort of person one would regard … Continue reading “Art of the bad deal: Talking to the Taliban & leaving Afghan government in the lurch”

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When does a stalemate create conditions for peace? Let’s look at Afghanistan

by Rashmee

Posted on December 18, 2018


Seventeen years into the war, what is there to say about Afghanistan? Lots apparently. On Monday, December 17, the Taliban sat down at the table with US special representative for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad. It may not amount to much in the long run but at least it’s a sign the Taliban wants to end the … Continue reading “When does a stalemate create conditions for peace? Let’s look at Afghanistan”

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Nick Clegg is right. Even Bhutan’s fledgling politics feels baleful effects of tech

by Rashmee

Posted on October 22, 2018


After he took a job with Facebook, former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg explained his decision as prompted by a desire to “build bridges between politics and tech” because the two worlds “too often speak past each other”. He’s right on that count. Politics is increasingly affected by the data-driven technological revolution, sometimes for … Continue reading “Nick Clegg is right. Even Bhutan’s fledgling politics feels baleful effects of tech”

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With stalemate on talks on the future of Afghanistan, who will steer a way forward?

by Rashmee

Posted on August 29, 2018 / The National


This week Russia announced it would postpone multilateral peace talks with the Taliban, originally scheduled for September 4 in Moscow. The announcement was a delayed embrace of common sense, considering the meeting could do little to bring about peace in Afghanistan. Both the Afghan and US governments had refused to attend. The Indians, wary of … Continue reading “With stalemate on talks on the future of Afghanistan, who will steer a way forward?”

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What’s the message of US sending Zalmay Khalilzad back to Afghanistan?

by Rashmee

Posted on August 23, 2018


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is yet to formally appoint Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-born former US ambassador to Kabul and Baghdad, as his special envoy on Afghanistan. But if he does so, it’s clear it’s sending something of a message to the region. The Trump administration is not impressed by Pakistan’s new, hunk-led government … Continue reading “What’s the message of US sending Zalmay Khalilzad back to Afghanistan?”

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Is East really East and West really West? That’s what Herodotus wanted to find out

by Rashmee

Posted on July 30, 2018


East is East and West is West. So goes Kipling’s Ballad, but is it really true? Well, it’s certainly history’s most abiding assumption, as historian Tom Holland writes: “Older by far than the Crusades, older than Islam, older than Christianity, its pedigree is so venerable that it reaches back almost two and a half thousand … Continue reading “Is East really East and West really West? That’s what Herodotus wanted to find out”

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How Trump set the stage for more gripping drama in the US-Pakistan relationship

by Rashmee

Posted on January 10, 2018 / The National


Donald Trump’s first tweet of the year bashed Pakistani perfidy and had Indians cheering his perspicacity but it should really only be read for what it is: a snarling America First salute to 2018 and meaningless beyond a few weeks. Only the naïve would expect Mr Trump’s tweet — and Pakistan’s response of injured innocence — to have lasting … Continue reading “How Trump set the stage for more gripping drama in the US-Pakistan relationship”

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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