Ancient Persia was a heavily trafficked corridor on the Silk Road, the transcontinental trade route between China and the West that flourished centuries ago. But in Washington’s imagining of a 21st century version of the Silk Road, Iran seems set to be bypassed.
Afghans are putting their anger over Pakistani policies regarding their country on full display.
Protests have been staged by Afghan youths objecting to statements made by Pakistani public figures. And Afghanistan's media and civil society have moved to the forefront to resist perceived efforts by their eastern neighbor to fill the vacuum as the West looks to exit their country.
Sheikh Janzada has reason to celebrate. Political and judicial reforms have finally come to his mountainous village in Bajauar Agency, part of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), realizing a lifelong dream.
Muhammad Akram Afridi witnessed a transformation during his 28 years in the Pakistani military.
The retired colonel can remember when British imperial forces were emulated to the point that bagpipes, ballrooms, and whiskey went hand in hand with military service. At 64, he can recall when garrison bars were wet, and when they went dry.
Politicians used to enjoy star status in Pakistani public life. They grew accustomed to being greeted as celebrities by tens of thousands of supporters throwing rose petals, chanting their slogans, and patiently and loyally enduring their long, rhetorical speeches. Election season was a particularly exciting time, with political gatherings turned into noisy parties for thousands of participants.
It has been a turbulent month for the Pakistani military.
First came the May 2 killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, on Pakistani soil, by American commandos. The raid led to questions of how the Al-Qaeda leader could find a safe haven alongside Pakistan's elite military training academy, and how such a raid could be successfully carried out unbeknownst to the armed forces.