"U.S. policy in Africa is driven first and foremost by a preference for stability and preserving a stable status quo. Were mass, disruptive protests to erupt or the political leadership to change in Nigeria, it would not automatically be disastrous for Washington, but neither would American diplomats and policymakers have an easy go of it. The United States has a great interest in seeing that the democratically elected leaders of one of Africa's most important countries be committed to – and capable of – maintaining stability and fighting extremism," writes Laura Seay in Politico Magazine.
"There's been something similarly distorted to some of the social media reactions to the Boko Haram atrocities over the past week. It's great that the kidnappings and the massacres are finally arousing the world's indignation. But sometimes the implication of the conversation has been this: Africa is this dark and lawless place where monstrous things are bound to happen. Those poor people need our help. But this is more or less the opposite of the truth. Boko Haram is not the main story in Africa or even in Nigeria," writes David Brooks in the New York Times.
"Alongside its challenges, there's another part of Nigeria's story: its expanding economy – now called Africa's largest, its entrepreneurial spirit, its feisty free press, its fashion and entertainment industries, its 170 million population domestic market – in a word, its potential – is also on display. WEF has been criticized for staging such a high-profile meeting in a place like Nigeria. I say, 'What better place?'" writes Tami Hultman in AllAfrica.
Afghan Taliban Announces Start of Spring Offensive
The Taliban said that its spring offensive will begin Monday and it would keep fighting even if just a small number of foreign troops remain in Afghanistan past the current mandate, which expires at the end of the year (Express Tribune). The announcement comes as Kabul is preparing a mid-June run-off vote to choose the next president.
This Backgrounder explains the Taliban's history and the state of the insurgency.