Dossier: Taliban

US President Barack Obama during a meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in Rawdat al-Khraim near Riyadh (photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's foreign policy

Pilgrimage to Pakistan

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has become increasingly estranged from the US, the world power that has held its protective hand over the kingdom for many years. The royal family has now changed the course of its foreign policy and sees Pakistan as a suitable strategic partner and a counterbalance to the influence of Turkey and Iran in the region. By Mai YamaniMore

The British-Pakistani author Nadeem Aslam at lit.cologne in Cologne (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Interview with Nadeem Aslam

Shadows of the past

"The Blind Man's Garden" is the fourth novel to be published by the British–Pakistani author Nadeem Aslam. In this book, he returns to the days, weeks and months immediately following 9/11 and relates them from the perspective of a Pakistani family that is subsequently drawn into the ensuing war in Afghanistan. Claudia Kramatschek spoke to Aslam about his new novelMore

An election helper empties a ballot box after the Afghan presidential election (photo: Reuters)

Presidential election in Afghanistan

Defying the Taliban

Last Saturday, around 12 million Afghans were called upon to vote for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Although the Taliban warned that numerous attacks would take place on voting day, large numbers of Afghans refused to be deterred. Details from Emran Feroz in KabulMore

An election poster in Afghanistan (photo: Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)

Interview with Afghanistan expert Thomas Ruttig

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"The violence threshold is low"

Having already served two terms, Afghan President Hamid Karzai cannot run for president in the election in early April. The end of his twelve years in office marks the end of an era for the country. Ulrich von Schwerin spoke to Thomas Ruttig of the "Afghanistan Analysts Network" about the political situation in Afghanistan after over a decade of KarzaiMore

Imran Khan attends the unveiling of his party's manifesto for the 2013 general election, Islamabad, 9 April 2013 (photo: Aamir QureshiAFP/Getty Images)

Portrait of Pakistani politician Imran Khan

Flirting with the Taliban

For several years now, support for cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has been growing in Pakistan. Nevertheless, opinion about one of the country's greatest sporting heroes is still divided. His supporters point to the progress made in the province ruled by his Movement for Justice Party, while liberal Pakistanis have criticised his opposition to military operations against the Taliban. By Shamil ShamsMore

Studentinnen der Universität Kabul in der Uni-Bibliothek; Foto:DW

Higher Education in Afghanistan

Education for Progress in Afghanistan

The Afghan higher education system has undergone considerable improvement since the end of the Taliban regime in 2001. German scholarships aim to promote and continue this development. Background information from Waslat Hasrat-NazimiMore

Students shout anti-government and anti-U.S. slogans as they protest against the national gathering called a "loya jirga", in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan November 19, 2013. The students expressed their concern about a proposed Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Afghanistan and the U.S. (photo: REUTERS)

The Afghan Muddle

Farewell to Power Politics

Afghanistan's neighbours must not play power politics within the country, in the hope of gaining some slight advantage over one another. That path leads only to chaos, from which no country benefits. By Jaswant Singh, former long-time serving minister in IndiaMore

Fauzia Shaheen (photo: private)

Interview with Pakistani Media Expert Fauzia Shaheen

How Pakistan's Media Is Defending Democracy

Fauzia Shaheen is a media expert, women's activist and president of the Women Media Centre in Pakistan. She would like to promote equal opportunities for women in Pakistan's media by training female journalists. Julie Schwannecke spoke to her about the current role of the media, press freedom and democracy in PakistanMore

Soldiers of the Afghan National Army are being trained by German Armed Forces in Camp Pamir near Kunduz (photo: dpa)

Afghanistan as the Western Troop Withdrawal Nears

The Failure of Dialogue

The end of the NATO mission in the Hindu Kush, scheduled for 2014, is fast approaching. The results to date are sobering. Mistrust and even mutual dislike between locals and representatives of the West in Afghanistan are striking and widespread. By Stefan BuchenMore

Pakistani writer and Taliban expert Ahmed Rashid (photo: AP)

Interview with Ahmed Rashid on Mali

''Worse than Afghanistan''

Pakistani writer and Taliban expert Ahmed Rashid reports on the failures of the international community in Mali and how Islamist Al-Qaida affiliates have been able to establish themselves there. He spoke to Silke MertinsMore

A Pakistani female supporter of a political party Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) shouts slogans during a protest procession against the assassination attempt by Taliban on child activist Malala Yousafzai in Karachi on October 14, 2012 (photo: AFP/Getty)

Pakistan at a Crossroads

A People's Uprising against the Taliban?

Pakistan's Taliban have for a long time been extending their influence on society by way of intimidation, brute force and terror killings. Now, however, people seem to be ready to confront the militants, drawing from the memory of Pakistan's liberal society in the early 70s. Ashraf Khan reports from KarachiMore

A Pakistani woman shows her solidarity with Malala Yousafzai at a demonstration in Karachi (photo: Getty Images)

Pakistan after the Attempt on Malala Yousafzai's Life

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A Vibrant Symbol for A Troubled Country

Malala Yousafzai came to prominence at the age of 11 when she began writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban in Pakistan's Swat Valley in 2009. She survived an attempt on her life in early October this year. Instead of frightening the country's education system into submission, the attack triggered a wave of solidarity with the young pro-education activistMore

Fawzia Koofi (photo: Getty Images)

Interview with Fawzia Koofi

''It Is Not A Matter of Overnight Change''

Fawzia Koofi is an Afghan women's rights activist and MP. She has already declared that she will run for president in 2014. In this interview with Martin Gerner, she outlines the two policy areas closest to her heart and explains why some Afghans view the timeline for the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan with trepidationMore

Protest against 'violence against women and informal trial of women'. This demonstration was being held in Kabul on 24 September 2012 (photo: Hossain Sirat/DW)

Human Rights in Afghanistan

The Power of Women

In order to attain a just peace, inhumane structures should be dismantled, not tolerated. But anyone campaigning for human rights on the Hindu Kush finds themselves abandoned by the West. A commentary by Monika HauserMore

Atiq Rahimi (photo: dapd)

Interview with Atiq Rahimi

Unable to Move Forward

In an interview with Shikiba Babori, the exiled Afghan author Atiq Rahimi criticizes the West's donor mentality in reconstructing Afghanistan and the indolence of the Afghan people, who he says have grown too accustomed to depending on foreign aidMore

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