Malala’s got mail from the Taliban, but what in the world does it mean?

A Pakistani Taliban commander’s letter to Malala Yousafzai is a sort of madcap Islamist version of William Hazlitt’s “On the conduct of life, or advice to a school-boy”.

Riding the ‘talking to the Taliban’ train, with the brakes jammed

The “talking to the Taliban” policy was doomed to fail from the start. But it has seeped into the international agenda by osmosis and although the boat is sinking, it’s now too late to desert the ship.

Taliban, CIA...who else can we blame for Pakistan’s polio campaign tragedy?

After a series of attacks killed eight Pakistani polio vaccination workers over two days, much time will be spent trying to figure whodunit. But with lives lost and more lives at stake, it’s time to set the blame-game straight. And it’s not the CIA.

For Afghanistan, a Glimmer of Hope – and Further Complications

Afghanistan is under the spotlight again with the recent unfolding of three critical developments: US's apology over a fatal air strike, Hilary Clinton's Kabul visit and aid donations.

In death, as in life, Rabbani fails to bring peace

Burhanuddin Rabbani, the man who oversaw Afghanistan’s descent into a brutal civil war, was killed while trying to make peace with an old enemy. But whoever thought the canny septuagenarian could have brought peace in the first place?

Relief comes amid questions as French journalists are finally released in Afghanistan

Wednesday saw some good news for a change: the release of the two French journalists, Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier, who had been held hostage in Afghanistan for the past 18 months. I was at work when the news broke.

Welcome to the Hotel Intercontinental, Where the Past Is Another Country

For decades, Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel has seen it all – invasions, coups, wars, as well as the major milestones in the lives of ordinary people. Like the name and the city it overlooks, the Intercontinental will survive.

Battered, bruised, now threatened by new Afghan plan for women’s shelters

Urged by Afghanistan's answer to Rush Limbaugh, the Afghan government’s new move to take over the operations of women's shelters threatens the safety of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Another video, another Christmas in captivity?

Last Christmas, the Taliban released a video featuring captured US soldier Bowe Bergdahl pleading for his life. The latest video clip provides few clues of his whereabouts, but the unscripted “backstory” is more enlightening – and frightening.

Talking to the Taliban: Violence against women not on the cards

As the world marks International Elimination of Violence Against Women Day, Afghan women such as Bibi Aisha are wondering what’s in store for them as the international community eyes a troop withdrawal while talking to the Taliban.