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Afghanistan

The Forgotten Anniversary: 10/7 and America's Longest War

[U.S. soldiers from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment pass through a village near Forward Operating Base Blessing, Afghanistan. Image from en.wikipedia.org]

On 7 October 2001, at approximately 12:30pm EST, US and British forces launched Operation Enduring Freedom, an aerial bombing campaign with the declared objectives of overthrowing the Taliban regime, destroying or capturing Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, and bringing an end to terrorist activities in Afghanistan.

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Study: U.S. Night Raids Aimed at Afghan Civilians

[Night raids. AP image from commondreams.org]

[The following statement was issued by Inter Press Service on September 21, 2011. It was recently published on commondreams.org] New Study Says U.S. Night Raids Aimed at Afghan Civilians WASHINGTON - U.S. Special Operations Forces have been increasingly aiming their night-time raids, which have been the primary cause of Afghan anger at the U.S. military presence, at civilian non- combatants in order to exploit their possible intelligence value, according to a new study published by the Open Society Foundation and The Liaison Office. The study provides new evidence of the degree to which the criteria used for targeting of individuals in night raids and for seizing ...

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KPOO's "Arab Talk" Interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor on Bagram, Obama's Other Gitmo, and US Detention Policy

[Image from HRW.org]

This interview was conducted with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Lisa Hajjar during the week marking the ten year anniversary of the September 11 attack in the United States. Conducted by Jess Ghannam, of KPOO's "Arab Talk," the interview begins with a survey of the landscape of US detention policy of the last ten years. While some aspects of torture and abuse have changed under the Obama Administration, more has stayed the same, including indefinite detention, denial of habeas, use of military commissions, and the fact that there has not yet been a definitive end to US torture. Following this is a more in depth discussion of  Bagram and detention operations in ...

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US Detention Post-9/11: Birth of a Debacle (Part 1 of 5 Part Series)

[First prisoners arrive at Guantanamo on 11 January 2002. Image from Gallo/Getty]

Days after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the Bush administration started making decisions that led to the official authorization of torture tactics, indefinite incommunicado detention and the denial of habeas corpus for people who would be detained at Guantánamo, Bagram, or “black sites” (secret prisons) run by the CIA, kidnappings, forced disappearances and extraordinary rendition to foreign countries to exploit their torturing services. While some of those practices were cancelled when Barack Obama took office in January 2009, others continue to characterise US detention policy in the "war on terror". Even the cancelled policies continue ...

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On the Historical Study of South Asia and Sufism: An Interview with Nile Green

[Nile Green. Image from ucla.edu]

In the following conversation with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Ziad Abu-Rish, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Professor of History Nile Green discusses some of the issues arising from the study of “Muslims of South Asia and the wider Persianate world.” The bulk of the interview addresses issues related to the study of the history of South Asia, Sufism, and Islam. It concludes with some advice for graduate students struggling to define their research agendas. The interview was originally conducted in the spring of 2009. Ziad Abu-Rish (ZA): Your bio on the UCLA Department of History website lists your field as South Asia. How would you describe your academic ...

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Who Cares About Osama

[Image from unknown archive]

A flight from Istanbul to New York the day after Usama Bin Ladin was assassinated is an inopportune time to write about what it all means, but I would be thinking about little else anyway between the security checks, the turbulence and the guy at customs asking me what I was just doing in Iraq. Last night thousands of Americans took to the street waving flags to revel in what was both righteous justice and jingoism. That same day hundreds of thousands of communists, leftists and workers took to the streets of Istanbul and Ankara to commemorate May Day and demand more rights. Some sang an old communist guerilla song about taking to the mountains to fight. Some saluted ...

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Memoir and Mythology

[Greg Mortenson at Gultori School Pakistan. Image from Central Asia Institute]

Facts aren’t the only thing that should be checked in Three Cups of Tea The recent uproar over Greg Mortenson’s immensely popular nonfiction book Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission To Promote Peace... One School at a Time has centered around the question of whether the account is factual, and whether Mortenson is siphoning money from his $20 million-a-year charity, the Central Asia Institute (CAI). Three Cups of Tea is the ostensibly nonfiction narrative of Mortenson’s efforts to build secular schools in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson believes that in providing the region with secular education that competes with “extremist” terrorist-breeding ...

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Aftermath . . . America's Wars in the Middle East (Part 1)

[Bombed building in Baghdad, 2003. Image from

In my new book “Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World,” I look at sectarianism, civil war, occupation, resistance, terrorism and counterinsurgency from Iraq to Lebanon to Afghanistan. While half of the book looks at how the civil war in Iraq began and how it came to an end, other chapters look at the Taliban, the American military in Afghanistan and the Afghan police. The two chapters I am proudest of however deal with Lebanon, where I lived with my wife and son during the period I reported from there. I found that while the country was oversaturated with journalists (both local and foreign) and during times of crisis even more ...

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State Sanctioned Killings

It is now an undisputed fact, confirmed by President Obama: the United States has executed two American citizens far away from zones of actual armed conflict and without due process. More than anything, the targeted killings of Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan in Yemen represent serious challenges to the United States’ reputation for abiding by the rule of law. The killings further complicate US foreign policy in a region currently witnessing bloody revolutions and uprisings motivated by a desire for ...

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Curriculum: Tools for Reclaiming Communities from Militarism

To mark the now decade-long US-led “Global War on Terror,” The War Resisters League and the South Asia Solidarity Initiative have created an interactive, popular eduction-style workshop that explores how organizing against federal military spending relates to and can forward local campaigns for economic justice, as well as how the past decade of war has effected Afghans and what they are doing in response. Brought to You by Bombs and Budgets: Tools for Reclaiming Communities from Militarism, tries to get ...

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Ten Years, Over a Trillion Dollars Later: What and How Much Has Changed?

As the tenth anniversary of September 11th passes, one question that is likely crossing many people’s minds is: What has changed ten years on? As mundane and somewhat cliché as this question may be, it has many of us weighing the costs along with the benefits of America’s campaign against “terror.” Unfortunately, for a segment of the American population, the answer to this question never goes beyond the rallying cry of patriotic retaliation and the abstract safety of US homeland security and defense ...

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NATO's "Conspiracy" against the Libyan Revolution

In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal (19 July 2011), Max Boot— the aptly named neoconservative author and military historian known for his support for “democracy promotion” at the point of a gun, and an ardent supporter of full-scale US military engagement in Libya—referred to a Financial Times article (15 June) that compared the current aerial bombing campaign over Libya and the Kosovo air war in 1999 in order to emphasize “the lack of firepower in the Libya operation.” Boot commented, ...

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A Critique of Reporting on the Middle East

I’ve spent most of the last eight years working in Iraq and also in Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries in the Muslim world. So all my work has taken place in the shadow of the war on terror and has in fact been thanks to this war, even if I’ve labored to disprove the underlying premises of this war. In a way my work has still served to support the narrative. I once asked my editor at the New York Times Magazine if I could write about a subject outside the Muslim world. He said even if I was ...

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The Fateful Choice

When 19 al-Qaeda hijackers attacked New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, the United States faced a strategic dilemma that was unique in magnitude, but not in kind. Terrorists had killed numerous civilians before, in the US and elsewhere, with and without state sponsorship. Al-Qaeda was not the first non-state actor to present no coherent demands alongside its propaganda of the deed or to have no single fixed address. Nor were Americans the first victims of unprovoked terrorist assault to set ...

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Revolutionary Tremors in Central Asia?

On April 3rd, 2011 Kazakhstan held presidential elections. Nursultan Nazarbayev, in power since 1991, called these elections a year early after scrapping a plan to hold a national referendum that would do away with the inconvenience of regular presidential contests and which was to extend his term until 2020. The referendum plan, although backed by both chambers of the Kazakh legislature and an apparently willing public (5 million signature in support of the referendum seem to have been collected), ...

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