Malika mourns her son Ahmad Rahman, who was abducted in front of witnesses in 2016. Bryan Denton for The New York Times

America’s monster

By Azam Ahmed

I covered the war in Afghanistan and went back after the Taliban took over.

General Abdul Raziq was one of America’s fiercest allies in the fight against the Taliban. He was young and charismatic — a courageous warrior who commanded the loyalty and respect of his men. He helped beat back the Taliban in the crucial battlefield of Kandahar, even as the insurgents advanced across Afghanistan.

But his success, until his 2018 assassination, was built on torture, extrajudicial killing and abduction. In the name of security, he transformed the Kandahar police into a combat force without constraints. His officers, who were trained, armed and paid by the United States, took no note of human rights or due process, according to a New York Times investigation into thousands of cases that published this morning. Most of his victims were never seen again.

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The Middle East, Land Disputes, and Religious History

by Zaman Stanizai

The entire Middle East region that bridges three continents has historically been defined by change: changing people, politics, religious ideas and ideologies. People with power have come and gone, but the land remains and still presents the international community with one of its most challenging conflicts.

For centuries Jerusalem has been an interfaith, intercultural, and international city where different faith communities have converged, comingled, and coexisted in relative peace. This diversity and inclusivity are characterized by such landmarks as the site of King Solomon’s First Temple, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the golden Dome of the Rock in the centuries-old mosaic of Jewish, Christian, Armenian, and Muslim quarters that constitute the city of Jerusalem to this day.

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The Allure and Predicaments of Federalism for Developing Countries

By Zaman Stanizai

Norms of international diplomacy recognize ‘nation-states’ as of equal standing. In reality, however, many of these states are not necessarily nation-states, and the disparity in the size of their territory and population, as well as the incomparability of their economic strength, political influence, and military power, speaks loud and clear. It’s hard to compare China with Chad, Nauru with Nigeria, or India with San Marino. With this one-size-fits-all definition of a nation-state, large super-states project way more economic and political power around the world than smaller nations that try to compensate for these disparities by forming larger coalitions, alliances, or federal or confederal unions. Attempts at forming such unions, however, are not always successful. This paper discusses the success of federalism in advanced Western societies contrasting with its failure in developing countries. We will try to identify reasons for such failures in political culture, social dynamics, and global powerplay, and suggest remedial solutions.

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In Khayyam's Tent:A Short Story of a Different Genre

By Zaman Stanizai

With the fall from heaven humanity sank into estrangement, with the death of gods we became spiritually alienated in a strange world, but with the disappearance of the heavens, nothing remains beyond the grasp of our perception. In this continuously shrinking reality, the macrocosm of possibilities within each human being faces even greater challenges to make sense of what our senses cannot grasp.

Contemplation in the depth of these realities had taken me away in the ecstasy of their joyous perplexity as I had unknowingly risen to my feet that carried me wandering beyond the realm of time and place. I met my senses again only when I felt raindrops running down my cheeks pretending to be tears of joy. An early evening light drizzle was pouring forth its omen of mercy.

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