Showing posts with label AfPak. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AfPak. Show all posts

22 November 2017


By: Jennifer Cafarella and Caitlin Forrest with Charles Aubin

Key Takeaway: Afghanistan remains a safe haven for terrorist plots against the U.S. homeland. The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham’s (ISIS) affiliate in Afghanistan and an American ISIS member in Pakistan coordinated an attack attempt in the U.S. in early 2016. ISIS seized at least one district in northwestern Afghanistan in early November, and is assembling new foreign fighter units. ISIS will use this safe haven to conduct new attacks abroad.

21 November 2017

Afghanistan’s Stabilization Can Ensure Maritime Security

M. Ashraf Haidari
I recently participated in an international maritime conference—SAGAR Discourse dialogue organized by the Forum for Integrated National Security—that discussed “security and growth for all” in the Indian Ocean region. The conference took place in India’s coastal city of Goa, which has a long history of maritime trade and commercial exchange among different civilizations of the South, East and West. Coming from a landlocked country, Afghanistan, it was a unique learning experience for the author, as he listened to speaker after speaker on the challenges and opportunities that involve blue oceans.

20 November 2017

Trump's New Afghanistan Strategy Isn't Really a Strategy

Gerald F. Hyman
Principles guiding a strategy are no substitute for an actual strategy whether developed by Washington or by field commanders.

To much anticipation, on August 21 President Donald Trump announced “our new strategy” for Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it revealed neither a succinct strategy nor even anything new. It was instead a list of a dozen pronouncements defining various U.S. policies tied to Afghanistan. Leaving aside their wisdom, they describe almost perfectly the policy of President George W. Bush and the initial policy of President Barack Obama.

17 November 2017

Why Russia Is Back in Afghanistan

By David Lewis

Three decades after a humiliating military defeat in Afghanistan, Russia has returned to the scene. This adds Afghanistan to a long list of hotspots – from Syriaand Libya to Venezuela and Ukraine – where Moscow’s low-cost, high-impact foreign policy is challenging the West. In Afghanistan, the Kremlin is covertly supporting the Taliban and other groups, and hosting regional talks with Pakistan, Iran and China. And whereas Moscow was strongly opposed to the Taliban throughout Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s, it seems a U-turn is underway.

With Chabahar, Afghanistan is no longer dependent on Pakistan: Abdullah

Afghanistan would no longer depend on Pakistan for transit trade with the opening of the strategic Chabahar Port, a top Afghan leader has said. Chabahar Port, located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast, lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan. The port is likely to ramp up trade between India, Afghanistan and Iran in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi for trade with the two countries.

16 November 2017

Why America Can't Afford to Continue Waging a War in Afghanistan

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced yesterday that the alliance will send three thousand more troops to Afghanistan in support of Donald Trump’s new strategy to confront the Taliban. NATO’s decision emphasizes the importance of making sure that the United States and its allies have good reason to keep going after such a long, costly and ineffective occupation. As Trump mulled over what he admitted was the difficult decision to remain in Afghanistan, two new arguments for staying the course emerged. Both arguments, unfortunately, are dangerously flawed.

15 November 2017

Pakistan’s Tanzeem-e-Islami and Its Troublesome Extremist Links

Farhan Zahid

A number of Pakistan’s Islamist organizations that agitate for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate but profess to be non-violent are finding renewed prominence, a concerning result of the surfacing of Islamic State’s (IS) local chapter, Wilayat-e-Khurasan. Islamist organizations such as Hizb ut Tahrir, Jamaat ul Momineena and Tanzeem-e-Islami have large followings in Pakistan, operating across the country and based mainly in the country’s major cities.

The Afghan Abyss, Deeper All the Time

By Alfred McCoy

After nine months of confusion, chaos, and cascading tweets, Donald Trump’s White House has finally made one thing crystal clear: the U.S. is staying in Afghanistan to fight and -- so they insist -- win. “The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might,” said the president in August, trumpeting his virtual declaration of war on the Taliban. Overturning Barack Obama’s planned (and stalled) drawdown in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that the Pentagon would send 4,000 more soldiers to fight there, bringing American troop strength to nearly 15,000.

The Haqqani Network: International Friends, Local Enemies

Tom Davis

Introduction to The Haqqani Network

As much as the powers that be want everyone to believe that “terrorism” is a giant catch-all covering every group, the truth is that terrorist groups are extremely varied and unique. They can be massive groups like ISIS or smaller, localized cells. Regardless, one of the most effective ways to eliminate terrorist groups, control the spread of violent and extremist beliefs, and prevent future terrorism from proliferating is by studying groups and understanding them. This understanding allows folks from all walks of life a modicum of knowledge to best respond to any attacks and threats. Most people pay attention to the heavy hitters, but a group that needs more extensive study is the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Central Asian countries. This group is much less infamous than Al Qaeda or ISIS, but no less deadly.

Brief History of The Haqqani Network

14 November 2017

Iran's Bottom Line in Afghanistan


Due to proximity and historical ties, no other country is as well placed as Iran to play a dominant role in Afghan society, as Middle East Institute senior fellow Alex Vatanka shows in his new paper, "Iran's Bottom Line in Afghanistan."

However, Tehran is focused on short-term tactical gains at the expense of a sustainable, holistic strategy, reflected in its use of Shia Afghans as a proxy elsewhere in the region, and it is generating concern in Kabul about rising sectarian tensions in Afghanistan.

Read the Publication (PDF)

Closure of Pak terror sanctuaries key to maritime security in IOR


Maritime security — on which much else depends — is interconnected with events in landlocked countries. Afghanistan is a prime example: Over the past 40 years, geopolitical tensions have imposed destructive conflicts on what is one of the most naturally endowed countries at the heart of rising Asia.

Recently, this author participated in an international maritime conference — SAGAR Dialogue organised by the Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS) — that discussed “security and growth for all” in the Indian Ocean region. The conference aptly took place in India’s coastal city of Goa with a long history of maritime trade and commercial exchange among different civilisations of the South, East and West. Coming from a landlocked country, Afghanistan, it was a unique learning experience for the author, as he listened to speaker after speaker on the challenges and opportunities that involve blue oceans.

13 November 2017

Why the Time Is Right to Talk to the Taliban

Source Link

A peace process with the Taliban is almost certainly the best way to end the war in Afghanistan, and arguments for postponing efforts to get one underway overlook the costs of prolonging the conflict. October marked the sixteen-year anniversary of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. President Donald J. Trump’s announcement of a new South Asia strategy in August 2017 affirmed an open-ended U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan, raising questions about ending the United States’ longest war. Meanwhile, the Taliban has increased its territorial and population control in the past year; the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reported [PDF] in October that the Taliban influences or controls more than 13 percent of Afghanistan’s 407 districts and contests another 30 percent.

Afghanistan: A Practical Way To Fight Back

November 8, 2017: The Taliban and drug gangs have, after two years of strenuous efforts come to control six percent of Afghan territory and about two percent of the population. The gangs and Islamic terrorists are a growing presence in another 14 percent of the territory (containing about nine percent of the population).

All this presence and control is in rural areas important to the production and movement of heroin and opium. Thus most of the enemy controlled or influenced areas are in the south (Helmand and Kandahar, where most of the heroin is produced), the east (where many Pakistan/ISI supported Islamic terrorist groups operate) and the ancient northern trade routes (that go through Kunduz).

We're Losing Afghanistan By Every Metric That Matters

By Joe Pappalardo

The national conversation has been focused on North Korea and Russia lately, while talk about counterinsurgency tactics has centered on fighting the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and northern Africa. Meanwhile, you hardly hear anything about the centerpiece of the counterinsurgency strategy that kicked off this Global War on Terror: Afghanistan.

12 November 2017

South Asia’s 4 Competing Jihads

By Muhammad Nawaz Khan

In South Asia, a tussle is underway between Islamic State (ISIS) and like-minded groups, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, which is currently based in Afghanistan), the Afghan Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The jihadi groups seek to establish one of two major competing Islamist political orders – the “Caliphate political order” or the “Amir-ul-Momineen political order.” Collectively, these groups have launched four different jihads with the goal of creating either “Islamic State Khorasan Province,” the “Islamic State of Khorasan,” or the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan or Waziristan.”

Osama bin Laden’s secret diary

Clifford D. May

On May 2, 2011, a Navy SEAL team made a brief stop in Abbottabad, Pakistan where they terminated Osama bin Laden’s life and then moved on to their second mission: collecting as much information as possible from within the al Qaeda leader’s compound.

They carried off computers, memoranda, photos, audio files, even a 228-page handwritten diary — “the single largest collection of senior terrorists materials ever,” a Pentagon briefer told reporters five days later.

Over the years since, what have we learned from this treasure trove? Almost nothing. Why not? Because President Obama promptly put almost all of it under lock and key.

11 November 2017

ISIS Might Have One Last Escape Route: Pakistan

By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

The fall of its de facto Syrian capital Raqqa last month signaled the death of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Middle East. On Friday, Syrian troops retook Deir ez-Zor, the last major city with an ISIS presence, just as Iraqi forces took over the crossing in al-Qaim, near the group’s final urban stronghold.

As the group flees the Middle East, it has two obvious destinations: Central and South Asia. Central Asia has accounted for upwards of 5,000 ISIS troops, and South Asia has 40 percent of the global Muslim population – and indeed an entire dedicated ISIS faction – making the region the natural destination for fleeing militants.

10 November 2017

Taliban Touts 'Special Forces Unit'

By Bill Roggio

The Afghan Taliban recently promoted its “Special Forces Unit” that purportedly is operating in the eastern Afghan province of Laghman. Since 2015, the Taliban has advertised its so-called “Special Forces Unit” which is known to have operated in southern Afghan provinces. These six photos of the “Special Forces Unit” operating in Laghman province were released by the Taliban on its official Telegram account on Nov. 1. The Taliban special forces are seen wearing new uniforms and chest rigs, and are photographed with a captured Afghan Army HUMVEE. The images were captured during the daylight.

NATO looks to seize momentum in Afghanistan conflict

By Damon Wake and Thomas Watkins

Brussels (AFP) - Defence ministers from across the NATO alliance meet in Brussels on Thursday to review next steps in the Afghanistan conflict and brainstorm ways to deal with the 16-year-old security crisis. NATO this week announced it would be sending some 3,000 extra troops to the war-torn country, bringing the Western military footprint up to about 16,000 soldiers. The additional troops, most of them American, will help train and advise local Afghan forces who have struggled to hold the Taliban at bay while suffering heavy casualties.

NATO Sees Taliban Bases in Pakistan 'Big Challenge' to Afghan Peace

Ayaz Gul 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Taliban bases in Pakistan pose a “big challenge” to efforts aimed at bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels that he regularly raises the issue in meetings with Pakistani leaders and will continue to do so.

“We have to address the big challenge that [the] Taliban, the insurgents are working also out of bases in Pakistan. And we have raised that several times. It is extremely important that all countries in the region support efforts of the Afghan national unity government and that no country provide any kind of sanctuary for the terrorists,” said the NATO chief.