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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How Suleimani’s death will affect India and Pakistan

by Rashmee

Posted on January 6, 2020 / The National


To properly consider the possible fallout of Friday’s targeted US strike on Qassem Suleimani, of Iran’s elite Quds Force, disregard the tub-thumping rhetoric from Washington and the ominous rumblings from Tehran. Listen instead for the sound of silences within disparate countries’ statements on the situation. Consider the responses offered by South Asia’s nuclear-armed neighbours, India … Continue reading “How Suleimani’s death will affect India and Pakistan”

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