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Welcome to Himalayan Affairs

Himalayas, the greatest mountain range in the world, home to world’s highest peaks is situated in South Asia. They traverse Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal forming a boundary between the Tibetan plateau to the North and alluvial plains of the Indian subcontinent to the south and have had a profound significance on the mythologies, literature, religions and culture of South Asia. There are deep rooted differences and boundary disputes between most of the countries, a legacy owed to the common history of the entire region. Nuclear Capability of three nations within the region further lends to instability and the region is considered as a potential nuclear flashpoint. This site is dedicated to the Himalayan Region, its news, views and analysis.
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Poll
Q1.Do you believe that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is in need of serious reform?

Answers options :




Current Status

  A. Yes ( 92% )

  B. No ( 3% )

  C. Don't know ( 3% )

  

  
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Latest Articles
Former president Hamid Karzai on Wednesday said his country would not allow itself to become the battleground for a proxy war between India and Pakistan after the imminent departure of US-led troops...................   
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Officials in Regional Studies Center of Afghanistan (RSCA) have said instability in Afghanistan poses threat to Pakistan more than any other time, particularly when political rivalry between India and Pakistan is considered...................   
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On 4 November 2014, a young Christian couple was publically set on fire in Punjab, Pakistan. It was alleged by a mob of 1200 persons that the couple had desecrated verses from the Quran. According to source, the mob had apparently offered a waiving of severe retr..................   
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Defence expert Lieutenant General (retd.) Raj Kadyan on Thursday said that terrorism becomes a real threat to India when Pakistan is frustrated...................   
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For over six decades, the Pakistani elite have pursued a `hyper-national security state’ geopolitical approach, stemming from an almost continuous and obsessive `search for power symmetry with India’, which has laid a “geo-strategic curse” on the country at the ex..................   
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The greatest challenge that the new Pakistan government faces is on the national security front. The inability of the Pakistan army to meet internal security challenges effectively is a particularly worrying factor. Fissiparous tendencies in Balochistan and the re..................   
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It is both tragic and funny how the poor Pakistanis take anyone and everyone for the political messiah. All this proverbial messiah needs to do is say the right things with passion and fervour...................   
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In recent weeks, there has been a lot of activity taking place in various parts of Pakistan in the name of the abominable, but also ineluctable, Islamic State (IS). Apart from some senior commanders of the Mullah Fazlullah-led Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) facti..................   
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A CURSORY analysis of the START Global Terrorism Database reveals that over the past decade, Pakistan has had the highest number of terrorism-related deaths in the world...................   
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Canada and its allies must take a united front against Pakistan because it is a state sponsor of terrorism that threatens world security, says Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander...................   
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Terrorism is the biggest threat to Pakistan’s progress. It roots can be traced back from 1979, when there was an effort to kick out Russia from Afghanistan. But the problem became severe after 9/11. And now in 2011, it’s become a menace for our motherland. I do no..................   
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At present, our country and security forces are facing suicide attacks, bomb blasts, sectarian violence and targeted-killings coupled with intermittent battles with the militants...................   
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Since the entire region is being plagued by militancy, particularly AfPak region therefore the two neighboring countries—Afghanistan and Pakistan need joint mechanism against the common threat—terrorism and extremism. However, unfortunately the two stand poles apa..................   
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The Islamic State (IS), also known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is just reported to have increased its presence on Pakistan in a big way and recruited up to 12,000 people from Pakistans restive province Balochistan. Does it mean that the already tind..................   
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The ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) an army of the Sunni Muslim Jihadists comprising some 4000 warriors has overwhelmed the militarily powerful Shia regimes in Iraq and Syria in a relatively short span of time. Correspondingly they pose a dire threat to..................   
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In a recent spate of bloodshed, militants ruthlessly massacred nearly a dozen government officials in the Zurmat district of southern Paktia province. Militancy in this country, through all the decade, has drenched entire Afghanistan with blood. There is hardly a ..................   
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The recent International Crisis Group (ICG) report on the Af-Pak region, following its excellent previous reports on the same subject, now addresses a crucial question: Can Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan be reset?..................   
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WE’RE already in the middle of it, so why not try and figure out the likely small print. Here’s an idea for the draft agreement: “The Federal Government shall be under an obligation to take steps to enforce the Shariah, to establish salat, to administer zakat, ..................   
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Ayman al Zawahiri’s declaration that al-Qaeda was opening an office in the Indian subcontinent poses a significant threat to India and other countries of the region. India needs to reassess the likely modus operandi of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) an..................   
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For several months, senior operatives of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) quietly slipped into India to visit seven madrasas across three West Bengal border districts to build a robust network before the October 2 Burdwan blast exposed a growing terror plot...................   
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The recent International Crisis Group (ICG) report on the Af-Pak region, following its excellent previous reports on the same subject, now addresses a crucial question: Can Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan be reset?..................   
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Terrorism is a crime against humanity. It threatens most the lives and rights of ordinary citizens, whom every modern state must serve best to justify its legitimacy. Given this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy of “zero tolerance” against terrorism is only n..................   
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The recent attempt by the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), the new wing of the Al Qaeda, to take control of PNS Zulfiqar, a Pakistan Navy frigate berthed in Karachi harbour and use it to attack US Navy warships has showcased the continued vulnerability ..................   
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The Establishment in Pakistan may have worried about a two-front war bordering India and Afghanistan for a long time, but it never would have imagined a two-front war within the country itself, vis-à-vis the elected political leadership and the media. After enjoyi..................   
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It is a troubled world that we live in today and there are many reasons for this. Draw a straight line from Pakistan to Turkey, swing down to the Gaza Strip and from there to Yemen, and we have an area embroiled in all sorts of conflicts, some recent and some that..................   
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The video message circulated by al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in early September 2014 announcing his intention to raise the flag of jihad in the Indian subcontinent raised several questions regarding the capacity of the organisation, independently as well as th..................   
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Ideally, Pakistani efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue should draw big yawns, not just from India but also the international community. After all this is a script that has played out before, and except for a short period in the early 1990s, it hardly dra..................   
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Terrorism, like almost every other human activity that involves production and creation of goods and services, needs money. Collecting funds initially through donations, borrowing or robbing banks and the rich are the first stage when terrorism/insurgency is inter..................   
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As violent jihadist activities in Syria and Iraq intensify, the number of foreign nationals enrolling to fight for the Islamic State (IS) is witnessing an exponential growth. The case of Central Asian jihadists - fighters who are nationals of Tajikstan, Uzbekistan..................   
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This is not about Musharraf who wasted his life trying to mate radical organizations in the vain hope of getting eulogized as Zia-ul-Haq II, killing more Pakistanis than Indians in the process hallucinating annexation of J&K and under trial for treason in his own ..................   
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The Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations of the Pakistani military establishment, Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, visited China from 14-18 October 2014. A statement made by this Pakistani officer that was reported by the Chinese media is of sig..................   
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China seems to believe it can follow a dual-track policy of benefiting from economic and diplomatic engagement while continuing to remind the other nation that it has territorial issues to settle...................   
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Will the new political arrangement (President and a Chief Executive Officer) in Afghanistan work, and more importantly, deliver? Though it looks simple in paper, given the recent history between the two contenders – Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah – will the po..................   
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Months of deadlock followed a hard fought election in Afghanistan after which both principal contenders - Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah - claimed victory, and a uniquely Afghan solution was found. Ghani will be President with Abdullah being the de facto Prime..................   
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Pakistan is at it again. Five soldiers have lost their lives. Indian leadership appears unfazed and wants to continue dialogue with Pakistan. One of the greatest misfortunes for India is the fact that no political leader or bureaucrat sends his progeny to the arme..................   
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Afghanistan today inaugurated a new president after months of election wrangling that threatened to trigger nationwide unrest and complicate the US withdrawal. Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank official, succeeded Hamid Karzai as the country’s newly elected leader..................   
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FOREIGN policy covers interactions and relations between nation states and with international and regional institutions. The globalisation of information, projection of power, business and finance, media and communications, etc. envisages a future global order in ..................   
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This country has been insecure for the past three decades, but with slightest differences in phases. The tale of our woes and troubles started back in 1980s or a slightly pre-80s. Since then many leaders appeared on the political pulpit of the country and fell dow..................   
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Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, once again, brought up the issue of Kashmir in the United National General Assembly (UNGA). He said that the “veil cannot be drawn over the core issue of Kashmir.” He called upon the UN to stand by its promise thereby hinting..................   
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Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, is a very lonely man today; undoubtedly he would also be sad, dejected and depressed by the manner in which he has been let down by the generals of his own country’s army that is sworn to serve his democratically elected g..................   
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ISIS is the only extremist movement which is unanimously accepted as a threatening menace by all. This is rather a unique case because general public’s irrational sentimentalism towards Islam and Islamic movements always played its part to provide them with some p..................   
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Recent skirmishes between the Pakistani government forces and the Taliban fighters have been driving endangered civilians to seek shelter in the neighboring country. The new immigration that Afghanistan is facing from Pakistan is rather unusual, given the movement..................   
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THE signs of unrest and despair among the people displaced from North Waziristan Agency, on account of the military operation there, must begin to be addressed before the situation takes an ugly turn. While a group of IDPs from Mohmand Agency have been protesti..................   
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Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf might himself be mired in a slew of legal cases in Islamabad, but this doesn’t stop him from commenting on India and Kashmir. Just a day after a Pakistani court threatened to issue an arrest warrant against Musharraf in ..................   
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America is changing. The impression of ‘changing America’ is widely traveling these days in Southern Pakistan, the culturally Sufi-secular belt of the ancient Indus civilization. Tens of millions Sindhi, Baloch and Siraiki receive this changing America notion ausp..................   
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The brutal Taliban insurgents have upped their terror activities once again. At least 22 civilians were wounded in a powerful explosion in Qarabagh district of Kabul on Monday. The blast took place in a crowded market. The bomb was planted in the vicinity of a mas..................   
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Pakistan had written to U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-moon on the security situation along the Line of Control and the International Border, and sought the world body’s intervention. Pakistan’s latest efforts seeking U.N. intervention on the Kashmir issue have ..................   
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The recent breach of ceasefire by Pakistan was aimed at infiltrating LeT cadres into Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the polls and to bring Kashmir issue back into limelight, as the neighbouring country was feeling isolated with the growing clout of India in the intern..................   
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Pakistan might not be a failed state, but it is certainly trying its best to get there. An interesting book launch session at the Islamabad Literature Festival for Syed Muhammad Shabbar Zaidi’s “Pakistan: Not A Failed State” and Babar Ayaz “What’s Wrong With Pakis..................   
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WASHINGTON: India remained severely affected by and vulnerable to terrorism from Pakistan-based groups and their affiliates as well as left-wing violent extremists, last year, according to a new US report...................   
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KARACHI: A rally organised by the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) on Friday condemned what it described as unprovoked Indian firing along the working boundary and the Line of Control and called upon the Pakistan government to declare jihad against India...................   
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This spring the U.S. State Department reported that South Asia has replaced the Middle East as the leading locus of terrorism in the world. Although much has been written about religious militants in the Middle East and Afghanistan, little is known in the West abo..................   
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The ongoing sit-ins in Islamabad Pakistan staged by Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf and another by a cleric Tahirul Qadri. Their followers have caused a severe political crisis and a direct threat to democracy. They are pushing the country to the verge of de..................   
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DERA ISMAIL KHAN/ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani Taliban declared allegiance to Islamic State on Saturday and ordered militants across the region to help the Middle Eastern jihadist group in its campaign to set up a global Islamic caliphate. Islamic State, which contr..................   
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The Pakistani Taliban has declared it is backing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and ordered fighters across the region to help the group in its campaign to set up an Islamic caliphate. In a message on Saturday marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adh..................   
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Recent news about the increasing influence of ISIS in a number of Muslim countries of the region has emerged as a matter of concern for the public and governments of these countries. Indian government banned the foreign travel of a number of young Muslim citizens ..................   
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Canada and its allies must take a united front against Pakistan because it is a state sponsor of terrorism that threatens world security, says Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander...................   
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Hafiz Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, addresses a rally in Quetta on April 26, 2012. A new study of 917 fallen Lashkar-e-Taiba fighters documents the group's extensive integration in Pakistani society and helps explain its impunity for the 2008 Mumbai terro..................   
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For the last 67 years Pakistan is indulging in the worst kind of terrorism across the world in general and is spreading its terrorist activities in India, in particular. Terrorist outfits based in Pakistan, especially Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), had been responsible fo..................   
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Here is a shortlist of recent horror stories from Pakistan, for which there is no government accountability or action and little public protest out of fear generated by an ever-widening range of Islamic extremists, who carry out acts of terror with impunity...................   
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The recent murder of a brave human rights lawyer Rashid Rehman reminds us of the society we have shaped. It is now an unregulated space where even defending the rights of an accused is a crime. Rehman had made all the threats, including those in the courtroom, pub..................   
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The electoral deadlock emerged in the first week of April has not only vitiated the national economy but also put the security situation at risk. The impasse has made achievements of the past decade vulnerable to fall because of power-game played by politicians fo..................   
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Afghanistan, finally, has a new president. Ghani will serve as the president of Afghanistan after signing a power-sharing agreement with Abdullah Abdullah, who will become Afghanistan’s chief executive—a newly created slot. The country, which was sliding gradually..................   
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Earlier this week, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a video message, launched an al Qaeda wing in the Indian sub-continent to “raise the flag of jihad.” What does the Al Qaeda in South Asia (AQSA) mean to South Asian security? What are the significances of this branch and th..................   
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It appears that the biggest threat to democracy in Pakistan is its democratic leadership, that too the elected ones. Ongoing developments in Islamabad clearly highlight the problem – all in the name of democracy and revolution, but through un-constitutional and vi..................   
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Is there a coup imminent in Pakistan? Or has it already taken place behind the scenes and the military is well embedded? Javed Hashmi, the President of the PTI who has now distanced from Imran Khan has made few important statements hinting a script authored by ..................   
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Now-a-days, revolutions, like popular reality shows, have begun to appear in all fonts and colors. From the once classic connotation of Mao’s Long March, bloody revolutions such as the Bolshevik or Iranian that left deep imprints on global politics to the modern s..................   
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It appears Nawaz Sharif has managed to survive the first major attempt to oust him from office. A series of fortuitous developments – the whistle-blowing by Javed Hashmi about Imran Khan’s links with the Pakistan Army stands at the top of the list – coupled with n..................   
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In comparison to the hectic activities at the LoC in 2013, this year has been a quiet one. About four months into what is referred as the campaigning season in Jammu & Kashmir’s strategic landscape there have been a few events involving infiltration, encounters an..................   
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The eastern Kunar province has been undergoing harsh times, with militants terrorizing civilians and Pakistani military rockets landing there in hundreds. What is quite eccentric is that no military – repulsive and retaliatory – action has been in place since the ..................   
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A majority of Constituent Assembly members stressed that the constitution-making process should be finished before the January 22, 2014 deadline during on Wednesday's session as discussions continued on a report on agreed on and contentious issues prepared Constit..................   
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As insurgency is raging up, largely after the crisis-hit polls on April 05, our leadership should rethink its approach towards counterterrorism strategies. To sternly combat insurgency, it necessitates recalibration of political power. It would be possible if only..................   
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Insurgent Taliban have seemingly brought seismic changes in their modus operandi. They now attack in squads, in reversal to their erstwhile tactic – individual attacks or single suicide bombers. Technically, it suggests that either they have throngs of new recruit..................   
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As Afghanistan is engulfed by sustained political impasse, Pakistan has not hesitated and dug a 480 kilometer long trench on the Durand Line. The Senate of Afghanistan slammed Pakistan for this move and warned the issue would be taken to the UN and other internati..................   
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Preferring to work with people rather than dominating them yields good results. The current government believes in this policy while the former regime believed in dominating people. The Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesman Seddiq Seddiqi says public coordination w..................   
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The 6th South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Home Ministers, Home Secretaries and Immigration Officials' meeting will be held from Wednesday in Kathmandu. A meeting of SAARC immigration officials is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, SAARC Ho..................   
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India has once again stuck to its guns vis--vis continuing to be Afghanistan’s first strategic partner. Narendra Modi’s government is ostensibly intending to further strengthen bilateral cooperation with Afghanistan as India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swar..................   
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In its 66-year history Pakistan has time and again proved to the world community that it is a failed state. Pakistan came into being in 1947, after the second world war was over. The British colonial power was waning; the sun was finally setting on the empire whic..................   
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On May 11 Pakistanis are expected to go to the polls and celebrate transition in what’s been a rare five-year civilian rule. The election may or may not usher in another period of civilian rule...................   
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Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, in a meeting with President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday assured of her country’s continued support for Afghanistan...................   
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Terrorism in Pakistan has already resulted in at least 460 fatalities, including 241 civilians, 86 Security Force (SF) personnel and 133 militants in just the first month of 2014, according to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP). 38 maj..................   
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The Crisis States Research Centre defines a ‘failed state’ as a condition of ‘state collapse’, i.e. a state that can no longer perform its basic security and development functions and has no effective control over its territory and borders...................   
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In man’s search of an ideal society, conflicts are bound to arise between the real and the ideal. This is specially so when we forget to practice what we preach - See more at: http://www.outlookafghanistan.net/editorialdetail.php?post_id=10982#sthash.KyMizJuS.dpuf..................   
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With the country experiencing a severe political deadlock, international forces withdrawing, and foreign aid declining, it’s India that could potentially fill the void. India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is visiting Afghanistan on Wednesday (today) in..................   
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Afghan security troops, after the security transition from coalition forces, belied all those who used to say they would hardly live up to the expectation as they stood the ground firmly against militants and gave insurgents tough times in the post-transition peri..................   
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Residents in Faryab province has been complaining of growing insecurity and escalating crime rate as they say there are some 80 illegal armed groups who are challenging the writ of the government. The say the armed groups are equipped with modern weapons. The poli..................   
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The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Sunday that has seized an explosive-laden vehicle in Kabul, adding that this was sent by Pakistan's intelligence agency to carry out subversive activities inside Afghanistan...................   
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The deadliest attack on intelligence office in eastern Ghazni city in the early hours of morning is something that shouldn’t be ignored as this time it’s not a police checkpoint or government office but intelligence office that has been attacked...................   
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Resurgence of militancy is about to throw the country out of gear. The government’s standpoint against the Taliban has backfired, as the political havoc is shattering the foundation of this war-torn country. The political stalemate perhaps should be the least of o..................   
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Ayman al-Zawahiri says his armed group will "raise the flag of jihad" across parts of India, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced the formation of an Indian branch of his global armed group that he said would spread Islamic rule..................   
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Recently, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) declared an Islamic Caliphate, renaming ISIL to simply the Islamic State (and declaring himself the latest caliph). Following the declaration of the caliphate, al-Baghdadi ca..................   
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The present crisis — manufactured and planned to bring down an elected government which is backed by the Parliament and powered by the Constitution — is greatly weakened. A government is not a state, and a state is not a government. While one must keep the differe..................   
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Those who have been talking about an imminent ‘soft coup’, a ‘hard coup’, a ‘creeping coup’, or that the Institution is using Imran and Qadri to reduce Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the status of a deputy commissioner; or/and ‘to force the PM to return to the Ins..................   
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Pakistan's High Commission to Canada rebuked Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander for calling Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism. "Pakistan is not a state sponsor of terrorism, as naively alleged by Mr. Alexander, but is itself a victim of te..................   
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It was 4 a.m. on June 23, 2001, and a few distant stars punctured the darkness above the Uzbek city of Samarkand. I stepped out into the night, leaving the lobby of a concrete, Stalinist-era hotel, accompanied by Abdul Haq, an Afghan Pashtun leader in the anti-Tal..................   
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Following the numerous border violations, India must consider that there are enough areas astride the LoC where its Army can hurt Pakistan much more effectively than it can perceive Incidents instigated by the Pakistan military along the frontlines in Jammu and..................   
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Introduction Pakistani authorities have long had ties to domestic militant groups that help advance the country's core foreign policy interests, namely in connection with Afghanistan and India. Since Islamabad joined Washington as an ally in the post-9/11 "war on..................   
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Pakistani Army stepped into the country’s two-week-old political crisis on Thursday when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif requested that the army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, help defuse a standoff that has crippled the government. Thousands ..................   
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The aftermath of the Afghanistan 2014 presidential election confirms two big issues of Afghanistan today. Firstly, democracy is at very early stage and elections are not without problems. Secondly, Afghanistan is still a fragile country and needs continued engagem..................   
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Again it was a near thing according to the narrative of the US military: a Chinese jet fighter made "dangerous" passes at a US navy plane. The US Deputy Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said what the Chinese jet did was "obviously deeply concerning provocation". But th..................   
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NATO member states are preparing for Wales summit to discuss different but burning issues such as winding up of the Afghan mission and security threats from terror group ISIS. The summit is thought as crucial because the world order seems to be at stake. As all ey..................   
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27/08/2014
How wonderful it would be if one were able to live life in a systematic manner, to drop off their children daily at school and go to work. It is unfortunate for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan tha..................   
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“If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it”. No one has worked harder to prove Mark Twain right than the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The ECP continues to operate like V S Naipaul’s four men washing down the steps of an unpalatable Bombay ..................   
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KABUL: A bevy of legislators and tribal chieftains from eastern Nuristan have warned that the volatile province could fall to the Taliban, if the scourge of insecurity is not tamed. They alleged that insurgents had massacred 1,100 people, including a woman, and to..................   
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The lengthened electoral deadlock, subsequent to unaddressed claims of industrial scale fraud orchestrated by sitting government, has earned an international concentration. The world leaders, including president Obama, have had urged the two candidates, extending ..................   
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The recent rocket shelling from across the Pakistani border into the Afghan soil has once again intensified resulting in the injuries of many citizens and hundreds of them were forced to leave their houses and move to the safer areas. As usual, government and its ..................   
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22/08/2014
Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri seem adamant in their maximalist demands regarding the resignations of Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif before any negotiations can be held, either directly with the government or with either of..................   
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After presidential runners signed an agreement, there were expectations that the process of vote audit would speed up and soon the people will have the pleasure of knowing the result; however, that does not seem to be happening at the moment. Still the supports of..................   
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