Anoja Wijeyesekera, in The Sunday Island, 8 May 2016, where the title is “Jalalabad”
Excerpted here is a chapter from Anoja Wijeyesekera’ recent book, Facing the Taliban, providing a fascinating account of the writer braving the challenge of heading the UNICEF office in Jalalabad during the height of Taliban terror. Anoja who retired from UNICEF in 2006, having been the agency’s Country Representative in Bhutan for nearly five years, was picked to be assigned to Jalalabad by the agency which believed that in the face of a woman anathematizing regime, an international woman officer was needed to ensure that its program for Afghani mothers and children actually reached them. The chapter reproduced here with permission from the author, deals with her move to Jalalabad.
As we neared Jalalabad, I could see canopies of delicate fir trees on both sides of the road. These trees formed an exquisite natural archway that extended mile after mile. In the good old days before tragedy struck this country, this was the grand entrance to Jalalabad, the winter capital of Afghanistan. The climate of Jalalabad being milder than that of Kabul, the rich retreated to their winter villas there to get away from the freezing temperatures of the capital city. During the golden era of King Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan, Kabul, the administrative and. commercial capital that was modelled on Paris, was known as the “Paris of Asia”. It attracted many visitors from neighbouring countries and was a favourite stop-over for those who undertook the road journey from Europe to India. Continue reading →
What drew you to the study of War Magic & Warrior Religion? Initially I was drawn to the study of war magic through my doctoral research into a Sufi warrior cult, where the Malay martial art (silat) was employed as a means to attract and secure local and international followers and converts. A wise informant, Dato Penggawa Tua Zaharah Mokhtar, recommended that I start with Winstedt  (1993), Shaw (1976), and Skeat’s  (1993) books on Malay magic to begin my research on silat. At the time I was lecturing on Weber at the National University of Singapore, so the chiasmus between warrior religion and war magic came naturally: of course, the connection also appears in Deleuze and Guattari’s  (2004) Treatise on Nomadology—The War Machine, among other sources. Continue reading →
Varun Ghosh reviewing David Kilcullen: Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State, Black Inc, 2015 (?), 128pp, $22.99 … in The Weekend Australian, 6/7 June 2015, with the title “Snapping the terror tentacles.”
A battle-weary West must summon the political will to defeat Islamic State and continue the fight against global terrorism. That is the central message of David Kilcullen’s expansive and ambitious Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State. Kilcullen, a former Australian Army officer, develops his thesis by weaving together two distinct but related accounts: an analysis of the policy failures in Iraq that led to the rise of Islamic State and a broader evaluation of the global war on terrorism.
Kilcullen, in addition to his considerable experience as a counter-terrorism strategist and former adviser to US general David Petraeus and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, is a deft storyteller. The artful combination of his professional experience, insightful analysis and strategic recommendations makes for enthralling reading.
The story of Islamic State begins in Iraq. Kilcullen is a severe critic of the decision to open a second front in the war on terrorism by invading Iraq before the conflict in Afghanistan and complex situation in Pakistan were resolved. By 2006, Iraq was mired in a sectarian civil war, led there by the “mindless obstinacy” of US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who “insisted on leaving the absolute minimum force in Iraq” following the defeat of Saddam Hussein. Ambassador Paul Bremer’s “disastrous de-Ba’athification edict and the disbanding of the Iraqi army” only compounded the folly. (Later, one US officer wrote to Kilcullen, “Note to self: consider renaming Camp Victory.”) Continue reading →
US forces killed Osama bin Laden with the full cooperation of Pakistani intelligence agencies, who had kept the 9/11 mastermind prisoner inside his infamous Abbottabad compound for years before the fatal raid, a new bombshell report claims. The report, a lengthy article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, widely contradicts multiple elements of the original account of the May 2011 raid by U.S. forces provided by the Obama administration and other federal government figures.
“The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account,” Hersh wrote in the 10,000-word expose published online Sunday on the London Review of Books website. Continue reading →
LAST week Islamist terrorists killed 17 people in a horrifying raid on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and in a siege at a Paris kosher market. The attacks were a direct assault on free speech in one of the world’s oldest democracies, exacerbated fears of Muslim anti-Semitic violence in Europe and prompted a global response. The attacks particularly resonated in Australia, of course, after December’s deadly Martin Place siege.
Charlie Hebdo attackers kill policeman–AFP
Fears of follow-on attacks have roiled Europe and America. Police evacuated Belgian newspaper Le Soir after a bomb threat, the French Army increased patrols at public sites and in Germany competing pro- and anti-immigration marchers rallied under heavy security. Continue reading →
Col. R. Hariharan, courtesy of The Island, 10 January 2015
Security agencies must treat all extremist acts as terrorist acts till proved otherwise In a daring daylight raid yesterday, three masked jihadi terrorists armed with AK-47s and shouting “Allahu Akbar” massacred 12 people (ten journalists, including the editor) and two policemen in the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical Paris weekly. The successful lightning operation was over in five minutes indicating the high level of terrorists’ training, planning, and execution.
After the raid, the gunmen escaped in a car. A cartoonist who was forced to let them in said they spoke fluent French and claimed to belong to al Qaeda. Charlie Hebdo had been lampooning all religions and political parties in its cartoons. An hour before the attack its Twitter had carried a cartoon making fun of ISIS’ self-proclaimed caliph Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi. Extremists had firebombed its office in 2011 after it published a cartoon on the Prophet. Continue reading →
The suspected mastermind behind the bloody attack on the Sri Lankan national cricket team in the Pakistani city of Lahore in 2009 was hanged on Friday along with another terrorist suspect, foreign media reported. Aqeel Ahmad alias Dr. Usmanwas captured at a location in Lahore in October 2009 after he was injured while trying to blow himself up, the reports said. Continue reading →
Australians are understandably transfixed and repulsed by the barbaric excesses of Islamic State. But it would be a mistake to believe that the demise of IS will be rapid, easy or bring to an end the global turmoil that has accompanied its dramatic rise. This is because the caliphate jihadism of IS is not your run of the mill terrorism, but a virulent mutation of a broader revolutionary movement which has much in common with the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century.
Communism, nazism and fascism sprang from a common source – dissatisfaction with the existing international order and a rejection of the tenets of liberal democracy. All were deeply authoritarian and aggressively expansionist, ruthlessly suppressing any opposition and justifying their excesses by claiming to represent a higher moral purpose and authority. Continue reading →
. . authoritative account of a significant new terrorist tactic that is likely to become more pervasive in our increasingly sophisticated technological and medical age in which it is becoming easier for the terrorist adversary to use the types of body cavity bombs that will be capable of evading detection technologies Dr. Joshua Sinai, Washington, DC-based consultant on counterterrorism studies and author of Active Shooter: A Handbook on Prevention. “Body Cavity Bombers shows how what was once a lurid Hollywood fantasy has emerged as a legitimate threat, dissects the risk with clinical precision, and soberly considers the remediation options” Dr. Nils Gilman, Director of Research at Monitor 360 and co-editor of Deviant Globalization. “A timely and important book about a disgusting subject. In showing how the human body might be used to carry and conceal explosive devices, terrorism experts Bunker and Flaherty have left no stone unturned” Dr. Martin van Creveld, one of the world’s leading writers on military history and strategy, with a special interest in the future of war, and author of twenty books including The Transformation of War. “Those in the front line of identifying and taking necessary action to counter these new techniques of destruction would be well advised to read Dr. Bunker and Dr. Flaherty’s realistic assessment” Dr. Stephen Sloan, internationally recognized terrorism scholar and author/co-author of fourteen books on terrorism.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.