Lahore: Architecture of In/Security



Lahore today looks like a city at war. One of the greatest unacknowledged casualties of the United States’ “war on terror” has been the cities (and citizenry) of Pakistan. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the Taliban from power in response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. In 1985, sixteen years prior, President Ronald Reagan equated the Taliban mujahideen who had defeated the Soviet’s in Afghanistan as “the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers,” a capricious stance to say the least. In 2008, the U.S. committed another surge of troops to Afghanistan due to the continued presence of the Taliban in the region while Pakistani military operations were waged in parallel in the northwest regions of the country bordering Afghanistan. Since then Pakistan has seen a particularly stark backlash within its borders as a response to its continued collaboration with its close ally. Militants within Pakistan have retaliated by targeting police and security sites in cities throughout the country, sometimes entangled with attacks against minorities. The city’s inhabitants are just one more unsung casualty of this war that connects Lahore and New York City across disparate geographies through the multiple refractions of the legacy of U.S. policy and Pakistani collaboration during the Cold War.