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

20 May 2018

Taliban’s 2018 Offensive Encompasses All Regions of Afghanistan

By Bill Roggio

The Taliban’s 2018 offensive, which it calls Al Khandaq Jihadi operations, has targeted Afghan government forces in nearly all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. While Afghan security forces appear to be focusing on Taliban forces in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar – the birthplace of the Taliban and its traditional strongholds – the jihadist group is effectively counterattacking in the other regions of Afghanistan. The Taliban appears to maintain the initiative throughout Afghanistan, while the Afghan military is forced to react to Taliban offensives, such as the latest incursion into Farah City. Since the beginning of Al Khandaq Jihadi operations, the Taliban has overrun five district centers in Badakhshan, Badghis, Faryab, Ghazni, and Kunduz. These provinces span the western, northern, and southern Afghanistan.

China Tries to Bring Pakistan, Afghanistan Closer

Ayaz Gul

China has proposed hosting a new round of three-way talks with Pakistan and Afghanistan this month to continue with its diplomatic push in helping the two neighboring countries improve their strained bilateral ties. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing told an unofficial conference of government representatives and experts from the three countries in Islamabad on Tuesday that Beijing had initiated the trilateral vice foreign ministers-level dialogue in 2015. He said that since then, several rounds of talks have taken place, with the mission of easing Kabul's tensions with Islamabad and promoting security, counterterrorism and economic cooperation among the three nations.

19 May 2018

China in Afghanistan: A military base in the offing?

KABIR TANEJA
Source Link

As the political and security situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, China’s role in the war torn nation has come into sharp relief. Though China and Afghanistan share a border barely stretching 76 km, Beijing’s worries about the deteriorating security landscape there have continued to grown. As a major global power with its perhaps only ‘all-weather’ ally on the planet, Pakistan, in the region, the preponderance of jihadist narratives are counter-productive to the country’s Xinjiang region, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has a suppressed Uyghur Muslim population in a region widely considered to be one of the most surveilled in the world.

Afghanistan-Pakistan Finalize Joint Action Plan for Peace


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Tuesday said that diplomats from Afghanistan and Pakistan have wrapped up their fourth meeting in Islamabad on the joint action plan between the two countries. The plan is known as the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to draw up a plan in April following Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s trip to Kabul where he held talks with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani. The two leaders agreed to seven key principles to finalize the action plan.

The two leaders agreed to the following:

18 May 2018

PAKISTAN’S NAVAL NUCLEAR AMBITIONS: CONCERNS AND CHALLENGES

by Sylvia Mishra

On March 29, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed in a press releasethat Pakistan had conducted another test of the Babur-3 nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), after the first test in January last year. The missile, with a range of 450 km, engaged its target with “precise accuracy” and was successful in “meeting all the flight parameters.” While the yield of the Babur-3 warhead is unknown, analysts estimate from the 47 seconds of flight-testing footage shared by Pakistan’s defense establishment that the SLCM was fired underwater horizontally from torpedo tubes. 

17 May 2018

Unbeatable: Social Resources, Military Adaptation, and the Afghan Taliban

Theo Farrell

Insurgencies are famously difficult to defeat, yet the Afghan Taliban have proven especially so. Accounts of Taliban resilience have focused on both the deficiencies of Western efforts and the Afghan state and on Pakistani support for the Taliban. These accounts fail, however, to reveal the full picture of how the Taliban have been able to survive. Drawing on original field research, this article explores how the Taliban’s success has been shaped by factors internal to the insurgency, namely, the social resources that sustain it and the group’s ability to adapt militarily.

Challenging the ISK Brand in Afghanistan-Pakistan: Rivalries and Divided Loyalties


Abstract: The launch of the Islamic State Khorasan (ISK) brand in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region in 2014-2015 attracted droves of opportunistic and disgruntled militants from local groups. But the arrival of a new entrant in a crowded space also threatened existing groups’ regional power and resources, leading to the inception of multiple rivalries, as evidenced via expressions of leaders’ disapprovals and warnings toward ISK between 2014 and 2017. A close look at the incompatibilities between ISK and its rivals suggests continued resistance by groups whose relevance and resources are directly threatened by ISK’s mission of a global caliphate.

16 May 2018

No, the War in Afghanistan Isn't a Hopeless Stalemate

By Robert M. Cassidy

The war in Afghanistan has become so protracted that it warrants the epithet the “Groundhog Day War.” Fighting has gone on for nearly 17 years, with U.S. troops in Afghanistan seven years longer than the Soviets were. The U.S. leadership claims to have a strategy for victory even as warm weather brings in yet another “fighting season” and new rounds of deadly violence in KabulSixteen years and seven months of violence, loss, sacrifice and significant investment, without victory, is alarming – but is it without hope?  As a scholar of Afghanistan and strategy and a soldier who has served four tours in the country, I’d like to explore both the apparent stalemate and the reasons for harboring hope of an eventual resolution.

Trump Effect Comes to Afghanistan

By James R. Van de Velde

Before President Donald Trump’s August 21, 2017, speech on Afghanistan (the ‘new South Asian strategy’), in which the President announced a renewed commitment to ‘win;’ to avoid nation-building; and to stay until conditions allowed for U.S. withdrawal, Afghanistan’s ‘proxy-insurgency’ was a political-military strategy-free zone, intellectually empty, heading to a miscarried future. The war resembled the final scene in any Rocky movie where the two parties just hit each other at the same time over and over. No thoughtful, comprehensive diplomatic-military strategy existed.

15 May 2018

Should India Take Pakistan’s Overtures Seriously?

By Tridivesh Singh Maini

Over the past couple of months, both India and Pakistan have been trying to lower the temperature of their bilateral relationship through goodwill gestures and reconciliatory statements. While both sides have reiterated their commitment to amicably resolve the issue of the harassment of their respective diplomats, India and Pakistan have also agreed to some humanitarian gestures with regard to prisoners languishing in jails on both sides.

The Cold Start hypothesis

Maj Gen Raj Mehta (retd)

BEREFT of a stated nuclear doctrine, Pakistan obdurately plans to use tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) to neutralise Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) if launched by India across the border against Pakistani proxy war terror strikes. Does this ploy throw cold water on India’s ‘Cold Start’ doctrine? Is Pakistan’s adaptation of an outmoded Cold War tactic implementable? Can nuclear wars be ‘tactical’? Is India’s no-first-use (NFU) policy ‘didactic’ (patronising) or ‘persnickety’ (irritatingly detailed) as former NSA Shivshankar Menon, author of Choices – Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy (2016), puts it? 

New Wine in a New Bottle

TCA Raghavan

The coming out on the streets of large numbers of ethnic Pashtun marks a new phase in the history of Pakistan’s interface with its Frontier. What sparked this was the extra-judicial killing in January 2018 in Karachi of a young Mehsud tribal from South Waziristan. The local protests over this morphed into something larger with rallies in Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore drawing in many others outside the Mehsuds. The demands in these protests also evolved beyond demands for enquiry into extrajudicial killings and amelioration of specific issues in South Waziristan such as demining, tracing missing persons removal of army road blocks etc. These rallies became the platform for a generalized sense of rage, helplessness and dissatisfaction amongst Pashtuns in general, and those in the tribal belt in particular, at having been treated no more as pieces on a chess board as the global war against terror was waged on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Pakistan's 'Name Game' Gives Terror Groups a Pass

Madeeha Anwar,Mubashir Zaidi

Changing one's name in Pakistan is a daunting and lengthy legal procedure that requires extensive paperwork. Surprisingly, that is not the case with militant groups that get banned by the government. In the past two decades, several groups accused of carrying out terror attacks have avoided a crackdown by changing their names. Islamist cleric Hafiz Saeed, a U.S.-designated terrorist who allegedly was the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 160 people, is perhaps the most prominent leader accused of the tactic.

14 May 2018

Mattis, Dunford Defend Strategy: Afghan Force Smaller But Better

By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.

WASHINGTON: Yes, Afghan forces are shrinking even as violence grows, but that smaller force is better trained, better advised, and better at taking the offensive against the Taliban, the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs told the Senate. The ongoing increase in US and other NATO advisors is crucial to this turnaround, Sec. Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford argued to skeptical Democratic senators this morning.

America Cannot Afford to Lose Pakistan to China

Matthew Reisener
Source Link

Nearly two decades into America’s War on Terror, policymakers remain perplexed about how to navigate the United States’ relationship with Pakistan, an ostensible ally that has long been accused of offering tepid support or creating outright impediments to American counterterrorism operations. While America’s relations with Pakistan were weakened by the Trump administration’s January decision to withhold over one billion dollars in security assistance from the Islamic Republic, Pakistan’s relations with neighboring China have been greatly strengthened by China’s promise of $57 billion in economic investment through its One Belt One Road Initiative. U.S. policymakers should be concerned by America’s rocky relationship with Pakistan, as well as Pakistan’s deepening economic and security ties with China. A Pakistan that is squarely in China’s orbit could contribute to a dramatic rise in security competition and an increased risk of great power conflict in South Asia. It is in America’s best interest to repair its relationship with Pakistan to prevent such a scenario from coming to pass.

13 May 2018

Pakistan Finds a Friend in Russia


As the United States intensifies its pressure against Pakistan over the latter's continued support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, Islamabad will deepen its outreach to Moscow in a counterbalancing effort. Russia and Pakistan will focus on building a security partnership based on counterterrorism cooperation to combat the threat of transnational jihadism posed by the Islamic State's Khorasan chapter in Afghanistan. While the depth of Russia's connections with Pakistan's archrival, India, suggest that the Russo-Indian relationship will endure, the growing U.S.-India defense partnership will drive Moscow increasingly toward Islamabad.

Afghanistan: Conflict Metrics 2000-2018

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The U.S. has now entered its seventeenth year of war in Afghanistan, and there is no clear end to the war in sight. At present, there seems to be little prospect that a combination of Afghan government, U.S., and allied forces can defeat the Taliban and other insurgent and terrorist forces or will be defeated by them. The conflict has become a war of attrition which can drag on indefinitely, and can only be ended through some form of peace negotiation or the sudden, unexpected collapse of either Afghan government or threat forces – a transition from a war of attrition to a war of exhaustion on one side.

Selectively Surveying Official, UN, and NGO Combat Metrics

12 May 2018

GOING BACK TO THE FUTURE: IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE IN AFGHANISTAN

Donald C. Bolduc

It is the secret of the guerilla force that, to be successful, they must hold the initiative, attack selected targets at a time of their own choosing and avoid battle when the odds are against them. If they maintain their offensive in this way, both their strength and their morale automatically increase until victory is won. As a corollary, it must be the aim of the counter-guerilla forces to compel guerrilla forces to go on the defensive, so they lose the initiative, become dispersed and expend their energy on mere existence.

-- Sir Robert Thompson, Malaya 1966

Reviewing Taliban Narratives

By Omar Sadr

Taliban Narratives, by Professor Thomas Johnson, explores Taliban and U.S. communication cultures by analyzing narratives, propaganda, and stories between 2001-2011. Johnson decodes the Taliban’s master narrative, information operations, target audience, and their propaganda tools such as circulars, shabnamahs (night letters), internet accounts, graffiti, poetry, and chants, which he refers to as cultural artifacts. He argues the Taliban, unlike the U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, have culturally relevant information closer to the values held by the local population. Aiming at changing the emotions and perception of people, Taliban campaigns target rural Afghans by focusing on local issues.

ISIS targets elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s goons are conducting a campaign of terror against elections in several countries. Thus far, they have claimed operations targeting election facilities, candidates and officials in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. On Apr. 22, Islamic State spokesman Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir threatened anyone who participated in Iraq’s upcoming election on May 12. Upholding his organization’s longstanding condemnation of democratic elections, the ISIS spokesman argued that anyone who assists the voting process “assumes responsibility for” it and is going to be held accountable under the “same [religious] ruling” as those holding the votes. The “voting centers and those present within them are a target for our swords, so stay far away from them and avoid getting close to them,” al-Muhajir warned. [See FDD’s Long War Journalreport, Analysis: Islamic State spokesman says ‘new phase’ of jihad has begun.]