The wacky things Pervez Musharraf has been tweeting since returning to Pakistan

When former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf returned to Karachi from exile on March 24, at least 17,000 people were following along -- on his Twitter feed, @P_Musharraf. He even made his own hashtag for the occasion: #musharrafreturn.

It's been a pretty strange ride ever since. Despite occasional lapses into the third person, Musharraf appears to run his own account (in the style of American politicians such as Claire McCaskill, and formerly Chuck Grassley and Scott Brown), which makes for a level of intimacy that is unusual for public figures on the Internet. Here are the highlights -- sometimes bizarre, sometimes insightful -- from the former president's feed over the past several days.

Before he returned to Pakistan, Musharraf -- in true politician style -- used his feed to advertise his homecoming with goofy graphics and donation requests. 

The requests to "donate generously" were repeated daily. But on March 21, the feed got more personal. It tracked his pilgrimage to Mecca and chronicled his flight back to Karachi.

There's still plenty of politicking in his feed -- he's once again running for office, after all -- and he tweets his many press appearances. But then there are gems like this: 

That link goes to Musharraf's Facebook page and a picture of his imposing bodyguard carrying an M-4. Or this one:

Look at those shoes! Just look at them! (Also, can someone get the president a better camera?) And then today he live-tweeted his bail hearing.

So, there you go. Just one more way the Internet is making politics downright weird.



Russia considers returning to Afghanistan

The Soviet Union's 10-year occupation of Afghanistan cost the country more than 15,000 lives, and an additional 50,000 were wounded. Before the USSR withdrew its forces in 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev described the Soviet efforts to fight the insurgency there as "a bleeding wound." And yet -- just over two decades after leaving what came to be considered the Soviet version of the Vietnam War -- Russia is now eager to return to Afghanistan.

Russian defense officials are exploring the possibility of establishing military bases on Afghan soil after the U.S. drawdown in 2014, according to Russian press reports. Sergey Koshelev, of the Russian Defense Ministry's Department of Cooperation, told Russia Today that the military "will look into various options of creating repair bases" to maintain the Afghan National Security Forces's Russian-made equipment. Further cooperation is also being considered, according to Russia's NATO envoy Aleksandr Grushko.

Russia certainly has an economic stake in post-war Afghanistan. In addition to maintaining Russian gear -- from small arms to armored personnel carriers and helicopters -- Russia is also considering expanding its supply routes into Afghanistan through Central Asian countries. These supply routes, often called the Northern Distribution Network, have been a troublesome logistical lifeline for ISAF troops in Afghanistan, and will likely remain important after the drawdown.

An article in the government-sponsored paper Pravda last November touted Russia's cultural projects in Afghanistan as a prelude to new projects like those being discussed now. "It's obvious that Moscow's interest after the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan ...will increase dramatically," Lyuba Lulko wrote then. "The country has always been in the zone of Soviet and Russian interests." The article went on to recast the Soviet occupation: "After what the Americans leave in Afghanistan, the Soviet presence seems to be a blessing. Soviet soldiers are remembered with respect," Lulko added. An Afghan student studying Russian was quoted saying, "Russia is our neighbor, we love its culture. All was well, when the Russians were here."

Nonetheless, as RT's report stressed, "Russian officials have repeatedly denied that Moscow is considering resuming its military presence in Afghanistan."