News A policeman and relatives gather around the flag-draped casket of a policeman, who was killed in a bomb attack in Charsadda, on the outskirts of Peshawar

The policemen were guarding polio vaccination workers

Pakistan bomb blast kills eight

Eight people have been killed in a bomb explosion near a market in north-western Pakistan, a government official has said.

Aslam: Despite the atrocities, his view of Islam is nuanced

The Blind Man's Garden, By Nadeem Aslam Faber and Faber £18.99

This poetic but devastating novel about Islamic extremism and the conflict in Afghanistan has the authenticity of lived experience

The reclusive family who didn't see another human for 40 years

Those with an interest in 20th century history will be familiar with the stories of famous recluses like Howard Hughes or the Vietnam vets who emerged from the jungle some 20 years after the war had ended, but the Lykov family beats them all.

When a team of Soviet geologists accidentally stumbled across the family in a remote part of Siberia, they were so isolated that they were unaware that the second world war had even started, never mind finished. It was 1978.

The Essex Jonathan Meades has known all his adult life is grossly at odds with the Essex of popular mythology and hackneyed mediation

The Joy of Essex: In praise of much-maligned ancient county

In recent years, the ancient county has been associated with fake tan and melodrama. In fact, argues Jonathan Meades, it’s one of the most extraordinary parts of Britain

Prince Harry at the controls of an Apache helicopter

Trigger happy Prince Harry 'must have mental problems', says Taliban

Prince Harry has incurred the wrath of critics both home and abroad after describing how he killed insurgents while serving in Afghanistan.

One policeman killed after Taliban militant attack on Kabul police headquarters

At least one policeman was killed today when Taliban militants detonated a car bomb at the gates of the Kabul traffic police headquarters and then stormed the compound, setting off a six-hour gun battle with security forces, authorities said.

Iphigenia in Forest Hills, By Janet Malcolm

Skewed justice of the trigger happy judge and his prejudice

Shias refuse to bury blast victims until security is tightened

About 1,000 Pakistani Shia Muslims are protesting in the southwest for a second day, blocking a main road with the bodies of relatives killed in a bombing to demand the government provide better security.

Postcard from... Lalish, Iraq

"Close your eyes and try three times," our young guide explains. The pressure's on. Throw the pebble in the right-hand hole, I get heaven – the left and it's eternal damnation.

Comedians of the Antichrist give first atheist church their blessing

Liam O’Brien attends the maiden ‘service’ for non-believers

Malala Yousafzai: Pakistani girl shot by Taliban is discharged from hospital

With a shy smile, a wave and a hug for the nurses who helped save her life, Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai left hospital in Britain today.

The release of Taliban prisoners aims to promote peace in the region as soldiers leave

Pakistan releases eight Taliban prisoners

Pakistan released eight Taliban prisoners, including former justice minister Nooruddin Turabi, on Monday in an effort to facilitate the peace process in neighboring Afghanistan.

The end of the world...again? Authorities on alert after cult leader paedophile Warren Jeffs warns 10,000 followers to prepare for New Year's Eve apocalypse

Experts warn Jeffs' message could send a 'dangerous signal' to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

19 killed in attack on Shiites in Pakistan

A suicide bomber driving a vehicle packed with explosives rammed into a bus carrying Shiite Muslim pilgrims in southwest Pakistan on Sunday, killing 19 people, a government official and eyewitnesses said.

Pakistani army soldiers patrol outside the airport in Peshawar after the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for suicide attack on an international airport earlier this month

Taliban seize 22 men from tribal force units

The Pakistani Taliban have seized at least 22 men from a regional paramilitary force in attacks on three checkpoints in northern Pakistan.

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