In Depth

The Week Unwrapped podcast: Afghanistan, the Mafia and military mindfulness

What can we learn from an attack in Kabul? Why is the Mafia leading anti-lockdown protests? And how can meditation help the army?

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Afghan attack

An assault on Kabul University earlier this week went largely unreported, but it helps to shed light on more widely covered attacks in France and Austria. What connects them - apart from the inspiration they take from the Islamic State group - is the weight they add to the idea that there’s a limit to the extent to which Western countries can explain Islamic extremism by examining their own cultures.

Mafia vs. lockdown

With Italy heading back into lockdown, concerns are growing about struggling businesses and rising unemployment. So where do you go when you need a favour? For a rising number of Italians, the mafia. Calls to extortion hotlines have doubled during the pandemic, with reports of crime families orchestrating violent anti-lockdown rallies. So are desperate Italians falling victim to offers they cannot refuse?

Military mindfulness

British troops are being taught to meditate as part of a Ministry of Defence push to use mindfulness to improve combat performance and manage stress in the military. So does the so-called Op Smart programme mark a healthier approach to tackling mental health issues - or a new low in the West’s “McMindfulness” take on Buddhist teachings?

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