Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, Trump and the Taleban want the same thing – Americans out

24 August 2019 9:00 am

‘Incoming! Incoming! Incoming!’ As morning alarms go, this one leaves a lot to be desired. Normally I wake up to…

An Afghan voter at a polling station in Herat in 2014. Image: AFP / Aref Karimi / Getty Images

The woman who wrote Afghanistan’s electoral laws lives on a houseboat in Bristol

3 August 2019 9:00 am

By the age of eight Vaira Vike-Freiberga had learnt that life was both ‘very strange and very unfair’. Her baby…

An important story but not for the faint-hearted: Deadliest Day podcast reviewed

13 July 2019 9:00 am

One of the advantages that podcasts have over the scheduled array of programmes is the space that can be given…

Zahra Elham, the first women to win the show Afghan Star in its 14-year history. Credit: WAKIL KOHSAR / Contributor

Female contestants in Afghanistan’s X Factor are dicing with death

11 May 2019 9:00 am

The cheering fans, the dramatic Hollywood-style drum rolls, the excitable host all sound just like The X Factor or The…

‘Attack on the Sealkote mutineers by General Nicholson’s Irregular Cavalry, 1857.’ Illustration by Charles Ball

The Lion of the Punjab: the short, brutish career of John Nicholson

17 November 2018 9:00 am

‘I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion’, said Winston Churchill as prime minister in 1942,…

Why women are still fuming over my Desert Island slips

3 February 2018 9:00 am

It never occurred to me, when I was interviewed for Desert Island Discs back in November, that I’d actually be…

Is forgetting a modern disease?

27 January 2018 9:00 am

If you were to ask me by the end of the week what I had written about in this column…

It’s hard to preserve the primacy of head over heart while watching this doc about refugees

4 November 2017 9:00 am

Anybody who wants to maintain a strong and untroubled stance against mass migration to Europe should probably avoid BBC2’s Exodus:…

Sgt Bowe Bergdahl. Photo: U.S. Army/Getty Images

Serial returns with a story of loyalty, resilience and punishment

30 January 2016 9:00 am

The new season of the Serial podcast (produced by the same team who make This American Life) was launched last…

While we weren't looking, the Taleban surged back in Afghanistan

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Amid all the chaos in the Middle East, the breakdown of borders and states, a new threat is fast emerging.…

Islamic State is making its threats a reality

14 November 2015 9:00 am

When the creation of a new caliphate was announced last year, who but the small band of his followers took…

Iran’s hidden war with the West – and what we can do to fight back

24 October 2015 9:00 am

When British troops were on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan, we faced many enemies, from jihadis to press-ganged civilians. But…

Why the Middle East needs more kings

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Watch the videos of 1950s Iraq on YouTube and you glimpse something close to an idyll. It’s true that Pathé…

Nixon with Kissinger and Donald Rumsfeld in 1969

Niall Ferguson's biography of Henry Kissinger is a masterpiece

19 September 2015 8:00 am

I have met Dr Kissinger, properly, only three times. First, in Cairo, in 1980, when, as a junior diplomat escorting…

Leaving Afghanistan — with a pack of potential troubles

The way we treat our heroes is a disgrace

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Matthew Green, former Financial Times and Reuters correspondent, remains unimpressed by officialdom’s response to casualties who aren’t actually bleeding: Ever…

As the Hindenburg burned, you could hear radio news being born

15 August 2015 9:00 am

It’s really hard to imagine now a world before 24-hour news, continually and constantly accessible in a never-ending stream of…

Portrait of the week

8 August 2015 9:00 am

Home Tom Hayes, aged 35, a former City trader who rigged the Libor rates daily for nearly four years while…

Migrants warm up beside a campfire on the Macedonian-Greek border (Photo Robert Atanasovski/Getty)

Ali Baba and the 300 hostages: the kidnappers who prey on desperate migrants in Europe’s border badlands

11 July 2015 9:00 am

In the heat of the midday sun, the fields and woodlands between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia look idyllic:…

Portrait generally thought to be of Ghenghis Khan

Was Genghis Khan the cruellest man who ever lived?

27 June 2015 9:00 am

From the unpromising and desperately unforgiving background that forged his iron will and boundless ambition, Temujin (as Genghis Khan was…

The dark side of Delhi

13 June 2015 9:00 am

When Sara discovers that her husband died in India, rather than being killed in Afghanistan as she was told, she…

Mercenaries could transform the fight against Isis – if we let them

30 May 2015 9:00 am

Last Sunday Isis raised their black flag over Palmyra. Below the flag, in the days that followed, the usual carnage…

Lesley Blanch in a bar in Menton in the south of France, in 1961Lesley Blanch in a bar in Menton in the south of France, in 1961

Lesley Blanch: a true original on the wilder shores of exoticism

28 March 2015 9:00 am

Lesley Blanch (1904–2007) will be remembered chiefly for her gloriously extravagant The Wilder Shores of Love, the story of four…

The Cricket World Cup needs minnows

21 February 2015 9:00 am

Graeme Swann arrived late for the last cricket World Cup. His wife had given birth before the tournament and he…

A major-general names the guilty men

24 January 2015 9:00 am

The author of this primer to the long-overdue Chilcot report, a retired sapper (Royal Engineers) major-general, nails his colours to…