Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund: ISI’s Man in Kabul

A hardliner with no constituency or charisma, he epitomises a Taliban controlled by Pakistan (Illustration: Saurabh Singh) There are two Taliban leaders from Kandahar with the same name: Mullah Mohammad Hassan. Both had occupied the post of the governor of Kandahar. Both were close associates of the dreaded founder of the outfit, Mullah Mohammed Omar. The … Continue reading Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund: ISI’s Man in Kabul

‘ISI didn’t plan the Taliban victory. The US facilitated it,’ says Author & Filmmaker Adrian Levy

(Illustration: Saurabh Singh) Adrian Levy has never stayed back this long in London since he was 16, he says. The Covid-19 pandemic has confined him to his London home from where he currently gives interviews on the latest among several books he has co-authored with Cathy Scott-Clark who, these days, is tied up with an … Continue reading ‘ISI didn’t plan the Taliban victory. The US facilitated it,’ says Author & Filmmaker Adrian Levy

Pakistan Caught between Reality and PR Tactics Amid an Outcry to Convert a Sikh Temple into a Mosque

Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj Bhai Taru Singh, Naulakha Bazar, Lahore A RECENT SOCIAL MEDIA video shared by a man in Lahore went viral and then transformed into a campaign to convert a Sikh gurdwara erected in the memory of a martyred 18th century legend, Bhai Taru Singh, into a mosque. The video claimed that the Sikh … Continue reading Pakistan Caught between Reality and PR Tactics Amid an Outcry to Convert a Sikh Temple into a Mosque

Thanks to CAA, We Stand Isolated in the World, Says Former NSA

Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon has criticised the Centre for its series of actions — including a controversial amendment to India’s Citizenship law — that have led to the country’s rapid isolation in the international diplomatic scene. Menon, who was also former foreign secretary, regretted that the government’s effort, lately, has been to “hyphenate … Continue reading Thanks to CAA, We Stand Isolated in the World, Says Former NSA

An Insider’s Perspective on Strained US-Pakistan ties and Challenges for India’s Hostile Neighbour

WHAT STRIKES YOU first about this book is author Shuja Nawaz’s extensive global network and his access to people and documents—those that matter both in the US and Pakistan, countries he calls his two homelands. He started writing The Battle for Pakistan: The Bitter US Friendship and a Tough Neighbourhood (Vintage; 400 pages; Rs 799) in 2008 … Continue reading An Insider’s Perspective on Strained US-Pakistan ties and Challenges for India’s Hostile Neighbour

‘Pulwama Attack and India’s Response Not Indefinite Substitute for All Other Issues Voters Care About’

Gilles Verniers, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ashoka University and co-director at its Trivedi Centre for Political Data, spoke to Open's Executive Editor Ullekh NP on dominant ideas in India's 2019 election campaign. How attractive do you think is national security as a slogan (like corruption, dictatorial tendencies, etc) in an Indian election? National … Continue reading ‘Pulwama Attack and India’s Response Not Indefinite Substitute for All Other Issues Voters Care About’

How Vajpayee Straddled Two Worlds and Made Hindutva Palatable to the Masses

They say Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the right man in the wrong party. He wasn’t. Academics and independent political analysts such as Robin Jeffrey and Vajpayee’s contemporaries in politics remember him in the 1960s as a young, firebrand leader of the Hindutva cause, someone capable of the most offensive of anti-Muslim statements. A man groomed in the … Continue reading How Vajpayee Straddled Two Worlds and Made Hindutva Palatable to the Masses

Why the Politicisation of the Indian Military is Bad News for India

ONE FREEZING AFTERNOON in September 2015, I was fortunate enough to dine at the warm officers’ mess at Siachen base camp, one of the highest and most famous war zones in the world, where a lunch- time chat that started with Kashmiri cuisine drifted to books by Myra McDonald and Nitin Gokhale and then to … Continue reading Why the Politicisation of the Indian Military is Bad News for India