If you like your terrorists, you can keep your terrorists.1:55 PM, Jul 7, 2015 • By BENJAMIN PARKER
For the first time since an American-led coalition toppled the Taliban in 2001, Afghan officials are engaged in formal talks with Taliban leadership. Afghan president Ashraf Ghani confirmed that members of the Afghan High Peace Council sat down for face-to-face negotiations in Islamabad, Pakistan this week. They were joined by deputy foreign minister Hekmat Karzai. The Taliban did not reveal who their negotiators are.
Ghani has made reconciliation with the Taliban a major goal of his administration. His predecessor, Hamid Karzai, uncle of the deputy foreign minister, established the High Peace Council in 2010 for exactly that purpose. Before this week, Afghan officials had met with the Taliban only informally in Qatar, Norway, and China.
The talks come after a series of bloody weeks in Kabul. In late June, the Taliban attacked the Afghan parliament, wounding dozens. Eight days later, a suicide car bomb wounded 21 Afghans in a NATO convoy. Tuesday, twin suicide bombs at the headquarters compound of Afghan intelligence targeted a foreign convoy. One person was killed and three are wounded.
In addition to settling with the Taliban, Ghani has also pursued closer ties with Pakistan. Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security and Pakistan’s ISI spy agency signed a cooperation agreement in May, despite deep mistrust of the ISI by many Afghans. Many in Afghanistan, including former-president Karzai, blame the ISI and Pakistan for harboring the Taliban, holding them partially responsible for 14 years of war.
President Obama has supported American negotiations with the Taliban at least since 2012. The American government held talks with the Taliban over a year ago, culminating in the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. In exchange, five senior Taliban members were released from Guantanamo Bay. In March, Bergdahl was charged with desertion.
Benjamin Parker is an intern at The Weekly Standard.
11:15 AM, May 22, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican members of the House intelligence committee say the Obama administration should release more of the one million-plus documents found after the 2011 raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The White House has so far released around 120, including 86 more on Wednesday that revealed relatively trivial details, like the terrorist mastermind’s reading list. (One interesting nugget, though, was that al Qaeda had been considering opening a recruitment office in Iran.)
11:49 AM, May 20, 2015 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
The U.S. government released Wednesday morning an additional 86 documents from the vast collection of documents captured during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Show availability of Iran for al Qaeda training, plotting.12:27 PM, Feb 27, 2015 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
This week, prosecutors in New York introduced eight documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as evidence in the trial of a terrorism suspect. The U.S. government accuses Abid Naseer of taking part in al Qaeda’s scheme to attack targets in Europe and New York City. And prosecutors say the documents are essential for understanding the scope of al Qaeda’s plotting.
9:32 AM, Dec 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama's statement condemning the mass murder in a Pakistan school fails to blame the perpetrators, the Taliban. Here's Obama's full statement:
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:15 PM, Jun 2, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD Podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was recently traded for five Taliban prisoners from terrorist captivity.
Mar 31, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 28 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Did Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, help Osama bin Laden hide in the years before he was killed in Abbottabad in May 2011? According to an extraordinary piece of reporting in the New York Times Magazine, we finally know the answer: yes.
Carlotta Gall covered the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than a decade. She had long tried to determine just how much Pakistan’s ISI knew about bin Laden’s whereabouts. For years, there had been rumors and suspicions about the role of the Pakistani government.
10:05 PM, Jan 7, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The Washington Post reports that U.S. officials suspect Sufian Ben Qumu, an ex-Guantanamo detainee, “played a role in the attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, and are planning to designate the group he leads as a foreign terrorism organization.” Ben Qumu is based in Derna, Libya and runs a branch of Ansar al Sharia headquartered in the city.
1:51 PM, Nov 4, 2013 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The head of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in an American drone strike in northern Pakistan late last week. Mehsud can now be added to an impressive list of senior terrorists killed in the U.S. drone war. But how effective are such decapitation strikes?
7:02 AM, Oct 9, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Not all the news is demoralizing or frivolous. There is a report, from Britain, of a a possible medical success in the war against malaria, the world' leading cause of illness and death, killing some 800,000 people every year. And now there may be an effective vaccine. As the BBC reports:
3:24 PM, Aug 6, 2013 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The U.S. State Department announced today that it has designated a terrorist who has fought for the Taliban since the late 1990s and continues to support al Qaeda. Bahawal Khan is the leader of the Commander Nazir Group (CNG), which is “behind numerous attacks against international forces in Afghanistan,” as well as attacks inside Pakistan.
"And I think the President has a very real timeline and we hope it’s going to be very, very soon."8:31 AM, Aug 2, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Secretary of State John Kerry gave several TV interviews while in Islamabad, Pakistan on Thursday, including one to Mariam Chaudhry of Pakistan TV. One question related to the drone policy of the United States, which is extremely unpopular in Pakistan. In his answer, Kerry seemed to suggest the program, which he said President Obama has "really narrowed," has almost accomplished its goals, not just in Pakistan, but throughout the world [emphasis added]:
1:35 PM, Jul 27, 2013 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Are we watching the demise of al Qaeda or its rebirth?
A bracing new piece in the Daily Beast makes a persuasive case that it’s the latter -- that recent developments in Iraq, across the greater Middle East and South Asia point to a resurgence of al Qaeda and a strengthening of its affiliates.