November 12, 2009

Hegghammer on "Small" Footprints in Afghanistan ... and Kate Brooks on Pakistani Fashion

Thomas Hegghammer, along with Will McCants, knows more about al-Qaeda than any person I know. He's from that Norwegian school (led by this guy) that thinks you need to, you know, actually study the relevant languages before you start calling yourself an expert on jihadi groups. Crazy, I know. Most experts on al-Qaeda in the United States have received no training in Arabic, Urdu, Pashto, Dari or anything else. Today, Thomas pours a whole bucket of cold water on the idea that a smaller footprint in Afghanistan would anger al-Qaeda and associated groups less than a larger footprint and also challenges some of what I had previously thought about virtual safe havens. (When a guy like Thomas says I might have gotten something wrong about al-Qaeda, by the way, I don't bother putting up a fight. I just salute and drive on.)

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, my friend (and former Islamabad denizen) Kate Brooks has a photo essay in Time on Fashion Week ... in Karachi.