Dark Side Of TIME Magazine:  Honoring Mullah Baradar

Dark Side Of TIME Magazine: Honoring Mullah Baradar

Does Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar—nicknamed "Baradar the Butcher" —deserve a place in the '100 Most Influential People of 2021?

tippinsights Editorial Board

TIME, the magazine, has been around for nearly a century. That is to say, they were around during the heydays of journalism and continue to print despite the eroding trust in established news media. TIME, earlier this month, published its '100 Most Influential People of 2021' list.

Lists are, of course, noteworthy, whether it is the Billboard charts or top ten tech innovations. A list essentially lends credibility. By pitching those in similar professions, positions, or peers against each other, a list essentially says these are the people or things to follow or watch.

And according to the TIME, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar—nicknamed "Baradar the Butcher" —deserves a place in the '100 Most Influential People of 2021.' The Deputy Prime Minister in the interim Taliban government is listed under the heading 'Leaders.' Others on the list are U.S. Presidents, Senators, the German Chancellor, and the Indian Prime Minister, to name a few.

MullahBaradar has been in the news as the man who negotiated "the agreement (that) paved the way for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and intra-Afghan talks to be held in Doha." He was the Deputy Minister of Defense in the Taliban government toppled from power in 2001 and has held several other key military and administrative positions in the Taliban regime.

A glowing profile written by a Pakistani journalist states, "(Mullah Baradar) is revered among the Taliban as a founding member of the movement in 1994, a charismatic military leader and a deeply pious figure."

As the Deputy PM in the interim Taliban government, he has already led delegations to meet Chinese and Pakistani government heads. Touted as the lesser evil, he desperately seeks credibility and recognition for a Taliban-led Afghan government that Afghans themselves seem to dread.

It's inconceivable that the TIME is unaware of the man's past, political affiliations, or ideology. By placing him among democratically elected world leaders, the magazine has given the co-founder of "the most dangerous terrorist group in the world," according to the global think tank called the Institute for Economics & Peace, undeserved and dubious credibility.

Four deadliest terrorist groups chart

TIME, the very establishment that published a Red X cover when Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 and another to mark the horrific year that passed, seems to have committed a major faux pas by journalistic standards. One could even argue that the magazine has cast a shadow over its integrity and ideals.

The TIME's iconic list did generate quite a bit of furor on social media. But, not for the warm welcome meted out to the Taliban leadership! That seems to have largely gone unnoticed. Deliberation centered on the quality of photoshop on the image of the (non-working/ex?) royal and his spouse who graced the cover, amid the ongoing pandemic. Was that strategy or serendipity?

Did TIME fall for Pakistan’s public relations propaganda to portray Taliban 2.0 as more humane?  The reality is just weeks after TIME glorified Baradar, there have been reports of arbitrary executions, penal amputations and of course, women being pushed out of public life.

For the sake of Afghan citizens, one hopes that Mullah Baradar will indeed be "a more moderate current within the Taliban," as many in the diplomatic and government circles are cautiously hoping. It's early days, and so far, neither his regime nor he has deviated from their MO.

Most would agree that by the yardstick of sheer decency, it's too early to call him a leader at par with other democratically elected leaders unless there is an adjective attached – notorious.


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TIPP Takes

Chinese Government Aid To Pacific Region Fell By A Third Before pandemic, Lowy Report Finds

Map of the pacific region

Lowy Institute's Pacific Islands Program director, Jonathan Pryke, said the figures went against the dominant narrative about China's growing influence in the region.

The Lowy Institute's Pacific Aid Map, updated today, shows China's aid to the region shrank by a third, to $US169 million ($232 million) in 2019, from $US246 million in 2018.

While China remained the region's fourth-largest donor, this was Beijing's lowest aid contribution since 2012.

The institute also found that China was "less generous," with a greater proportion of the aid coming as concessional loans rather than grants.

Mr. Pryke said Pacific countries might have woken up to China and decided they were no longer interested in the kind of deals Beijing was offering. They were reluctant to take on more debt, or, perhaps, China was prioritizing spending in other regions at home.

North Korea Says It Test-Fired New Hypersonic Missile

North Korea hypersonic missile test

The missile North Korea fired off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed hypersonic missile.

North Korea fired the missile towards the sea off its east coast, South Korea's military said. Pyongyang called on the United States and South Korea to scrap their "double standards" on weapons programs to restart diplomatic talks.

The development of the weapon system increases North Korea's defense capabilities, KCNA said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not inspect the launch, according to the report.

"In the first test-launch, national defense scientists confirmed the navigational control and stability of the missile in the active section," the report said.

Pakistan Home To 12 Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Report

Pakistani Terror groups

Congressional Research Service report categorizes groups into five types — globally-oriented, Afghanistan-oriented, India - and Kashmir-oriented, domestically-oriented, and Sectarian (anti-Shia).

The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) was formed in the late 1980s in Pakistan and designated as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in 2001.

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) was founded in 2000 by Kashmiri militant leader Masood Azhar and was designated as an FTO in 2001.

Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) was formed in 1980 in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet army and was designated as an FTO in 2010.

Other terrorist groups inside Pakistan are Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent(AQIS), Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP or IS-K); the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundallah (aka Jaysh al-Adl), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ).

Has The Fountain Of Youth Been In Our Blood All Along?

Popular science image
Popular Science

Studies published over the last 15 years have found that young blood can reinvigorate aging mice. Now, scientists are trying to crack the code—or codes—swimming through our veins.

Labs at Stanford and Harvard have shown that old ones heal faster, move quicker, think better, and remember more when infused with blood from young mice.

The experiments reverse almost every indicator of aging the teams have probed so far: fixes signs of heart failure, improves bone healing, regrows pancreatic cells, and speeds spinal cord repair.

These studies, which use a peculiar surgical method called parabiosis that turns mice into literal blood brothers, show that aging is not inevitable. It is not time's arrow. It's biology, and therefore something we could theoretically change.

Blood itself will not become a treatment for old age. It's too messy, too complicated, too dangerous. But because of these labs' findings, we know that somewhere swirling around in young veins are signals that awaken the natural mechanisms to repair and restore the body.


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