The 71st UN general assembly (UNGA) session, unlike the somnolent affairs of the past, literally began with a bang. A couple of explosions and the discovery of crude bombs in New York and New Jersey, barely a week after the 15th anniversary of 9/11, revived the spectre of terrorism. The swift arrest of Ahmad Khan Rahami just two days later and his reported trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan focused attention on the region as a base of transnational terrorism.
A Former Taliban Minister Senses a Growing Demand for Afghan Peace” (The Saturday Profile, Sept. 10), about Agha Jan Motasim, a former Taliban leader, reports that “an early attempt to seek reconciliation” between the Taliban and the Afghan government “through the governor of Kandahar was rejected, so the Taliban had no other choice but to fight.”
Few if any Taliban leaders say they want to re-establish the Islamic Emirate or revive the policies that drew the world’s opprobrium upon them when they controlled the Afghan state in the 1990s.That is the conclusion drawn in this report by Borhan Osman of the Afghanistan Analysts Network and Anand Gopal, author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes from interviews with members of the Taliban’s political wing and analysis of the movement’s official publications.
During German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent visit to China, the two countries agreed to jointly fund a disaster response centre in Afghanistan. It was just the latest sign of China’s increasingly prominent role in that country, which also includes trying to jump-start peace talks with the Taliban.
At a press conference in Hanoi on May 23, President Obama announced that he would lift the decades-old arms embargo on Vietnam, which he called “a lingering vestige of the Cold War.” He also confirmed that, two days earlier, a missile launched from a U.S. Special Operations Forces drone had killed the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansur in a taxi about a hundred miles southwest of Quetta, the capital of the Pakistani province of Balochistan. (The strike also killed the driver, Muhammad Azam, whose family the U.S.
On Saturday May 22, a U.S. drone strike killed Mullah Mansour, the leader of the Taliban and architect of the group’s bloody reconquest of Afghanistan this past year. Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports on the killing, and Hari Sreenivasan talks to former Pakistani diplomat Riaz Mohammad Khan and former State Department official Barnett Rubin about what lies ahead for the Taliban.