Your Monday Briefing: Russia’s Pre-Holiday Push

Good morning. We’re covering Russia’s nationalist holiday, Hong Kong’s new leader and a Taliban decree targeting women. Lee, the top architect of the crackdown on Hong Kong’s antigovernment protests in 2019, plans to push through laws on treason, secession, sedition and subversion, and to root out critics in the civil service. He inherits a city that has been tamed and cowed: Sweeping national security laws imposed two years ago have quashed dissent, gutted the free press and put critics behind bars or sent them into exile. He will also face…

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Fights for Survival

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan is fighting for his political survival after opposition political parties have moved for a no-confidence motion in Parliament and the country’s powerful military has withdrawn its support for his government. Mr. Khan, the former cricket-star-turned-politician, has announced plans to gather a million supporters in Islamabad, appealed to the Supreme Court to disqualify lawmakers who have defected from his party and denounced his critics as part of an American-influenced conspiracy. But as demands for his resignation mount, critics and analysts say he…

Your Monday Briefing: The Olympics Begin

your monday briefing the olympics begin scaled

Good morning. We’re covering the start of the Winter Olympics, tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and Afghanistan’s crumbling health care system. The Winter Olympics begin China’s leader, Xi Jinping, opened the Beijing Games on Friday with a clear intent to celebrate his country’s increasingly assured global status. Xi stood defiantly with Vladimir Putin, the leader of Russia, a calculated display of solidarity to show their partnership and project their growing impatience with Western censure. (President Biden and other democratic leaders critical of China’s human rights record stayed home.) China also…

Your Friday Briefing

your friday briefing scaled

Good morning. We’re covering booster shots in France, Peng Shuai’s piercing accusations in China and the Pakistani madrasa that has educated many Taliban leaders. A French rush for boosters Thousands rushed to book appointments for coronavirus booster shots on Thursday after the French government said that health passes would soon no longer be valid without them. Amid a surge in new cases and rising hospitalizations, the government made all adults eligible for booster shots starting this weekend. The health minister, Olivier Véran, said that over 400,000 vaccination appointments had been…

Afghan Uyghurs Fear Taliban Will Deport Them to China

afghan uyghurs fear taliban will deport them to china

Ibrahim’s parents fled political turmoil in China for Afghanistan more than 50 years ago. At that time, Mao Zedong had unleashed the Cultural Revolution, and life was upended for many Uyghurs, the mostly Muslim ethnic group in Xinjiang that included Ibrahim’s parents. Ibrahim was born in Afghanistan. But now he, too, is trying to escape the clutches of Chinese authoritarianism. He and his family have been afraid to leave their home in Afghanistan since the Taliban, the country’s new rulers, took control last month, venturing outside only to buy essentials.…

China Promises Aid to Afghanistan in Cautious Courtship

china promises aid to afghanistan in cautious courtship

China this week pledged to give $30 million in food and other aid to the new Taliban government in Afghanistan as well as three million Covid-19 vaccine doses, in a cautious overture to a potentially dangerous neighbor that Beijing is eager to influence. Speaking to a meeting of officials from Afghanistan’s neighbors on Wednesday, Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, blamed the United States for the situation in the troubled country. But in a sign of China’s competing priorities, he also urged the Taliban to contain terrorist groups and asked Afghanistan’s…

Our Afghanistan Failure and the American Empire in Retreat

our afghanistan failure and the american empire in retreat

In one of the more arresting videos that circulated after the fall of Kabul, a journalist follows a collection of Taliban fighters into a hangar containing abandoned, disabled U.S. helicopters. Except that the fighters don’t look like our idea of the Taliban: In their gear and guns and helmets (presumably pilfered), they look exactly like the American soldiers their long insurgency defeated. As someone swiftly pointed out on Twitter, the hangar scene had a strong end-of-the-Roman Empire vibe, with the Taliban fighters standing for the Visigoths or Vandals who adopted…

How Will the Taliban Govern? A History of Rebel Rule Offers Clues.

how will the taliban govern a history of rebel rule offers clues

As Taliban commanders exchange their guns for the reins of power, some 38 million Afghans can do little but hold their breath and wait to see how their latest conquerors will rule. That uncertainty, also palpable in foreign capitals from Washington to Beijing, is compounded by the deep contradiction between the group’s record of extremism and brutality during its prior reign, from 1996 to 2001, and its promises of moderation today. History may offer a few clues. The Taliban are, depending on how one counts, something like the sixth or…

‘We were blackmailed’: Afghanistan’s former vice-president accuses US of forcing deals with the Taliban

we were blackmailed afghanistans former vice president accuses us of forcing deals with the taliban

Afghanistan’s former president may have sensationally fled Kabul, but the former vice-president says he will stay and fight the Taliban.  Key points: Former vice-president Amrullah Saleh has declared himself president of Afghanistan after the former president fled the country Mr Saleh says the government was “blackmailed” into dealing with the Taliban by the United States He has gathered with military commanders from the former government in Panjshir Valley Amrullah Saleh spoke to ABC’s PM program from somewhere in the Panjshir Valley, his birthplace and a legendary source of resistance to invasion. Fighters…

Why Nation-Building Failed in Afghanistan

why nation building failed in afghanistan

ISTANBUL – The United States invaded Afghanistan 20 years ago with the hope of rebuilding a country that had become a scourge to the world and its own people. As General Stanley McChrystal explained in the run-up to the 2009 surge of US troops, the objective was that the “government of Afghanistan sufficiently control its territory to support regional stability and prevent its use for international terrorism.” Why Nation-Building Failed in Afghanistan Afghan Presidential Palace via Getty Images Daron Acemoglu explains why the West’s top-down approach to establishing state institutions…